About "Catch & Research"

Welcome. I found my passion in ecological economics and fishing. They are all about pursuit of unknown and uncertain objects. I always enjoy the seemingly reckless pursuit itself. This blog is a record of my long journey in research and fishing. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pelamis: Movable wave energy converter

Oil price went way down, but competition to find alternative energy sources is still under way. I heard about Pelamis project which uses wave power to generate. I found this one quite promising. Pelamis Wave Energy Converter (WEC)is a snake-like generator (See the picture (source: Pelamis Wave Power Ltd.). Pelamis means Snake). It was developed by a British power company named Pelamis Wave Power, website http://www.pelamiswave.com/ (Its website is well organized). I thought that this wave power generator is more promising than other alternative generation because of two big reasons:

1. Wave power is relatively constant: In case of solar and wind power generation, they require other power plants, such as coal or nuclear power plants, for backup during calm or cloudy period.

2. This generator is movable: Tidal, solar, wind power plants are fixed. When conditions change, they could be not usable. This machine can be built once on site and be moved where conditions are ideal.

Pilot project of Pelamis was completed in northern Protugal. The result was successful, and they are seeking to expand the project. Pelamis seems one of solutions for future energy deficiency.

Here is a video of Pelamis WEC I found at Youtube (there were bunch more of them).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Know everything?

I am at a Ph.D. program which is supposed to be the highest level of education. Many people around me seem to expect me to know everything after earning degree. Actually, I can see some faculties and friends who seem to know everything. Brilliant folk. But I confess that as I study through, there comes up more things that I do not know. Even I am overwhelemed by the large amount of ignorance that I find. Let me be clear; Ph.D. is not a journey to learn everything but a journey to realize our ignorance in a field . At the end, I can confidently judge what I really know and do not know. I think that is all about Ph.D. education.

Friday, October 10, 2008

JP Morgan goes into Carbon Finance

I found one interesting article about JP Morgan's new business at Fortune magazine (Aug 12, 2008): JP Morgan started selling stoves in Africa! Did they decide to change their business model? Not really. They are going to carbon finance. How does it work?

JP Morgan subsidizes fuel efficien stove (picture at left) selling in Africa. Then, Morgan can claim carbon credits for the finance. It can sell the credits at the international carbon market. It seems small business, but it is potentially huge. According to the Fortune article, each stove can reduce two to three tons of carbon dioxide a year, and each ton of carbon worths $10 to $15 a year. Imagine that they sell millons of stoves!

I had a chance to discuss this stove project with my colleagues. Their immediate reaction was negative: "how could such a big company take advantage of poor countries to make profits? It may give some tiny benefits to the poor in developing countries, but possibly worsen the environmental quality in developed countries by selling cheap carbon credits." 

I didn't fully agree with them. My question to them was then who are losers in this project? There is possibility of emission increase in developed countries, but that seems not the case, considered strong emission regulations in the countries. The poor receive benefits from the project: improved health and fuel saving. At global level, we can expect less carbon emission.

This project is related to my research interst. Input-output structural decomposition analysis can help varify whether and how much the project contributed in cardon reduction. The article mentioned that the fuel efficient stove can reduce 2 to 3 tons of carbon dioxide a year, but it is just direct reduction. With systems approach, we need varify total reduction generated by the project. It means that the stove may reduce fuel usage, but also it requires carbon emissions to build and transport the stove. So, the total effect of the stove will be less or greater than the direct effect. The project seems very interesting, and may have some good opportunities there.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Silly error found at Structural Decomposition Analysis

Input-output structural decomposition analysis (SDA) using hybrid table is almost 20 years old and well known method in energy research field. This method was established by efforts from various scholars including S. Casler and A. Rose during the 90s. It has been broadly  used as a useful tool to measure sources of energy use change. There has not been much update of the method. 

Recently, I found one article which points out a silly and embarrassing error of SDA application: Dietzenbacher, E. & J. Stage. 2006. Mixing oil and water? Using hybrid input-output tables in a structural decomposition analysis. Economic systems research. 18(1):85-95.  The silly error is about unit problem at final demand decomposition: when units of energy or money changes, the results of level and mix effect change arbitrarily. For example, first I use million dollars for non-energy sectors and 10^15 Btus for energy sectors. Then I use the same million dollars for non-energy sectors but now 10^12 Btus for energy sectors. Now, I still get the same result for total final demand effect but totally different level and mix effects. 

They presented mathematical proof of the problem and also showed the results from SDA with two different units tables using data from the famous Miller and Blair text book (1985). At first time, I couldn't believe what they found. Because if it is true, then many previous literatures become questionable... I ran through many times over their findings and then finally couldn't but accept them. 
(Source: Dietzenbacher and Stage, p. 90. You can see level and mix effect are not consistent, although total effect does)

It is a major embarrassment in hybrid SDA. Monetary input-output analysis is utit-free. That must be one reason why no body has paid much attention on it. Who could have possibly  imagined this? The authors of this paper proposed two solutions to get rid of unit problems. I tested the solutions using data from Miller & Blair (1985) by myself and found that they seamlessly work without any unit problem. One question is economic meaning of the new decomposition sets. I need consider more about this.

I had chance to send email to the corresponding author, Dr. Jesper Stage to clarify some points in their paper. I complimented him that this paper seemed to be a classic in this field. Dr. Stage is a Swedish economist at University of Gothenburg. He had his master's degree in Physics. I thought that his background might help him to find this problem. At the end of his email, Dr. Stage emphasized that this finding does not weaken analytical power of hybrid power, although they found serious but solvable problem in "application" of SDA; hybrid SDA is a still useful tool.

My advisor has not been fully convinced by this paper. He encouraged me to write email to big names in this filed. So far, I am waiting for responses from Drs. Casler and Rose. I wonder what their reaction to the finding and their critique on the proposed solutions will be. 

Abstract of the paper;

Mixing Oil and Water? Using Hybrid Input-Output Tables in a Structural Decomposition Analysis


*Faculty of Economics, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, **Department of Economics, Umea° University, Sweden
(Received October 2003; revised September 2005)

Input-output studies of energy use frequently adopt the so-called hybrid table, where the rows corresponding to energy sectors are in energy units rather than in monetary units. However, we show that, in structural decomposition analyses, this hybrid approach may induce arbitrary results that depend on the choice of units, rather than on changes in economic structure. This is because an economically meaningless sum of monetary and energy units enters the calculations. Our proposed solution to this problem is based on using a sum of monetary units instead, thus avoiding this attempt to mix oil and water. 

KEY WORDS: Structural decomposition analysis, input-output analysis, energy use, hybrid input-output tables

Correspondence Address: Jesper Stage, Department of Economics, Umea° University, SE 901 87 Umea°, Sweden.
Email: Jesper.Stage@econ.umu.se

Friday, September 12, 2008

The 10 Biggest Myths in Bass Fishing

Fishing is definitely the art of experience. In general, angler who has the most experience rules. But in a new lake, everybody starts at the same line. It proves the level of an angler how one adapts oneself well to the new water. It must be the reason of the tournament rule that prohibits participating anglers from fishing during certain time before a tournament.

