BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-04-15 Th

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...


What I told Neil Irwin about inflation:

The Federal Reserve’s inflation target has been that inflation should average — not ceiling, but average — 2 percent per year using the P.C.E., 2.5 percent per year using the core C.P.I. Had inflation in fact matched that average since the beginning of the Great Recession, the core C.P.I. would now be 296 on a 1982-84=100 basis. It is actually 270.

If the Fed had hit its inflation target, the price level now would be 9.6 percent higher than it is. When the cumulative excess of C.P.I. core inflation over 2.5 percent per year reaches +9.6 percent, come and ask me again whether Federal Reserve policy is excessively inflationary. Until then, we certainly have other much more important economic problems to worry about than the risks of excessive and damaging inflation.


Very Briefly Noted:


Dan WangChina, the U.S., & Technology: ‘Last year, I read every issue of the party’s main theory magazine, which is referred to as “Seeking Truth” in English…. I read every single one of Xi Jinping’s major speeches and major essays…. The Communist Party doesn’t govern in itself. It’s structured to govern in symbiosis with state institutions. And so a lot of the Communist Party’s main roles for the last few decades has been to provide inspiration to the organizations in which it leads. It really wants to inspire people about the transformative utopia, the communist future that the party wants to pursue. And then the other part is control…. A lot of this is about the Communist Party referring back to its roots as a revolutionary combat party that had a major struggle before it could consolidate power, and then its goal is to transform the country into a utopia. A lot of this is the Party’s means to try to really inspire people, and to keep working on these important goals…. It’s an incredibly paranoid organization. It wants total control of the narrative at all times, it just really detests criticism….

LINK: <>

Will WilkinsonCodifying the Big Lie: ‘I’ve been trying to keep my cool, but the right’s defense of new Republican-authored laws regulating elections, such as the one recently established in Georgia, is so dishonest it’s hard to stay on an even keel…. ing their election-rigging agenda, as I see it: Pretend that no one has noticed that the GOP’s election reform proposals are based entirely on Donald Trump’s transparent lies about the election…. Recast the January 6th insurrection… as a peaceful protest of legitimately concerned citizens that got a little rowdy…. Simply ignore the fact that Republican votes on January 6th to reject the election results from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania just were votes for the mass disenfranchisement of Democrats…. Insist that new election regulations are needed to “restore the confidence of voters,” while playing dumb about the fact that Republicans undermined it in the first place by spreading lies… Generally and especially, treat your fellow citizens as though they’re idiots who fell off the turnip truck they were born on yesterday… LINK: <>

Zeynep TufekciThe Gaslighting of Science: ‘A lot of what was known from very early on took months, if not more, to make its way into our public health guidelines. Some are still being debated, to great frustration. Perhaps one the most striking examples of all this is what happened with what we learned, and refused to learn, from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February of 2020, a tragic natural experiment if there ever was one. Thousands of people were trapped inside a cruise ship as the disease spread. Besides the tragedy, it allowed us to observe what happened with the coronavirus inside a closed environment, revealing many things that could be harder to discern in a large, open city…. Jose-Luis Jimenez: “With time I realized that aerosol scientists, including myself, have been gaslit in an industrial scale over the last year….” It’s not a good moment when a prominent scientist—who was, along with others, evidence-based, correct and prescient on a topic of great importance within his expertise—feels the need to look up “gaslighting” because he is lacking the word to otherwise describe his experience…. As I close the misinformation trifecta series about problems beyond the ones that are “over there,” committed by others,  I’d like us not to forget what actually happened in more mainstream and arguably more important circles, and is still influencing how we have been responding—and failing to respond—to this pandemic.… LINK: <>

Herbert A. SimonOrganizations and Markets: ‘A mythical visitor from Mars, not having been apprised of the centrality of markets and contracts, might find the new institutional economics rather astonishing…. A telescope that reveals social structures…. Firms reveal themselves, say, as solid green areas with faint interior contours marking out divisions and departments. Market transactions show as red lines connecting firms, forming a network in the spaces between them. Within firms (and perhaps even between them) the approaching visitor also sees pale blue lines, the lines of authority connecting bosses with various levels of workers. As our visitor looked more carefully at the scene beneath, it might see one of the green masses divide, as a firm divested itself of one of its divisions. Or it might see one green object gobble up another. At this distance, the departing golden parachutes would probably not be visible. No matter whether our visitor approached the United States or the Soviet Union, urban China or the European Community, the greater part of the space below it would be within the green areas, for almost all of the inhabitants would be employees, hence inside the firm boundaries. Organizations would be the dominant feature of the landscape. A message sent back home, describing the scene, would speak of “large green areas interconnected by red lines.” It would not likely speak of “a network of red lines connecting green spots”… LINK: <>

Pete SaundersCovid–19 Pandemic Could Make U.S. Tech Hubs Richer: ‘Cities with strong foundations in technology should recover quickly from the pandemic, while the Sun Belt could go the way of the Rust Belt… with advances in automation—some pioneered under the pressure of Covid–19 lockdowns—eliminating even more service-sector jobs…. Workers in hospitality, customer service and food service, healthcare, and other vital industries require much more than our gratitude. They need bold policy actions to raise incomes and increase job security… LINK: <>

Graham K. Shunk & al.A Self-Replicating Radiation-Shield for Human Deep-Space Exploration: Radiotrophic Fungi Can Attenuate Ionizing Radiation aboard the International Space Station: ’Certain fungi thrive in high-radiation environments on Earth… Chernobyl… radiosynthesis, using pigments… convert gamma-radiation into chemical energy…. Cladosporium sphaerospermum and its capability to attenuate ionizing radiation, was studied aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over a time of 30 days…. [A] 21 cm thick layer of this fungus could largely negate the annual dose-equivalent of the radiation environment on the surface of Mars… LINK: <>

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