Previous month:
September 2018
Next month:
November 2018

October 2018

Github: Licenses: "GNU LGPLv3: Permissions of this copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications under the same license or the GNU GPLv3. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. However, a larger work using the licensed work through interfaces provided by the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for the larger work...

Continue reading "" »


The Federal Reserve Is Raising Interest Rates Again for Probably All The Wrong Reasons: Last Month Over at Equitable Growth

The Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates again for probably all the wrong reasons Equitable Growth

Last Month Over at Equitable Growth: The Federal Reserve Is Set to Raise Interest Rates Again for Probably All The Wrong Reasons: The meeting [last month] of the Federal Open Market Committee—the principal policymaking body of the U.S. Federal Reserve system—[was] overwhelmingly likely to raise the benchmark interest rate it controls, the Federal Funds rate. The rate, which governs short-term safe nominal bonds, is likely to go up by one-quarter of a percentage point, from the range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent per year to the range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent per year. That would make it a little more expensive to borrow and spend and a little more attractive to cut spending and save. Thus, there would be a little less spending in the economy, and so a few fewer jobs. Economic growth would be a little slower. The U.S. economy would be a little less resilient in the face of adverse shocks to resources or confidence that might generate a recession. These are all minuses—small minuses from a 25-basis-point increase in the Federal Funds rate, but minuses nonetheless.

Continue reading "The Federal Reserve Is Raising Interest Rates Again for Probably All The Wrong Reasons: Last Month Over at Equitable Growth" »


An insightful twitter thread from earlier this year on how too much of the discussion on marriage rates implicitly takes a male point of view, and so misses about half the subject: Kate Bahn: @LipstickEcon: "I'm having a lot of feelings about this article that summarizes AEI and Opportunity America on how men's declining economic stability has reduced marriage rates...

Continue reading "" »


Corey Husak: How Not To Help Distressed Mortgage Borrowers: Evidence From The Great Recession In The United States: "The federal government has been criticized by many for failing to provide adequate assistance to U.S. homeowners who were financially devastated by the housing crisis and subsequent Great Recession and its aftermath in the late 2000s. New evidence suggests that even when assistance was given, it was poorly designed...

Continue reading "" »


Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca: Universal Basic Income or Universal Living Wage?: "The challenge for the future of work is not really about the quantity of jobs, but their quality, and whether they pay enough to provide a decent standard of living.... A universal basic income (UBI) would be both regressive and prohibitively expensive. Yet the idea continues to attract a motley crew...

Continue reading "" »


A Baker's Dozen of Fairly-Recent Links

stacks and stacks of books

  1. Adam Rogers: How Hurricane Michael Got Super Big, Super Fast
  2. Sandy Stachowiak: How to use Twitter Search like a pro

  3. Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett: Consequences of Routine Work Schedule Instability for Worker Health and Wellbeing: "The rise in precarious work has also involved a major shift in the temporal dimension of work, a fundamental and under-appreciated manifestation of the risk shift from firms... #equitablegrowth #labormarket

  4. Ellora Derenoncourt

  5. (2006): Partha Dasgupta Makes a Mistake in His Critique of the Stern Review

  6. (2006): Applied Utilitarianism and Global Climate Change

  7. Wikipedia: List of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Episodes

  8. Madison Malone Kircher: How to Add Low-Power Mode to iPhone Control Center: "Your iPhone has a genuinely useful setting called “low power mode.” In low power mode, your phone’s brightness decreases, your emails stop fetching unless you refresh your inbox, your iCloud Photo Library stops automatically updating, and your phone defaults to an auto-lock after 30 seconds. Basically, it starts doing as many things as possible to save your battery life...

