Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pop-Up Economics, by Tim Harford

Tim Harford has a new radio series on the BBC called Pop-Up Economics. It's highly recommended!

The next epidose will talk about Thomas Schelling. I'm looking forward to listening to it !

Average Traffic Density of US Highways (1944)

Eric Fischer has found this awesome map showing the predicted average traffic density of US highways in 1944 (via Tim De Chant). Since they didn't have the GIS technology we have today, how do you think they did this? 

[Click on the image to enlarge it]

Related Links:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Off-topic: A regular day of traffic in Russia

(via uhull)

Quote of the Day

"The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones"
(it's hard to find who said it first)

Monday, January 28, 2013

How Much Does a Good Boss Really Matter?

A new podcast by S. Dubner talking about this working paper: "The Value of Bosses".
If you're curious about the answer but don't have much time to read the full paper, listen to the podcast or just read the abstract !

ps. I'm not sure if their findings could be applied to universities or research institutions. But why not?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Replay: World Population Distribution Map

Tired with those traditional World Population Distribution Maps ?

Bill Rankin came up with this creative way to understand population distribution in our planet!

ps. it got me thinking about Global Warming and sea levels, desertification, etc.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Does aging population hinder Innovation?

Here is the reasoning basis.
Sociologists have described a technology adoption life cycle, which represents the way an invention spreads throughout a community. It’s depicted as a bell curve where the x-axis represents time and the y-axis represents the number of adopters. [...] If the young tend to be more creative and to adopt new ideas more readily than the old, then the coming demographic changes—rising median ages across the West—portend a strong headwind for innovation in the next decades. Not only will we have fewer workers, but we’ll also have fewer inventors and what new ideas we have will face stronger resistance. [...] (by Michael Gibson, Forbes)

It sounds palusbile, although it is not clear yet how deeply innovation levels are affected by demographics. Additionally, I'd say that the coming demographic changes are not likely to affect all levels of innovation (from smartphones and tablets to tomographs and clean energy) in the same way.

So here lies one question: Can current economic and demographic trends around the globe change the geography of innovation markets (both production and consumption) in the future?

Related link:

Monday, January 21, 2013

American life expectancy lags behind

Interesting comments by Gary Becker and Richard Posner on why American life expectancy lags behind other developed countries.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

JTRG call for papers: Transport and Logistics in China

Heads Up!

The Journal of Transport Geography (JTRG)* has opened a call for papers for a special issue on The Changing Landscapes of Transport and Logistics in China. More information on Tim Schwanen's blog.

The most cited authors in Sociology

Inspired by this, I've decided to ask: Who is the most cited author in Sociology of all time? I'll give you a hint. It is not E. Durkheim, nor K. Marx. It is not P. Bourdieu either, although he is close to the top of the list.

This ranking is based on Google Scholar Citations page. Of course there are unregistered authors, what makes this ranking very inaccurate (although I believe the two first positions are correct).**

Anyway, the real purpose of this post is to encourage you to register at Google Scholar Citations. This is one of the best ways for academics to compute citation metrics and track them over time.

You only need a gmail account and Google does the rest for you. And anyone can register!

**A few authors missing from the ranking because they are not in Google Scholar Citations.
  • Anthony Giddens
  • Norbert Elias
  • Manuel Castells
  • David Harvey
  • Robert Castel
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Loic Wacquant
  • Ulrich Beck
  • Zygmunt Bauman
  • Jürgen Habermas
  • Bruno Latour
  • Mark Gottdiener
  • This could go on and on...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Math Equations and research credibility

So I've decided I'll start including a couple of math equations in some of my posts! And I'll also include a photo like this to my CV.

Here for more info on the UCI - Urban Centrality Index.

I hope this blog is a little more credible now.

Data Analysis online course using R

Jeff Leek (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) is teaching a course on Data Analysis on Coursera (starting on Jan 22nd). Here is a flowchart to help you decide whether you should take the course. And a 4-minute video with more info.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Existential Adventures of Tim Maia

Tim Maia is definitely one of the greatest Brazilian singers of all time. Last year, Luaka Bop Records released Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia, which includes 15 excellent tracks ! (via Open Culture)

My friend Rafhael Vaz wrote a post about it (in Portuguese) pointing to this link where you can download the record.

1. Imunização Racional (Que Beleza) – 1975
2. Let’s Have a Ball Tonight – 1978
3. O Caminho do Bem – 1976
4. Ela Partiu – 1975
5. Quer Queira, Quer Não Queira – 1976
6. Brother Father Mother Sister – 1976
7. Do Leme ao Pontal – 1981
8. Nobody Can Live Forever – 1976
9. I Don’t Care – 1971
10. Bom Senso – 1975
11. Where Is My Other Half? – 1972
12. Over Gain – 1973
13. The Dance Is Over – 1976
14. You Don’t Know What I Know – 1975
15. Rational Cultura – 1975

Assorted Links

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recent Real Estate Trends in China

We provide the first multi-city, constant quality land price index for 35 major markets in China. While there is meaningful heterogeneity in land price growth across cities, on average the last nine years have seen land values skyrocket in many markets, not just those on or near the coast. The typical market has experienced double-digit compound average annual growth in real, constant-quality land values. The 2009-2010 stimulus period typically saw large surges in prices. Three notable characteristics about the land value appreciation series are their strong mean reversion at annual frequencies, the strong common factor in their movement, and their very high volatility. Quantities, not just prices, have been sharply increasing in recent years. The typical amount of space supplied via land auctions in our 35 city sample has doubled since 2008. Some local political economy traits such as the time the local Chinese Communist Party leader has been in office are correlated with land supply volume.

Famous watchwords in Urban Planning

Some of you might have heard of the Google Books Ngram Viewer. Basically, it's a tool that charts the usage of any word over time in published books (Google books database has over 20 million scanned books).

So this time, I have used it as as a proxy for the popularity of famous watchwords in Urban Planning, such as smart growth, compact city, new urbanismcreative class and world city.

Here is what I've found. You can click on the image to enlarge it or you can click here and try your own combination of words.

[Click on te image to enlarge it]

Perhaps you might ask 'why would someome do that? for what purpose?' the ultimate answer!

You may also play around using google trends, which shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume in google's search engine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MRU short videos on Migration

Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok (from MR Blog) have a few excellent short videos on Migration as a part of their Development Economics course at the Marginal Revolution University.

This one is about internal migration in China.

Other MRU videos on Migration you should check:
  1. Basic Facts about Migration
  2. Wage Gains from Immigration
  3. Remittances
  4. Is there a Brain Drain?
  5. Wage Effects in the U.S.
  6. Internal Chinese Migration

Isochronic maps of American railways in the 1800s

We have already seen some Isochronic maps here at Urban Demographics Blog. Here are a couple of travel time maps for rail mode in the US using New York City as a starting point (1800, 1830, 1857 and 1930). Via Nathan Yau.

Time to get from New York City to almost anywhere in the US, in 1857.
[Image Credit: the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the US, via Michael Graham Richard]

Friday, January 4, 2013