Catching My Eye This Morning

Lynne Kiesling

Having a slow start this morning; I fear that I’m coming down with the stomach bug that has been making the rounds, most recently infesting the KP Spouse earlier this week. So I’m reading instead of writing this morning.

In late December Economics Roundtable started a Topics section to collect posts on particular topics. One of these is the Stern Report on climate change from the UK. The reports assumptions, especially regarding discount rates, have been topics of lively discussion, and this link captures a lot of that discussion. Very useful for those of us who teach environmental economics.

At Organizations & Markets Peter Klein remarks on the Procrastinator’s Clock, which is a clever circumvention of some of my strongest cognitive biases.

Randall Parker talks about stem cell research and declining cancer rates in the wake of yesterday’s news of the dramatic decline in cancer rates in the US. I am fascinated by the potential for cancer-targeted stem cells and/or nanomolecules to do a search and destroy within the human body. Now you see why The Diamond Age is my favorite Neal Stephenson book.

I agree with Ian at Truck and Barter that it would be fun to try to explain economics to Sundance festival attendees, but I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay for the experience. I would (and do, with my time), however, pay to teach some environmental economics to the earnest young college students who PIRG and Greenpeace and other “environmental advocacy” groups send out in full force in the spring to the streets of Chicago asking you “for a minute to help the environment”. Sure, I’ve got a minute for the environment, and it’s best spent trying to teach you about the concepts of marginal benefit and marginal cost, and that when property rights are well enough defined, environmental and economic incentives align.

Bob Lawson, Tim Worstall, and I are all fascinated by Google GapMinder, a very nifty graphing tool. The one I did for that link is per capita GDP and per capita CO2 emissions, both in logs. This tool makes great use of Ajax [CORRECTION: Flash, not Ajax, thanks!]; you can go to the beginning of the time series and move forward along the x axis and see how the relationship changes over time and what countries change the most.

5 thoughts on “Catching My Eye This Morning

  1. >>…nanomolecules…

    Uh, like, aren’t those just… like molecules, or something.

    “nanomolecules” is by far the most abusive use of “nano” that I have ever read. That’s just absurd.

  2. Not that it really matters, but GapMinder is actually a flash application – not ajax. I understand the mistake though, the app does have a certain ajaxy feel to it.

  3. ‘a minute for the environment’- I love your wit. I wonder how many of those protestors have ever heard of the Coase Theorem or are actually open minded enough to consider marginal analysis. It’s probably just more fun to take a stand than to understand. I’m glad your getting this message out.

  4. I think it is the flu season. I am coming down with something as well. I believe if you read enough economics you will not be worried about the flue but maybe more worried about your mental health.

  5. Ick on the stomach bug — hope you & the KP Spouse are both over it by now. It’s too long after my visit for me to be the culprit, I hope. Anyhow, that’s my story.

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