Our Fantasy “Intellectual” Team dark horses

My dad and I have one of the ten teams competing in Arnold Kling’s “Fantasy Intellectual* Team” challenge.

Arnold has published a list of the drafted “players” and two picks (from among 150) seem to have raised the most eyebrows, both of which “belong” to our team, Clan Graham:

Joe Rogan (our 1st pick)
Donald Trump (our 3rd pick)

What were we thinking? Well, I’ll answer that with a quote from Nassim Taleb**:

“There are two types of people: those who try to win and those who try to win arguments. They are never the same.”

Let me explain why these two controversial picks are going to earn us serious points and lead to the decimation of our competition. Per Arnold’s rules, players earn points for Steel-manning, having the Memes they created be cited by others, and making public Bets.

Rogan, which is obvious to anyone who has listened to him more than a handful of times, is a generous “Steel-manner.” We think we can count on one point for every three episodes—that’s at least a point a week for thirteen weeks.

And I am genuinely curious to know what other living person has created more memes than DJT. He is the originator of dozens, from Covfefe to Fake News. I expect he’ll earn us at least ten points during the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to get over 15.

The best competitor we could think of for the third category (Bets) was Bryan Caplan, but even he is not all that prolific with his betting, so he was much lower on our pick list. Another team snagged him in the fourth round.

* Given the rules for awarding points, I will be putting “intellectual” in quotations when referring to the competition; this will be more of contest over citation frequency than a ranking of intellect.
** We wanted NNT, also for his meme-strength, but someone else got him first.

(Really) Young Entrepreneurs

Thou shall not pass without buying some lemonade or iced tea

My kids are always starting businesses. They aren’t often successful businesses, but I love their effort and their indomitable spirit.

The lemonade business has been pretty good, but only when they time it right. The front-yard restaurant was surprisingly successful despite them selling only imaginary food. But the rock business! That one was horrible.

Both my kids love rocks. They don’t love rocks so much that they’d be willing to buy one, but their love for rocks is so strong that they believe other people would gladly pay 50¢ for any one of the small stones they’ve pulled from the creek behind our house.

Two winters ago, when the lemonade business wasn’t really a good option, they set up their rock stand and tried selling to passers-by. Whenever anyone would get close, Alex would shout, “Rocks for sale! Get your cool rocks here!”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough foot traffic for them to get any real traction, so they decided to take their game on the road. They bagged up the rocks, and started walking around the neighborhood. I tagged along.

Continue reading “(Really) Young Entrepreneurs”

Boys and girls are different

My son and I have birthdays in the same week. For his eighth birthday, he received some money from my brother (his uncle) in a birthday card. Within the same envelope was another card for me, in which my brother had inserted my birthday present: two pennies. Thanks bro!

The envelope within which both cards arrived was addressed to my son, as was the card containing his folding money. The card with the pennies was addressed to me. My son insisted that his uncle had intended the two pennies for him, as they’d come within the envelope that was addressed to him. I argued that the pennies were clearly meant for me, as the card into which they were taped had a hand written note for me.

We discussed it for a few minutes, each of us arguing plausible scenarios that would support our position. Finally, my five year old daughter intervened. “Why don’t we just call him and ask!? Give me the phone,” she demanded.

In response to her question, I turned to my son, “What do you want to do? Call him and ask him what he meant, or decide right now?”

“You can have the pennies,” he replied.

In my experience, there are innate differences between men and women.