Getting Shots

Getting vaccinated is an uncomfortable experience, but it remains one of the most important medical processes to go through, not only for yourself but for those around you as well. For some time, an anti-vaccination faction has been gaining popularity in the US, leading to more cases of nearly eradicated diseases (such as measles.) In a freakonomics podcast earlier this month on the flu vaccine, they explore why people opt not to get vaccinated, and why this is a bigger problem than it seems. Even beyond the public health realm, an increasing population who are unvaccinated against diseases is actually Continue reading Getting Shots

Solar Power, and Net Metering (Part 1)

Solar power in the United States is taking off quite vigorously, and installations of solar panels have begun to soar. This quarter, 53% of electricity coming from new installations this year is being generated by solar panels. From 2007, solar installations have gone up by 12 fold, and terms like ‘Gigawatts’ (one of which is enough to power 16 million 60-watt light bulbs continuously) are used on a quarterly basis to describe growth rather than as an end goal. This isn’t an industry, however, that has pulled itself up by its bootstraps so to speak: alongside significant tax incentives offered Continue reading Solar Power, and Net Metering (Part 1)

Your Brain on Economics (Pt. II)

Although I didn’t intend to initially, I wanted to return to my blog post from 2 weeks ago. In that post, I attempted to address some points made by Brian M. Lucey on what happens to students who are taking more economics. His article is fairly concisely summarized by the following photo that he posted on his blog: So the question is: is this accurate? Do students who take economics become greedier and less inclined to cooperation than those who do not, based on the studies outlined in the post above? I think I unfairly smeared his point before, when I Continue reading Your Brain on Economics (Pt. II)

Your Brain on Economics

A few weeks back my parents ran into my old high-school principal. After having a lovely chat with her, the topic came up as to what exactly I was doing with my life these days, and eventually it came out that I was studying economics. Her reaction was, putting it lightly, negative. It was reminiscent of how to politely behave if someone informed you that their child had taken up the habit of rotating their head 360 degrees and chanting in tongues. This reaction, though understandable given the general opinion of economics outside of the discipline, led me to wonder Continue reading Your Brain on Economics

Amazon and Monopsony

On Sunday of this week, Paul Krugman posted a now-much debated op-ed entitled: Amazon’s Monopsony is Not Okay. For those unfamiliar with the article or the debate that surrounds it: it is about Amazon’s enormous market power, and the impact that power is having on the publishing market as a whole. Specifically, publisher Hachette is currently in a dispute with Amazon, who are pressuring Hachette to change their rates for e-book prices by cutting off the supply of Hachette’s authors’ books to the public: making them either delayed or completely unavailable. Most of the experts, regardless of their political leanings Continue reading Amazon and Monopsony

Theaters, Asymmetrical Information, and Star Wars 7 (Part II)            

Last week I talked about how movie studios make their money, why the constant price of theater tickets is a very bizarre phenomenon and then I told everyone I’d explain why, a year before its currently scheduled release, JJ Abrams has been ‘leaking’ information to the media about the upcoming release of Star Wars 7. I promise this is all related somewhere down the line. Theaters charge the same price for a ticket, regardless of movie, and movies can vary both in quality and cost to produce. Let’s imagine for a minute that you show up to the movie theater, Continue reading Theaters, Asymmetrical Information, and Star Wars 7 (Part II)            

Theaters, Asymmetrical Information, and Star Wars 7 (Part I)

These days, Star Wars rumors are plastered all over the Internet. It’s hard to go far without running into a new rumor about the plot of the upcoming trilogy, or JJ Abrams standing in front of a puppet-alien, claiming that he’ll use no CGI in order to bring Star Wars back to its roots. The question is: why does JJ Abrams bother with all of these strange ‘leaks’? It could be that entertainment news sites have nothing else to talk about, but that theory seems discredited by the astonishing proliferation of celebrities-eating-a-cupcake articles. However, this phenomenon is different, and that Continue reading Theaters, Asymmetrical Information, and Star Wars 7 (Part I)

Uncle Timmy Bought You a Hip New CD

We all know the feeling when we get an unwanted gift, whether it is an unexpected pet fish, a candle to add to the pile, or Aunt Clara’s rabbit pajamas: sometimes people, even with the best intentions, miss the mark. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook, is currently facing a twitter-storm because Apple automatically credited a U2 album to everyone’s iTunes account, regardless of whether they wanted it or not. Many people are countering, saying that it’s extremely selfish to be upset about receiving a free album. “What kind of person would complain about that” or, “Who doesn’t love Bono!” they Continue reading Uncle Timmy Bought You a Hip New CD