A silly proposal to spend public money on giving everyone a type of sports equipment that in average can be used around one quarter of the year got me wondering how many Norwegian actually do ski. So I looked up some data from Statistics Norway’s survey on living conditions:
Source: Statistics Norway
More than half the population skis at all, skiing (on the extensive margin) is clearly on a downwards sloping trend, but is free skis to everyone the solution? Given that skis can be obtained nearly for free already, perhaps interest is just not that high. Better to build out opportunities for all-year activity close to where people live, restrict time spent watching television, raise sugar taxes, and get more physical activity into school.
I browsed through Vox.com’s archive after not having visited the site for a while, and they do have some good material (in addition to a fair amount that I do not find that attractive). Here is some of the recent stuff I liked best:
- This is why alcohol doesn’t come with nutrition facts. Alcohol is under a separate regulatory body that is presumably more susceptible to industry pressure. Related: How parents dole out sugary drink to their kids. Depressing.
- How cyclists, not drivers, first fought to pave US roads. In the 1890s and early 1900s, before the car’s time, it was early cyclists who had the most need for paved roads in stead of dirt roads. And these were not fitness types, but rather early technology adopters, who later were the first to switch to cars.
- The great invention gap between rich and poor kids — and why it matters. Based on research by Bell, Chetty, Jaravel, Petkova, and van Reenen that is so interesting that it should get its own blog post. Key sentence: “Patent rates grow exponentially with childhood income.”
- Google Feud turns Google autocomplete into a soul-crushing game. Silly and funny.
- Everything you need to know about marijuana legislation (focussed on the US)
- The Census predicts the share of immigrants will surge over the next 50 years. Because of birth rate dynamics; in the US.
- 22 maps and charts that will surprise you
When following the Norseman Xtreme triathlon online last month, I googled Graeme Stewart, who lead the race for quite some time, and came across his blog. A post of his pointed me to an interesting article about the age and performance of the top ten finishers in the yearly Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The authors (Gallmann, Knechtle, Rüst, Rosemann, Lepers ) first show that as in many other sports, the finishing times (of the top 10) have improved considerably the last 30 years (1982-2012):
This can be due to many factors. The surprising finding is that concurrently with going faster, the top finishers have become older. The average age of the top 10 men increased by 7 years, from 27 in 1983 to 34 in 2012!
The authors speculate that experience may have become more important with time or that the race may have become more attractive to former professional athletes, but do not know the answer. The point Stewart makes is that the results suggest that it takes time to build endurance and that for most people there is room for improvement regardless of age.
Today it is one year since I started this blog. The basic statistics:
I have found blogging rewarding, and one post per week is about the expected rate and something I aim to keep up.
There are both principled and practical reasons for why one should not allow torture or maltreatment of suspects or convicts. A practical one that I believe does not get enough attention is the fact that to catch a criminal, one is often dependent on tips from people who know him. Rachel Gillum writes about “Why the NYPD’s decision to drop a unit that spies on Muslims may help counterterrorism,” because it is essential that the police be regarded as fair and impartial. What I am thinking about the fact that the bar for tipping law enforcement about an acquaintance, friend or relative probably depends on the treatment the suspect can be expected to get. For example, the father of the Detroit/underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gave the CIA information before the son’s capture. Would he have done so if he expected that his son would face extensive maltreatment in the hands of the authorities?
Welcome to my blog. Here I plan to write about social science research, economics, politics, books, podcasts, and other things that I find interesting.