Trouble with Airline Codes

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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Nothing like having an easily-confused airline code:

Kirsch Municipal Airport carries an unfortunate IATA identifier code and, if this comment to the Google Maps forum is genuine, it’s starting to wind up the local jet charter firm.

‘IRS’ is the common abbreviation for the Internal Revenue Service but, in Google’s geographic database, a search for ‘IRS’ doesn’t bring up the US Government’s mighty tax machine but rather a small airport in the northwest corner of Sturgis, Michigan.

“About two months ago we started receiving phone calls from individuals wanting to contact the Internal Revenue Service,” says the forum poster, whose name ‘raijets’ matches that of a Kirsch air charter company.

“We get 20-50 calls a day for the Internal Revenue Service – even after hours and on weekends.

More here.


Fact-Checking the Apocalypse

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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We should fact-check the apocalypse more often:

On ABC’s “This Week,” the Rev. Franklin Graham was wrong when he said that earthquakes, wars and famines are occurring “with more frequency and more intensity.”

The preacher, who is the son of the Rev. Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, discussed the prophecy of Armageddon with host Christiane Amanpour during a special Easter edition of the Sunday talk show.

Graham, April 24: I believe we are in the latter days of this age. When I say “latter days,” could it be the last hundred years or the last thousand years or the last six months? I don’t know.

But the Bible, the things that the Bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency and more intensity.

On all three counts, the preacher is wrong. Today’s famines and armed conflicts are fewer and relatively smaller than those in the last century, and the frequency of major earthquakes has remained about the same.

Read on.


Field Notes: IPOs, Aliens, GDP, Entrepreneurs, Degrees, Vancouver, etc.

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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  • Global World Product Will Not Grow at 4%+ for Five Years (Source)
  • Mississippi river flood status (Source)
  • SETI to stop its alien-seeking radio dishes (Source)
  • WEF report on entrepreneurship (Source)
  • Foreign buyers buoy Vancouver housing (Source)
  • More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees, Census Bureau Reports (Source)
  • Google will modify its Rio maps and downplay favelas (Source)
  • The Netherlands Ranks #1 Worldwide in Penetration for Twitter and LinkedIn (Source)
  • Mississippi River Cresting Near Record; 2002 as Parallel (Source)
  • IPO filing activity surges; more than 30 companies file with SEC in April ((Source)

Field Notes: Cat Bonds, Playboy Disease, Rail, Oil, Liquidity, Hitchens, etc.

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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  • The Trouble with Catastrophe Bonds(Source)
  • Bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease linked to mystery illness at Playboy Mansion (Source)
  • “This Is the Renaissance of Rail.” (Source)
  • Imagining a world without oil (Source)
  • Liquidity as an Investment Style (Source)
  • US reserve rates soar as costs fall on new technologies (Source)
  • Amis on Hitchens: ‘He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen'(Source)
  • “Reject Greenspan’s Bleak Vision” (Source)

Vancouver Bubble Watch: 25-Person Bidding War

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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I was sent this by someone today on the latest madness in the Vancouver real estate market. It sort of blew my mind — 25 bidders, $655,000 premium, and 34% over the asking price for a house on 50×125 lot.

Kitsilano house goes for $655,000 over asking

Kitsilano, B.C.

Published Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 6:02PM EDT


ASKING PRICE $1,895,000

SELLING PRICE $2.55-million



THE ACTION: This contemporary West Coast residence in Kitsilano was listed for $1.895-million on a Friday, but the first showings were held a week later. This tactic, combined with its attractive price point, helped retain the interest of so many buyers that 25 made an offer. The one accepted presented $655,000 more than the asking price.

Predicting the Improbable

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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Great new paper from Voxeu on people’s behavior around the unpredictable. In lotteries they tend to under-select recently drawn numbers, only to get for them in a big way if the number is drawn repeatedly. Reproduced here, with permission.


