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An Economic Map of the Globe March 30, 2006

Posted by procopius in Climate Change, Economics.
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The economist William Nordhaus is always interesting. I'm of the opinion that more economists should get into global warming, so it's always good to read up on somebody who's been in the field for a long time.

From his website I've found this cool economic globe. Basically, it's a rotating globe with where the amount of economic activity is represented by height and colour. Check out Japan.
Some minor gripes: It's North hemisphere focused and lots of the world shows no economic activity (perhaps it could be fine-tuned to show differences between areas with low economic activity).


Free Trade March 2, 2006

Posted by procopius in Economics.
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Kash from Angry Bear has a informative post on the relationship between free trade and growth. If your like me and interested in economics, but know next to nothing about it, stuff like this rocks.

Some quotes:

In the past few years several different papers, using different methodologies, have concluded much the same thing: more exposure to international trade may cause faster economic growth and development, but does not always and necessarily do so, and the determinants of whether trade is good or bad for growth are institutions and other economic policies.

Put simply, this means that if a country is getting other sorts of economic policies basically right, and has a reasonably well-functioning government, then trade can enhance growth and development, and will raise the quality of life for many more people than it harms. But if a country only liberalizes trade without getting the rest of its house in order, more exposure to international trade by itself could make many more people worse off than it makes better off. (Important reminder: international trade, as with most economic transactions, generates some winners and some losers; what we’re interested in is which group is bigger, and how strongly affected they are.)


while there’s only a gradually emerging agreement that trade can be good for growth under the right circumstances, there’s near unanimous agreement that protectionism (or the lack of trade) never helps growth.

My Name Is… March 1, 2006

Posted by procopius in Admin.

Since I’ve now got my first comment, I suppose that I should introduce myself. My sockpuppet name is Ken Miles, but because I wasn’t paying attention when I set up this blog I’ve ending up with the name Procopius (an ancient historian). I’ve decided to keep it (at least on this blog – KM will still be running around the internet getting into fights).

In the real world, I’ve got myself a PhD in chemistry and a nice job. I’ve decided to use a sock puppet just because I like my privacy.

How To Blog Better… Or At Least Not Burnout… March 1, 2006

Posted by procopius in Uncategorized.

Now that I don’t care about maintaining a regular supply to posts to this blog, it’s a lot more fun than my previous effort. Yay.

Bad luck to the three people who read this though…

Giving “Experts” a Red Card. January 10, 2006

Posted by procopius in Climate Change, Pseudoscience.

Today’s Australian contains an interesting article on proposals to sin-bin expert witnesses who are out of line with the scientific community.

From the article:

A SPORT-STYLE system of red and yellow cards is being considered to deal with rogue expert witnesses whose eccentric or irrational views are skewing medical negligence cases.

What interests me is could such a system be applied to scientists who lend their authority to “eccentric or irrational views” in the press.

For example, it wasn’t too long ago that Professor Ian Plimer dusted off and updated (must remove references to atmospheric temperature trends) his standard piece on global warming. While, Plimer has vastly improved over the years (as far as I know, he no longer uses 21st Century Science and Technology as a reference), his piece was a giant straw man which added a big fat zero to the already poor quality of debate on global warming.

So, would a score card for rouges be appropriate? Perhaps a good starting point would be Tim Lambert’s bingos on global warming and DDT. Another good starting point would be Talk Origins.

But, before everybody decides to wheel out the persecuting Galileo line, I should point out that I don’t actually support such a measure. Scientists (as with everybody else) should be free to spout whatever rubbish they so desire. However, non-experts should realise that not all experts know what they are talking about.* Many don’t. Many will, deliberately or not, deceive you.

* A general rule of thumb, is the more sweeping and general the claims, the less the person knows.

A quick quote to start off with… January 5, 2006

Posted by procopius in The Ancients.
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He was somewhat overnice in the care of his person, being not only carefully trimmed and shaved, but even having superfluous hair plucked out, as some have charged; while his baldness was a disfigurement would troubled him greatly, since he found that it was often the subject of the gibes of his detractors. Because of it he used to comb forward his scanty locks from the crown of his head, and of all the honours voted him by the senate and people there was none which he received or made use of more gladly than the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath at all times.

– Suetonius on Julius Caesar

Hello world! January 4, 2006

Posted by procopius in Uncategorized.
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Hi, just playing around. Come back later.