Monthly Archives: August 2010

Russia in colour photos, a century ago

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You must see this — it’s absolutely incredible. Photographer Sergei Mikhailovich travelled around Russia in the early 20th Century taking colour photographs. He’d take three black and white images in a row with red, green and blue filters and then recombine them later with projectors. Interestingly, the Jewish boys in one image are in coloured robes, not black. I wonder if modern ideas of what is traditional is partly shaped by the black and white photos we mostly see?

Long term impact of ending the long form census

Can the long-form census be saved?

I fear it cannot. I fear that the announcement by Industry Minister Tony Clement to scrap the mandatory long-form census in favour of a voluntary survey has already damaged the future of the census beyond repair. I fear that the minister has already galvanized those who support his point of view such that any return to a mandatory census will only see more inaccurate answers than ever before.

Before the issue exploded in ink and phosphor, how many people actually thought to list their religion as Jedi Knight? In 2001 that was 21,000 people, or approximately 0.0035% of the total respondents covered by the long-form census — well within the margin of error for most statistic reports. But what about now? Who wants to take bets that the rank of Jedi Knights will see a significant increase in their number if the government is forced to reverse its decision?

From a letter from Terry McGinn in thewhig.com

This is my biggest concern as well. Even if the decision were reversed now, the government’s rhetoric will have given more people the view that the census is coercive, as opposed to a civic duty. With respect to the census, the relationship of Canadians with the census will be fundamentally changed. I hope we’re wrong, but that’s my fear too.

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Planet Money podcast: Monopoly, A Dangerous Game?

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If Daniel Hamermesh is Monopoly’s economist champion, Russ Roberts of George Mason University, is its economist defector. While Russ admits to playing as a child, these days he says the only time it’s played in his house, is when he wants to teach his kids “how bad” its lessons are. In a 2006 Morning Edition commentary, Roberts said about the game “…only Marxists look at the world of capitalism the way the game of Monopoly does, as an unrelentingly gloomy system of exploitation where the rich eventually wear everyone else down.”

I really enjoyed this episode of the brilliant podcast Planet Money, the podcast from NPR that explains complex economic issues in understandable ways. In this episode, two hosts play a game of Monopoly with two economists with different views of the game and, while they play, they discuss what it really teaches people about capitalism.

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