catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Open Forum 3/11/06

with 58 comments

Written by Admin

November 3, 2006 at 6:35 pm

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58 Responses

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  1. Just to kick things off, this one’s for our resident Neanderthal

    There may be a little Neanderthal in all of us.

    That’s the conclusion of anthropologists who have re-examined 30,000-year-old fossilized bones from a Romanian cave — bones that languished in a drawer since the 1950s.

    According to the researchers, these early Homo sapien bones show anatomical features that could only have arisen if the adult female in question had Neanderthal ancestors as part of her lineage.

    The findings may answer nagging questions: Did modern humans and Neanderthals interbreed on a significant scale? And were the Neanderthals exterminated about 28,000 years ago — as some anthropologists contend — or did they gradually assimilate into the gene pool of people living today?

    “From my perspective, the replacement vs. continuity debate that raged through the 1990s is now dead,” said the study’s American co-author, Erik Trinkaus, a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 6:38 pm

  2. I’ve asked this question in a couple of places (like my blog) but I should put it somewhere other people read if I want an answer. 🙂

    Why don’t forward macroeconomic estimates ever seem to include error estimates? Eg this report from ABARE gives estimates for costs to the australian economy under various scenarios of CO2 abatement 50 years hence. However the estimates never seem to include an error attached to them.

    Do they backtest these models? I can only assume they do so there must be some estimates even if its not from working forward from the senstitivity to initial parameters.

    From what I observed, GDP estimates a year ahead you could expect at least 0.5% standard error, which for a fifty year timescale (assuming independent random errors) scales up to close to 3.5%. Some of the model outcomes in that report are much closer than that which suggests they are pretty much indistiguishable but it seems quite happy to rank them as though there was no wide overlap in errors. Or are they hidden somewhere in a footnote I’ve missed?

    I would regard forward climate estimates as a joke if they couldn’t give me some range of error, but macro estimates seem to be taken seriously without it. Is it all pure macromancy?

    Steve Edney

    November 3, 2006 at 6:52 pm

  3. A shortened version of what the Greens don’t want people to read with an IQ of over 33.
    The Green Party manifesto.

    1. The Greens believe that everyone has a right to timely, high-quality health care, regardless of their income. The fairest and most efficient way to achieve this is through the public health system.
    We strongly support Medicare, and propose an increase in the Medicare levy to cover essential services that are not presently covered. These services include dentistry, physiotherapy, certain areas of mental health, and alternative and complementary therapies that have been proven to be effective.
    2. Greens will abolish the $2.5 billion per annum Private Health Insurance Rebate. The money saved will be redirected to where it is most needed – public health (including preventative healthcare and hospitals)
    3 Our approach to health care is holistic. This means focusing on eradicating the causes of ill health, such as poverty, inadequate housing, over-work or lack of work, and air and water pollution.

    Wood chips.
    Don’t even think about using wood to build a house.

    1 We would immediately end the export of woodchips from native forests. Our plan for the timber industry moves wood production away from native forests into plantations (which already supply over 75% of our wood needs) on cleared land. It promotes paper recycling and incorporates retraining and other assistance to workers.
    2 Tasmania’s internationally renowned forests are being destroyed at the greatest rate in history. Tasmania exports more than twice as many woodchips as all the other states combined. The old growth and high conservation value forests of Tasmania – the Styx, Tarkine, Blue Tier and Western Tiers – must be protected.
    3 The Greens would also safeguard the savannahs and tropical forests of the north and arid woodlands that span Australia’s heart.


    They want to run it off to the sea.

    1.Australians are the world’s highest per capita users of water. Most of this water is used for irrigation (75%); urban and industrial use accounts for 20%. Between 1985 and 1997 total water use increased by 65% and it is increasingly evident from stressed and degraded rivers, floodplains and wetlands that we are using water well beyond sustainable levels
    2 As a priority we want governments to commit to providing a minimum additional 1500 GL per annum for environmental flows to the Murray River. We will campaign to keep all major water resources and infrastructure in public ownership.


    Look out below

    1 The Greens believe that a strong public education system is the key to creating a fair, successful and cohesive society, and that everyone has the right to free, high-quality public education and training. To achieve this, we would massively increase funding for all levels of public education.
    Early Childhood
    2 The Greens are committed to providing free, public early childhood education and childcare places for all Australian children in the year preceding compulsory schooling.

