All Your Brainz A...
Follow
Find
963 views | +0 today
All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

On Syria, Obama Dons His Interventionist Cap – Again « Antiwar.com Blog

On Syria, Obama Dons His Interventionist Cap – Again « Antiwar.com Blog | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Alex Doran's insight:

[T]he Obama administration’s continued efforts to meddle in the Syrian civil war lack common sense. It won’t save lives (as liberal interventionists are wont to claim as their motivation) and it will either produce further stalemate or, although it’s extremely unlikely, generate the collapse of the Assad regime (which would consequently increase the position of jihadist groups). None of these are desirable outcomes.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

It is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is alien to traditional African culture

It is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is alien to traditional African culture | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Michael Mumisa: Gay rights are in crisis across Africa, yet diverse sexual practices and identities have always existed in these societies
Alex Doran's insight:

The problem with using terms such as "pre-colonial" and "post-colonial" is that they obscure African history or culture prior to its encounter with Europe. In many cases, this is how some intellectually colonised "Africanists" approach Africa, by reducing everything to colonialism. Nowhere is this more evident than in discussions on LGBT rights in Africa. It has become something of a catechism to proclaim that homosexuality was introduced to Africans by European colonisers.

 

Any person with the time to study the history of sexuality in traditional African cultures will discover that this claim is baseless.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America

10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Advice the Japanese give their own countrymen on how to handle the peculiarities of American culture.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

One Nation Under Guard

One Nation Under Guard | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Growing inequality means we’re spending more on security, instead of making stuff.
Alex Doran's insight:

There is a simple economic lesson here: A nation whose policies result in substantial inequalities may end up spending more on guns and getting less butter as a result.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Dangerous MIS-reasoning in the name of survival | Risk: Reason and Reality | Big Think

Dangerous MIS-reasoning in the name of survival | Risk: Reason and Reality | Big Think | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
            Anyone who has followed the fuss over fracking has heard opponents of the process claim that it causes earthquakes. According to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey, (the USGS), that’s not true. Human-caused earthquakes are occasionally triggered by the permanent disposal of ...
Alex Doran's insight:

[S]ince our instincts and emotions lead us to fear some things more than the evidence says we need to or less than the evidence says we should, and we scream and yell and distort and deny the facts to get the policies that feel right, even though they may not be the evidence-based policies that would protect us the most.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The Feds Lost on Net Neutrality, But Won Control of the Internet | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

The Feds Lost on Net Neutrality, But Won Control of the Internet | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
No matter what you think of network neutrality -- for it, against it, it’s complicated, who cares -- the fact that a federal court just struck down most of the FCC’s net neutrality rules is clearly cause for concern. But not for the reasons you think.
Alex Doran's insight:

The FCC’s broad new powers should worry everyone, whatever they think of net neutrality. Because beneath the clever rallying cries of “net neutrality!” lurks a wide range of potential issues. Most concerns are imaginary or simply misplaced. The real concerns would be better addressed through other approaches — like focusing on abuses of market power that harm competition.

 

But first, we need to look at the ruling in a more nuanced way.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism - Reason.com

The Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism - Reason.com | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
For all the brutal revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart.
Alex Doran's insight:

For all the revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart. Just last weekend, narrating an NBC News segment on the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics and surveying Russian history, actor Peter Dinklage referred to “the revolution that birthed one of modern history's pivotal experiments.” That brings to mind an old-time Soviet joke in which a schoolboy asks his father if Marxism-Leninism is a science. “I reckon not, son,” the father replies. “When scientists do experiments, it’s always on animals, not humans.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Freakonomics » Why Do People Fear G.M.O.’s?

Freakonomics » Why Do People Fear G.M.O.’s? | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Alex Doran's insight:

Indeed, taking a gene from a soil bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis - Bt) that produces a natural pesticide and injecting that gene into the DNA of a soy plant, is hardly Mother Nature’s way of hybridising plants. But does that have anything to do with whether it’s actually risky? No. Scientifically, whether something is a risk depends on whether it is physically hazardous, in what ways and at what dose, and whether we’re exposed, at what age and how often. A radioactive particle in your lungs can cause cancer whether the particle came from the natural breakdown of uranium in the soil, which produces natural radon gas, or from a nuclear power plant accident. But risk perception research has found that natural risks don’t feel as scary as the the equivalent man-made risks. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: Chris House is a Market Monetarist!

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: Chris House is a Market Monetarist! | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
OK, maybe I exaggerate a little. But he's at least halfway there. One of the key points that Market Monetarists (Scott Sumner especially) keep making (and that keeps getting ignored) is that low (nominal and real) interest rates are not...
Alex Doran's insight:

Even today, when we analyze the New Keynesian model, it is often done without any investment (this is like having an IS/LM model without the “I”). Adding investment demand can sometimes result in odd behavior. In particular you often get inverted Fisher effects in which monetary expansions are associated with higher output but strangely, higher real interest rates and higher nominal interest rates.  [...] 


What this means is that the so-called ZLB "liquidity trap" is merely an artefact of tight monetary policy.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Old Wars and debates rekindled

Old Wars and debates rekindled | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Krugman elaborates on a post by Noah Smith: For what was the next war? Contra what many people say, it was not the financial crisis. That crisis was a surprise, but not because we had no room for s...
Alex Doran's insight:

Market Monetarists (MMs) say that tight monetary policies (NGDP falling below trend) caused the Great Recession (and worsened the financial crisis) and that monetary expansion (taking NGDP back to trend) could get it out of it. In other words, if monetary policy had been geared to maintaining NGDP on trend things would have been very different. Bernanke´s financial failures would not have happened and nor would Krugman´s calamity (because for MMs, who advocate an NGDP Level Target, the ZLB is no constraint on monetary policy)!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms - NYTimes.com

Vast Study Casts Doubts on Value of Mammograms - NYTimes.com | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Alex Doran's insight:

Researchers sought to determine whether there was any advantage to finding breast cancers when they were too small to feel. The answer is no, the researchers report.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Jeffrey Frankel examines the startling decline of market-based approaches to regulation. - Project Syndicate

Jeffrey Frankel examines the startling decline of market-based approaches to regulation. - Project Syndicate | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
In areas like air pollution, traffic congestion, spectrum allocation, and cigarette consumption, market mechanisms have often proved to be the best way for governments to address market failures. So why are such mechanisms now in retreat almost everywhere?
Alex Doran's insight:

Markets can fail. But, as has been demonstrated in areas like air pollution, traffic congestion, spectrum allocation, and tobacco consumption, market mechanisms are often the best way for governments to address such failures.  [...] But, again, government attempts to address market failures can themselves fail. In the case of the environment, command-and-control regulation is inefficient, discourages innovation, and can have unintended consequences (like Europe’s growing reliance on coal). In the case of health care, a national monopoly can forestall innovation and provide inadequate care with long waits. In general, the best government interventions target failures precisely – using cap and trade to put a price on air pollution, for example, or relying on the individual mandate to curtail adverse selection in health insurance – while letting market forces do the rest more efficiently than bureaucrats can.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Missing from Presidents' Day: The People They Enslaved | Civil Rights on GOOD

Missing from Presidents' Day: The People They Enslaved  | Civil Rights on GOOD | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Schools across the country are adorned with posters of the 44 U.S. presidents and the years they served in office. U.S.
Alex Doran's insight:
Nowhere in all this information is there any mention of the fact that more than one in four U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery. These presidents bought, sold, and bred enslaved people for profit. Of the 12 presidents who were enslavers, more than half kept people in bondage at the White House.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The Causes of Wealth Inequality (31): Automation and the Hollowing Out of the Labor Market

The Causes of Wealth Inequality (31): Automation and the Hollowing Out of the Labor Market | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Conventional wisdom has it that automation comes at the expense of low-skilled jobs and aggravates income inequality because of labor displacement at the bottom of the income distribution. It turns...
Alex Doran's insight:

