monkey's uncle

notes on human ecology, population, and infectious disease

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Why the Prediction Market Failed to Predict the Supreme Court

July 8th, 2012 · No Comments

There is a very interesting piece in the New York Times today by David Leonhardt on the apparent backlash against prediction markets such as Intrade and Betfair. In principle, these markets make predictions by aggregating the disparate information of many independent bettors who offer prices for a particular outcome. Prediction markets have enjoyed a fair […]

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Tags: Social Network Analysis

Guess What: Food Prices Still Near All-Time Highs

July 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI) remains at near record-highs, and this at a time when record droughts and calamitous famine threaten the Horn of Africa. Using the latest data from the FAO FPI page, I plot here the FPI time series from 1990-2011. World food prices are high and have remained so since the […]

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Tags: Biofuels · Diet & Nutrition · Human Ecology

Stanford Migration and Adaptation Workshop

March 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Information on our NICHD-funded April formal demography workshop on migration and adaptation is now posted on the website Stanford Center for Population Research (SCPR, pronounced ”scooper”).  SCPR is itself hosted by Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS), which is also the umbrella organization for the Methods of Analysis Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), a […]

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Tags: Demography

Food Prices Continue to Rise

February 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Newly released data by FAO show that food prices continued to rise, up 3.4% from the last month of 2010. This is yet another record high. Here is a plot based on the FAO data (click to enlarge): An article in today’s New York Times attributes much of the rise in price to uncertainty over […]

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Tags: Diet & Nutrition · Human Ecology

An Alternate Course Load for the Game of Life

September 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment

In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Harvard economist and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, N. Gregory Mankiw provides some answers to the question “what kind of foundation is needed to understand and be prepared for the modern economy?”  Presumably, what he means by “modern economy” is life after college. […]

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Tags: Anthropology · Demography · Human Ecology · science · Social Network Analysis · Teaching


December 13th, 2008 · No Comments

Homo EconomSickus.  Har, har, har…

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Tags: Infectious Disease

On Human Rationality

December 12th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Oh, how this bugs me.  I think behavioral economics is a great thing.  However, the language that is used to discuss behavioral economics — and specifically, the types of problems it addresses — is hugely problematic. There is this pervasive idea, largely arising from economics, that because people do not behave according to the predictions […]

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Tags: Evolution · Social Network Analysis

The Continuing Food Crisis

September 16th, 2008 · No Comments

The 2008 Report of the Millennium Development Goals is out today. Seeing this, along with this editorial piece by The Age‘s economics editor, Tim Colebatch, drives home the key point that the world food crisis is far from over.  High food prices may drive 100 million more people into extreme poverty this year, eroding the substantial progress that […]

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Tags: Biofuels · Diet & Nutrition · Human Ecology

34% of US Corn Harvest To Be Used for Ethanol

September 15th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Despite the flooding in Iowa earlier this summer, the US is set to harvest its second largest corn crop ever.  Good news for the price of food for hungry people?  Not really, the USDA expects that 34% of the total corn crop will be used to make ethanol for biofuel. They project a price of […]

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Tags: Biofuels · Diet & Nutrition · Human Ecology

Vegetables and Melons?

September 1st, 2008 · No Comments

Who knew that vegetables and melons defined a sector?  You learn something new every day when you subscribe to the USDA Economic Research Service – What’s New RSS feed.

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Tags: Diet & Nutrition