    3 The Greens want to stop the growth in public funding of private schools and increase funding for public education
    4 High quality, comprehensive, public education should be free to students at all levels, including university.

    The Greens are committed to:
    • Abolishing university fees and the HECS system. Abolition of HECS would only cost around $2 billion each year – less than the total value of the $4 a week tax cut delivered in the 2003 budget.
    • Significantly increasing university funding to maintain the quality of teaching and independence of research, to reduce class sizes, to increase the total number of students, and to eliminate reliance on corporations for sponsorship
    • Improving student income support
    • Preserving compulsory student association fees to keep university life affordable and supportive for all students
    • The freedom for staff to organise collectively, to pursue research that is in the public interest and to be represented by their union

    Read these carefully

    • An independent foreign and defence policy that opposes pre-emptive strikes
    • An aid program targeted towards the elimination of poverty as the primary objective
    • Rejection of international trade agreements that undermine poor countries
    • Ending nuclear warship visits, removing bases which might contribute to nuclear war, and dropping support for the dangerous national missile defence which threatens a new arms race
    • Democratisation and strengthening of the United Nations
    Repealing new ASIO powers and other laws that diminish civil rights

    • Use government bonds to finance public infrastructure
    • Increase the regulation of banks, insurance companies and auditing
    • Stop companies gaining monopoly control of markets
    • Ensure companies fulfil their obligations to their workers by introducing a compulsory government-run employer levy that will guarantee workers’ entitlements

    Fair trade not free trade – we reject the Free Trade Agreement with the USA
    • Radical reform of the World Trade Organisation, World Bank and International Monetary Fund to make them more socially and environmentally responsible – and their abolition if this can’t be achieved
    • Cancelling all Third World debt
    • Introducing a Tobin tax on currency transactions

    Yes I was wondering how long it would take to burn people

    The Greens will restructure the tax system to:
    • Ensure that high-income earners pay their fair share
    • Bias income tax rates to provide relief to low income earners
    • End the tax rorts that apply to investmentsin Australia
    • Reintroduce inheritance taxes on estates (excluding charitable bequests and inherited farms) worth over $2 million

    The Greens will hold a Royal Commission into the distribution of wealth in our country, and will introduce a genuine progress indicator (incorporating social and environmental sustainability) into Australia’s national account statistics.

    Introducing mandatory targets for reducing emissions
    • Ensuring that buildings and appliances become rapidly more energy efficient by introducing mandatory standards and labelling
    • Establishing a ‘Sun Fund’ to help farmers and others in rural and regional Australia take up energy conservation and renewable energy
    • Phasing out coal-fired electricity in Australia by 2050, as part of the switch to renewable energy
    • Introducing a carbon levy to finance investment in energy conservation, public transport and renewable energy
    Sustainable Agriculture & Genetic Engineering
    The Australian Greens have a vision for a uniquely Australian agricultural landscape, in which profitable and ecologically sustainable agriculture sustains vibrant rural communities.
    We are campaigning for ecologically sustainable agriculture that:
    • Expands Australia’s organic farming sector
    • Has no significant negative impacts on Australia’s soils, water quality and biodiversity
    • Minimises the use of non-renewable energy, agrichemicals (including pesticides and fertilisers) and irrigation
    • Ensures sustainable use of groundwater resources
    • Takes into account natural climate variability and potential climate change

    Australian Greens policy is to:
    • End uranium mining and the export of uranium from Australia
    • Close the nuclear facility at Lucas Heights and prohibit the construction of any new reactors in Australia
    • Oppose a radioactive waste dump in South Australia and store existing nuclear waste above ground at a single storage facility in each state or territory so it can be monitored continuously
    • Close Australia’s ports and territorial waters to nuclear-powered vessels
    • Promote an effective international nuclear weapons convention banning the development, production, stockpiling, use and threat of nuclear weapons
    • Encourage states that currently possess nuclear weapons to dismantle them
    Although medical radioisotopes are currently produced in nuclear reactors, some can now be produced using non-reactor technologies. The Greens support more research into the use of such technologies.

    Ending tax subsidies for company cars and putting an import duty on off-road vehicles
    • Investigating socially equitable forms of congestion charges and other innovative user pays mechanisms
    • Restoring indexation of fuel tax and converting it to a carbon levy
    • Closing the loopholes that have allowed the Commonwealth to fund urban freeways

    We support:
    • The goal of full employment
    • A legislated shorter working week
    • Fair pay and conditions
    • The recognition of unpaid work, such as caring for children, elderly people and people with disabilities, done outside the formal economy

    In the workplace, we support:
    • Equal opportunity programs and fair treatment for every employee
    • The role of unions as the democratic expression of working people
    • The right of unions and workers to take industrial action to protect and promote their legitimate interests
    • The highest standards of occupational health and safety
    • Permanent jobs not casual jobs
    • The traditional conciliation and arbitration role of the Industrial Relations Commission

    • 18 weeks of paid replacement earnings up to the average federal wage (but no less than the federal minimum)
    • A further 34 weeks of unpaid leave
    • A right to return to work part-time

    Social justice is one of the four principles of the Australian Greens. We seek to ensure that all Australians can live with dignity by:
    • Eradicating the causes of poverty
    • Sharing the nation’s economic wealth fairly
    • Investing in public services that benefit everyone

    The Australian Greens support:
    • Increased funding to the arts and artists, including Indigenous artists
    • Protection for the property and moral rights of artists
    • Exemption of the arts from free trade agreements
    • Increased funding for the ABC and SBS
    • Increased local content in broadcasting and new media and support for community radio and T

    “The Greens offer an optimistic alternative to the major parties. We need strong voices in our Parliament for the environment, social justice and peace. Vote Green and help us achieve a fair, independent and sustainable Australia.

    Can someone please tell me if they se a policy that could be thought of as remotely positive for the economy and economic well-being.


    November 3, 2006 at 6:55 pm

  4. pretty much if you do the exact opposite of most of those policies you’ll get the right outcome…even the right outcome for the greens…

    privatising water would mean water would no longer be scarce…privatising those forests and wilderness areas etcetera to conservation groups, hunters and outdoor groups mean they would be preserved far better than under government control…


    November 3, 2006 at 7:12 pm

  5. Good question Steve and I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps Sinclair can answer your question when he gets on here.

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 7:17 pm

  6. “We strongly support Medicare, and propose an increase in the Medicare levy to cover essential services that are not presently covered. These services include dentistry, physiotherapy, certain areas of mental health, and alternative and complementary therapies that have been proven to be effective”

    Hahaha. So the Greens want to subsidise quack medicine.

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 7:18 pm

  7. I know C8to.

    I really don’t think pople know what they are voting for.

    It’s 100%. Every single one of their policies is eithjer negative for the environment or negative for the economic well being. It’s a uncanny result… having a 100% success rate, but they’ve achieved it.

    Not please that the environment is only a small part of the toilet contents of this manifesto.


    November 3, 2006 at 7:20 pm

  8. They say poverty causes disease.

    So i guess giving every smoker a million dolls will eliminate lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, thrombosis… i could go on… would be the cure. If poverty is the caue of disease, it stands to reason that wealth is the cure, right?

    But a holistic approach is far better, they say.

    After reading this I got to wondering Bob Brown was a Gp at some stage. Did he have patients? If he did are they alive now to prove it?


    November 3, 2006 at 7:28 pm

  9. “We strongly support Medicare……”


    Getting a bit suspicious isn’t it?

    “…and propose an increase in the Medicare levy…..”

    Its right about there that the man of the house would be sending off the youngsters to be fetching and loading the peace-makers if we did live in a better world.


    November 3, 2006 at 7:30 pm

  10. “Although medical radioisotopes are currently produced in nuclear reactors, some can now be produced using non-reactor technologies. The Greens support more research into the use of such technologies.”

    forget CAT scans and medical imaging if these bozos ever got into power. They don’t like them and would stop xrays and CT scans. they think an xray and CAT scan too dangerous to our health.

    Bob Brown MD must agree with this.


    November 3, 2006 at 7:32 pm

  11. Short answer – Out of sample forecasting is very hard.

    Long answer has to do with known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

    Economics is very poor at settling policy disputes simply because prediction is so difficult. At best a distribution of forecasts could be reported (and perhaps should be).

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 3, 2006 at 7:32 pm

  12. If poverty causes disease a lift in the tax-free-threshold becomes a medical-health-necessity.


    November 3, 2006 at 7:32 pm

  13. Bird
    You’re rationalizing. Just enjoy the lunacy of the manifesto. Just enjoy the fact that there are people in our midst who actually believe this.


    November 3, 2006 at 7:37 pm

  14. Yeah but we can’t get to arrogant about there relative stupidity.

    Because they tend to get their way and we don’t.

    And we have to make it through the next 3 decades with them…






    And using all their powers and talents to sell the rest of us down-river.


    November 3, 2006 at 8:00 pm

  15. Too much information, Graeme.

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 8:05 pm

  16. Great image, though, like the fucking flying outhouses on the F-22 thread.


    November 3, 2006 at 8:13 pm

  17. The new Left – selling out feminism for ‘multiculturalism’

    I’M going for political suicide here but I’m willing to stand up with anybody else in this country who happens to agree with Sheik Hilali’s sentiments.

    Not because of any emotional or religious point of view but from sheer logic. While men who want to assault women exist, there will be women who get assaulted. Unfortunately, how a woman dresses does affect her level of likeliness to be chosen. The subsequent reaction to this latest opportunity to get angry about something is the real lesson here.
    Suzanne Bassette
    National secretary, Australian Democrats
    Clayfield, Qld

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 8:16 pm

  18. Jason, that deserves a separate post. I’ll stick it up if you’d prefer not to.



    November 3, 2006 at 8:27 pm

  19. go for it, SL, I couldn’t think of anything else to say besides that headline

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 8:29 pm

  20. PS I should note I got it through reading one of CL’s comments on an LP thread

    Jason Soon

    November 3, 2006 at 8:31 pm

  21. The Blair gang has managed to destroy an online petition to save the Glass House. No Wil lovers, Hugh Jorgan is not a real person.


    November 3, 2006 at 8:52 pm

  22. “Too much information, Graeme.”

    Dude I wasn’t making some sort of confession.

    I was more thinking about Terminator I.


    November 3, 2006 at 9:10 pm

  23. I’ve given it a post of its own. Still sort of stunned.


    November 3, 2006 at 9:22 pm

  24. “Eg this report from ABARE gives estimates for costs to the australian economy under various scenarios of CO2 abatement 50 years hence. However the estimates never seem to include an error attached to them.”

    Its because the whole thing is an error.

    “Do they backtest these models? I can only assume they do so there must be some estimates even if its not from working forward from the senstitivity to initial parameters.”

    None of the models back-test.

    If they did they wouldn’t have to go with that un-scientific JIVE of amalgamating all these allegedly independent models.


    November 3, 2006 at 9:22 pm

  25. On my recent trip to the UK, I visted the University of Buckingham ( The VC, Terence Kealey, has written a libertarian classic looking at public funding of science ( The PC came out this week with a report (720 pg) arguing that Australia did get a return from public funded science, but the government could do a better job targeting that spending. Translation: the government should do a better job at picking winners.

    Anyway, I presented a paper at Buckingham and the IPA have published it as a backgrounder. For your reading pleasure:

    (In the interests of full disclosure – some of my research is funded by the ARC, some it is funded by the Melbourne Centre for Financial Studies, this project was funded by the IPA).

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 4, 2006 at 8:28 am

  26. If they did they wouldn’t have to go with that un-scientific JIVE of amalgamating all these allegedly independent models.

    No Bird I’m not talking about Stern here, this is an ABARE estimate for Australia, which as far as I can tell uses a single model.

    Steve Edney

    November 4, 2006 at 9:26 am

  27. No none of these models backtest.

    There is not a single climate model predicting catastrophic heating that back-tests.

    Or else they would have announced it to banners.

    Plus have you ever tried to track down the assumptions of the models that make these claims.

    I’ve found it next to impossible.

    They are just making it up.


    November 4, 2006 at 10:42 am

  28. I’m talking about the economic models of the impacts not the climate models.

    I’m presuming these economic models have some cost built in based on the outcomes of climate models, but that goes even more to my point about not including a level of uncertainty. the climate estimates have one but the economic models don’t seem to.

    Surely they should be looking at the range of outcomes under different heating scenarios not just the median one.

    Steve Edney

    November 4, 2006 at 10:55 am

  29. The Economist is now running two blogs:

    Free Exchange.
    Democracy In America.

    I used to quite like The Economist. Where does it stand on the spectrum these days, Catallaxians? I know Homer loves it.

    Also, Milton Friedman has written a foreword to a new book which I’m sure Tony Abbott will be ordering ASAP. (Not that he needs much firepower against the increasingly somnambulistic Julia Gillard).


    November 4, 2006 at 11:14 am

  30. Look Edney. They are ripping us off. They are simply making it up.

    “I’m talking about the economic models of the impacts not the climate models.”

    But the economic modelling would have to start where the climate modelling has finished or else whats the point?

    “I’m presuming these economic models have some cost built in based on the outcomes of climate models, but that goes even more to my point about not including a level of uncertainty.”

    But why would they have net costs in the first place?

    I mean you are probably right. They probably do. But they ought to have gains. Being as we are the driest continent on earth, and being as more CO2 on balance must lead more rain…. just going on the balance of probability….. and further that CO2 leads to higher plant growth and plants that need less water.

    Look I didn’t know what you meant by ABARE. I had to look it up. Man if this aint a good place to save money just by firing everyone I don’t know what is.

    I did a search on their site. And I found some reports on “mitigation” strategies and stuff about reducing CO2 emissions.

    This bollocks is worse then just an expensive example of unecessary thieving.

    They actually spend their time writing reports that add to the sum total of the bullshit momentum.

    If there was one department ONE DEPARTMENT that ought to be supporting as much CO2 in the air as we can get it ought to be the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    But instead money is thieved off us so they can write reports to further deceive us.

    They are actively going against the very area that they are supposed to be taking care of.

    Fire every last one of these people. There is no substitute for mass-sackings.

    Government ought to start each meeting after the minutes are read with issues pertaining to their operation of all aspects of their area of concern in wartime.

    Else what the hell are they good for?

    The only other major areas they ought to be concerned with is phasing themselves down and or out, in stream-lining, rewriting and as much as possible eliminating the regulations in their area of concern.

    Stolen money being used to bullshit us.

    Its offensive is what it is.


    November 4, 2006 at 11:27 am

  31. SD: I had a look at your publically funded research report. I think you are far too nice on the ARC stuff. As far as I can tell, it is one of the most hopelessly corrupt archaic funding agencies there is. If you aren’t a fat balding baby-boomer, you aren’t likely to get funded. They can’t even answer simple questions like how they calculate previous research quality. This is surely one of the reasons that private funds are going to beat public ones in this situation.


    November 4, 2006 at 11:38 am

  32. Steve, I’m not an economist, but in many areas of social science errors and the like are not reported simply because the vast majority of people wouldn’t understand them (particularily if you get away from really basic stuff). This is sure to differ from areas like physics (i.e., climate change and the like) where the average person probably would (or could) understand them and where the validity of different models can and is evaluated on such data (versus many areas of social science where people don’t seem to understand this concept at all).

    The other problem is that if you start trying to estimate error based on anything but stock-standard techniques, you need to provide an explanation of how you did it, which takes a lot of space (go try and explain pink noise or something like that to your average person with a 4 year social-science degree if you want to test this).

    Unlike SD, I don’t see any reason why you can’t estimate errors with a large numbers of unknown parameters — its just that you end up with large error margins (which is handy to know in any case)


    November 4, 2006 at 11:54 am

  33. ‘If you aren’t a fat balding baby-boomer, you aren’t likely to get funded.’ 🙂

    I am fat and balding – but not a baby-boomer. I do point readers to some literature that makes the points Conrad makes (see footnote 24). I don’t want to get into a slanging match with the ARC. I have been quite lucky. The only research of mine they have refused to fund is a study into the need for publicly supported research! Three times they’ve knocked that back.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 4, 2006 at 12:04 pm

  34. ‘I don’t see any reason why you can’t estimate errors with a large numbers of unknown parameters — its just that you end up with large error margins (which is handy to know in any case)’

    I’m not doubting that a number can be reported, I’m just not sure what that number would, or could, mean. By definition its going to be large. As I always tell my students risk means that more things can happen than are going to happen.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 4, 2006 at 12:07 pm

  35. Looks like Birdy’s immigration policy may have some wings after all

    Kareen Yazbek, a Beirut psychologist, says the lack of available men is a constant theme in her discussions with young women recovering from depression and drug addiction.

    “Throughout my practice, the main issue that comes up with many young women is that they can’t find anyone to be with or to marry,” Yazbek says. “Among college-age girls it’s not such a problem, but after graduation there’s a big change as the men start seeking work outside of Lebanon.

