08 Jun 2015


Climate Change, Potpourri 15 Comments

==> David R. Henderson replies (or did he issue a rejoinder?) on the question of a stock market bubble. Let me clarify my position: I am saying it wouldn’t surprise me (and indeed would be a repeat of recent history) if the market crashed in the next few years, then the Fed blew up another bubble, and then (say a dozen years from now) the market crashed again. In that scenario, David’s retirement plans would be in serious jeopardy, even if his suggested wager with me panned out the way he hopes.

==> Speaking of David, here’s his post on Thaler rediscovering Hayek. I also have to agree with David’s assessment that Thaler is mischaracterizing neoclassical search theory. In such models, you don’t keep looking for a new job every day you go to work. Rather, when you are unemployed and looking, then you adopt a rule setting out the minimum threshold at which you will accept a job offer. So although I applaud people–especially insiders–for being able to step back and make fun of the economics profession, on this narrow point it didn’t ring true to me. (Oh, you don’t feel like clicking the link? Well actually Thaler is parodying economist search models in the context of dating. More interested now? You shouldn’t be.)

==> I’ve seen lots of people on Facebook etc. (plus Tyler Cowen at MR) link to this funny story about a young guy who legally changed his name rather than pay an airline to fix a booking error on his ticket. But what’s really awesome is that he had to change his legal name to “Adam West.”

==> You know how the most vocal of the “consensus scientists” were biting the heads off of anyone who referred to the “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming? Well, now the new rhetorical move is to say, “Yes, using the old data there appeared to be a pause or hiatus, but now we’ve corrected the errors in the data and the pause/hiatus is gone.” Anyway, here’s Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger on it, plus Judith Curry.

15 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. JimS says:

    With regard to correcting the data: So I wasn’t a failing student. All I needed to do was correct all my incorrect answers and tadaa, I’, Alfred Einstein!

    • Darien says:

      Check-plus on “Alfred Einstein.”

    • Josiah says:


      I think you’re confused about the direction of fit for temperature data.

  2. Josiah says:

    You know how the most vocal of the “consensus scientists” were biting the heads off of anyone who referred to the “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming? Well, now the new rhetorical move is to say, “Yes, using the old data there appeared to be a pause or hiatus, but now we’ve corrected the errors in the data and the pause/hiatus is gone.”

    It’s not much of a contradiction if different people say different things. Since Romm was the guy you cited as “biting the heads off” people for talking about the pause, I went and looked at what he said about the new NOAA study. Here it is. I’m not a fan of Romm, but I don’t see a contradiction between his old and new statements.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      OK Josiah, at the very least, why isn’t Romm going nuts that the news media are referring to the now-defunct hiatus or pause?

      C’mon Josiah, you yourself were the one challenging me when I quoted that financial markets guy (responding to Krugman on inflation predictions) talking about a pause. If I recall correctly, you were pretty intolerant of the careless phrasing, and kept referring sarcastically to the different data sets etc. that one would have to use, in order to think there had been a “pause.”

      So now I’m not supposed to feel hoodwinked when plenty of pro-carbon-tax people are describing this result as, “Aha! There wasn’t a pause after all. Those old numbers were wrong.” ?

      • Josiah says:


        I don’t remember the prior conversation you’re referring to (off the top of my head, I’d say the difference between inflation predictions and warning predictions has to do with the relevant time scale).

        There were people who would jump all over you if you used the term “pause,” but in my experience they were the minority (even the IPCC referred to a “hiatus”).

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Your hazing started here, Josiah. And the particular comment I was remembering was this one:

          The folks at NOAA know how to read their own charts. But they also know that a decade is not 15+ years.
          BTW, skylien, it’s amusing to be accused of cherry picking when the only way the “no warming for 15+ years” thing works is if you are very selective in how you measure it (surface temps only, annual temps not monthly, make sure your start point is 1998, etc.)”

          • Josiah says:


            My objection there was with folks who cherry picked 1998 as their starting point.

            • Tel says:

              People typically will cherry pick today as a starting point, then fit a line going backwards in time looking for the place where that line is level (neither warming nor cooling) which is the best estimate of the turning point based on the information available right now.

              Mind you, the way NASA works, past data points could move around under whatever new adjustments they come up with, so all results are provisional at best.

  3. Major_Freedom says:

    Whichever climate model has rising temperatures, that is the right one, because.

    • Richie says:

      Because those that show rising temperatures use strong methodologies, and those that show a pause of even a dip in temperatures use weak methodologies.

  4. skylien says:

    Sorry off topic but something really significant happened yesterday in a standard meeting in the company I work for.

    At the beginning, before all people were present, a normal colleague (not dumb but definitely not versed in economics etc) started to talk generally about cash being banned soon. And another colleague (also definitely not versed in economics, but not dumb either) answered yes, and that in Italy and Sweden they are already quite far by allowing only very low cash transactions etc… The guy who introduced that after being asked what to do if that happens, answered: Well what can I do, I guess I will buy gold…

    This is the first time that I hear normal people (none of them really is in any form an econ geek or anything remotely like that) talk like that. That doesn’t mean that things have to start really moving now, but if normal people start to see the writing on the wall, you should be careful that you are actually moving before them, and it might mean big things can happen soon. In any case you need to be on you toes.

    The most fascinating thing for me is how and what other normal people, not actively interested in economics etc, are perceiving about what is happening around us. And it is my conviction that things won’t change much as long as a certain mass isn’t actually being hit clearly with all the stupid stuff central bankers and politicians around the world do like negative interest rates, capital controls creeping up, taking away of certain state guarantees (in the EU countries will stop guaranteeing for bank deposits) and maybe significant price inflation at some point..

    • Darien says:

      I hear things like this from the people I work with all the time, but, then, I live in rural Alaska, where distrust of Washington (with the sad exception of the military) is de rigueur.

      That said, you’re right: attitudes and ideas that just a few years back were lunatic fringe are now rapidly become standard. Interesting times.

      • skylien says:

        Of course I have not experienced a similar situation in the past already and it is therefore hard to actually evaluate those things, since talk is not the same as doing, and I am only experiencing very random examples personally obviously. So I should not overrate it, but I still think it is an important indicator.

    • skylien says:

      I have to correct one thing. State guarantees for bank deposits were dumb when they existed and it is good and not dumb to end them. However it is somewhat ironic that first with this they created the illusion of bank deposits being riskless for the people, now when it matters and risk is clearly rising they actually are shattering this illusion…

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