Not Even CLOSE To Good Enough!

I suppose today would have to go into the victory side of the equation....IF we were to keep score of how each and every day of our life turned out. Life almost seems like a life and death game of survival and that everyday we are playing for why not tally up the score, eh. Everything else in the world is competitive why not simply living!?

So today I would call a technical victory because first and foremost we survived to live another another day is obviously necessary to continue playing this "GAME" called LIFE, right?! In my "old life" that used to be enough...just surviving. But honestly today it is not enough...I expect much more from myself. Hence the "technical" victory...a true or "FULL" victory requires much more then survival.

And that is why I have been feeling down, somewhat discouraged and disappointed...because I have slipped enough that I was starting to accept mediocrity again as being good enough...just getting through the day used to be a goal, a win....Well it is NOT good enough anymore, not even close.

Today I demand more of myself then just getting by. Why? For life depends on my willingness and ability to help others. To go the extra 10 miles to make it right, to sacrifice comfort and privilege, for pain and suffering so that others can be from their addictions as I have been released from the prison of my addiction and the impossibly, chaotic life of self-will run-riot.

I have detoured lately because times have gotten rougher then I thought they should so I started to feel sorry for myself...instead of having Faith, trusting God and moving forward as I have been doing the last 6 years.  I was forgetting what saved me initially and what has kept me here...clean, sober and living a spiritually based life focused on helping others.

As the ship that is my life is getting turned back around in the right direction, I can already say that I feel more at ease. I just need to keep my eyes focused on God and take each day one at a time...things seem to come out ....WAY MORE then OK...when I do!

Lovecraft's take on why we are so entranced by things like Halloween

From his essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature", 1927

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown... Because we remember pain and the menace of death more vividly than pleasure, and because our feelings toward the beneficent aspects of the unknown have from the first been captured and formalised by conventional religious rituals, it has fallen to the lot of the darker and more maleficent side of cosmic mystery to figure chiefly in our popular supernatural folklore. This tendency, too, is naturally enhanced by the fact that uncertainty and danger are always closely allied; thus making any kind of an unknown world a world of peril and evil possibilities. When to this sense of fear and evil the inevitable fascination of wonder and curiosity is superadded, there is born a composite body of keen emotion and imaginative provocation whose vitality must of necessity endure as long as the human race itself. Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse."

How bad would block-granting FEMA really be?

Krugman mocks the idea of Romney's, but it sounds pretty good to me.

There would be a couple changes to a traditional block grant I'd make: I'd make the ramped up funding federal still of course. The whole point of it being federal in the first place is subsidization of disaster areas, after all. So let FEMA operate on a state level and then make resources available when it makes sense. I'd also make sure whatever tracking or monitoring work FEMA does (I don't know how much it does - maybe this is all NOAA) stays federal. That seems pointless to do at the state level.

Otherwise, states and localities prepare for disaster anyway and they know their states best. Let them run their own little FEMAs. Give them cash infusions when disasters are declared. Have an MOU set up between different state FEMAs so that Texans in the agency are expected to go help (and report to) New Jerseyans. But let the New Jerseyans do disaster relief in New Jersey.

What is wrong with this? Why is Krugman mocking this?

Jason Brennan lets bad arguments off the hook too easily

He writes:

"If you take enough econ classes, you will eventually learn to describe hypothetical conditions under which destruction could be a net blessing. But, in the real world, it’s pretty crazy for you to think you know that those conditions actually obtain. But if you do think those conditions in fact obtain now, then please explain to me why it would not also be good to have the military bomb a city or two."

Nonsense. I'm not sure there is any good economics argument that would lead someone to expect "a net blessing". Such a claim shouldn't be given this kind of dignity - as far as I know it can't be backed up by any hypothetical conditions worth mentioning. Anyone saying that definitely should be expected to explain why it would not also be good to have the military bomb a city or two.

Two post-disaster recovery research resources

Commenter SM mentions the Mercatus work. In case people don't know where that is, you can find it here.

The Urban Institute also had a major post-Katrina research effort. You can find that work collected here. I contributed to one of those reports, although it's a less interesting one - it was a feasibility study for Katrina research... so more behind the scenes research planning than anything else.

Steve Horwitz on Wal-Mart During Disasters

On Facebook, Steve posts a great video reaching back to our experience with Katrina elaborating on the role that the private sector plays in disaster relief.

The advantages of the private sector over the public in disaster are the same that they are in normal times: the ability to make use of decentralized knowledge. Most of the critique of FEMA is quite good. Steve does make some naive assumptions about the incentives of FEMA officials - assumptions that he does not make about Wal-Mart and which economists usually criticize when they are made about private actors. But overall the point about the advantages of Wal-Mart over FEMA are very well made. He also goes over how why the Coast Guard performs well when FEMA doesn't, which helps to get past this idea that it's just a public vs. private sector thing.

The conclusion is very similar to Obama's statements prior to Sandy: listen to the people in your communities. They are the best positioned to handle these problems.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Highly recommended: The Men Who Built America

I had been meaning to watch this series, and caught my first episode (the first one on Andrew Carnegie) last night. I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in American economic history. It's very well made, and they have commentary from both historians and entrepreneurs (all of them you'll probably recognize).
They said at several points that Carnegie "saw the future", which reminded me a lot of what Keynes said about entrepreneurs. I also liked that it was honest and fair. They praised what deserved to be praised, and they criticized what deserved to be criticized. The entire series is an homage to these men, so it's obviously mostly positive (as it should be!) but they're pretty straightforward about the pettiness that lead to things like the Johnstown flood. The episode ended with the flood itself... I'm not sure if in the next episode they'll share that Frick actually donated to relief efforts.
I highly recommend it and I'm looking forward to getting to the other episodes.

If you think a professor at a top-tier university said something ridiculous, sometimes the best thing to do is email him

Shared here with permission. This took about two minutes of my morning.

"Hi Professor Morici -
I'm an economics doctoral student at American University, and I've recently been involved in some discussions around the economic effects of disasters. I was wondering if you could clarify a point you were making at My understanding of the economics of natural disasters is that as long as they don't severely damage the capital stock or introduce some other strong negative shock, they tend to have a positive effect on GDP, especially at a time when factors of production are underutilized. As you point out in your article, you also don't usually rebuild the same structures that you had before; you produce better structures. But that doesn't imply, of course, that society is wealthier as a result of a disaster. Wealth is destroyed by the hurricane, and some of the resources used to rebuild come out of society's wealth, so there is no reason to think society is wealthier even thought the capital stock may be much improved qualitatively and GDP gets a boost.

Is that a good summary of your opinion on the issue?

Daniel Kuehn"


[Emphasis is mine]

"Wealth is a stock, income (GDP) is a flow.

Merely rebuilding as before would leave the society less wealthy--wealth would be reduced by the size of the damage. Rebuilding better would mitigate some of that effect, but not necessarily all--likely not. Economic activity (GDP) is initially depressed by the storm but then boosted, and will likely be higher several quarters from now.

Peter Morici
Professor Department of Logistics, Business and Public Policy
Robert H. Smith School of Business
3413 Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1815"


I was thinking a little about "likely not" vs. "never". I suppose you could imagine some extremely advanced innovations that had never actually been build because existing infrastructure was decent enough. With the opportunity to apply those innovations, scale economies would kick in and we'd be living in some fantastic world that would have taken decades to emerge otherwise. It's the basic idea of leap-frogging. It's possible, I guess, but as Morici says "likely not".

Anyway, this seems to squarely confirm my read and not Don and Bob's read of Morici.

Sanity in a post from Brad DeLong! (redundant, I know - it probably just needs to read "A post from Brad DeLong")

He writes: "By the end of 2012 there were 312 million Americans out of 7 billion people on the planet. By 2062--if we stay on the current policy track--there will be 500 million Americans out of 10 billion people on the planet, as compared to 340 million if we were to end net immigration now and if birthrates remained the same. In this sense, America in 2062 will--if we stay on our current policy track--be a nation that is 1/3 post-2012 immigrants.

The thoughtful Adam Ozimek thinks that isn't enough.

He thinks the United States needs more high-skill immigrants. I think the United States needs more immigrants--more people willing to take risks and work hard to seek a better life for themselves and their children, and illiterates from Chiapas seem to me as good as doctors from Calcutta"

This is a point I've been making a lot for the last several months. There's very little evidence of persistent high-skill labor shortages. That's what we have wages for. There's no reason to privelege this class of labor. None of the people who talk like this would make statements like this about priveleging certain types of imports over other types. So why do they do that with labor?

Never mind the fact that immigration is about more than just the labor market: people have aspirations to be Americans besides just high skill workers. My family wouldn't have made the cut if we had focused on high skill workers in previous centuries.


A note in light of some recent unpleasantness: this is one question where Don Boudreaux has always been very clear and very right. Even when some of his colleagues came out in support of "staple act" legislation to make it easier for high skill workers to immigrate than low skill workers, Don said quite clearly that there's no reason for extending such special priveleges. You can use the search function on the blog to find specific instances - I know I drew attention to his posts on that in at least one or two cases.

Don Boudreaux responds

With a long update.

He continues to misunderstand the argument when he writes things like this: " If Morici – as I gather interpreted by Daniel – is correct, folks in places such as St. Louis and Phoenix should be disappointed, at least as far as their material standard of living goes, that they were denied Sandy’s munificence."

The idea is offensive, and he owes Morici an apology for even suggesting it - to say nothing of promoting that on a well read blog.

There was a brief comical interlude when the economics professor called it "fancying up the discussion" simply to distinguish between stocks and flows.

And then (as forecast) he brought in Krugman and accused him of celebrating the "benefits of terrorist attacks".

Fuck that.

You know why I continue to point out the problems with Cafe Hayek? Because they're bullies. And I've gotten lots of emails thanking me for it, including from a former student of Don's who agrees he's a bully. The man has a book whose title accuses people who disagree with him of being "half-wits" and "hypocrites". As long as people seem relatively interested in the critique I'll keep pointing it out.

A lot of their ammo gets pointed at Keynesianism, and I also have an interest in responding to that (the heyday of that was a couple years ago) because of personal interests. But certainly if you accuse good people of "celebrating" this stuff, I'm going to say something. It's not well reasoned, and it's simply not nice.

A Beacon Of HOPE!

I can't go into a great deal of detail but it is quite possible that Kim's living situation may be resolved by the end of November if not a wee, bit sooner. I am going to leave it at that for now but things appear to be coming around...we will see in the next couple of days.

We have already been reassured that her boss is going to hire her into the company permanently next week or the following week. I don't want to get my hopes up yet it is what it is....POSITIVE reinforcement. And we shall take all of THAT we can get, HA HA!!

So there is a beacon of hope on the horizon tonight and we shall continue to FOLLOW and BELIEVE... 

PHOTO: Kathy Tomson  

The bad economics tide starts with the usual suspect!

UPDATE: Don responds, as do I.


Don Boudreaux!

Not content to refine distinctions between stocks and flows where they get a little fuzzy in the hands of journalists, Don goes WAY beyond anything Peter Morici ever actually says about the economics of disasters. That's called lying at worst, or being misleading at best (I won't outright call it lying because Don is slippery as to whether he's saying Morici has ever said any of this... but it's definitely misleading).

One other thing that bugs me about this bad tendency among certain economists: why does he call it "vulgar Keynesianism"? Why does Keynes always get whipped out when we talk about disaster economics? It's not completely irrelevant (since things at or below full employment have different implications), but it doesn't really have anything to do with Keynesianism.

Do we even know if Morici considers himself a Keynesian? Does anyone have any evidence he's a Keynesian? I heard this somewhere else recently too - citing Morici on disasters and saying "see that's what Keynesians think". Is he even Keynesian?

Some thoughts on NYC's recovery

One of the critical requirements for disasters to show up as a positive impact on flow variables (like GDP) is that the damage they do to stock variables isn't so great that it impairs normal economic processes. That's obviously not a foregone conclusion, and there's a lot to worry about with subway damage in NYC.

Arnold Kling has a dour forecast here.

Here's another possibility (this doesn't change anything Arnold says about the subway). Maybe this will be a big boost to telecommuting and virtual workplaces. Obviously this is only relevant for a part of the workforce, but I suspect a lot more work could be done virtually than is in actuality. I could have done almost all my Urban Institute work from home. Face-to-face meetings are nice but I did some conference calls and that worked fine. Kate teleworks on and off and as long as she's not doing training she could do her entire job from home. To some extent a lot of face time in the office is purely out of tradition.

Then again, I wouldn't mind seeing a big federally funded infrastructure investment in the eastern U.S. either.

The economics and policy questions around Sandy

- As I expected, the commentary about the hurricane's impact on GDP is of mixed quality but there's good stuff out there. The best I've seen so far is Jared Bernstein's post which parses out a lot of the potential impacts. I haven't seen a lot of bad blogging so far, but facebook is plastered with it.

- This is an OK New York Times article on the role of government in disasters. The title really rubs me the wrong way. You don't need "big" government at all for disaster preparedness. This is a perfect application of Obama's old line that it's not an issue of big vs. small government. Nobody wants big government. That's a false choice. It's an issue of smart vs. dumb government. If you are the sort of person that thinks it's OK if after a disaster resources only get to people with the willingness and ability to pay for them, then there's no need for government. If you think they should get to the people who need it regardless of ability to pay, then you really need markets and government.

- And speaking of markets, Steve Horwitz shared this great old NPR post about big box reactions to Irene last year. The grocery store and hardware store I went to were both very well prepared.

- This is another good article on the economic impact of Sandy. One important distinction it draws between this storm and Katrina is the shock that Katrina had to oil prices and the permanent relocation of a lot of residents.

Who said it?

"We are brought face to face with the intricate relationships of the innermost heart of our economic system when we remember that a political catastrophe like the Great War or a natural catastrophe like the Japanese earthquake of 1923, instead of retarding economic life, generally enlivens it, and thus tends to bring about not a crisis but a boom. Certainly catastrophes lead to an impoverishment of the economic system, but we must guard against confusing impoverishment with a crisis, all the more so as this confusion is an extremely common one. If we agree to understand by an economic crisis a temporary paralysis of the economic process which leads to a disturbance of the exchange apparatus with its consequences of over-production, surplus stocks, and insolvencies, we realize that it is characterized not by a scarcity but by a superfluity of goods, while the hall-mark of impoverishment is a deficiency of goods. This deficiency of goods generally spurs on the economic machine to make the highest number of revolutions it is capable, as was very markedly the case during the war. An economic crisis is therefore not an expression of shortage but of abundance or - to put it better - of what seems to us 'abundance' because of the temporary paralysis of the process of exchange and of the economic process in general. That it leads in the long run to an impoverishment of the economic system is self-evident, but this does not affect the question of the origin of crises, which is the question we are discussing here."

I don't think Bob Murphy understands the confidence fairy claim

In fairness I've thought it was defended in a confusing way in the past.

Bob scrutinizes Krugman's posts more than anyone I know, so I was a little surprised to see him miss the whole point in this post. Here he suggests that Christina Romer is parting from Krugman on the confidence fairy.

Look there are a couple things investors could have confidence in:

1. Balanced budgets (ceteris paribus, that's a nice thing to see)
2. Maintenance of demand (ceteris paribus, that's a nice thing to see)
3. Maintenance of future demand (ceteris paribus, that's a nice thing to see)

Mocking the confidence fairy - as I have always read it - is mocking the idea that #1 is going to turn the economy around when the major problem is a lack of demand, not a lack of loanable funds. Call me crazy, but that's just what Krugman has referenced every single time. And there were times - like during the Bush or the Clinton years - when Krugman noted the benefits of balancing budgets. Context matters, people.

But don't take my word for it. Read this Krugman post where he spells it out to others that apparently don't get the point:

"Expectations and the Confidence Fairy

Some readers have asked whether there isn’t an inconsistency between my view that the Fed can promote economic recovery by changing expectations about future policy, and my ridicule of austerity proponents who invoke “confidence” as a reason to believe that austerity will actually be expansionary. But there isn’t really any inconsistency; it’s an orders of magnitude thing.

What the expansionary austerity types are claiming is that the indirect effect of austerity on confidence will outweigh the large direct depressing effect of cutting government spending now. That’s a very tall order. Consider a very simple New Keynesian model, like the one I used in my old Japan paper (pdf). This model assumes infinitely lived consumers with free access to capital markets, assumptions that would seem to be very favorable to the notion that changes in expected future policy matter. Yet even there, a perceived permanent fall in government spending will at best have zero effect on output; if there’s any notion that the cuts are temporary, they’ll be contractionary. Add more realism, and the odds of expansionary austerity get even worse.

By contrast, expectations-based monetary policy has no direct effect on the economy today, so any positives from expectations make it favorable over all. You don’t have to believe that the effects are really big to believe that they might be there.

Now, there is room for skepticism over the effectiveness of “credibly promising to be irresponsible” — which is why from the beginning of this crisis I’ve always favored using fiscal policy as the main answer, with unconventional monetary policy as a supplement. But the Fed should be doing what it can — and finally, it seems to be moving in that direction."

Now can anyone tell me with a straight face that Krugman and Romer aren't essentially on the same page? Just like Romer wrote: "Recent research suggests that New Deal programs may actually have had their primary impact on the economy by influencing consumer and business expectations of future growth and inflation."

NASA storm drones

They didn't get in the skies for Sandy, but NASA is planning on having drones up for future storms. Story here, picture from NASA.

A world with drones is better than a world without drones.

There are other gaps in our storm tracking system, though.

Things look OK

Woke up intermittently last night and as best as I could tell the winds died down around 3 am. We have one big branch down, but it's safely in the yard. Still have power. We got a bad summer storm where a lot of the area lost power and I'm guessing that took out some of the weaker spots which put us in a better position this time. Still a lot of power out in the area, apparently.

For any small children in Falls Church who like to read about economics and follow this blog, I will be open for trick-or-treating tomorrow night. You will just have to randomly knock on doors and ask for me, though, because I'm not putting my address online.

You get double the candy if you dress up as John Maynard Keynes.

More seriously, New York looks pretty bad. First and foremost, I hope everyone's safe and sound. But as a secondary matter - keep an eye out for bad logic on the economics of disasters. There are good cases and there are bad cases to be made - and there are also a lot of bad responses to the good cases to be made. Gene Callahan agrees you should be vigilant for this! The way this gets tied into arguments for stimulus, there is a serious side to this, of course.

The Dust That Settles

so there you are, with a camera around your neck and no tripod because the kids need it to film the day's scenes of the Dust That Settles, a Western short, the current Movie Making Project. screen play is written, characters are cast, roles are decided, location is determined. is it possible to love this loud, joke-cracking, set designing, costume prepping, scar marking, bullet-hole-lacing, boot wearing group any more? oh wait...what about the family that donated 6,500 sq. ft. of living space for this purpose before the demo and reconstruction of this newly purchased danville property? seriously? every day i am reminded why we homeschool: to think outside of the box, to dream big, to DO. and to be with others who share those values.
i love these young people, and the generous families that go with them.
Below: Taco Vega gets prepped before his shootout.
Until I have video editing software that works, stills will have to do. Below: the Dust That Settles cast in the Far Cry Saloon:

Oh google, you know I'm going to google "maple root structure" and worry myself during a storm... why don't you just fib to me a little???

All is well so far, although the wind is loud and Bartleby thinks its the end of the world. Water just sits in this depression to the right of the house, right near a big maple (hopefully the tree itself isn't a problem... that would be very bad... but branches concern me). High winds are going to continue to be a risk in this area through the morning.


Ach...there is so much that I need to say and say right now, only the words I need to express those feelings and ideas (that are wearing a hole in my SOUL at the moment) have NOT been invented least in any language that I happen to know!

I have often felt as if all the familiar links that I previously have had to my sanity were being challenged and stretched to the very limit....Yet today, well this is different. The links themselves have actually snapped, Pop, Pop, after another and my mind is left abandoned to it's own devices.

I think I'm in some trouble here and have not really dealt with such intensity so focused in my mind. 

Some years ago..even before I was raped at age 12, I started to have nightmares (both at night and during the day while I was by all purposes asleep) of violent death, enduring endless shellfire and combat in Great War Trenches. I could not shut them off and I feared for my sanity. My parents took me to see a shrink to get some answers about these awful dreams but nothing was ever diagnosed...except a vivid sub-conscious imagination, I guess.

I seem to be reliving that experience all over again and in ALL it's intensity because as I speak, I cannot get any sleep, any rest or any peace. What sanity I appeared to retain is now completely gone and I feel as if I am slipping away....I'm so lost, adrift once again on an Ocean of SORROWS.

Mile High Airlines

It's really not very often that Steve and I get out on the town as a couple.  It's a hard gig having two little kids and when one of us manages to break free and get out, the other usually stays home with the kids. It works ok most of the time but it's a challenge to the relationship when we're never actually out having fun together.  There's a lot of stress to manage in our house and all too often he and I are at each other's throats. 

During one particularly "tense" stretch recently (read: during my Whole30), I was looking for something fun for us to do together and I discovered that a Rolling Stones tribute band (that I've seen before and really liked), was playing at a pub the next town over for Halloween.  In over 12 years of being together, Steve and I have never dressed up or gone out for Halloween so I thought it might be a good "team building" experience for he and I to get dressed up as a couple and go out together. 

I almost defeated the whole purpose of this exercise with all the extra work that putting together costumes added to my daily workload. Trips to and from the second hand store, to the craft store, and then late nights with my scissors and hot glue gun made for an extra bitchy and more resentful than usual me!  I considered pulling the chute on the whole thing a few times, but with having involved another couple and their friends, I was in too deep to turn back. 
Our costumes turned out great. So great in fact, that some of the older, regular patrons of the pub couldn't quite wrap their heads around the fact that we were actually in costume.  One older lady reached across her table and put her hand on my arm and told me I looked great. I smiled and thanked her.  She then went on to ask me questions about flying and to tell me about the time she had a 6 hour delay during her flight to Halifax...

Later in the night I was approached by another pub patron who tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I've got to ask, the two of you are the real deal, aren't you?"

I was in character (and a few cocktails deep) so I just played along...: Well, yeah, we are.  

Pub Patron: Yeah I thought so. I can tell.  I used to fly a lot back in the day.  On Ward Air.  So I knew when I saw you guys you were real. What brought you here tonight?

Me:  Oh we're on a layover. We thought we'd stop in here for a drink and some dancing.

Pub Patron:  Well you're both very professional.  I admire that.  You carry yourselves very well.  I guess that comes with the job.  So what airline do you fly for?

Me: Mile High Airlines.

Pub Patron: Oh, is that a new one? I haven't heard of it.

Me: We're a fairly small operation.

Pub Patron: So how long are you here for?

Me: We depart for Yellowknife in the morning.

At one point I felt guilty for being such an asshole but I couldn't stop myself.  I mean, it's a Halloween costume party and parts of our costumes are made of sparkly cardboard and the Captain's buttons are hot glue gunned on his cheap suit.  I was wearing a $9 wig....

We ended up winning prizes for our costumes.  We're now the proud new owners of a new set of beer glasses and two XL Molson Canadian t-shirts.  Makes it all worth while.   

And even thought this is the last known sighting of us before we pulled off our famous *Roberts Disappearing Act, I still felt good enough the next day to pull off a 5.5km run in the morning - for the win. 

Steve and I had a great time together and we made it all the way to almost 7pm before we started bickering over a basket of unfolded laundry the next evening.  I mark this evening as great success.

*Where we sneak off quietly into the night without telling anyone in order to avoid lengthy and messy goodbyes with inoxicated friends.

Wolfers has it (almost) right on hurricanes and GDP

"Asking what a hurricane does to GDP is about as pointless as asking what a war does. Tells you more about problems with GDP than anything."

"Almost" because I think that second sentence should say "tells you more about problems with how people think about GDP than anything". GDP is just fine as a measure. It just doesn't measure what people sometimes act like it measures.

I just think it's an interesting question - what a hurricane will do to GDP - not a terribly important one. The question ignores virtually everything we don't like about hurricanes, after all!

The hurricane and GDP

It may very well boost it. Thanks to Bob Murphy for reminding me about a link I had already shared on facebook (although not here).

People will twist this into something completely different, but the analysis is quite sound.

GDP is important but it's not everything. Acknowledging the straightforward point that it could very wel boost GDP is by no means the same as saying that hurricanes are good things. They aren't. Don't let people twist the claim into something about general economic well-being.

Sandy in Delaware

Really making its mark. I'm worried about my grandarents - their house is elevated, so nothing too awful should happen, but the first two pictures are just up the road from them - I take walks on this beach up to the cape when I visit. Not many trees around there at least - that's good. But it's right near the center of the storm. Kate's grandma has a house across the bay in New Jersey which is right in its path, but she is thankfully in Boston with other family.

What the hurricane means for the economic blogosphere...

People have been wondering about the impact on the election, but what about the blogosphere?

I predict a small sprinkling of bloggers making pretty responsible distinctions between stocks and flows, GDP and economic well being, and life below full employment and life at full employment.

This will be followed by a storm surge of ten times as many bloggers (call it "the multiplier effect") botching up Bastiat and linking to old Krugman posts that they don't understand either.

I am right here...

I think.
Or maybe I'm here...

Hard to say exactly.
Just goofing off, waiting to lose power. Winds are getting pretty high and estimates for how high they'll get have been bumped up in the last couple hours.

This is why I love my wife...

...her reaction after finishing Mirror, Mirror was "this movie sets unrealistic expectations for economic recovery" (after Julia Roberts is defeated the impoverished town is magically feasting and wearing much bright clothing).

This is how I know it's you guys and not us...

An otherwise reasonable guy on facebook has a status message up suggesting that Krugman would think Hurricane Sandy is a good thing. That's right - what you think of when you post on the hurricane is your own warped version of Krugman.

Oh, and the first commenter said he'd think a war with Iran was a good thing.

Trust me guys - it's you. It's really not us. We don't worship Paul Krugman. You are just crazy.

STEM employment is not about "bourgeois virtues"

Don Boudreaux writes to the Washington Post:

"You report that Mexico is now successful at producing lots of engineering graduates, but so far unsuccessful at employing this talent in ways that unleash substantial economic growth (“Mexico is now a top producer of engineers, but where are jobs?” Oct. 29). Herein lies an important economic lesson: those who wish to promote genuine economic growth must more carefully distinguish cause from effect.

That the United States surpasses Mexico at employing engineering (and other) talents creatively and productively is an effect of America’s greater openness to competition and creative destruction, as well as of the fact that a significant number of Americans continue to admire and applaud the bourgeois virtues that fuel innovative commerce and industry. So in the U.S. the productive employment of engineers is less a root cause of America’s economic success than an effect of America’s underlying bourgeois-friendly institutions.

A successful modern economy does indeed productively use a large number of engineers, but the mere availability of a large number of engineers does not itself produce a successful modern economy."

The last paragraph is right on and similar to a lot of things I say about the issue (Don Boudreaux also tends to agree with me on the problems with priveleging high skill immigrants over low skill immigrants). But I think the first two paragraphs are misleading. "Bourgeois virtues" and a market oriented society are critical for long-run growth prospects but have nothing to do with the differential employment rates for engineers in the U.S. and Mexico. That is ultimately a demand question. There is no reason to expect artificial boosts to supply to lead to higher utilization of engineers (at least not without depressing wages in the market first). Even to the extent that you can increase employment after depressing wages, skilled workers like engineers are going to move to other fields where they'll probably do fine but where their skills won't be fully utilized.

But this demand issue really has little to do with a market oriented society. Full fledged socialist societies can usually find lots of things for scientists and engineers to do, after all. That completely misses the point. That's not a "good" outcome. And ultimately it's not socialism that employs those engineers any more than it is bourgeois virtues here. What employs engineers is demand for engineers, regardless of what kind of virtues the society has.

Those virtues help or hurt growth. They are not a guide to the dynamics of professional labor markets.

Mad Rush

Jennie and I are pretty tired at the moment. The last few days have been spent cleaning, and sewing. I have been taking advantage of endless water, and Jennie borrowed our neighbours SailRite sewing machine and took some oddly configured canvas and made it into simple sun/rain covers. Those SailRite sewing machines are pretty awesome, I think Jennie has now got it on her wish list. We managed to spend the last of our quarters doing some laundry, The boat will need a bit of organising before we head offshore, but so far the weather looks to be favourable.

We plan on spending the next week in Bocas, where we are getting our Padi Open Water dive certification. Maybe find somewhere with clean water to clean the bottom of the boat, and then make for the San Blas. It will be a pleasure to be back in town where we can go for dinners, provision with ease, and not worry that Dexter is barking at boats.

Our mile long to do list is getting shorter, and we are getting pretty stoked about heading out cruising again. It is always a bit unsettling leaving the security dock lines and unlimited electricity and water bring.

On an aside; the cruising world is very small once you get outside of the major hubs (San Juans/Desolation Sound, Florida, Bahamas, these are the places I am familiar with). We came to Bocas, mainly because it is one of the only places to stay this far south with marinas, but also we read a blog while we were living on the hard called The Salty Dog. They came to Bocas and it seemed like a decent place to stop and resolve any life and boat issues we rushed away from when we left. So we came here, and are tied up across from Gulaby, a boat that The Salty Dog Sailed with. After a few months John, a fellow Canadian, who read the blog send a few emails asking for advice on getting into it. He ends up buying The Salty Dog, and because he had trouble moving the boat to Bocas Marina he ends up at Red Frog. Small world.

Now it gets smaller. Our friends we met in the blogosphere, write a blog called Bettie Del Mar, they too ended up in Bocas and met up with us. I have a feeling that the Caribbean is like a drain, and Panama is the drain trap (even shaped like one). People heading south end up here. The cruising world is very small once you get a few days past the safety of marinas.

A quick thought on the positive externalities of STEM

It's a big mistake to expect to see it in GDP data.

First, there could be very long lags. Again think of what all the applications of relativity are. Needless to say they did not crop up in GDP statistics immediately after 1905.

Second, they are much more likely to impact welfare than GDP. Think of what we like about science and what it does for society. We like that it gives us cooler stuff than we could imagine before with comparable resources applied. It makes our lives better. It does not necessarily make the total amount of money spent on final products higher. Indeed, it may make that lower (think about electronics prices).

So be careful about sloppy talk around STEM externalities.

My thoughts on tuition by major

The issue has been raised by Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan. I'm fine with schools experimenting with this sort of thing, but for much different reasons than Bryan and Alex are talking about. If they want to grow certain fields at their university, or if they want students to pay more for things that are relatively more costly to teach I'm fine with that. I'm also fine with the standard cross-subsidization that universities do.

But I don't like the idea of setting tuitions to deal with positive externalities associated with certain degrees, for much the same reason that I don't like "staple act" proposals (where green cards are automatically given to foreign STEM majors), or any other idea focused around generating more scientists and engineers just because they're good for society.

The positive externalities associated with science and engineering are not really analogous to the negative externalities of pollution that frame a lot of the way we think about externalities. There's a lot more diffusion and diversity in scientific outputs. Work on relativity a century ago was truly an externality because a lot of the economic benefits from it several decades later had no hope of being captured by the people working on it. But you didn't have to work on relativity. You could work on other physical problems that didn't stray far from classical mechanics (flight, rocketry) or from electricity or radio.

Or think about biology majors. You could work on a cure for malaria. That would do tremendous good for the world, far exceeding ability to pay. Or AIDs. But that's not the sort of stuff a lot of biology majors work on. There's other biology work to do.

This is very different from pollution. If we tax gasoline there's pretty much a one-for-one relation between gasoline produced and pollution produced (given a certain combustion technology being used). If we produce a biology major with skills relevant to pharmaceuticals there's a pretty good chance they're just going to add one more worker to the labs that produce anti-depression, anti-erectile dysfunction, and anti-baldness pills.

They'll be doing the non-spillover work by and large precisely because that's the most remunerative work (which is not surprising because that's the whole problem posed by positive spillovers in the first place).

This bugs me a lot about Romer's New Growth Theory models as well. He just sort of assumes that if you generate more researchers you're going to get more externalities. There's no consideration at all of the labor market for these researchers. When they graduate, what are they going to be paid to do? Why would they necesarily be paid for something that by definition doesn't have as big of a payoff? I'm hoping that one of my dissertation chapters will tackle exactly this question with regard to New Growth Theory.

So what's my solution?

I've said this a couple times before but I think it's pretty straightforward: if you're dealing with a demand-side externality, use a demand-side solution. With respect to the STEM labor market this is a demand-side externality, not a supply-side externality. So the solution is to pay scientists and engineers to do the work that they would not do otherwise. Internalize the externalities. If people are not demanding enough public infrastructure or AIDs research or particle accelerators, buy those things. That is where the externality is, not in the supply of these workers. Decades of research has shown that STEM workers are very responsive to wages (just like all workers). So if there is a demand deficit because of externalities, provide that demand and then let labor markets work.

That's not to say nothing goes wrong on the supply-side. There are all sorts of credit constraints and asymmetric information problems associated with educational investments. Those may deserve attention. But I can't really think of any major supply-side externalities specific to STEM. The STEM-specific problems, as far as I can tell, are all on the demand-side. So use a demand-side solution.

Really not looking forward to a couple days without power...

Although I think we'll be better off now than in the summer when we lived in a sauna for a few days... we have lots to bundle up in. We are better prepared with stuff than we were then. Plus the summer storms knocked out all the dead branches that were worrying me. There's a relatively healthy tree towering over our bedroom but let's hope it doesn't get that bad. The nice thing about this place is that with the fairly spacious crawl space I have no worries at all about flooding. That is quickly becoming my favorite feature of the house - it has made dealing with some plumbing issues really easy too (well, relatively easy).

Still, this does not look like it's going to be a wimpy storm. Hoping for the best.

I liked these, though:

And this (from here):

I have to admit, one of my biggest disappointments is that we won't be getting trick-or-treaters.

When is it "too much" stretching?

When you fall off the couch.

Not a little kitten anymore, as you can tell, although only about four months old.

Cuddling up with mom before the storm

A couple thoughts emerging from my weekend

1. Western Maryland is beautiful in the fall. Not a new realization, but a happy reminder.

2. The disparity between how good Kate is at serving in ping-pong and how horrendous she is at returning the ball is very confusing to me. I'm not great at either, but at least there's some parity in my ping pong skill set.

3. Herman Melville has a great economic intuition IMO.

4. When your reporting of the storm is centered around what it will do to the election, you sound like  a jerk.

Simple Cliche...Keeping FAITH

I confess to feeling somewhat confused by the things happening in my life at the moment. There has been far more adversity then I have come to expect at this stage in my recovery. Yes stuff happens every day, that's just life but the so called little "day to day" stuff has really been kicking my behind....ferociously.

The simple fact of the matter is I suspect that I am undergoing a crisis...and like most situations of trouble or adversity, I always am aware of the potential pitfalls and risks...but also of the opportunity to grow from struggle. Sounds like a bunch of HOOEY, I know but I've experienced it time and time again.

Right now the job on my part is simple and yea, it's a cliche but it is quite important that I follow through: I need to KEEP THE FAITH and stay positive. Most of thew actual physical hardship is being unleashed on Kim....that makes it hard too because I have to stand by helpless as she often gets tested to the limit of her endurance. I want to take the burden from her but I cannot...and that is a terribly powerless feeling on my part and hard to except.

Two quick election thoughts

1. I saw two positive ads in a row on TV last night - one from Romney and one from Obama. It made me very happy. I shouldn't be that happy watching political ads, so it's indicative of how bad they can be I think.

2. So something I was thinking about was that despite competing claims about "personality cults" and "worshipping" a particular candidate, I haven't noticed much of that. I think we may be misdiagnosing the problem. What I've seen instead is all sides (I'm including libertarians on this one) believe at their core that anyone who would vote for the other candidates is either ignorant or barbaric and that there is no real difference between the other two. I see this sort of talk a lot more than I see praise for ones own candidate. We in America have a healthy suspicion of politicians, and I think worrying too much about a personality cult is a misdiagnosis of the problem. Nobody seems to like their candidate and they understand that politics is a messy business and you don't get what you want. They don't seem to be expecting miracles from their candidate. But they do think he's decent enough particularly compared to the other monsters running.

Which brings me to my ultimate point: maybe the problem with politics isn't that it makes us servile and cultish. Maybe the problem with politics is that it makes us exaggerate what we don't like about other people and distrustful. I think it's much easier for people like me to swallow this after Bush, of course. An unjust war and a depression (even if he didn't cause it) are pretty bad. This is not like Republicans post-Clinton. They may not have liked him or his policies but how horrendous was he really (same with Reagan and Bush I for Democrats)? Obama is still in this depression so he may be getting some of the same effect, although I think it's inappropriate to lay that at either Obama or Bush's feet. So you can understand why people are on edge. But still - I think when we talk about personality cults we misdiagnose the problem. It's not that we love our guy, it's that we really despise the other guys and can't comprehend why anyone would vote for them.

An important point on home production, gender, and output

I'm just going to quote him or her in full:

"Not to mention the inherent problems with GDP. GDP doesn't mention home production, for instance. Since it's been largely the female side that has provided care in the household, switching them to the workplace would only superficially appear to be improving welfare. This isn't an argument that women should stay at home and work, since the same could easily go for men. (Which is largely happening. The spouse who makes the least amount of money has a tendency to watch after kids, take care of the house, etc., if one of them needs to, and men have had to take on this role more and more as the gender gap disappears.)

So, what would happen if we just shifted it around and put more women in the workplace? Less home production and any sort of production outside of GDP that women would be contributing to. Like Ryan says above, it could decrease welfare. That's assuming, of course, we have an optimal position and people are deciding that it would be utility maximizing for some to stay home and others to work. There very well could be inefficiencies there. This argument could go towards men as well. Since men have been absolving themselves from the workplace more and more since the 50's, I'm sure it would be easy to argue: "Why not convince men to stop leaving the workforce, so we can have male participation rates like the first half of the 20th century?" Men are leaving for a reason. For instance, men may not need to work and provide as much, since the workload can now be split between both spouses more easily. So perhaps they're trying to maximize utility between the two?

Long story short, I'm tired of people trying to use GDP as the end all be all measurement of happiness. We could probably do a lot of ridiculous things to raise GDP and a lot of them wouldn't make us any happier. Obviously, the article didn't mention any of this, so it's nothing against the article, but I imagine this is what many people would have inferred from it."

I agree with this very strongly on numerous levels. I've talked a lot on here before about the problems with over-interpreting GDP, and that GDP is not treated by a welfare measure by economists (it's usually journalists that bring that in), and nobody should take it that way. As far as I can tell we only care about GDP for one reason: output is income, and since production and employment are of necessity so closely tied together and since most Americans get their income from employment, we care a lot about whether GDP is off trend. But it's not welfare.

But let's put that point aside - the really important stuff here is about home production. Now I agree with the near universal decision by the national accounts people to exclude home production. That decision has been criticized at many points - most recently (to my knowledge) in the mid-90s. But the decision has been consistent and its the right decision because home production is not traded in the market so it doesn't really make sense to include it in accounts recording market exchanges.

That doesn't mean home production isn't a critical economic concept to consider. The national accounts people agree, in fact - the BEA has done some work with a historical home production account. The classic paper on time use and home production is Gronau (1977), with Becker and Mincer making early contributions as well. Nancy Folbre makes an important contribution in her theory of the misallocation of time, which brings in issues of positive externalities in home production. (Folbre blogs at Economix). Gronau's insights made their way into the labor supply literature, and a lot of what was learned was summarized  in Juster and Stafford's JEL article on the subject.

I am just jumping into this literature because I'm writing a paper on home production over the business cycle which highlights exactly the trade-offs that the commenter discussions. It's for class, although I'd hope to clean it up and submit somewhere afterwards. One of the empirical findings has been that home production does not increase during recessions (including the current one) in the way that theory predicts it should. Why? One explanation I'm exploring is that when non-labor income also falls, the amount of time dedicated to home production becomes ambiguous. If we take a permanent income hypothesis approach, the financial crisis and housing bust represented a large negative shock to non-labor income which could help to explain why home production doesn't substantially increase. I'm using the American Time Use Survey for this work.

There's a fair amount of micro/labor work on home production (although there could be more). It has made less of an impact on macroeconomics. The exception is actually a small literature by Real Business Cycle theorists that include home production decisions in their model. I haven't looked closely at these, but apparently they help a lot to improve the model fit. My gender micro class is this semester. Next semester I'll hopefully be doing gender macro and I'd like to look into these RBC models a little more (I'm not sure they're on the syllabus but I should be doing another paper for it).

This ad probably discusses more substantial policy issues than most others this season

I'm curious if any of you think this demonstrates misogyny on the part of the Obama campaign. If you genuinely think that, I'm very curious to understand your logic.

Some background - this girl apparently has a show on HBO and this is in the spirit of that show. I agree - if David Axelrod wrote this up and found some random person to play in the video, that would be a lot weirder. But that is simply to say that comedy is often contextual.

Close Door/Open Door = FREEDOM from Fear

Share my thoughts or feelings to others in some constructive manner, on a regular, everyday basis or continue down a path of self-destruction that I cannot stop. That was my dilemma 6 years ago that ultimately lead to the formation of this blog. It did not happen right in fact I first started to share my intimate thoughts and feelings with one person who I trusted and over time it developed into a way of life.

I made doubt. There were times I went too FAR and said way TOO MUCH and other times when I was still holding back and playing safe.

Chris....a blog buddy of mine wrote a piece today on her blog Ms Faustus about her thoughts on this subject and many is well worth the read.

And it certainly provoked thought on my part about how I went from someone who held everything close to the point of lying about it to "protect" myself to the guy who is as wide and open/honest about these things as I AM TODAY.

It has been an interesting journey to say the least....

Time for a new beach

Jennie and I were tired of the same old beach, so we decided to walk around Basimentos to a new one. Here are some of the sights along the way.

Somebody was using his head... while digging

Time for a rest under the palm tree, sporting the most fashionable sand foo man choo.

Grassy shoreline trail to the beach

Is it poisonous, is it not? we gave it a wide berth anyways.

The stuco guy got held up in traffic maybe?

What a view!

Coconut Oil

With Jennie's bad back, regular massages are in order. It sounds pretty nice, tropical paradise, and massages. In a second we would trade all the massages in the tropics for Jennie's pain to be gone.

We needed some new massage oil, and have been eyeing up the coconut oil made locally. One day we saw an old native lady walking the road, and we bought a wine bottle worth or traditionally made coconut oil for $10. It still has a bit of smokey fire smell to it. Pretty awesome stuff.

Notes and Records of the Royal Society news

This might have just been a throw-away sentence, but I think there's a good chance it wasn't and either way I was happy to see it:

"The editor has asked me to say how pleased he is to have the opportunity of publishing an article that he found fascinating and that will be read with great interest by readers of the journal."

My paper on Keynes and Newton was accepted with a minimal revision!

A question...

Does it say something about me or about Austrians that I lost respect for George Noory when I found out he thinks fiat money is a scam?

A (relatively) small inter-stellar space shuttle design

Is offered here.

It's interesting. But that's not necessarily the first solution. I mean its nice to dream about in the very long term, but right now we're talking about a trip of several thousand years to get to the closest star (to say nothing of a star we'd want to get to for some other reason).

You could imagine some sort of cryogenic human payload that we could send out much slower, much smaller, and much sooner. Granted, it would take some advances in cryogenics. But I imagine that would come sooner than bending space-time (which is really what inter-stellar travel would take). Develop cryogenics, freeze some intrepid colonists, set the timer, wake them up a year or two out from their destination so they can build up strength, etc. Or better yet, unfreeze the pilot and a couple others a year or two in advance and have them - with mechanized help - set up greenhouses and shelters before waking everyone else up on the destination planet. You would need a big ship, but you wouldn't need a massive one of the sort that people usually think about for inter-stellar travel.

By the time we get cryogenics in good shape we'll probably have a much better sense of what exoplanets are "livable". Then send off a bunch of these ships and seed the galaxy with human (and presumably other terrestrial) life. If we learn how to bend space time, fine - we'll beat the popsicles to these planets. If we don't learn how to bend space-time then its good to have sent them out. And if we all kill each other here on Earth it's very good that we sent them out.

The real concern is whether they can make it: whether the cryogenics is good enough. When we're talking about settling worlds outside our solar system, it's a one way ticket. So who really cares if it happens thousands and thousands of years after you and I are dead? Who cares if these popsicles are floating through space for millenia. When they touch down what's going on on Earth is completely irrelevant.

This would be extremely expensive, of course. And you need to wait for some science to be developed. But once it is we really need to consider insurance policies like this.

Playing by the Rules: Reintroducing Dairy

Sorry, my dear readers. I may have lied mislead you about this post being the end of my talk of Whole30. Turns out it’s a pretty big life changing thing and I’m so interested and absorbed by it’s affects that I may be talking about it for a while.
Take it or leave it, I’m cool.

Now, there is actually a Whole30 protocol for reintroducing foods into your diet. And no, this isn’t it. Shortly after I wrote my last post (where I apparently made myself sound like a binge drinker) I read some posts from this person, who actually followed the rules with reintroducing non-Whole30 foods back into her diet and I found it incredibly interesting. It really made me think.

I just want to say though, in my defense, I really have been feeling great (aside from last weekend’sincident”) and just wanted to keep going the way I have been. Hey, if it isn’t broken…

But I have given myself this great opportunity to actually see how different foods affect me – I don’t want to waste it. The day is coming when I’ll be forced to leave my safe little Whole30 protective bubble and eat things that aren’t Whole30 compliant. Wouldn’t it be great to know ahead of time how it may or may not affect me and if an indulgence is going to be worth it? That’s kind of the whole point of this.

So I thought maybe I should give reintroduction a proper chance.

The Whole30 reintroduction protocol suggests starting with dairy (and not booze as I demonstrated last weekend). I figured today was as good a day as any to take the leap so this morning I bought myself a coffee with cream. (No sugar, thank you.) I drank it and I enjoyed it. Until about 20 minutes later when I started to get a gut ache. I got this yucky, painful tummy ache in the pit of my stomach. And once that passed I had a gurlging, uncomfortable digestive tract for a couple hours after. It didn’t feel very nice at all.

This reaction from a couple of shots of cream in my coffee? Interesting, to say the least.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say, but I was kind of excited about my tummy ache. No, not excited to have a tummy ache, and not excited that cream will now go on my “avoid if possible” list, but excited that I was able to hear what my body was saying, in that it’s not crazy about dairy (at least in the form of cream - cheese will be my next test). Prior to W30, I was drinking a coffee with cream and sugar every single morning but with all the extra “noise” and never feeling as clear and as good as I do now, I never would have been able to notice any adverse reaction because there was so much other stuff blocking out the message.

Also, in the past, many things I’ve tried just don’t always work for me. I guess I half expected W30 to be the same. Sure I got (and continue to get) great results from it but surely if I never noticed any blatant food sensitivities before then I obviously don’t have any. Surely I would have noticed if something wasn’t right. Right?

Wrong. I just was numbed out by all the other “junk” (for lack of a better term) and wasn’t getting the message loud enough or clear enough.

Funny thing is that while doing W30 I broke my habit of having a coffee every morning. Instead I started having it as a treat, usually on weekends with a bit of coconut milk and some spices. In the meantime, I now like a cup of black tea on a more regular basis. And that works great for me.

Just one more way that Whole30 has blown my mind.

TV statistics question

Does anyone know about statistics on TV show viewership? Do they break it down at a refined level geographically? I know this stuff is tracked for ratings, but I don't know what's available for people to analyze or how refined the data is.

Because this would be a really interesting labor supply shock to look into empirically.

Kind of a funny argument for gender equality

A FB friend share this post at The Economist, which notes:

"If female employment rates matched those of men, GDP would increase by 5% in America and 9% in Japan by 2020, according to a report by Booz & Company, a consultancy."

True. But presumably you could also say that increasing male employment - thus widening the the gender gap - would increase GDP as well. I don't think people would take that as a very good argument for deliberately widening the gender gap.

I'm not saying this to be dismissive of the goal. I do think the disparities are real (see my post earlier on Horwitz's video), and that there are things to be done about it. I just thought this was a funny way of putting the argument.

Quote of the day

"The Government are very keen on amassing statistics - they collect them, add them, raise them to the n-th power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But what you must never forget is that every one of those figures comes in the first instance from the village watchman, who just puts down what he damn pleases."

- Josiah Stamp, 1929.

Knowing where your data come from is tremendously important.

Beautification Projects

A nice cool day meant time to get work done. I dragged the dinghy out and gazed at the horrific amounts of sea life encrusted to the bottom. The paint was peeling, some of the handles were coming off, and one of the trim tabs was persistently denying my repair attempts.

What did I finally accomplish, a much more refined dinghy. The trim tab is fixed. As an aside these trim tabs are pretty awesome. My little dinghy chine walks with just me in it. It is only 8 ft and has a 6 hp 4 stroke. I managed to get a couple coats of paint on the bottom, but the rain came and it did not come out as nice, can't stop the weather from happening. Then A little pvc spf, and some new harness holes for lifting the dinghy up at night. Lifting from the floor has caused a few sideways in the air dinghy incidents. To remedy I put a couple holes near the top of the transom to lower the centre of gravity, and they were further apart to widen the stance. I also took some time to really work out the rope situation for the harness instead of the last minute job I did before. We will see how it goes in a few days.

Jennie spent the day in her own little sweat shop. Our staysail cover is disintegrating, so we had some awfully coloured sunbrealla in the boat, and decided to some patch work. A little hobo chic. Can't wait so see it up.