Fun with Google Images

An anonymous correspondent did a Google image search of “EclectEcon”+”John Palmer” and obtained some… well …. interesting … results.

I have no idea how the top-ranked picture reached the number one position. Thank you SO much, Rebekah!

I was delighted to see that the photo of my Elvis impersonation made the top ten. But what is that sketch of Milton, above Gabriel’s name, doing in the top ten of THIS search??


The UCU Boycott and Anti-Semitism

The University and College Union of the United Kingdom is still trying to implement a boycott of Israeli scholars. Norm Geras, of NormBlog points out very effectively that anti-Semitism is the only logical explanation for their persistent attack on Israeli scholars (h/t to MA):

In posting once again on this matter, it’s not my purpose to repeat the arguments I’ve made at length in the past opposing an academic boycott of Israel. …

It is rather to register what I think is the political meaning of this latest decision by the principal union of British academics. No one should be misled by talk of solidarity with the Palestinians. Solidarity is expressible with any people that has suffered, or is suffering, an historical injustice without the add-on attempt to ostracize and/or punish academics of one nationality. The boycotters understand this perfectly well, in as much as their solidarity statements and efforts in relation to all other peoples than the Palestinians are free of the ostracizing and punitive add-on. The latter is seen by them as relevant to Israelis and Israelis only, for reasons that have never been persuasively explained. [emphasis added]

The University and College Union is now therefore committed to a policy which is anti-Semitic: aimed at Israeli Jews alone and at no other academic community on the entire planet, irrespective of the gravity of the crimes committed by the governments of the countries such academic communities inhabit. According to one account of the proceedings that led to the most recent UCU decision, a speaker who raised the issue of anti-Semitism was jeered for doing so, ‘albeit mildly’. Perhaps we should draw comfort from the fact that the jeering was merely mild and not raucous. The conclusion is, in any case, now unavoidable that the UCU is a union that is morally tainted. Containing a core of activists who will keep returning with boycott motions so long as their previous efforts have failed; who will try to bypass clear legal advice by reformulating their aims in a more surreptitious way; who are unwilling to have this issue put before the union membership as a whole; and who are so insensible of the historical weight of anti-Semitism and its consequences as well as of its contemporary resurgence that some of them see fit to mock the very mention of it as being a diversion; the union appears to lack what is necessary to deliver them the defeat that they deserve.

The Price Elasticity of Demand for Crude Oil = 1

What is the price elasticity of demand for crude oil? If the supply of crude oil were to increase by, say, 3%, how much would the price of crude drop to restore equilibrium in the market? Alternatively, if the supply decreased by 3%, by how much would the price increase?

In the short run, the answer is likely that the price would change quite a bit more than in the longer run. But Jerry Taylor, of the Cato Institute, appears to believe the price elasticity of demand is one in the long run[h/t Cafe Hayek]. Discussing the effects of opening up more wilderness and northern areas for oil exploration and drilling, he says,

By the time those new fields would be producing, global oil production will probably be about 100 million barrels per day. Optimistically, the fields would yield about 3 million more barrels a day – for a long-run cut in the price of crude of about 3 percent.

I have no idea where he obtained that estimate for the long-run price elasticity of demand for crude oil, but it is probably not a bad guess. Overall, if in doubt, a guess that the price elasticity of demand for something is about 1 is probably a good starting point, especially in the long run.

Blog Migration: Me, Too

Kip Esquire is thinking of moving his blog from PowerBlogs. I might consider it, too, if doing so were easy. I probably do not have as many requirements as he does, but I would be interested in moving EclectEcon either to WordPress or to TypePad (or something else that permits scheduled posting). I have offered to pay either service to import my blog and domain name, but they seem uninterested in my business.

Like Kip, I am open to suggestions and offers. Unlike Kip, I do not want to do any of the work. I would, ideally, like a seamless transition. If you have any suggestions or if you are interested in doing this migration for me, please let me know.

Who knows, maybe we can work out a two-fer or at least share some of the costs of the learning curve.

Synsepalum dulcificum: a Miracle Fruit?

BenS sent me this link, to a NYTimes piece about a fruit which seems to cross-wire the tastebuds to make sour things taste sweeter.

Carrie Dashow dropped a large dollop of lemon sorbet into a glass of Guinness, stirred, drank and proclaimed that it tasted like a “chocolate shake.”

Those who attended sampled the red berries then tasted foods, including cheese, beer and brussels sprouts, finding the flavors transformed. Beer can taste like chocolate, lemons like candy. Mr. Aliquo says he holds the parties to “turn on a bunch of people’s taste buds.”

Nearby, Yuka Yoneda tilted her head back as her boyfriend, Albert Yuen, drizzled Tabasco sauce onto her tongue. She swallowed and considered the flavor: “Doughnut glaze, hot doughnut glaze!”

They were among 40 or so people who were tasting under the influence of a small red berry called miracle fruit at a rooftop party in Long Island City, Queens, last Friday night. The berry rewires the way the palate perceives sour flavors for an hour or so, rendering lemons as sweet as candy.

As much as I like sweet-tasting things, I’m not sure I would like using this berry, at least not on a regular basis. I like to know what I’m doing with my body; I like to be in touch with what is happening to it (see this). I’m not sure I want to relinquish that sense of control. And certainly not on a regular basis.

However, at only $2-$3 per berry, I could readily imagine using one before going to some people’s homes for dinner…

Two Questions about US Politics

  1. Why on earth is Hillary Clinton waiting until Friday to drop out of the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination? (ancillary questions: Does she have a chance, even remotely? Is she so hung up on power that she cannot bear to concede defeat?)
  2. Has Barack Obama hired a food taster?

He’s Doing It Again…

Where is the international outrage this time [h/t to Jack]?

Iran’s president said on Monday Israel would soon disappear off the map and that the “satanic power” of the United States faced destruction, in his latest verbal attack on the Islamic Republic’s arch-foes. …

Opposition to Israel is a fundamental principle in Shi’ite Muslim Iran, which backs Palestinian militants opposed to peace with the Jewish state.

A 2005 statement by Ahmadinejad saying that Israel should be “wiped off the map” outraged the international community.