Affordable Housing

December 30th, 2008

Five bedroom, 3.5 bath house. Hardwood floors, full basement, garage.

$8,995.

The catch, of course, is that it's in Detroit.

And if you have some time on your hands, I highly, highly recommend perusing Detroitblog. Fascinating photojournalism of America's most empty city. I spent more than two hours reading it on Sunday night, and I could have been playing World of Warcraft.

A Couple of Economic Links

December 29th, 2008

Both by way of Krugman:

1) The collapse of the European periphery, which has been very dramatic in Iceland, continues on the other side of the nominal continent in the Ukraine. "In a year when you would think little would surprise us the sharp change in real Ukraine GDP dynamics has been astonishingly swift, with the growth rate moving from the 11% year on year expansion registered in August to the 14% year on year contraction reported in November."

2) Here is an interesting paper (PDF) about corruption, or rather the perhaps surprising lack thereof, in the administration of welfare during the New Deal. "The possibility of providing cash payments to a quarter of the nation’s families offered an opportunity for corruption unique in the nation’s history. Surprisingly, however, while the administration of public relief was widely regarded as corrupt before 1933, the modern federal/state public welfare system that developed out of the New Deal reforms is often castigated as bureaucratic, but rarely corrupt. What changed? How did the country enter the Depression with a public welfare system riddled with political manipulation and emerge with one that was not?"

Cutting Through the Terminology

December 24th, 2008

From Matthew Yglesias:

Tyler Cowen explains “When you cut through the terminology, Keynes says that capital heterogeneity isn’t needed to generate aggregate demand analysis and that his core mechanisms will operate in any case.”

I’d be terrified to learn what happens when you don’t cut through the terminology.

Indeed.

Bad at something

December 22nd, 2008

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. counterterrorism officials have been on guard for homegrown recruitment by radical groups. Intelligence analysts from the New York Police Department, in a study of radicalization in Western Muslim communities, warned that "jihadist ideology" is "proliferating in Western democracies at a logarithmic rate."

Someone over there is either really bad at math, or really bad at fearmongering.

For your reference, here's a logarithmic curve:

Diablo With Snow

December 18th, 2008

It's snowing as we speak up on the devil's mountain (or, according to some, the devil's thicket); an infrequent but not startling occurance. So there may be more impressive levels of the white stuff up there in the near future.

But as I waited at the BART station, I figured I might as well capture the nice white dusting the mountain had already accumulated (click for larger image):