The State of the Population

Thanks Julie Gillard. Really. Some time ago, I was going to post on the ‘Population Crisis’ as it had been reported at the time (months ago) and why I though, generally speaking, it was rubbish. I held off, as accurate statistics were tricky to get hold of, and I’m generally pretty easy to distract. I blame Twitter. Julie has gone and put our population, and the illegal immigrant portion thereof, back in the spotlight. (A great speech, I recommend you read in its entirety. It is somewhat lengthy, feel free to finish this before you do.) The real population crisis, is much, much worse. Here’s the thing about population. There’s a lot of it. Not just here, but globally. We breed like rabbits. No – […]

We are one, but who are we?

Much has been made of racism and racist attitudes in Australia recently. MinimalState’s own HeathG made the case in the wake of the racially charged bumper sticker debacle that underlying racially prejudiced sentiment in this country should be exposed, rather than banned. It’s not the outspokenly prejudiced that I’m concerned about though – it’s the rest of us. You know, the one’s who “aren’t” racist. I’ll wait a minute while your defensiveness dies back down as you detect the sarcasm. Good. Moving on then. I’ve always thought that the way we use words and how a question is posed can give a valuable insight into it’s answer, and this one has always been a favourite of mine. We seem to be asking a lot the […]

AFACT cry foul – iiNet and Pirate Party respond

In an article published by the Australian yesterday, the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) made the claim that ISPs are refusing to negotiate on Copyright (self) regulation, a claim that ISP iiNet – whom AFACT unsuccessfully sued earlier this year – strongly deny in their responding statement, in which the ISP points out; “The internet industry and copyright holders had been in detailed discussions for a number of years, before AFACT and its Executive Director, Ms Pecotic, called off negotiations in August 2007 to commence their unsuccessful legal proceedings against iiNet in the Federal Court.” Naturally, the ‘Gamers, Porn and BitTorrent Society’ .. sorry, the Pirate Party Australia – had their own view on the AFACTs suggestion that we are being left “behind the […]

Welcome to CollinsVU

MinimalState would like to welcome its newest contributor, CollinsVU. A father of 3, husband (of 1, just to clarify), IT Lead at a Telstra call centre and serial facebook application blocker, CollinsVU is a communication, technology and science buff with an  evangelistic appreciation of social media. More information about CollinsVU can be found on the authors page or on his blog,  Prometheous Ink. CollinsVU’s disclosures and disclaimer information can be found on the disclaimer page.

Can Google shareholders gain from the China confrontation?

It’s hard to see exit from the Chinese market as maximizing Google’s profits. China is, after all, very large (though Chinese growth in searching is slow). It may be that Google is being, at least in part, high-minded. After all, it’s motto is “Don’t be evil” & it is reported that Sergey Brin’s aversion to totalitarian states played a role here. Yet, it is not Google’s fiduciary duty to be high-minded: rather the organization must act in its shareholder’s interests. But there are two points to be made in favour of Google’s China stance:

Emulation: Do not merely replicate known objects

Brad Delong (linking to Marco.Org) pointed me toward Soulver, a rather nice calculator ap for the iPhone (the Mac version is much more expensive). Most calculator aps replicate the real world object, which is handy as most of us know how to operate physical calculators, but that that should not constrain the developer. Soulver does not have an equal key: output appears next to the input as you type. This means there is a record of your inputs. Soulver also allows separate calculations on different lines, & like a spreadsheet you can refer to different lines. This makes scenario calculations and comparisons v easy. I love it!! [I should have added that you can also save your calculations.]

Prescription insurance: Moral hazard vs transaction costs

A person with insurance for drug prescriptions is more likely to use drugs and less likely to worry about getting the cheapest or most cost effective prescription. This leads to the expectation that the demand from the insured for drugs would result in higher prices than if individuals bore most the cost of drug prescriptions, but that is not correct: Our paper provides evidence for what we consider a surprising outcome: in the case of the new prescription drug program for Medicare enrollees, moving consumers from cash-paying status to membership in an insured group lowers optimal prices for branded prescription drugs below what they otherwise would be. This is surprising because the standard effect of insurance is to create inelastic demand and therefore elicit higher […]