    “The social pressures on young women are just huge. The focus is more and more on being beautiful, on pleasing other people. The competition is intense, conformity is a big thing, and everyone, rich and poor, gets plastic surgery. You can go to parts of Beirut where almost every young woman has the same little nose.”

    And the big prize, all seem to agree, is the attention of one of the visiting native sons.

    “The guys that remain in Lebanon are the stupid ones!” exclaims Nayiri Kalayjian, 19, who is hitting the bars on Monot Street, in central Beirut, with three girlfriends. “We’re too good for them. The ones who remain in Lebanon are the ones with closed mentalities, the ones who just want a virgin girl.”

    Jason Soon

    November 4, 2006 at 12:22 pm

  36. “It is now almost five to one: five young girls for every young man. When men my son’s age come back to Lebanon, they can’t keep the girls from leaping at them.”


    ‘Oh the humanity.’


    November 4, 2006 at 12:36 pm

  37. “The only research of mine they have refused to fund is a study into the need for publicly supported research! Three times they’ve knocked that back.”


    That’s the ONE report we need to get through and we don’t need any others.

    We could call it ‘The blood-sucker report to end all blood-sucker reports.’

    Isn’t it all a bit of a vanity? To get these custom-made reports made up for you? Keeping whole armies of people, and all that office-space and any number of associated costs.

    When the head of department can just get a few people web-surfing for free off-the-shelf gear.

    This is where they are getting themselves all mislead.


    November 4, 2006 at 12:41 pm

  38. On another topic:

    Chinese Communists Harvesting Human Beings Organs.

    You know we aren’t tough enough militarily because we aren’t protesting this at the UN.

    And who are these grave criminals that are at the receiving end of this gruesome treatment?

    Mass murderers. Child-molesting paedophiles guilty of killing the kiddies they rape?



    Falun Gong worshippers. Totally harmless behaviour.

    Liam you there?

    Can you get just a little bit more outraged about this then you did about Pinochet?

    Now these are their OWN PEOPLE. Their own youngsters.

    Imagine what they are going to do to us inferior races if we don’t or won’t stay strong enough to keep them and their influence pinned right up to the Chinese coast. Or better still drive our influence into that country to get these Falun Gong people released.

    Liam reckons we can always buy them off.

    Our leftists are not reasonable people putting about valid points of view.

    Can anyone tell me what all those Chinese spies are doing in our country.

    Are we in fact so gutless and or militarily weak that we cannot send these guys home at the very least?

    How much do we need to spend to get the courage to throw these spies out and protest organ harvesting at the UN.

    Or is it the ageing UN nazis that are picking up all these young innocent Chinese organs?


    November 4, 2006 at 2:41 pm

  39. The evidence suggests the Chinese are ripping organs out of prisoners, including political prisoners. The left prefers to concentrate on the horrors of Gitmo – where prisoners are given Harry Potter books to read – or Abu Ghraib, where a picture of your buttocks might be taken and end up on the internet.


    November 4, 2006 at 3:08 pm

  40. CL
    To their credit, it seems the only voices supporting human rights issues in China is the US right wing. They are the one ones pressuring the Prez to make this an issue.

    The dems are too busy figuring out how to impeach him if the gain enough seats in Congress.


    November 4, 2006 at 3:20 pm

  41. Now I asked what the thousands of Chinese spies in this country are doing here.

    “Peter has received many threatening or strange phone calls since his private interview about the organ harvesting, but expressed his determination in going public with his information despite fears of attack from the Chinese regime.”

    Thats one of the reasons they are here. Any one of us could be hassled or worse by these people. And who would believe them?

    They would be ridiculed.

    But they are here for real reasons. And this sort of threatening behaviour would be one of them.

    When can we get rid of them?

    Kevin Rudd wants us to morally undermine the Taiwanese. Try and convince them that their future is with the mainland.

    What money do we need to spend on defense to be able to morally support the Taiwanese (and militarily support them if it comes to that).

    See those Taiwanese pilots. They sit in their cockpits in the hot afternoon sun. Waiting to respond to a sneak attack.

    But its not just the freedom of their own people that their presence and their skills help protect.

    This is our Sudetenland. And we cannot blow it this time.


