The press release from the Nobel Prize folks this morning for economics is interesting to me, but if you doze off during the details, I can’t say I’d blame you:
“This year’s Prize concerns a central economic problem: how to match different agents as well as possible.
For example, students have to be matched with schools, and donors of human organs with patients in need of a transplant. How can such matching be accomplished as efficiently as possible? What methods are beneficial to what groups?
The prize rewards two scholars who have answered these questions on a journey from abstract theory on stable allocations to practical design of market institutions.
Lloyd Shapley used so-called cooperative game theory to study and compare different matching methods. A key issue is to ensure that a matching is stable in the sense that two agents cannot be found who would prefer each other over their current counterparts.
Shapley and his colleagues derived specific methods – in particular, the so-called Gale-Shapley algorithm – that always ensure a stable matching. These methods also limit agents’ motives for manipulating the matching process.
Shapley was able to show how the specific design of a method may systematically benefit one or the other side of the market.
Alvin Roth recognized that Shapley’s theoretical results could clarify the functioning of important markets in practice.
In a series of empirical studies, Roth and his colleagues demonstrated that stability is the key to understanding the success of particular market institutions. Roth was later able to substantiate this conclusion in systematic laboratory experiments. He also helped redesign existing institutions for matching new doctors with hospitals, students with schools, and organ donors with patients.
These reforms are all based on the Gale-Shapley algorithm, along with modifications that take into account specific circumstances and ethical restrictions, such as the preclusion of side payments.
Even though these two researchers worked independently of one another, the combination of Shapley’s basic theory and Roth’s empirical investigations, experiments and practical design has generated a flourishing field of research and improved the performance of many markets.
This year’s prize is awarded for an outstanding example of economic engineering.”
Yes, but does it improve my chances of a transplant?
Three Weeks Running
In an apparent effort to confine the presidential wannabe debate to spoon-fed soft-pitch questions, both the Romneyites and Obamanistas are apparently worried that CNN’s Candy Crowley might be a little tougher to prep for than the “standard” pat-answers kind of pap passed off as “debate” so far.
Time’s got a good summary of the issues here, but in the end we should see a major demonstration of either a) better (hard questions) or b) another demonstration how Big Money is going to serve up pabulum designed for the room temperature IQ crowd.
Frankly, Crowley isn’t like to ask any embarrassing “Did you stop beating your wife?” kinds of questions. But she might bring up topics where – God forbid – the candidates would have to demonstrate mental agility and be able to think on their feet.
My personal bottom line is pretty simple: If Crowley stays on, it might be an honest debate (and thus, worth watching). But if the spoon feeders and spinmeisters exercise backroom financial string-pulling and get her swapped out, it will be some of the clearest evidence yet that America’s not free: We’re bought and paid for.
Can’t have anyone going and thinking on their own at this late date. As it stands, the race is a dead-heat and our favorite astrologer(ette) is thinking three or more weeks of amble-scramble in the courts, which will ultimately pick the winner.
Absent an Earth-ending object in space appearing, and with congress out to lunch (in more than metaphorical ways) a conclusion in the courts will give the MSM something to do in an otherwise slow news flow.
Useless But Interesting Numbers
Retail sales are out this morning:
“The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $412.9 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month and 5.4 percent (±0.7%) above September 2011. Total sales for the July through September 2012 period were up 4.8 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The July to August 2012 percent change was revised from 0.9 percent (±0.5%) to 1.2 percent (±0.3%).
Retail trade sales were up 1.2 percent (±0.5%) from August 2012 and 5.3 percent (±0.7%) above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 15.0 percent (±3.1%) from September 2011 and auto and other motor vehicle dealers were up 9.3 percent (±2.5%) from last year. “
“Why to you call that useless, Ure? Futures up smartly this morning…”
The retail figures are dollars, not units, so we have no clue how much is due to inflation and how much is volumetric growth, capiche?
With gold playing greased crowbar falling, no reason to expect much more than an opening hour pop…but ch’all have fun.
“High, outside, bomb one!”
Turkey is warning Syria against more shelling of its territory. But it’s considered an open secret that the partisans are doing some of it goad Turkey into the fight.
“Now it’s the wind-up….and the launch…..BOMB TWO!!
“And if you’re just joining us, this war is being brought to you by American Foreign Policy, makers of Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, and a whole line of conveniently-sized wars. Pick one up for an election issue tonight.”
Waffles and Demons
Curious thing, I’ve been noticing: Headlines like “U.S. suspects Iran was behind a wave of Cyberattacks” bring forward the question as to just how much memeering, virusing, and online contortions we need to see before someone declares “World War on the Web”?
I’m sure the mullahs would say they suspect that the “US/Israel was behind Stuxnet,” too.
So how open is the war on the web? No doubt, the headlines are signaling something: When the next “attack” happens it will contain a major online component and the free-wheeling internet will fall into history as a failed experiment only to be replaced with tightly enforced group-think.
Meantime, on Debate Watch
Since a Mexican official recently charged that the US has been backing the Sinaloa drug cartel (the Bushistas were hip-deep in this, so it’s not a Holder-only deal, though Fast & Furious is rumored to be part of this) it’s almost a chinch we won’t hear anything about the war on drugs in the so-called debate tomorrow night.
Nor will we hear about how reasonable drug policies could work. Why, to do that would bust the chops of the liver-buster lobby and can’t have that.
Are Skateboarders Terrorists?
No…just kids acting badly, but since anything that doesn’t comply, bend over, and present your junk for inspection is a suspected terrorist, we can hardly wait for an Al Qaeda link to be found to the SoCal skateboarder free-for-all in Tinsel Town Saturday night.
Near as I can figure, the main difference between this Saturday there, and most, was the riot cops…
Not That Chicago is Safer…
Five dead and 25 wounded in the windy city this weekend.
Unfortunately, people have a way of wanting to do something – even if it’s wrong – so we expect to see more/tougher gun laws in Chicago. T
Dew Drop In
9-minutes, 24-miles, Mach 1+. If you cared, you’ve already seen the vid.
Don’t know if you spied the report in the UK Daily Mail Saturday, but seems Global Warming ended…oh…16 years ago.
But wait! There are still stories popping up (like this one) that continue to use Global Warming as a driver of drought.
“July 2012: Hottest Month Ever According to the latest statistics from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during July was 77.6°F, which is 3.3°F above the 20th-century… “
However, we don’t have comparable “rest of world” (ROW) numbers, though I notice that we’re only 4-inches less than normal rainfall this year at the Tyler official monitoring site up the road a ways. Last year at this time we were almost 20-inches behind averages.
A thoughtful person with an open mind to outliers in data sets, might reasonably ask in view of the marketing-frenzy on global warming, how the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression could be explained. Was that “global warming” back then?
Don’t mind me, I’m still sizin’ things up still.
But I do know for dead-certain that Everything’s a Business Model and I notice that a certain “Inconvenient” vice president has continued pitching climate change and making a bundle doing it. How big a bundle? Well, he’s ridden this pony to $100-million, which is a pretty good ride on something which is still debatable.
Here in the East Texas Outback, the larger question is coming into focus: “Which is more dangerous? Global Warming or stampeding people with PowerPoints?“ I can think of $100-million reasons to ask.
More after this…