Monthly Archives: November 2010

Gizmodo: How to Buy an HDTV


Do you really need 1080p?

The dirty secret about 1080p is that you don’t need it if you’re TV’s not big enough and you’re sitting too far back to see it. If a set’s under 40 inches, you don’t need 1080p—unless you’re going to be wiping snot streaks off the glass. The Lechner distance, named for this guy, is the optimal viewing distance at which your eye can fully process all the detail offered by an HDTV’s resolution. It scales, based on how big your TV is. (In English, it’s how far away you should sit from an HDTV.) An example: The average viewing distance in an American home is 9 feet from the set. In order to fully see all of the details 1080p offers at that distance, you’d need a 70-inch set. So if you’re sitting more than six feet away from your TV—or just buying a smaller set—considering saving some cash by going 720p. You literally won’t be able to tell the difference.

via How to Buy an HDTV.


From the Big Picture: There is No Food Inflation; the BLS Made Sure of That

So is inflation an issue as Sarah Palin has in her inarticulate way suggested?

The media, as represented by the newspapers above, not only accept the Consumer Price Index as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but also: (1): accept the rationale that food and energy prices should not be included in the price index because of their excessive volatility, and, (2): notify readers that such low inflation “bolsters” the Fed’s case to continue pumping up asset prices. Note that both papers link the happy inflation news to the $600 billion purchase with the word “bolster.” This has the whiff of a press release delivered by the Fed to the media.

It went unnoticed how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) relieved the volatile food and energy prices of volatility. The BLS also relieved the CPI of “extreme values and/or sharp movements [of prices] which might distort the seasonal pattern [which] are estimated and [are] removed from the data.” So out went milk, cheese, oil, and cars from the CPI, if they did not meet the BLS volatility criteria. (The excisions also include non-edibles and non-combustibles, including cards, trucks and textbooks.)


The Big Picture

via There is No Food Inflation; the BLS Made Sure of That.

Has Iraq Stabilized?

Maybe not.


Jeffrey Miron

via Has Iraq Stabilized?.

Abu Dhabi and Qatar Meet Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei: This Too Is Islamic Civilization? (via Prometheus Unbound)

A AAA+++ for effort. According to the New York Times today, the royal leadership of two tiny Muslim countries, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, seeing down the road a time when they'll need to gather brains into their cisterns rather than oil, are turning their countries' oil revenues into hubs for global high culture: To a critic traveling through the region, the speed at which museums are being built in Abu Dhabi — and the international brand names attache … Read More

via Prometheus Unbound

From the Big Picture: World Population Change

The Big Picture

via World Population Change.

Alviso Express

Alviso Express

Originally uploaded by flopper

Cranberries and Commies??

There is debate about collectivism and the source of the difficulties of the pilgrims.

Department of Secondary Consequences

It is true that Irish mortgages are “recourse” — that is, you can’t just turn in the keys and walk away from a property as you can in many parts of the United States. On the other hand, Irish residents can leave the country – moving to Britain or the United States is a well-established tradition for many families. And how can an Irish lender enforce debts when someone has emigrated?

That’s from Simon Johnson, interesting throughout.


Marginal Revolution

via Department of Secondary Consequences.

Economics and the Draft

I like economics. I find it always intellectually stimulating. I’d like to think it helps understand a little how some human affairs do work. I’d hope it sometimes gives insights on how human affairs should be managed. One area where it had an influence was the draft.

Not a lot of people know that economics and the arguments of economists played a part in end of the draft. Milton Friedman was a vocal opponent of the draft and had this exchange with the late General Westmoreland:

In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, “General, would you rather command an army of slaves?” Mr. Westmoreland replied, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.” Mr. Friedman then retorted, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.”

There’s more on the subject here.

I have opposed conscription both for it burden in taking talented people from valuable pursuits and because its an imposition on liberty. Now though I do wonder about the volunteer army making us less concerned about needless military adventures, and may have caused to go to war too lightly.

While Friedman’s volunteer army has fought the war in Iraq, Professor Friedman strongly opposed the Iraq war.

Answer to Ryan: Who Has Prospered from Debasement (via  Modeled Behavior)

Inflation has an upside. Especially when you’re in a depression.

Answer to Ryan: Who Has Prospered from Debasement I have to take this one. Paul Ryan asks Name me a nation in history that has prospered by devaluing its currency. How about the United States See that turning point in 1933. There is a lot of dispute about what caused it but some people with a long interest in Monetary Policy have argued that it was Executive Order 6102. Drafted as follows. And announced to the public as follows Those of us who think recessions are caused by the hoarding of money … Read More

via  Modeled Behavior