25 Oct 2009

Speed Blogging

  • The EPA vows to enforce the Clean Water Act.

  • Subliminal advertising doesn't work and never did.

  • G. Tracy Mehan says [pdf] "a subsidized water or wastewater system is not a sustainable one." Bravo!

  • "The Dismal Politics of Legislative Transparency: ...legislators have a conflict of interest and act on it in making roll call votes inaccessible. Moreover, this particular conflict of interest is merely the tip of the iceberg of a greater incentive problem elected officials have in designing legislative information systems to make themselves more democratically accountable."

  • Aid and Oil: "...donors provide a higher share of aid, but not higher absolute aid levels, to countries from which they import more oil."

  • "Hydrodam Protests and Policy Adjustments in China: ... is a refreshing and informative investigative foray into the critically important water dimension of the still mostly opaque mechanisms of political and social adjustments underway in the course of China’s technological, economic, and geographic modernization."

  • An excellent profile of the Nobel winners -- I owe them more than I thought! Also listen to Tom Keene interview [mp3] Avinash Dixit on the prizes.

  • Coral reefs provide "ecosystem services" worth at least $130,000/ha, with about $40k in value to the environment and about $90k in value from direct tourism values. Speaking of that, Singapore's demand for sand makes it an increasingly valuable natural resource!

  • Uh oh: "Can liberalised energy markets cut carbon emissions? Britain is starting to doubt it" This problem is relevant after 20 years of liberalization; liberalization in the US has been more timid.
hattip to DW


  1. Re. the subsidized water. Do you know where can I find a comparison of subsidized rates for agriculture vs. urban users in California?

  2. More on subliminal advertising;

    In the 1950's, a German psychologist named Ernst Dicther was making a fortune telling the California Prune Advisory Board that people didn't like prunes because the wrinkles made them think of dying. He told P&G that hair was sexy and I personally did two studies of shampoo and women's hair. Anyway, ol Ernst was getting all the ink and all the money so Vicary devised his stunt.

    Now here is the beauty part. He held his press conference on a Friday morning. I worked at Benton & Bowles, and by noon every single one of our major clients had called to say we would be fired if we ever pulled a stunt like that, and then they all publicly denounced Vicary.

    Over the years, several academics tried to replicate the work, but all failed.

    Now here is gorgeous part. In the mid-1980's a couple of young guys invented a board game they called Power. It must have been very good since they pre-sold it to all the major East Coast department stores for Christmas. Then these two genius idiots produced a TV commercial for the game, and embedded the words Buy Power in it.

    The commercial was broadcast the first, and only time, about 3AM on WTOP in Washington. A station engineer caught it and called the station manager. At 7AM, the station manager went on the air and issued a complete, abject apology. All the stores canceled their orders.


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