On the Fracking and the Fear of Probabilistic Truth

And thus concludes the second consecutive summer for which this blog has gone more or less radio silent, aside from the occasional tweet. Not that you can infer much from an N of two, but it seems like we’re not…

Optimal Voter Idiocy

We can speculate with abandon and impunity about what an ideal polity might look like, but regardless of how such a thing exists for you in your mind, it is safe to say that it does not and cannot exist…

Classic Rock Will Slowly Die or, A Musical Reminder of the Historically Singular Nature of Postwar America

I don’t drive much these days (living for 3+ years in the downtowns of compact, walk-able cities rather obviated the need for it), but just over a week ago, trucking my things back east, I found myself behind the wheel…

Demographics & the Future of American Conservatism

Matt Yglesias thinks American democracy as we currently know it is going to fall apart*: Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies…

Prosperity & the Provision of Symbolic Goods

It is always interesting, if nothing else, to see similar ideas espoused in (sometimes vastly – see an earlier post involving Tyler Cowen and Ion Iliescu) different contexts. But a recent example (also involving Tyler Cowen, go figure) has the…

The Psychic Benefits of non-GM Foods

Unless you, too, happened to see the Subaru (at least, I think it was a Subaru. The story is so archetype-ally appealing if it’s a Subaru) cruising through Ann Arbor the other day with a pro-GMO labeling sticker on the…

Parliamentary Politics & Psychic Political Satisfaction

It’s easy to make fun of parliamentary political systems because depending on the institutional setup and the political environment you can have parties garnering well under fifty percent of the vote and nevertheless installing one of their own as prime…

We’re All Just Making It up as We go Along

Depending on what news sources you read, a thing that may have occupied your attention of late is Spain’s mini secession crisis. To simplify somewhat, Catalonia wants to hold a referendum in only Catalonia on seceding from Spain, and the…

Four Reasons to Fund Goofy-Sounding Social Science Projects

Earlier this week Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, wrote this piece arguing for limiting NSF-funded research to only that which was “in the national interest”, the standard embraced by the, “original statute that created the National Science Foundation.” I…

Thinking Magically About Generational Spending Preferences

Writing for Vox about the striking divergence in young (less than 35 years old) and old (over 65) Americans’ views on the importance of government spending on military and defense, Dylan Matthews says: The military spending trend is where this…