Archive for September, 2005

A Lesson or Two on Teaching Microeconomics

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

With the quality of teaching in economics often so poor, it is good to see discussions of teaching methods that work. Robert Frank’s writing assignments force his students to explain a real-world story with economics, without hiding behind graphs and terminology. The ability he is developing in his students, to apply concepts to real-world situations […]

Automobiles and Hurricanes

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

After Hurricane Katrina, Tyler Cowen posted a link to a post on Peter Gordon’s weblog, which quoted extensively a Randal O’Toole article, titled “Lack of Automobility Key to New Orleans Tragedy”. The thrust of this post was that the automobile is key to evacuations, and that Katrina proved that car-free cities are a bad idea. […]

Jim Jeffords Plays “Spot the Absurdity” — And Wins!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

This was at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing today with Michael Crichton as the key witness. The money quote: “Mr. Chairman, given the profound human suffering and ecological damage along the Gulf Coast, why are we having a hearing that features a fiction writer as our key witness?” Jeffords also reassures us […]

Hayek, Civilization, and President Bush

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

In Friedrich Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty”, he lays the groundwork for his argument for liberty in part through the idea that advances in civilization come in the form of the ability of an individual to take advantage of knowledge he does not possess: “In other words, it is largely because civilization enables us constantly […]

How Not to Conserve Limited Supplies of a Commodity

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

The number one way to not prevent a shortage of something is to give people every reason to believe that the item won’t be there tomorrow, and then ask them not to stockpile it for themselves. Somebody please explain this to the Governor of Georgia. From CNN’s Rita coverage: “Ga. Gov. asks schools to close […]

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Hurricanes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

As a follow-up to Tavis’s post on Global Warming and Hurricanes, it’s worth pointing out the research covered in a St. Petersburg Times story, which suggests that the increase in hurricane numbers that has occurred over the past decade is caused not by global warming, but by a phenomenon known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. […]

Where We Get Our Curves

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

This is intended as a super-basic introduction to one of the first steps in understanding basic economics: learning how we use curves to model market interactions. This piece only discusses from where supply and demand curves are derived, in super-simple terms. I’d really appreciate editorial comments on its clarity and accuracy; I have also written […]

Artists Hijack Space!

Friday, September 9th, 2005

“There are scores of contexts – for instance the clothes you wear are one aspect of your everyday context but they do not take into account where you live, your age, your sex, et. cetera. Media and technology that respond to you, that is ‘context-aware’ – the new hip term in the tech world – […]

Commas and Quotations

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

A stylistic note… Classic English style dictates that the relative placement of punctuation and quotation marks is to be determined logically. Thus, commas and periods typically come after quotation marks, as in the following example: …a post titled “Don’t Linger in this CAFE”, showing once and for all… In America, we use a different set […]


Thursday, September 8th, 2005

What follows is a passage from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. It’s one of my favorite books, both because it speaks to that part of me that has spent so many hours working as a mechanic and in part because Pirsig’s insights strike eerily close to home. I’m including this […]

Economics, Energy, and the Environment.