John Irons's Blog

Icon

Economic News, Data and Analysis

Human-Animal Hybrids!

So, I was thinking of posting something about Bush’s State of the Union highlight–the line about human-animal hybrids–and his aparent quest to be the first “science fiction” president… but Moby beat me to it.
Also, I notice that humananimalhybrid.com is already taken… as is humananimalhybrid.org.
Update: there are currently 752 links to “Human-animal hybrid” Bush on google.

journal | moby.com
ok, i’ll weigh in with my comments on gw’s state of the union speech.
something about iraq and freedom, not sure, i think i nodded off for a while. kind of tautological.
then immigrants. huh, that’s not going to make his base very happy.
ah well. nodding off again.
and then, animal-human hybrids?
awesome, where do we get one or some?
i want animal-human hybrids.
gw, what the hell are you talking about?
the world’s falling apart and you’re talking about animal-human hybrids?
i hereby nominate gw ‘the science fiction president’.
does anyone remember his push to go to mars?
or steroids?
he likes science fiction, which is cool, cos i like science fiction, too.
it’s fun, right gw?
i guess one might be excused for expecting more from a president than platitudes and science-fiction, but remember: better to have platitudes WITH science fiction as opposed to platitudes WITHOUT science fiction.
and, not to sound like too much of a boy, but mary landrieu is kind of sexy.
that’s just an aside.
but i’m a boy. i like science fiction and sexy senators like mary landrieu.
getting back to the animal-human hybrids, i assume from what he said that gw is opposed to said hybrids.
that’s where we part company.

Update 2: for a list of illegals under the new anti-hybrid regime see
calamityjon: So, I didn’t – and have made it a point – worth a visit.

Filed under: Technology

Washington Post on Plagiarism of Brookings Website

Looks like the Post has picked up the story that has been bouncing around blogs for a while…

Brookings Irked by Web Imitation (washingtonpost.com)
Civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer’s webmasters apparently lifted the design for their Web site (www.cpa-iraq.org) directly from the Brookings site (www.brookings.edu). The duplication included overall layout as well as small details, such as fonts, colors and the placement of a search box — just with a little splash of Arabic here and there.

Filed under: Technology

NET Institute

I just got this email from Prof. N. Economides at NYU. It looks like he is starting an interesting new institute.
Networks, Electronic Commerce, and Telecommunications,(“NET”) Institute
Dear Colleague,
I am writing to announce the creation of NET Institute, the Networks, Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications Institute. The NET Institute is a non-profit institution devoted to research on network industries, electronic commerce, telecommunications, the Internet, “virtual networks” comprised of computers that share the same technical standard or operating system, and on network issues in general. The NET Institute will function as a world-wide focal point for research and open exchange and dissemination of ideas in these areas. The NET Institute will competitively fund cutting edge research projects in these areas, and it will organize conferences and seminars on these issues. See http://www.NETinst.org.
The NET Institute will fund a number of scientific research projects in the areas of network industries, including wired and wireless networks, “virtual networks,” electronic commerce, telecommunications, and the Internet. Proposed research may be either theoretical or empirical, and may also analyze issues of public policy and antitrust. The deadline for proposals is May 5, 2003. Details on the requirements are at http://www.NETinst.org . Please distribute this information to researchers who may be interested to get funding for their research in these subjects.
Thank you.
Best regards,
Prof. Nicholas Economides
Director, NET Institute

Filed under: Economics, Economists, Economy, Microeconomics, Teaching, Technology

Eldred vs. Ashcroft

In a defeat to the public dissemination of intellectual property and ultimately the consumption of knowledge as a whole, the Supreme Court, in the much-publicized Eldred v. Ashcroft case, ruled in favor of Attorney General Ashcroft and for extending copyright protection to 70 years after the death of the author.
Eldred v. Ashcroft Opinion
From a post on October 11th:

17 economists spoke out against the copyright extensions
contained in the new law (from 50 to 70 years) in a filing to the Supreme Court.
On Eldred v. Ashcroft
17 Economists: Roy T. Englert, Jr. George A. Akerlof, Kenneth J. Arrow, Timothy F. Bresnahan, James M. Buchanan, Ronald H. Coase, Linda R. Cohen, Milton Friedman, Jerry R. Green, Robert W. Hahn, Thomas W. Hazlett, C. Scott Hemphill, Robert E. Litan, Roger G. Noll, Richard Schmalensee, Steven Shavell, Hal R. Varian, and Richard J. Zeckhauser
From the Amici Brief:
“Taken as a whole, it is highly unlikely that the economic benefits from copyright extension under the CTEA outweigh the additional costs. Moreover, in the case of term extension for existing works, the sizeable increase in cost is not balanced to any significant degree by an improvement in incentives for creating new works. Considering the criterion of consumer welfare instead of efficiency leads to the same conslusion, with the alteration that the CTEA’s large transfer of resources from consumers to copyright holders is an additional; factor that reduces consumer welfare.”

Filed under: Economics, Policy, Technology

Letters for Yellowstone

Here’s an interesting story from the NY Times on the decision to allow snowmobiles in Yellowstone: Flooded With Comments, Officials Plug Their Ears
Apparently, a flood of messages were sent to Washington DC to comment on proposed policy changes.
From a political economy perspective, it is a nice illustration of how political participation, in this case, letter writing, goes up as cost declines.
Email availability and “AutoTurf” campaigns (form letters written by advocacy groups and sent by members) have greatly reduced the cost of commenting on policy. As a result, the government is getting more comments.
However, there is a downside. Since it is cheaper to send the messages, each message carries less weight in the mind of the policymaker. If someone cares enough to spend 30 minutes writing a letter and the cash for a stamp, they might care more about the issue than someone spending 20 seconds sending an email.
Thus a paradox of participation, as the cost of communicating declines, there will be more messages sent, however, the total value to the policymaker of that communication might decline as well.
In the case of the snowmobiles, the Interior Department said they had received 360,000 comments, 80 percent of which want to ban snowmobiles (NYTimes).
The result? A new policy allowing for a 35 percent increase in the number of snowmobiles.

Filed under: Economics, Policy, Politics, Technology

Copyright Law

DeLong is reporting on the Eldred v. Ashcroft copyright extension case currently in the supreme court.
17 economists spoke out against the copyright extensions contained in the new law (from 50 to 70 years) in a filing to the Supreme Court.
Eldred v. Ashcroft
17 Economists: Roy T. Englert, Jr. George A. Akerlof, Kenneth J. Arrow, Timothy F. Bresnahan, James M. Buchanan, Ronald H. Coase, Linda R. Cohen, Milton Friedman, Jerry R. Green, Robert W. Hahn, Thomas W. Hazlett, C. Scott Hemphill, Robert E. Litan, Roger G. Noll, Richard Schmalensee, Steven Shavell, Hal R. Varian, and Richard J. Zeckhauser

Amici Brief
Taken as a whole, it is highly unlikely that the economic benefits from copyright extension under the CTEA outweigh the additional costs. Moreover, in the case of term extension for existing works, the sizeable increase in cost is not balanced to any significant degree by an improvement in incentives for creating new works. Considering the criterion of consumer welfare instead of efficiency leads to the same conslusion, with the alteration that the CTEA’s large transfer of resources from consumers to copyright holders is an additional; factor that reduces consumer welfare.

More: Justice Breyer Asks Interesting Questions on Eldred v. Ashcroft: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong’s Webjournal

Filed under: Technology,

Intellectual Property

Some interesting reading on the economics of intellectual property…

Intellectual Property
Dismayed by the effort to stifle technology and innovation under the guise of protecting intellectual property? Read on.

Filed under: Economics, Policy, Technology

RSA Encryption

Ok, this isn’t econ, but an interesting read anyway…

The Atlantic | September 2002 | Homeland Insecurity | Mann
A Web-only Primer on Public-key Encryption
Public-key encryption, as noted in the profile of cryptographer Bruce Schneier, is complicated in detail but simple in outline. The article below is an outline of the principles of the most common variant of public-key cryptography, which is known as RSA, after the initials of its three inventors…

Filed under: Technology

Pages

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.