No comment responses until the New Year

At least from me.  I am away.

There will be posts, I’ve got a number of little delayed ones coming along.  And I’ll try to respond to comments when I get back – we will see 😉

Missing Matt

For all those who’ve been missing Matt’s regular lessons in economics, fear not. He was struck down by food poisoning over the weekend and hasn’t been able to post as he catches up on work (yes, he manages to hold down a day job too) but normal transmission will resume as soon as he has regained his strength.

Scary fact(oid) of the day

OK, so this sounds a little incredible to me, but it’s in The Guardian so it must be true, right 😛

Shipping by numbers

The world’s biggest container ships have 109,000 horsepower engines which weigh 2,300 tons.

Each ship expects to operate 24hrs a day for about 280 days a year

There are 90,000 ocean-going cargo ships

Shipping is responsible for 18-30% of all the world’s nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution and 9% of the global sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution.

One large ship can generate about 5,000 tonnes of sulphur oxide (SOx) pollution in a year

70% of all ship emissions are within 400km of land.

85% of all ship pollution is in the northern hemisphere.

Shipping is responsible for 3.5% to 4% of all climate change emissions

Whoah!!! So, if countries start introducing carbon trading, will the ships be covered? Unless the oil producing nations sign up I guess that they’ll still be able to get untaxed fuel and they can always sail under the flag of a country that doesn’t care. Can anything be done about them (presuming stuff gets done about any climate change)?

ht: Treehugger

It’s just hype

I used to be a fan of The Hype Machine, but then I started to feel like the music on it was more hype than substance. People often wonder about how much of the talk about current music ‘sensations’ is hype and how much truth there is to there brilliance. So I was fascinated to read Gene Expression’s analysis of hype vs worth for artists and classical composers. Apparently Monet and Brahms are waaaaaay over-hyped and actually their chops aren’t that great! It turns out that composers are pretty decently valued according to their accomplishments, but some artists are over-hyped. The data also shows that we have a love affair with late 19th century art and music that scholars just don’t understand. Check out the posts cos it’s fascinating stuff if you’re a data geek 🙂

Hangovers, Nurofen and product differentiation

In my horribly hungover state, the first thing I did when I got to work this morning was go looking for pain relief. Excellent, I thought, there is some Nurofen in the cupboard. My initial exuberance was soon allayed as I saw we only had Nurofen ‘Back Pain’ medication, not what I was after, while the Nurofen ‘Migraine Pain’ packet was cruelly empty. A closer inspection of the packets, however, revealed the two contained exactly the same ingredients!

A good question for civil servants

From the excellent Overcoming bias blog (ht Offsetting Behaviour):

This is a great test case for paternalists; if you feel that your superior minds justify ruling the lives of others, would do you accept having your life ruled by future folk with greatly enhanced minds?

To all those civil servants who tell me we should introduce regulation X because the average person is stupid and it is for their own good – think how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.

Also stop being arrogant arseholes who think they are smarter than everyone else – actually try talking to these people you are judging and you might be surprised with their abilities …