Price gouging – “the price is right”

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  • In the “aftermath” of Superstorm (Hurricane) Sandy that devastated New York, Long Island and the New Jersey coastline, a television journalist was angrily lamenting the outrageous price gouging she ( and her family) had encountered at a local convenience store. After three days without electricity and heat in a storm battered Jersey shore town, she went out to buy a gallon of milk (and other things we might assume!) Whether she walked or had a working car and drove she didn’t say, she stopped at the nearest convenience store. The store wanted (was charging?… or more appropriately pricing) $10 for a gallon of milk! Read more »

    The Second Law

    Take a tennis ball and drop it on the floor; it will loose height with each successive bounce until it comes to (a complete) rest. You needn’t do this. From experience you know with absolute certainty this is what will happen. With equal absolute certainty, you also know (your experience has “overdetermined” this observation) that the resting ball will not – at any time – ever – began to bounce with ever increasing successive height (an earthquake may be an apparent exception that actually proves the rule). The process will not reverse itself; it is irreversible.

    Read more »

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  • October 27th, 2012
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    This is one of my favorite Rockwell drawings!  Of course we all know or have been taught that a “perpetual motion” machine is a physical impossibility. So this is just a parody of those who missed that class.  Except of course there are a few of us who loose sight of the principle when it takes another form. For example:

    Conventional production may have peaked. But as oil prices rise, that makes unconventional extraction more economical. As those methods mature, they become less costly (and, eventually, rather conventional), increasing supply and putting downward pressure on oil prices over time.

    Oops.  Not so obvious?  The quote is from a post at Forbes by Lara Hoffmans entitled America’s (Un)Peak Oil.

    See my previous post link to this article.


    Must read energy links

    How high oil prices will permanently cap economic growth (Bloomberg) – Jeff Rubin gets it right!

    Two thirds support nuclear in the USA (!) – and this survey just months after Fukushima! Here (in Vermont) seems as though no one supports nuclear. Go figure.

    Given the sentiment from the above two links… here’s THE solution.

    It’s about energy, stupid!

    Bill Clinton’s famous line – “It’s about the economy, stupid.” needs a reprise. It’s still about “the economy” but economy = energy. Money is not wealth. And redistributing money, however you choose to do it (tax it, entitle it, dilute it, borrow it… )  does not create wealth.  And it does not create jobs. Taxing the rich, spending more on entitlements, printing more “money” with quantitative easing, increasing the deficit and debt – none of this creates wealth or jobs.

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    Another title option for this post – “education of an atheist”.

    While I was brought up attending a Presbyterian church, catechism class,  and was “confirmed” (all in all – a wonderful memory!), I pretty much believed only in the “believing” part.  None of it made any sense to me and the questions I had were not answered by religion or the bible.

    I suspect that our religious attendance to church was driven by my mother for reasons other than a devout faith.  Around the age of 11 or so, titles in the Life Nature Library began to show up on our bookshelves and were a wonderful source of entertainment for me on rainy days. I still have the series to this day and even without opening the covers, I can recall most of the  pages contained in those volumes.  The “Evolution” volume explained what religion could not explain.  And it confirmed my thinking about things – as a 12 year old adolescent in 1962.  I never looked back.

    I thought this was true for everyone.


    A Curious “Question about U.S. Education Performance”

    David Bernstein, on “The Volokh Conspiracy” blog, asks a question starting off with the statement

    I often read in right-of-center sources about how despite the huge increase in real terms in U.S. spending on public schooling since the early 1980s, test scores haven’t gotten any better.

    This strikes me as the types of static analysis that free-market types often criticize in other contexts.


    Emphasis is mine of course simply to show how ideologically unbiased this question is. We can expect – and are not disappointed – at the equally unbiased comments to the question. I’m not sure what Professor Bernstein is looking for here. Rather it seems like a left-handed (pun intended) jab at anyone who wonders if their education tax dollars might be better spent elsewhere – such as in a free-market of a vibrant economy that can actually employ people educated or otherwise…

    BTW – this is a “static” question.


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