  9. Yes, distributions have lower tails. But it still seems to me that the absence of clearly visible life out there is powerful evidence that there is a "Great Filter": that one of the parameters (or more than one of the parameters) in the Drake Equation is near zero. Sandberg et al. seem to me to be arguing not so much that the absence of visible life out there is likely even if none of the parameters are near zero, but that our uncertainty is so great that it is not surprising that the universe we live in has one or more parameters near zero even though the average value of each parameter across all universes we might live in is larger: Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord: Dissolving The Fermi Paradox: "The Fermi question is not a paradox, it just looks like one if one is overconfident in how well we know the Drake equation parameters. Doing a distribution model shows that even existing literature allows for a substantial probability of very little life, and a more cautious prior gives a significant probability for rare life. The Fermi observation makes the most uncertain priors move strongly, reinforcing the 'rare life' guess and an early 'Great Filter'.. http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/01/should-read-i-have-to-think-about-this-yes-distributions-have-lower-tails-but-it-still-seems-to-me-that-the-absence-o.html

  10. Spencer Ackerman: There’s Been a George Soros for Every Era of Anti-Semitic Panic: "Other Jewish bogeymen may haunt the fever dreams of the vicious, but the scale and intensity of the attacks on Soros are unrivalled. They reveal what the global nationalist right believes is at stake in this present moment. We may one day look back on this era as the Soros Age of anti-Semitism...

  11. Nouriel Roubini: Blockchain Isn't About Democracy and Decentralisation–It's About Greed: "A small group of companies–mostly located in such bastions of democracy as Russia, Georgia and China–control between two-thirds and three-quarters of all crypto-mining activity and all routinely jack up transaction costs to increase their fat profit margins. Apparently, blockchain fanatics would have us put our faith in an anonymous cartel subject to no rule of law, rather than trust central banks and regulated financial intermediaries. A similar pattern has emerged in cryptocurrency trading. Fully 99% of all transactions occur on centralised exchanges that are hacked on a regular basis...

  12. C. J. Sansom: Tombland https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0316412457

  13. Paul Romer: Nonrival Goods After 25 Years: "Rivalry and excludability map cleanly onto the mechanism design approach to aggregate theory, which starts with a specification of preferences and production possibilities and investigates the mapping from the rules that a society adopts into equilibrium outcomes. Here is the key: Rivalry and its opposite nonrivalry are assertions about production possibilities. Excludability depends on a policy choice about rules...

  14. Yihui Xie, Amber Thomas, and Alison Presmanes Hill: blogdown: Creating Websites with R Markdown


#shouldread

Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer: Two Myths of the 2008 Meltdown: "The 2008 financial crisis was not the result only of moral hazard; nor was it unforeseeable. While too-big-to-fail banks believed–rightly, it turned out–that they would be bailed out, consumers, rating agencies, and policymakers all bet on housing as well, destabilizing the system.... Two misconceptions in the current retrospectives of the crisis. These misunderstandings may seem purely academic, but they are not. They have major consequences for the ability of policymakers to prevent future crises...

Continue reading "" »


Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: Weekend Reading

Parcours robot boston boston dynamics Google Search

"The principal control mechanism in factories... is based on programmable logic controllers, or PLCs.. introduced in 1968 to replace electromechanical relays. The 'coil' is still the principal abstraction unit used today, and PLCs are programmed as though they were a network of 24-volt electromechanical relays. Still": Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: "Overestimating and underestimating. Roy Amara was a cofounder of the Institute for the Future, in Palo Alto, the intellectual heart of Silicon Valley. He is best known for his adage now referred to as Amara’s Law: 'We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run'.... A great example... the U.S. Global Positioning System... nearly canceled again and again in the 1980s... first operational use for its intended purpose was in 1991 during Desert Storm; it took several more successes for the military to accept its utility....

Today GPS is in what Amara would call the long term, and the ways it is used were unimagined at first. My Series 2 Apple Watch... the technology synchronizes physics experiments across the globe... synchronizing the U.S. electrical grid... allows the high-frequency traders who really control the stock market to mostly avoid disastrous timing errors.... used by all our airplanes... used to track people out of prison on parole... determines which seed variant will be planted... tracks fleets of trucks and reports on driver performance. GPS started out with one goal, but it was a hard slog to get it working as well as was originally expected. Now it has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that we would not just be lost if it went away; we would be cold, hungry, and quite possibly dead....

