Subject line and link courtesy of JR (my favourite drug dealer).
And about the subject line? JR's version of schadenfreude. The subject line of the email message he sent with the link was, "Pleasingly displeasing".
These would make excellent gifts for some people, but I haven't seen any on Amazon. ;-)
There appears to be some evidence that the use of marijuana for pain relief leads to less opioid addiction and fewer deaths resulting from opioid overdoses.
According to an abstract published online this past week by JAMA Internal Medicine, the use of medical marijuana in states that have legalized the drug for prescription purposes have led to significantly lower opioid-overdose mortality rates. ...
Their findings showed that states which had medical cannabis laws in place over this time period (13 states in total, 10 of which enacted medical marijuana laws between 1999 and 2010) had, "a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without cannabis laws." In other words, when medical marijuana was an option for physicians to turn to, there were fewer opioid-abuse deaths.
As you can probably surmise by now, a nearly 25% reduction in opioid-induced mortality would likely translate into big savings for the healthcare system (although it's hard to know how much for sure, since the JAMA study didn't go into non-mortality specifics). ...
Perhaps the most attractive component of this past week's abstract was that the trend toward lowered opioid-induced mortality tended to increase as time went on.
In the first year following medical marijuana approval on a state level the rate of opioid-induced overdoses that led to death dropped by 19.9%. By the sixth year following the passage of medical marijuana laws, this reduction had increased to 33.3%. Secondary analyses of these findings confirmed the initial study.
Clearly I absolutely need a prescription for medical marijuana. But should I actually ever get a prescription, I will be looking more for good recipes for ingestion -- I'm not keen on smoking the stuff.
As I wrote before,
There are loads of healthy (and otherwise) recipes at The Stoner's Cookbook.
Apparently Arctic Sea ice has grown dramatically over the past two years, contrary to the predictions of the more dire forecasts.
The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.
This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006, ... and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.
Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres.
Who knows what the long-term trend really is and whether it has changed? Different people take different years as their starting point for measuring the long-term trend, and they obtain quite different trend lines as a result. As I wrote nearly two years ago, who knows?
...year-to-year fluctuations seriously mask the long-term trends, if there are any.
Is the growth in Arctic Sea ice over the past two years just a blip deviation from a downward trend? Or is it a sign that the downward trend doesn't exist, no longer exists, has shifted, or is much flatter than some have argued?
In trying to answer this question, remember that forecasting errors have confidence intervals that expand massively the farther into the future one tries to predict, looking like exponential horns. E.g. Google references many images showing this phenomenon.
Fit a trend line to global temperatures (keeping in mind that even that concept is contentious). Then calculate the variance around that trend line. Now use that variance to project confidence intervals for future global temperatures. Once that is done, you are led to the inexorable conclusion that it is very difficult to say with much confidence what will happen in the future to global temperatures.
Here is one attempt. This one uses just short time segments to make forecasts, and even these confidence intervals expand.
Other images there have different starting points and use different estimation techniques. One of my favourites is this one, indicating that the IPCC predicted much greater deviation from long term trend than seems to be occurring:
I'll be in this production of Death of a Salesman playing Charley, the next door neighbour (who seems to be one of the few honest, sane people in the play).
I love this production. The director, Jason Rip, has a terrific perspective which should open some people's eyes. And the cast is amazingly good, especially the two leads: Rob Faust as Willy Loman and Deb Mitchell as Linda Loman.
If you want to come to the $9 preview on the 18th, book tickets early. The other performances are $20, but seating is very limited, so even for those shows it's a good idea to book tickets early. The ticket-booking site is a bit complex because there are two different theatres at the same site, and the other one is doing "Noises Off" (which I'd love to see, if we can work out some way to visit one of their rehearsals).
Questions to consider, for those who know the play:
Performances at Procunier Hall (of the Palace Theatre):
September 18-20 8pm
September 21 2pm
September 24-27 8pm
For tickets, call 519-432-1029
The intersection between economics and psychology is huge, especially in areas of reinforcement, responding to incentives, learning theory, etc. Both disciplines rely heavily on the concept that people respond to incentives.
