December 10, 2003

What Is the World Coming to?

What is the world coming to? In this new age, you can't even anonymously post poison-pen reviews trashing the work of people in neighboring offices! Google is just too powerful a tool.

Tim Lambert discovers that American Enterprise Institute senior fellow John Lott (or somebody using a computer with amazon.com cookies set at identical values to those on John Lott's computer) has been anonymously trashing fellow AEI senior fellow Kevin Hassett's book, Bubbleology, accusing him of "running a scam," among other things. Go here and look for the review by "a reader from Swarthmore, PA USA":

Despite Mr. Hassett's track record with his previous book "Dow 36,000," I saw him appear on CNBC during the early morning show and thought that he did well enough that I should buy the book. He promised that you could use his book to figure out what stocks were overvalued and which ones weren't. A pretty important topic given the current market environment. However, after reading this short book I have no idea of how to actually rank stocks on the 1 to 6 scale that he uses. He doesn't actually provide concrete examples, only that he says that he put together this ranking and it worked really well. My other problem is that if this approach works so well how come he didn't use it when his "Dow 36,000" book came out when the stock market was at its peak. Some explanation would have been useful for why Hassett, who is marketing this book as a full proof approach to spotting bubbles, wasn't able to use this approach himself over just the last couple of years to warn people and predict which stocks were going to crash, a period when he was supposedly writing this book. Claiming that you use a not clearly stated formula to identify overvalued stocks after they have already crashed seems like a scam to me.

I don't think that Bubbleology is the world's greatest book. But shouldn't you at least criticize a guy's book to his face, when the guy works in your office?

And, of course, Tim Lambert has more, much more about John Lott's adventures in internet sock puppetry...

Posted by DeLong at December 10, 2003 04:30 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Prof DeLong's comments about John Lott would be more believable if he wasn't so rabidly anti-gun.

Heh. Indeed.

Read the whole thing and I am sure you will find it to be as confusing and statistically dense as I did.

Posted by: strawman on December 10, 2003 05:21 PM

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Well Brad, I dont see where Tim Lambert discovers that Lott has been trashing Hassett's book. It just states that
1) the style is similar
2) its on stuff thatt interests Lott
3) all posted anonymously from “A reader from Swarthmore, PA USA”
Thus its the same guy? Rather lousy evidence I am afraid. Amazon doesnt, not that I know of anyway, track ip addresses of people who posts. People can write anything they like about where they are from. I am sure you have seen those form filling things with the drop-down menus where you have to pick which country you are from? My guess is most people wont bother to scroll down to reach "United States" and instead picks the first choice, "Afghanistan". Misleading.

Posted by: chiu on December 10, 2003 06:08 PM

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Cloning and Droning are what "we" call it.
Lott was cloning.
Freeping is droning, i,e, hey, you, here's the buzz, fly --->there

Posted by: Josh Narins on December 10, 2003 06:09 PM

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Well Brad, I dont see where Tim Lambert discovers that Lott has been trashing Hassett's book. It just states that
1) the style is similar
2) its on stuff thatt interests Lott
3) all posted anonymously from “A reader from Swarthmore, PA USA”
Thus its the same guy? Rather lousy evidence I am afraid. Amazon doesnt, not that I know of anyway, track ip addresses of people who posts. People can write anything they like about where they are from. I am sure you have seen those form filling things with the drop-down menus where you have to pick which country you are from? My guess is most people wont bother to scroll down to reach "United States" and instead picks the first choice, "Afghanistan". Misleading.

Posted by: chiu on December 10, 2003 06:10 PM

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Brad DeLong writes:
>
> And, of course, Tim Lambert has more, much more about
> John Lott's adventures in internet sock puppetry...

As your body floats down Third Street
With the burn-smell factory closing up
Yes it's sad to say you will romanticize
All the things you've known before.
It was not not not so great.
It was not not not so great.
And as you take a bath in that beaten path
There's a pounding at the door.
Well It's a mighty zombie talking of some love and posterity
He says "The good old days never say good-bye
If you keep this in your mind:
You need some lo-lo-loving arms
You need some lo-lo-loving arms";
And as you fall from grace the only words you say are:

Put your hand inside the puppet head
Put your hand inside the puppet head
Put your hand inside
Put your hand inside
Put your hand inside the puppet head.

--They Might Be John Lott?

Posted by: Jonathan King on December 10, 2003 07:16 PM

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I did a WhoIs on chiu, and suprisingly enough it is from Philadelphia. ;)

Seriously, chiu may be right. The point is that is no longer the default assumption. Lott has negative credibility.

Posted by: theCoach on December 10, 2003 08:16 PM

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This just in -- the "reader from Swarthmore" whose views so closely parallel John Lott's, is in fact the guy who spotted Air Force One as it landed in Baghdad.

Posted by: buce on December 10, 2003 08:42 PM

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This just in -- the "reader from Swarthmore" whose views so closely parallel John Lott's, is in fact the guy who spotted Air Force One as it landed in Baghdad.

Posted by: buce on December 10, 2003 08:47 PM

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The gun thing is funny: when I was at Master Cadet summer camp everyody thought I was some sort of intellectual, so they were amazed when I came out second, out of 85, at riflery.

My ex-wife, my previous girl-friend, and my present partner, are all excellent with rifles, and in a couple of cases good with pistols. (Did I mention that two of us, and one of our daughters, know how to make nuclear weapons?)

All of us have a fairly modulated position around gun control: we want the best possible enforcement of the laws at present on the books; we all believe that the right to bear arms is extended only to members of well regulated militias.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on December 10, 2003 10:37 PM

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Personally, I'm fond of "full proof". Whether it's a matter of faster horses, younger women & older whiskey, or a permutation of the preceding, it sounds like a good thing.

Posted by: bad Jim on December 11, 2003 01:01 AM

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