getoffmylawnThis surprises me not even a little bit: Things are different when you’re beautiful. (The linked episode of 30 Rock was really, really good.)

Why? Because freedom and you’re not the boss of me dad.

Some are becoming concerned that residency hour caps have gone too far.

This strikes me as about right. The clients of Electronic Medical Records aren’t the doctors who use them, really, but the government.

Within ten years, Chicago could be overtaken by Houston.

Whatever we say about San Francisco, at least it’s not Stockholm. (Yet.)

Lyman Stone says it’s time to let Atlantic City die.

The Washington Post made a splash with its new poll suggesting 90% of Native Americans don’t oppose the Redskins name. But “>here’s the pushback, and it’s not entirely unconvincing. A lot of this is going to come down to defining Native American, and possibly the extent to which some Native American opinions might matter more than others.

Bre Payton explains how a gay-friendly gun club helped secure our Second Amendment.

It’s interesting to me how in Nature vs Nurture it tends to be the right that endorses the former and the left the latter, when I actually think the policy implications kind of run the other way.

This piece, by an interest group on the cost of regulation in homebuilding, has me wondering what empirical data there might be on the actual long-term effects of such regulation. Especially safety regulations, which are the most justified.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports that academic freedom isn’t what it used to be.

Though growth has slowed down, the oil and gas apocalypse that was supposed to consume Texas still hasn’t happened.

Shane Parrish looks at Albert Einstein, the non-essential, and the essential.

It’s apparently long been known that if you put a joey in a kangaroo’s pouch, the kangaroo might adopt it. Apparently, they adopt on their own volition, too.

And because this post title is Guanajuato, I have to include this Robert Earl Keen song, which is pretty awesome:

Category: Newsroom

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19 Responses to Linkluster Guanajuato

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Regarding those 28- and 40-hour resident shifts, are they literally working for that many hours, our is it more a matter of needing to be present at the hospital, but having the opportunity to take naps every now and then?

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    Regarding the nature-vs-nurture link, “Nature vs nurture” is a false dichotomy. It’s actually a three-way battle between nature, nurture, and random stuff we can’t control, and for most traits, nurture is a distant third.

    Studies, including the meta-analysis described in the article, commonly break down the factors contributing to a trait into three categories: Genetics, shared environment, and non-shared environment. Genetics is pretty much what it sounds like. Shared environment is the aspects of the environment shared by twins raised together. This includes things like home environment, and also school and community environment, to the extent that they’re the same. This is the stuff that’s meant by “nurture.”

    Non-shared environment is a catch-all for everything else. If twins are placed into different classes at school, the difference is non-shared environment (but similarities between the classes would still be shared environment). If they have different friends, the difference is non-shared environment. If one catches an illness or gets injured and the other doesn’t, that’s non-shared environment. Non-shared environment can even include genetic factors, like if one twin has a spontaneous genetic mutation. It sometimes includes stuff like measurement error, although I think the better studies nowadays try to account for that.

    What this meta-analysis found is that for 2/3 of traits considered, they could not find statistically significant evidence that variation in shared environment explained any of the variation in outcomes at all. The

    So when a study finds that a trait is 50% genetic, that doesn’t mean that the other 50% is stuff like parental SES, books in the home, or how good a school you go to. That may explain some of it, but in most cases we’re not even sure that, within the ranges observed in a modern wealthy nation, it explains anything, much less the entirety of the remainder.

    • Kazzy says:

      Isn’t non-shared environment under the “nurture” umbrella?

      • Brandon Berg says:

        Broadly speaking, you can say that anything that isn’t a perfect copy of a random selection of your parents’ genes is “nurture.” But generally speaking, non-shared environment isn’t the stuff people usually have in mind when talking about nurture. It’s not stuff parents control, unless they’re deliberately discriminating amongst their children. It’s also not stuff that has any obvious policy implications. You can’t control it by giving parents more resources, or sending kids to better schools. Since it’s just a statistical residual, we don’t really even know what the important factors are.

  3. Michael Cain says:

    Don’t forget San Antonio, which is considering annexation of enough people to jump it into fifth place overall. Under current Texas law, there’s a lot of room for San Antonio to continue annexing, as well. The Bexar County commissioners are looking for money to spend on road improvements in the unincorporated parts of the county in hopes that will keep people from asking to be annexed.

    • trumwill says:

      Given that I’m not sure municipalities can exist, I am reasonably sympathetic to San Antonio here. Even so, San Antonio’s entire metro area is smaller than Chicago proper. They can’t annex themselves past it!

      Eventually, though, we’ll likely be talking about Austin/SA as a singular area, probably.

      • Kazzy says:

        Texas and San Antonio are over 70 miles apart. How do they become a singular area?

        • Michael Cain says:

          Front Range Colorado runs 120 miles from Fort Collins on the north to Colorado Springs on the south. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find any place on I-25 along that stretch where you’re out of sight of a housing development. I don’t know anyone who commutes the full distance, but do know people commuting back-and-forth between Fort Collins and Denver, and between Colorado Springs and Denver.

          The Wasatch Front in Utah runs about the same distance along I-15, and is growing into the same kind of thing.

          Austin to San Antonio along the edge of the Edwards Plateau and I-35 has the same potential.

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    Also, as a counterpoint to the idea that the heritability of cognitive skills has left-wing implications, it’s also in some ways an indictment of left-wing policies.

    For example, leftists have been claiming for fifty years that giving resources to poor families will allow them to break the cycle of poverty. This is based on the premise that the reason poor parents have poor children is their lack of financial resources, rather than narrowly heritable characteristics. It’s becoming increasingly clear that this premise is simply wrong, and that welfare programs are reinforcing and accelerating the cycle of of poverty by making it easier for people with traits unconducive to success in a modern economy to have more children.

    The left also points to intergenerational income correlations as “proof” that the wealthy (well, really, the upper-middle class) are buying their children unfair advantages, but this body of research suggests that the advantages come primarily from genetics, rather than from financial resources.

    Meanwhile, the “you don’t earn your genes” case for redistribution is weaker than it might seem. Even if we throw out the concept of desert altogether, people still respond to incentives. Highly redistributive policies increase the incentive for people to do cool or fun jobs rather than jobs with high marginal product and correspondingly high pay. Say, becoming an artist rather than an engineer. And again, making it easier for people dependent on welfare to have more children increases welfare dependency in the next generation.

    • Brandon Berg says:

      Ideally we would tax endowments, rather than effort. This was the idea behind Mankiw’s infamous height tax. But we can’t do that, so any tax based on income or wealth is necessarily going to tax productive behavior in addition to endowments.

    • trumwill says:

      I agree about incentives. It doesn’t indicate communism anyway. It does indicate less income variation among working folks, though. To the extent that I have come to believe it to be the case, genetic variance has lead me towards believing in a more robust welfare state and economic liberalism.

    • Oscar Gordon says:

      I don’t know that you could put it down to genetics. There is an element of inheritability to poverty/financial success, but I wouldn’t let it settle to DNA. Attitudes can be inherited just as easily as eye color, but through an entirely different mechanism.

  5. Oscar Gordon says:

    Needing a good reason to exercise a right remains one the absolutely weakest arguments of the gun control crowd.

    • Kazzy says:

      Maybe it isn’t particularly strong, but given the very real risk/threat/harm presented by guns, it seems reasonable to consider their necessity when seeking to balance the competing interests.

      • trumwill says:

        It seems like the most valid on a personal decisionmaking level. As far as law goes, it requires blanket policy towards individual circumstance, or outside people trying to do threat assessment for an individual.

      • Oscar Gordon says:

        What Will said. A gun in a holster is about as dangerous to the public as a car in a parking lot. A car in motion can be very dangerous, should we have government question whether or not you need to be driving, versus taking public transit?

        Better to focus efforts on how it may be carried, rather than if.

  6. Plinko says:

    The NAHB paper seems extraordinarily terrible to me – and I am totally committed to the idea that local regulatory burdens on development are wildly outrageous.

    Beyond the fact that it’s apparently purely based on their own survey of their own members – asking homebuilders if regulations cost them money, we shouldn’t be surprised that the answer is ‘and how’!
    The survey is 8 questions asking builders to estimate the percentage of their sales prices that come out of regulatory costs – that’s it.

    Then they go and compare the subset of their members that say they develop lots to national median new home values – I am not sure of the composition of members, but their members who say they do lots from nothing may well be a very, very imperfect fit to actual new homebuilding (how much has a middle man, how much are new construction on previously developed lots?)

    Some are clearly very logical – the financing cost of the permitting process and the actual fees themselves.
    Yet others – comparing the value to undeveloped land, seems positively disingenuous. It’s kind of double dipping to claim that the difference in market value between developed and undeveloped land is purely the byproduct of direct regulatory burdens.
    I am guessing that there’s considerable market value for land that is hooked up to the electrical grid, has access to streets and is tapped into the water utility vs the ones where we don’t. All of these are pure products of regulatory systems – we can argue about any given place’s quality of systems and governance – but it’s not as if we’re not getting anything for that part of our money!
    And, curiously, they don’t seem to inquire on the impact of the regulations that keep most homebuilders from having to actually compete with one another all that much – in that they severely limit the supply of potential buildings occuring and make it extraordinarily difficult for new entrants to the market?

    • Oscar Gordon says:

      Yeah, it’s not a good study. It asks an important question, but then does a piss poor job answering it.

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