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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

So, the G8 meeting WAS interesting

Posted by Danny Morris on July 10, 2009

Photographic evidence that agreeing to limit warming of global temperatures to 2 degree C was not the only notable thing at the G-8 meeting this week:


This may be evidence that B-Rock is indeed human. I also appreciate how amused Sarkozy appears. Before jumping to conclusions though, you should note this picture may have been taken out of context. Who has come forth to defend the President’s honor? Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, obviously. Just because a picture speaks 1000 words doesn’t mean those are the right words…

H/T: J-Ladd

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments »

Unexpected Consequences of Climate Change

Posted by jab12004 on June 30, 2009

bz ISLAND 06-22-09WB

I’ll bet CBO didn’t consider avoiding these kinds of problems when they estimated the benefits of climate change legislation.

H/T bizarro for having a great comic and blog

Posted in Climate Change, Humor | Leave a Comment »

All rankings are wrong, but some are useful*

Posted by Daniel Hall on February 2, 2009

And others… well, not so much.

This is so absurd — putting CT ahead of Environmental Economics in any ranking would only be credible if the relevant metric was the inability to show up on time for even the most basic events — that it would be funny, if only it didn’t feel like the Wikio creators were actually out to publicly humiliate the lazy proprietors of this site.  I’ll note that we are not only ahead of Env-Econ, but also venerable econ blogger YouNotSneaky!, who could drink an entire bottle of stupid and still be smarter than me on one of my best days.

The internets, they are a mystery to me.

*Apologies to George E. P. Box for the title.

Posted in Humor, Metablogging | 2 Comments »

Regarding the auto bailout

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on January 2, 2009


H/T: Boing Boing.

Posted in Auto, Government Policy, Humor | 2 Comments »

Is it too late to throw my hat into the ring for secretary of the interior?

Posted by Rich Sweeney on December 17, 2008

After all, Interior is the funnest department in DC.

p.s. now y’all can say hi to me at Solly’s.

Posted in Humor, Random | 1 Comment »

Ken Salazar proves he has what it takes to run Interior

Posted by Daniel Hall on December 17, 2008

Chiefly, the wardrobe.

Posted in Humor, Random | Leave a Comment »

Things looking good for Kyoto

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on August 25, 2008

From the Onion:

Bush Told To Sign Birthday Treaty For Someone Named ‘Kyoto’

August 22, 2008 | Issue 44•34

WASHINGTON—Enlisted by members of the House and Senate, presidential aide Rebecca Tandy brought a copy of the international climate-change treaty to President Bush’s desk Monday and asked him to sign a birthday document for a Japanese dignitary named “Kyoto Protocol.” “Mr. Protocol really likes treaties, so we got him this treaty instead of a card, so if you could just—all the other countries have already signed it,” a nervous Tandy reportedly said to Bush, who quickly scrawled his signature on the treaty and told her to tell Kyoto he said “hi.” “And now, if you could just initial here, and here, and here, and, oh, you can ignore all that stuff about sulfides. That’s just an inside joke.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later attempted to get Bush to sign a “bar mitzvah stop-use agreement” for the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Clusterbomb.

Posted in Climate Change, Humor | Leave a Comment »

Bold claims

Posted by Daniel Hall on August 6, 2008

If I could, I would bet my life savings against the predictions of the current consensus climate model.

That is Will Wilkinson, responding (indirectly) to this.  I would recommend that Will contact James Annan, or perhaps the guys at RealClimate.

Posted in Climate Change, Humor | 7 Comments »

“A”, then “A” more strongly

Posted by Daniel Hall on August 4, 2008

In conversation with one of my roommates last night I observed that one of my biases is that I think other people think approximately like me.  Essentially, I overestimate the extent to which others will share my mental model for thinking about the world.  This remains true even though I am aware of my own bias.

I then proceeded to claim — with total sincerity — that this bias is extremely prevalent among the people I know.

