URLs du Jour


  • It has been brought to my attention that Reason's 402 error page is on the clever side:


    I am sure I don't have to explain this joke to anyone reading this blog.

  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson brings us Good News from the Apocalypse Desk.

    For years, the loudest voices in the climate-change conversation sounded like overwrought teenaged girls, so it is only natural that the loudest voice in the climate-change conversation eventually should be that of an actual overwrought teenaged girl, Time magazine person of the year Greta Thunberg. Why settle for Paul Krugman when you can have the real thing?

    Listen to the science!” they lecture any would-be deviationist, pretending that a question of politics is a question of science. It’s a fun little status game, if that and being scolded by teenaged girls is what floats your personal boat. De gustibus, etc.

    But it does pay to check in with the scientists every now and then. And, as it turns out, they do not sound like overwrought teenaged girls. Not at all. They sound pretty sensible and — don’t tell poor Greta, or poor Professor Krugman! — surprisingly optimistic.

    But then I read something…

  • … that did sound as if it was written by an overwrought teenage girl. But it was apparently an adult male named David Karpf, writing at Wired: The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time.

    If you need to get up to speed on the clock, they have a website. Karpf finds it to be a "Gilded Age distraction".

    This appears in a magazine that tries to sell me a $500 cat litter box. But never mind that. Here's a bit I found amusing:

    The first time I corresponded with [Long Now Foundation co-founder Kevin] Kelly, our back and forth left me scratching my head for weeks. While reading WIRED’s back catalog, I’d come across a bet he made in 1995 with neo-Luddite author Kirkpatrick Sale. Sale had predicted that the digital revolution would cause a global currency collapse, open conflict between the rich and the poor, and environmental catastrophes “on a significant scale” (including the possibility that Australia would become unlivable) in the coming decades. At the conclusion of a combative interview published in the magazine, Kelly challenged Sale to a $1,000 bet that by the year 2020 “we’re not even close” to a confluence of those disasters. “We won’t even be close. I’ll bet on my optimism,” he said. This would later inspire a series of “Long Bets” that Kelly and the Long Now Foundation have pursued.

    I reached out to Kelly in 2018 to ask if he had any thoughts on the status of the bet. “He is obviously losing,” he told me, adding that he’d tried to find Kirk Sale a few years earlier to see if he’d “double up” the stakes. We were in touch again earlier this month. I wondered how the bet would be decided now that 2020 has arrived. “We did not agree on who/how the bet was to be decided,” he said. “I just recently was able to track down Kirk Sale and asked him if he was planning to pay up if he thought he lost. I don't think he will pay or even admit he lost. He also noted that 2020 wasn't done yet, so I will reapproach him at the end of the year.”

    Kevin Kelly was Wired's original executive editor. Things have gone downhill.

  • Russ Roberts writes at Medium on The Economist as Scapegoat.

    A lot of things are thought to be wrong with America these days. A rising suicide rate. Opioid addiction and deaths. Unaffordable housing in America’s most prosperous cities. Rising inequality. Pockets of poverty in the Rust Belt and elsewhere. Steadily declining jobs in the manufacturing sector. A falling marriage rate. Stagnant wages. Health care costs spiraling higher as life expectancy falls. Very high levels of government debt. Very high levels of student debt. A stubbornly high trade deficit. A failing elementary and secondary education system for many.

    Some of these problem may be mere statistical artifacts. Others may not be real problems at all. But it seems difficult to dismiss all of them. Surely, something has gone wrong.

    These kinds of social problems and processes are difficult to quantify in any way that allows for reliable statistical precision in weighting different possible explanations. It’s complicated.

    But according to some observers, the source of America’s problem isn’t complicated at all. One man and his ideology explains what ails us. Who is this man?

    Milton Friedman, of course.

    It's … inaccurate to say that Uncle Milton's ideas have held sway in America. Russ does a fine job of explaining.

  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for an article at Accountingweb by Gail Cole: Sales Tax Proposed in Tax-Free New Hampshire.

    One of just five states with no statewide sales tax, many in the Live Free or Die state are vehemently anti-sales tax.

    In fact, after the Supreme Court decided physical presence is not the sole requisite for sales tax collection (South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., June 21, 2018), New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said any state that tried to force New Hampshire businesses to collect their sales taxes would be in for “the fight of their life.”  Yet, not everyone in New Hampshire agrees that all sales taxes should be avoided.

    New Hampshire Representatives Skip Cleaver and Mark King recently introduced a bill that would establish a 4.3 percent tax on the retail sale of electronic devices. Specifically, House Bill 1492 would require every vendor of the following electronics products to collect tax from purchasers:

    Well, there follows a list of products. A couple weeks back Drew Cline [Josiah Bartlett Center] looked at the various tax proposals being pushed in the current NH legislative session.

Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:53 AM EDT