Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Money, Happiness, and Economy

In a post passing along a study that shows that money really does buy more happiness, Matt Yglesias makes a point on one of my favorite subjects:
What I do want to call attention to, however, is that both of these charts plot income on a logarithmic scale. That's to say that a $5,000 increase in per capita GDP will generate a lot more happiness for a poor country than a rich one. And by the same token, a $5,000 increase in income will generate a lot more happiness for a poor family than for an affluent one. This is a key grounds for believing both in the importance of economic growth and in the importance of concern about the distribution of that growth. To be a little crude about it, halving the income of a millionaire will let you double the income of many poor households.
If you are willing to accept that an economy exists to allocate resources, and that an economy works best when it is most efficient, then you pretty much have to be willing to accept that resources have more utility when they go to people with less of them than people with more of them. That is, of course, pretty simplistic. And you can certainly make an argument that in the real world the model changes due to a ton of outside influences and complexities. But it becomes pretty difficult to imagine that continuing to concentrate resources in the hands of a few creates a useful and productive economy.

We Live in the Future

Aside from maybe Artificial Intelligence and sustainable energy, no piece of technology stands to change our lives like 3-D printing. So, this is pretty cool.

Monday, April 22, 2013


To a kid that grew up in the 80s, this is just devastating...
Davis makes no attempt to conceal the crass commercial motivations behind his creation of Garfield.  ... [Davis] carefully studied the marketplace when developingGarfield. The genesis of the strip was "a conscious effort to come up with a good, marketable character," Davis told Walter Shapiro in a 1982 interview in theWashington Post. "And primarily an animal. … Snoopy is very popular in licensing. Charlie Brown is not." So, Davis looked around and noticed that dogs were popular in the funny papers, but there wasn't a strip for the nation's 15 million cat owners. Then, he consciously developed a stable of recurring, repetitive jokes for the cat. He hates Mondays. He loves lasagna. He sure is fat.
I suppose I should have seen this coming. But still, that time that Garfield, Jon, and Odie all got rolled up in a window shade... that was really funny, right? Right?

Happy Earth Day

Slate has a piece with interesting facts about Earth. I thought this one was particularly fascinating:
8) The Moon is farther away from Earth than you think. As an analogy, if the Earth were a basketball, the Moon would be the size of a tennis ball 7.4 meters (24 feet) away. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Song Day PJ Edition

So blog contributor bigsmithdude just watched the Pearl Jam 20 documentary and is having a resurgence of interest. As a lifelong fan, I view this as a development to be encouraged. So, here are a few classic Pearl Jam performances for Friday Song Day.

This first one is actually a warm up from Saturday Night Live around 94 I believe. One of the things I love about this is that Pearl Jam were never really cool even when they were cool. You can totally see that in PJ20, but you can also see it here in the fact that Stone Gossard is wearing awesome sandles.

Then there is this performance I remember watching on Letterman in 1996. Letterman always clearly loved Pearl Jam. Also, Stone continues his run here by looking like a candy corn or something, and McCready is wearing a silk shirt.

And finally here their 1993 MTV Music Awards performance with Neil Young. I don't know how this post became about Pearl Jam not being cool, but Neil Young is clearly the coolest dude on this stage. PJ have always had good rock idols though, and this is one of my favorite of their covers of those idols.


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