Psychologists have known for decades that animals also respond to incentives. Witness the early work with dogs [Pavlov] and rats [Skinner, Guthrie, et al.]
But this story about pandas seems almost more like economics [ht Jack]:
A giant Chinese panda has been accused of faking a pregnancy in a cunning bid for free buns.
Ai Hin seemed to display all the signs of an expectant mother, including moving less and initially having a smaller appetite....
However, it seems that Ai Hin had everyone duped and was never pregnant at all.
It seems the panda had learnt that her pregnancy news would see her rewarded with plenty of extra buns.
Wu Kongju, a panda expert told China's state news agency Xinhua that giant pandas are moved into a single room with air conditioning when pregnant.
"They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life."
A Facebook friend nominated me to list 10 books that have stayed with me the longest or have changed me in some way. Feel free to list 10 yourselves on your own blogs or in the comments here, and consider this a nomination. I posted this list yesterday on Facebook, but here it is again with links.
1. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. This book probably did more than anything else to nudge me away from being a socialist toward being a libertarian.
2. Industrial Concentration: The New Learning by Goldschmidt, Mann, and Weston. The collection of papers in this volume pitted the east-coast interventionists against the Chicago-UCLA economists studying industrial organization. I'd been trained as a "Bainsian" by the former, but this book pushed me toward the Chicago/UCLA approach.
3. The Economic Way of Thinking. When I first saw this book in 1984, I fell in love with the approach and later had the opportunity to write the Canadian edition.
4. Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot. I read the entire collection in chronological during my first summer in grad school.
5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I think this might have been the first novel I ever read on my own initiative.
6. Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe. Some of the best mystery stories ever written.
7. Summerhill by A. S. Neill. What a bizarre, intriguing approach to education and parenting. I loved it at the time. Not so much now.
8. Black Like Me by John Howard Griffen. As a young white man, this book gave me insights that guided me through much of the rest of my life.
9. The Economic Analysis of Law by Richard A. Posner. I reviewed the first edition of the book in the early 1970s and had my mind blown/altered on so many topics through his careful applications of economics. It is still my go-to book when teaching Economic Analysis of Law.
10a. I'm not sure this qualifies, but I have spent more time with this paperback than with most other books: the pocket score for Dvorak's New World Symphony.
10b. I'd be remiss in not mentioning Bill James' 1984 Baseball Abstract. It put me on the road toward Sabremetrics and becoming a baseball sportscaster.
. . . . . . . . .
According to the Washington Post, couples who smoke marijuana are more mellow and less likely to engage in domestic violence [via JAB]:
A new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo finds a significantly lower incidence of domestic violence among married couples who smoke pot. "Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent IPV [intimate partner violence] perpetration," the study concludes.
These findings were robust even after controlling for things like demographic variables, behavioral problems, and alcohol use. The authors studied data from 634 couples over nine years of marriage, starting in 1996. Couples were administered regular questionnaires on a variety of issues, including recent drug and alcohol use and instances of physical aggression toward their spouses.
The trouble is, smoking can lead to lung cancer. If you're going use marijuana, it's probably healthier to ingest it. There are loads of healthy (and otherwise) recipes at The Stoner's Cookbook.
A drunken prowler ended up "breaking into" the home Liberal Party leader, Justing Trudeau and wasn't charged. See this, for example. I have a couple of questions.
From today's Daily Alert:
In Gaza, Cease-Fire Celebrated with Massive Gunfire - Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub
Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday that they agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war after seven weeks of fighting. In Gaza, massive celebratory gunfire erupted after 7 p.m. Chants normally reserved for Muslim holidays could be heard from mosque loudspeakers.
The details of the cease-fire would effectively mean Hamas and Islamic Jihad settled for terms that are similar to those that ended more than a week of fighting with Israel in 2012. Under those terms, Israel promised to ease restrictions gradually, while Hamas pledged to halt rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Even though it apparently had little to show for it, Hamas declared victory. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Cease-Fire Extended, But Not on Hamas' Terms - Jodi Rudoren
Israeli and Palestinian leaders reached an open-ended cease-fire agreement on Tuesday. Hamas declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle's seventh day.