When one faces new water, troubles begin from one's experience. One may try everything to solve fishing equations of the day with one' s previous knowledge. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. It is difficult. Why is it so?

Current issue of In-Fisherman magazine points out that incorrect knowledge that most anglers believe true, or so called myths may be one reason of the difficulty. The virtue of the magazine is that it introduces academic findings not only story based on experience. There are couple more fishing magazines, but they seem not to cooperate with fishery researchers. Anyway, here is the 10 biggest myths in bass fishing (summary of article by Steve Quinn) :
  1. Bass become dormant it cold water
    During winter time, bass will be less active, but still do preying activities. "In north-east states, many of the biggest bass caught each year come through the ice." "Physiological models suggests that at 40 degree F bass need consume only about one third as much food to maintain nutrition as they do at 70 degree F. preyfish abundance is lowest in winter as well, But bass still eat."
  2. Bass strike red hooks because they resemble blood
    "Studies of bass vision indicate they detect red easily and can discriminate among shades. no research shows, however, any instinctive attraction to it." Bass don't have intelligence to conclude red color means bleeding prey.
  3. A bass is a bass...
    Do all bass have same life pattern? "Genetic studies show variation in the DNA of fish even from nearby watersheds within the same state. And differences in dies, water color and cover type also make bass from difference lakes behave differently."
  4. Modern livewells make fish care easy
    Anglers' ignorance and lack of care increase fish mortality even with modern livewells. "Anglers need to take measures to improve conditions: Run aerators constantly to add fresh water; add ice to lower livewell temperatures 5 degree F to 8 degree F; or run pure oxygen into the well" even they have modern livewells.
  5. You need a big, fast boat to fish efficiently
    "As in pas times, many of the best bass fishermen still use small, underpowered boats. Small boats are suited to small waters where giant bass dwell, from Florida to Iowa to California. Full-sized bass boats can't get into key shallow zones and have trouble maneuvering through dense timber or vegetation. When they do, the commotion often spooks lunkers." (My friend, Capt. M is a living proof of this. He uses kayak and canoe, but always outfishes.)
  6. Tournaments harm bass populations
    "A tagging study* found tournament mortality contributed from 1 to 16 percent of total annual mortality of the largemouth population, while non-tournament catch-and-release fishing were 2 to 17 percent of the total, and angler harvest (non-tournament) comprise 16 to 38 percent of annual bass mortality."
  7. Bass abandon areas treated with herbicides
    Lake manager sometimes use herbicides to treat over-grown water plants. "Excessively thick plant growth limits bass feeding and cuts the abundance of key preyfish like shat." (The author may mention about eutrophication.) "Scientific evidence suggests that bass are not negatively affected by correct application of herbicides"
  8. Big baits catch big bass
    "This myth isn't a fallacy. You can increase the average size of bass caught by using larger lures. But there's far more to that relationship." Small size bass will not hesitate to attack big baits also. According to finness fishermen, on the other hand, while food is scarce, big bass will be willing to attack tiny lures.
  9. Catching nesting bass is like picking cherries
    "Some anglers look down on sight-fishing for bedding bass as unsporting and unethical, in that it takes advantage of bass at their most vulnerable moments." However, it could be very easy or almost impossible to catch.
  10. Stocking Florida bass improves lunker catches
    "Introduction of Florida bass into California has resulted in the biggest bass on the planet. In more temperate locations, however, this can lead to downturn in fishing"

More myths:

  • Planting brushpiles increases bass populations
    "In most cases, brush and other attractors concentrate bass but do little to enhance reproduction, lake-wide biomass, or growth." "Effect (of planting brushpiles) are local, not population-wide
  • Big bass live in deep water
    "Big bass live where living conditions an prey availability support their bulk. That can be shallow, deep, or in between, depending on available habitat and type." "Tacking studies have shown that some big bass hold on deep structure during the day but move into the 10-foot zone to feed after dark. In deep, clear lakes, lunkers may hold in open water, but they're often suspended at levels where baitfish are most available."
  • Bass seek crayfish in Spring for nutrition benefits
    "Creyfish are rather poor food from the stand point of nutrition." "Low fat content and caloric value also make craws less nutritious than most fish. But they're easy to find and catch, particularly in spring when weedgrowth is thin."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Meeting with advisor (9/5): SDA equations

I asked my advisor about which way of decomposition I should use? There are many ways of decomposition. For example, total energy use can be decomposed to as simple as final demand change effect + input requirement change effect + joint effect. Or it can be decomposed to much complex equations including capital, labor, material substitution effects. Or it can be decomposed including effects from trade. It really confuses me. Which way is better to explain my topic? His advice was to start with the simplest one, then add more decomposition equations. Right, I have to start, although I don't have a perfect blueprint.

Observation of conventions

US presidential election race is heating up. In the desperate hope that we can beat the war criminal, George W Bush at this time, I am watching carefully the race. I watched national conventions of two parties. Here is key words that summarize my observation of the two conventions.

Democratic National Convention

  • Party! (literally)
  • American Dream and Promise
  • Party unity
  • Hillary, the big-heart
  • Kennedy, the legend
  • Yes, we can!
  • Change
  • Diverse delegates
  • Universal health care
  • What we can do for unprivilaged people?

Republican National Convention

  • Fight, fight, fight
  • Jerry Springer family of vice president candidate
  • Desperate house wife or Pit bull
  • McCain, the lost
  • Another Bush
  • Grandpa, grandma delegates
  • No African-, Asian- American delegates
  • RNC Definition of American= White, old & rich people
  • Anti-war protests outside RNC
  • How to protect our own interest?

In particular, the surprise pick of Republican vice president really entertained me. I didn't think that this kind of drama was possible in the US; I have seen many in Korea. John McCain must need shockers to revive his dying out campaign. But this package was too much.

Yes, you can call me democrat. I would be happy to be branded that way if I can punish the war criminal. Dear American friends, you should know that how this president deceived you to the unjustified war, and you have to change it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Meeting with advisor (8/29): Outline of dissertation

I brought my advisor one page of dissertation plan which shows research goals and outline (available at http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddfmw3gd_12fn8ccbdg&invite= ). We talked about this.

1. Overview of dissertation outline
I have not set specific and detailed topics. My working goal is to draw an energy profile of Korea and to do policy evaluation. While doing SDA, I hope to narrow down my topic. Energy intensity study is a potential candidate.

2. Direction of dissertation
My dissertation will be more like a policy analysis. The Korean government has adopted various energy policies to promote economic growth. I will see how the policies contributed on economic growth.

3. Next goals
I will start writing chapters of introduction and methodology.

4. The feeling of "am I doing something meaningful?"
Nowadays, I am often caught by this depressing feeling; I wonder whether I contribute something to the society. My advisor told me that it is usual feeling that every researcher experiences. His recommendation was to do what you think is right but know clearly the limitations of your research. That definitely helps. But there are too many limitations. Can I junt know the ultimate truth of everything? :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

ISEE 2008 Nairobi Conference

Sunset at Amboseli national park, Kenya

I have been to the International Society for Ecological Economics 2008 Nairobi conference. I have to confess you that I went to the conference because I really wanted to see savanna and people in sub-Sahara. I felt guilty to present my research because I was awfully prepared. Oh, well, I believe many participants of the conference might have the same idea for the conference... At least, my crew from our department had the same plan. :-)

Anyway, safari trip was great! We all enjoyed it. Conference itself, which was held at UNEP facilities, was interesting, and I could learn from many big figures. Max-Neef was there and gave a keynote speech.

Here are links to photo albums that I took during safari.

(1) Masai Mara

(2) Lake Nakuru

(3) Amboseli

(4) Scenery

(Most of them are animal pictures)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tackle for beginners

From time to time, my friends ask me about tackle recommendation (yes, now I am viewed as a fine fisherman by lay person, LOL). Which tackles should a beginner buy? General advice of many experts is to buy high or at least mid end tackles from the very beginning. I can see what their points are but cannot fully agree with them considering limited budget of my friends (mostly are students).

To be honest, you can buy any cheap combo (fishing rod + reel) at a discount store like Wal mart, and there will be no problem to catch many fish for long time. Thanks to advanced technology, durability becomes not a big deal even in the cheapest tackle nowadays in my opinion. Other words, you don't need consider function and durability any more in selecting tackles.

Difference between low and high end tackles is coming from quality and warranty service. High end tackle companies provide fast and reliable service when you have a problem which tends to happen at least once. I have accidently my St. Croix rod tip broken this Spring. I ordered the tip part on-line, and it was delivered to me in two days without any extra charge for shipping and handling.

What I called quality is something like finishing, smoothness, design, weight and so on. If you are A to Z person and don't care much about fishing pleasure, quality may not matter. But imagine that you fish all day under burning sun. Your tackle is your only friend to rely on. So, I say that you need pay a bit for the quality.

Let's say that you are after bass at the shores of lakes and river. Here is my recommendation.

1. Rod: 6'6" medium power graphite

For general purpose, 6'6" medium power graphite rod is mostly recommended. St. Croix, Fenwick, Gloomis, Abu Garcia, Quantum, Daiwa, and Shimano are all well known makers. Some of their rods are really expensive, over $$$. I would like to recommend buy cheaper model of these makers.

2. Spining Reel: 2500 size (Shimano measure)

2500 size reel matches with 6'6" rod. Instant anti-reverse feature is must. Without this, you will be annoyed by locking noise. I prefer Japanes makers, Shimano and Daiwa. Quantum, Abu Garcia and Pflueger are good makers. Reels are even more expensive than rods. The same rule applies.

3. Line: 8 pound test mono

8 pound line is enough in most cases. Although you hook a 10 pound monster, you can land it on 8 pound line. When you use heavier test line, it will reduce casting distance. There are three different kinds of fishing lines: Mono, Fluoro carbon and Braided lines. I recommend beginners to start from the very basic, mono line. Trilene is a popular mono line.

4. Lure: realistic swim bait and warm

There are so many lures available at market. They are attracting fisherman badly before being used for fish. You may feel that you need buy all of them to catch something. Wrong. Whatever you have, you can catch if you use it correctly. So, don't be fooled. I recommened beginners realistic swim bait and warm. Swim baits are relatively new baits, and there are a few literatrue about them. But believe me, they are the best lures. Stick on realistic ones. Some swim baits have pre hooked, but the others are not. If not, you need buy hooks, too. Warms are the basic for beginners. You may want to buy two or three packages of lures. That is enough to start.

5. Other tools

You need a plier or multi-tool to cut line and dehook. Leatherman makes good multi tools for fishing purpose.

If you have these five items, you are ready to hit waters. Probably, after every outing, you may feel you need more tackles. You also find yourself visiting sporting goods store regularly. Oh, well, that is a piece of joy of fishing.

Meeting with Advisor (7/9)

After returning from Korea, I met with my advisor.

1. Paradise for Sale in Korean edition
My advisor's book was published in Korea. I brought one copy for him and another for myself. I asked him to sign on the book.

2. Causality paper
My advisor introduced me an article about causality study. It seems to deliver potential method to study causality in economics. But it looks complicated because it is a physics paper.

Nolte, G et al. 2008. Robustly estimating the flow direction of information in complex physical systems. Physical Review Letters.

3. Next goal
I will keep concentrating on the ISEE conference paper.

4. House keeping.
-I brought a hand-painted fan for a present, which is one of solutions for global warming.
-My advisor gave me a copy of his book, "Frontiers in ecological economic theory and application." It has a chapter about energy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Swimbait, way to go!

One of my favorite fishing lures is swimbait. Swimbait is a soft plastic fishing lure with swim paddle tail. It became my choice of mid-water bait mainly because it is cheaper than hard plastic crankbait. One pack of swimbait is $3 or $4. One pack has usually 4 to 10 baits. Also, swimbait presents very realistic tail action which looks like one of bait fish. Main diet of game fish is bait fish. So, there can be any doubt that fish imitation lure is the best.

There are two kinds of swimbait. One is realistic bait, and the other is long-tail bait. Realistic bait is a detailed fish imitation with paddle tail. Its color and shape looks like bait fish. Storm's WildEye Swim Shad is famous. Here is a picture of 4" Swim Shad.

Long-tail bait does not exactly look like bait fish. But it's long and soft paddle tail exaggerates its tail action, which attracts fish bite. Long-tail bait is designed with main focus on swimbait's merit, paddle action while giving up reality. Here is a picture of Cabela's Hoochie Koochie Swim Shad.

Both are successful baits. From my experience, realistic bait works well when water is clear, and fish are active. It seems because of its realistic appearance which fools game fish. Long-tail bait works well when fish are not so active. Its paddle action seems irresistable to game fish; if there are fish, they bite it. What you need to do with this bait is to cast it and slowly retrieve it. When you retrieve slower, swimbait swims lower. Vice versa.

One thing to note about swimbait is that one needs to be patient in hook-set. Because swimbait usually uses single hook, and fish do not aggressively attact it, one must set hook one temp later after he noticed biting. I do not know whey they do not attact swimbait as vicisouly as they do on hard plastic bait. Does it just our feeling? Because of softness of the bait? I don't know the answer. Anyway, if you are careful about hook-set, swimbait will give you continuous success as it did for me.

Blue Back Herring

It is blue back herring, which is migrating bait fish in Hudson river. It is the most important bait for game fishes including Striped Bass. Because they are so abundant, we can easily catch them with casting net at the shore. Or we use Sabiki rig which is am imitation of small shrimp. I caught this one with the Sabiki rig. It is very easy to catch and fun. So, you can see many kids do herring fishing at the shore during May and June.