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments »

Climate change headline of the day: “Great tits cope well with warming”

Posted by Rich Sweeney on May 9, 2008

From the BBC. Oh British humor.

Posted in Humor | 2 Comments »

Cognitive biases about transportation

Posted by Daniel Hall on April 4, 2008

As usual, it is presumed that traffic and transportation problems will have seen a lot of progress when in fact they have not.

That is Tyler Cowen, observing that our predictions about the transportation future — in this case, 2008 seen from the vantage point of 1968 — are much more optimistic than the ultimately drab realities.

I am inclined to agree, with the qualification that our expectations about the future in general — across the board, not just for transportation — frequently seem too optimistic about revolutionary changes and insufficiently in tune with how much better things can get through evolutionary changes at the margin. Think of the difference between the forty years from 1880 to 1920 and 1920 to 1960 — the first period was a transportation revolution and the second an evolution. It was probably easier to “predict” 1960 from the vantage point of 1920 than 1920 from 1880. But probably more people were positively impacted by the transportation changes in the second period than in the first.

Do policy changes count? I suspect that most households get better transportation services for a smaller share of their budget than 40 years ago.

What would a revolutionary change look like for transportation in the next 40 years? What is your outrageously over-optimistic model?

My (expected) model is basically evolutionary: Personal automobiles remain the central mode of transportation. More (most?) of them are electrified. More roads will be priced, including development of real-time-variant congestion pricing in some urban hubs. More and better mass transit in urban hubs, but not that much more. (Infrastructure is slow, slow, slow.) More people walk and bike but that will have more to do with urbanization and where new housing is built (infill in cities instead of suburbanization) than transportation per se. Carbon will be priced and that will help along these changes but decarbonizing transit will be a slow process (unless electrification and CCS both work and soon). I would like to have centrally-directed ‘auto-pilot’ cars — what is the dividing line between cars that drive themselves and pod-based mass transit? — but I doubt most people want or will accept this in the near term and so it will be limited to various forms of driver ‘assistance’ (with perhaps auto-pilot options for the highway — Kansas, anyone?).

Update: Matt Yglesias comments.

The whole article is very entertaining and gets some things quite right. (“The single most important item in 2008 households is the computer.”) I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a few completely off-topic comments and I’ve placed these below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Humor, Random, Transportation | Leave a Comment »

Biofuels quote of the day

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on March 5, 2008

From The Onion, in regard to the recent article in Science claiming that biofuels do not have a positive impact on GHG emissions:

“Just once, why can’t one of our poorly considered quick fixes work?”

Posted in Biofuels, Humor | Leave a Comment »

Survey research quote of the… month? year?

Posted by Daniel Hall on February 27, 2008

This probably only makes much sense to our academic audience (does it exist?), but Chris Blattman has a trenchantly funny aside about research he’s conducting on a program working for inter-ethnic harmony in Serbia/Kosovo:

I’ll give you a preview of how the program is going so far: not so hot. On the other hand, from a pure research point of view, if you’re running a panel survey of youth ethnic and political attitudes, it does not hurt to have a declaration of independence midway between the two survey rounds.

Posted in Humor, Research | Leave a Comment »

I hope my bosses don’t read

Posted by Daniel Hall on February 27, 2008

Evan and Rich, I’m warning you, John Whitehead is onto us.

Posted in Humor | 1 Comment »

Get me some trans-fat and nicotine, stat!

Posted by Daniel Hall on February 5, 2008

Turns out those 300-pound smokers aren’t the menace to public coffers that you might have feared:

Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn’t save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars.

“It was a small surprise,” said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, who led the study. “But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more.”

In a paper published online Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, Dutch researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers. …

The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run. …

Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on. The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000.

With some economists worried about the impact rising entitlement spending will have on the next generation, sounds like it’s time to follow Tim Harford’s advice and take up smoking. Do it for the kids!

H/T: Kids Prefer Cheese, who notes: “I swear this is not from the Onion.”

Posted in Humor, Public Health | Leave a Comment »

Energy Demand Inelasticity Cartoon of the Day

Posted by Rich Sweeney on December 5, 2007


Posted in Humor, Oil | 2 Comments »


Posted by Daniel Hall on December 4, 2007

Who thought this was a good idea?

An environmental group called Rising Tide North America put out a fake press release on Monday stating that members of U.S. Climate Action Partnership had agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop building coal-fired power plants.

USCAP, a group of industrial companies including NRG Energy, said later that it never made such commitments. …

The fake press release was e-mailed to the news media…. The release included a link to the Web site, a fraudulent Web site that was nearly identical to the real USCAP Web site, at

What is this, third grade?

Rising Tide opposes the use of fossil fuels and promotes “community based solutions” to climate change.

Ok, so maybe their agenda isn’t all bad. “Community based solutions”, right? Who could oppose those?

Jessica Starr, an organizer for the group, said the fraudulent press release was meant to draw attention to climate change and the idea of cutting emissions substantially.

“It’s a free speech tactic,” she said.

Well… that’s one perspective.

Posted in Humor | Leave a Comment »

Rich people, meet smart people

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on November 26, 2007

According to The Independent, the Second Annual Fortune Forum will showcase a breakthrough energy technology:

[Kane] Kramer, who was 23 in 1979 when he conceptualised the technology that led to the creation of the first MP3 player, refused to give specific details of the new discovery, or to name the inventor, so as to maintain the element of surprise for Friday. But he indicated that it is a breakthrough in micro-technology, and that British scientists who have tested it are convinced that it will work.

“This is something … that’s the accumulation of almost a decade of work,” he said. “It’s a new science, a Super Material. It would be 80 per cent cheaper than any alternative means of production, and it will contribute in a major way to reducing climate change.

Before we climate change folks all quit our jobs, note that the last time I heard this kind of announcement, we got the freaking Segway. The greatest benefit of this previous “revolutionary technology” has been watching Gob Bluth ride a monogrammed unit on Arrested Development.

On a broader scale, I do think the idea of matching wealthy investors (the total net worth of this year’s diners is estimated at over £100 billion) with inventors is an important one:

There is an old saying that if you invent a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door, but he says the adage is true only for inventions that improve gadgets that are already known to work. Big corporations can be very coy about putting money into something genuinely new. “Business wants to jump on a bandwagon, not build the bandwagon,” [Kramer] said.

Imperfect information, as we have so often noted, causes serious problems when people with no access to capital have great visions.

Posted in Energy Technology, Humor | 1 Comment »

Correlation vs. causation (or, I stole this entire post from Greg Mankiw)

Posted by Daniel Hall on October 25, 2007

Penguins and global warming, via N.

I really did.

Posted in Humor | Leave a Comment »

Supply side economics trickles down to env econ

Posted by Daniel Hall on October 14, 2007

Mark Thoma points us to The Onion:

Reagonomics Finally Trickles Down to Area Man: Twenty-six years after Ronald Reagan first set his controversial fiscal policies into motion, the deceased president’s massive tax cuts for the ultrarich at last trickled all the way down to deliver their bounty, in the form of a $10 bonus, to Hazelwood, MO car-wash attendant Frank Kellener.

“Back when Reagan was in charge, I didn’t think much of him,” Kellener, 57, said, holding up two five-dollar bills nearly three decades in the making. “But who would have thought that in 2007 I’d have this extra $10 in my pocket? He may not have lived to see it, but I’m sure President Reagan is up in heaven smiling down on me right now.” …

It’s well worth reading the article in its entirety.

I know, however, faithful reader, that you are wondering exactly what this has to do with the insightful commentary on environmental economics you’ve come to expect around here.

Never fear, N. Gregory Mankiw gives us the smallest of hooks to hang the last shreds of our dignity on: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Humor | Leave a Comment »