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Meeting New People

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With this blog, I have met so many amateur economists and aspiring economists and Ph.D. economists that I long ago lost count; I have "met" currency speculators and smugglers, exiles, soldiers, high school students, corporate executives, and of course, newspaper reporters.

Do you remember that I was in the Washington Times a few years ago? It's not something I think about regularly, but last week, this blog received a unique comment:


Can I have your email address (by emailing me)? I want to send you a request. Thanks

Warm regards,


Definitely not spam. So I emailed him. It turns out that he's teaching Malay to undergrads in Brunei; they have a blog! As an exercise, he had them translate the Washington Times article into Malay, and debated whether blogging could improve writing.

A few years ago, I invited any person who wanted to blog about economics, regardless of training or experience, to join Truck & Barter. It was not an experiment intended to measure response, though I was happy with the number and quality of people who volunteered. It was not a well-crafted attempt at expanding my social network, though I've developed a network of some strong, but mostly weak ties from all over the world... I just wanted to meet eager and interesting folks, giving newcomers a somewhat established shop, instead of them having to set up their own.

Now I can say that I've met advanced Malay language learners. And I say to them that blogging is what you make of it. Treat it seriously, and your vocabulary, style, and grammar will improve; treat it as a chore or a game or a joke, and you will gain nothing.

For more of what I think blogging ought to be like, see my reply to the article you guys read.


What American accent do you have?
Your Result: North Central

"North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The West
The Midland
The Inland North
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
This is an odd result considering the closest I've ever come to Minnesota is living in Montana and, well, Chicago. I discount Chicago since people in that town don't seem to talk like people from Minnesota. When I was at Montana State for my undergrad there were a fair amount of people from Minnesota. I might have picked up some of their speech patterns from lighthearted mocking. The other alternative explanation could be my childhood fascination with the movie Strange Brew. That is probably the most likely explanation considering I was born and grew up in Southern California and my current love affair with beer.

In other news, I received my new ID card from the state of California. The odd thing about this is it only took 10 days which is a full day faster than the recent new ATM card I received. This event has already had me reevaluating my skepticism of what government can do. The saying that socialism hasn't worked because it hasn't been tried by the right people may be true after all. My apologies to Brink.

Translation, Please


At T&B, we don't get many foreign language Google Ads:


Can anyone provide a translation?

Inauthentic Paper Detector

Can’t guarantee the authenticity of the following Inauthentic Paper Detector from Indiana University School of Informatics. According to the site;

“This web site is intended for detecting whether a technical document is human written and authentic or not. Predictions may work for documents intended for entertainment (novels, news articles etc.). The main purpose of this software is to detect whether a technical document conforms to the statistical standards of an expository text. You can easily take a human written technical document and add some nonsense text somewhere in the middle, or paste a document generated by an automatic paper generator. We are trying to detect new, machine written texts that are simply generated not to have any meaning, yet appear to have meaning on the surface.”

I tested George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language; the result “This text had been classified as INAUTHENTIC with a 17.7% chance of being authentic text”.

(via Improbable Research)


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