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I often read the San Diego Reader when I eat alone because it’s free and I have an affinity for local weekly publications that I developed while living in places that had decent examples of the genre (I don’t think genre is the word I was looking for but it’ll do). The staff at the Reader occasional write something worthy of a small college newspaper, but usually fall short of that lofty mark. To the best of my knowledge the listing of local music is accurate, so they’ve got that going for them.

Last Thursdays addition had some highpoints, including an ode to my old neighborhood set in the laundrymat across from my apartment. Another article “An Olympic Moment” told the story of Jacob Blumenfeld, a former San Diegan who went to Beijing during the Summer Olympics to bust out a Free Tibet sign. After being arrested, he was asked if he worked for the government and who was in charge of his operation. The Chinese didn’t think a couple of 20-somethings would head off to a far away country to complain about Tibet. If you enjoy shouting “America’s Number One” or something similar, and are worried that China may be a challenger in the Earthly domination category, this observation should be reassuring.

This country is great at blowing stuff up, designing iPod’s (but not so much at making them) and creating overly complicated financial instruments (oops) and a big reason for this is we live in a country were a sixteen year old could come up with an awesome new widget, get some financial backing and sell it to the world. Or fly to China and protest human rights issues. As long as the Chinese are following in line with the Party, they’ll have trouble getting past the design stage. At least that’s what I think.

As for Mr. Blumenfeld, he and his co-conspirators were deported back to the U.S. along with a crate full of Wallmart bound tupperware, and the Chinese government paid for the ticket. So next time you want to go see Asia, buy a one way ticket and pack a free Tibet sign.

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Found through the Washington Post, economists have determined that ugly people are more likely to commit crimes than “normals” and us pretty people are less likely than everyone else to beat, steal or sell drugs. The authors give two reasons for the results

First, a labor market reward to beauty motivates young adults (ages 18-26) to sort themselves on the margin such that unattractive ones find it more advantageous to engage in crime. Second, beauty in high school has a separate, independent effect on crime.Here, the pathway is from being unattractive in high school to undesirable high school experience and diminished human capital formation in high school.

The only solution I have for the first argument is a pre-emptive strike, in which we lock up all the ugo’s before they can take our car stereos. For the second, seperate but equal high schools segregated by attractiveness could lessen the effect on some of the ugly’s. The ugly schools could even have celebrities like Danny Devito, Sam Cassell and Rene Russo give talks about how they overcame their disabilities without criminal records.

The paper by Naci Mocan and Erdal Tekin was interesting top to bottom, and less offensive than this post. It does make one wonder if people with strange names are more likely to write economics papers.