Recent Posts

    Mon, Jul 28, 2014

    The Benefits of a Little Market Competition, ASA Calendar Edition

    Last Saturday, while trying to plan my ASA schedule, I got a little irritated at the official website and calendar, which I found quite clunky to navigate and lacking in some basic features. In particular the site wanted me to assemble a ‘personal meeting schedule’ by adding events to a list stored on the server and accessible only by logging in and clicking through several screens. Like most people attending ASA, (1) I do many other things at the conference besides attend sessions, like meeting people for coffee or dinner, and I want to schedule these as well; and (2) I have my own calendar, on my phone, where I keep those appointments.
    Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    Get ASA 2014 Meeting Events into your Calendar More Easily

    I got sick of navigating the ASA Meeting Calendar thing, so I threw together something some of you might find useful. Instead of logging in to the ASA site and dealing with it, use this ASA 2014 Schedule instead to easily add conference events to your regular calendar The pages list what’s happening on various days, but also—and this is the potentially useful part—every event has an associated .ics file for you to download and import into your preferred calendar application, such as iCal, Outlook, Google Calendar, and so on.
    Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    This is Just to Say he Wishes

    Had I the heavens’ enripened fruits, Abloom with their epicuticular wax, Cherry and sloe and chickasaw fruits, Blue damson, greengage, mirabelle snacks, I would make for you plum jam so sweet: But I, being peckish, ate yours while alone I have eaten the plums you kept out of the heat Tread softly because there may be a stone. (After this.)
    Sun, May 4, 2014

    Gary Becker, an appreciation by Michel Foucault

    Gary Becker, University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago, has died at the age of eighty three. I am certainly not going to attempt an obituary or assessment. But something Tim Carmody said on Twitter caught my eye: “People sometimes talk about ‘neoliberalism’ as a kind of intellectual bogeyman. Gary Becker was the actual guy.” In a somewhat similar way, people sometimes talked about ‘poststructuralism’ as a kind of intellectual bogeyman, and Michel Foucault was the actual guy.
    Tue, Apr 29, 2014

    Success Breeds Success, Up to a Point

    Back in February, when Flappy Bird Frenzy was at its peak, I wrote about some of the social aspects of success and failure in cultural markets, inspired in part by a discussion on ATP. I drew on some work from the early 2000s by Duncan Watts, Matt Salganik, and Peter Sheridan Dodds that experimentally established that there was a strong measure of arbitrariness to success. You can read the original post for the details.
    Wed, Mar 26, 2014

    Silver vs Krugman

    Nate Silver’s relaunched FiveThirtyEight has been getting some flak from critics—including many former fans—for failing to live up to expectations. Specifically, critics have argued that instead of foxily modeling data and working the numbers, Silver and his co-contributors are looking more like regular old opinion columnists with rather better chart software. Paul Krugman has been a prominent critic, arguing that “For all the big talk about data-driven analysis, what [the site] actually delivers is sloppy and casual opining with a bit of data used, as the old saying goes, the way a drunkard uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination.” Silver has put his tongue at least part way into his cheek and pushed back a little with an article titled, in true Times fashion, “For Columnist, a Change of Tone”.
    Mon, Feb 24, 2014

    Powered by Hugo

    I was sick as a parrot with a head cold over the weekend. Being unable to do any proper writing, naturally I started messing around with my website. I’ve had some sort of website since around November of 1995, and have kept a more or less regular blog since 2002. Content accumulates, as it turns out. I have about 450,000 words of the stuff here, spread out over about 1,400 separate pages.
    Sat, Feb 15, 2014

    Social Aspects of Success and Failure in Cultural Markets

    This week on ATP, Marco and John had a discussion about Flappy Bird, the irritatingly addictive and unexpectedly successful iOS game that was pulled from the App Store by its developer at the height of its popularity. The hosts’ views shifted around a little during the discussion, but I think it’s fair to say that they had a basic difference of opinion. Marco thought that, at bottom, the game succeeded for good reasons having to do with its own design.
    Thu, Jan 23, 2014

    Plain Text, Papers, Pandoc

    Over the past few months, I’ve had several people ask me about the tools I use to put papers together. I maintain a page of resources somewhat grandiosely headed “Writing and Presenting Social Science”. Really it just makes public some configuration files and templates for my text editor and related tools. Things have changed a little recently—which led to people asking the questions—so I will try to lay out the current setup here.
    Tue, Jan 7, 2014

    An issue in Mavericks with com.apple.IconServicesAgent

    Executive Summmary: If you are having an issue with IconServicesAgent consuming all your CPU time, open a terminal window and do this: mkdir ${TMPDIR}/com.apple.IconServices This will resolve the issue. Read on for more details. Recently I started having an intermittent problem with a process called com.apple.IconServicesAgent on my Mac. Google tells me that I am not alone, but diagnosing the issue and solving it has proven quite annoying. The symptoms are straightforward.

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