Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Occupy Freakonomics (Link Round-Up 12/13/11)

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The methodology problems with Freakonomics
One of the delights of the books and the blog is the authors’ willingness to play with ideas and consider alternative explanations. But unquestioning trust in friends and colleagues combined with the desire to be counterintuitive appear in several cases to have undermined their work. They—and anyone who wishes to convey economics and statistics to a popular audience—just need to take the next step and avoid, in any given example, privileging one story over all other possibilities. This may require Levitt to be more skeptical of the research of his friends and colleagues, and Dubner to be more skeptical of Levitt. “Easy read” should not mean “easy write.”
Oman: the future U.S.-Iranian intermediary? 
Oman, a sultanate located just across the Gulf from Iran and straddling the other side of the Strait of Hormuz, is positioned to be the perfect go-between for the West when it comes to engagement with Iran. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who overthrew his isolationist father in 1970, has been far friendlier with Western rulers than some of the other players in the region and remains on good terms with the Iranians as well.
Chicago traders call for "Occupying trading pits" to protest new electronic trading rules
“Are we going to sit here and be kicked in the teeth? Or are we going to fight back?” shouted Alan Young, a cattle broker who helped organize a raucous “Occupy the Pits” meeting of about 100 brokers and traders around the cavernous Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), birthplace of the modern futures markets. 
“There will be a snowball effect if this thing goes electronic, and there won't be any more jobs left.”

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