Monday, June 21, 2010

Quotes of the day

... you might say that for-profit education is a lot like subprime: At some point we’ll get to the rational solution. Just don’t count on it happening before the taxpayers are already staring at epic losses.--Mark Gimien

What underlie crises are bad investment decisions, and they are difficult to regulate away. Sharp and empowered regulators can do a lot to prevent intentionally bad decisions (e.g., fraud). But most investment errors are sincere. Humans are irrational, prone to bouts of foolish optimism. Regulators are humans, too. Worse, when regulators have wide discretion, market participants focus less on fundamentals than on trying to predict the regulators' actions.--aka 'HFM'

Liberals had hoped that Obama’s election marked the beginning of a long progressive era — a new New Deal, a greater Great Society. Instead, from the West Coast to Western Europe, the welfare state is in crisis everywhere they look. The future suddenly seems to belong to austerity and retrenchment — and even, perhaps, to conservatism. In this environment, the rage against Obama for not doing more, now, faster, becomes at least somewhat understandable. It’s not that he hasn’t done a great deal for liberals during his 18 months in office. It’s that liberalism itself may be running out of time.--Ross Douthat

So nightclubs routinely and frankly discriminate by gender and race. Country clubs have been sued for such discrimination; so why doesn’t anyone sue exclusive night clubs? It should be easy to document such discrimination – just video the front of the line and collect stats on features of folks accepted vs. rejected. Is it that we see such clubs as mainly about sex, where we are fine with discrimination and inequality, and not about business or careers, where we object much more?--Robin Hanson

A typical 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the capital now costs about $274,000. That's 22 times the average annual income of a Beijing resident. Unlike in the United States, where home buying traditionally takes place after marriage, owning a place in China has recently become a prerequisite for tying the knot. Experts said securing an apartment in this market signals that a man is successful, family-oriented and able to weather challenging financial circumstances. Put succinctly, homeownership has become the ultimate symbol of virility in today's China.--David Pierson

It turns out that the people in red who were cheering for North Korea in their soccer game against Brazil weren't North Koreans at all, but Chinese actors. According to Hunter Stuart in the Huffington Post, the North Korean government paid them to show up and cheer. It makes sense. If the North Korean government had let a few hundred North Koreans out of North Korea to go to South Africa, odds are that some of them would have defected from that Communist hellhole. Sure, the government could have threatened to kill or at least badly punish the families of the defectors, but they would still have had something else to worry about: that the North Koreans who were let out of their cage would see how other people live and would go back with those stories.--Bryan Caplan

Is FIFA Censoring the U.S. Non-Goal?--Courtney Knapp

But beauty and strangeness persist, theology persists, proving real life is elsewhere. Subjectivity is the ancient haunt of piety and reverence and long, long thoughts.--Marilynne Robinson

I've always been creative, but you can't assume a role without falsification. Even if the role is indistinguishable from your identity, you can't do it. That frightening to me.--Marilynne Robinson

It's easier to achieve acclaim in the workplace than the home, however, and so we fathers gravitate to the places where our cleverness or hard work will find reward, and abrogate our duties at home, and imagine that we are doing this all for our families, when really it is because we are cowards. The most intractable business problem, after all, is infinitely more solvable than a wayward teenager. And so do we become failures as we grasp for accomplishment.--Tony Woodlief

Over the last several years, talking to high school students about Raiders Night, a young adult novel of mine that deals with a football player and his driven dad, I’ve been struck by how regularly boys tense up when the subject of just why they play arises. Remarkably often, once you get past the easy answers -- the prestige of the varsity, the thrill of contact, the friendships, and the girls -- it comes down to seeking the love and attention of dad. When dad manages to use his son as an avatar in his obsessive sports dreams, that love and attention become a whip and a cage. Ask Tiger. ... But after so many decades in the Game, I think the father-son dynamic is more vivid and charged in sports because the relationship blooms in all its loving and violent forms at such a vulnerable time in a kid’s development. That’s why so many grown-ups adore or despise sports. Looking back, I wonder if I was the lucky one after all. When it came to sports, I experienced benign fatherly neglect. That’s undoubtedly one reason I’ve never had a decent jump shot. Fair enough. Thanks, Dad.--Robert Lipsyte

Team sport athletes were perceived as being more desirable as potential mates than individual sport athletes and non-athletes. It is suggested that team sport athletes may have traits associated with good parenting such as cooperation, likeability, and role acceptance, and/or these athletes may be better able to assert dominance in a team setting.--Evolutionary Psychology, 2008

Father's Day is a time to reflect on whether you want to be a parent—or want to be a parent again. If you simply don't like kids, research has little to say to you. If however you're interested in kids, but scared of the sacrifices, research has two big lessons. First, parents' sacrifice is much smaller than it looks, and childless and single is far inferior to married with children. Second, parents' sacrifice is much larger than it has to be. Twin and adoption research shows that you don't have to go the extra mile to prepare your kids for the future. Instead of trying to mold your children into perfect adults, you can safely kick back, relax and enjoy your journey together—and seriously consider adding another passenger.--Bryan Caplan

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