I’m in Boston

Tyler Cowen tells me blog readers like to hear personal details.  It feels a bit odd, but hey, let’s try it sometimes.  Last weekend I held a party – some reviews here.  Today at 4:30 I’m on a Harvard panel:

This will be a debate on Bryan Caplan’s very controversial, but well-argued, book "The Myth of the Rational Voter." Panelists include Caplan and Robin Hanson (both economists from George Mason University), David Estlund (Chair of the Philosophy department at Brown, arguing the pro-democracy side), and economist Jeffrey Miron of Harvard.

Tomorrow noon I talk at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence:

Nobel winner Robert Aumann (Econ. ’05) showed in ’76 that Bayesians with a common prior could not "agree to disagree," i.e., have common knowledge of exact yet differing opinions.  Aumann made strong  assumptions, but similar results follow from much weaker assumptions: Bayesian wannabes who believe in symmetric prior origins cannot have common belief of one of them foreseeing how another will later disagree.  I review this literature, illustrate with concrete examples, and discuss the disturbing implications for the honesty and rationality of familiar human disagreement.

I’m very much the absent-minded professor – on my last trip I lost my favorite shirt and my glasses.  I’m seriously considering lasik, to avoid the hundreds of dollars a year I spend replacing lost glasses. 

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  • Douglas Knight

    glasses – have you looked into mail-order? It’s an order of magnitude cheaper.

  • michael vassar

    LASIK is, btw, tax deductible as a medical expense. I suppose it counts as “Glasses” in RAND study terms as well. Sounds worth doing.

  • Sister Y

    Professor, might I suggest that after your talk at CCI, you convince somebody to escort you down the street to Senior House, where you will be just in time to see the lighting of the fire for Steer Roast (at 5:00).

  • Presumably your talk at MIT will get into the backward induction debate Aumann had with Binmore?

    Yeah, lasik might not be a bad idea. My wife Marina had a successful variant of it, although now she needs glasses to read things up close, which she did not before.

  • Tom Crispin

    FWIW, I stopped my regular reading of Cowen’s Marginal Revolution because of too many personal details. Personal information is everywhere on the internet; quality economic information is scarce – like my time.

  • Unknown

    Of course there are readers like Tom who dislike personal information in principle. On the other hand, my suspicion is that Tyler is correct in general. But Robin feels odd doing it because he really doesn’t know how to do it at all.

  • josh

    Don’t you realize you should look for them when you realize you can’t, you know, see?

  • I hear a recent study showed that people wearing glasses don’t seem to see any better than people without them.

  • The CCI website (http://cci.mit.edu/hanson.html) says that your talk is on 4/25. I’m gonna chalk that up to a cut-and-paste mistake on the website.

  • Peter St. Onge

    Tom, due respect for your constructive comment, this blog is written by people who have very productive alternative use of time, and note that it carries no advertising – it’s a labor of love. A reader with scarce time can, of course, skip personal posts at negligible cost, meanwhile I think occasional personal details make the blog more welcoming to readers, and hopefully more enjoyable to the authors.

    As for the talks, hopefully they’ll be recorded; interested to hear the local reactions!

  • I’m seriously considering lasik, to avoid the hundreds of dollars a year I spend replacing lost glasses.

    I’ve already spent over a hundred dollars this year on lost bicycle helmets – is there a doctor I can see to harden my skull?