Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Ubuntu experience- day 1

A few problems:
Hardware: I could not manage to solve an issue with the graphics card. Therefore the extended screen (or "extended desktop" for windows user) is not working.
Software:I lost 1 hour trying to figure out how to run R. How stupid I am... It is so easy.
The reaplayer plug-in is not working. Ok. I guess I can stand one more day without listening to the BBC.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Ubuntu experience- day 0

Ubuntu is running like a breeze. In fact, I've spent 4 hours backing up Vista and my stuff, but the Ubuntu installation took me less than one hour.
Sure there are many things that do not work and I haven't noticed yet. But I have a whole week-end to sort it out... I will keep you informed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Going Ubuntu

I can not stand Vista anymore. I am a proud owner of a Thinkpad T61, but after 3 months I noticed that things are just getting worse. Vista has lots of bugs, crashes a lot and it is painfully slow.
This week, Vinícius, a geek student of mine, convinced me to try Ubuntu. I downloaded the iso file, burned a CD-ROM and ran it. Everything went surprisingly smooth. In minutes, without any configuration, the notebook was wireless connected and running Firefox faster than ever. I tried OpenOffice and it opened a huge doc file with track changes without any problem.
So, this week-end I am going Ubuntu. In order to prepare for this historical moment, I have printed the instructions and I've downloaded the episodes of Going Linux podcast. This show is co-hosted by Serge Rey, the über economic geographer. (Update: I've just noticed that Serge has his own podcast on Linux installation!)
Any suggestion or advice?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Institutions matter. Really?

What are the causes of the Industrial Revolution? It is amazing that THE most important event in human history remains a mystery. Gregory Clark and James "Reversal of Fortune" Robinson take opposite sides on the issue. Greg has a point when he says that institutions are not everything, but I think he takes his point too far. Robinson is much more convincing.
(Daniel Brook criticizes the weakest point in Farewell to Alms: the biological factors behind the Industrial Revolution)

Rio de Janeiro, 1936

The city looks like a tropical Paris. But the movie is quite misleading. In 1936 Brazil:
- Income per capita was a fifth of the today's
-Life expectancy at birth was 36 years (Arriaga);
- 57% of the population was illiterate;
- Infant mortality was 150 per thousand. Today:28/1000.
I do not miss Brazil in the thirties.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free trade & the size of government

Kevin O'Rourke is among the top economic historians. His papers with Jeffrey Williamson on the history of globalisation and the role of tariffs are a must.
Now he has turned his attention to the determinants of individual attitudes toward free trade. In a new paper, he and his coauthors show that "government expenditure can boost support for free trade."

Via Vox EU.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day of the Dead and the Dismal Science

"Finados", a national holiday in Brazil, is not as entertaining as the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. So, the post today will be quite morbid.
What is the monetary value of a death of a loved one? That is, what is the monetary value that would take you back to the same indifferent curve? Instead of asking people, this study used happiness studies to calculate it. The results are surprising:

Your partner has the highest value and it worths more than the sum of the your mother and father! Policy recommendation: take care of your partner. He/She is much more important for your happiness than you think.