Archive for January, 2012

Recently, a report in the Daily Mail called into question the widespread view that global warming is caused by CO2 emissions:

Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about

The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun.

The Wall Street Journal also published an article arguing in the same way. It was signed by sixteen leading scientists:

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.


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Referring to my previous post, it might be important to emphasize that this interview dates back no less than thirty years. However, Dr. Sowell has not changed much since then. Last year, he gave an interview to Uncommon Knowledge hosted by Peter Robinson:

President Obama follows a one-step vision. He doesn’t care about what will be the repercussions.

It is part of the whole thing about third parties wanting to make decisions for which they pay no price when they are wrong.

Thomas Sowell is one of the very few old-school conservatives. Overall, there are many thoughts I totally share. Sometimes he may hold some rather odd views (e.g. endorsing Rick Perry) but overall, I guess, he is such a sharp and pleasant contrast to American politics these days. Let aside his views on foreign policy or the war on terror, there is much we can learn from him. Especially about how to deal with statistics and how to see through misleading rhetoric.

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Dr. Thomas Sowell and William F. Buckley discuss economic disparities in the American society:

Even if you look at activities that are totally within their own control, which television programs to watch for instance, [you find huge disparities across the various subpopulations].

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soft paternalism

At a Frankfurt-based conference this week, Professor Armin Falk from Bonn University explained his ideas on the so-called soft paternalism. You can find the full audio file as well as an interview (German only) online.

One of his examples is organ donation. Referring to a paper by Johnson and Goldstein in Science, Falk pointed to the huge difference in effective consent rates between opt-in and opt-out countries:

Effective consent rates by country // source: Science vol. 302

Consider that every policy must have a no-action default, and defaults impose physical, cognitive, and, in the case of donation, emotional costs on those who must change their status.

Our data […] suggest changes in defaults could increase donations in the United States of additional thousands of donors a year. Because each donor can be used for about three transplants, the consequences are substantial in lives saved.

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Free to Choose has been the title of both one of the greatest economics textbooks and television series by economists Milton and Rose D. Friedman. The other day I found the whole collection of ten episodes on youtube. If you have not already read the book, I may suggest to you to get a copy for about $10 and study it. Up until delivery, you may have a look at the TV episodes:

Free to Choose videos

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Experts from the Cato Institute analyze and discuss President Obama’s State of the Union Address 2012:

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centralized europe

In a great 9-minute speech, British journalist and Member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan points out the nonsense of centralizing Europe:

Decentralization is of the essence of the spirit of Europe.

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safety regulation

An interesting video by the Discovery Channel on how federal regulation affects gold miners:

Job Killer? You’re damn right it is.

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chaplin meets zimmer

In The Great Dictator, Charly Chaplin’s 1940 satire on Nazi Germany, dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a double: a poor Jewish barber. One day he is mistaken for Hynkel and delivers a brilliant speech. Recently, someone has added Hans Zimmer’s soundrack Time to the video. The result is nothing but outstanding:

So long as men die, liberty will never perish.

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economic models

Quotation from Derek Neal, Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago:

You can run from economic models but you can’t hide from them.

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