Interesting stuff

  1. An interesting discussion on intoxication, consent and responsibility
  2. The peculiar dynamics of sharing your location with “friends”
  3. Bolsinaro thinks the Amazon is theirs to burn. That’s true but we all suffer
  4. City planning for everyone
  5. Good BBC podcasts: Is university worth it, fake stories going viral, and climate change starts to show up in the weather
  6. Joe Rogan talks to America’s men
  7. An amazing profile of a cop’s job
  8. Afghanistan pursues normality
  9. The threat of fake science (is rising)
  10. The modal American is a male, gen-Xer without a university degree

Interesting stuff

  1. A walk among Hong Kong’s protesters (here’s my impression from a visit 9 months ago)
  2. Lower speed limits improve city life (and safety)
  3. Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies
  4. Two Dutch guys might get life in prison for trafficking marijuana and MDMA. I consider this a terrible injustice given that murderers get shorter sentences (e.g., 18 years for killing a leading politician). I guess that Big Pharma/Alcohol don’t like competition.
  5. Despite all my efforts to leave Russia, it had followed me. Why? Are we suddenly living in a Russian-like world that Putin has created?
  6. How Eric Arthur Blair became George Orwell
  7. Climate catastrophe looms ever larger as the bad news (e.g., Greenland’s icesheet slipping off land and raising sea level by 7.5 meters in a short time) outpaces even the worst fears of scientists. Related: Watch this video on how the people of the Sundrabans (Bay of Bengal) are trying to cope with rising seas.
  8. There are some really interesting parallels between Brexit and warfare. Yes, the UK will adapt and survive, but no it’s not a good idea to declare a war that you will lose.
  9. The funny economics of near-zero interest rates
  10. The Dutch are innovating to feed 11 billion

H/T to FB

Interesting stuff

  1. The sad tale of America’s religious freedom fraud and Christian “science”
  2. The history and application of gamification to Lyft drivers
  3. On the strange experience of living through the only accurate doomsday prediction” (echoes of my own perspective…)
  4. Why mass shootings in the US? Guns. Why are white men targeting “immigrants”? Trump is an openly racist President who motivates “losers” to attack on his behalf. How would a real president lead? Read Obama’s tweet
  5. Will Germany ban domestic flights? They should.
  6. The biggest money laundering center centre? Britain.
  7. The Dutch need to talk more about how their wealth was built on suffering
  8. America put Mexicans in gas chambers
  9. Editing is writing
  10. The key insight was to stop trying to build a mechanical carriage, and instead build something more like a mechanical horse.

Interesting stuff

  1. This podcast on American supermarkets has an interesting (sad) discussion of how government farm programs have distorted what’s grown, what Americans eat, and their health problems.
  2. Around 95 percent of crypto currency trades are fake, which reveals that some “shitcoins” are really shit frauds and that markets are actually working more efficiently than incorrect data show. (Read the full analysis .)
  3. George Orwell’s 1984 is ever more relevant: “The crucial issue was not that Trump might abolish democracy but that Americans had put him in a position to try. Unfreedom today is voluntary. It comes from the bottom up.”
  4. Go to Coney Island to see humanity in all its glorious variations
  5. Scammers are buying old sites with inbound links from reliable sites (think NY Times to Aguanomics.com) b/c they can fill the old sites with spam.
  6. The eighteenth-century “reclamation” of Paris was brutal
  7. Norwegian territory of Svalbard allows anyone to live there, theoretically.
  8. A great podcast on reading books and learning
  9. Insights into Pakistan’s Imran Khan and Turkey’s pivot to its past
  10. The ethics and aesthetics of garbage

Two new papers on water scarcity

After several months of delay, I now have first drafts of two papers for you to read and — hopefully — help me improve!

Using prices to manage water scarcity

Abstract: Water scarcity reflects an excess of demand over supply and risks turning into shortage if that supply should fall below daily minimum needs for drinking, washing, irrigation and so on. This paper explores the factors affecting the supply and demand for water as an economic good and explains how to price retail water for municipal and industrial users or market water among irrigators. The key to successfully managing water scarcity is a price that constrains aggregate demand while covering the costs of reliable supply. Public acceptance of water pricing depends on policies that protect the poor and environmental flows, i.e., policies that set aside “social water” before allocating water among economic uses.

Keywords: water scarcity, price incentives, elasticity, climate change

JEL Classification: Q25, Q54, Q56, Q57

Living in a post-water world

Abstract: Multiple factors are increasing fresh water scarcity, and few societies are prepared to cope. Although some assume that solutions will come from technology, profit motives or better planning, I argue that outdated and mismatched institutions are making scarcity worse and blocking efforts to manage water according to its economic and social uses. In this paper, I use a simple framework to explain how water’s economic and collective value should be managed, explain how mismatched incentives can destroy value, and use examples to show how current quality of life will fall as scarcity worsens in the presence of inappropriate institutions. This combination of theory and speculative examples should help readers think about how we might adapt to increasing water scarcity — or not.

Keywords: climate change, food security, virtual water, agricultural trade

JEL Classification: F51, H42, Q17, Q25

Feel free to read, forward and comment on either. These drafts are already targeted at specific journals, so the most helpful comments would be on improving their clarity and completeness 🙂

Interesting stuff

  1. Listen to this interview with the author of Surveillance Capitalism and tell me that you’re ok with advertising manipulation. I’m not.
  2. Smoking will be banned in all Dutch railway stations in 2 years. Yea for public health!
  3. We need a new science of progress
  4. Trump’s administration is really serious about ignorance
  5. Transhumans worry me like end-of-times Christians do. Both types seem to think it’s ok to ignore the earth because they plan to merge with transistors (God). I hope they’ve got a solar-powered battery to keep alive!
  6. Humans vs wild boars in cities? The pigs may win.
  7. A great overview of the problems with recycling
  8. The beginning of the end of beef 
  9. How digital advertising works (it’s following you everywhere)
  10. China’s “Communist” Party expands its control over business

Interesting stuff

  1. Online dating is a blessing and curse: “This is the age of DIY-everything, in which individuals are charged with the full-service construction of their careers, lives, faiths, and public identities.”
  2. Social media is changing the way we write… “because self-image”
  3. Climate chaos gives us a new season: The Bad Season.
  4. The correct lesson to learn from surprises is that the world is surprising
  5. Working at Amazon ain’t that bad… according to 650,000 people
  6. We forget memories for good reasons
  7. Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification” (as I’ve said for years)
  8. Peter Thiel understands where market opportunities lie
  9. A former Wall Street banker learns “dignity” from America’s poor
  10. Economics can be useful for everyday decisions!

H/T to FB

Interesting stuff

  1. Utrecht is a city for people (and bikes) not cars
  2. A pro-bitcoin economist explains the value of gold (“hard money”) as a hedge against feckless governments. Here are a few quotes from his book.
  3. Visualizing the spread of the Airbnb plague in Amsterdam 
  4. Bangladeshi farmers are shifting from chickens to ducks to cope with climate change. Ducks are better at dealing with floods 😉
  5. Check out (join?) the Sustainable Touring Arts Coalition 
  6. Read Isaac Asimov’s 1959 essay “How Do People Get New Ideas?
  7. The Arctic is on fire (a lot), and we’re screwed (massive GHG release)
  8. Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality
  9. Hong Kong made this Chinese man rich. Now he’s defending its freedom
  10. California’s past gifts to farmers are endangering its future.

H/T to DL

Stuff to read

  1. The making of the Active Water video. (Cool advert, but Gatorade is a waste of money — compared to water — for 95% of drinkers.)
  2. Quitting the Mormons is hard when they are calling your kids…
  3. Sand (!) is running out… and a podcast with an author on the topic 
  4. It’s not going to be perfect but it can be DONE.
  5. The garbage man knows everything — including burning beats recycling
  6. Facebook’s Libra is no crypto currency, but it may have big impacts
  7. The Economist’s “What if?” visions of the future: Antibiotic resistant bugs, Facebook vs EU regulators, and  fights over geoengineering.
  8. It’s time to switch from “he or she” to “they”
  9. Watch “Nothing to Hide” if you worry about internet privacy (you should!)
  10. A reasonable overview of water policy (and problems) in the Western US

Stuff to read

  1. Guess what? House Hunters (a reality TV show) is scripted
  2. An incredible detective story: tracking down a fake Rolex “brand”
  3. Here’s an interview with me [mp3] on the Future of Agriculture podcast. (I’m not optimistic.)
  4. I recommend listening to “Hash Power, a three part audio documentary that explores the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies,” which was published in 2017, thus providing some interesting predictions of where crypto was going (and not!)
  5. Three delusional visions of smart cities
  6. How Boeing lost its way
  7. Thomas Sowell explains why “trickle down economics” is a lie
  8. A new report on water governance in China
  9. Marriage is more complicated than just a couple making promises
  10. Oceans are absorbing carbon at a rate likely to cause mass extinction within this century. So, yeah, we’re fucked.