"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Corey Robin responds to his critics. I found the reaction to him quite disappointing. It'll be interesting to see the reaction to this.
- Articles like this (HT Ryan Murphy - who I've already argued extensively with about this on facebook) about how wine ratings are "random" really bug me. The randomness comes from the fact that, in a manner of speaking, the model is mis-specified. Unfortunately this stuff comes up a lot in the Journal of Wine Economics (which I used to follow but haven't lately), probably because the numbers are easily available and economists love using whatever data they can get their hands on. If you think wine ratings are a measure of some objective underlying measure of quality, then you're missing the point. There's nothing objective about this - wine is diverse and wine preferences vary considerably from person to person. Not only is it subjective, but it's also contextual (you are going to respond differently to wine X after tasting wine Y than if you tasted it before). That's why when you do the tastings they give you the whites first, then the reds, then the deserts. All a high wine rating tells you is "a guy that has a lot of experience drinking different wines liked this one time", and if it has a medal it means "a bunch of people that have a lot of experience drinking different wines liked this one time". Those are both very useful bits of information even if there is nothing objective about it, particularly for people who are new to wine. If you know what you like in wine, what's more useful of course is an actual review - a description by someone (that's not selling the wine!) of what characteristics to expect. Again, just like different authors of a book review of the same book you'll find some commonalities between reviews but because of the complexities of books and the different preferences of readers (and the literary and intellectual context of a given reader) book reviews can still vary widely between each other. If I were to say "well that means the book review isn't objective", I would be missing the point. If I were to say "the book review is random" I would be overstating my case. We still think these book reviews contain valuable information. So it is with wine rating, criticism, and reviews.
- I always figured fracking was more or less safe and an important way out of the dirty fuels dilemma, but this study nudges my priors just a wee bit on the drinking water pollution issue.
- "[Joan Robinson] wrote that Piero Sraffa used to tease her, saying that she ‘treated Marx as a little-known forerunner of Kalecki’ (J.Robinson 1966: vi)."
from Marcuzzo & Rosselli - Economists in Cambridge, p. 185.