06.09.09

“burn the land and boil the sea…”

Posted in Econometrics, Fun and Games at 10:40 am by justakim

I was reflecting upon the many programs that have come and gone from my system. MiniTab, GAUSS, Stata, SAS… well at least there’s one that I can’t lose a license to.

 
you cant take R from me

07.31.08

Demand Begets Recreational Supply

Posted in Conservation, Fun and Games at 11:44 pm by justakim

Have you been to REI lately?

It is amazing how quickly markets for the outdoor enthusiast are being developed. I’m sure many of you can think back to the days of the frame pack and ye olde hiking stick. Nowadays the equipment available, of things you need and things you wouldn’t have known you needed until you saw it, might have the gloss and flair of the electronics aisles. Some say it’s good. Some say it’s bad. I say it’s fascinating.

The growth in the outdoor gear market has sparked a lot of competition in improving and inventing products. The more money there is in it, the more business can be supported, the more companies wish to enter, the more they compete with each other… the better the consumer is in the end. More products, higher quality products, and cheaper products. There have been some great improvements and inventions in the recent past that would not have come about and been made available if there were no incentive to do so.

I think back to my first tent and comparing it to my current one, it reminds me of the difference between steel and aluminum bikes. Or carbon fiber.

When did this non-stick cookware show up? Ever want a titanium spork? Wicking fabrics? Gore-tex?

Can you say “personal locator beacon”?

Two things that seem to be ubiquitous on the trails these days are hydration systems and trekking poles. I never thought I could drink so much water, but how can you say no when the straw is right on your shoulder? And who would have thought that no good hike is complete without taking a pair of sticks with you. My knees have never had it so good, and it’s hard to imagine going back.

I honestly believe that there are some places that would have been inaccessible to me without trekking poles. I hear economists think at the margin. Well, I am the margin.

To the extent that I have personally gained from the quantity and quality of gear that I have used, I gladly welcome my fellow consumers. I welcome the technical-gear geeks that are always pushing for the next thing.

And to an extent, the equipment can lower the playing field in cost of entry, and sometimes in accessibility. A hardcore person might appreciate but scoff at the difference a few pounds makes, but if you’re starting out, any help you can get means you can go a little further, see a little more, and possibly enjoy your experience just a bit more. And make the next trip out easier, until suddenly you have another enthusiast.

Popularity breeds popularity. It piques the interest of the curious, it encourages the timid, it provides a topic of commonality.

I know that some worry that there are just too many people out there, loving nature to death. But there is a big difference between those who appreciate something they know, and those who will not miss the passing of something they never knew was there.

To those who enjoy the gear, go for it; you and I will benefit from each others’ business. To those who can do without, you have gained more opportunities to exercise restraint.

06.30.08

Internet Behavior

Posted in And Now for Something Completely Different, Behavior, Fun and Games at 12:16 pm by justakim

Some online gaming companies have come to realize that customer behavior impacts sales (language warning). This article discusses how the game can be engineered to discourage certain antisocial behaviors that run rampant in multiplayer games today.

I really like not only the acknowledgment that gamer culture (or lack thereof) is a turnoff for many, and that it would be economically worthwhile to do something about it.

You don’t have to let (social filter) hurt your multiplayer game’s popularity or sales. Social environments can be designed to minimize bad behavior. Social conflict is inevitable in online gaming — but it doesn’t have to be as frequent or severe as it is.

But if you don’t design the social environment, your game will probably end up feeling like most do right now — like the lawless territories of the Wild West.

Censorship added by me.

It seems to me that online gaming will inevitably become more-or-less civilized, like a vast portion of the rest of the internet has become over the years.

05.09.08

Survey Incentive

Posted in And Now for Something Completely Different, Cat, Fun and Games at 2:06 pm by justakim

I thought I’d offer some entertainment in exchange for your precious few minutes. I’m sure some of these are familiar to most of you.

Taylor Mali on what teachers make

standupeconomist

George Carlin on saving the planet

Fun with graphs and venn diagrams

Powerpoint presentations

I also made some lolcats.
fishay

specificashun

And a taco for Ars. Economies of scale, y’know.
tacos

05.05.08

Ecogamer

Posted in Conservation, Fun and Games, Pollution, Resources at 11:31 am by justakim

Someone is compiling a list of video games with environmental themes. I forgive them for not putting in ChronoTrigger yet.

04.21.08

When your hard-earned isk depends on it

Posted in Fun and Games, Resources at 6:56 pm by justakim

But there are certainly other unlimited sources of items that can be refined, and Eve players will surely find the next best deal. They probably have already.

Response:

There is. 😛 3.66 isk/unit for civilian afterburners

Poor CCP…

Imaginary Market Bump

Posted in Fun and Games, Resources at 11:13 am by justakim

I take part in a little company on Eve Online that makes really big ships. We buy lots of materials off the market, like tritanium. Please note that I am a very casual player of Eve.

So the SO comes by.
“Oh did I tell you trit prices went up?”
“Nope”
“They took out a loophole where you could refine shuttles for trit.”
“Price ceiling?”
“Yeah. The going rate was 3.2/unit, shuttle price was 3.6, and now it’s 4.6 or so.”
“Ew. Now what?”
“The price will come down some and we have reserves to ride it out. We’ll wait a bit for the price to come down before purchasing more.”

At first it appears straightforward:

You can either mine trit, or you can buy and refine an unlimited supply of shuttles to produce trit. You remove the trick, and people will have to rely on mining. There is a temporary spike because people have to shift over to mining, and a permanent rise in prices.

But wait! The price of trit was below the price ceiling. Normally, that would mean that the price ceiling was ineffective and irrelevant, but that is not the case here.

People who buy shuttles and refine them for trit do not interact with the market. The demand observed in the market does not include the total consumption of trit, only what is mined. Buyers who don’t refine, and sellers who mine, trade at 3.2/unit. Everyone else pays 3.6/unit for convenience or whatever. When the 3.6/unit source of trit was removed, the true demand suddenly became visible, while it will take supply time to respond. Prices spiked to ~4.6, and they will eventually go down.

However, we don’t know how far down it will go. Eve’s economist did indeed note the correlation between shuttle prices and trit prices, which is probably what led them to remove the loophole, so that gives us an idea of what the actual demand is. But there are certainly other unlimited sources of items that can be refined, and Eve players will surely find the next best deal. They probably have already.

I hope this illustrates that while economics, the study of resource allocation, can be applied to games, it can be in pretty silly ways. It also shows that people understand these things intuitively. Everyone knows that if a known and exploited loophole is removed, the price will go up, until new solutions are employed, whether it is as intended, or more likely, another smart loophole. Moreover, there are probably a thousand other details peculiar to this market that I am completely ignorant of since I am not an avid player.