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Archive for August, 2007

Interesting Read

A fun interview with Tyler Cowen on his new book. (Here‘s a link to a fascinating podcast with him, here‘s an article on how to use economics to find good restaurants).

An interesting except that rings true to me:

reason (8:42:28 AM): you write "delusion is one secret to a good marriage." what is your wife’s biggest delusion about you?

Cowen (8:42:54 AM): Let me ask her right now…

"If it’s a delusion, how would I know about it?" she says.

I would say her biggest delusion is that she pretends not to know what her biggest delusion is.

Virtual World Financial Crisis. Sounds like we got more jobs for economists and regulators.

China’s cloning prowess. Do their copying expertises count as innovation?

Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd To His Love. Reminds me of all the interesting parodies my friends and I made for our high school English literature class.

Academic Inefficiency. Totally agree, although I don’t think being inefficient is necessarily bad.

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It’s half way through my internship, and I’ve gained around 2kg of weight. Perhaps I should start another diet challenge (see here and here). The weight gain is both due to less exercise (I only go to gym during weekend now) and more importantly, the increased consumption of chocolates and sweets. Our division has a policy that anyone coming back from travel should bring back sweets. I never figure out who set the rule, but I guess it’s our manager as he is a sweets junkie. Since summer’s the travelling season, almost every week there’ll be new chocolates proliferating around the division. German chocolates, Swiss, Spanish, Irish, Austrian, you name it.

 

As a rule, I generally don’t buy junk foods or sweets myself, but I’d eat them if they are available, especially if they are sweets I never had before as I derive pleasure from trying new foods. The problem now is that even if I just try one of every type of chocolates around, the amount still seems excessive.

 

What should I do? I view this as a kind of time inconsistency problem economists study. I can think of a few solutions for it. One way is to eliminate the problem altogether (e.g. have someone take the chocolates away so I don’t face the temptation and won’t face the problem anymore). But this is not feasible in this case as the chocolates are communal. Another solution is changing my preference (e.g. making myself hate chocolates either by deception or by reading more about its bad effects). But why would I want to deceive myself? And I know enough about the nutrition values of chocolates and still find the pleasure from moderate consumption (especially novel ones) outweigh the costs. The last solution that come to my mind is by setting rule for myself (I won’t consume any sweets, or I’ll only have one chocolate per day, etc.). I find this method useful as I generally have the will power to follow through rules I set for myself. But it seems a bit rigid and takes out the spontaneous pleasure of consuming whenever one wishes. I’m wondering whether there are other ways I could achieve the same outcome without having to follow a rigid rule.

 

Any ideas?

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