"The human catastrophe is just very immense, it's getting worse and worse every day, and I think that's one of the reasons Hamas took into consideration in accepting the cease-fire," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. "The mood is very critical of Israel, but they are also asking questions of Hamas: Why did we have to go through all this? Why is there no cease-fire? Why did we provoke Israel into this war? More and more questions are in the minds of the Palestinians, especially in this last week." (New York Times)
See also Hamas Calls to Extend Its "Victory" to the West Bank and Jerusalem - Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar appeared on the streets of Gaza on Tuesday for the first time since the beginning of the fighting to declare celebrations for the "victory" against Israel. He called for copying the Gaza experience in the West Bank and Jerusalem in order to prepare for the "project of liberation."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Palestinian achievement was in "paving the way for the next phase of liberating Jerusalem and ! the land of Palestine. Today, we are closer to Jerusalem."
Israel Channel 2 TV reported that the cease-fire deal was foisted upon Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who lives in Qatar, by Hamas' leadership living amid the ruins of Hamas' victory. (Jerusalem Post) [emphasis added].
Typical war-time propaganda, reminiscent of "newspeak" from George Orwell's 1984.
One can only hope that war-weariness will lead to compromises and peace. But with the extremists in Gaza and the West Bank on one hand and the extremist expansionists in Israel on the other hand, I'm skeptical that peace will be lasting there.
Judge Richard A Posner, who is also a prolific writer/economist/philosopher/lawyer/professor, defended libertarian views and freedom in a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on gay marriage. From the NYTimes,
CHICAGO — Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to laws, now defunct, that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.
Often-blistering questions by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, for defenders of the bans on same-sex marriage could be a signal that the laws may be in trouble — at least at this step in the legal process.
Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when the Wisconsin assistant attorney general, Timothy C. Samuelson, repeatedly pointed to tradition as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage. Judge Posner said, “It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away.” Prohibition of same-sex marriage, he said, derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays.
Regular readers of EclectEcon know how much I admire and respect the work of Richard Posner. I was disappointed that he argued for Keynesian-type macroeconomic fiscal stimulus during the 2007-9 financial crisis, but other than that his work has always been first-rate. And because of that I constantly remind people that he deserves a Nobel Prize in economics.
There are many FB memes talking about how wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters are. Despite my apparent addiction to FB, I have yet to see any of these things talking about how wonderful dads, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers are. I always want to post comments, correcting or adding to them, but that would become both tiresome and tiring.
Am I missing the ones mentioning males? Or is there some other explanation?
For several decades when we lived in single-family private dwellings we had natural gas hook-ups installed so we could barbecue year-round with little difficulty. It was terrific.
Three years ago, though, we moved into a condo unit where the natural gas lines cannot be installed to the balconies; we have had to give up the idea of continuing our use of natural gas to barbecue.
Provincial law forbids carrying propane tanks in elevators, and I'm not about to lug one up the stairs to our unit, so propane bbqs are not a good solution.
After several false starts, we finally came across the Dimplex electric grill. Unfortunately, Dimplex seems to have decided not to produce electric grills any longer, but we quite like this one. I hope it lasts a long time.
Recently, we wondered whether we might enjoy using a Cook-Air grill that uses hockey-puck-shaped pieces of hardwood or composite fuel, and so we bought one from our local Lowe's. It does indeed heat up quickly, get amazingly hot, and cook quickly. Also, it cools off quickly and cleans up pretty easily. It would be great for tailgating, for sure.
But we will probably give ours to a family member. It smokes quite a bit, even if you trim off as much of the fat as possible, and I really don't want to impose that externality on our neighbours. And to be honest, I don't want to trim the fat, and I like the smokey flavour. The Cook-Air is probably better-suited to tailgating or places where smoke is less of a problem.
Also, after inquiring, we learned that having a wood-type fire on our balcony (albeit small and very well-contained) might not be consistent with all our condo rules.
So.... for us it's back to the electric Dimplex grill, which has been fine (aside from not really searing the meat and not cooking very fast).
