Quick Hits

Lynne Kiesling

Some drive-by blogging today:

-Although it is currently not commercial and does not look like it will necessarily put a big dent in greenhouse gas emissions, this copper material that binds to carbon dioxide to generate useful chemicals is very cool and promising. This is the kind of ingenuity and innovation that makes the future brighter!

-Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz have a great op-ed in today’s USA Today, in which they argue for privatizing airport security. Hear hear! Not to mention privatizing airports, introducing economic logic and institutional design to the allocation of gates and takeoff-landing slot pairs, …

-Don Boudreaux points out that the proposed new regulation of income tax preparers is completely and utterly preposterous. He characterizes it as yet another brick in the Wall of the Nanny State; I would add that the parties applying the mortar around that brick are precisely those who have substantial economic benefit from such regulation — the already credibly qualified income tax preparers. Bootleggers and Baptists, anyone? As Don points out, it’s a ludicrous myopia of political elites to believe that their “enlightened” hand of regulation would do any better job than the very real, very personal, very distributed and decentralized incentives that every.single.individual faces to minimize the taxes s/he pays while still abiding by the law.

-This Ars Technica article discusses some very cool experimental game theory research that identifies the imitative behavior that leads to the reduction of random strategies in evolutionary processes. Or, as they note, “This implies that in evolution, as one member of a species enjoys more and more success, its methods become hard to ignore for the others, which will eventually follow its lead.”

2 thoughts on “Quick Hits

  1. Regarding tax preparer regulation, objections would be more credible if they included some proposal to handle fraud. A quick google on “income tax preparer scams” shows that this does seem to be a problem.

    This looks simlar to any other professional service: consumers hire an expert because they feel they don’t know enough to do something themselves. They are then, to some extent, at the mercy of the expert. This is a well-recognized problem, and we accept regulation of doctors, lawyers, plumbers, etc. all on the same grounds. Someone who needs to hire a professional is, almost by definition, not entirely able to evalute the professional’s integrity and expertise.

  2. Re the copper based CO2 eater. Yes, agreed about commercial applications and all. But why the surprise that it is possible at all? Plants do it all the time with cholorophyll (which is Mg rather than Cu based).

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