When I caught herring first time, I was surprised by its size. It was bigger than I though; its average size is 7 to 8 inches. People use them as a live bait for striper fishing. I tried it several times, but it wasn't so successful for me. I prefer lure fishing for striper.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I caught my first Shad. It was a surprise catch. I was casting Sabiki rig for Herring. Suddenly, I felt strong resistance at my rod tip. I have heard that shad gives awesome fight, but it was even better than I guessed. It was even bigger than I thought. Wow! After taking a picture, I released it. Currently, there is state wide ban on shad fishing. Because shad population has significantly decreased. Last year, I didn't catch any. I guess, thanks to the ban, I might catch my first shad this year.

Meeting with advisor (5/30): SDA

1. Basics of Structural Decomposition Analysis (SDA)
I wrote up the basics of SDA, which is available at http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddfmw3gd_10g33nbhhp. Now, I feel much confident about SDA.

But, still I am not fully sure about decomposition of final demand. Why did they use sum of final demand of each commodity? Isn't sum of final demand always equal to total final demand? I found that there is difference between summing result of each final demand and total final demand. But it was small and looked like a result from rounding error.

2. Next Goal
I have done a SDA practice with 7 sector I-O tables. I presented sources of change in intermediate output increase. Now, I will try SDA of total energy consumption change with hybrid I-O tables.

From now on, I will also focus on ISEE conference paper, topic of which is different from what I will do for my dissertation.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Basics of Decomposition Analysis

I posted about "Basic decomposition" before. But at that time I was not so clear about it. Here is what I understand about it for sure.

Structural decomposition analysis(SDA) is an analytical method to find sources of dependent variable's change between two different time period. Sources of change are sought from basic relationship between dependent variable, independent variables and coefficients. Note: SDA always considers the possibility that coefficients change along with other variables. Change of coefficients is considered as a result from technological change. It is critical difference from growth accounting analysis (GAA), which presents technological change as a variable.

For example, let's say dependent variable Y can be expressed multiplication of independent variable X and coefficient a: Y= a*X. Now, we want to compare two different time period, t and t-1. There may be some difference in dependent variable (Yt - Yt-1), and we want to find sources of change.

Yt-Y(t-1) = [at*Xt] - [a(t-1)*X(t-1)] ---(1)

From this equation, we can consider three sources of change:
  1. Change from independent variable, when coefficient is fixed to original time (t-1): Level change
  2. Change from coefficient, when independent variable is fixed to original time (t-1): Technological change
  3. Change from interaction of independent variable and coefficient change: Joint change
In equation form,

Difference of dependent variable
= [initial period (t-1)'s coefficient: a(t-1)] * [change of independent variables: Xt -X(t-1)] <- 1.
+ [change of coefficient: at - a(t-1)] * [initial period (t-1)'s independent variable: X(t-1)] <- 2.
+ [change of coefficient: at - a(t-1)] * [change of independent variables: Xt -X(t-1)] <- 3.

In order to present these sources, we need add and subtract [a(t-1)*Xt] + [at*X(t-1)] + [a(t-1)*X(t-1)] to the equation (1).

Yt-Y(t-1) = [at*Xt] - [a(t-1)*X(t-1)]
+ {[a(t-1)*Xt] + [at*X(t-1)] + [a(t-1)*X(t-1)]}
- {[a(t-1)*Xt] + [at*X(t-1)] + [a(t-1)*X(t-1)]}

= [a(t-1)*Xt] - [a(t-1)*X(t-1)]
+ [at*X(t-1)] - [a(t-1)*X(t-1)]
+ [at*Xt] + [a(t-1)*X(t-1)] - [a(t-1)*Xt] - [at*X(t-1)]

= a(t-1) * [Xt - X(t-1)] : 1. level change
+ X(t-1) * [at - a(t-1)] : 2. technological change
+ [at - a(t-1)] * [Xt - X(t-1)] : 3. Joint change

It looks complicated. But gist of analysis is straight forward; it considers three possible cases when we assume independent variable and coefficient change between two periods: (1) only independent variable changes with fixed coefficient, (2) only coefficient changes with fixed independent variable, (3) both change. About economic meaning of each change, I will explain later.

Understanding this basics, I took a look at the final demand decomposition again. But still it looks vague. One burning question is whether sigma Yi is equal to Y. It is. Than second term of the decomposition analysis is always zero. In order to answer this question, I need to practice with real IO tables.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tagged Striped Bass

I went out Striper fishing with Capt. M this weekend. Amazingly, both of us caught tagged stripers! M's fish had a pink string tag on its abdomen.The tag said, "REWARD Ph. 1-800-XXX-XXXX 000000" We kept the fish to report its measure. It was 16 pound 14 ounce heavy and 34 1/2 inches long. It was a big fish. Later I recovered the whole tag which was implanted under skin. The tag belonged to US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Considering of the shape of the tag, the fish might be farm-raised and released later for study. It is hard to imagine to implant this kind of tag onto wild catch; it requires small surgery. If I am wrong, please let me know. I am really curious how they planted this tag.

M called the number and informed catch location, time-date, weight and length. They offered a Striper hat as a reward. To be honest, Capt. M and I expected more (something like $500 cash reward, kikiki). But still nice!

I caught a small one, which has a yellow loop tag on its back. Because I was in rush to release it, I could not take a picture or measure it. Instead, I cut the tag to report. Actually, US FWS tag says "IF UNDERSIZE CUT OFF TAG -RELEASE FISH" So, I did that.

The tag belonged to the American Littoral Society. When I got back home I googled the society's information. Here is tagging related web page: http://www.littoralsociety.org/tagging_tagged_fish.aspx They have been doing tagging study for several years. At its website, you can see the data of tagging study. That is interesting. They do not offer a present like a hat, but they send information of the tagged fish; that's all I want! I downloaded and filled out their report form of tagged fish. I will see what I will hear from them. I will update you about it when I hear. It is such a good feeling to help conservation efforts.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meeting with Advisor. Decomposition equations

1. Basic decomposition of final demand

I have been struggled to understand basic decomposition equation of final demand (Casler & Rose, 1998 p. 354, equation (7)). Because this equation does not deliver clear economic implication by itself.

(Where, Y is final demand. t is period.)

First term of second line is final demand level effect, and second term is final demand mix effect. Level effect means pure change in final demand that would happen if final demand of each industry in period t had increased in the same proportion with total production increase between two periods. Mix effect means change in the mix of final demand while assuming the same level of final demand at the control period.

But the decomposition equation does not match with the definitions and is not explanatory; first term is comparing Yt and Yt, and second term is comparing Yt and Yt-1. Equation itself is correct and holds, but it does not explain. Instead, we can consider to compare Yt and Yt-1 for first term, and Yt-1 and Yt-1 for second term.

Here sigm Yt over sigma Yt-1 is GDP growth rate. Instead using GDP scalinging down factor as in Casler and Rose (sigma Yt-1 over sigma Yt), using GDP growth rate makes things much clear and matches with original definition of level & mix effect. Although we follow which ever decomposition equation, Casler & Rose's equation or mine, there will be no difference. I do not understand why the authors use the equation in their analysis. There must be some reason, for example to make calculation easier.

After all, it seems a tedious thing in the whole analysis. But just for record, I have been suffering for long time to understand their equation. It must be their intention to torture graduate students.

2. Next Goal

Understanding method of Gowdy & Miller (1987) Technological and demand change in energy use: an input-output analysis

3. House Keeping

My abstract for Nairobi ISEE conference got accepted. I will work with Carol to find a ticket.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Meeting with Advisor (5/5)

1. Potential Outline for Dissertation
  1. Importance of Energy (general introduction)
  2. Input-output Structural Decomposition Analysis (gneral, methodology)
  3. Energy Analysis in Korea
  4. Emissions Analysis in Korea
  5. Energy and Emission Policies in Korea
  6. Conclusion or Summary

2. Next Goal

Focuse on writing up chapter 2. I-O SDA. There are plenty of literatures available about this. Review them and find strength and weakness of this analysis. Then suggest my own approach.

3. House Keeping

Fall internship and possible delay of study plan. I will contact someone who is in charge of the fellowship.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Personal Best: Hudson Small Mouth Bass

Inspired by the yesterday success, I went fishing after school again. In the expectation to catch striper, I casted the same swimbait to the same spot. Believe it or not, I caught this huge small mouth bass at the same spot after couple of castings! It bit my lure so hard near shore. You can see my Leatherman multi-tool, which is 8 inch long. It was fat, too. It is definitely my personal best for sure. It is such a joy that I can catch big fish where is so close to my place in short outing.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fishing in front of my apt.

I was frustrated from reading at school today. So, I came back home a bit early and went fishing near by my apartment. There is a bridge, and I fished under the bridge. The spot is one minute distance from my place (that's the reason why I moved to this new apt ;-). I have not fished there before, and decided to venture the spot today. The spot seemed promising for striper fishing, because there is always strong current.

I casted a 4" swimbait (Storm, Wild eye shad). After about 7 minute, I got a strong bite. It was clearly one of striper's. Yes, I caught a 18" baby striper. I didn't really expect to catch anything. What a surprise! I casted couple of other swimbaits, but didn't get any bite. Then came back home. It was short outing, but successful. (You can see Troy downtown at background)

Monday, April 28, 2008

First Sturgeon

I went out for striped bass with Captain M. yesterday night. What we did was first, we caught some herring for bait, and secon we did bait fishing with live herring. As soon as we cast the bait, we got strong bites. But not striper's strong bite; most of them were catfish's. We tried cut baits, too, but didn't make results. I was bored and started jigging with my bucktail jig. After dozens castings, bam! I got a strong bite. It really pull out my line. At that time, I was using light tackles (Medium power 6'6" rod and 2500 size reel). It was not easy to handel the strong fight on a small canoe. At first, I though that it was walleye. Wrong. Surprise to me, it was Hudson sturgeon! Nice. It was my first sturgeon. After taking quick picture, we released it. We didn't catch any striper, it was a worthy trip.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Fisherman

During this earth week, I consider about my sports, fishing. Here is the list of my pledge:
  • Whenever I stand by shore, I will appreciate all kinds of joy that Mother Nature allow me through the wonderful sports, fishing.
  • While I fish, I will always remain calm and quiet in order to be a part of nature.
  • I will always clean up where I stay before and after I fish.
  • I will carefully practice catch and release.
  • I will respect every species of fish which form a tight ecosystem all together.
  • I will treat caught fish carefully to reduce harm as much as I can.
  • I will consider the use of barbless hook to minimize damage to my catch. (I try to buy barbless hook at local store, but I could not find. Do anyone know maker of good barbless hook?)
  • When I need fish for the small joy on my family’s dinner table, I will harvest only the necessary minimum.
  • When my tackle gets snagged, I will recover as long line as possible before I cut my line by pulling my line slowly.
  • When I re-spool, I will recycle old mono line.
  • I will always be cautious about choice of my tackle not only to catch fish but also to reduce environmental burden.
  • I will encourage others to fish to share my joy of fishing and appreciation of nature.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Meeting with Advisor (4/22), Forecasting

1. Question and Answer
(1) About forecasting
I asked about how to forecast? or which method is the right way of forecasting. This question came out because some economists and scientists claim that we cannot correctly forecast future variation with model, although we well understand cause and effect relationship between target variable and some explanatory variables. Simply thinking, when we know cause-effect relationship, we can predict results from certain causes. For example, when we drop eggs, they will be broken. We know the relationship between the activity and results, and the relationship always holds under usual environment.

However, the issue is to forecast complex system. Because there are so many uncounted variables, it is problematic to forecast with a model which explains only a few causal relationship in the system. Economic forecasting is the example.

Therefore, instead using models, scenario analysis can be useful. First, setting up some plausible scenarios, and then we can make forecast in each scenario. Understanding causal relationship is crucial in forecasting, but causal relationship itself cannot make a good forecast.

(2) Making a hybrid unit table
I found input-output table for Korea in money term and energy balance table in TOE term (ton of oil equivalent). I am trying to combine them and make a hybrid unit table. It seems a mechanical task, but there are many things to consider: dividing datum for a sector to several subsectors, putting new energy rows and so on. For a solution, I can consider rectangular matrix (non square); in this way, I can put more energy rows than energy industry column.

(3) Input-Output Analysis and SDA
How much should I know about IOA in order to do SDA? I may need know all the basics of IOA, but not detail. Mostly, I need focus on IOA techniques instead reasoning.

2. Next Goals

a. Making a pilot hybrid unit table
b. Keep reading Miller and Blair, and Miernyk
c. Reading application papers of SDA

3. House Keeping

a. I borrowed one book:
Miller et al. 1989. Frontiers of Input-output analysis. Which includes Faye Duchin's article.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Frist Striped Bass in this season!

I went striper fishing with Captain M to the Troy dam yesterday afternoon. I casted hair jigs and swimbaits. After fruitless 40 minutes, we decided to leave. At the final moment, I caught one, 5 or 6 pounder. It was a small schoolie, but nice enough to make my day. It is so shiny in this picture. You can see the lure at its mouth. After taking this picture, I released it. It was short outing, but I caught the first striper in this season. Good start!

ps. Capt. M's goal of this season is 200 stripers. Mine? I don't know, I am still a novice of striper fishing. I hope I can catch at least one at every outing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Outfit for Sit On Top (SOT) Kayak

I have a sit on top (sot) kayak (you can find pictures of my kayak here). I use this for fishing. One of drawback of this kayak is that it is easy to get wet: water comes in over wall. Because of its surfboard like design, this problem seems unavoidable. So, I have to wear properly to stay dry.

I checked some websites and books. Their recommendations are dry suit (expensive but sure), or bib style wader + rain jacket combo (less expensive but could-be deadly in case of falling). I think these options are over kill for freshwater kayak fisherman. Instead, I tested wader boots + bib style rain pants option, and it was fine for the purpose to keep myself dry. Of course, it was more comfortable to maneuver on kayak than other outfit options. I need test it under warm weather. So far, I am happy with this outfit option.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Abstract for ISEE 2008 Nairobi conference

I submitted an abstract to International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) 2008 conference. This conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Because Kenya is in the middle of political turmoil, I am not sure whether the conference can be held as planned or not. Also, air fare to Nairobi is incredibly expensive, over $2,000 (are u kidding me?). I am working on for funding with my advisor. Anyway, I am taking a shot.

They required a long abstract, 500-1,000 words. It sounds odd to me. Title of the abstract is "Energy substitution and economic growth: fuel mix and change of the elasticity of substitution." Currently, I am changing my research topic. This abstract is my old topic. I will study about energy and economic growth of Korean case. I will use the Structural Decomposition Analysis (SDA) for the topic. You can find the full abstract here http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddfmw3gd_8fsm3vjgm

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

GDAE program director, Dr. Frank Ackerman

Yesterday, I attended a seminar of Dr. Frank Ackerman, co-program director of Global Development and Environment Insittute (GDAE) at Tufts university. GDAE is well known in heterodox economists and ecological economists. It publishes many books and articles of new perspectives. GDAE may be one of dream job of many heterodox economists.

Dr. Ackerman's presentation title was "Can we afford global warming?" He used expression, climate economics during his presentation. He used a metaphor of insurance for climate change policy. People buy a insurance although it never pass the cost-benefit test. Climate policy should be considered as a insurance against catastrophic events which have low probability. It is all about precautaionary principle.

Makes very sense! But question is "can we buy the insurance?" He answered that the insurance is not that costly. There are already diverse and affordable solutions available, but problem is political will. He said that government should invest more in R&D for climate change. This view, tech-optimistic, is similar to Martin Hoffert. My question to Dr. Ackerman will be where we can optimally allocate the insurance money.

USSEE President elect, Dr. Sabine O'Hara

Last Friday, I met Dr. Sabne O'Hara, President elect of United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE). She happened to visit for another reason, and I organized a meeting with her. She is a tall and blond lady. She said that she is originaly from Germany. We talked about various topics for two hours. She was vary clear about every thing. Although there was nothing new to me in the talk, she impressed all students including myself. Here are some key words that she mentioned in her talk:

science of sustainable development, context specific, region specific, value of social diversity, 3 pilar (or dimension) approach, better understanding human behavior, problem oriented...

After the talk, I got impression that our ecological economics society would move to more policy direction. In particular, science of human behavior.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I will teach you how to be selfish!

At the first class of John Gowdy's microeconomics, he said that an experiment showed that students in economics tended to be more selfish than other students. His point, as I remember, was that current economics education does not teach how to observe economic phenomena in themselves, rather how to be selfish in each market situation.

When I heard this, I made up my mind not to be another selfish economist. But, frankly, let me confess you that nowadays I feel like becoming another selfish ass... Whenever I make decision, I find myself calculating costs and benefits of my own without considering community or others. I find myself being reluctant to share some time for cause of community.

I came to a graduate school with dream, a dream to make difference in the world. And now I am losing the dream. Quite painful in my heart, sensing no problem in my head.

About my heart pain, I have to blame economics education; it really teaches the art of being selfish, nothing more than that. Economics is crying, human nature is originally selfish, and somehow selfish people make a world of altruism thanks to touch of the invisible hand. Therefore, be selfish without any shame! When people work hard for their own interest, it will solve every problem by increasing efficiency!

Bunch of selfish asses cannot solve the many problems on this small planet. We all know it from our experience dealing with these problems. We have to stop teaching the art of being selfish. Economics should be a science. It should not be a religion of selfishness.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sea Level Change Model, Dr. David Holland

I went to a talk by Dr. David Holland* from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU. Wow, it was one of the most original and informative presentations. He showed us pictures and videos which he took in arctic and antarctic research stations. It was great joy to hear from a field expert of climate change frontier. Here is the summary of the talk:

You must be familiar about Sink hole theory of ice sheet. Warmed up air melts top ice, and then melted ice digs sink holes through body of ice sheet. Water flows through the sink hole and lubricate ice sheet while facilitating total melting process.

Dr. Holland presented a bit different theory. He pointed warm sea water as a main cause of ice sheet melting. He dropped temperature probes into ice fjord and found bottom water is warmer than has been thought. Warmer ocean water is eating away ice sheet. It seemed not his experties to explain why temperature is increasing at the bottom. He pointed wind patern changs as a possible cause.

He measures the amount of sink hole melting is very small compared to meting by warmer ocean. He is still working on computer model with his theory, so didn't provide any explicit prediction. But he mentioned "it will hardly happen that whole Florida submerges under water."

Predicting the impacts of climate change will never be easy task because we have never been there.

*Dr. Holland is a member of The Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science(CAOS), an interdisciplinary research and graduate program within the Courant. His work focuses on modeling the interaction of climate, oceans,and ice shelves. His webpage: http://efdl.cims.nyu.edu/

"We hate China:" Failure of civil diplomacy

As 2008 Beijing Olympic is reaching close, protests against China are happening in many cities. The protests was caused by China's treatment of Tibet crisis and poor condition of human right in China at surface. But what I observe is the failure of Chinese diplomacy, in particular social diplomacy.

We all know that Tibetans and civil rights group try to take advantage of this timing when China faces the biggest event, which will present China's great achievement all over the world. As usual, this kind of protests were well expected. However, China's poor civil diplomacy made things worse. Here are the bad choices that China has made. First, Chinese government expelled all foreign reporters from Tibet after the crisis. I saw that some of foreign press produced somewhat distorted views which harmed China's image. But when all the reporters were expelled, the vacuum of information was filled up not by China-friendly press, but by more unfriendly and distorting guesses. Citizens in other countries well know that in fact Chinese presses are owned and operated by the government; they don't trust Chinese press, as it is the case in many other countries. China should have opened Tibet to deliver the truth of the crisis. Now, unfortunately I can see a lot of exaggerations of the crisis.

Second, statement of Chinese chief diplomats were arrogant and failed to earn understandings of world citizens. They did not need mention about human right condition in other western countries. This sounded just like, "We didn't do anything wrong compared to you." I think they should have expressed remorse of the crisis and beg understanding of the uniqueness of the situation. We all know how hypocritical the western countries are. At least Chinese diplomats didn't need remind this fact. What they did need was to make China's image as a victim. Anyway, they failed, and now look how damaging the result is.

Third, the Chinese government has continuously underestimated Dalai Lama's civil diplomacy. After the crisis, we are clearly witnessing the triumph of his diplomacy all over the world, although he may not claim the victory. He earned mind of world citizens, while arrogant Chinese diplomacy was losing.

