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Suicide Rates and GDP

Suicide Rates and GDP

As part of an ongoing project on the behavioral consequences of tryptophan depletion, I read an article today that claimed to have found a positive correlation between high levels of corn consumption and homicide across many nations. The researchers claimed that corn, being deficient in tryptophan, chronically depletes serotonin levels, thereby increasing incidents of physical […]

Loving and the Beloved

It is not the person we love, but the very act of loving, that redeems us.

Antipodes of Irrationality

Liberalism and conservatism are often presented as two opposite ways of thinking, but it would be more honest to call them two different ways of not thinking. One is liberal to the extent that one refuses to consider the harm our attempts to improve the world may cause; one is conservative insofar as one refuses […]

In Praise of Robert Nozick

Several of my favorite economics bloggers have praised Robert Nozick during the past few days, whose 70th birthday would have been this past Sunday. I have considerable respect for Nozick, but must admit that this anecdote from David Henderson’s post on Econlog strikes me as more impressive than any specific part of Nozick’s considerable philosophical […]

Escape Characters and Poor Design Decisions

To say it once and for all: using ” as the escape character for ‘ within single-quoted strings is a poor decision in language design.

GRE Scores and Political Correctness

GRE Scores and Political Correctness

This week a table of average GRE scores for different academic disciplines has been circulating around the economic blogosphere. You can see it at Greg Mankiw’s blog here. After a colleague pointed the chart out to me today, I decided that I would combine the GRE scores with self-identification scores of political correctness from another […]

Obama is Not Fond of the Thirteenth Amendment

Evidently, Barack Obama still intends to impose involuntary servitude upon our nation’s youth. To quote Obama’s new website, Change.gov: The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to […]

Larry Summers and Barack Obama?

I must say: it would be absolutely amazing — and truly wonderful — if

Moral Responsibility

Responsibility, in the moral sense, is not a property of actors, but merely a confabulation on our part designed for one and only one purpose: to justify the suffering we inflict upon others. This holds equally well in regard to matters of retributive and distributive justice: responsibility is a mere holdover from an antiquated conception […]

Theoretical Neuroscience Rising

Equations force a model to be precise, complete, and self-consistent, and they allow its full implications to be worked out. It is not difficult to find word models in the conclusions sections of older neuroscience papers that sound reasonable but, when expressed as mathematical models, turn out to be inconsistent and unworkable. Mathematical formulation of […]