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Archive for September, 2007

Simple Website Design Tip

Posted by erweinstein on September 30, 2007

A website is poorly designed if I have to use the “Find on This Page” browser feature in order to locate the website’s search bar. (Not naming names…)

UPDATE:  Math professor Robert Talbert at Casting Out Nines provides more sorely-needed website design tips.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Technology | Comments Off on Simple Website Design Tip

iPhone Demand Curves Slope Down

Posted by erweinstein on September 12, 2007

Least surprising headline of the week: “iPhone price drop leads to sales boost“.

Here is Steven Levitt’s discussion of Apple and iPhone pricing.

Professor Levitt’s analysis seems to suggest that there are non-trivial and possibly large “reputation” costs for a company changing the pricing, features, or extras on an existing product line. Obviously if the company fails to account for the sales effect of a reputation change, an apparently profit-maximizing pricing or production decision might not be optimal. I think the biggest difficulty would be finding a reasonable way to measure the reputation effects on sales (and disentangle them from other changes in demand and quantity demanded). Some field studies of how firms actually make these estimates might be useful as a starting point. I don’t think that the theoretical problems with this type of pricing behavior are quite as intractable as Levitt implies, although the empirical work might prove tricky. My overconfidence suggest that I should probably stop blogging and get to work…

Posted in Economics | Comments Off on iPhone Demand Curves Slope Down

No Hiding Place

Posted by erweinstein on September 7, 2007

…for Mike Nifong. The corrupt, grandstanding, race-baiting former District Attorney of Durham County is serving 24 hours in jail today for contempt of court. Nifong was disbarred in June for his actions during the Duke Lacrosse case. He still faces civil liabilities from the three Duke students whose lives he ruined. Nifong proceeded with charges of rape against David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann while suppressing contradictory DNA evidence because appearing to stand up for the rights of the black accuser against the “privileged” white students gave Nifong the votes he needed to secure his reelection in racially-divided Durham.

Many members of the conservative and libertarian blogosphere, especially Bill Anderson and the crowd at, deserve much credit for correctly ascertaining the facts of the case and for agitating against Nifong’s gross misconduct. In contrast, most members of the educated liberal elite (including the 88 Duke professors who signed a statement criticizing the accused lacrosse players) deserve condemnation for blindly assuming that the allegations of a black “victim” against white “perpetrators” must be true.

In related matters, what on earth is a 24-hour sentence? How much correctional purpose can be served by having an offender spend one day in prison?

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on No Hiding Place