The hollowing out of the labor market, driven by mid-level automation, has therefore a direct effect on income inequality, but it also a few indirect effects. For example, automation means lower production costs, and the savings or the added value go primarily to shareholders through capital gains and stock appreciation. Since stock ownership and capital income are concentrated among those already better off, income inequality is further increased.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Bastiat just rolled over in his grave | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Bastiat just rolled over in his grave | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
The Administration has released a report defending the ARRA program, and it's every bit as embarrassing as you might expect. Where to begin . . . 1. The report seems to ignore the fact that fiscal stimulus failed to produce...
Alex Doran's insight:

If it's really true (as they claim) that fiscal stimulus was needed in 2009 because monetary policy was constrained by the zero bound, why didn't Obama appoint some people to the Fed in 2009 who would adopt Paul Krugman-style unconventional stimulus, such as the forward guidance that was eventually adopted in late 2012? After all, the Dems had a filibuster-proof majority in 2009. I think we all know the answer. Larry Summers says he prefers fiscal to monetary stimulus, even where monetary stimulus is possible. Indeed Summers is so pro-fiscal that progressive blogger Matt Yglesias once characterized his views as "socialist." (Yes, I'm sure Matt was half joking, but there has to be some truth in any joke.) The report suggests fiscal stimulus was needed to save the economy, whereas it was actually adopted for ideological reasons. Obama has not adopted a far left set of public policies. But his actual views (as far as I can tell) are left wing on almost every single economic issue. He's smart enough to know he rules over one of the most conservative developed economies, and hence is cautious in his policy initiatives. But make no mistake about it, he'll use any and all opportunities to expand government, and he'll never try to scale it back in any important way. He's not a Clinton.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Ryan Avent´s "A theory of troubles" from a Market Monetarist perspective

Ryan Avent´s "A theory of troubles" from a Market Monetarist perspective | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Recently, Ryan Avent at Free Exchange wrote a thought-provoking and ambitious post which he aptly titled “A theory of troubles”. The “troubles” flow from the “puzzles”, of which there has been no s...
Alex Doran's insight:

For example, if the central bank manages, as it mostly did during the period called “Great Moderation”, to maintain NGDP (or nominal spending) growing at a stable rate along a level growth path, the problem of rigid wages won´t manifest itself with any force. Why? Because the ratio of wages to NGDP will also be stabilized.

The upshot: don´t think in terms of higher or lower inflation (as a means to reduce wage rigidity), but focus on maintaining NGDP “hugging” a stable path.

 

What if a nominal shock disturbs the balance? Try to get NGDP back to the trend level as fast as possible. That´s one reason monetary policy (understood as keeping NGDP close to the trend level) shouldn´t react to real (say, productivity, or oil) shocks. If it does react (fearful of inflation, perhaps), given sticky wages, the wage NGDP ratio will rise and so will unemployment (while employment falls).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Beware: Faith will be your downfall!

Beware: Faith will be your downfall! | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Robert Samuelson ends his piece “Economists in the dark” thus: The faith in economics was, in many ways, the underlying cause of both the financial crisis and Great Recession — it made people overc...
Alex Doran's insight:

If you look at monetary policy as the “boat´s helmsman”, responsible for steering the boat´s course and fiscal policy as the “master of ceremony”, responsible for keeping an environment that is favorable to long term growth, you will see that:

The “helmsman” “veered wildly off course” in 2008 and,The “master of ceremony” has unabashedly “polluted” the environment

End result: the “boat” is lost in a sea of “pollution”.

It´s that simple!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Killing Net Neutrality Helps Underdogs Succeed | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

Killing Net Neutrality Helps Underdogs Succeed | Wired Opinion | Wired.com | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
We need to move away from the fear-mongering about threats to the internet. The real problems online are far more complex and less scary -- and it’s not about net neutrality, but about net capacity.
Alex Doran's insight:

Everyone assumes that cable companies have all the market power, and so of course a bigger cable company means disaster. But content owners may be the real heavyweights here [...]

 

But whatever one thinks about the market power of such “edge” providers, it’s not a net neutrality problem.