Predicting the improbable

Claus Bjørn Jørgensen Sigrid Suetens Jean-Robert Tyran
22 April 2011

Japan’s trio of tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster has left the world stunned. As this column points out, even the experts were shocked. But while these events were highly unlikely, they were still possible. This column uses evidence from the Danish lottery to show that people tend to adjust their expectations of future events based on only small pockets of recent experience, often at their cost.

Important events are hard to predict – a fact that is particularly hard-felt when it comes to low probability events with dramatic consequences. Nuclear catastrophe, financial crisis and the like are things that even experts struggle to predict. The difficulty stems from a lack of understanding of the underlying factors and complex interactions among causes (probabilities are not independent but conditional on other events).

Experts are thus to some extent forced to base their predictions on inference from observing the past. A difficult issue is to know when a model should be revised given that an event that has been deemed to be highly improbable happens to occur. The issue is most relevant for policy recommendations. For example, what recommendations should experts provide for the regulation of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster or for the regulation of banks in the light of the recent financial crisis?

While experts struggle to predict such events accurately, the average person is often simply baffled. They tend to misperceive randomness in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to rare events.

  • One common tendency is to see patterns in random data when there are none.

This can lead to a tendency to overreact to recent events, allowing their occurrence to change beliefs about future events in exaggerated ways. More specifically, many people tend to over-infer characteristics of the underlying probability distribution when observing a small number of random events. A literature pioneered by Tversky and Kahneman (1971) has identified the belief in the “law of small numbers” as the source of such over-inference.

End Times Ahead, Meteorologically Speaking

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

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Texas Governor Perry today trying to out-Onion The Onion:


WHEREAS, the state of Texas is in the midst of an exceptional drought, with some parts of the state receiving no significant rainfall for almost three months, matching rainfall deficit records dating back to the 1930s; and

WHEREAS, a combination of higher than normal temperatures, low precipitation and low relative humidity has caused an extreme fire danger over most of the State, sparking more than 8,000 wildfires which have cost several lives, engulfed more than 1.8 million acres of land and destroyed almost 400 homes, causing me to issue an ongoing disaster declaration since December of last year; and

WHEREAS, these dire conditions have caused agricultural crops to fail, lake and reservoir levels to fall and cattle and livestock to struggle under intense stress, imposing a tremendous financial and emotional toll on our land and our people; and

WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my Office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 21st day of April, 2011.

Governor of Texas

Field Notes: OIl, Weather, Drought, Microsoft, iPhone, etc.

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

  • First Drought, Now Heat Impacting Kansas Wheat Fields (Source)
  • Strange Spring: Explaining This Year’s Wild Weather(Source)
  • Oil Through the Ages | Maps (Source)
  • Era of ‘tough oil’ won’t deter drillers  (Source)
  • Revolutions and the price of bread: 1848 and now (Source)
  • Five-Year TIPS go negative again (Source)
  • Microsoft plans sweeping pay rises (Source)
  • iPhones Fuel Rise in Subway Theft(Source)
  • What Mortenson Got Wrong : The New Yorker (Source)
  • McDonald’s warns of higher food inflation | Reuters (Source)

Field Notes: Lester Bangs, Porsche, Boston Marathon, China Crops, Bicycles, Poker, MBAs, etc.

This post is by pk from Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

  • Lester Bangs’ Basement, or Why nothing’s rare anymore (Source)
  • 1985 Porsche 911 shift pattern as Los Angeles (Source)
  • Jane Jacobs on Cities (Source)
  • Wind and the Boston Marathon (Source)
  • The case for industrial real estate (Source)
  • The secret ratings agency downgrade meeting (Source)
  • China Crops in Short Supply as Fewer Farms Spur Food Futures (Source)
  • Federal Poker Indictments: Revisiting Prohibition (Source)
  • Out of Disaster, a Burst of Enthusiasm for Bicycling (Source)
  • High Wellbeing Eludes the Masses in Most Countries Worldwide (Source)
  • Motorcyclist Fatalities Continue Decline (Source)
  • Business education: The race to the bottom  (Source)
  • Business Educators Struggle to Put Students to Work (Source)