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Archive: August 2008

My Morning Jacket

While I was hiking out in Idaho last week, I had the chance to listen to "Evil Urges," the latest album from Louisville, Kentucky's My Morning Jacket. The New York Times called the album "superb," and compared the band to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Devo, the Clash, Pink Floyd and U2 (somehow leaving out Prince and Led Zeppelin).

Now that I'm back, I thought I'd check out their web page and find out about how to track down some of their music. While tooling around www.mymorningjacket.com, I found an incredible video constructed entirely from footage shot by hundreds of fans using their cell phones and digital cameras at the 2007 Lollapalooza.

Unfortunately, I can't embed the video here. The best place to watch it, though, seems to be at the current tv site.

Graphabulous No. 2: Textual Analysis with Wordle

Brad DeLong recently called attention to a fabulous graphic produced by Paul Kedrosky. Kedrosky took copies of Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's speeches at the Fed's 2007 and 2008 summer retreat at Jackson Hole and ran the text through Wordle. Wordle reads text and converts it into "wordclouds," which depict the most frequently used words in any selection of text --with each word's font proportional to its frequency in the selection.

Here is the wordcloud for Bernanke's 2007 speech:

Kedrosky's wordcloud for Bernanke's 2007 Jackson Hole speech

Here is the wordcloud for Bernanke's 2008 speech:

Kedrosky's wordcloud for Bernanke's 2008 Jackson Hole speech

As Kedrosky comments: "Anyone else get the feeling that Ben's more worried about the entire financial system than about mere mortgages?"

Wordle is very easy to use. For example, I copied all the text from NAM's front page and pasted it into Wordle. In a few seconds, Wordle spit out the following wordcloud:

Wordle wordcloud for No Apparent Motive

Anyone else get the feeling that I've got a problem with President Bush?

Democratic National Convention not GNU/Linux Compatible

So, my friend who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, but who says he will vote for Obama in 2008, emailed me a short while ago to say that Ted Kennedy's speech at the Democratic National Convention was outstanding.

I'd missed it because I was working, but was sure I could take a break and see it on the Democratic National Convention website. So, I headed on over to www.demconvention.com, found the link to video, and quickly learned that:

We're sorry, but the Democratic Convention video web site isn't compatible with your operating system and/or browser. Please try again on a computer with the following:

Compatible operating systems: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or a Mac with Tiger (OS 10.4) or Leopard (OS 10.5).

Compatible browsers: Internet Explorer (version 6 or later), Firefox (version 2), or, if you are on a Mac, Safari (version 3.1) also works.

Thank god for YouTube:

"We are all called to a better country."

Some new papers

I haven't been posting much lately, but wanted to mention three recent papers I've written.

The first is a paper on how unions disproportionately raise the wages of lower wage workers.

The second, with Vicenç Navarro, criticizes the odd affection that important sectors inside the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) have for a "flat tax".

The final paper, with Eileen Appelbaum and Dean Baker, makes a series of recommendations for short- and medium-term economic policy with an eye toward stimulating the economy, alleviating the economic hardship caused by the downturn, and laying the ground work for promoting rapid, economically and environmentally sustainable growth.