No Population Bomb

From the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Erle C. Ellis explains, “Overpopulation Is Not the Problem“: MANY scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite … More No Population Bomb

How Cool is That Nickel-iron Battery?

It’s been too long since I’ve done a “how cool is that?” expression of awe and wonder at a piece of ingenious creativity. You may recall that early automobiles were battery-powered — the origins of the electric car are deep and over a century old. One battery technology, courtesy of (you guessed it) Thomas Edison, … More How Cool is That Nickel-iron Battery?

A Call for Controlled Experimentation in California’s Energy Efficiency Programs

Michael Giberson UC-Berkeley economist Catherine Wolfram has an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee advocating the state use controlled experimentation to discover with energy efficiency programs work best. As she explains, retailers are increasingly using experimentation and advanced data analysis to discover how to increase sales. Surely, she suggests, when planning to spend nearly half a … More A Call for Controlled Experimentation in California’s Energy Efficiency Programs

Doing What Seems Like It Should Work: Experiments, Tests, and Social Progress

Michael Giberson My title is a little grand, at least the “and social progress,” but maybe it will be justified in some later, more carefully worked out version of the ideas clashing about in my head. As this is a blog, I’m sharing the more immediate, less carefully worked out version. 😉 I’ve been reading … More Doing What Seems Like It Should Work: Experiments, Tests, and Social Progress

Adam Smith and Mirror Neurons Paper Published

Lynne Kiesling I mentioned a while ago my working paper on the neuroscience research on mirror neurons and its relevance for Adam Smith’s theory of sympathy developed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). After revision and some extremely helpful referee guidance, the paper has been published in The Review of Austrian Economics: Mirror neuron … More Adam Smith and Mirror Neurons Paper Published

Monsters of Grok T-shirts

Lynne Kiesling Here’s some outstanding geek attire! Monsters of Grok is a line of t-shirts that use rock band t-shirt logo designs, but the names are instead famous scientists and intellectuals such as Ada Lovelace (done as a Ladytron logo), Isaac Newton (as Iron Maiden), and Benjamin Franklin (as Black Flag). I fell over laughing … More Monsters of Grok T-shirts

Economics of Power Market Design Compared Unfavorably to Climate Science

Michael Giberson From the Harvard Electricity Policy Group meeting in February 2011. By convention the meetings are off-the-record, so the speaker’s name is not identified in the summary: I think the most important distinction between the fields of climate science and economics for me is the question of evidence. Science is characterized by a subtle … More Economics of Power Market Design Compared Unfavorably to Climate Science

Jonah Lehrer on Voter Ignorance

Lynne Kiesling It shouldn’t surprise you to find, given my recent working paper on Adam Smith, sympathy, and mirror neurons that I am an avid reader of neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer. His post today riffs off of President Obama’s birth certificate to muse on voter ignorance. In discussing some research on the subject, he observes … More Jonah Lehrer on Voter Ignorance

Bainbridge’s Broad Brush Criticisms on Empirical Legal Studies Slams All Interdisciplinary Legal Work

Michael Giberson Criticisms of the growing field of empirical legal studies by UCLA law professor  Stephen Bainbridge were issued in such broad brush strokes that he ended up blasting just about every law academic engaged in any sort of interdisciplinary work, especially so if the academic seeks to examine data of some sort. The main … More Bainbridge’s Broad Brush Criticisms on Empirical Legal Studies Slams All Interdisciplinary Legal Work

John List’s $10 Million Crazy Idea Field Experiment in Education

Michael Giberson Bloomberg Markets Magazine has a feature on economist John List and his $10 million research project on education. Along the way we get an introduction to List’s work on field experiments in economics, a splash of lab-based economics back story, and the reaction of education specialists who think List’s project is wholly off … More John List’s $10 Million Crazy Idea Field Experiment in Education