1. The new Energy Secretary seems fantastic, from what I've heard. Tops the charts on domain competence, general competence. Clearly, the Obama transition team has been reading my blog (ha!).
2. That makes, in particular, the HHS pick, Daschle, all that more embarassing. Another thing I meant to say: I strongly suspect his "book" on national health care reform is ghostwritten, and I think I know by who -a former public health director for Maryland who went to Emory medical school. The tip off is describing the national health plan as "creating a federal reserve type system for health insurance". I heard that exact quote years ago from the guy I'm thinking of.
3. Mankiw's been on a tear of excellent posts and analysis. Clearly he wants to be working for the Obama administration as an economist. They'd be idiots not to offer him a prominent position. He seems to be working really hard to come up with technocratic solutions to the economic challenges we face. Obama claims to want to bring in republicans -could you do better than Mankiw? Mankiw first really came on my radar when I noticed he was one of the few bloggers Terry Tao links to, and the only economics professor in my recollection.
4. I recall watching Lani Guineer on youtube giving a lecture at some school and she cited a study that people often learn best by talking about a subject. She gave it in the context that people who speak more in class get better grades (these classes were blind graded by essays), and gave some evidence that it was causal not just correlated. I think about that watching blogging heads and seeing how bloggers interact through posts and comments. I think a lot of what's going on is people learning by reciting, explaining, and debating.
5. I'm still interested to know what the battleground congressional districts are of 2010. Us technocratophiles should be focused on getting highly qualified, competitive candidates running in the Republican primaries of those districts.
6. Who are the historians, if any, who are looking at history through the lense of decision theory?
7. Obama shouldn't fall into the hubris of "sharing some quality with me makes you qualified to administer something". For example, perhaps he thinks that because Daschle is a Senator like Obama he's qualified to run HHS.
8. I'd like to see theories of publication, status, and optimizing enlightenment. What are different mechanisms that work better or worse?
9. Check the counterpunch website circa 2006 if you're interested in reading more about Japan bioweapons research director Dr. Ishii. Funny, I couldn't find this story when I researched about him a few months ago. It's very detail rich (I can't vouch for the accuracy).
10. Good experimental econ/soc project: look for useful things (if any) where teams of christians outperform teams of atheists. Also see how mixed belief teams do.
11. I'd like to see tipping norms established for "free" media the way we do for the service industry. It's less efficient to "pay" today's blogging and youtubing entertainers by buying their books or patronizing their advertisers. What does one spend on entertainment in a year? What percentage of one's time does one spend on a particular blog (such as Steve Sailor's)? That's a good guide of how much you should tip that blogger, in my opinion. Given Freakonomics the book's reported study that most people do pay the suggested amount on a voluntary basis (I think it was on the order of 90% do, with regards to donuts and a suggested contribution jar) I think this could fund continued high quality media without the waste of coming up with DRM type stuff, or embargoeing media from convenient, distribution channels.
12. In the Leiter vs. Wilkinson dispute, overall I'm with Leiter. It's not that he's not an asshole when blogging, it's just that he's a much greater contributor to the enlightenment. And Leiter's legal philosophy vlog with Shapiro was a good demonstration about what's so good about blogging and the internet: we don't need dumber reporters as intermediaries between the public and experts any more. For years I dreamed of running a newspaper where every reporter had a ph.D. Functionally we have that today through the academic blogosphere. blogging heads should heavily concetrate on recruiting more ph.d., expert, professor vloggers.
13. I meant to blog that I find these candidate media realities (barack obama tv, for example) to feel a bit proto-fascistic once they've won executive office. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm chasing the news after the change.gov miniscandal about questions about the illinois gov.'s arrest being voted done. I agree that this is a kind of de facto censorship. The Obama transition team should make more effort for minority challenger voices to be heard, acknowledged, and addressed.
14. I'd like to see a law review article "Elite lawyers as nontransparent technocratic mythmakers".