Des petits trous, des petits trous, toujours des petits trous…

I attended two excellent jazz events last week, jazz being one thing the Chicago music scene excels at (*).
The first was “Brazilian Nights” with Paulinho Garcia and some very talented NU jazz students, at the Regenstein Hall in the NU campus.  → Read more

Wine of the Year: Saxum, James Berry Paso Robles 2007

I believe it is the first time since I know it– though it might well be first time ever–that Wine Spectator’s top 10 is dominated by New World wines. The winner is Saxum, James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles 2007, “[a]n amazing wine, dense, rich and layered, offering a mix of power and finesse, with concentrated dark berry fruit, mineral, sage, herb and cedar notes that are pure, intense, focused and persistent.  → Read more

Weekend econlinks: The quest for perfection

  • Gelman writes a useful overview on causality and statistical learning (caveat lector: I have only read through Angrist and Pischke’s book, among the three Gelman mentiones; that one is very well written, but aimed at junior graduate students at best: hence, the book’s tag “an empiricist’s companion” is overselling it; and that has nothing to do with Josh Angrist kindly “advising” me to change my PhD topic/focus, sometime in my beginning graduate years, because ‘nobody serious would be interested in structural modelling’ :-)).
  → Read more

On Noncommutative Geometry, String Theory, and the EU vs. US academe

All this in a 2005 interview with Alain Connes, in Iran (initial link to the PDF of the interview via Tyler Cowen, on MR).

First, I think this is a very welcome, very open interview (several questions/comments are just great, congrats to the interviewers!) and it is extremely interesting to see the opinion of this great mathematician (inter alia, Fields Medalist in 1982) on a wide range of topics.  → Read more

Is flexicurity an alternative for the French labour market?

Probably not, says Gilles Saint-Paul in his assessment of the recent labour market agreements from France. I agree (and strongly recommend Saint-Paul’s short but concise essay on VoxEU, one of my best readings this week).

While it is imperative to make the French labour market more flexible (remember however how a small step in this direction, the infamous CPE, was received in France 2 years ago), trying to handle this as part of a flexicurity package, with generous unemployment benefits complemented by active labour market policies meant to induce unemployed workers to search for and accept jobs fast, might have different effects in France.  → Read more

Beware the Euronomics. Plus some further thoughts on the economics curricula in Romania and The Netherlands

Retain at least the conclusion of this excellent article (applying, unfortunately, well beyond just France and Germany, within EU or Europe in general), which draws attention to the enormous, though often neglected*, importance of (high) school economics education, with emphasis on the (very real) risks of learning absolute nonsense from state-sponsored economics courses.  → Read more

Song of the day: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane

Intro: without any direct connection a priori (though, thinking again about it, perhaps I was in a psychedelic state to give Marie-George Buffet 5 points…), I recalled the song I propose as today’s song following a short discussion in the comments section of my friend Dan’s post about the French candidates to presidency (you should do that politiquiz as well: as for myself, I got Sarkozy and Bayrou on the top places with 10 points both- never mind whom I got on the third place :-)- and I trust the French will be smart enough to do likewise in their fast approaching elections…).  → Read more