Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Quotes of the day

Right now the social networking sites occupy a similar position to CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL in the mid 90's. At that time each company was trying to figure out how to become a mass-market gateway to the Internet. Looking back now, their early attempts look ridiculous and doomed to failure, for we have seen the Web, and we have tasted of the blogroll and the lolcat and found that they were good.  But at the time no one knew what it would feel like to have a big global network. We were all waiting for the Information Superhighway to arrive in our TV set, and meanwhile these big sites were trying to design an online experience from the ground up. Thank God we left ourselves the freedom to blunder into the series of fortuitous decisions that gave us the Web.  My hope is that whatever replaces Facebook and Google+ will look equally inevitable, and that our kids will think we were complete rubes for ever having thrown a sheep or clicked a +1 button.--maciej

... labor market opportunities for college grads have been eroding — except for the elite — in absolute terms since 1997-2000, well before the collapse in AD. If those same grads are highly willing to be geographically mobile, highly willing to consider actuarial training, and highly willing to take tougher courses and study where the jobs are (doesn’t have to be tech subjects, some of those are failing too), the unemployment response to a given AD shock will be much lower. But they aren’t, so it isn’t.--Tyler Cowen

Protesting is one thing, but those Harvard protestors who walked out of Greg Mankiw's class have to be some of the laziest protestors around.--David Henderson

The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has widened to its largest ever, exacerbated by the slow economic recovery that has hit young Americans disproportionately hard, a new study shows. With high youth unemployment and mounting student debt, the typical U.S. household headed by a person 65 years of age or older is 47 times wealthier than that of a household headed by someone under 35, according to a new Pew Research study. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 years or older was $170,494, up 42 percent from 1984. Meanwhile, households headed by someone 35 or younger had a median net worth of $3,662, down 68 percent from that same year. In fact, 37 percent of the younger group had a net worth of zero or less, nearly double the percentage from 1984. But the percentage of the older group with less than zero net worth has remained unchanged in 27 years, at 8 percent.--Tim Mak

American households in the top income quintile have almost five times more family members working on average than the lowest quintile, and individuals in higher-income households are far more likely than lower-income households to be well-educated, married, and working full-time in their prime earning years. In contrast, individuals in low-income households are far more likely to be less-educated, working part-time, either very young or very old, and living in single-parent households.--Mark Perry

... combining salaries, fringe benefits and job security, we have calculated that public school teachers receive around 52% more in average compensation than they could earn in the private sector.--ANDREW G. BIGGS And JASON RICHWINE

Well there is no, you know, Grand Wizard in the party right now who can really force the [Herman Cain] issue.--David Gregory

If Jerry Sandusky starts directing films, what he did will be considered ok.--#OCCUPYHOLLYWOOD

A problem with modern politics is that as only dissembling narcissists can succeed, politicians at all levels become such pathetic losers. ... These aspiring politicians are afraid of saying anything that people might actually disagree with, but then if everyone agrees with you, you really aren't saying anything interesting. As George Orwell noted in his classic Politics and the English Language, the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. It's a dominant strategy. Remember Barack Obama's response to Rick Warren's question as to what he thinks about abortion: 'that's above my pay grade.' This was a stupid answer (he has an opinion and it would affect policy), but it probably worked out better for him than articulating his true beliefs. In a democracy the winner has to pander to a rabble--though there are better and worse among them. This is a major reason why I prefer a smaller government, because at least businessmen pursues their own advantage more openly and honestly, whereas government workers pursue their self interest hypocritically and under false pretenses. Petty school board nominees are now aping our betters, and bringing the level of discourse down to a point where everyone is afraid of a Kinsley gaffe.--Eric Falkenstein

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.--Michael Kinsley

The judiciary is no replacement for a competent Congress.--Stephen Green

[Clint] Eastwood long ago gave up celebrating men of violence: the mysterious, annihilating Westerners and the vigilantes who think that they alone know how to mete out justice. But Clean Edgar [Hoover], working with an efficient state apparatus behind him, is a lot more dangerous than Dirty Harry. As the filmmakers tell it, the roots of Hoover’s manias lie in his nature. The movie bears a thematic resemblance to Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” (1970), in which a repressed homosexual (Jean-Louis Trintignant) in the nineteen-thirties, longing for “normality,” joins the Italian Fascist Party and operates as an amoral bullyboy. “J. Edgar” is the story of how a similarly repressed personality might operate in a democracy. The answer is privately, by accumulating secrets and blackmailing anyone who is even remotely a threat to his standing; and publicly, by making himself and his outfit pop-culture icons and then bending the government to his whim. The frame for the movie is the Director, in old age, dictating the story of his career to a series of young men from the Bureau. Black and Eastwood use this plot device ironically: Hoover is an exceptionally unreliable narrator, and the way Eastwood stages the actual events suggests that Hoover is pumping up his own role and stretching the truth.  ... Hoover, we realize, is obsessed with keeping America safe because he feels unsafe himself. Internal subversion is a personal, not just a political, threat to him. No stranger man—not even Nixon—has ever been at the center of an American epic.--David Denby 

Now let’s discuss how “we” think about the surpluses for Norway and China. (Of course by “we” I mean us white people):
1. Norway: What’s not to like? Finally there’s a country that isn’t blowing all its oil wealth like those more “backward countries.” By backward, I mean cultures that don’t have that enviable Nordic patience, whose governments don’t have the ability to defer instant gratification. The Norwegians are smart; they are socking away hundreds of billions of dollars in a sovereign wealth fund, which they will be able to draw on when the money runs out. What an inspiring model for the world!
2. China: You just can’t trust those inscrutable Chinese. Their government doesn’t play fair, they are socking away hundreds of billions in international reserves. Look at those huge trade surpluses (no less than 4% of GDP!! [v.s 12.9% for Norway])--Scott Sumner

Wherever I go, I speak Uncle Ho
and think Uncle Sam.--Engineer in Miss Saigon

That chick was harassing me. With her hotness.--Ta-Nehisi Coates

The story [Daniel Kahneman] tells has two characters—he names them “System 1” and “System 2”—that stand in for our two different mental operations. System 1 (fast thinking) is the mental state in which you probably drive a car or buy groceries. It relies heavily on intuition and is amazingly capable of misleading and also of being misled. The slow-thinking System 2 is the mental state that understands how System 1 might be misled and steps in to try to prevent it from happening. The most important quality of System 2 is that it is lazy; the most important quality of System 1 is that it can’t be turned off. We pass through this life on the receiving end of a steady signal of partially reliable information that we only occasionally, and under duress, evaluate thoroughly. Through these two characters the author describes the mistakes your mind is prone to make and then explores the reasons for its errors.--Michael Lewis

I think with the talent [the Philadelphia Eagles] have on their football team, they can be one of the most dangerous teams in the league. When they put it together, the thing I was quoted saying is, 'You can't buy championships.' And what I meant by that is, you've got to build chemistry. You can have all the talent in the world, if you're not out there playing as one, if you're just 11 individuals, you're not gonna beat anybody in this league. And I think right now that's some of the issues that they're having. Nobody can question how talented they are, nobody can question how good of a coach Andy Reid is. Everybody knows that. You need more than talent in this league, because every team has talent.--Justin Tuck

Wag More, Bark Less.--a bumper sticker
Photo link here.

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