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The US Congressional moves to stop data collection

May 21st, 2015
  • Rand Paul launches bid to block NSA surveillance programme – “We do need surveillance — what we do not need is indiscriminate surveillance,” Mr Paul said. “The collection of records that is going on is beyond your imagination.”
  • An NPR Reporter Raced A Machine To Write A News Story. Who Won?
  • Fighting for History – Paul Krugman writes: … in a postmortem on the UK election Simon Wren-Lewis notes one failure of Labour in particular: it made no effort at all to fight the false narrative of Blair-Brown profligacy. Wren-Lewis writes, I suspect within the Labour hierarchy the view was to look forward rather than go over the past, but you cannot abandon the writing of history to your opponents. … But I’m with Wren-Lewis here: progressives are much too willing to cede history to the other side. Legends about the past matter. Really bad economics flourishes in part because Republicans constantly extol the Reagan record, while Democrats rarely mention how shabby that record was compared with the growth in jobs and incomes under Clinton. The combination of lies, incompetence, and corruption that made the Iraq venture the moral and policy disaster it was should not be allowed to slip into the mists.
  • Restoring the Public’s Trust in Economists
  • “Consistent With” – In discussing Paul Romer’s wonderful concept of mathiness, Peter Dorman criticizes economists’ habit of declaring a theory successful merely because it is “consistent with” the evidence. His point deserves emphasis. If a man has no money, this is “consistent with” the theory that he has given it away. But if in fact he has been robbed, that theory is grievously wrong. Mere consistency with the facts is not sufficient. This is a point which some defenders of inequality miss. Of course, you can devise theories which are “consistent with” inequality arising from reasonable differences in choices and marginal products. Such theories, though, beg the question: is that how inequality really emerged? And the answer, to put it mildly, is: only partially. It also arose from luck, inefficient selection, rigged markets, rent-seeking and outright theft.
  • You Just Lived Through The Earth’s Hottest January-April Since We Started Keeping Records – With April, we have once again broken the record for the hottest 12 months on record: May 2014 – April 2015. The previous record was April 2014 – March 2015, set last month. The record before that was March 2014 – February 2015. And the equally short-lived record before that was February 2014 – January 2015.

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