Continue reading "Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: Weekend Reading" »


Cosma Shalizi: Machine Learning: Data, Models, Intelligence: Weekend Reading

Parcours robot boston boston dynamics Google Search

"The 'big data' point... huge opportunity... to really expand the data.... The 'machine learning' point... a tremendous opportunity to use more flexible models, which do a better job of capturing... reality. The 'AI' point is that artificial intelligence is the technology of the future, and always will be...": Cosma Shalizi: The Rise of Intelligent Economies and the Work of the IMF: "We've been asked to talk about AI and machine learning.... I do understand a bit about how you economists work, and it seems to me that there are three important points to make: a point about data, a point about models, and a point about intelligence. The... an opportunity, the second... an opportunity and a clarification, and the third... a clarification and a criticism—so you can tell I'm an academic by taking the privilege of ending on a note of skepticism and critique, rather than being inspirational...

Continue reading "Cosma Shalizi: Machine Learning: Data, Models, Intelligence: Weekend Reading" »


Stagnant Real Wages and Secular Stagnation Are Not Closely Related: DeLong FAQ

EconSpark: Derrick Miedaner asks: What role, if any, does secular stagnation play in the flat growth of wages since the recovery?": I reply: I think Ed Lambert is correct. "Secular stagnation" is probably not the best label for the worry. The worry is that financial markets have gotten themselves wedged into a situation in which frequently and for sustained periods of time it is the case that the full-employment real safe short-term Wicksellian neutral rate of interest turns out to be less than the negative of the central bank's inflation target. In a flexible-price full-employment economy, the economy deals with this and maintains full employment by having the price level drop instantaneously and discretely whenever this occurs in order to generate the extra inflation needed to get the market rate at the zero lower bound to its value needed for full employment, the real safe short-term Wicksellian neutral rate of interest. This was one of the major (but I think often overlooked) points of Krugman (1998) https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/1998/06/1998b_bpea_krugman_dominquez_rogoff.pdf.

Continue reading "Stagnant Real Wages and Secular Stagnation Are Not Closely Related: DeLong FAQ" »


Why Is Donald Trump Waging a Trade War? DeLong FAQ

Baboon troop Google Search

DeLong FAQ: Why Is Donald Trump Waging a Trade War? You ask: who are the people who would want to see this U.S.-China trade war happen? We have been unable to find any. Usually pressure to wage a trade war bubbles up from powerful economic groups that are or that believe they are being gravely injured by imports. Usually there are large advertisements in the New York Times and the Washington Post saying that it is time for the country to get behind the president, who is trying to keep other countries from taking unfair advantage of Americans.

We have not had any of that this time. There has been no mobilization of economic interests that favor a trade war.

Continue reading "Why Is Donald Trump Waging a Trade War? DeLong FAQ" »


Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads...

  1. Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett: Consequences of Routine Work Schedule Instability for Worker Health and Wellbeing: "The rise in precarious work has also involved a major shift in the temporal dimension of work, a fundamental and under-appreciated manifestation of the risk shift from firms... #labormarket #equitablegrowth

  2. Is there any intellectual and moral crime against journalism a New York Times employee can commit that will get him bounced? It appears not: Tom Friedman: Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last: "The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia... its own Arab Spring... led from the top down by the country’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.... If it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success—but only a fool would not root for it... #journamalism

  3. Wikipedia: Aztec Myth: "Ometeotl gave birth to four children, the four Tezcatlipocas, who each preside over one of the four cardinal directions.[citation needed] Over the West presides the White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, the god of light, mercy and wind. Over the South presides the Blue Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. Over the East presides the Red Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, the god of gold, farming and Spring time. And over the North presides the Black Tezcatlipoca, also called simply Tezcatlipoca, the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth... #security

