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August 2017

Ten Years and 29 Days Ago at Grasping Reality: Hoisted from the Archives for August 2, 2007

  • Four Links for 2007-08-03 http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/08/links-for-200-1.html: "John Holbo... 'what... could Netflix ask customers, such that genuinely interesting (and predictive) data would potentially result?' Jon Chait on Rudy Giuliani's anti-health plan Ezra Klein on Rudy Giuliani on Health Care: A Man With a (Non-)Plan Lieberman's Losing Battle for Influence: New York Observer..."

  • The Bushies' Strategy in Iraq http://www.bradford-delong.com/2007/08/the-bushies-str.html: Ioz.... "The United States is supporting: the Shia government, which funnels money and arms to Shia militias, death squads, and insurgent/terrorist groups; the Sunni opposition, which funnels money and arms to the Sunni insurgency; the Sunni insurgency directly, so that they will combat the Shia militias as well as al-Qaeda in Iraq, a group of Sunni terrorists supposedly supported by Shia Iran; the Saudis, who fund Sunni insurgents as well--almost surely--as Sunni terrorist groups; the Iraqi Kurds, who have their sights set on an independent nation that includes a de-Arabized Kirkuk; and the Turks, who have their sights set on never, ever seeing an independent Kurdish entity anywhere, anyhow, anyway, ever, amen..." Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.


For the Weekend: Stephen Vincent Benet: The Devil and Daniel Webster II

Daniel Webster

For the Weekend: Stephen Vincent Benet: The Devil and Daniel Webster II http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602901h.html: "You see, for a while, he was the biggest man in the country...

...He never got to be President, but he was the biggest man. There were thousands that trusted in him right next to God Almighty, and they told stories about him and all the things that belonged to him that were like the stories of patriarchs and such.

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Live from Berkeley: The 17 classes in Berkeley's largest lecture hall: Wheeler Auditorium Classes: Fall 2017:

  • ASTRON C10-LS C70U: Introduction to General Astronomy
  • COMPSCI-STAT C8: Foundations of Data Science
  • COMPSCI 61A: The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
  • COMPSCI 61B: Data Structures
  • COMPSCI 61C: Great Ideas of Computer Architecture (Machine Structures)
  • COMPSCI 70: Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory
  • COMPSCI 170: Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems
  • COMPSCI 186/286: Introduction to Database Systems
  • ECON 1: Introduction to Economics
  • ELENG 16A: Designing Information Devices and Systems I
  • ELENG 16B: Designing Information Devices and Systems II
  • INTEGBI 131: General Human Anatomy
  • LS C30T-MCELLBI C62-PSYCH C19: Drugs and the Brain
  • MATH 54: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
  • NUSCTX 10: Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • POLSCI 179: Undergraduate Colloquium on Political Science
  • UGBA 10: Principles of Business

Screenshot 8 31 17 10 24 AM

Live from Berkeley: Foyer of Wheeler Hall, outside of Wheeler Auditorium, 9:25 AM Thursday.

"ELENG 16A: Designing Information Devices and Systems I" will start at 9:40:

This course and its follow-on course EE16B focus on the fundamentals of designing modern information devices and systems that interface with the real world. Together, this course sequence provides a comprehensive foundation for core EECS topics in signal processing, learning, control, and circuit design while introducing key linear-algebraic concepts motivated by application contexts. Modeling is emphasized in a way that deepens mathematical maturity, and in both labs and homework, students will engage computationally, physically, and visually with the concepts being introduced in addition to traditional paper/pencil exercises. The courses are aimed at entering students as well as non-majors seeking a broad foundation for the field.

Enrolled 1006; waitlisted 61

"COMPSCI 61C Great Ideas of Computer Architecture (Machine Structures)" will exit at 9:30:

The internal organization and operation of digital computers. Machine architecture, support for high-level languages (logic, arithmetic, instruction sequencing) and operating systems (I/O, interrupts, memory management, process switching). Elements of computer logic design. Tradeoffs involved in fundamental architectural design decisions.

Enrolled 726; waitlisted 31


Should-Read: Austin Clemens: No one measure of inequality tells the whole story–income, wealth, and consumption should be considered together: "The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, releases the results of its annual Consumer Expenditure Survey, or CEX, today... http://equitablegrowth.org/equitablog/value-added/no-one-measure-of-inequality-tells-the-whole-story-income-wealth-and-consumption-should-be-considered-together/

Continue reading "" »


Data Science, Computer Literacy, and the Skill of Writing with a Fine Chancery Hand...

