Site: Warren Meyer

Slant: Sceptic

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Recent Articles

Warren Meyer: It Pays To Have Good PR: Compared to Jeff Skilling, Elizabeth Holmes Gets Slap On the Wrist for Outright Fraud

Jeff Skilling was convicted of fraud and fined $50 million dollars and given 20+ years in jail.  Elizabeth Holmes -- for fraud that is way more obvious and for which she is clearly directly accountable -- will get no jail time, a fine of a half million dollars, loss of some voting shares in the

2018-03-14 17:14   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Addressing the Pro-Tariff Arguments

Don Boudreaux and and Mark Perry have been doing a great job making the case against Trump's trade sanctions.  But it is always a danger only to learn about opposing views from those who disagree with you, so in the spirit of Bryan Caplan's "Ideological Touring Test" I wanted to address directly some of the

2018-03-08 17:13   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Markets in Everything: Pizza Ordering Sneakers

Since I have not seen Marginal Revolution do this feature for a while, I will try to fill in.  "pie tops" -- sneakers with a button for ordering a pizza.

2018-03-06 16:02   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: When You Relax Accountability, Bad Things Happen

For years I have been critical of US Forest Service (USFS) fire suppression operations.  For those who are not familiar, because they own so much land in the very dry west, the US Forest Service is -- by far -- the largest firefighting agency in the country.  It spends billions of dollars a year on

2018-03-05 20:16   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: A Chinese Consumer's Perspective on Chinese Trade Policy

This is, plus or minus, a reprint of an article on trade policy written 12 years ago at our Chinese sister publication, Panda Blog. Our Chinese government continues to pursue a policy of export promotion, patting itself on the back for its trade surplus in manufactured goods with the United States. The Chinese government does

2018-03-05 18:11   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Setting Up Your TV Correctly

I have been a home theater hobbyist for years, though with projection TV's rather than LCD panel TV's.  However, from what I know, this appears to be a good list of things to do and not do in setting up your TV.  TV's have historically been set up to look good in very bright showrooms

2018-03-05 17:41   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Update on the Bubble

This morning on my short drive to work I heard a commercial that reminded me of the glory days of 2005.  First, it was a commercial for a home equity loan, a pitch that largely disappeared for a decade or so.  Second, though, the pitch said that you could take the money and put in

2018-03-02 15:47   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Average People Used To Understand That Protectionism Was Welfare for Special Interests That Hurt Consumers. When Did This Change?

I have been watching the second season of Victoria on PBS (quite good, I think) and much of it has covered the famines of the 1840's and the debate over the Corn Laws.  At the time, it seems that average people understood that the British tariffs on imported food were in place solely to protect

2018-03-02 15:40   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: NCAA: The World's Last Bastion of British Aristocratic Privilege

It is incredible to me that we still fetishize amateurism, which in a large sense is just a holdover from British and other European aristocracies.  Historically, the mark of the true aristocrat was one who was completely unproductive.  I am not exaggerating -- doing any paid work of any sort made one a tradesman, and

2018-02-26 18:58   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: OK, Brief Break for Cute Animal Blogging

I know this is not my usual schtick here, but I have to confess I have a soft spot for baby hippo pictures.  This is Augustus, who was just born at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida.  More here.

2018-02-26 16:05   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Greatest Bar TV Ever

Was at a bar in the new Andaz Hotel in Scottsdale, at a restaurant called Warp and Woof.  I like the contemporary vibe of a lot of Andaz hotels, including this one in particular. Anyway, over the bar, rather than some random college basketball game, they had Bob Ross painting shows on a loop.  Excellent.

2018-02-26 16:02   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: "Water Is The Most Mispriced Commodity In The World". I agree

A few years ago there was a contest here in Arizona to see who could submit the best water conservation marketing campaign.   I submitted a picture of my water bill with the price photo-shopped so it was doubled.  Politicians here in Arizona subsidize the hell out of water, block or refuse to fund infrastructure projects

2018-02-26 15:59   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: So You Think You Have Property Rights in This Country?

You do have property rights ... right up to the point where someone with political pull wants to change the use of your property. In Tempe, AZ, an intersection has been empty for a number of years after a gas station went out of business.  A local entrepreneur acquired rights to the land to build

2018-02-19 18:39   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: As I Predicted, Another Diesel Emissions Shoe Drops

Back in November of 2015 I wrote: I would be stunned if the Volkswagen emissions cheating is limited to Volkswagen.  Volkswagen is not unique -- Cat and I think Cummins were busted a while back for the same thing.  US automakers don't have a lot of exposure to diesels (except for pickup trucks) but my

2018-02-19 17:02   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: This is The Right Way To Encourage Local Investment: Regulation Reform, Not Subsidies

Via Zero Hedge: Waymo, a unit of Alphabet, is set to launch a ride-sharing service similar to Uber, but with no human driver behind the wheel. Officials in Arizona granted Waymo a permit to operate as a transportation network company (TNC) across the state on Janurary 24, following the company’s initial application on Janurary 12, Bloomberg  reported. The

2018-02-19 16:09   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: My New Favorite Excel Function: INDIRECT

I will confess that somehow I never really learned pivot table mechanics in Excel, so I struggle with three dimensional data.  One example might be a spreadsheet with individual tabs where each tab is a different corporate division, and on each tab is a P&L by month (so three dimensions:  Month, P&L category, Division).  Let's

2018-02-16 17:03   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Is The Phoenix Housing Market Peaking?

