In-Person Office Hours, & BRIEFLY NOTED: for 2021-04-13

First since the plague began, 2021-04-13 Tu 14:00-16:00 PDT, & things that went whizzing by that I want to remember

In-Person Office Hours:

Caffè Strada, 2300 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA; & <>

And here we go! Back to the university!

Will there be permanent changes to a "hybrid” world as a result of the plague? Discuss, with this—from the days when, as Dan Hon remarks, people still thought cyberspace would be a space—providing some food-for-thought:

Walter Jon Williams (1993): Aristoi: ‘Persepolis, the place… reconstructed… sat… at the… reconstructed Pulvar and Kor… the (largely symbolic) capital of a reconstructed Earth2…. Behind the City of a Hundred Columns loomed Kuh-e-Rahmat, the Mount of Mercy… grey… a contrast to the bright gold, vermilion, ivory, and turquoise that accentuated the city… tombs of Achaemenid kings… of many Aristoi…. Atop… surrounded by a grove of cypress, was the gold monument to the lost Captain Yuan, a place of homage and worship. “Persepolis,” the dream, was a far more interesting place… through the oneirochronon, and the two cities superimposed…. Earth2’s archons and senators strolled along the corridors, holding conversations with people others could not see. Corridors that dead-ended in reality possessed doors and branches in the oneirochronic world… led to palaces, dominions, grottos, and fantasies that did not exist on Earth2, or indeed anywhere…. In these palaces the inhabitants danced and discussed and feasted and loved… LINK: <>

Is this the office-hours effect that I am looking for?



Jared Bernstein & Ernie TedeschiPandemic Prices: Assessing Inflation in the Months & Years Ahead: ‘In the next several months we expect measured inflation to increase somewhat, primarily due to three different temporary factors: base effects, supply chain disruptions, and pent-up demand, especially for services. We expect these three factors will likely be transitory, and that their impact should fade over time as the economy recovers from the pandemic. After that, the longer-term trajectory of inflation is in large part a function of inflationary expectations. Here, too, we see some increase, but from historically low to more normal levels. We explain our reasoning below… LINK: <>

Very Briefly Noted:

  • WikipediaSeven Samurai <>

  • Sharon ChoA Key Oil Spread Points to Price War Erupting as Supply Expands: ‘Earlier this month the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies decided to relax the deep production curbs that rescued prices from last year’s pandemic-driven collapse. The move will see more than 2 million barrels a day in supply restored in stages through to July amid expectations that the roll-out of vaccines will underpin further gains in energy consumption… <>

  • EECS at UC BerkeleyCourse: CS61B: ‘Catalog Description: Fundamental dynamic data structures, including linear lists, queues, trees, and other linked structures; arrays strings, and hash tables. Storage management. Elementary principles of software engineering. Abstract data types. Algorithms for sorting and searching. Introduction to the Java programming language… <>

  • Noah SmithWhy Has Climate Economics Failed Us?: ‘I can see at least four major ways climate economics has failed. These are: Simply not publishing enough research. Putting out models that are frankly just bad. Ignoring tail risks. Obsessively focusing on carbon taxes. Criticizing academic economists is tough. They tend to instantly circle the wagons and scoff dismissively… <>

  • Kevin Cowtan & al.Robust Comparison of Climate Models with Observations Using Blended Land-Air & Ocean Sea-Surface Temperatures: ‘Estimates of recent surface temperature evolution fall at the lower end of climate model projections… a systematic bias in model‐observation comparisons arising from differential warming rates between sea-surface temperatures and surface-air temperatures…. A further bias arises from the treatment of temperatures in regions where the sea ice boundary has changed… 38% of the discrepancy in trend… LINK: <>

  • Lijing Cheng & al.How Fast Are the Oceans Warming?: ’About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content…. Models reliably project changes in OHC… LINK: <>

  • Zeke Hausfather & Glen P. PetersEmissions: The ‘Business as Ssual’ Story Is Misleading: ‘Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome—more-realistic baselines make for better policy… LINK: <>

  • S. C. Sherwood & al.An Assessment of Earth’s Climate Sensitivity Using Multiple Lines of Evidence: ’Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity per doubling of atmospheric CO2, characterized by an effective sensitivity S… [via] feedback process understanding, the historical climate record, and the paleoclimate record. An S value lower than 2 K is difficult to reconcile with any…. The amount of cooling during the Last Glacial Maximum provides strong evidence against values of S greater than 4.5 K… LINK: <>

  • Zeke Hausfather & alEvaluating the Performance of Past Climate Model Projections: ‘Climate models published over the past five decades were skillful in predicting subsequent GMST changes, with most models examined showing warming consistent with observations, particularly when mismatches between model‐projected and observationally estimated forcings were taken into account… LINK: <>

