Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Subtle Racism

I was riding the Vancouver skytrain this weekend at night. A group of young men got on the train, clearly intoxicated, acting very rowdy and potty mouthed. By the time we got to the next station, about half the people in our car had felt the need to change cars

I couldn't help but thinking back to September when almost the exact same incident took place. Only people aboard the train didn't feel the need to change cars.

The only other difference? The group rowdy drunks I encountered in September were white, the group from last weekend were black.

I think it's a shame the lack of discussion we have about race in Canada. Many people are lead to think that everything is perfect, and racism only occurs south of the border. This isn't true, and until we start talking about it, it's not going to change.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prediction markets accurate in Pennsylvania

Yes, I am still here, posting has been light. Exam season tend to have that effect on people.

The big news this week is Hilary's win in Pennsylvania. What is pretty amazing is that the Intrade markets barley moved after the results came in. Meaning that the results were almost exactly as expected. Here is the graph tracking Barak Obama's nomination over the past two weeks.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reconsidering Bio-fuels

The NY Times has a piece about politicians in the U.S. reconsidering bio-fuel subsidies because of thier horrible effect on farmers in poor nations. Maybe it'll catch on and we will start to re-consider the other hundreds of billions of dollars in harmful farm subsidies.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No post today

The sun is out in Victoria, it's kinda like our version of a snow day. Weather like this could be detrimental to my GPA.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Possible CIA Consiracy

...okay, probably not, but if any of you are bloggers who like to start conspiracy theories this one would be a doosey:

Afghan farmers are this year sowing wheat instead of poppy - not because they have suddenly been converted to the argument that producing heroin is not in the national interest.

Market forces have been the deciding factor - with wheat prices doubling in the past year, and the street price of heroin falling, it is now more cost effective to grow wheat.

-That's from Paul Krugman's blog, I added the possible conspiracy part, other people can do the serious reporting

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Food prices and poverty

I was talking to a Norwegian friend of mine a while ago and she mentioned that food in Canada costs about a quarter of what it does in Norway. This is interesting because we tend to think of Norway as a very equal society. However, I can imagine that huge food prices make being poor pretty difficult. Our standard measures of inequality, like Gini co-efficients, don't take this into account. Who knows what country is truly the kindest to its poor, but it is important to look at bit deeper into a nations micro-economy before you make judgments.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Canadian water shortage coming?

You hear a lot of talk about possible fresh water shortages that could take place in the future. I agree that having water is a good thing, a very good thing. I disagree with the most people in how to insure we have enough water in the future.

My view is that the best way to conserve water is to price it correctly now, so that we don't need to raise the price in the future. The mainstream view is that the best way to conserve water is to keep it out of the hands of Americans. This argument doesn't make much sense. Water is the same as any other resource, if Americans are willing to pay a higher price for it then Canadians, then we can give that money back to the public and end up with a better outcome then if we just restrict trade.

There was a proposal a while back to ship water from Vancouver island down to California on a tanker. The deal was killed because it supposedly set a "bad precedent." The conservation gain was zero, that water now flows into the ocean, but apparently it was worth giving up millions of dollars in revenue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

calming the markets

The white house has a new strategy to inspire people's confidence in the market, keeping them selfs as far away from it as possible. Check out the story in the NY Times