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So many topics, so little time

As many of you know, this blog is on an approximate one-month delay. I schedule my posts to appear roughly once a day, and there’s currently a backlog of about 20 or 30 posts.

Recently I’ve decided to spend less time blogging, but I have some ideas I’d still like to share. To tweet, if you will. So I thought I’d just put a bunch of ideas out there that interested readers could follow up on. Think of it like one of those old-style dot-dot-dot newspaper columns.

– One thing statisticians could learn from economists: if you want to control for a continuous variable, throw it in as a fifth-order polynomial on the right hand side of a regression. A lot of statisticians will either do simple linear or else spaz out with a spline. But good old polynomials are fine.

– One thing that not so many political scientists realize is that nowadays the rich voters are Democrats! You don’t always see that in surveys, but remember that survey nonresponse rates are typically 80%+. Heck, surveys will tell you that 108% of people in Arizona have an opinion about their governor. And, according to the American Enterprise Institute, 58% of Americans support the Afghan war. Don’t get fooled by surveys, go with the pundits you can trust.

– Anyway, political science is pretty pointless. It hasn’t even delivered peace in the Middle East!

– And the polls are nothing but a random walk.

– ESP is real, and don’t listen to any curmudgeons who tell you otherwise. Any day now they’re gonna do the big replication that demonstrates it beyond a shadow of a doubt. And Johnny Carson isn’t around to stop them.

– Figure 1 demonstrates that test scores have been largely constant over the past thirty years. Especially if you print Figure 1 really small, on a really big piece of paper with really big margins.

– My cat’s much smarter than I am. She gets me to do whatever she wants. Whenever she cries out, I give her food.

– Presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates. I’d tell you more about this one but I don’t want anybody to get hurt.

– Anyone who refers to Justice Kennedy as “Tony” is probably a trustworthy judge of character.

– I wasn’t plagiarizing, I was just copying big blocks of text from others’ writings without attribution.

– Lou Dobbs built his daughter’s horse farm with his own two all-American hands.

– Hey–did you know that it’s evolutionarily advantageous for tall heavy engineers to have daughters . . . Nah, I won’t go there . . .

– We have as many words for prison as Eskimos have for snow. But things’ll change, now that the Eskimos have been ramping up their igloo budgets.

– Speaking of snow . . . San Francisco is very, very, very white.

– You don’t have to be a patent troll to know that ice melts on a sunny day because of its amazing albedo.

– Marty McKee has a colleague at Wolfram Research who reads all of Christian Robert’s articles.

– It took a few decades, but . . . sometime around 1995, the Soviet Union finally surpassed the U.S. in GNP.

– In 1953, Albert Einstein received 832 letters.

– But don’t worry about Einstein. There’s a genius in Seattle who can talk with you and your spouse for 15 minutes and predict with 94% accuracy whether you’ll get divorced.

– While you weren’t looking, they raised the marginal tax rate to 93%. And it my accountant increases his fees one more bit, the marginal rate will probably go over 100%. Thrown in user fees, parking tickets, and country club memberships and we’re creeping up to 200%, maybe 250. So I think the time to start goofing off is . . . right now.

– Meanwhile, the current unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is not alarming. Really, don’t worry–experts assure us we can chill out!

– All politics is local.

– And all the theorems I’ve published are 100% true.

Gotta go now. If I don’t cut my hair soon, they’ll kick me out of nursery school.

OK, I was kidding about the polynomials. But I’m dead serious about all the rest.

Bonus points for the readers who can identify all the blog entries being referred to above. And, hey, don’t forget to save those bonus points–you’ll be eligible for big prizes!

P.S. Yeah, yeah, sure, I know. I won’t quit my day job.


  1. Tian says:

    So many points so little time. How come this post appears in your RSS update yesterday?

  2. DKB @ NYU says:

    What's going on in the Middle East is fascinating to me. I realize timing is hard to predict, but aren't there indicators of fragility in a regime? If so, they would be useful for assessing political risk.

  3. K? O'Rourke says:

    Andrew: Thanks for the April Fools' post.

    Time travel is neat.


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