 

We need to move away from the fear-mongering and exaggerations about threats to the internet as well as simplistic assumptions about how internet traffic moves. The real problems online are far more complex and less scary. And it’s not about net neutrality, but about net capacity.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Author: When It Comes To High-Speed Internet, U.S. 'Falling Way Behind'

Author: When It Comes To High-Speed Internet, U.S. 'Falling Way Behind' | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
The U.S. needs to start treating the Internet like electricity or railroads, law professor and author Susan Crawford says.
Alex Doran's insight:

There are two routes out of this puzzle for the United States: One is greater oversights, setting a national standard, making sure that everybody gets high-speed fiber access. The other is just leave these guys behind and build better alternative fiber networks in each city in America. And a lot of mayors are extremely interested in doing this because they see it as a street grid or a tree canopy — this is just infrastructure. ... We'll see a lot of developments along these lines the next few years as we try to get out from under the thumb of the cable monopoly for wired service in America.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The GOP’s huge 2014 problem: The religious right is still calling the shots

The GOP’s huge 2014 problem: The religious right is still calling the shots | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
After the Tea Party insurgency, the war on women became the central tenet of Republican orthodoxy
Alex Doran's insight:

So next time you wonder why they keep running all these fools who can’t stop saying nutty stuff about Jesus and controlling other people’s sex lives, just remember: Those nutty Christian fundies are the only loyal votes they have left. If they threw them out, they might be standing around with a big bag of nothing.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

Why target the CPI?

Why target the CPI? | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Most discussions of monetary policy take for granted that if the Federal Reserve has an implicit inflation target, it'll follow some variant of the Consumer Price Index. But the CPI isn't the only ...
Alex Doran's insight:

We typically construct our price indices based on some kind of basket of goods: either a basket of consumption goods (the CPI), a basket of intermediate goods used in production (the PPI), or a basket of final goods produced (the GDP deflator). These baskets are supposed to accurately represent the relative weight of each good in consumption or production. But this goal has absolutely nothing to do with the goal of designing indices that provide effective targets for stabilization. And if we use an index that wasn’t designed for monetary policy, we shouldn’t be surprised when it doesn’t work so well.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

On the Most Basic Astronomy Question of All, 1 in 4 Americans Fail

On the Most Basic Astronomy Question of All, 1 in 4 Americans Fail | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Alex Doran's insight:

To the question “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth,” 26 percent of those surveyed answered incorrectly.


We Americans must look like fools in the eyes of of the much better educated Europeans.


Oh, wait…

 

Only 66 percent of people in a 2005 European Union poll answered the basic astronomy answer correctly.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

10 Problems With How We Think | Experts' Corner | Big Think

10 Problems With How We Think | Experts' Corner | Big Think | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
We can never totally escape our biases, but we can be more aware of them, and, just maybe, take efforts to minimize their influence.
Alex Doran's insight:

By nature, human beings are illogical and irrational. For most of our existence, survival meant thinking quickly, not methodically. Making a life-saving decision was more important than making a 100% accurate one, so the human brain developed an array of mental shortcuts.

 

Though not as necessary as they once were, these shortcuts -- called cognitive biases or heuristics -- are numerous and innate. Pervasive, they affect almost everything we do, from the choice of what to wear, to judgments of moral character, to how we vote in presidential elections. We can never totally escape them, but we can be more aware of them, and, just maybe, take efforts to minimize their influence.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The Bible Belt Loves Making Amateur Porn

The Bible Belt Loves Making Amateur Porn | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
The Bible Belt is a strange place, equal parts Chick-Fil-A and strip clubs, sunday school and Spring Breakers. So it's no surprise that, according to one company specializing in amateur pornography, the region submits almost a third of its content.
Alex Doran's insight:

Hell, it's more interesting than watching whatever Kirk Cameron's latest is or listening to another lecture about the Rapture.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Alex Doran
Scoop.it!

The Old Testament's made-up camels are a problem for Zionism

The Old Testament's made-up camels are a problem for Zionism | All Your Brainz Are Belong to Us | Scoop.it
Andrew Brown: The earliest camel bones have been dated at 1,500 years after Genesis – which undermines Zionists' promised land narrative
Alex Doran's insight:

There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up. [...] But these camels are made up, all 10 of them. Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon. None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place.

more...
No comment yet.