Economists Looking Under the Lamppost for Fiscal Doomsday
Tuesday Ten Years Ago on the Internet: Ken Rogoff: The IMF Strikes Back

Noted for February 26, 2013

  • Alex Pareene: Watching the Sunday shows so you don’t have to: ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos…. [W]e had… two professional liars, one party hack, one disgraced financier and one old journalist guy, here to discus the issues of the day. Somewhat wonderfully, the discussion of Steven Brill’s giant TIME piece on healthcare costs turned into a fairly explicit endorsement of lowering the Medicare eligibility age — even dedicated 'entitlement' foe Stephen Rattner unexpectedly endorsed this proposal! — which leads Stephanopoulos to point out that by the same logic we should just have single-payer healthcare…. Oh hey guys, you have all just discovered all the ancient arguments for single-payer that left-liberals have been making since forever, congrats. By tomorrow you will all return to demanding that the Medicare eligibility age be raised in the name of fiscal responsibility but for now, let’s enjoy this moment…. The show closed with everyone agreeing with George Will that 'Zero Dark Thirty' should win best picture because it would annoy Carl Levin and torture survivor John McCain."

  • Deus Ex Macchiato: What did Lehman’s Eurosystem collateral turn out to be worth?: "LBB’s collateral turned out to be worth 84 cents on the dollar, after accounting for haircuts; and it took four years to get that much."

  • Dr. Science: Obsidian Wings: A blaze of light in every word: "Via Slacktivist and Jessica at Friendly Atheist, I've learned that WORLD magazine editor and developer of 'compassionate conservatism' Marvin Olasky has re-written the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, the better to 'take the music captive' for Christianity…. '[T]here were two musics progressing at one time… utterly at variance. The [Leonard Cohen's] one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. The other [Marvin Olasky's] had now achieved a unity of its own; but it was loud, and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes.'"

  • Andrew O'Hehir: Oscars: They were dreary, desperate and insincere. But it had its moments!: "MacFarlane was just going to keep telling increasingly distasteful fat-chick jokes and John Wilkes Booth jokes until it was time to segue into 'Why is this show so long?' jokes. Because the show has to be unbearably long – like 'Ring of the Nibelung' on OxyContin long…"

  • Charles Stross sends us to: Roko's basilisk… a proposition suggested by a member of the rationalist community LessWrong… future godlike artificial intelligence. The proposition, and the dilemma it presents, somewhat resembles a futurist version of Pascal's wager…. [T]he entire saga is about things that are actually believed by some groups of people…. Roko's basilisk is notable for being completely banned from discussion on LessWrong, where any mention of it is deleted. Eliezer Yudkowsky, founder of LessWrong, considers the basilisk would not work, but will not explain why because he does not consider open discussion of the notion of acausal trade with unfriendly possible superintelligences to be provably safe. Some people… have suffered serious psychological distress after contemplating basilisk-like ideas… some… try to work out how to erase evidence of themselves so a future unfriendly AI can't reconstruct a copy of them to torture…

  • Scott Lemieux: Is Our White Supremacists Learning?: "Shorter Verbatim Charles Murray: 'I had never heard of Seth MacFarlane, and was astonished by his talent. And envious of his impermeable self-confidence.' Confusing 'greasy smarm' and 'unjustified self-regard' with 'self-confidence' is pretty much a foundational problem of conservertarianism." | Bork: Nixon Offered Me SCOTUS Seat for Firing Archibald Cox

On February 25, 2013: