The WSJ article had an accompanied forum, which is always interesting to see for the varied reactions to really anything under the sun. This one particularly caught my attention.

"As a professional economist, I winced as I read your aticle [sic]. I'm afraid that this type of "research" only shows how weak some aspects of our discipline have become. Unfortunaltely [sic], too many economists take the view that they are qualified to study anything under the sun. Forget about wether it has to do with prices, output or equilibrium. These days "economists" are "studying" everything from autism to how the brain processes information. I think that these people would best serve the discipline by migrating to another field. We have (medical) doctors and bioligists [sic] for studying these sorts of topics. If it really interests them then perhaps they should consider making a switch to a medical field. After all, as economists, wouldn't they agree with the principle of specialization? I know how most economists would react to a bioligist [sic] trying to explain the movement of interest rates (think crackpot). I shudder to think how medical scientists would react to these sorts of "economists" that you discussed in your article."

My first reaction was just how much rarer this type of criticism has been over the past 3-4 years. It used to be quite commonplace. I suppose people have either gotten bored of repeating themselves or have changed their minds (probably the former :p). I remember Ken Binmore told me while I was on the job market that, in the 70s, many economists thought game theory was preposterous. On the other hand, the suggestion that I migrate to another field is quite ironic given the reputation of “economic imperialism”.
My second reaction is, it’s “biologists”, good god!


It’s no long “Big Science”, it’s now “Curious”, and it will finally be airing. Some of the clips can be viewed on the WNET/Thirteen website. It’s pretty funny to see people I used to drink with on TV.

Wall Street Journal Article

Lee Hotz of the Wall Street Journal wrote a very nice article about our study on distributive justice. It is entitled “Charting the Agony Of a Brain as It Struggles to Be Fair”, which sounds a whole lot better than the titles that I can think of.

X11 Forwarding in Matlab on Mac OS X

If you’re like me and want to use Matlab remotely on a Mac server, but can’t get graphics to display, the problem is you need to disable the java virtual machine that Matlab uses for the GUI. Invoke matlab from the command line with ``matlab - nojvm -nosplash”. You will of course need all the environment variables set correctly. It never occurred to me that java was the culprit. I found it from the Apple discussion list, but it’s not all that easy to find.