  • Noah SmithEconomists Are Out of Touch With Climate Change: ‘Researchers strive for contrarian insights. They should get the science right first… LINK: <>


Dan WangChina, the U.S., & Technology: ‘Beijing still recognizes that the private sector has been generating almost the entirety of the dynamism over the last few decades. The state still needs to keep control of the commanding heights, but it is not yet ready to squash out the private sector as a whole…. I think the US problem here is premature abstraction. You are focused on these consumer companies, these internet companies that have completely abstracted away the real world. These things are capital light, they’re fantastically profitable and I think what actually matters, the hard part, are the gears and the pipes and the machinery to actually power these things and that is what I’m drawn aesthetically towards and that is what China is focused much more about building…

LINK: <>

Paul KrugmanTrump’s Corporate Tax Cut Was a Flop: ‘I want to talk about… why even many critics, myself included, thought the Trump tax cut was less bad than the usual Republican tax plan, followed by three reasons we were, it turned out, too kind…. Republican tax cuts are usually concentrated on high-income individuals, and are justified with the claim that cutting marginal tax rates will lead to an explosion in individual effort, entrepreneurship, and so on…. There have been many debunkings…. The rationale for the corporate tax cut was, however, quite different. It wasn’t about individual work effort; instead, it was about incentives to invest in the United States as opposed to other nations. That’s clearly a real issue in a world of mobile capital…. I accepted this logic, at least as a qualitative matter. I still thought the tax cut was a bad idea, but that was because I believed that the inflow of capital would be smaller and take much longer than the plan’s advocates claimed, and as a result wouldn’t be enough to compensate for the loss of revenue. But I was, it turned out, being too generous. As a 2019 analysis by the International Monetary Fund found, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ended up having no visible effect at all on business investment…. How can we understand this abject failure? I see three reasons, one of which I missed completely back in 2017, two of which I knew about but didn’t give sufficient weight…. The corporate profits tax isn’t a tax on capital, it’s a tax on a particular aspect of corporate financial structure. Analyses—mine included!—that treat it simply as raising the cost of capital are being far too generous to tax cutters. Business investment isn’t that sensitive to the cost of capital, anyway…. Most business assets are fairly short-lived…. And demand for short-lived assets isn’t very sensitive to the cost of capital. [It’s] the demand for houses [that] depends hugely on the interest rate borrowers have to pay…. Monopoly: Financial industry types often talk about the FAANGs: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google — tech companies that loom large in the stock market. These companies look very different from past market leaders like General Motors in its heyday; it’s much harder to link their value to the tangible assets they own…. The profit tax is at this point largely a tax on monopoly or quasi-monopoly profits…. Naïve calculations of the effect of tax cuts on business investment have to be “geared down”…. But why did anyone ever believe that corporate tax cuts would do great things for the economy? The big argument for cutting corporate taxes has long been that if we don’t, corporations will move capital and jobs to lower-tax nations…. What we’ve learned over the past 7 or 8 years, however, is that we’re mainly looking at accounting tricks rather than real capital flight…. The Trump tax cut is that it didn’t reverse capital flight because the capital flight never happened in the first place…. The U.S. government gave up hundreds of billions of dollars to fix a nonexistent problem. Now the Biden administration wants to go after the real problem, which was always tax avoidance, not loss of jobs to foreigners. Will they manage to pass the necessary legislation? We’ll just have to wait and see. 

LINK: <>

Adam EngstStanford Research Explains & Helps Prevent Zoom Fatigue: ‘Jeremy Bailenson of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab…. 1. Close-up eye contact is intense…. 2. Looking at yourself is stressful…. 3. Sitting still is hard…. 4. Video chats have a high cognitive load. Videoconferencing encourages all sorts of odd behaviors that require some level of active thought… keeping yourself framed… using a thumbs-up to indicate silent approval… trying to interpret everyone else’s reactions…. The solution is to give yourself an audio-only break, both sending and receiving, so you can let your brain rest… LINK: <>

Duncan BlackOnly Biden Can Usher In Full Communism: ‘Brief thoughts: 1) The Council of David Brookses is much more supportive or muted in its criticisms of crazy left wing shit if Biden is behind it than they would’ve been if the Kenyan guy had been or certainly if President Bernie was doing it. 2) Don’t spend 3 years having a big public debate on something like “universal generous child credit.” Just slip it in a bill, distract the usual suspects with chopping off Mr. Potato Head’s dick, and pass it before they can get the word out that it’s totalitarianism and racist against white people. 3) Related, one (of many) thing about the Obama era I found maddening is how little “slipping good things in the budget bill” or “issuing executive orders” happened. He did a bit more of the latter later, but… 4) A lesson from the last guy is just flood the zone with an infinite amount of stuff. Stick 50 good things in the bill and they’ll only have time to get mad about 2 of them. LINK: <>

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