Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some side thoughts.

Professor Brad DeLong asks why universities still have large lectures. My contribution: professors don't feel textbooks do an adequate enough job of explaining material. This is partly due to limited space in textbooks, which are a function of production costs. Authors have to find a balance between precision and clarity in the span of 800 pages. However, online textbooks don't have this restriction. An online textbook could be written to be very clear, with hyperlinks to rigorous mathematical proofs, or somesuch. Paradigms change slowly, though.

Bianaoh points me to the Dataverse Network, which seeks to make data and its analysis more accessible, while preserving credit. It strikes me as a great idea, and I hope to be able to use such tools in the future.

Cartoonist Scott Adams tells people what economists are good for. Convincing the public of anything unpopular is an uphill battle, Scott.

Lastly, something more related to the current economy. Current numbers with an historical perspective. The message: things have been worse, and we're still around. Cheer up, people.

No comments: