Jim Harning

Jim Harning

Every once in a while you re--experience a loss. By sheer happenstance, I came across a few pictures of one of my best friends from high school, James Harning, depicted in a an informative "personal" history of San Francisco's "Castro District" by Strange de Jim called San Francisco's Castro As one journalist put it, the three photos "tell the tale. They all show Strange's friend, James Harning. In the first, Harning sits in a window, all long legs and handsome profile, looking not unlike the young Rupert Everett in the 1984 movie "Another Country." In the second he sits in bed, ravaged by AIDS, his hair thinned and face colonized by Kaposi's sarcoma le sions. The third shows the cover of the program used in Harning's memorial service. He died in March 1992. He was 31.". James Harning, "Jim", was many things to many people: At a memorial service for Jim (which was true to Jim's spirit in so many ways) one little thing I remember was how often he was described by his friends as "beautiful" -- true, but something I had never noticed although he was my friend for more than half my life (and his). The picture was taken by his sister Susan and may give you a glimmer of what they meant.

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John Enrico DiNardo

More than you could ever possibly want to know about John DiNardo and things related to John DiNardo. Web page hacked in under an hour with that wonderful program VI - improved

Why, oh WHY, do those nutheads use VI? Click on the "Vi Gang" symbol to learn more.

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News (of a sort)


July 23, 2014 -- #DetroitWater Crisis

I was born in Detroit. I have spent most of my life no farther than a few minutes' drive from the city.

Type the words ``Detroit Water Crisis" into your favorite search engine and you can read about the current insanity.

The DWSD -- Detroit Water and Sewage Department -- has, for several months, been engaged (in fits and starts) in shutting off the water supply to thousands of homes in the city. Thanks to an awe inspiring amount of activism, including a loud and noisy march a couple of days ago the DWSD has agreed to postpone, for 15 days, its plan to shut off the water to thousands of households.

The U.N. has involved the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation.

A June 25, 2014 Statement from the U.N.

One site to start with is detroitwaterbrigade.org

The Detroit Water Project can help set you up with the DWSD account number of a family faced with a water shutoff and directions about how to pay the DWSD directly on behalf of a family faced with an imminent water shutoff.

If you do that sort of thing, you can follow the hash tag #DetroitWater in real time at Twitter .



January 26, 2014

My brush with the famous. I had one -- my only -- visit with this doctor. From the NYT:

The University of Michigan, where he was a professor for decades, has erased any trace of him on its Web sites

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/business/sidney-gilmans-shift-led-to-insider-trading-case.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&

From the FT: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/138ce222-7fa6-11e3-94d2-00144feabdc0.html A top doctor told a court on Friday that after persistent questioning he "slipped up" and gave details of the secret side effects of an experimental Alzheimer's drug to Mathew Martoma, the former SAC Capital portfolio manager on trial for insider trading. I revealed information that was confidential about a clinical drug trial to Mathew Martoma inappropriately," said Sidney Gilman, a former professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School and former chairman of a safety committee for the experimental Alzheimer's drug trial.


January 14, 2014

Time to restart this exercise in severe narcissism (or an aid for an increasingly enfeebled memory). People are (justly) concerned about government surveillance, but private sector surveillance gets scants mention (in the US). My latest interaction with the ``embrace, extend, and control" business model of Google, which continues to amaze me (despite years of hardened skepticism about "Don't Be Evil"). For fun, especially at home, I use Italian on the very rare occassions I use Google search or when I am forced to use Gmail (it is what the University runs). (BTW, I much prefer https://duckduckgo.com which doesn't try to steal, sell, or analyze your information.) Today, whilst using Chrome on a different computer (!) at school, I accessed Lexis-Nexis Academic through from my University IP. To my surprise, the Lexis-Nexis site -- somehow -- assumed that my language was Italian (Selezione lingua!) since it is ``powered" by Google. Somehow it ``knew" what language I wanted to use without me giving the site that information myself!

August 30, 2010

Not all music criticism is positive. Regarding my "Monopsony in Motion" (I believe my first attempt ever to write, play, and record a song) Don Bellante, in "The Non sequitur in the Revival of Monopsony Theory" (THE QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS VOL. 10, NO. 2 (SUMMER 2007)) writes: "As with much "alternative rock" some of it is inaudible, but the words to the entire song can be read at DiNardo's site."

I didn't know that I was "alternative" rock :-) Very little alternative rock gets cited in the Economics literature.

April 12, 2010

Looking for an old paper of mine on my webpage, I typed the words "John DiNardo" into Google today and it suggested "John DiNardo leukemia", so I thought this was appropriate. (The next two suggestions were "John DiNardo planet X" and "John DiNardo drexel" :-) It's a pic of me sporting shorter hair, blindfolded, preparing to swing a baseball bat and battle a deranged immature bone marrow cell.

Battling Leukemia

April 11, 2010

George Johnson, a labor economist at the University of Michigan for 35 years, passed away last week in Washington DC after a year-long battle with cancer.

I first learned about George Johnson when I was an undergraduate here. Probably one of several important "role models" for me when I was an undergraduate and decided to do economics. I remember my fellow policy students "stuffing the ballot box" in a campus wide poll in the Michigan Daily and getting him voted "Best Dressed Professor". He was also author of my favorite line about an applied theory model (complete with "hammer and sickle" and swastika subscripts to denote different union utility functions) which was "the model needs a little work."

When I became a professor here, my first memory was when he was kind enough to invite me to join him at a Michigan versus Ohio State footbal game with seats at the 50 yard line. Despite having no affiliation with Ohio State in any way whatsoever, he came to the game fully decked out in Ohio State regalia.

Apart from his sharp wit, I most respected him for his refreshingly "low BS" approach to the world (and especially to the world of the academy) and the decency with which he treated folks "lower on the food chain."



26 January, 2010 Henry J. Campbell Moot Court

Played Supreme Court Justice for a day Moot Court at the UM Law School. Very much a learning experience -- trying to assign more points to the team with the specious but more persuasive argument is difficult.

One interesting issue was whether the police needed a warrant to triangulate your location with your cell phone. It's amazingly easy.

August 1, 2009 Will Allen Park's world famous "Big Tire" be "saved" by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)? or is PETA behaving unethically toward the "overweight"?

The "Big Tire" (which has "it's own" myspace page here!) has seen better times. It started out in life as a Ferris wheel at the 1964 New York World's Fair, then relocated to Allen Park in 1965 near Uniroyal Tire's sales office. For a few years, you could read off a continuously updated counter which gave the count of US auto production (apparently until that became a depressing statistic.) Later it was forced to shill for for a specific tire that is resistant to nail damage.

Now PETA has said it will maintain the Big Tire as long as it can place a giant ad "showing a man with a bulging belly" next to a tagline that reads "Lose the Spare Tire: Go Veg"

Even putting aside the propriety or ethics of denigrating the "overweight" (or our "belly challenged" brethren?) PETAs executive VP repeats the typical canard about obesity "causing" pre-mature mortality. A spare tire in your trunk can get you out of a jam, but the one around your waist can kill you. Turns out, even if you (wrongly) stipulate to BMI as being a "cause", the evidence suggests just the opposite (especially after you control for basic demographic variables, but even if you don't). Those people with a "spare tire" have lower all-cause mortality than those who don't!

I first became acquainted with that fact thanks to a student of mine (Tim Gronniger, now at the CBO) who wrote two different papers ( here and here ) which highlight the empirical and conceptual problems with the claim that overweight is "bad for you."

For a useful non-academic summary of Tim's work and some more recent stuff, see this article or this editorial in the BMJ

The Detroit News article detailing PETA's hostile take on "overweight."

BigTire



July 13, 2009 How one can "see" (but not condone) the logic of burning a curious man alive.

Just doing some reading on the trials of Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno by the Inquisition, including "Galileo's Mistake" which has this interesting passage:

"From the perspective of four hundred years after the event [burning Giordano Bruno alive by the Pope's wishes (per volunta del papa) ] it is possible to see (though not condone) the element of sheer exasperation on the part of the Church in this sad episode. Despite seven years of threats, browbeating, and reasoned argument, Bruno would not budge. He seemed fundamentally irrational to his Inquisitors, little short of a maniac. In the end, Bruno was not burned for any specific doctrine, though he subscribed to many that were heretical. He was burned rather for his wanton curiositas , for his belief in the limitless capacity of man to know."

Along the way to "seeing" why one might burn a man alive for wanton curiosity, I came upon the "5 degrees of torture" of the Spanish Inquisition which are commonly rendered as:

  1. The threat of torture.
  2. Being conducted to the torture-chamber and shown the implements and their functions
  3. Stripping and preparing for the ordeal
  4. Laying and binding upon the "engine"
  5. The actual torture ... of which there were three popular methods (as well as others!)
    1. the Garrucha
    2. the tratta di corda or strappado
    3. Torture by water (a.k.a. waterboarding)

    All illustrated: The difference between the first two types seems to depend on whether you are tied down from below (the Garrucha) or whether you are hoisted into the air (strappado)

    the Garrucha

The Spanish Inquisition had rules, of course, for when you could do this type of stuff. "Giving someone the third degree" would "merely" be stripping and preparing someone for the ordeal.


June 1, 2009

My friends visited Paris last week and all I got was Iggy Pop's Nouvel Album:-)

IggyPopPreliminaires fnac

Although the plastic the album was wrapped in announces "L'Iguane met son costume de crooner!", this nice album isn't a "radical" departure from Mr. Osterberg's ouvre. The orchestration is somewhat less sparse, but it evokes the Iggy Pop of "Avenue B" (even the French isn't new). On a first listen, though it doesn't reach the heights of "Iggy and the Stooges", "Lust for Life", "Cold Metal", or "American Caesar" it's definitely worth some re-listening.


May 9, 2009

I don't remember the last time I was on the altar of a church, but I am certain I didn't have as good a time. The Solonators (with the benefit of sound man impresario Drue) had arguably their funnest performance yet. Something about alcohol, music, and dancing that is so necessary for the soul. Also, managed to raise a couple of thousand dollars for SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). After riding a musical high for a couple of weeks, however, I am back to self-recrimination, etc. about by musical talents :-)


May 1, 2009 The problem with the "Principle of Insufficient Reason". The whole vignette is amusing, but between the 2:00 minute mark and 4:00 mark, Walter Wagner -- a high school physics teacher who believes that the LHC at CERN may end the world as we know it -- stumbles on one of the earliest controversies in probability. (One that has, by the way, occupied the talents of such mathematically sophisticated luminaries as Laplace, Keynes, Bertrand Russell, and others over the years!)

Some persons may feel that parts of this video may not be appropriate for young persons.

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The controversy is almost as old as the notion of probability and has its origins in the writings of Jakob Bernoulli , the Reverend Bayes and Pierre Laplace How does one characterize "prior" information, specifically the a state where you have "no information" with a probability density function. For example, if there are only two possible outcomes, "X" and "not X", does that imply that the prior probability you associate with "X" is 1/2 if you are "ignorant" about where "X" or "not X" is true?

This problem only exists, however, if you think "probability" is most usefully thought of as number between zero and one which characterizes a "rational belief" about a proposition after observing some "data". (Such persons sometimes describe themselves as "Bayesians", "subjectivists", etc.) The problem that the high school teacher stumbled upon has occupied the thinking of a lot of mathematically sophisticated people over the centuries, many of whom, like the high school teacher, got it wrong. (John Maynard Keynes, for example, felt the need to spend a whole chapter denouncing the principle in his "Treatise on Probability"; people debate about whether the Reverend Bayes got it wrong in his initial paper. This article, from the Quarterly Journal of Economics (1980) is actually an attempt to "rehabilitate" the concept." ) ) For instance, it is a variant of the same problem that creates Bertrand's Paradox which relates to impossibility of uniquely mathematically characterizing "ignorance" with a prior distribution. Put another way, there is no way to create a "uniformative prior".


March 13, 2009


10 Republicans opposed to some transcendental numbers -- Π in particular! John Conyers had more important things to do, but said he would have supported House Res. 224.

What I look like in real life :)


February 18, 2009

Just got back from a heartbreaking-ly excellent show by Ben Folds with, among other people, my godson, seen below playing "Still Fighting It" (with superlative vocals by Bluenn, the singing coonhound.). The show was truly amazing with a nice setlist that had a full complement of stuff from the fake/leaked Way to Normal -- which do rival the ``real" songs if you haven't heard them. (The show started with the hilarious fake/leaked BWN (it's description of the type of guy whose appearance at the office party with date does not go according to plan is just perfect.) ``Fair" (one of my personal favorites) makes for an unusual encore: after the loud, long and raucous "A" from the bass, turns into a not atypical (for BF) "love doesn't conquer all" vignette (and goes downhill from there):

He shouted out his last word
And he stumbled through the yard
And she shattered her last china plate
And spun off in the car
When he lunged onto the hood
She stopped to tell him she'd been wrong
He was thrown head over heels
Into the traffic coming on
But then
All is fair in love

Also featured were Miniature Tigers and UM's own Compulsive Lyres who did a nice version of "Losing Lisa" (which you can hear in low-quality youtube format.) Oh, and the "secret" to preparing the piano to sound as does in ``Brainwascht", is 3 empty Altoids cans placed in the shape of a "T" behind the second strut.


February 18, 2009

HammerSickleJesus

Just became a "leading" economist today, but I don't think anyone's following:-) Subject to the constraint "economist", the list of signatories to this full page ad in the Washington Post contains a rather ideologically broad group of individuals. Rather amusingly, this blog describes those who think EFCA is a good idea as "communists" and has this most "interesting" image combining two old traditions that one doesn't see together that often in the U.S.: the sacred heart of Jesus and the hammer and sickle


February 17, 2009.


Just came across this picture of my sister

who is a CNP at Detroit Medical Center. Hard to believe we had the same parents :-)

July 23, 2008

DiNardo and Pischke reunited! Reports are that the followup album is even more incredible than the first. A few years ago (Kai) Pischke and I teamed up to do a rocking version of "What I Like About You". While I was visiting the NBER, Kai took out some time from his schedule to reprise our earlier collaborative efforts with a newer, even hotter duet. Here's a 15 second clip from the old album, back to back with a clip from new album.


You be the judge!

Then and Now


July 15, 2008

Just got back from a nice trip to Milan. Had a wonderful time giving a talk at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Was fortunate to meet the labor economist Claudio Lucifora who was the first Italian surfer I've ever met!. Also got to see a tiny slice of Milan. I got to see the "L'ultima cena" , of course, at the Santa Marie Della Grazie (Leonardo DaVinci was a childhood hero of sorts; his "Myspace" page is here. ) but even more remarkable, perhaps, was the Duomo Di Milano. Mark Twain was right, it's amazing!)

Love and Beauty in the time of the Duomo I loved Milan. (Despite what I had heard!) Didn't do a lot of photography, but for two very different images/views of love and beauty in Milan click here.

You can guess that I prefer the smoking one! The Abraham and Isaac story always gave me the willies.


May 17, 2008. Doing my part to help "Build Shanghai University of Finance and Economics into a first class socialist university oriented toward the new century." (Jiang Zemin, July 18,1997)

Just got back from a very interesting trip to SUFE ( The Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ) in Shanghai. My favorite piece of art is this statue celebrating the efforts of the bicycle workers. It reminds me a lot of the "Fountain of Magical Brethren" in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.

sufe (Click here for high resolution.) mom

Many thanks to "little Ling", "big Ling", Xi Li (for her infinite patience), Guan Gong and Li Gan for making the trip a pleasant one.




Straight outta Lorch Hall. Behind the Research You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.

Ben and Brian (a.k.a. Key-Z-E and Young BC) of the the duo EWA - "Economists with Atitude" recount their rapid rise, their horrible solo efforts "Plimmin' Ain't Easy" (Key-Z-E) and "Random Walks Are Neat" (Young BC), their preciptious fall, and their happy reunion to produce "Lazy Monday". ("But first my laptop is crashing like Britney" is my favorite line). If you don't get the references, you'll have to spend time on youtube :-)


Click here to see the video on YouTube

25 January 2008. Ben Folds ROCKS the HOUSE at the Ark Benefit: Always a good time! Although what is it about rich people??? Read more about the show

Allen Park becomes famous! My elementary school principle Sister Kathleen and Mrs. Mulcrone (my second grade teacher) are pictured in a new Arcadia publication about Allen Park, MI, , home of the World's Largest Tire and where I spent much of my youth. It also has information about St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Elementary school, where I was a student as well as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini High School.

cabrini2ndgrade


The picture (from the 1960s) includes Sister Kathleen and Mrs. Mulcrone and a group of students, all in the required uniform. (Guys were required to wear a tie and "conventional" pants and shirt. Girls were required to wear variants of the horrific plaids you see here.) This became an issue for me in high school, when as a student representative on "the Uniform Committee" I first learned that one purpose of having ties for the boys was the possibility that our chest hairs might inflame the passions of the girls in the school. Today, it appears, uniforms are only required for those in grades 1 - 8.

BigTire



MissRussia2007 Russian Standards and Money Miss China 2006 (Zhang Zilin) with Miss Russia 2007 (Ksenia Sukhinova), the most recent winner of the Russian "beauty pageant" posing in Moscow with a giant mock credit card denominated in 100,000 US Dollars. The inscription on the card literally translates to "Russian Standard" Russian Standard is a brand of vodka according to this Wikipedia entry

Xinhua Photo/Shen Bohan from Xinhua English Language News and the story is here. "View Image" to see a bigger picture.


Dumbledore's REAL secret: Dumbledore is a SMOKER


More Back Story for Professor Dumbledore

A little fascinating back story to the greatest wizard who ever lived. (Spoiler Alert!)

If you have forgotten, (Gellert) Grindewald first appeared in "The Philosopher's Stone" and was mentioned on a Dumbledore's Wizard Chocolate Frog Card as a "dark wizard" for whom Dumbledore famously defeated in 1945. As we now know Albus' attraction to Gellert (two years his younger) was more than mere interest in the dark arts. In the unsubtle language of corporate news. Albus Brian Percival Wulfric Dumbeldore is gay. Here's CNN's report on the story If you want "cannon" (and I always value "cannon"!), a transcript of JK Rowling's comments as part of "Scholastic's Open Book Tour Sweepstakes" where several lucky souls got the chance to see Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling read from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," answer questions and sign books at New York City's Carnegie Hall.

the Solonators Live at Hollerfest

What a wierd, strange trip it's been: From humble beginnings as Ann Arbor's premier "econo-satire" band, to a live gig Sept 22, 2007 at 3:00pm in Brooklyn (MI!) playing at Hollerfest , and helping to celebrate 35 years of Frog Holler Organic Farm. Click on Hollerfest and you can see several videos from the event (no Solonators, thank god, so I can keep the dream alive).

This pictures looks like a typical rehersal, where I am playing something poorly (this time, the bass) and everyone is looking at me.

DiNardoScrewUp

The whole band in a wide shot: (click "view image" to see larger pic)

TheSolonators

Me on the keyboards -- Brian doing what he usually does -- playing it picture perfect. (click "view image" to see larger pic)

JED on Keys



It was fun!!! All the bands were wonderful. There was some really extraordinarily great music. (Our hour on the stage went very well. I'm the guy in the back with the flourescent yellow shorts with the guitar.) Everyone was extraordinarily nice and exhibited a great deal of that Midwestern "laid backness" and cool. It was such a gorgeous beautiful day to rock! Many thank to King Family, especially musician Billy King (check out his myspace page) for monitoring the sound and to the many others who worked so hard to make it such a nice experience for everyone.

SolonatorsSansMoi (click "view image" to see larger pic)

Here's a better picture of the band with only the attractive members of the band visible.



J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived 21 July 2007 at 00:01 BST.

It turned out to be one of the most fun musical line ups of my lifetime when Wizard Rock hit Ann Arbor on Harry's "birthday" 31 July 2007 at the Ann Arbor Public Library.

Harry and the Potters have several albums of note including their self-titled debut "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock." Favorites of mine include "The Human Hosepipe" and "Save Ginny Weasley".

Draco and the Malfoys have two albums including "Party Like Your Evil." Favorites include "My Dad is Rich" ("my dad is rich and your dad is dead.") and "Potions Yesterday"

At MySpace check out: Harry and the Pottters and Draco and the Malfoys. In addition to Myspace, check out Wizard Rock for the latest developments in Harry Potter Themed music.

I can honestly say I've never seen a more enthusiastic and engaged audience. For some, Harry and the Potters turned out to be a life--changing experience. Here is one picture of two young people -- Ben and Micah -- in full Gryffyndor colors jamming in advance of gig they are about to play in wardrobe inspired by Harry and the Potters. It's a fun story, but no more than the picture will have to do :-)

Ben and Micah

It may be well past the point where there is anyone left who could be affected, but .... Possible Spoiler Alert

The spirit of ``pre--specified research design" brings you my pre--publication predictions regarding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Warning. Possible spoilers. Some or all of these predictions may be correct. Some or all these predictions may be incorrect. Only those of you who have read the book will know :-)

What's New Musically

Some slightly newer material (I don't update that often)

"You Estimated All Night Long" -- "The Solonators" (MPEG 4) format. This song was one of the first songs performed by the (original) Solonators. Here, the 2007 version (Mike Elsby (bass) Missy House (vocals), Brian Kovak (lead guitar), Gary Solon (drums)) has the thankless task of backing my inept rhythm guitar and vocals. The obscure references at the beginning of the video by Gary and me are to parodies (of me) earlier that evening.

Courtesy of Nathan B. Anderson you can, if you so desire, watch a 17 minute long movie about the 2005 Gary and the Solonators line-up (Nate Anderson (bass), Peter DiCola (Keyboards and Vocals), DiNardo, Melissa House (Vocals), Jordan Matsudaira (Guitar), Andreas Duus Pape (Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica), Gary Solon (drums, vocals), Linda Tesar (Vocals), Warren Whatley (Percussion)) Warnings: PG-13, Econometrics references, etc. Download the movie at http://homepage.mac.com/nbanderson/docs/btm_webstream.mov

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Personal and Professional Links

Some of the most decent and thoughtful persons in economics -- Links to those folks kind enough to work with me! (N.B. This does not imply that they endorse anything I say or do!)

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"Related Work"

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Economics The Musical

  1. A link to Alan Manning's book, Monopsony in Motion. . It has a link to a page which includes the first chapter in pdf format as well as an a link to an eponymous song in mp3 format by some person named J. DiNardo (copyleft or by permission) (Some of the songs play better if you download them first. If the song skips, download it first to play it with something like Winamp instead of Windows Media Player)
  2. A complete review of my posted songs on the web (with good criticism!) , by John Schmitt (Economist and Free Sofware User!) at his blog with the great title No Apparent Motive He's had a way more productive life than I have, produces more than I do, AND has a blog!. (I can't even keep up with my email.) He works at the The Center for Economic and Policy Research who do a lot of important work (that I wish I had the ability to do!) and is a research associate of the "real" EPI (Economic Policy Institute) -- also a bunch of good men and women doing important work! His good hearted (and too kind) review was a hoot to read despite reading, for example, that I should "lose the synthesizer" in "My Little Regression Discontinuity"! (a sentiment which, if weren't my own song, I would probably agree! The problem of course is that it was easier for me to play a synth instrumental than a guitar instrumental (I am pretty bad at all instruments including vocals, but arguably worst at guitar) and I was actually proud of the synth solo, as silly as it was!)
  3. Read about "the haunting electronic beltings of John DiNardo" -- a review of the song!
  4. The lyrics to Monopsony in Motion
  5. (A "homage" to the a workshop on the Regression Discontinuity Design in Economics A song from my Berkeley days ... (My Little) Regression Discontinuity in mp3 format.) I recommend "right clicking" to download it and playing it.
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News/Activism

My favorite news/funding activism/information sites:

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Images of Me and Not Me

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Econometric Methods

I would much like to do a new edition but McGraw--Hill has "out of printed" the book in the U.S. (and North America) but not internationally. I've tried for a couple of years to "get my rights back", but to no avail. I hope soon. Until then, these link to some old pages about the book.

  • Links to Econometric Methods Fourth Edition (a book I helped write)
  • Links to customer reviews of the book at Amazon
  • Find a nearby indpendent book seller!