Thursday, 30 March 2017

Around the Traps 31/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A pot pourri of articles

Reading last night I realised there was quite a few different articles which were interesting on different topics.

Here are some:

They will be all on Around the Traps on Friday.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A little bit on Econometrics

If you are like me and studied economics at University then you would have done a few units in econometrics.
I remember during my Masters course I got Les Johnson , the american statistics lecturer at Macquarie University at the time. to provide me with a bunch of 'pinko' econometric papers.

We all had to talk about the papers we read, the importance of the papers, the significance etc. For anyone  interested the papers in the 'pink' journals were good. I even read one from Evan Jones who was part of the political economy lot at Sydney University!

Anyway these days I keep up to  date on the date by reading Genial Dave Giles blog.
This blog is a must read!

So of late it was interesting to read three articles on econometrics and how to use/teach it.

The oldest is by Carola Binder.
the next is by the highly authoritative Francis Diebold
the last by the inimitable Marc Bellamare

Given genial dave agrees with Francis I am going that way but it is very interesting if not somewhat arcane!

Will the Socceroos make it to Russia?

Australia beat the UAE 2-0 in a spiteful match in Sydney.

We did not leak as much at the back ( Sainbury?) as usual but still missed chances that should be put away up front.
The more I think about it the more The Socceroos and the Wanderers are alike. Both are leaky at the back and both teams create a lot of chances but miss simple goal chances.
I am genuinely wondering whether we will make it to the World Cup.

We have no great players as in 2006. We have very few whom play in the Premier League, La Liga, The Bundesliga or Serie A.

This means we have to rely on team work and spirit to get through. although the spirit is there the teamwork which was there in abundance during the Asian cup is only there every so often. We are drawing games we should easily win.

The next game against Saudia Arabia will the the bellwether. If we play our best we will win and go on to Russia. if we lose Uh Oh

Two things I should have talked about.
Why are we so lost on through balls?
Why do we give the ball away so often?

It is mystifying. The answer could be lack of class

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Productivity puzzle

Productivity has fallen almost everywhere around the world.

 The ever conversable Timothy Taylor examiner this in lieu of a talk by  Andy Haldane.

 Dan Andrews et al  also examine this with a short paper at Vox wonk as I call it.

Plenty of food for thought here. We are still discussing this in Australia and reasons why productivity has fallen in recent times.                            

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cricket Season has ended

We had the finals of both the Junior and Senior cricket associations on over the weekend.

It proved very hard work. for some unfathomable reason council suddenly got anal about having cricket played on the grounds one week before football starts,

We did say it did not matter if grounds were marked out for football or even posts inserted into the ground however it seemed Councils seemed to simply want no play at all of cricket in the last week of March despite this occurring for both Junior and Senior Cricket last season and nothing whatso ever occurring.

Also given the wet weather I was phoning up Umpires  on Saturday night informing them of one-day matches for finals in some age bracket as well as change of venues!

for the first time in its history we had fully qualified umpires for all our semi-final matches .These matches were unfortunately washed out.

The NDCA and the NCU ( A turf competition where 6 teams from the NDCA and 6 teams from the NSCA battle out in two competitions) went through tough circumstances but came out better for it. Just have to wait until mid-September now!


I should have added the best batsman for the club I was associated with was told by Gladesville Spirit the football club he plays with that  his cricket team was playing in the final. He was told if he played he would be benched for the whole season, Lovely club!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Around the Traps 24/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Bill Leak and Cant

Bill Leak was the author of a quite racist cartoon.
Why was it racist?

It showed a male aboriginal as both a drunkard and a man who did not know even the name of one of his children.
Bill Leak had to know this cartoon went way over the line with regarding taste. If he was too stupid to understand this then his editor should have known.

The fact neither did shows either both were very stupid or they actually courted the controversy.

Let me be very firm on one thing before going on. I am not alleging either was a racist.

Both had to know this cartoon would attract blow back.
If Bill Leak did not want the heat of that blow back he did not have to draw the cartoon. He could have at the very least either apologise or explain what his cartoon was all about . Nuance is very hard to draw! I do not remember this at all.

Now let us go to the  infamous 18c action.

His legal team went hardball on this, They at no time drew on 18d as a defence Although the plaintiff wanted to reconcile his team did not.

If Leak was affected by all this he only had himself to blame.

His legal team would have explained the strategy. He could either agree with it or say he did not and wanted another strategy.
We can only assume he wet along with the hardball strategy. That being the case I have absolutely no sympathy if Leak suffered at all.

HE brought it all on himself . We have to admit we do not know why. We only know he was a willing 'victim'. I would not be surprised if it all went too far and in the end he could not speak out.

However he was a willing victim.

18c was NEVER going to be a reason why Leak would be prosecuted.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Problem with FACTS

Tim Harford has written a brilliant and somewhat lengthy post on the problem with facts.

It is well worth a read but of course you read it over the weekend because it was in Around the Traps!

Simon Wren-Lewis adds to this as well.
Added bonus, Peter Dorman

Hidden Figures

I have just come back after watching Hidden Figures with my wife. After watching Lion and being dreadfully disappointed this move was fantastic. It is essentially about three remarkable women who were black who worked in the NASA space program only this occurred way back in 1961.