  4. Lisa D. Cook is worried that the quantity of Big Data cannot compensate for its low quality. Statistics gives us lots of power with representative random samples. Nothing can give us power without the tools to do what representativeness does: Lisa D. Cook: @drlisadcook: "'Without taking data quality into account, population inferences with Big Data are subject to a Big Data Paradox... #statistics #riseoftherobots

  5. Suresh Naidu, Eric A. Posner, and E. Glen Weyl: Antitrust Remedies for Labor Market Power: "Labor market power has contributed to wage inequality and economic stagnation... #monopoly

  6. Vijay Govindarajan, Shivaram Rajgopal, and Anup Srivastava: Why We Need to Update Financial Reporting for the Digital Era: "The market caps of just four companies, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft, now exceed $3 trillion... #finance

  7. Scott Jaschik: Author discusses his new book on anti-intellectualism and fascism: "A country that is not fascist may still experience fascist politics... efforts to divide society and demonize groups.... How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley... #books #neofascism

  8. Matt O'Brien: Inequality is worse than we know. The super-rich really do avoid a lot of taxes: "On the legal end of the spectrum... companies shift their profits to show up in low-tax jurisdictions.... According to Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman and his co-researchers... as much as 40 percent of all multinational profits and 50 percent of U.S. ones... #inequality #equitablegrowth

  9. A search model that (a) produces the right cyclical elasticity of wages but (b) does not produce the right cyclical volatility of employment has the wrong microfoundations. It is producing the right cyclical elasticity of wages because it is producing the wrong cyclical volatility of employment. Thus I think this approach is pretty much tapped out: Christopher A Pissarides: The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?: "An equilibrium search model... focus on the model’s failure to match the observed cyclical volatility of unemployment... #labormarket #monetaryeconomics

  10. Martin Wolf: How To Avoid the Next Financial Crisis: "The proximate explanations for the huge shortfalls in output were collapses in investment.... This weak investment must also help explain low rates of innovation, which is particularly visible in directly-hit countries. New technology is often embodied in new equipment... #greatrecession #finance

  11. I endorse Steve Teles here—except that I have a hard time calling any book that I learned as much as I learned from MacLean's Democracy in Chains "very poor". MacLean should engage Teles and Farrell on the merits. And she can: When Farrell and Teles rule out-of-order James Buchanan's memos on the grounds that "correspondence with... donors... is inherently problematic... as a guide to underlying intent..." they are guilty of strongly motivated reasoning. Perhaps your claims to donors that you are in the business of trying to create an ideological, extremist, and partisan movement to roll back the New Deal and destroy the "Labor Monopoly Movement" are "problematic". Perhaps your claims to liberal scholars that you are in the business of honest intellectual inquiry are "problematic". MacLean ignores the second. Teles and Farrell ignore the first. IMHO, MacLean is closer to right on this point. But MacLean's unwillingness to engage the substance here and elsewhere is, I think, characterized as simply stupid at best: Steve Teles: A Response to Nancy MacLean: "Wearing my scholar’s hat, I came to the same impression as Professors Berman, Farrell and Burns—that Prof. MacLean had written a very poor piece of scholarship... #publicchoice

  12. Economic agents as harried triage nurses grabbing for an immediate diagnosis from the salient features of the case in front of them; Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer: Diagnostic Expectations: "Diagnostic expectations are represented by a linear combination of the rational expectations of 𝜔𝑡+1 held at 𝑡 and at 𝑡 − 1.... It is not that decision-makers compute rational expectations and combine them.... Rather, oversampling representative future states yields the linear combination in (4). This formula reflects a “kernel of truth” logic: diagnostic expectations differ from rational expectations by a shift in the direction of the information received at 𝑡, given by [𝔼𝑡(𝜔𝑡+1) − 𝔼𝑡−1(𝜔𝑡+1)]... #expectations #economicsgoneright