2017 08 30 More than a Few Words About Computer Literacy in the Twenty First Century

About a month and a half ago I decided that there was really no place in any of my classes for my "what you really ought to know about doing economics" lecture http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/07/how-to-think-like-an-economist-if-that-is-you-wish-to.html: it would be either incomprehensible (because students would not understand it) or unnecessary (because students would already know it).

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Ethnicism: The New (or Maybe an Old?) Socialism of Fools

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Economists' theories—at least the economists' theories that I think are relatively well grounded—predict that globalization should have little effect on the broad distribution of income but should, instead, tend to lift all boats... READ MOAR at Project Syndicate

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Procrastination on August 30, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Sacramento, Galveston, Houston

California Megaflood Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe Scientific American

I suspect that somewhere out there—somewhere with a quantum wave function amplitude perhaps as large as ours—there is a well dredged Sacramento Ship Channel extending from the busy Port of Sacramento—second busiest on the West Coast behind Long Beach—down to the Golden Gate.

In that branch of reality, Sacramento was not buried under ten feet of water in January 1862:

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On Niall Ferguson's "The Pity of War", Plus Rebuttal: Hoisted from the Archives from Five Years Ago

T on Niall Ferguson's WWI Book:

His WWI book was awful. It's entire premise is anachronistic, and it shows the same predilection for snide ad hominem attacks as the rest of his writing.

I beg to differ. I thought that Ferguson"s World War One book was pretty good. It suffered to a small degree from AJP Taylor disease, but a very mild case only--you learn a lot from TPoW http://amzn.to/2gnp2em, while you learn nothing—in fact, your Δ(knowledge) < 0—from Tayllor's Origins of WWII http://amzn.to/2gnp2em.

Continue reading "On Niall Ferguson's "The Pity of War", Plus Rebuttal: Hoisted from the Archives from Five Years Ago" »


Procrastination on August 28, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Links and Such for the Week of August 28, 2017

Must-Reads:

Continue reading "Links and Such for the Week of August 28, 2017" »


Must-Read: Some wishful thinking from Larry Summers. No, it is not true that "the United States does the right thing", not even "after exhausting the alternatives..." And I am not reassured but horrified by how the "business community, cultural leaders and many congressional Republicans" have responded to Donald Trump as President and what surrounds him:

Larry Summers: Mexico isn’t taking Trump’s threats seriously now: "Relative to my last visit to Mexico in March, leaders have moved from being appalled and alarmed by the Trump administration to being appalled and bemused... https://www.ft.com/content/4b33f856-69fa-3e4d-b3bd-cb8a69648a68

Continue reading "" »


Live from Berkeley: Making Textbooks & Course Readers Affordable: Berkeley on the Leading Edge: "Friday, October 27, 2017 :: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. :: Environmental Design Library Atrium http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/environmental-design-library: Can students afford to take your class?...

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Must-Read: Naughty, naughty, Mike Boskin!

Bill Clinton's presidency began not with "lack of discipline and a failed health care reform effort". Bill Clinton's presidency with a major tax increase and spending growth=reduction Reconciliation Bill plus NAFTA. The Clinton Reconciliation Bill—that not a single Republican did not vote against—was what moved us from the unsustainable and imprudent fiscal policies of those Mike Boskin worked for to a trajectory that—with the good luck of catching the wave of the dot-com boom—brought the large budget surpluses of the late 1990s.

Mike Boskin's faction then threw those budget surpluses away on tax cuts for the rich.

And the Republican Congressional caucuses of the 1990s had very, very little to do with it—except to try as hard as they could to block it.

It's just arithmetic, after all. It's easy to check.

Let me recommend you take Dan Davies's One-Minute MBA http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/08/daniel-daviess-one-minute-mba.html, with particular attention to Lesson (1)(d).

Also, take a look at Young Juicebox Matt's piece http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/08/weekend-reading-matthew-yglesias-trumps-big-mistake-on-health-care-was-not-realizing-republicans-were-lying.html, particularly paragraph 7: remember, the Project Syndicate audience is not as gullible as the Fox News audience.

Michael J. Boskin: Can Trump Turn His Presidency Around?: "Bill Clinton’s administration began with a lack of discipline... https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/can-trump-turn-his-presidency-around-by-michael-boskin-2017-08

Continue reading "" »


Live from Roma Aeterna: Marcus Tullius Cicero asks: Who is the Aeschylus of the Britons worth the trouble of enslaving?:

Marcus Tullius Cicero (54 BC): Scr. Romae K. Oct. A. 700: CICERO ATTICO SAL.: "Britannici belli exitus exspectatur...

