Monday, July 26, 2004


Where is that girl from Norway?

I had this girl from Norway in several of my econ classes in college.  I never learned her name.  I mean she kept telling me what it was, but for some reason I couldn't remember it so I just started calling her Miss Norway.  She was a very nice woman and not unattractive (I knew several guys who lusted for her long legs and ample assets, unfortunately she wasn't blonde) but what I remember most about her was that she fully intended to go back to Norway after she graduated and work in Norway.  She admitted to the problems with the economic system and did not even agree with the welfare state or even general economic policies, but it was her home and she had a certain longing to go back.  I can understand that.  unfortunately, as with so many of my college classmates, I didn't even really think about keeping in touch, but I would have loved to hear her take on this.  (For people who refuse to click on a link without knowing what it is...It is an article on the problems Norway has had on getting its employees to show up for work.)

Thinking about the Norway girl made me think about the girl from Price Theory  who was from Sweden.  She was blond.  Still not my ideal woman, but you have to get points for being a tall blonde from Sweden right?  Anyway, she was not an econ major...Price Theory was required for a degree in International Management, or whatever that degree was called and that is why she was there.  She did not particularly want to go back to Sweden to live and work.  She was looking forward to working in the U.S. but was afraid that she might have trouble getting a VISA...This was actually right after 9/11 and I remember her family came for a visit and she was wondering if they would have any problems getting into the country.  I didn't expect much of a problem (as bad as it sounds, I doubted that authorities were worrying about tall, blonde, Swedish girls in their 20's and their parents).  I thought about her when I read this article about foreign students being allowed to stay in the country until their applications are decided for VISAs.  The first point I want to make is that the article is unnecessarily vague.  "Certain foreign students"?  What the hell is that?  I don't know if the journalist just felt that it was unneccessary to explain what the criteria was or whether he just didn't know or understand, but it was troublesome to me.  The second point is one of timing...the article doesn't explain whether the reason for allowing the students to stay is because the government is taking longer than expected to process the applications or whether there is some other reason.  These are just points of journalistic style I suppose, but every once in awhile I have to vent on something like this...

By the way...whatever happened to the Swedish girl?  I wish I knew...she performed Swedish massages during her college years and at what she was charging could easily pull down a six figure income so I think it would be pretty interesting to see what she is doing now.  Also, as a policy point, we should have more open borders in any case, but could we at least start with the hot blondes...

Alright, I'm almost done...just bear with me here.  Geekpress directed me to this article.

"A heart drug being tested in black patients is on course to become the first medicine approved for use in a specific ethnic group, challenging those scientists who believe that race is a bad basis for prescriptions." 

I don't really have much to say on the issue per se, but I thought it was an interesting article...I might have some thoughts later on, but thoughts are so rare for me that I doubt it. 

Last thing I wanted to comment on today.  On the way home from my appointment today I was listening to NPR's MarketPlace and they started talking about Google and the Dutch Auction that they are performing for their IPO.  They were talking about today's announcement that the buy in price for a share of stock is going to be somewhere between $108 and $135.  I think that NPR made some good points, but it got me to thinking back to my days reading articles on Auction Theory.  I remember the first book that I read on the subject was an old book probably written before much theory was in existence.  I forget the title, but the author said that there were 2 interesting points about auctions.  1.  Theoretically the type of auction chosen should not effect the outcome of the auction.  2.  The type of auction obviously effects the outcome of the auction. 

The author was referring to the "Revenue Equivalence Theorem" which basically states that the expected price should be the same regardless of the auction chosen.  That is not to say that in actuality all of the auction models would always result in the same price.  It is a subtle distinction.  It is the distinction that point 2 makes clear.  In situations of differing strategies and asymmetrical information, many different outcomes are possible, but the amazing part of auction theory is the number of outcomes that it can effectively eliminate as possibilities.  I'm not going to go into a deep dissertation on auction theory, especially since I am by no means an expert.  I did want to mention one of the more interesting Dutch auctions I have read about though.

Apparently there are Ontario tobacco auctions that use a clock that ticks down the price incrementally and the tobacco buyers have jeopardy style buzzers to click so that when the price falls to what they will buy they can click it.  Reflexes are extremely important using that methodology, especially if most buyers would want to buy at the same price.  The first one to click gets it.  Okay...I'm done rambling on for the day. 

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