  13. It is not going to happen. The throne is not going to be kept warm. The American century-and-a-half of potential and century of actual global diplomatic preeminence is over. The question is whether there will be no hegemony, a Chinese hegemony, or an inner alliance of western Europe plus Canada, Japan, and Australia that set the pace: Dan Froomkin: Daalder and Lindsay Say: U.S. Allies Should Keep The Global Leadership 'Throne' Warm For Trump's Successor: "Ivo H. Daalder, who served as Barack Obama’s ambassador to NATO, and James M. Lindsay, a senior vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, are out with a new book: The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership. They outline their plan for an interregnum in a companion piece entitled The Committee to Save the World Order published by Foreign Affairs... #security


It is not going to happen. The throne is not going to be kept warm. The American century-and-a-half of potential and century of actual global diplomatic preeminence is over. The question is whether there will be no hegemony, a Chinese hegemony, or an inner alliance of western Europe plus Canada, Japan, and Australia that set the pace: Dan Froomkin: Daalder and Lindsay Say: U.S. Allies Should Keep The Global Leadership 'Throne' Warm For Trump's Successor: "Ivo H. Daalder, who served as Barack Obama’s ambassador to NATO, and James M. Lindsay, a senior vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, are out with a new book: The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership. They outline their plan for an interregnum in a companion piece entitled The Committee to Save the World Order published by Foreign Affairs...

Continue reading "" »


The Nobel-Like Prize in Economic Science, 2018

Wikipedia claims of Alfred Nobel: "“After reading a premature obituary which condemned him for profiting from the sales of arms, he bequeathed his fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes…” 7lt;— Story too good to check!

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0-NNOL90b0OPNJ05uisAMQPBw

Continue reading "The Nobel-Like Prize in Economic Science, 2018" »


Economic agents as harried triage nurses grabbing for an immediate diagnosis from the salient features of the case in front of them; Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer: Diagnostic Expectations: "Diagnostic expectations are represented by a linear combination of the rational expectations of 𝜔𝑡+1 held at 𝑡 and at 𝑡 − 1:

Cross National Differences

It is not that decision-makers compute rational expectations and combine them.... Rather, oversampling representative future states yields the linear combination in (4). This formula reflects a “kernel of truth” logic: diagnostic expectations differ from rational expectations by a shift in the direction of the information received at 𝑡, given by [𝔼𝑡(𝜔𝑡+1) − 𝔼𝑡−1(𝜔𝑡+1)]...

Continue reading "" »


I endorse Steve Teles here—except that I have a hard time calling any book that I learned as much as I learned from MacLean's Democracy in Chains "very poor". MacLean should engage Teles and Farrell on the merits. And she can: When Farrell and Teles rule out-of-order James Buchanan's memos on the grounds that "correspondence with... donors... is inherently problematic... as a guide to underlying intent..." they are guilty of strongly motivated reasoning. Perhaps your claims to donors that you are in the business of trying to create an ideological, extremist, and partisan movement to roll back the New Deal and destroy the "Labor Monopoly Movement" are "problematic". Perhaps your claims to liberal scholars that you are in the business of honest intellectual inquiry are "problematic". MacLean ignores the second. Teles and Farrell ignore the first. IMHO, MacLean is closer to right on this point. But MacLean's unwillingness to engage the substance here and elsewhere is, I think, characterized as simply stupid at best: Steve Teles: A Response to Nancy MacLean: "Wearing my scholar’s hat, I came to the same impression as Professors Berman, Farrell and Burns—that Prof. MacLean had written a very poor piece of scholarship...

Continue reading "" »


A search model that (a) produces the right cyclical elasticity of wages but (b) does not produce the right cyclical volatility of employment has the wrong microfoundations. It is producing the right cyclical elasticity of wages because it is producing the wrong cyclical volatility of employment. Thus I think this approach is pretty much tapped out: Christopher A Pissarides: The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?: "An equilibrium search model... focus on the model’s failure to match the observed cyclical volatility of unemployment...

