Possible Insight

Posts Tagged ‘Government

Fantastic Book on Terrorist Interrogation

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Thanks to a pointer from Sandeep Baliga over at Cheap Talk, I recently Kindled Matthew Alexander’s How to Break a Terrorist. If this were a novel, it would be in the top 10% of thrillers I’ve read in the last 5 years.  But it’s a true story.

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Written by Kevin

June 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Government

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More on the California State Budget

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A number of people responded to my recent post on the California budget. So I thought I’d dig a little deeper into the issue. The three points I’d like to address at the moment are whether spending as a percentage of income is rising, where the extra spending is going, and whether the extra spending is beneficial.

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Written by Kevin

May 25, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Economics, Government

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Disgusted with the California Budget

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First, let me apologize for the posting lull.  I’ve been busy with work and also struggling with a sinus issue that has sapped my discretionary intellectual energy.  But enough about me.

In honor of California’s special election on budget measures, I thought I’d shed a little light on the fundamental problem.  Contrary to what polticians are saying, the cause of the budget problem is not falling revenues in a recession. Rather, the cause is a dramatic increase in spending over the last 10 years.

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Written by Kevin

May 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Economics, Government

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More Environmental Tradeoffs

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The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will rise from 27.5 mpg to 35 mpg from now until 2020. That should decrease any pollutant associated with burning fossils fuels.  All good, right?  Wrong.

There is a trade off in safety.  You are much more likely to die in a small car. The WSJ Online reports on a recent Insurance Insititute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study that shows  small cars like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris fair very poorly in two-car frontal offset crash tests against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. This is against mid-sized cars from the same manufacturer, so a reasonable comparison.

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Written by Kevin

April 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Explaining the Credit Crisis in 10 Minutes

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Via my buddy Matt Watson, here is a really well done infographic explaining the credit crisis.  Merely entertaining for regular readers who’ve been following the crisis.  But quite informative for any of your friends who haven’t felt the need to wade through all the commentary.

Written by Kevin

March 31, 2009 at 11:27 am

Two Sociology Books You Should Read

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As you’ve probably figured out by now, I prefer to base decisions on statistically significant evidence.  However, in order to gather such evidence, you must have hypotheses in the form of testable models.  If the models you try to test are divorced from reality on the ground, your results will be useless no matter how statistically significant.

Therefore, if you’re interested in issues of poverty and race in the US, here are two ethnographies you should read.  Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh and Cop in the Hood by Peter Moskos.  As sociology PhD candidates, both went out and actually became actors in poor black neighborhoods.  Venkatesh hung out with a crack gang in a Chicago housing project and Moskos became a police officer in Baltimore’s roughest neighborhood.

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Written by Kevin

March 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Government, Society

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Brilliant or Crazy? I Really Don't Know.

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Apropos of Rafe’s last post on Complexity Economics, I ran across an economic stability proposal that is either brilliant or crazy. I both haven’t thought it over enough and am probably not qualified to determine which.

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Written by Kevin

March 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm