John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis


Arrg! Looks like I missed international talk like a pirate day… missed opportunity for a site named ArrrrrrrgMax.

Torvalds talks like a pirate: ZDNet Australia: News: Software
Linux creator Linus Torvalds today signalled his enjoyment of the annual “Talk Like a Pirate Day” festivities, using the nautical lexicon to launch an update to the kernel at the heart of his open source operating system.
“Ahoy! She’s good to go, hoist anchor!” wrote Torvalds in a public e-mail today announcing version 2.6.18 of the Linux kernel. “Here’s some real booty for all you land-lubbers,” he continued.
“There’s not too many changes, with t’bulk of the patch bein’ defconfig updates, but the shortlog at the aft of this here e-mail describes the details if you care, you scurvy dogs.”

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Argmax Named Best of the Web

Looks like Forbes has named ArgMax a “Best of the Web” top-5 pick in the economics blogs category… Best of the Web
Economics Blogs
It may not be as prestigious as getting published, but blogging has become a popular way for economists to share their insight and opinions with readers from all over the world. The trend, known as econoblogging, has created a community of online opinions that economists, both casual and professional, can read and respond to. The blogosphere creates an environment where economists, Ph.D. candidates and armchair commentators can share the most soporific statistics and the most pragmatic ideas while naturally finding time to disagree and argue with one another. Whether an issue is macroeconomic or microeconomic, domestic or international, it’s sure to be discussed in the blogs below. Will a policy change in China affect how much you pay for gasoline? Do economic indicators indicate that the housing bubble is about to burst in the United States? By reading econoblogs you may not get one answer, but you’ll certainly get your fill of perspectives from a good many not so dismal scientists. — Adam Freedman
Forbes Favorite – Forbes Favorite Forbes Best of The Web pick – Forbes Best of The Web pick
Forbes Favorite
Forbes Best of The Web pick
Can computers tell us what we want to know about economics? John Irons, the associate director for tax and budget policy at the Center for American Progress, uses Argmax to answer that question with a firm “yes.” Irons created “bots,” which scour the Internet searching for the latest economic news and post it on the site. Irons compliments the bots with his own commentary, much of which deals with connections between politics and economics, including a spate of recent posts about American tax policy. Irons also attempts to make Argmax more than simply a blog by having features such as a search engine of economists, polls like one asking who should win the Nobel Prize, and an extensive list of links, though some (like his What I’m Reading feature) have little or no relevance to economics.
BEST: The Web site’s clean uncluttered design.
WORST: The Glossary link, which doesn’t work.

Also, the glossary link is now fixed…

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Rethinking the blog…

Blog –
So, I’m thinking out loud here…
Over the past couple years, I have posted a range of economic (and related, and not related) “stuff” here. As weblogs have moved from the fringe of the information society into the mainstream, I think a re-think is in order… about how often to post, about what I want to accomplish with this blog, about how best to make this blog useful.
With the explosion in the number of blogs out there, I think it’s becomming a burden for typical readers to read more than, say 3 or 4 blogs on a regular basis. In the early days, there was much less content per blog, so people would surf to a greater percentage of the blogs that are out there. In addition, it is getting to the point where there is just a flood of information comming from the blogosphere that the signal to noise ratio is just too low.
So what does this mean for ArgMax? I don’t want to contribute to the instant response of the econ blog community – there is not much space for that any longer, and unless someone is willing to spend 10-12 hours a day doing this, there are plenty of other sites where you can get the up-to-the-minute info better.
What is missing is something that is less instant post, but one that 1) maintains the relevance/style of a blog 2) filters some of what is out there, 3) finds new stuff that is not being echoed in a million other blogs, and 4) lets me express my views on what’s going on in economic policy.
Does this dictate a different kind of posting/medium? Perhaps.
My initial thinking is that the right approach might be to post a once-weekly article that has a general update to what’s going on in the world of economics and economic policy; as well as links to other things worth taking a look at.
In addition to posting the result here, I would send it to a list of people who sign-up to receive such updates.
This format would 1) save me time during the week, 2) would allow for a more thoughtful approach to posting, and 3) would make it easier for readers than having yet another blog to bookmark and remember to visit.
I’m not sure if this is the right approach, but I’m mulling it over – and it sounds right to my ear. Or, at least it sounds like a movement in the right direction.
So, what would be in the weekly update?

  • Updates for the Week
    • Economic Policy
    • Economy
    • Issue of the week (?)
  • What to Read
    • My Stuff from American Progress, other places
    • Blogs
    • Magazine Articles
    • Analysis
    • Research
  • Viewpoint
  • Links
  • Parting words
    • Interesting Quotes, Recipe, Soccer stuff.

Just a draft.
Anyway, let me know if you have and comments/suggestions…

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Back from Break

I decided to take January off from blogging… but I’m back!

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Moving up to more storage and bandwidth. Pardon the growing pains. Let em know if anything is not working properly…

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So, I’ve enabled comments again. The volume of spam in comments got overwhelming there for a while. I have required registration before comments will be accepted. I hope this is not too much trouble…

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More on WSJ Econoblog – The Economic Fortunes Of Europe and Asia
The Rise of Outsourcing
Social Security: What’s Next?

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WSJ blog – Social Security: What’s Next?
The WSJ has a couple “econobloggers” for the week (they have a free preview this week)…
Look familiar?

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Just upgraded to Movable type v3.1.
I wish it were that easy to upgrade everything else.

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Center for American Progress

So, as of yesterday, I have begun a new gig at the Center for American Progress.
Just to be clear, I should issue a broad based disclaimer that this site has no affiliation with the center, and that all opinions expressed here are my own.
Using the language of Max Sawicky at EPI…
This is a personal web site. It is not a production of the Center for American Progress. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of the Center for American Progress. Preferences for electoral candidates posted on this site have not been prepared using any Center for American Progress resources.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Yours truly, JSI

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