Implied Dissent

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If people got what they want

Regarding Wal-Mart. Meaning they paid their employees like Costco pays theirs. Well, if we assume that the changes wouldn't affect sales, roughly doubling compensation per employee would result in roughly 75% layoffs (based on the two chain's sales per employee). Yes, this result would take some time to work its way through the whole company, and there is a good chance that because Wal-Mart's logistics aren't set up to operate in this way it would keep more employees at many of its stores. On the other hand, for the same reason, it's likely that many of its stores would close completely, i.e., 100% layoffs and leaving certain areas woefully underserved. Sounds great! Let's do it.

Spent no blink?

Apparently, Yao is still mad at Japan for long ago wars. So mad, in fact, that during the World Basketball Championships (in Japan right now) he has "spent no blink on his popularity". Does anyone know what this means?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Gladwell puts up a pretty damn weak defense of his depenency ratio article here. Much of it is in response to Jane Galt's criticisms. Jane responds to the response here. I think she's a bit too kind, but I have much more of an interest in seeing them feud in public than she does. I think his response, though, is basically a case of him trying to subtly distance himself from his article by claiming 'it is just showing us what two researchers think, and gee, isn't that interesting what they think?' and not his own opinions and own analysis.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Evolutionary Fitness

A very interesting (to me anyway) paper by Art De Vany on his theories regarding fitness. I doubt that I'll adopt his methods wholesale, but some of it will make its way into my life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Helping the poor

What we should be sending to Africa. Bringing home the point once again that the greatest anti-poverty programs, ever, are freedom and free markets.

Friday, August 25, 2006

All for an iPod

The story of a diverted flight, from the man who caused it.

Don agrees

Doubt my analysis of how cost competitiveness would (or, rather, wouldn't) change with national health care? Read the head of GMU's econ department, who goes a step further than I did in ripping Gladwell's bad idea apart (to be fair, many people make this mistake, but I need someone to pick on, and he has the most pretentiousness and popularity of these people).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Getting off of Slippery Slopes

A quickie about legally-enforced benefits for live-in partners having ripple effects. The last sentence is a pretty good summary of libertarian thought, and suggests a way out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Denominators and the Unseen

I think I just figured out the Red Sox's problem. Opponent's strikeouts divided by our home runs is 5.2. I mean, that's terrible. What? Those numbers have almost nothing to do with eachother? Like a company's retirees divided by its current workers? But Gladwell constructed an entire column around this ratio to explain GM's problems! Would current revenues be a better number to compare with the retirees it supports? That's crazy talk!

On a related idea, a lot of people claim that GM (and other US companies) are at a competitive disadvantage because they have to pay for employee benefits while foreign companies don't because their governments pay the costs. This is wrong on a few levels. First, as Jane Galtpoints out, this is often factually incorrect. Second, as she doesn't seem to recognize, even where it's factually true, the analysis is wrong. GM's competitors still have to pay for employee benefits, it just happens indirectly, via higher taxes and such. Costs will almost certainly turn out to be the same in the end, with a small margin of error (and ignoring the different efficiencies of different systems).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guilty until proven innocent

America, your Drug War.

Red Sox pitching. I get older...

They stay the same level of suckiness. Whether or not we win tonight, this series is definitely The Boston Massacre, part 2. I had been fairly pessimistic about our chances this year since we didn't pick up any pitching at the deadline and Tek went on the DL, but hope was alive. Now, I just want to finish the season without embarassment or significant injuries. One thing does make me feel better though; third paragraph, first sentence. It's the best 4:45 you'll spend today.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Please read this. This is important too.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Class Act

Ron Artest shows once again why he is one of my two favorite non-Celtics in the NBA (the other is Duncan; I'm not sure what this means). Apparently logic doesn't apply to the man. Either that or he thinks that ending trouble means making it 100 times worse. He will never stop being a great source of entertainment.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Up and down

First read this and get mad.

Then watch this and chuckle.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Let me get this straight. Sterling pays millions of dollars every year to a black man in a position that is mostly filled by white people in the NBA. He seems to have no problem paying many millions to black players (or at least no more problem with that as he does to paying white ones). Yet I'm supposed to believe that he doesn't rent his property to black people, just because they are black? Something tells me that there is something else going on here. Whatever you may think of Donald Sterling, and I am not a fan of the man, he is a shrewd and greedy businessman, so I have a very hard time buying the story we're being told.

If I didn't think those things look stupid for all causes

this is the wristband that I'd wear.

I am very humble

I'd say that it's probably my best quality. Well, maybe second. Or perhaps third. No, wait, more like tenth. Yeah, it might crack the top ten (via Balko). Read the comments too, some great over-defensiveness in there that proves everyone's points.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


BMW vs pickup. Yuppies vs hicks. Bat vs ... well, check it out.

The BBC did a segment on GM's prototype hydrogen-fueled car. It looks pretty damn cool. It also makes me think about how explosive hydrogen is. Hindenburg, anyone?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

There was nothing wrong with it...

until I was about 12 years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Three in One

Kling and Caplan are wondering why academia is dominated by leftists/liberals. Some of their thoughts are worthwhile, but I think I have something to add. My fairly simple model of college is that it is a package deal for both the customer and the workforce. Ostentatiously, college exists for professors to teach/students to learn. Many, probably most, students are there at least as much for the social aspects of college. Most professors are there much more to perform research and disseminate ideas that are only somewhat related to the subjects they teach. While this model exaggerates some and leaves out other factors, I think it is useful. To the extent that it is true, it explains why there could be a significant deviation of the politics of the faculty from the students' and parents' politics, as what each group wants from college only overlaps to a moderate extent, and where they don't overlap they don't significantly interfere with eachother. This doesn't tell us why it goes so strongly in one direction, but it does explain why it is possible.

You're with me, Cheese

Riffing on The Colbert Report, KSK helps us Better Know the Packers. (Yes, the interview is fake, Al'Berrtt isn't this cool).

Please tell me that this is satire

Der Standard lets us know how to (and who can) criticize Israel.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Pape on how misdiagnosis leads to 'cures' that worsen the disease.
Abbott on a basketball-related (doesn't have to be basketball, that's just the sport used) promising way to help.
This isn't earth-shattering stuff, but it is easily and often overlooked.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"There are no atheists in foxholes...

isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes". A bunch of excellent quotes (and a few duds). I do feel compelled to note that I'm agnostic, not an atheist, but most of these work both ways.


Bird. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

A very interesting letter from 1947. Parts of it remind me a great deal of the xenophobes in America today, but a lot of it makes sense. The key questions are what about it is incorrect, and what important facts were left out?