Assorted Links (8/25/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Energy Economics

  • ‘Peak Oil’ Is a Waste of Energy, by Micheal Lynch
    New York Times: “A careful examination of the facts shows that most arguments about the theory of peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance of how the oil industry operates.”

Game Theory

  • Can a rational person believe in miracles?, by Presh Talwalkar
    Mr. Talwalkar applies Bayes Theorem to assess Francis Collins’ argument (put forth in his book The Language of God) that rational people can believe in miracles.

Health Care Reform

  • In Defense of the Public Option, by Alex Tabarrok
    Professor Tabarrok argues that “…health insurance reform will increase the market power of insurance firms and drive up prices.  In this scenario, the public option at least has a raison d’etre, although whether it actually fulfills it’s purpose is an open question.”


  • Obama’s Summer of Discontent, by Fouad Ajami
    Professor Ajami’s historical references are quite apropos, and I even learned about an interesting French phrase from reading this article: lèse-majesté. According to Wikipedia, “…lèse-majesté is the crime of violating majesty, an offense against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.”
  • Saving the Obama Presidency, by William McGurn
    Mr. McGurn draws some interesting (although perhaps somewhat speculative) parallels between August 2009 and August 1994. August 1994 marked a major turning point for the Clinton presidency, in the sense that in the wake of the failure of the so-called “HillaryCare” initiative, President Clinton “freed” himself from his party’s left wing and returned to the centrist themes on which he had originally campaigned. McGurn’s question is whether President Obama will follow President Clinton’s example, thereby “saving” his presidency.