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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 04:11:03 PM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Wake". Watching: "Carnage". Links.


What I'm Reading
Finished Wake by Robert Sawyer. Somewhat old-school SF bringing an old idea up to date. The human elements are a bit perfunctory, with the blind high-school heroine never quite convincing. The ideas and science side are great though. The idea of a computer network accidentally gaining sentience has been raised in a waffly way many times, but never in such a plausible way, with lots of good information science details.

Worth reading if you like high-concept SF, but the protagonist could be a bit irritating if you need well-rounded characters and relationships in your fiction.

What I'm Watching
Saw the movie Carnage at home. Adaption of a stage play where two New York couples meet to discuss an incident where their children fought, and the initial brittle calm descends into furious emotional battles.

Pretty good movie. Very funny in places, and with great performances, especially from Jodie Foster. The characters are deliberately a little obnoxious, but not totally unsympathetic.

Weaknesses: feels pretty stage-bound, makes no attempt to leave the one set. Also the ending didn't really seem apocalyptic enough.

Overall, worth a look.

Review, review, review, review.

Links
Economics. Model analyses whether UK austerity should have been delayed. Down with shareholder value. Five-year credit drought crunches the recovery, Lessens from Sweden. Are Americans better off than the Dutch?

Random. Victorian roller skating.

Sci/Tech. Google reveals sites with most copyright takedowns. Pharma company sues over paper.

Politics. Boundary changes worth about 1.6% swing. "Porn trial" ruins Simon Walsh's career.

< So... | what i've been up to >
Back on tour, one two three | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Uh... by ana (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 04:40:33 PM EST
I'm not exactly sure what PPP dollars are, but having the log of income in those units be 9.5 for Americans is Just Wrong. The median income is not, and never has been 3 billion dollars a year; neither has it (on the assumption that they mean natural logs) been $13,000 for a very long time.

When they get the graphs beaten into plausible shape, I'll listen to the argument.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

PPP by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 04:58:39 PM EST
Is Purchasing Power Parity, which lets you compare living standards across different nations, by adjusting the dollar values for how much stuff you can buy at each country's prices.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Makes sense. by ana (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:03:11 PM EST
Their numbers, however, still don't.

This concept reminds me of a discussion among scientists here a few years ago (not long after the Berlin Wall came down, iirc) about post-doctoral salaries in units of pints of local beer.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
*Sigh* by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:12:03 PM EST
They're pretty respectable figures. Dani Rodrik is a leading development economist who I've been following for years, his source is this guy.

The point isn't the scale, the point is the shape. Because the Dutch S-curve is so much shallower, the poorest Dutch earners are better off than the poorest Americans, while the richest Americans are better off than the richest Dutch. That would be obscured if you only look at mean or median incomes, but didn't look at the distributions.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
My point is... by ana (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:16:36 PM EST
that none of the numbers on any of the charts that have units of money make any sense whatsoever. So how can I blindly trust that the shape of the curves has any verisimilitude?? I'd love to have an income of 30 billion a year.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Sorry by ana (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:19:28 PM EST
3 billion.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
I don't have the book that's the source by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:28:25 PM EST
I expect the dollars and Euros are adjusted for inflation to an arbitrary year in the past. The dollar a day poverty line uses 1993 as a reference year, but this could be a different year altogether.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
It says... by ana (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:36:14 PM EST
in the article you cite, "2004 PPP-adjusted dollars". So unless they're adjusting to 1936 or something (and using natural logarithms, cleverly forgetting to note that fact), still: nonsense.

I also note that he says in the text that the lowest 5% (in the 2nd chart) have nearly twice the income in the Netherlands vs. the US; reading the chart we get 7.5 (US) and 8.5 (NL), so one unit is a factor of two, which would mean base 2 logarithms, and the median income (again the mystical 9.5) would be 2^9.5 = 724 "2004 PPP-adjusted dollars".

Nonsense. 

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Sorry by ana (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:41:10 PM EST
2005.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
2005 is for the top graph by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:51:05 PM EST
Which is a comparison of the US and China. He doesn't state what the unit is for the second graph of the US and the Netherlands.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Looks like the axis might indeed be mislabeled by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 08:48:00 AM EST
It should count from 8 to 12 not 7 to 11.

log(35452) = 10.475934947858288

2005 US per capita income $35452

http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
It's like The Economist's Big Mac Index. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 08:49:05 AM EST
Only with worse math, per Ana.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
David Smith... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 05:36:16 PM EST
is a little sketchy on Sweden. Surely an important point is that since their banking system was already in better shape (thanks to the earlier crisis) and had better plans for dealing with this crisis (actually nationalising banks and liquidating shareholders and giving bondholders huge haircuts) then they currently have a working credit system - which enables their high end industries to keep growing and exporting.

It's also odd how different his conclusions on delay are from the author's of the report he quotes to back himself up:

The good news is that, in the long run, in our model at least, it does all wash out; whatever the path of consolidation, the economy eventually returns to long-run equilibrium. What this analysis shows is that the economic pain resulting from fiscal consolidation could not have been avoided, but could have been substantially reduced. The standard policy prescription – to delay deficit reduction until after recovery is clearly under way and the output shortfall significantly reduced – remains valid.

And what they don't say is that the bad news is that in the real world it doesn't all wash out because of the hysteresis effects in unemployment. We're busy losing a large part of a generation from productive lives.

Mr Smith believes in an urgency of deficit cutting that has been disproven by Britain's own history, by Japan in recent years and even by the experiences of fast growing economies like South Korea prior to the IMF intervention. He's not grounded in empirical observation.





Simon Walsh by Herring (4.00 / 5) #12 Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 06:06:37 PM EST
He's a barrister. There's plenty of law work around - surely he can find a way to keep his hand in.

I'll get my coat.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

Yes but its not really a joking matter is it? by dmg (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 06:41:10 AM EST
You may or may not enjoy fisting/being fisted but it's not illegal between consenting adults. People have a right to a private sex life even if it is a bit unconventional.
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
You're not wrong by Scrymarch (4.00 / 2) #17 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:21:45 AM EST
But there's no need to get arsey about it.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
The CPS by darkbrown (4.00 / 3) #18 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:04:17 AM EST
were very ham-fisted in their approach

[ Parent ]
I'm sure if he'd done anything wrong by Herring (4.00 / 2) #19 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:34:21 AM EST
he'd be the first to put his hand up.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
The whole court case by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #20 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 11:23:06 AM EST
must have been a real pain in the arse. A lot of shit stirring in the newspapers etc.

[ Parent ]
First they came for the anal fisters... by dmg (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 03:49:27 PM EST
And I did not speak out because I was not an anal fister...
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I agree it's a serious subject by Herring (4.00 / 1) #22 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 06:04:25 PM EST
but hopefully, after getting this thrown out of court, they will stop prosecuting on this stupid law.

The sinister aspect is that this guy's job was prosecuting bent coppers. And suddenly they raid him for dodgy porn - including one unsolicited, unread mail in his inbox (fnar) alleged to feature someone underage (it wasn't).

Also I think we're out of fisting gags now.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Run out? by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 09:43:51 AM EST
You mean we reached the end? Wow, that's deep.



[ Parent ]
I'm sure the definition of "joke" by Herring (4.00 / 3) #24 Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:14:40 AM EST
can be stretched to accommodate almost anything.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Austerity in a Recovery/Recession by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 06:52:58 AM EST
There were those in the economics field that called that out at the time, but weren't listened to.  The politicians wanted to engage in autsterity and listened to the economists who gave them the information they wanted.  It's the same in business circles. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
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