Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday newsing

So yay, I'm now a TA. So I'll probably be doing an extra year of school to get more GIS and economic geography under my belt.

Here's some news:

BBC - Trump fairly close to DACA deal with... wait, what? The traitor! So as it turns out, an advantage of having an ignorant buffoon as president is that he doesn't really care about any of his promises, or the left-right divide, or anything. Trump may be a malignant narcissist, but at least he's shaping up to be a bipartisan malignant narcissist - which is more than you'd have gotten from some other clown like Jeb Bush.

Caixin Global - Chinese central bank breaks silence on cryptocurrency ban. Well, there goes a big chunk of bitcoin demand, eh? I wonder if this is enough to push crypto into a bubble pop....

New Statesman - development of the welfare state was aided by... wait, what? Seems right. Any theory that suggests the British welfare state was the flowering of a new inclusive liberal democracy must explain how this happened when 90% of British citizens were considered too subhuman to be given the vote. Otherwise it's just mythology. And really, the drive to redistribution had to be advocated by bourgeois intellectual paternalism, in cahoots with Bismarckian authoritarian technocracy, because there was no other hegemony at the time.

Klendathu Capitalist - wharrgarbl. Another blog along the lines of Polemic's Pains, illustrating that you don't have to pay $300/year for Tanashian's wharrgarbl. There's better wharrgarbl out there than him, and it didn't bottom-tick the June 2013 sell-snit.

Friday videos: "Blue Monday" played by... wait, what?

Proving that they didn't need Gillian and her pile of synthesizers in the band at all, except that she was the only one who knew anything about playing music.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Off-topic reads

I see the neo-Nazis from Russia have quit clicking to my blog. Probably because of all the anti-Russian news I post here.


New Deal Demoncrat - actually, it was a bad JOLTS report. NDD has officially diverged from Bill McBride and everyone else, and is becoming a dooooomster.

Polemic's Pains - ramblings of a mad man. He thinks EM is about to head south? But EM is mostly China, and Billy Bishop says that you have to be an idiot to think Chinese data will look bad during the present party stuff. If EM turns it has to be after Xmas. And then this bit on Bitcoin:
Crypto currencies Initial Coin Offerings have broken the records set in CDOsquared property heaven of 2006/7 by amortising the future value of fresh air - this example of a guaranteed honestly useless coin is Useless Etherium, which would be priceless if it didn’t have a price, but it raised $90,000. So if you can now issue crypto currency backed by nothing and folks will buy it, just imagine how much you could get by backing it with something, anything .. even Italian bad debt -
Yup, being able to sell cryptocurrency in IPOs like this really is the sign of a fucking insane bubble. I should print $300T in Monopoly Money with unique serial numbers, call them a "portable cryptocurrency", and sell them to the wackaloon crowd. I'd make a killing.

Bloomberg - which came first, the opioids or the despair? Good point - you have to study the opioid crisis like a disease to see if there's an epidemiological reason. And people don't die of overdoses because they're trying to kill themselves, good point.

Reuters - Congress calls on Trump to denounce hate groups. The traitors!

TED CRUZ LOVES PORN! Here's what you need to know

BBC - Ted Cruz now likes porn, I saw it on Twitter.

Personally, I don't think Cruz has enough brain cells to masturbate successfully, he'd probably break the thing. But still:
A US Republican senator who once defended a ban on masturbation appears to have 'liked' a pornographic video on social media.

The Twitter account of Ted Cruz, the former lawyer who ran for US president in 2016, 'liked' the two-minute video by @SexuallPosts on Monday.
This can be explained by him also not having enough brain cells to operate a Twitter account successfully.

You decide!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Larry Summers on why the US government cannot be downsized

Larry Summers - why "downsizing government" is bullshit. This is what idiots refuse to know:

First, the population is aging and the Federal government disproportionately takes responsibility for the aged.

The share of the adult population over 65 will have risen from 12.5 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2030. Of course, one might argue that as life expectancy increases, the definition of old age should change. Figure 1 show that there will be dramatic increases in the share of the population who are within 15 years of their life expectancy relative to those who are more than 15 years from their life expectancy, so allowing for an evolving retirement age does not change the fundamental picture.