I worry that people would say "We hate China" after the olympic games, although the people didn't really have any anti-feeling against China before. If it becomes true, China will lose more than gain from the games. I would like to see the Chinese efforts to earn world citizen's mind.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meeting with Advisor (4/7). Hybrid SDA

I met my advisor, Dr. John Gowdy today:

1. Question and Answer
I asked about the advantages of hybrid approach of Input-Output Structural Decomposition Analysis (SDA). There are 4 advantages of it. Most of all, the hybrid approach is better in keeping original information of input-output table than generalized input-output SDA. Here are the advantages explained by Casler and Rose (1998):
  1. It abides by the energy (or pollution) conservation law: There are primary energy and secondary energy whcih is a product of primary energy. When we calculate total energy use, the amount of primary enrgy and the amount of secondary energy plus primary energy used for other production must be equal. Hybrid approach can ensure that the I-O table conserves this law. But other approaches could lose this feature, and over- or under- calculate total amount of energy (Miller and Blair, 1985).
  2. It accurately measures changes in energy use (or pollution emissions) that arise. Because this approach shows energy use for each sector.
  3. It makes it possible to still use the augmented Leontief inverse.
  4. It makes it easy to incoporate with ecological-economic models.

2. Plan of Dissertation
I agreed to write three essays about Economic growth, energy and green house emissions in Korea. First one will be a descriptive essay about economic growth and energy-pollution policy in Korea. I will present general discussion about related issues and evidence.

Second and third ones will be structural decomposition analysis about energy use and green house gas emissions in Korea. They will be more analytical and technical papers.

3. Next Goals

  • Understanding SDA method. Read two books that I borrowed.
  • Korean data collecting. Money term I-O table at hand. I need energy and green house gas emission data.
  • Searching for physical data estimating method. Look up Cleveland's artical about energy IOA.

4. House Keeping

  • I borrowed two books:
    Miller and Blair. 1985. Input-output analysis: foundations and extensions.
    Miernyk. 1965. The elements of input-output analysis


Casler. S.D. and P.D. Blair. 1997. Economic structure, fuel combustion, and pollution emissions.

Casler. S.D. and A. Rose. 1998. Carbon Dioxide emissions in the U.S. economy

Miller and Blair. 1985. Input-output analysis: foundations and extensions.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Prep list for fishing trip

(1) What to wear?
Clothing is very important because fishing is an outdoor activity. When weather changes, there is always danger of hypothermia or injury. Dressing properly can ensure the joy of fishing. Winter requires extra clothings. Here, I assume a trip during Summer, Spring and Fall time.
  • Hat: You always need a hat to make shade and also keep your body temperature. If it is a extremely warm Summer day, you can wear a sun visor.
  • Cargo pants: It provides extra storage. Except humid Summer day, I do not recommend shorts. Because long pants protects skin from sun and unexpected cuts from fishing tackle. Personally, I do not prefer jean because jean is poor at insulation. And when it gets wet, it does not dry fast.
  • Long sleeve shirts: Although you wear short sleeve shirts, you need to wear or bring long sleeve shirts.
  • Shoes: In many cases, snickers are fine. If you are going to wade, you may need water shoes (sandal) or boots.
  • Jacket: There are many brand name jackets available on the market. Breathable sports jacket (ex. Gore-tex) is always fine for fishing.
  • Rain jacket: You have to keep one in your bag. In many cases of shower and drizzling, breathable jacket works as a rain gear. But during Summer, fisherman has to fight heavy shower, and 100% water proof rain jacket is necessary.
  • Wool sweater: Wool is a great material for sports wear. It keeps body temperature when it gets wet. Because fisherman stays near by water, he/she has more chance to get wet. Wool sweater is a perfect extra clothe which you want to keep in your bag.
  • Gloves: Fingerless gloves are convenient to handle fish and bait. I heard that wool gloves are good, but have not tested them yet.
(2) Fishing tackle?
  • Fishing rod and reel: I usually bring two sets with me and rig one rod for bottom lure, and the other for mid or top water lures.
  • Tackle box: including hooks, floats, line, sinker, swivel, lures (top, mid, bottom lures), clipper and so on
  • Multi tool: It is very useful when you cut your line and remove hooks from fish. I used use Swiss Army knife. Now I use Leather man multi tool because it has long nose pliers.
  • Can of bait: Worm, minnow, crayfish, paste bait and so on. Whatever you want.
(3) Record keeping?
  • Camera: If you are a catch-n-release fisherman, you at least want to take a picture of your trophy. You may not want to bring your expensive camera unless you have a personal property insurance. I saw that there is a disposable digital camera, which looks good for boat fisherman.
  • Ruler or scale: Many waters have size limits which you have to pay attention.
  • Thermometer: I check water temperature. Temp information is useful to measure degree of fish activity.
(4) Food?
  • Water: When it is windy, your body loses more water than under calm weather.
  • Snack: energy bar, jerky and so on. Fruit is always first choice of mine. Fruit helps our body quickly regain energy. It is more effective than any other processed food.
  • Beer: Not a good one. But can you imagine fishing without drinking beer?
(5) Last but not least!
  • Sun glasses: Polarized sun glasses make difference: you can easily see through water. But any kind of sun glasses is better than nothing. I prefer gray or amber color under day light, and yellow during dawn and twilight.
  • Flash light: Always keep one in your bag. When you go out for night fishing, you definitely need a head lantern.
  • First aid kit: Most injuries in fishing is related cut or punctuation by sharp tackles. At least, you need clean gaze and band aid.
  • Sun block and lip balm: Protecting your skin from strong sun beam is very important. Sun burn really hurts.
  • Insect repellent: Unfortunately fish are biting most, when mosquito are biting most.
  • Plastic bags: You need couple of bags for many purposes, such as wrapping your catch and collecting your garbage.
  • Small towel: Whenever you hook bait or dehook your catch, you may want to wash your hands. It means you have put your hands into water. You can dry your hands by wind, but it can hurt under windy weather. Dry your hands with towel.
  • Tissue: Emergency situation.
  • Contour map and Regulation booklet

This list is the basic of basics to prepare for fishing trip. You may need more. Remember, always more prepared is better than less prepared. BUT, lighter bag is better than heavier one. Difficult decision to make.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Meeting with a very old economist

I met with a very old ecnomist. Indeed, he is not that old, but he is a loyal subject of old economic thoughts. I met him because of the debate on real oil price. Without any doubt, he argues that real price of oil will be decreasing. When I send email for comment, he sent me a brief one sentence comment, "A higher price eventually induces a greater supply, and the effect is larger in the long run than the short." Oh, well, market will solve every problem? You wish!

We have been seeing long battle to let people understand that climate change is real. Even a few years ago, few lay persons accepted the fact or science. Now, if you say that global warming is fake, people think you are ignorant or crazy. I can see the same attitude in peak oil discussion. They don't buy science, but they just believe what they want to believe. How pity it is! Fact is fact, and science matters. After 5 or 10 years, I hope to meet the old economist again to check who was right if he is still alive.

Another thought. What do you think about universal health care? It is a big issue in this presidential election. Surely, I support the plan. It is such a shame that the US does not have one for its people; Korea has one, and we appreciate this pretty much. Even Rumania has one; myRumanian friend told me that he had to go back to his country to treat his dental illness because our student health plan does not cover much, while his universal health plan covers more. The old economist mentioned that he is against universal health care during today meeting. Many "economists" may think that the plan is bad because of efficiency issues. Beautiful efficiency! What a convenient decision rule for the people who live in an imaginary equilibrium world.

