Wouldn't it be nice? 

If a tax on gasoline consumption led directly to a reduction in global warming. That a policy instrument as elegant as that (often referred to as a Pigouvian Tax) probably wouldn't work should be self-evident. From Alex Tabarrok:
The result is a simple application of the theory of tax incidence. The burden of a tax falls on those who can least afford to escape the tax. The world's demand for oil is inelastic but the supply is even more inelastic. What is Saudi Arabia, for example, going to do with its oil except sell it? The oil is already fetching a price well above cost so if there is a world tax on oil that's like a tax on land - Saudi Arabian land to be precise - and a tax on land is born by land owners not by consumers.
More here. He doesn't mention, moreover, that the marginal cost of consumption (in terms pollution) is most likely higher in less developed countries because they are least likely to have developed or atleast be using relatively more efficient technologies.

Facebook Infomercial Parody

So true.

[HT: Karisa (yes, she is a Facebook friend)]



Yay Baseball season! 

"Daisuke is the pitching master!" said Boston Globe baseball columnist Bob Ryan, hopping from one foot to the other as he described videotape footage of Matsuzaka's otherworldly pitching power and control banishing a flock of evil, conniving, left-handed-batting carp-spirits to the netherworld during a 2003 Seibu Lions game. "His Ultimate Galactic Dragon Gyroball Pitch Power Explosion breaks three feet inside before cutting sharply toward the dugout, where falsehood and cowardice are forced to shrink before it!"
Rest of the story here.



Matt Drudge as the Long Tail? 

This piece on ABCNews.com (by Michael Malone) takes an honest and humiliating look at what exactly is news, and who should be the ones purveying it. This section grabbed me:
We are in a perpetual race to get to the news as early as possible....The result is a behavior that I can only describe as "surfing upstream". That is, we surf the cable stations on television even as we race around the net, trying to capture the latest update the instant it appears.

...The problem is that in going this far up the news cycle, we are also usually by-passing all of the standard intermediators that we normally depend upon to do our filtering for us... Needless to say, that's led to a lot of disenchantment with the traditional media. And rightly so.

Yet, by surfing ever further upstream, we go past not only analysis to news to breaking news, but all of the way to the raw information streaming off the event in real time.... Downstream, in the world of long, leisurely feature stories and news analysis, the current is wide and slow and fairly predictable. But up at the source, information and data is blasting out of spillway like an immense firehose; all is confusion, energy and chaos.

Most of have neither the time nor the inclination to navigate against this torrent; yet, that is precisely where most of us want to be. The result is a paradox, and one that is rapidly destroying traditional media.

Put simply: we want the news as it happens, but we also want it to be intermediated by some sort of objective, professional news filter. The Internet, cell phones and digital cameras have gotten us unprecedentedly close to the real-time unfolding of news events around the world. But only rudimentary institutions - notably the blogosphere — have yet appeared to deal with the problem of filtration. Thus, our current behavior: channel surfing cable news, dropping into places like the Drudge Report fifteen times per day, and bouncing around the Web to the blogs we trust the most.
I think that's about right. [HT to (who else?) Matt Drudge]


"Please be sure to answer all questions." 



Oscar predictions 

3 hours or so til showtime. We'll see if I'm correct.

Best Picture: The Departed
Director: Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Best Actress: Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)

Sources of my predictions here.



Just thought I'd let you know 

In Atlanta today


You said it 

From Dana Stevens' Oscar predictions dialogue on Slate:
Best documentary: An Inconvenient Truth. This is a little unfortunate, given that it's the only doc in the category that doesn't need the word-of-mouth boost at the box office. But wouldn't it be a blast to see Al Gore step up and accept that award while the Hollywood establishment solemnly applauded the planet? Yay, globe! Sorry about that whole warming thing. [Emphasis mine]
Are movie critics becoming even more cynical? Is that even possible?



All good things shall pass: Eddie Murphy edition 

It probably isn't possible for a single movie to reverse all social progress made since the civil-rights era, but Norbit, the latest broadside from Eddie Murphy, does its best to turn back the clock. There's enough material here to add another hour to Spike Lee's "reel of shame" in Bamboozled.
--Scott Tobias, review of "Norbit," The Onion A.V. Club

Rotten Tomatoes has the movie at a solid 9%. Eddie Murphy is still a clear favorite to win Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dreamgirls. My guess is the more people who see Norbit, the less this will be true.



Chomsky meets Schoolhouse Rock 

"Pirates and Emperors." This is an animated video criticizing aspects of the US's foreign policy, inspired by the writing of Noam Chomsky. Agree or disagree, it's a pretty catchy tune.

"...cause there are pirates and emperors, but they're really the same thing..."

As you can imagine, the usual suspects make appearances: like Noriega, Hussein, Superman, and so on.

[HT: EspressoPundit]

Team America II: The Invasion of Bonnaroo

The Police's announcement of a reunion tour, including a stop at Bonnaroo, reminded me of a highlight of last year's festival.

In the late afternoon, on the main stage before Radiohead came on, Beck gave one of his usually energetic, novel, and unserious performances. This time, as you may have seen on SNL, his band was accompanied by 1.5 ft. puppet replicas of the band members themselves--complete with the same outfits and instrument motions.

This is a video that played about half way through their set, about five puppets lost in the middle of Tennessee.

Pi - The Music Video

By Hard'n Phirm. By the way, the song is exactly 3:14 long.


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