    November 4, 2006 at 3:47 pm

  42. I think what the large error number shows you is that people often have very strong opinions about matters where the data and potential outcomes are very mixed (e.g., reducing tax rate X will increase workforce participation Y%). It also shows you that people are often exceptionally poor at estimating error (which I guess we knew anyway from all those decision making studies).


    November 5, 2006 at 7:37 am

  43. Moral equivalence at work. Terry Lane in the Age

    ‘On a Wacky Religion Worry Scale of 1 to 10, where would you put all of the above compared with one Sydney mufti telling young women to cover up or they’re asking for it?’

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 5, 2006 at 7:47 am

  44. Conrad, the issue here – I think – is that scientific study cannot answer politically loaded questions. The consequences of policy change involve forecasting the future. While some forecasting methods involve scientific techniques and training, the forecast itself is not science. The forecast error can only be known ex post. Scientists (and economists) can only speculate in these circumstances. Of course, in these circumstances, the return to speculation increases and so we see more speculation and more uncertaintly as to what the future holds.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 5, 2006 at 7:51 am

  45. Just read a newspaper account of a visiting Matthew McConaughy (he’s in and around Cairns) having to get a helmet after he was photographed riding a bike without one. Kate Hudson’s in town too and she – it was piously reported – had to stand outside the Iron Bar Hotel to have a smoke. It never ceases to amaze me how far from the rugged individualist myth we Australians are moving. We just love nanny state!


    November 5, 2006 at 9:55 pm

  46. Piddle Power launches a ‘Rock against the Pokies’ concert.

    Jason Soon

    November 6, 2006 at 2:34 pm

  47. c8to – i understand you’re very pleased with the new recent comments plug-in and it’s your blog and all. As a consumer of comments, I’d prefer a greater variety and not just the very last comments. perhaps the lmost recent comment on the last 5 posts on something like that. just a thought.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 7, 2006 at 8:03 am

  48. don’t worry Sinks, I’m with you on this and have sent tom a similar message.

    Jason Soon

    November 7, 2006 at 8:27 am

  49. Does anyone know what happened to ABL????

    Jason Soon

    November 7, 2006 at 7:00 pm

  50. I was thinking that very thought earlier. We haven’t heard from him for some time.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 7, 2006 at 7:25 pm

  51. Young Chris Berg is good guy. He has an under-visited but high quality blog at

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 7, 2006 at 7:41 pm

  52. Recently we had a debate here about the Pigou club and my argument that we’re over-taxed. I found this gem at the Adam Smith Institute blog.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 8, 2006 at 2:23 pm

  53. You are confusing congestion-based and time of day charging with whether or not there is an unlevel playing field between road and other transport. 2 very different questions, Sinclair.

    Jason Soon

    November 8, 2006 at 2:26 pm

  54. Sorry, Jason. not following your comment.

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 8, 2006 at 2:59 pm

  55. Yeah thats right.

    Red Ken what are you doing? Like he introduces the tax. But instead of giving a tax cut and then trying to refine the charging so that it hits in peak time he just leaves it at that.



    November 8, 2006 at 3:05 pm

  56. You could set aside the issue of whether road use is subsidised or overtaxed and there would still be benefits from introducing congestion charging. Congestion charging is about redistributing road use during time of day. It’s not about encouraging people to use more buses or trains or whatever.

    Jason Soon

    November 8, 2006 at 3:07 pm

  57. If its overtaxed in other areas you have gains to make by removing those taxes and then targeting the tax on road use when and where roads are congested.

    Its very strange and not a little bit socialist to be thinking of all that real estate and the cost of building and maintaining it as a FREE GOOD.

    We get the seamless charging, we sort of the regulatory protocols and then we can start selling all these roads off.

    Turn the resources into tax-paying rather then tax-eating and lighten the load for everyone.

    Lemmas done gone and shot us all in the foot by wanting to borrow 14 billion for infrastructure. But there is a better way to all this socialism and it starts with charging at peak time.


    November 8, 2006 at 3:14 pm

  58. I see. Yes, you could.

    My argument all along has been that the government want to keep their current tax revenue and then suppliment it with so-called Pigovian taxes. But then the social and private cost/benefit ratios would not be equal (to the extent social costs and benefits exist at all). From an economic perspective over-pricing (over-taxation) must be as inefficient as under-pricing (under-taxation).

    Sinclair Davidson

    November 8, 2006 at 3:14 pm

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