I am not actually active in the residential home market, so I can (without losing any money) call market tops and bottoms from semi-random variables.  In 2005, I wrote here about a possible housing top when I overheard a dentist tell a doctor about all he money he was making flipping raw land  (I will

2018-02-15 18:32   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Sex and Gender on the AZ Driver's License

Via the AZ Republic Two Democratic lawmakers are trying to give transgender and non-binary Arizonans the chance to more accurately represent themselves on state-issued documents — in life and in death. House Bill 2492 would offer driver's-license applicants a third gender option, "non-binary," to indicate they don't identify as male or female. House Bill 2582 would require death…

2018-02-15 16:48   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Fourier Transforms

This is as good of an explanation as I have seen of what is going on in a Fourier Transform.  I have not seen this person's videos before but I will have to seek out others of his.

2018-02-14 20:48   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: This One Simple Trick Will Send a Lot of Municipalities Into Bankruptcy

The "trick": Democrats in the state House have proposed issuing $107 billion in bonds to backfill the state’s pension funds, which are short $129 billion. Annual state pension payments are projected to increase to $20 billion in 2045 from $8.5 billion—not including interest on $17 billion in debt the state previously issued to pay for

2018-02-14 16:56   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Banning Racists From Social Media Is Just Helping Them By Reducing Transparency on Their Distasteful Views

Via Engadget Twitter is continuing to act on its promise to fight hate speech, however imperfectly. The site has banned Wisconsin Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen after he posted a racist image that placed the face of Cheddar Man (a dark-skinned British ancestor) over actress and soon-to-be-royal Meghan Markle, who's mixed race. The company said it didn't normally comment

2018-02-13 15:13   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Do We Really Have to Craft Legislation With the Stupidest 0.0001% in Mind?

Via Zero Hedge: A pair of New York politicians has introduced legislation that would force consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble to make their Tide Pod product less appetizing to human beings. If passed, Senate bill S100A would require liquid detergent packets sold in the state of New York to be “designed in an opaque,

2018-02-09 19:02   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Why Infrastructure is Really "Crumbling" -- It's Unauthorized Borrowing by Government Agencies Against Public Infrastructure

I am mostly going to leave highways out of this post.  Most evidence I have seen is that the numbers do not actually show highway infrastructure to be getting worse.  To the extent highways are underfunded, in my mind it is because gasoline taxes paid by drivers and meant for highway repair and construction have

2018-02-09 17:25   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: On the List of Good News Under-Reported By the Media, This is Near The Top of the List

This is really staggeringly good news.  Malaria has, through history, been one of the deadliest infectious diseases (though of late my understanding is that it has been surpassed by HIV).  One of the problems with malaria is that for every death, many more are rendered unable to work for long periods of time, a drag

2018-02-08 15:39   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: It Is Interesting to Note that High School Debate is as Broken as When I Did it 35 Years Ago

From the WSJ: For weeks, high school debater Benjamin Waldman rehearsed his argument affirming the resolution that the criminal-justice system should abolish plea bargaining. Now that it was time to speak, he took a deep breath and let it rip.…

2018-02-07 20:03   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Another Reason I Live In Phoenix

'nuff said  

2018-02-07 16:18   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: SpaceX Landing Two Falcon Heavy Boosters Side by Side -- Gorgeous

Y'all know I have a certain distaste for Elon Musk's rent-seeking, but as I have written before there is nothing much cooler than several billionaires competing at space travel.   The video below is of today's apparently succesful Falcon Heavy launch, but while the launch is as cool as always, what was really new and beautiful

2018-02-06 21:24   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: Advice: Do Not Give Your Kids a Visa or Mastercard for Travel, Give Them An Amex

I am a flaming hypocrite on this topic, because my company does not accept Amex, but for travel, particularly if it is a shared family card you are giving your kids, don't use Visa or Mastercard.  Most banks have systems now that are simply hair-trigger in freezing an account if they see a charge they

2018-02-06 20:36   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: My New Favorite Entertainment

Reading dueling analyst reports on Tesla.  I can't think of another high-profile stock where there is so little consensus, where the range of opinions covers the whole spectrum.  With their quarterly earnings call tomorrow, it should be a most entertaining day.

2018-02-06 20:20   Click to comment

Warren Meyer: I Have Deleted My Twitter App. It's An Impossible Platform for Political Discourse (at Least For Me)

Those who have read this blog for a while know that I have an up and down history with Twitter.  I think it is a perfectly valid platform for sharing breaking news, following celebrities, posting cute animal pictures, and notifying folks that blog posts or longer articles are available.  I have always used Twitter for

2018-02-06 19:28   Click to comment

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