Woman does not live by economics alone (although sometimes I come pretty close!). I made this sweater:
This is the popular Rogue hoodie, which lots of folks have been knitting over the past two years. I started this in October, and finished it on New Year’s Day.
Yes, it was a lot of work, and for you economist non-knitters, this is a good pattern to illustrate the extent to which knitting truly is a mathematics hobby. Lots of axial and radial symmetry, and spatial logic.
Plus it’s beautiful and comfortable!
More pictures, taken on a gorgeous winter day in Chicago, after the fold.
Because of the web site trauma here and the AEA meetings I am late to the party, but Austan Goolsbee’s NYT Economic Scene column from Thursday is a worthy read. He makes a point that I’ve made here several times: over the past 50 years we have increasingly gotten more bang for the buck out of every BTU of energy we consume. In other words, the number of BTUs per dollar of GDP has fallen over the past 50 years.
But the data shows that much has changed since the wrenching days of the 1970s, for American industry at least. The energy used for each dollar of gross domestic product in 1980 was almost 70 percent greater than it is today. While we have collectively wrung our hands over the decline of manufacturing in the country, it has also reduced the relationship between energy prices and growth.
Manufacturing industries consume about 25,000 B.T.U.’s of energy for each dollar of gross domestic product they generate. The most energy-intensive sectors, like the steel, iron ore and aluminum industries, consume about 70,000 B.T.U.’s. Outside of manufacturing, the economy uses less than 6,000. Hospitals, law offices and banks just are not the same as blast furnaces and smelters.
So now when the price of oil goes up, as when it almost hit $80 a barrel in 2006 (close to the highest it has ever been, even accounting for all the inflation since the previous energy crises), it does not automatically mean recession. Indeed, it caused only a ripple this last year. Unemployment and inflation both stayed quite low.
When I teach my freshman seminar on energy economics I start the course by showing them the Energy Information Administration data on this point, and I make them graph the data that show increasing total BTUs consumed, increasing real GDP, and decreasing BTUs/GDP. A very important point.
He then goes on to argue (somewhat obliquely) for increasingly stringent CAFE standards, with which I essentially disagree but I don’t want to get into now, but read for yourself and use his article as a reminder that this issue is nuanced and complex.
I signed up for my first planned trathlon of 2007 today: Tri Shark Sprint Triathlon, 2 June 2007. Off-season training is going well, although I’ve been a bit lacking in motivation during the past two weeks.
One of the Christmas presents in the KP house was a “killer headwind” attachment to our bike rollers, and that’s made for some more challenging trainer sessions! And one of the strangest things is that I’ve had a discrete jump to a different running plateau; I used to be happy if I could churn out a 3-mile run in 35 minutes, but now my median run is 5.5 miles in 55-60 minutes, just over a 10-minute mile and almost 6 of them in a row! It’s been gratifying to see this improvement in the sport out of the three that’s the most challenging for me.
OK, two hours I didn’t have, spent re-posting three weeks of lost posts … at least it was over the holidays, so we were on light volume!
Many comments were lost, for which I apologize.
Two things made it possible for me to recover from my idiocy (I thought I had backed up everything I needed, but I hadn’t): backup recovery from Hosting Matters, my hosting site, and the cache function of Google, which enabled me to recover the entire December archive.
Some changes to expect here at KP in 2007: more posts on papers we’ve been reading, more regular posting, and continued commentary and analysis of energy, technology, and property rights issues in economics and current events. Also occasional snippets of sports, home renovation, and knitting, along with music from both of us and film from Mike.