Tag Archives: Current Affairs

The Coase Theorem and the Game of Chicken

Note: this post was revised and updated on 13 April 2014. There are only two parties to this particular dispute, a public agency and a private cattle rancher (thus so-called “transaction costs” are low), so what’s preventing them from negotiating a … Continue reading

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A hypothetical question

The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas recently convened a Civil Rights Summit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet no one at the summit raised the most obvious question: is the old Civil Rights Act still … Continue reading

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Is SeaWorld guilty of false imprisonment?

Right now a controversial piece of draft legislation, Assembly Bill 2140, is pending before the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee of the California State Assembly. This bill would require SeaWorld San Diego to stop using killer whales in its iconic marine shows and to … Continue reading

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Acts of love …

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush got it right … calling for compassion for illegal immigrants and recognizing that most undocumented workers come to the US to provide for their families: “Yes, they broke the law,” Mr Bush told a reporter, “but it’s not a … Continue reading

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What’s the probability that Russia will annex additional Ukrainian territory?

We think it is high, very high. After all, Russia has already annexed the whole of the Crimean peninsula without a real fight. Why won’t she annex other pro-Russian regions too, especially the eastern oblasts of Ukraine? Like Adolf Hitler after the 1938 … Continue reading

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Why isn’t the Crimean peninsula worth defending?

She is certainly worth stealing and taking by force, which is what the Russian Federation appears to be doing as we write up this pithy blog post … If you were an advisor to Oleksandr Turchynov, the new (and unelected) prime minister … Continue reading

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A quick critique of Nate Silver’s new website

The new FiveThirtyEight website, which launched last Monday (17 March 2014), purports to offer data journalism in a wide variety of fields, not just politics (the original focus of the original FiveThirtyEight website), but also economics, science, sports, and (our favorite) “life”. … Continue reading

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Fair or foul? Bayesian reasoning and Flight 370

Note: this post was revised and expanded during the morning of 20 March 2014. What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Specifically, do you have any “priors” about what may have happened, e.g. sabotage, terrorism, pilot error, mechanical failure, an electrical … Continue reading

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What’s the best* way to find a missing Boeing 777?

a.  Police — call up the FBI, INTERPOL, etc. to pursue all possible leads and conduct a formal police investigation of the passengers, crew, and cargo aboard the missing jet. b.  Military — call up the commanding officers of the US Navy, NATO, … Continue reading

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Snowden speaks

Edward Snowden spoke via satellite to an audience at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas earlier today. Here is the complete transcript of Snowden’s remarks, and here are Snowden’s thoughts on the lack of judicial and political accountability of U.S. public surveillance programs: … Continue reading

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