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Suicidal Externalities

Co-blogger Scott writes:

...it occurred to me that laws against suicide may be economically efficient, in that an individual’s suicide often imposes massive negative externalities on friends and family.

But is this really an externality? Suicide does impose externalities – or more approprietly our current method of funding certain services causes suicide and many other activities to impose negative externalities on others that would otherwise be internalized. Read more »


Tonight On The No Treason Channel

Scott makes a positive statement, the deontologically oriented folks at No Treason confuse it for a normative statement, hilarity ensues.


Record Profits, But What Margin?

The big news today is Exxon Mobile's recent SEC filing reporting 3Q earnings. "RECORD OIL PROFITS" says the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va.(dead tree only). Politicians are complaining and suggesting additional taxes. But wait a minute, total dollar profit is meaningless without understanding capitalization and revenues. I'm too lazy to look up all the other important financial data for a bunch of companies, but I'd like to point out Fortune's Global 500. Read more »


Anti-spam pictures?

Some blogs use pictures of text as a way to ensure human-entered comments. How do you, our commenters, feel about Catallarchy using this anti-spam technique? Do you mind looking at a picture and typing in the text shown in order to comment?

Update: I am reminded that those who prefer non-visual means of "reading" our site would have problems, so that's a strike against. Though there are ways to take care of that, it just means I'll have to write the code to provide those methods. Yuck.


Go See Serenity Now!

What, are you looking for content? I said "Go see Serenity NOW!" We'll talk about it on Monday. I need to go see it a couple more times.


She Is Not Inferior!

Tyler Cowen points out that prostitutes can lose customers by lowering their price. But suggesting that the prostitute's services are a Giffen good doesn't quite follow. My understanding of Giffen goods is that the good must be an inferior good, i.e. a good that has many close substitutes where the substitutes have higher cost but also higher desirability. Read more »


Cognitive Dissonance



No one would ever say that the government and government prime contractor activities represent the most efficient use of the nation's resources.


Talk Like a Pirate, Matey!

Shiver me timbers, tis that time of year again! Hoist the Jolly Roger and prepare to board! Ye'd best be talkin' like a pirate today or ye'll be scrappin barnacles with various and sundry bodyparts as we haul ye 'round the keel. Aye, walkin' the plank is too good for land lubbers refusing to talk like pirates!

Now where's me Captain? (Morgan that is.)


Fixing the site

For some time we have had lots of problems whenever we get lots of traffic. I've finally found something that should help. Now I need one of my co-bloggers to write a much linked to, earth-shattering post.


The Evidence

Arnold, so how do you square the circle when those entrusted to maintain order are the worst crooks? From what I can gather the ratio of government to populace is much higher than normal, as is the incidence of theft and other violent behavior. The evidence suggests that government is either not correlated or negatively correlated with civilized order.


The Competition Fallacy

MSS engineer Jon Goff has recently started his own personal blog, Selenian Boondocks. He concentrates on space exploration with a libertarian worldview, and he knows space transport systems. Of course I point this out because he provides an excellent "teaching opportunity". In his post on NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, Jon quotes Griffin: Read more »


Freeway Blogging

I am on my way from Yorktown, Virginia to Azalia, Michigan. My brother, sister-in-law, father, aunt and I are heading up to my dad’s birthplace to bury my mother.

Anyway, we heard that there is a huge traffic jam on I-95 near Fredericksburg. We got off the freeway and out come the computers to find the best route around. My dad has Streets and Maps loaded on his computer; I just have a cell phone modem card. He got the data first. But still, this is really cool. Read more »


Return to the Moon

The Space Frontier Foundation is having their Return to the Moon conference next month. I just received an email reminder for it. After reading the email I'm not sure I want to go. From the email:

CONFIRMED NASA SPEAKERS

A number of high-level NASA speakers have confirmed their presentation topics:
· Chris Shank – NASA's plans to restructure exploration/Crew Exploration Vehicle efforts in line with Administrator Griffin's new direction


Hey Arnold, Now\'s Your Chance!

I was just thinking that there is quite a bit of property in our great State of California that could be appropriated and given to some rich companies to increase the tax base here. I mean there are lots of folk who are occupying some really nice real estate and aren't paying taxes. With the SCOTUS decision on Kelo that says that an increased tax base is good enough for eminent domain, I'm sure you have some friends in the biz world that could better use these properties. Here's just two properties in San Francisco that might interest you: Read more »


Rutan and Regulation

Not to long ago, Burt Rutan was interviewed by Ted Balaker, which was published on the Reason Public Policy Institute website. Tom Bell over at Agoriphilia wonders about Rutan's motives and adds a few comments. All well and good. Unfortunately, in this case more regulation may actually mean less total government intrusion. Burt's arguments actually make sense, if you've heard all his arguments. The interview does not include a couple of key points.

I first heard Burt complain about the regulatory situation several months before his first spaceflight. The problem was simple- Burt is an airplane guy. His SpaceshipOne is an airplane with an unusual powerplant. He thought he'd do exactly like he always does, go to the local FAA/FSDO and ask for an experimental certificate. The FAA sends someone to Scaled's facilities, checks out the aircraft and signs the certificate. No problem. Except that a vehicle having more thrust than lift for the majority of its powered flight is not covered under normal aircraft regulations, it is a launch vehicle. Burt has to get a space launch license from the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST). In addition, the launch license process is completely different from the aircraft certification process. So he's a bit upset, and understandably so. Read more »