50 years ago today

LBJ signing the civil rights act. A calm, convincing, and inspiring speech:

And while I’m on the subject of personal liberty, I feel the need to mention my fellow Tandem High School graduate David Garner. David’s eloquent junior year book report presentation on Robert Moses’s biography of LBJ forever changed my opinion of LBJ, David, and freedom and juvenile delinquents in general.

David was trouble from the start. He knew how to hot-wire a car, and when he needed to get to a party he would. But he’d generally leave it back near where he’d borrowed it, to save the owner any unnecessary inconvenience.

After HS I convinced him to skip out on rehab and come work in the Montana oil fields with me. When his crew moved from Idaho to Heber City, he got me to ride his Norton Commando down to Utah for him. It broke down of course, so my friend Chuck and me bought a 1969 Ford 150 for $250 in Pocatello and put the bike in the back. When the truck broke down we rewired the ignition with an extension cord, and when we finally got to Utah we gave David the truck. Somewhere I’ve got a picture of him sitting in the side basket of a Lama helicopter, catching a ride back from the seismic line before a storm closed in.

David died at the age of 28, along with three other fishermen, when their boat capsized in a night-time squall off Homer, Alaska. His body was never found, and I never got the Blind Willie Johnson LP he’d borrowed back:

The opportunity cost of reading this post about the opportunity cost of reading this post

What Are We Not Doing When We’re Online

Scott Wallsten

NBER Working Paper No. 19549
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s):   PR 
The Internet has radically transformed the way we live our lives. The net changes in consumer surplus and economic activity, however, are difficult to measure because some online activities, such as obtaining news, are new ways of doing old activities while new activities, like social media, have an opportunity cost in terms of activities crowded out. This paper uses data from the American Time Use Survey from 2003 – 2011 to estimate the crowdout effects of leisure time spent online. That data show that time spent online and the share of the population engaged in online activities has been increasing steadily. I find that, on the margin, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure, with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. Each minute of online leisure is also correlated with 0.27 fewer minutes working, 0.12 fewer minutes sleeping, 0.10 fewer minutes in travel time, 0.07 fewer minutes in household activities, and 0.06 fewer minutes in educational activities.

More intellectual property trouble

9/23/2013: The facts of the case are not in dispute. In return for certain assistance from a well known institution and its president, one Robert Johnson agreed to surrender all rights to his intellectual property, in perpetuity. Per the agreement Mr. Johnson received support and substantial benefits that allowed him to create work product that, by agreement, became the soul property of the institution. There is no evidence that these works were produced during the 1 day in 7 of consulting time allowed under his contract. The terms of this contract did not conflict with any Collective Bargaining Agreement between the institution and bargaining unit members. Despite the fact that this was a legally binding contract which many others have also signed and benefitted from, and despite Mr. Johnson’s death from drinking poisoned whisky given him by a jealous husband, the lawyers are still arguing over the IP in the Mississippi Supreme Court.