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February 2013

"T. Oatley on 'Ditch the Job Talk'"

Professor Munger advances an interesting hypothesis:

"One of the thing that frustrates me is the centrality of the "job talk" for professional hiring in academics.

"It's an artificial situation, and has almost nothing to do with whether the person will be a success.  Not surprisingly, "good" job talks turn out to have almost no predictive value in judging tenure chances, and "bad" talks don't tell you much, either."  

We need a study.

Debt, deficits, and spending "cuts" . . .

. . . are all about how you measure them.

Robert Samuelson, "The true national debt": "You’d think this would be an easy question. Surely we know how much the government owes. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The true national debt could be triple the conventional estimate, anywhere from $11 trillion to $31 trillion by my reckoning. The differences mostly reflect explicit and implicit “off-budget” federal loan guarantees. In another economic downturn, these could result in large losses that would be brought “on budget” and worsen already huge deficits. . . ."

Mike Shedlock, "About That Surprise California Budget "Surplus": There is No Surprise and No Surplus Either": "Today we learn the surprise $5-billion bump in revenue in January is likely an accounting anomaly as a result of tax changes."

Dan Mitchell, "Earth to New York Times: Please Show Us these “Deep Spending Cuts” You Keep Writing About": "I have to read the same nonsense day after day about 'deep spending cuts' even though I keep explaining to journaliststhat a sequester merely means that spending climbs by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years rather than $2.5 trillion."



"Economics Music Video Contest"

I tried to interest my students in this, but I don't think I got anywhere. It's sponsored by the L. V. Hackley Endowment for the Study of Capitalism and Free Enterprise at Fayetteville State Univesity. (I said to my students: that's in North Carolina; maybe you'd even have some home court advantage! But, apparently, nada.) Professor Stringham has even written a paper which might help students with how to proceed

First prize is $2500 for the student(s) and another $500 for a sponsoring faculty member. And worldwide fame, I'm sure.