Friday, January 07, 2011

Quotes of the day

The usual touchstone of whether what someone asserts is mere persuasion or at least a subjective conviction, i.e., firm belief, is betting. Often someone pronounces his propositions with such confident and inflexible defiance that he seems to have entirely laid aside all concern for error. A bet disconcerts him. Sometimes he reveals that he is persuaded enough for one ducat but not for ten. For he would happily bet one, but at ten he suddenly becomes aware of what he had not previously noticed, namely that it is quite possible that he has erred.--Immanuel Kant

Next week, Indian politicians plan to ban all Bollywood movies for “sucking the blood from the poor” because they charge for movie tickets.--Vivek Nemana

... [high school] students with credit cards are less financially literate than students without credit cards.--Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Volume 31, Number 2, 151-160

I favor such [economist ethics] codes, but I'm not sure they will help much. First, most economic research doesn't matter in the first place. Second, the research which does matter very often is distorted anyway. It is pulled out of context, exaggerated, presented by intermediaries and political entrepreneurs without qualification, and so on. That's the real problem. In this context I'm not sure that a conflict of interest statement is going to push people closer toward truth; the process wasn't accurate or finely honed in the first place. What is published is already so much more scientific than the policy process itself. Improving the former inputs with an ethics code seems like pushing on the less important lever and to some extent it is a very weak substitute for the almost complete lack of an ethics code in politics itself. Third, a lot of the problem is economists in government --advising -- rather than what is published in economics journals. Newspapers already have conflict of interest policies for many (or all) of their writers, but I don't see they are much enforced or have much improved the quality of most Op-Ed pages as policy advice.--Tyler Cowen

Brad DeLong is not a nice man. I would say worse, but I aspire to be a more generous soul than Brad.--Don Boudreaux

The new [health innsurance] system is based on a series of expert projections on how people will behave. In the first test case, these projections were absurdly off base. According to the Medicare actuary, 375,000 people should have already signed up for the new high-risk pools for the uninsured, but only 8,000 have. More seriously, cost projections are way off. For example, New Hampshire’s plan has only about 80 members, but the state has already burned through nearly double the $650,000 that the federal government allotted to help run the program. If other projections are off by this much, the results will be disastrous. ... Companies and unions across America are running the numbers and discovering they would be better off if, after 2014, they induced poorer and sicker employees to move to public insurance exchanges, where subsidies are much higher. The number of people in those exchanges could thus skyrocket, especially as startup companies undermine their competitors with uninsured employees and lower costs. --David Brooks

Every inquiry into paleoclimate controversies, no matter how much whitewash was applied, concluded that climate scientists should archive data. If Neukom, Jones and their coauthors publish a multiproxy article, that means the multiproxy data, not just the output. If the contributing authors are not willing to archive their data, then it shouldn’t be used in a study in a climate journal. End of story. Nor is it sufficient for the author to provide the addresses of the various contributors and force an interested reader to obtain data from each of them individually. There’s no guarantee that they will cooperate. The obligation rests with the publishing authors.--Steve McIntyre

If the [autism-by-vaccination claims] allegations are true, [Andrew Wakefield, a doctor, and an attorney] managed to kill more people than Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy put together.--Megan McArdle

[Peyton Manning] was very encouraging. He always has been. He's just that kind of a guy, a very classy guy.--Tom Brady

I don't remember hearing that lyric in "Hit 'Em Up."--Bill Simmons

Being someone that many teams passed over there was a reason for it, you know? They didn't think I was a very good player, and they were probably right. I wasn't doing a good enough job listening to my coaches, I wasn't working at it hard enough, I wasn't good enough. Going 199th, it forces you to be critical of yourself. That ends up being the best thing for you.--Tom Brady

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