I don't deny that I am one of normative scientists different from natural scientists. But my norm, as an ecological economist, is on earth: make this world sustainable and happier. That is my normative decision rule. Is it true that when we increase efficiency, more of us can be better off? Efficiency does not make people happier. Look at the poor average life expectancy in the US without a universal health care. It is a shame. Shame on you, very old economist!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

[Real price of oil] My question

Still many economists and business forecasters may want to believe that current hike of oil price was caused by temporary distortion of market, and high price will increase oil production, then eventually oil price will be stabilized. However, oil production seems to peak and gradually decrease in the near future. Although there are some counterarguments on this, but let's stick on the peak oil scenario.

My question is whether real price of oil will increase or decrease when oil production decreases. In other words, whether will increasing rate of oil price still be lower than inflation rate of other commodities (Apparently, inflation rate (CPI) does not explain energy price)? Nominal price of oil will easily increase along with production decrease. It will cause supply-pulled inflation, too. We can consider two different cases about inflation and oil price.

  1. Inflation rate will be greater than increasing rate of oil price. Then we can say that real price of oil will decrease. Although nominal price of oil increase, price of other commodities go up higher. Then we may feel that oil is relatively cheaper. Oil and other energy sources are basic inputs into production. When oil price increases, it may cause cascade of value addition. For example, 5% increase of oil price will signal timber producers to increase its product price by 8%. Then, it will signal furniture producers to increase it's product price by 10%. When market participants expect such basic input price to increase, they may over-react by charging more than actual increase of inputs. In conclusion, higher inflation will disguise "real" price of oil.

  2. Increasing rate of oil price is greater than inflation rate. Then real price of oil will increase. In this case, the market reacts to higher oil price and reduces oil use in its production. Technological progress may explain this situation.
Both cases seem plausible. They can happen at the same time also. Question is which factor is more influential.


Debate on real price of oil in the future

While interviewing our department's chair candidate, there was a brief debate on the real price of oil in the future between two faculty members. They gave two different forecast about the change of real oil price. One professor forecasted that real price of oil will increase, while the other forecasted the opposite. This is very important issue in my field. I suggested a discussion to other students, and will post the discussion here.



  • Real price: Inflation adjusted price.
    "Money price is the price quoted in money while relative or real price is the exchange ratio between real goods regardless of money (from Wikipedia.org)."
  • CPI: Consumer Price Index. Government officially calculate it from some commodities, which do not include food and energy. In general, it is used as inflation rate.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Fishing rod selection

There are so many different fishing rods in market. When I went to buy my first fishing tackles, I asked a clerk for recommendation. For general everyday fishing, he recommended me Medium power, 6'6" rod. I can see almost every angler use this type of rod at shore.

I have had no problem in using the 6'6" rod until I started using 6" swim bait. My rod was too weak to handle the lure properly. It made me think about rod selection. Here is my thought about lure selection:

  1. Weight of lure: It is the first consideration. If you want to use heavy lures, you have to choose a heavier power rod. With light rod, you can not make right presentation of your lure.
  2. Weight of target fish: It determines power and length of a rod, too. If you are targeting large fish, you need heavier power and longer rod. The rod will make fighting a lot easier. But reel is more important in fighting. It means that although you have a light rod, if you have a heavy reel, then you can land the fish without any serious problem. It will take more time in fighting, though.
  3. Casting method and location: It determines length of a rod. If you want flipping or pitching most time, you should choose a longer one. If you will fish at beach, you definitely need longer one, too. But casting seems not so important consideration in rod selection.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lure Classification

There are so many different types of fishing lures. We definitely need classify them to better understand when and where we use one. I found that classification by play depth is the most useful way. There are 3 types of lures according to play depth: top, middle and bottom water baits.

1. Top water
  • Floating hard bait: They look typical hard plastic baits, but they remain floated when they are retrieved. Chug bug, Jitter bug, Stik bait are brand names of this kind of lure. They are usually called topwater lure.
  • Buzz bait: They look like spinner baits, but they have props which make them float.
  • Frog bait: They look like frog, and do not snag on grassed water.
2. Middle water
  • Diving hard bait: They are the most typical hard plastic baits. They have lips, and they make the bait dive. Larger the lips, deeper they dive.
  • Swim bait: They are soft plastic lure with paddle at the end. The paddle makes it swim in the middle of water.
  • Spinner: They are made of wire and wings. Being retrieved fast, spinning wings imitate swimming bait fish.
  • Spoon: They are spoon-shaped baits.
3. Bottom water
  • Soft Plastic: There are many different shape of soft plastic baits, such as worm, bait fish, cray fish, and salamander. They are used with jig head or Carolina rig or no sinker rig. They are many variations of rigging.
  • Jig: Jig is a combination of jig head and many kinds of skirts. For example, bucktail jig is a jighead with bucktail skirt.

I found this classification useful. Because it gives us idea which lure we have to use at different situation. Classification like soft plastic, hard plastic, non plastic does not help at all.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who is a good economist or ecological economist? What makes a good economist?

I think that a good economist is a someone who has profound insights into how human economy works. Someone who really understand the mechanism of economy. Whoelse can be? Creativity in modeling seems a key to be a good economist. Ability in econometric analysis? It is necessary, but it does not provide any insight.

In history, without any doubt Keynes is the best economist. Among current economists, I admire Paul Krugman because of his insights and his participation in social issues. I would like to hear what you think.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Responses to climate change from conservatives

Main strategy of conserviatives to climate change has been total denial: there is no such a thing like global warming. There is only natural fluctuation of climate pattern. But as undeniable evidence has been accumulated, they seem to change their strategy. Here are what I found from conservatives on news media;

(1) Now, conservatives accept extraordinary climate change as a fact.

(2) But they still raise questions about whether the change was caused by human activities.

(3) Furthermore, they are skeptical whether we can do something to prevent climate change, although they accept that the change was resulted from human activites.

(4) They suggest that we need focus on related problems such as disaster prevention, poverty, rather than on climate change itself.

At some degree, I agree with them. In particular, I am not fully sure whether we can change the dirction of climate change. We might cross the river. Instead chasing rarely achievable goals, we may want to spend our time to adapt ourselves to potential changes from climate change and to make this world ready for the uncertain future. What we need is not a protest plan but a survival plan.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What is "technical progress?"

J. Black. 2002. A Dictionary of economics. Oxford Univ. Press

"Improvement in knowledge of possible techniques. Such changes may allow more output to be obtained from unchanged inputs, the same output to be obtained from fewer inputs, or new forms of output to be produced which were not previously possible"

(1) More output with same inputs
(2) Smae output with fewer inputs
(3) New output(pure innovation?), eventually more output

Except (3), is the basic of technical progress substitution? Through substitution or reorganization of production process, we can produce more or the same with fewer inputs.