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Introducing MC Squared

We all have our little hobbies. Lately, I've started writing Nerdcore lyrics. My first attempt went something like:

Some call me MC squared, some just call me E

Vote or Die

South Park on the futility of voting, featuring a Puff Daddy video spoof. Presumably this is what inspired Sean Penn's sanctimonious letter.

Who are college students scared of?

Mike Linksvayer, who attended my seastead talk, blogs that he overheard the following comment from a student leaving the talk:

I was with him until he mentioned building a library [of copyrighted work]. A patriot missile or something could stop a [government] attack, but the media companies will never let him get away with that. Boom!

Futures Markets and the Election

The second issue of The Economist's Voice is out, and it contains a brief but interesting article Experimental Political Betting Markets and the 2004 Election. It discusses some contingent contracts that were created on Tradesports in order to test what market participants think about correlations between events (such as Osama capture and Bush re-election). So what does this mean? Read more »

Seasteading talk materials

My talk at Santa Clara U tonight went well, and I've put all the materials online, in case anyone is interested. Unfortunately there is no audio or video available, but there is audio of the similar, shorter talk I gave at FreedomFest. Even if you see floating cities as kind of crazy or utopian, it might be worth giving me a chance to persuade you otherwise. Read more »

Volokh\'s Slippery Slope

Eugene VolokhI attended a talk by Eugene Volokh tonight, as part of the local "Saturday Night Anarchy Club". While the talk was held on a Monday, belying the name, as David Friedman remarked: "Hey, why not, we're anarchists!". Read more »

Archaeological Economics of the Iraq Invasion

In a recent discussion, someone disputed the claim that Iraq "is all about the oil" by pointing out alternate strategies the US could have followed to either ensure a flow of cheap oil or to control foreign oil. This argument is insufficiently cynical. "It's all about the oil" is not "It's all about securing a flow of cheap oil for the American populace", its "It's all about making money for oil companies". Which means the relevant goal is to *decrease* world supply to drive up prices and profits - which is exactly what has happened. Read more »

Bay Area Readers - Upcoming Talk

Bay Area readers: Catallarchist Patri Friedman will be giving a talk about Seasteading at Santa Clara University next Wed. the 27th, 5:30-7PM. It's sponsored by the Civil Society Institute, open to the public, and will be at the Brass Rail in Benson Memorial Center. Read more »

Decentralized Systems Scale Better

Centralized systems can be quite alluring. They're easy to analyze because its clear how they work, and when small, they can be very efficient. Unfortunately, they don't scale well. As the system grows, there are more and more decisions to be made, yet still the same small group of people making them. The standard answer is a multi-layered bureaucracy, but decision quality degrades because of the distance between the decision makers at the top and information holders at the bottom. Read more »

Hardline Communists Aren\'t Too Bright

As you can see from this picture of the Korean peninsula at night.

North Korea and South Korean lights Read more »

Pirates and Emperors

Are really just the same, suggests this animated short, which buttresses the thesis of Micha's upcoming paper with funny images and a catchy song. While I think it was meant to be leftist, it comes off as being extraordinarily libertarian, as you can see from the opening:

NARRATOR: Story begins, you know, with old St. Augustine.
Way back in days of old he reported on this theme:
A mighty emperor had caught himself a pirate who

Who will fund research in a libertarian world?

Entrepreneurs, perhaps? Excerpts:

Gerald Rubin is looking for someone who can take a picture of a thought. To do it, he and colleagues are harnessing the powerful force of cold, hard cash -- Howard Hughes' cash, to be exact. They are building a new $400 million laboratory in the green countryside outside Washington, D.C. and hope to attract the brightest and most unconventional minds in science to find a way to look into a person's brain and see what it is doing.

Dutch Government Stuck With Pot Inventory

Because they foolishly tried to compete with the free market in growing, packaging, and selling marijuana by creating a publicly-run medicinal marijuana program. Blaming packaging and distribution costs, the government bud sells for twice as much as the plentiful coffeeshop alternative. As a result, they've only sold 175 lbs of 450 expected. The head of a cannabis research company misses the point by asking "Why is it that a legal commodity is more expensive than an illegal commodity?" Read more »

2004 Economics Nobel

This year the award was given to Finn Kydland and Edward Prescott for their work on time-inconsistency and real business cycles. Here is Marginal Revolution's explanation of time-inconsistency. Read more »

Archaeological Economics

Human Skeleton - Med

One of the great things about economics is that it teaches us unintuitive truths about how the world works and why people do what they do. Situations that appears one way viewed in the light of emotions and gut instincts often appears quite differently under the dismal science's X-Ray. Read more »