Legalize Uber

Who’s afraid of a little competition? Click on the map for a larger version.

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South Beach story

My wife and I were in Miami Beach last night. We enjoyed a late dinner at Prime 112 on Ocean Drive, and then went to Dream nightclub on 1532 Washington Street. We had fun, but I did not like the DJ at Dream. The DJ would keep interrupting the music to announce when a table in the VIP section purchased bottles (which was very frequently) and also when a table was not buying any bottles. Specifically, he called out some football players from the New England Patriots for not buying any bottles during the evening. We know that shaming and peer pressure are often very effective ways of influencing people’s behavior, but these NFL players were guests at your nightclub and were actually doing you a favor by being there …

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Let’s get ready to rumble …

Frequentists have suffered another significant setback (pun intended) in the social science world. Via the amazing Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, we’ve just learned that a psychology journal has officially banned significance testing from its pristine pages. (Also, check out this excellent blog post by Steven Novella, who describes this move as “the first real crack in the wall for the almost-universal use of the null hypothesis significance testing procedure …”) In other news, man bites dog …

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Rest in peace; it’s only logical …

The original Star Trek series, which we watched as a child, has always represented the future to us. Now, with the loss of Leonard Nimoy, it is part of our collective past …

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World Black History Month (Canary Islands edition)

We recently stumbled upon this fascinating paper titled “Black Presence in the Canary Islands (Spain)” by Roberto Nodol. According to Dr Nodol, historical documents dating as far back as 1602 indicate the presence of African slaves on the island of La Palma. These historical documents also indicate that there was a “large and uninterrupted importation of [West African] slaves to sugar-growing areas such as Tazacorte” and that a “large number of slaves … settled in some urban areas such as La Laguna and Santa Cruz de Palma.” Professor Nodol concludes that the slave population of the Canary Islands was large enough to sponsor cultural and religious festivities, such as the festivity of San Benito de Palermo (pictured below). Since his paper was published in 1981, we wonder if there has been any subsequent research on this topic. (Image courtesy of Colonial Arts.)

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Cuba libre?

Our Cuba was an imperial Spanish colony until 1898 and a prosperous quasi-colony of the United States until 1959. Now, it’s an impoverished military dictatorship. When will our Cuba be free? (Image of the “Cuba Libre board game” below courtesy of GMT Games.)

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The law and economics of Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”

Here is an edited excerpt (without the footnotes) from our latest paper “Misappropriation and The Old Man and the Sea,” which we shall be presenting at the Cuban Research Institute at FIU this Friday:

“The Old Man and the Sea” is Hemingway’s most famous novel. It is the one work specifically mentioned by the Swedish Academy in its citation awarding Hemingway the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature. Furthermore, from a financial perspective, “The Old Man and the Sea” resulted in very lucrative publishing and movie deals for Ernest Hemingway. The editors of Life magazine, for example, paid the writer a lump sum of $40,000 up front for the rights to his story. The novella was also published by the New York publisher Charles Scribner’s & Sons and has sold millions of copies worldwide … According to one scholar, the novella still earns $100,000 a year in foreign royalties. In addition, Warner Brothers turned Hemingway’s story into a major motion picture and paid Hemingway $150,000 for the screen rights to his novella. Yet at no time would Hemingway, his publishers, or the movie studio compensate any of the humble men who in one form or another helped Hemingway create the literary and film versions of “The Old Man and the Sea”–Carlos Gutiérrez, Gregorio Fuentes, and Anselmo Hernández García (pictured below).

You can find a first draft of our paper here.

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