Friday, May 6, 2011

Prediction Markets in the World Ending

I loved this quote from the Post story about the nuts who think the world is ending May 21. (Wasn't it supposed to be 2012?)

Another man was so perturbed by the May 21 message that he brought over a woman he found on the street who needed money. He asked whether the Camping followers would give her some cash, because there was no need for them to keep money with the world ending. They did not.
If you want me to take your doomsday prediction seriously, you should be willing to put money behind it.

I'm reminded of GMU professor Alex Tabbarok's paper about Pascal's wager, which boils down to there being a small-but-nonzero chance that your getting into heaven depends on giving all of your money to Tabbarok, which, he argues, you should do just in case.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Economics of "Snakes on a Plane"

I really hope someone Googles that some day and I'm the first hit. Take that, Demand Media!

I just read 50 or so painstaking pages of Bryan Caplan's new book Selfish Reason to Have More Kids, where he goes over seemingly every twins-separated-at-birth study ever conducted and argues rather exhaustively yet convincingly that nature matters a lot more than nurture in terms of how a child develops.

I am five minutes into watching "Snakes on a Plane." In this scene, the dude in the picture above has just said the following to another guy who's tied up in front of him:
I'll make sure to tell your son
all about it.
The reason he gets to grow up without a father
is because of how goddamn noble he was.
Then again, I was raised by a single mom and... (he takes a swing at the guy with a baseball bat, spewing blood everywhere)
I didn't turn out so bad, huh? Whoo!
And my first reaction was: "That probably had a small or zero statistical effect on your upbringing! It's all genetic!"

Yes, the master's degree in econ was totally worth it.