Monthly Archives: February 2014

Bitcoins at Puget Sound

This past week, the University of Puget Sound became the first University to accept an alumnus gift via Bitcoin, according to the Seattle Times. Here’s a primer on Bitcoin from Puget Sound senior Emily Neville. Despite this growing prevalence of Bitcoin, some alternative currencies out there may have the ability to supplant Bitcoin. HT to […]

Optimism and World Poverty

One for my Intro students today, as a follow up to recent class discussions on world poverty. Miles Kimball shares one of his students’ posts on the optimistic side of addressing world poverty – that in context, we’ve actually made quite a bit of progress: Here’s Jessica’s money quote: […] [P]eople tend to focus on […]

Walter Sobchak, Gemologist

How does language influence logic? In Gilboa’s canonical Theory of Decision Under Uncertainty, he describes the challenges to the theory of induction, which is a cornerstone of the “frequentist” approach to handling probabilities. The concept of induction is this: Suppose you want to determine the chance of an event occurring (say, the chance of a coin […]

The Invisible Hand in 60 Seconds

I’ve always enjoyed this series of videos – short and funny:

Size vs. efficiency

Major shoutout to Noah for making sense of the question: Does cutting government make it more efficient? His thought exercise: Let’s imagine a slightly more concrete example. Suppose that there are three types of government units: A) Parasites: These units have figured out how to game the political process in order to make themselves quite […]

True, false, or none of the above?

Ricky Gervais on Twitter a couple of days ago: There are two errors in this tweet. Do you see it?

What is a nudge?

Like Glenn Beck, Richard Williams does not like nudges. Why? How can a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., determine what’s right for you when your needs are different from everyone else’s? Behavioral economics and “nudge” theories suggest that if you provide people with the right information through the right channels, they will be empowered to make […]