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What\'s Wrong With This Picture?

From this morning's Boston Sunday Globe --

American League

East W L Pct. GB

BOSTON 46 33 .582 --
Baltimore 44 36 .550 2 1/2
Toronto 41 40 .506 6
New York 40 39 .506 6
Tampa Bay 27 54 .333 20

Is it too much to ask that the teams be placed in their proper position?

Misplaced Faith

Mark Thoma on inflation

I don’t believe we will see significant inflation – the Fed will not let that happen –

The Day the Music Died

With regret, I have today completed the dispersal of the Austrian Philharmonic Orchestra as trapped in 24 carat 1 oz. gold coins.

For $439 apiece, I have exchanged my last 34 pieces of real Austrian money for a single printed number on a piece of paper, which by tomorrow, will have effectively evaporated and left only ghostly electronic traces in a BofA computer, soon to once again take flight over the wires and head for California and the grasping attention of Charles Schwab.

Life goes on.

Truth or Fairy Tale?, Interesting Reading Either Way

I haven't yet read this in its entirety, but it appears that there must be controversy in there somewhere.

The Oil We Eat
Following the food chain back to Iraq
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004. Originally from Harper's Magazine, February 2004. By Richard Manning.

Behind the Hedonic Pricing Fallacy, a Misunderstanding of Money

Following up on a previous post here, an over-simplified example may help demonstrate that hedonic pricing adjustments for quality increases in goods are not compatible with a proper understanding of money and prices.

Assume that money can only buy one thing. In particular, for $20 you can rent a Yugo sedan for a four hour summer drive in the country. With this European import, the air conditioning option consists of the rental agent knocking out all of the side windows. Read more »

What is a \'three-digit industry\'?

See this.

Meat-cutting for Wendy's?

The Advancement of Laundry Technology

From my apartment complex's 2005 Summer News Letter --

Another exciting change is in all the laundry rooms. New Front Load Washing Machines and Dryers with 'Smart Card' technology (no more quarters) will be installed. Each tenant will be issued a card that will activate the machine. In each of the main laundry rooms and at the office there will be a card refill center. You will be able to insert whatever dollar amount you want and it will add value to your card. Read more »

The Real Definition of Crime

Crime is anything that a prosecutor believes will advance his dream of becoming State AG and then Governor.

Proof That Steroids Cause Insanity

California out in front again.

Schwarzenegger unveils plan to combat global warming, greenhouse gas.

...He formally launched the gathering with a signing of an executive order mandating that greenhouse gas emissions in California be cut to year 2000 levels in the next five years, and that they be 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050....

True or False?

From a throw-away factoid(?) found in a mystery novel --

Silk is warmer than wool and stronger than steel.

Hedonic Pricing, an Economic House of Cards

Hedonic pricing can roughly be described as a tool used by government economic statisticians to deal with the problem of tracking the prices of goods over time when the actual goods themselves evolve. In particular, it is believed that such national economic statistics as consumer price indices, gross domestic product, and productivity can be improved upon by adjusting the actual goods prices paid in response to changes in the quality of the goods.

There are a number of things wrong with this approach, but for simplicity, I'll try to concentrate on the idea that increases in the quality of goods can compensate for the loss of purchasing power of the dollar due to monetary supply inflation. This is the most important use of hedonic pricing as it is used to attempt to adjust future mandated government transfer payments and union contract wages, for example. Read more »

Who Says That Calculation Is Impossible?

Central Planning and Calculation in the European Union

Europe's $86 billion research program to create 925,000 jobs, says report

The Ultimate Scarcity, Sense on the Social Security Trust Fund

In a recent Tech Central Station article, David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper have accomplished what empirical evidence seems to indicate has been incredibly difficult, i.e. making sense of the reality of the Social Security Trust Fund. Read more »