Second, inequality has increased substantially, as depicted in Figure 2. If one of the functions of the federal government is ameliorate inequality, it will experience pressure to expand to even partially offset rising inequality. This effect is potentially large. The share of pretax income going to the top 1 percent has risen by 10 percent of total income. Undoing even a quarter of this would cost about 2 percent of GDP.

Third, the relative price of what the government buys has soared. In fact, according to the CPI the relative price of a TV and a day in a hospital has changed by a factor of 100 since the 1980s. As Figure 3 illustrates, this is a quite general phenomenon with health and education costs rising faster than GDP. Rising relative prices for what government buys necessitates larger government.

Fourth, presumably our defense spending needs to be calibrated to some extent to the defense spending of our potential adversaries. Figure 4 suggests trends in our relative spending that are unlikely to be sustainable.

It is of course possible to argue that government spending has long been excessive and so rising demands on government can be met by curbing past excess. My point is not to argue about the proper size of government, only to note that if one accepts the judgements made in recent decades, the logic points to larger government in the future.

More things of reading with words and shit

Well, R lab isn't going to be hard. I mean, I haven't coded in a while, but these kids really didn't seem to have any idea whatsoever, so I look good in comparison.

Still will have to go in on Fridays to do labs, though. But that seems like a fun thing to do.

Anyway, here's more news:

Calculated Risk - job openings increased slightly in July. Very strong report, he says.

NY Times - yuan rebounds as confidence returns. So I guess we can dump the US and buy China, now?

IPE Zone - Premier League post-Brexit. If only the idiots who voted Leave had known at the time that it would mean they're going to lose all their good footballers! Oh yes, if only they had two brain cells to rub together!

Yahoo News - FBI investigates Sputnik. Gee, really?:
The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

As part of the probe, Yahoo News has learned, the bureau has obtained a thumb drive containing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents — material that could potentially help prosecutors build a case that the news agency played a role in the Russian government “influence campaign” that was waged during last year’s presidential election and, in the view of U.S. intelligence officials, is still ongoing.

The emails were turned over by Andrew Feinberg, the news agency’s former White House correspondent, who had downloaded the material onto his laptop before he was fired in May. He confirmed to Yahoo News that he was questioned for more than two hours on Sept. 1 by an FBI agent and a Justice Department national security lawyer at the bureau’s Washington field office.

Feinberg said the interview was focused on Sputnik’s “internal structure, editorial processes and funding.”

“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg told Yahoo News.
Gee, Sputnik as a propaganda arm of a fascist totalitarian state? You think?

Even better:
The probe into Sputnik also comes shortly after the Russian news agency announced a significant expansion in the U.S. capital: It took over a popular Washington FM radio station dedicated to playing bluegrass music and replaced it with an all-talk format with hosts who regularly criticize U.S. policies — as well as one co-host who is a former Breitbart News reporter and Trump supporter. “I’m sure you heard a lot about us,” Gavasheli was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “Now you can actually listen to us.”
And people just let this happen because what's one more propaganda actor in a country whose right-wing media was taken over by the Mont Pellerin Society and the John Birch Society decades ago?

New AI can tell if you're gay

BBC - new fight over AI that can identify gay faces.

I predict the researchers are soon inundated with emails from lesbians with jpgs of Naomi Watts, Sheryl Crow and Katheryn Winnick, all saying "please solve this argument for us".

Who's the #2 food exporter in the world? The answer will surprise you!

Tim Taylor - guess who's the #2 food exporter in the world? Nope, not the US. Definitely not China. India or Brazil? Make me laugh! Nope, not even Canada, even though we single-handedly fed the Soviets for decades.

The answer will surprise you! That means you're supposed to click through!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Some news

I haven't heard back about my TA-ship just yet, but I'm already behind my readings by 5 chapters and it's only been a week and two classes don't even have textbooks.

So you're going to be hearing less from me til reading week.

New Deal Demoncrat - are consumer indicators rolling over? Well, if so, then $200B in extra spending to fix the hurricane damage should help.

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. And again, the hurricanes are going to mess up the data for a while, so may as well double-long the S&P and go on vacation for a couple weeks.

Noah Smith - an American Whitopia would be a dystopia. Or, more simply, the kind of people who espouse American white supremacy are not the kind of people that I, a purebred Aryan, would ever want to hold up as exemplars of my race.