Meanwhile, if you have suggestions that don't involve huge propane tanks, charcoal, or wood, we would be happy to reconsider.
Scott Sumner asks this question in a postscript to this post at The Money Illusion. Here is the postscript:
PS. If you insist on asking parents what they would think of their children doing something, then FOR GOD SAKE DON’T ASK AMERICAN PARENTS. Reason just ran this story:
A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.
What’s more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).
Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities—we have lost all touch with reality.
“I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children’s abilities more than we North Americans do today,” says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.
I’ve talked to both European and Asian parents about this, and both seem to think American parents are utterly insane in their attitudes toward leaving children unattended. Do we really want to rely on the moral intuitions of crazy people?
So many of my friends and I had pretty much free rein as we grew up. We spent many unsupervised hours at the neighbourhood park, we rode the bus downtown a couple of times a week, and we rode our bikes all over creation. As Scott Sumner writes,
Do we really want to rely on the moral intuitions of crazy people?
My actor/director/producer friend, Kerry Hishon nominated me for this award. She writes an excellent blog about theatre, mostly, as well as other aspects of her life. It is one of the very few blogs to which I subscribe. Her blog posts inspired me to post my "Theatre Briefs" as blog post entries. Thanks for the nomination, Kerry!
I've been writing EclectEcon for nearly ten years. I owe its origin primarily to Tyler Cowen and Craig Newmark, both of whom encouraged me and helped me in the early days of writing the blog. Through blogging I have met some very good friends over the past decade [e.g., see this] and learned so much more than I would have otherwise.
My life has changed, and so has the content of the blog. But I still enjoy sharing my views, reactions, analyses, and perspectives here.
It is with great pleasure that I accept Kerry's nomination, but it is with some hesitation that I nominate others. Here are the rules for those nominated (I hasten to add that I see no reason for those I nominate to obey any or all of these rules):
Seven Facts about me:
Blogs I nominate:
I don't read blogs nearly as avidly as I used to, but here are the ones that I continue to read regularly or semi-regularly. I nominate these:
The Trono Blue Jays just beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in extra innings. But the game was completed under protest by the Devil Rays.
It looks to me as if the review should not have been allowed, given this understanding of the MLB rules, as provided by the mediots.
If so, the protest will be allowed, and the game will have to be replayed from that point on.
The only reason I can see for not allowing the protest is that perhaps it should have been lodged before the review was carried out and not after the review decision was made. But maybe that depends on what was said between the DRs and the umpires before the review was granted.
A Facebook friend recently posted about his son's having received a letter from the US Selective Service System. His comment:
My son received his notification of ownership from the federal government today. This is as bogus as it is sexist.
No foolin'. It smacks of slavery and it is definitely sexist. I await continued anti-discrimination challenges.
I managed to avoid the draft when I was a young adult. I registered 8 days late, but that didn't seem to matter to my local draft board, and while I was an undergraduate, I had a 2-S (student deferment). Odd, that. It was called a deferment, colloquially, implying I'd owed some time to the US gubmnt at some later point in my life.
After my undergraduate studies, I attended The Chicago Theological Seminary from 1965 - 67. While I was there, I qualified for a 4-D [ministerial] classification which apparently emanated historically from the separation of church and state or something like that.
During my second year in seminary, I became a conscientious objector. I innundated my draft board with essays I had written, sermons and prayers I had written and delivered, etc. However, I had no desire to have a 1-O [conscientious objector] classification because I did not wish to be forced by my draft board to do alternative service.
When I left seminary to continue my economics studies in graduate school at Iowa State, I was able to use many of the courses I had taken in seminary as "electives" in grad school, thus re-qualifying me for a 2S classification while I earned my PhD. I managed to escape the infamous draft lottery.
In 1971 I left grad school to take a job at The University of Western Ontario. I notified my draft board of my change in status and argued that I should receive a 2-A classification because I would "be educating our allies" in Canada. The draft board disagreed and reclassified me as 1-O, a conscientious objector.
During my first year in Canada, I lost my wallet, along with my draft card. I wrote the draft board requesting a new card because I wanted to be sure I had one whenever I crossed the border.
They wrote back that they had destroyed my file.