No spoilers just go and watch it and feel good. Even Kevin Costner is good!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Trumps kicks another own goal , possibly a game changer

The heads of both the FBI and the NSA both essentially said Trumps allegations re Obama and wiretapping was a load of old cobblers.
So we now know for sure when Trump made these reckless allegations he did so without any input from intelligence and security agencies. He did it on the basis of a fake news outlet!

Neither he nor his cronies will apologise.
See Kumuda Simpson

However much worse for Trump is the announcement by Comey that the FBI is investigating to see if there was any collaboration between Russia and the Trump team during the election.
Of this Trump has no idea given his chaotic management style. He now must be worried sick because if any of his team is found to have been collaborating with Russia then it is goodnight Irene on this Presidency.

No Yank likes Treason!

Why Penalty rates are different between unionised and non-unionised industries

Malcolm Turnbull showed a lot of ignorance yesterday ( as did the Royal Commission into Unions) on penalty rates.

They do not understand the word negotiation.

In most unionised industries the penalty rates have been negotiated down. If negotiations have been made then you have to see what was negotiated. Neither Turnbull's staff nor the Royal Commission had the nous or the work ethic to discover what was involved. It involves a hell of a lot of work to discover this.

I have neither the time nor the interest to do so but let us simply examine what employees for Coles or Woolworths might have that employees in say a restaurant might not have.

  • Flexibility on rosters
  • Long service leave
  • ability to take annual leave when you wish to
  • other forms of leave
  • protocols involving dismissal
That is merely off the top of my head. Just remember as well a Union might negotiate a EBA BUT it is the employees who have to sign off on it.

If a person mentions that say the SDA have  not the same penalty rates for their member as employees on the award there is a very good reason for that. You cannot compare both as it is comparing apples with oranges.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The USA on the decline?

Possibly the only topic not broached since we have had the extraordinary chaos and incompetence of Donald Trump is the decline of the USA as a superpower.

The last time we see this was when the USA overtook the UK as the major superpower. Some historians see this occurring during WW1. Some others see it happening following the Washington Naval Treaty.

What is occurring now is quite extraordinary. Donald Trump does not understand what NATO is about. He makes allegations about foreign agencies which patently has no evidence to back it up.
 He abuses other countries leaders and then leaks the conversation as we know only too well in Australia.
We know he is an ignorant braggart. It is not a quality to endears himself to other leaders.

He is very unpopular overseas. If he tried to lead the other Western Countries they would be loathed to follow because of the electoral consequences or because he has no clout!

His cabinet is highly unimpressive. Whether it be a Treasury Secretary which refuses to endorse free trade or a Secretary of State which goes overseas with no journalists. We still do not know whether an ex-General can be a decent Defence secretary! And the Administration is at war with its own intelligence and security community!

What about the big picture?

The US policies on free trade and the environment (climate change) has enabled China to come out as a leader on the world stage on these two policy areas.
The policy on free trade is obvious to everyone who has expertise on the matter. Protectionism leads to lower living standards, less industry and less employment. Again we have seen all this in Australia.

It is not surprising Trump does not acknowledge evidence concerning climate change as he never does in any policy area where it collides with his prejudices. His idiotic EO on refugees and immigrants shows this.

China has observed this and is sharply changing its stance. All coal fired generators will be gone from Beijing for example.

It will be highly ironic that Trump who wants to make the USA great again will be the main reason why it declines as a world superpower. This will come down to a President who simply does not understand what is going on and will not change his mind despite evidence to the contrary. His main advisors either are in the same boat or cannot explain this to their President!


Neither Trump nor anyone else seem to appreciate soft power. I thought that obvious above but it seems some people did not get that.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Around the Traps 17/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again. from a very wet Sydanee! More evidence of global warming.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kaiser Fung destroys Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt is the New EPA Secretary and is disputing climate change.
Eminent statistician Kaiser Fung absolutely destroys his argument HERE


Faster Broadband

Rod Tucker from Melbourne University looks at the NBN and considers australians-could-get-faster-broadband-with-more-kerbside-nbn-connections.

If I can say something about speed I am vastly amused when people such  Sinclair Davidson talk in grandiose terms about using a wifi network and how fast it is. They clearly have no idea that speeds on a wifi network slow down commensurately with the amount of people using it. If for example you no longer had the NBN and people only had access to wifi the speed would be very slow.
Ah research!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Free market has not worked with power prices

Tony Wood is with the Grattan Institute which is undoubtedly the pre-eminent think tank in Australia.
He has written about why-the-free-market-hasnt-slashed-power-prices-and-what-to-do-about-it.

There is a link in it which will lead you to the Grattan Institute paper he has written.

Highly impressive and very interesting.


Two comments on South Australia.

Coopers are gutless

Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie had a highly civilised debate on gay marriage. Wilson was for it and Hastie against it.

They both argued their cases well and whats more understood the others case as they had to summarise the other case which both could do well.

They did this whilst drinking Coopers lite. ( I much prefer coopers export). The homosexual lobby was very unhappy about this.They thought this was hate speech.

Now Coopers have cravenly caved in to this fascist lobby by absolving themselves from the event.

This whole thing is an absolute disgrace.

THIS is a great column.  I will no longer drink Coopers!

Monday, 13 March 2017

We have more than enough gas

I have been amused to hear Federal government ministers say the States need to have more gas exploration to boost supply.

It is incorrect.

Allan Pears gives a great snapshot of gas and it future.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Around the Traps 10/3/17

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Aussie,Aussie,Aussie, Oy,Oy,Oy
Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk