Monday, October 24, 2005


Someone ad-Miers Bush

Kiss up - it's a safe way to a great career. Just take the job as Supreme Court justice. Who ever said you needed any real experience on the bench? "You are the best governor ever" is probably one of few written statements by Harriet Miers that really counted when it came to nominating her. Wow. Sometimes it is hard to top the irony of the real world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Aftonbladet admits plagiarism

Some recent development after the Rippin' it post below.

Aftonbladet's US correspondent Per Bjurman claims that he never met with Panthers' Olli Jokinen nor with NY Rangers' Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist, even though his article (in Aftonbladet) on the Rangers-Panthers game clearly suggests that he did. It included several quotes that were identitical with the quotes in the Associated Press (AP) piece, also featured on Rangers' homepage on the latest game.

According to Bjurman, he handed in his article "directly after the game" and assumes that the news desk must have added the quotes from AP without his knowledge. He also concurs that in doing so it would have been a good journalistic standard to include the actual source.

Yes, this is a silly game of hockey. Nothing big and fancy about it. So why take offense? Because journalistic standards matter. Using plagiarism at occassions like this begs the question whether such behaviors can occur even at times of greater importance.

Here are some samples from the articles that - word by word - make the them a tantalizing read side by side.

The Aftonbladet article:
"­ Lundqvist har bevisat att han är en bra målvakt och han är säkert glad för sin första nolla i NHL, men vi kan inte ge honom beröm. Vi gjorde honom bra, hävdar Olli Jokinen"
The Associated Press article:
"He's a proven goalie in Europe, [...] Jokinen said "'but we made him look good."
The Associated Press article:
" "I've been close before, so it felt good to get this one," Lundqvist said. "We played well the whole game. The guys played really well in front of me and that allowed me to focus on my game. The whole team is confident. We're having a lot of fun." "
The Aftonbladet article:
" ­ Jag har varit nära förut, så det kändes skönt att spika igen den här
gången, säger "Henke"." [...] "­ Killarna spelade väldigt bra framför mig så
att jag kunde fokusera på mitt eget spel. Hela laget spelar bra, vi har helt
enkelt jäkligt kul."


Rippin' it

Correspondents have a whole lot easier time nowadays, when they can spend more time enjoying drinks in a trendy bar at their foreign locations and then just rip their news pieces from foreign websites instead of actually going out there and do some investigative reporting themselves.

Take this example - Per Bjurman. He used to be the domestic pop-wizard at the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. For some reason, he was promoted to be the paper's correspondent in New York.

For all who understand Swedish, compare his Aftonbladet article about NY Rangers with this story from Rangers' homepage. The capture, as well as all the quotes are identical. But no source is ever mentioned. And this Bjurman piece is also ripped from NY Rangers' homepage - every single quote - without even mentioning it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Swedish elections - not without American consultants

The theory of diffusion in campaign strategies is sweeping over Europe, much to the chagrin of many self-proclaimed know-it-all Europeans. This article in today's edition of Sweden's Dagens Nyheter yet again points to the fact that the upcoming Swedish election next year would be nothing if it wasn't for the flow of ideas that American political consultants bring with them.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Schelling and Aumann - what a great team!

Finally... finally Thomas Schelling ("The Strategy of Conflict", "Choice and Consequence" and "Micromotives - Macrobehavior") gets the Nobel Prize in Economics! He is a great example of an economist with the capacity to explain everyday economic circumstances to people outside of the field. His apt economic theories have helped explain anything from traffic congestions to price correlations on open markets and general collective action problems. Aumann (Agreeing to Disagree, in Annals of Statistics 1976) is a another great laureate, perhaps with the lack of Schellings pedagogical skills, but nonetheless a very worthy recipient.

Tyler Cowen (who else?) has one great post on Aumann and his Neo-Walrasian cooperation theory, as well as another great post on Schelling (who was Cowen's mentor while at Harvard). (From

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Topalov on the Top

Remarkable action in San Luis, Argentina. Former World Champions Kasimdzhanov and Anand are having obvious difficulties, getting 3 and 3.5 points after the fifth round. With a few exceptions (Kasparov and Karpov - the old days with Lassker, Alekhine and Botvinnik don't count...) it has been proven an almost impossible task to defend a modern World champion title in Chess. And that made the rivalry game Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler in round five even more interesting. The full round five game can be followed here (in Java mode). Svidler, with white, opened with a Sicilian Najdorf (the homepage says B90 but I think it's a B93 given 6. Nc3 a6) and Topalov beat him in 44 moves! Topalov beating Svidler with black - what where the odds for that? OK, so it's a long way, still, but the Bulgarian seems to have a nice little lead for himself.


Nobel Prize Nausea

Yes, dear folks.. 'tis the time of year again...

So bring out the betting service among your friends. This German site is handing out odds for some of the most prominent economists out there. Eugene Fama is high up there, together with Robert Barro, Oliver Williamson and ... Paul Krugman (!). Man! I remember when I read Krugman-Obstfelt's course book on international trade and monetary policies. Now anybody can read Krugman lamenting about just about everything in the New York Times. It's pretty far away from sound economic reasoning, but, well, there it is... the market has obviously outperformed itself again in resource allocation... Krugman to NY Times - what other proofs do we really need for market efficiency?

Let's just say that I would like to pull for my old professor Tullock (professor Cowen's comments here) who is trailing on the German Nobel Prize exchange (his shares are only up by 4 dollars).

The announcement will be made on Monday, October 11th, 2 PM European Time (that's 8 PM for all you crazy Americans on the East Coast ;) ).

In the meantime, try to revive those old memories from your first class in Economics, by playing the Heckscher-Ohlin trading game from the Nobel Prize Foundation's web site.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Don't cry for me...

There are some spots in the world one really has to be in, at the right time, to admire the world of games. In July it was no doubt the World Series of Poker, played for the last time at the legendary Horseshoe in Las Vegas. And right now - the place will have to be Argentina, where FIDE is hosting the World Championship in Chess. Anand might be one of the top ranked players and Topalev and Leko are also good, but the sensation in the field is nonetheless Judit Polgar, a Hungarian born woman of 29 who has made it into the top ten. And one of very few to have beaten Garry Kasparov. It will be interesting to see what she will do in this field. Chessbase has more updated stories all the time.

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