Continue reading "" »


Lisa D. Cook is worried that the quantity of Big Data cannot compensate for its low quality. Statistics gives us lots of power with representative random samples. Nothing can give us power without the tools to do what representativeness does: Lisa D. Cook: @drlisadcook: "'Without taking data quality into account, population inferences with Big Data are subject to a Big Data Paradox...

Continue reading "" »


Wikipedia: Aztec Myth: "Ometeotl gave birth to four children, the four Tezcatlipocas, who each preside over one of the four cardinal directions.[citation needed] Over the West presides the White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, the god of light, mercy and wind. Over the South presides the Blue Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. Over the East presides the Red Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, the god of gold, farming and Spring time. And over the North presides the Black Tezcatlipoca, also called simply Tezcatlipoca, the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth...

Continue reading "" »


Big plans for his country. Involving bonesaws. torture. Murder. Dismemberment. Is there any intellectual and moral crime against journalism a New York Times employee can commit that will get him bounced? It appears not: Tom Friedman: Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last: "The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia... its own Arab Spring... led from the top down by the country’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.... If it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success—but only a fool would not root for it...

Continue reading " " »


On My Bedside Table: A Baker's Dozen (2018-10-14)...

Continue reading "On My Bedside Table: A Baker's Dozen (2018-10-14)..." »


"P-hacking is a substantial problem in research employing DID and (in particular) IV": Abel Brodeur: Methods Matter: P-Hacking and Causal Inference in Economics: "The economics ‘credibility revolution’ has promoted the identification of causal relationships using difference-in-differences (DID), instrumental variables (IV), randomized control trials (RCT) and regression discontinuity design (RDD) methods. The extent to which a reader should trust claims...

Continue reading "" »


Yes, "overeducation" is a thing: Ammar Farooq: The U-Shape of Over-Education? Human Capital Dynamics nd Occupational Mobility Over the Life Cycle: "The proportion of college degree holders working in occupations that do not require a college degree is U-shaped over the life cycle and that there is a rise in transitions to non-college jobs among prime age college workers...

Continue reading "" »


Yes, the relationship between the unemployment rate and the vacancy rate is back to its pre-2008 normal. But the relationship between the prime-age employment rate and the vacancy rate is not. Whether the U.S. is now at "full employment" is thus a very dicy and unsettled question: Will McGrew: JOLTS Day Graphs: July 2018 Report Edition: "The Beveridge Curve maintains its levels near those last seen during the expansion of the early 2000s: The relationship between the U.S. unemployment rate and the open job rate is back to its pre-recession normal:

Continue reading "" »


Jeffrey Frankel: The New and Not Improved NAFTA: "US President Donald Trump has called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which succeeds NAFTA, 'the single greatest agreement ever signed'. In reality, it is not as good as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which Trump withdrew The U.S.... While this outcome is better than an end to free trade in North America, the USMCA is no improvement over the status quo.Of course, this is Trump’s modus operandi: threaten to do something catastrophic, so people are relieved when things get only a little bit worse...

Continue reading "" »


Silvia Merler: Economy of Intangibles: "Over the past 20 years, there has been a steady rise in the importance of intangible investments.... Intangibles share four economic features: scalability, sunkenness, spillovers, and synergies. Haskel and Westlake argue that–taken together–these measurements and economic properties might help us understand secular stagnation...

Continue reading "" »


Preview of Quick What Time Is It

Marco Arment: Why It’s Hard to Read the Time on Infograph: "Across a wide variety of brands, styles, and price points, a few key design principles are clear: (1) The hour markers for 12 (and often 3/6/9) are more prominent. (2) The hour indices are much larger than the minute markings. (3) The hour hands nearly touch the hour indices. These all improve legibility...

...by making it as fast and easy as possible to know which hour is being indicated (and minimize the chance of an off-by-one error), first by orienting your eyes to the current rotation with the 12 marker, then by minimizing the distance between the hour hand and the indices it’s between. Apple Watch’s analog faces all fail to achieve these principles.... Infograph is similar, but even worse: its hour indices are more faint, it uses 30-second markings instead of minute markings, and its default Calendar display wipes out the top three indices. (At least you can tell which way is up.)... When it’s being used as Apple seems to intend, time-telling at a glance is so difficult that many people have actually suggested setting the digital time as the center complication, at which point the hands are just a nuisance and we should stop pretending it’s an analog face....

We’re three years and four generations into the Apple Watch, and almost every Watch owner I know still uses the same handful of “good” faces.... Modular.... Utility.... If you want indices instead of numerals—probably the most popular analog watch style in the world—I don’t think there is a good option.... And we’re restricted to the handful of good watch faces that Apple makes, because other developers aren’t allowed to make custom Watch faces.

The Apple Watch is an amazing feat of technology. It’s a computer. It can display anything. With no mechanical or physical limitations to hold us back, any watch-face design from anyone could plausibly be built, enabling a range of creativity, style, and usefulness that no single company could ever design on its own. But they won’t let us. In a time when personal expression and innovation in watch fashion should be booming, they’re instead being eroded, as everyone in the room is increasingly wearing the same watch with the same two faces. Open this door, Apple...

Continue reading "" »


Daniel Little: Social Mobility Disaggregated: "Valuable contribution from the research group around Raj Chetty, Nathan Hendren, and John Friedman... on... neighborhood-level social mobility.... Children born in Highland Park, Michigan earned an average individual income as adults in 2014-15 of $18K; children born in Plymouth, Michigan earned an average individual income as adults of $42K...

Continue reading "" »


Dan Drezner: Assessing Nikki Haley: "Haley... had two traits that made her unusual within the Trump foreign policy team. The first is that she was a professional politician... able to send messages to key constituencies, pleasing the Trump White House at times and other groups at other junctures...

Continue reading "" »


2018-03-12_Brad_DeLong_Party_Card_pages

Cedar Brook Notes: As C.S. Lewis said: “I pray, my Lord, that I never believe I see my own face on the one seated on the judgment throne”. American religion, at least white Protestant and Catholic religion, is overwhelmingly a self-righteousness multiplier—not an independent influence. You could perhaps make an exception for Jewish and African-American religion, with their focus on _ avadim hayinu l’pharo b’mitzrayim_ and thus our need to succor the orphan and the stranger and be the hands of The One Who Is in the liberation of others. But those are minor currents in what is called “American religion”.

Continue reading "" »


REMIND YOURSELF: Representation

Keep this near the top of working memory...

  • 180.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.
  • 141.7 million people are represented by the 52 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.
  • 65.9 million people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine to be their president and vice president
  • 63.0 million people voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence to be their president and vice president.

Continue reading "REMIND YOURSELF: Representation" »


Lawrence Wilkerson: Cheney wanted new cold war with China: "Cheney used various bureaucratic techniques to deal with each of these national security issues. He lost on China. He won on Iraq. He won on Afghanistan. He won on Iran, but he didn’t win on Iran by getting a presidential decision; he won on Iran by exploiting the dysfunctionality of Condi Rice, the national security adviser...

Continue reading "" »


Ashlie Jensen (2013): Mendoza is Dismissed from Court: "In 1583 Queen Elizabeth I hosted her last Spanish Ambassador.... It became known to Elizabeth's intelligence network that Bernardino de Mendoza was conspiring.... He was ordered to leave England... [because] his involvement in the Throckmorton Plot [had] 'disturbed the realm of England'. Directly before his departure, Mendoza ordered the English officials seeing him off to go and, 'tell your mistress that Bernardino de Mendoza was born not to disturb kingdoms, but to conquer them'...

Continue reading "" »