Beiträge vom Oktober, 2010

The US hasn’t lost her mind after all. At least Delaware hasn’t.

Sonntag, 17. Oktober 2010 21:18

Looking from the outside, I have been shaking my head in bewilderment at the Tea Party’s surge of popularity with mostly absurd ideas and world-views. I’m really relieved to read in the NYTimes that a pretty much unknow (but apparently smart and moderate) Delaware democratic candidate for Senate is leading by about 15 points in the polls against a tea party-backed republican who surprisingly won in the primaries against a well-established moderate republican. And he’s even playing it nice:


Thema: English | Kommentare deaktiviert | Autor:

Facebook als Soziologiecrashkurs

Sonntag, 17. Oktober 2010 20:30

Ich habe vor kurzem den gerade erschienen Film über die Entstehung von Facebook gesehen („The Social Network“) und war positiv überrascht. Ich fand, dass er weit über sein eigentliches Thema hinausging, indem er das Leben und Streben meiner Generation abbildet, besonders natürlich in ihrer US-amerikanischen Färbung. (Auch ein lesenswertes NYTimes-Review spricht ihm eine Empfehlung aus).

Entsprechend sensibilisiert fand ich einen anderen Artikel interessant, der beschreibt, wie unsere sozialen Beziehungen sich in Facebook abbilden, und vielleicht umgekehrt davon geprägt werden. Bisher wurde uns von Facebook ein recht egalitäres Verständnis von sozialen Beziehungen aufgezwungen:


Thema: Deutsch | Kommentare (1) | Autor:

Has government spending failed in the crisis? We should have tried.

Freitag, 15. Oktober 2010 23:04

After giving quite some space to Greg Mankiw recently, I’d like to share an article by NYTimes Op-Ed columnist (and economist) Paul Krugman with you. He can be considered a member of the opposing (i.e. liberal, democrats-leaning) camp to Mankiw. In the column, he argues convincingly (and surprisingly) that the big rise in government spending that failed to really boost the US economy did so because it never really happened:


Thema: English | Kommentare (2) | Autor:

Greg Mankiw on Taxing the Rich

Mittwoch, 13. Oktober 2010 16:48

I enjoy reading Greg Mankiw’s blog, because he does a pretty good job of explaining an opinion that I usually don’t share, thus always giving me something to think about …

He does the same in a recent article in the NYTimes, contributing on the debate whether the Bush tax cuts for the rich should be extended, or whether these taxes should even be increased, as Obama’s administration seems to be planning.

Mankiw argues that taken all taxes and deductions into account, taxation on money he would be earning to pass on to his children 30 years from now is about 90%. And while nonchalantly agreeing that he can bear that burden, he claims that his incentive to work is seriously impaired by that. Which we should care about, because his (and other high earners‘) work could be very valuable to all of us (like, only twisting his own example a little bit, writing articles propagating higher income for himself and his friends…).

Seriously, as usually, he has a point. I think my reply would centre around my assumption that especially high earning people are doing something they like doing, for intrinsic reasons. Maybe I would point to research showing that Mankiw’s differing self-perception might be a result of the very theories he has been learning and teaching (e.g. this or this), thus not being representative of the population of rich people in general. He does point to research showing that rich people respond particularly strongly to incentives, but what I read there seems to be rather contradicting that claim (at least in the sense that he is implying — responding by working more or less):

For lower income groups, labor income accounts for most of their income. Since labor income tax is withheld, the only way to manipulate income is to work more, or less. For higher income groups, capital income is more important, and this is more readily manipulated for tax purposes through asset allocation decisions. The researchers show that taxpayers with itemized returns have particularly high elasticity.

Just some starting points for thoughts here :)

Thema: English | Kommentare (5) | Autor:

Markets with Search Costs — Nobel Prize in Economics?!

Mittwoch, 13. Oktober 2010 0:53

I just read the „Popular Information“ about this year’s Nobel Prize Winners in Economics and don’t quite know whether I’m shocked or happy. It’s good stuff like that is being discovered. How very sad that it took till the 70s for this to catch on. Here’s the basic discovery:


Thema: English | Kommentare (2) | Autor:

Festnetztelefon am Computer — X-Lite und 1&1

Sonntag, 10. Oktober 2010 21:03

Um von unterwegs mit den Liebsten daheim in Kontakt zu bleiben bietet sich natürlich Skype an. Aber nicht jeden erreicht man ohne weiteres am Computer. Schon vor längerer Zeit hatte ich entdeckt, dass mein Telefonanschluss zu Hause (wie vermutlich die meisten heutzutage) alle Anrufe übers Internet schickt. Und überlegt, dass es dann ja eigentlich egal sein sollte, von wo aus die Anrufe starten. Ist es auch, aber als ich mich das letzte Mal damit beschäftigt hatte war es unglaublich kompliziert, das alles einzurichten. Nicht mehr! Mit der neuesten Version von X-Lite (Mac und Windows) war nach einer Minute der erste Anruf nach Hause gestartet. Über meine Flatrate natürlich…

Mit Hilfe der einer Anleitung von hier die Schritte, um mit X-Lite 4 über 1&1 zu telefonieren:


Thema: Deutsch | Kommentare (3) | Autor:

My blog just added facebook as a friend …

Sonntag, 10. Oktober 2010 19:18

… I hope :) This is me trying to get facebook comments back into my blog to have some consistency there. Hope it works. I’m using WordBooker now, after having the hardest time deciding between this and WPBook, I wasn’t even really able to tell the differences, and both settings are a pain. In the end, setting up a new application for WPBook was what made me go with WordBooker for now…


Thema: English | Kommentare (4) | Autor:

Erster Schritt oder Apologie? — Foers „Tiere Essen“ und Veganismus

Sonntag, 10. Oktober 2010 0:49

Jonathan S. Foers Buch „Tiere Essen“ scheint auf dem besten Weg, nachdem es vor ziemlich genau einem Jahr in den USA unterm dem Titel „Eating Animals“ schon Aufmerksamkeit auf sich und die Frage des Vegetarismus zog, auch in Deutschland eine wichtige Debatte um den Fleischkonsum und die Produktion von Fleisch zu befeuern. Für Veganer ist sein sehr pragmatischer Zugang natürlich nicht ganz leicht zu verdauen. Entsprechend habe ich ein Interview in der ZEIT mit großem Interesse gelesen, und ich muss sagen, ich finde seine Position sehr überzeugend. Das fängt damit an, wie er das Problem formuliert:


Thema: Deutsch | Kommentare (2) | Autor:

Beyond National Borders on the Internet

Samstag, 9. Oktober 2010 23:55

Upon happy arrival in Glasgow I had to discover that my favorite news satirist Stephen Colbert cannot be accessed from the UK — wow! Hadn’t expected that he would take making fun of old Great Britain to that level! (actually, of course, this has to do with licensing stuff). I had been tempted to try and use one of the infamous „youtube proxies“, but they never worked for me. Today, through a forum of Colbert fans, I discovered the service „Hotspot Shield“ that actually does.

I’d usually be skeptical of free services like that, but my trust is increased after seeing that the program is also featured by German software site „Chip“. And by that fact that I can see how they make money: by adding ads to videos you watch using them, which I suppose is the de-facto main use for the thing.

By getting rid of the stupid „this content is not available in your country“ notes in youtube and elsewhere, I think this is one important step back to the free web, and to leaving country borders behind you when you log on. At least as long as all content is available in the US…

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