...constat enim aditus insulae esse muratos mirificis molibus. Etiam illud iam cognitum est neque argenti scripulum esse ullum in illa insula neque ullam spem praedae nisi ex mancipiis; ex quibus nullos puto te litteris aut musicis eruditos exspectare.

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Weekend Reading: Matthew Yglesias: Trump’s big mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were lying

Weekend Reading: Matthew Yglesias: Trump’s big mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were lying: "Donald Trump is wrong about a lot of things... https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/25/16196824/trump-health-care-lies

...But in his ongoing war of words with congressional Republicans, he’s right about one big thing—the failure of Affordable Care Act repeal efforts is fundamentally the failure of the Republican Party’s House and Senate leaders.

Republicans on Capitol Hill like to complain that on health care, Trump didn’t really understand the issue, wasn’t engaged with the substance, and didn’t do a very good job of marketing their plans. That’s all more or less true.

But the larger issue here is that Republican leaders— both Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, as well as Ryan’s predecessor John Boehner, and the chairs of all the relevant committees—spent years and years lying to everyone in sight about Republican health plans.

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Matthew Yglesias: Trump’s big mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were lying" »


Weekend Reading: David Glasner Sends Us to von Hayek: Wherein von Hayek Agrees with DeLong that Just Because You’re Rich, It Doesn’t Mean You Deserve to Be

Weekend Reading: Γενναιον Ψευδοσ Edition:

David Glasner: Wherein von Hayek Agrees with DeLong that Just Because You’re Rich, It Doesn’t Mean You Deserve to Be: "Compare with Hayek’s Law, Legislation and Liberty volume 2, pp. 73-74...

It has been argued persuasively that people will tolerate major inequalities of the material positions only if they believe that the different individuals get on the whole what they deserve, that they did in fact support the market order only because (and so long as) they thought that the differences of remuneration corresponded roughly to differences of merit, and that in consequence the maintenance of a free society presupposes the belief that some sort of “social justice” is being done.

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Weekend Reading: James Buchanan: Has Economics Lost Its Way?

Weekend Reading: This serves as a good index of how much Milton Friedman's redefinition of "neutral monetary policy" to mean "whatever monetary policy keeps nominal GDP on its trend growth path" led people prone to motivated reasoning in a laissez-faire direction completely and horribly astray:

James Buchanan (1997): Has Economics Lost Its Way? https://www.gmu.edu/centers/publicchoice/pdf%20links/buch_econlostway.pdf: "IV. The Keynesian Aberration: The Keynesian episode in economics is quite a different story...

...and, in one sense, is really orthogonal to any attribution of progression or retrogression in the hard core of the research program of the discipline. The Keynesian enterprise can be interpreted as an ultimately failed attempt to jury-rig improvements on a structure of institutional constraints that were nonsustainable. Judged dispassionately, we must look on the whole exercise as an aberration that was grounded in rather elementary misunderstanding of what the classical vision of political economy embodies.

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Weekend Reading: Daniel Davies: One-Minute MBA

Groucho marx as professor Google Search

Daniel Davies: D-squared Digest -- FOR bigger pies and shorter hours and AGAINST more or less everything else http://blog.danieldavies.com: "(1) Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101 http://blog.danieldavies.com/2004_05_23_d-squareddigest_archive.html...

...The secret to every analysis I've ever done... has been, more or less, my expensive business school education....

  • Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance. I was first made aware of this during an accounting class.... (We also learned in accounting class that the difference between "making a definite single false claim with provable intent to deceive" and "creating a very false impression and allowing it to remain without correcting it" is not one that you should rely upon to keep you out of jail. Even if your motives are noble.)...

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Weekend Reading: John Francis Cornford: From Microcosmographia Academica: Argument

Weekend Reading: John Francis Cornford: Microcosmographia Academica: VII. Argument: "There is only one argument for doing something; the rest are arguments for doing nothing... https://web.archive.org/web/20040118040030/https://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/people/staff/iau/cornford/cornford7.html

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Procrastination on August 25, 2017

We re All Public Intellectuals Now The National Interest

Over at Equitable Growth: Must- and Should-Reads:

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Weekend Reading: James M. McPherson (2001): Southern Comfort

Weekend Reading: James M. McPherson (2001): Southern Comfort: "The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History edited by Gary W. Gallagher and Alan T. Nolan... Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War Charles B. Dew... The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 1780–1860 Leonard L. Richards... http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2001/04/12/southern-comfort/

...When Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, at the end of four years of civil war, few people in either the North or the South would have dissented from his statement that slavery “was, somehow, the cause of the war.” At the war’s outset in 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, had justified secession as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration, whose policy of excluding slavery from the territories would make “property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless… thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars.”

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