That's right, they had destroyed my file. They had given up on their ownership claim to two years of my labour services.
A few years later, I learned that the high school I attended in Muskegon, Michigan, had had the highest high school dropout rate in the US. The draft board had lots of fodder to meet their quota, and they didn't need to worry about me.
I was lucky. I had friends who were drafted, some of whom died in Vietnam, and I had friends who moved to Canada. But I also had numerous friends who helped me work the system for all it was worth. I expect high school dropouts in general had less knowledge of how to maneuver through the system.
At the same time, Milton Friedman's arguments in favour of abolishing the draft were gaining considerable popularity, especially among young people (surprise, surprise!).
My Facebook friend's comments are spot on: Selective service is an ownership claim; when it was actually used for the draft, it was an ownership claim to two years of a young man's life. It is also a tax imposed on young people. And, as practiced in the US, it is blatantly sexist.
Kidnapping: Deterrence and ExpectationsRecently a former Canadian resident was kidnapped in Iraq, held for ransom, and murdered before the ransom could be paid.
Toronto — Iraqi gunmen have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Baghdad, a slaying that occurred despite the fact his family was preparing to pay $250,000 demanded for his release.I have made the following position very clear to my family. I hope these wishes are honoured:
Zaid Meerwali fled dictator Saddam Hussein's Iraq to live in Canada in the early 1990s. His family says he became a successful chartered accountant before returning to his homeland early this year to get married and start an import-export business.
Then, slightly more than two weeks ago, 10 gunmen disguised as police officers stormed into his compound, hitting his wife with a rifle butt and stealing cash and jewellery before throwing Mr. Meerwali into the back of one of three waiting pickup trucks, his brother, Munir, said yesterday.
If I am ever kidnapped, do everything possible to inflict costs (time costs and other costs) on the criminals. Do what you can to help apprehend and incarcerate and/or kill them. At the same time, it would be nice if you could free me, but that must not be the most important objective.
In the end, do not pay any ransom. If a delivery of cash is expected, delay it. If a delivery must be made, deliver a bomb instead. Whatever you do, don't pay a ransom.
I am older than middle-aged; I have had a good life. Pain does not scare me (though I do not wish to experience it). But I would rather the money stayed with my family than go to criminals. And I understand completely about familial love; they should pay nothing.
Will my having made this statement public have any deterrent effect on potential kidnappers?Or will they interpret it as a strategy from someone whose family would pay anything to get him back?
If the latter, they seriously misunderstand both my net worth and my family.
Is it just my imagination, or did every team that gave up a starting position player to trade for better pitching go into a slump after the trade? Detroit and Oakland come to mind especially.
If so, it's consistent with my earlier observation here where I noted that in May the Trono Blue Jays had the best hitting and the worst pitching while leading the American League.
While the mathjocks among you might recognize this structure as a (fractal) Sierpinski Tetrahedron, note that it was constructed with baseball bats and softballs [ht JH]:
JH adds, "the photo comes from a book in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Insitute of Mathematics at the Royal Society, copyright Gwen Fisher."[cf this site]
It seems appropriate to post this now, as I prepare to head off to Labatt Memorial Park in London to watch game 7 of the IBL semi-finals, between the London Majors and the Kitchener Panthers.
Update: The London Majors won the game and now move on to the finals for the league championship.
Over the past six months we have been forced to face even more of the signs of aging. I have had to take a few days to try to come to grips with this reality.
It is difficult to accept that I can no longer pretend I am a fifty-year-old who imagines he can do the things a thirty-year-old can do.
I love my life, and I love the experiences and knowledge that come with age. I love all the adventures I still embrace. I even love the lessons I have learned as well as the lessons I have decided not to learn or have overtly decided to unlearn.
But I resent the constant reminders that physical (and mental) deteriorations persist --- e.g. deaths of friends and relatives, illnesses, lost stamina, etc.
When I was in my 50s, I often imagined I could still do things that I could do when I was in my 30s; in fact, I often did those things and more, in part to prove to myself that I still could do them and in part to deny the aging process.
It doesn't work that way anymore.
And I must work at adaptation.