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.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

D.N. McCloskey and Predictability

Could economists predict last year economic crisis? Can economics predict the future? Should predictability be a hallmark of good science? McCloskey raises questions about economics' methodology at his 1983 article, Rhetoric of Economics.

When I read McCloskey's article first time a couple of years ago at Microeconomics class, I didn't really appreciate it. Writing my dissertation, I am re-discovering this article, which is and should be a milestone of economic science. This article has not been seriously accepted or reviewed in economic literature, as far as I see it. McCloskey is rather famous of his sex change to female. That is unfortunate.

Rhetoric of economics basically reviews methodology of economics from the view point of post-modernism. McCloskey criticizes “modern” methods of economics. Economists claim prediction is what economic science has to do. But can economists predict? How about economic crisis last year? After the crisis, some asserted that they had predicted the crisis and warned about it without proper credentials. But whole community of economists failed in predicting without any doubt. McCloskey clearly says that it is not possible to predict within economics, and prediction is not the task of economics.

Prediction is a job that guarantees honor and power. For example, shamans of pre-historic age were highly admired by fortune-telling. So, every scholar wants to give a shot of prediction. Or at least they pretend as they know something about future. Let's be honest. We cannot predict. In particular, at social science, there are so many variables. We, social scientists, even do not know clear causal relationship among variables. It is really hard to claim causal relationship. When we do not know causal relationship, how can we predict with full confidence?

Then what economists have to do? Rather than trying to predict something, let's try to provide better policies with our knowledge. About the last year economic crisis, I will blame economists not because they could not predict the economic crisis but because they did not provide proper policy options and manage the related risks. Economists should not have stuck on their limited forecasting chart, but imagined and opened to all the possibilities of economies. They failed both.

Economists should take efforts in scenario building. They should be good in fiction writing. I would rather trust economists' guided fiction than their "scientific" forecasting. Scenario analysis was originally developed by military. Military strategists first considers all possible moves of enemies. Then they set up their defense plans according to the potential moves. These stories compose scenarios. Economists' job should be like the military strategists.

McCloskey is still alive and still productive. I should follow up on her when I have a time to do. She really opened up serious discussion of economic methodology.

[Review] DiCAPac (Digital Camera Pack)

This season I bought and tested some new gadgets. DiCAPac is one of them, and I found this is very useful for fisherman. It is a waterproof plastic case for digital camera. This product was originally invented as a cheap alternative of waterproof camera for skin scuba. You can put your own digital camera into DiCAPac, and that is it.

I bought model WP-510 for my SONY Cybershot DSC-P8. It was $30 at a internet shopping mall. I tested it under water at a pool. Waterproof was perfect, but it was not easy to take a picture under water. I needed to get used to control my camera inside the case.

This product is ideal for fishing trip rather than skin scuba, I think. You may have experienced to hurry to dry up your hands in order to take a shot right after catch. If you don't have towel, you hesitate to pull out your expensive camera with your wet hands. This simple case can get rid of your worry. I used this case for this season and am quite satisfied. Here is my review:

  • Being ready to take a picture anytime. It enables you to take a picture of your catch with wet hands.
  • Peace of mind! You can protect your camera from water damage wherever you go, shore or on boat.
  • Picture quality does not really affected by the case.
  • Cheap: $30 is way cheaper than buying a new waterproof camera or original waterproof chase. You can still use your camera.
  • Lens part is a bit bulkier
  • Lens ring can interfere into your picture. You might see that some of my fishing pictures have black ring on them. Because the case and digital camera do not perfectly match, lens part can mess up pictures. It takes some time to get used to it. I hope that they will make the lens part more customizable. I want to adjust length of the lens part.
Here are pictures

Without camera in it.

With camera in it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

News Junkie

Yup, I am a news junkie. I guess many of you are, too, especially nowadays. I read four Korean news papers, New York Times and CNN on-line everyday. When there is an important issue or developing stories, I have to search for updates all over media world because of my uncontrollable curiosity. I know it is a waste of time. Why bother to know somebody was stabbed to death in Malawi. I try to subdue my time to read news papers, but it is not easy. My curiosity always win.

But I cannot stop reading news. There are useful information, too. The problem is wasting my time to read unnecessary gossips and trash articles. When I visit a news website, there are so many interesting things that catch my eyes. Pictures of half naked models, mal-shaped animal, and war scene. I try to read only significant articles, but I cannot resist to click on the curious pictures.

One solution that I am testing now is to use RSS feed. Not using reader, such as Google reader, but just use xml as bookmark. I can determine which kind of news I will read, too. When you bookmark xml file, you can only see list of articles with brief summary. No pictures or inflammatory gossips. It does not automatically update unless I refresh the page different from RSS feed. So far, it helps.

If you suffer the similar problem, you can try it.
Here is a NY times xml
You go to the page and bookmark it at your web browser. Then click on it at your book mark. It will show you only the list of up-to-date articles.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I will do it anyway

I saw a documentary film about Appalachian trail. I heard before that there were hikers who hiked through the trail from Georgia every season. The trail runs from Georgia to Maine passing through 13 states. I was amazed by scenery of the trail and those hikers. It reminded me my hiking in UK.

When I was staying in London in 1997, I went a trip to South Downs way in southern England by myself. I hiked over the white cliffs and in the middle of pasture. It was February, but it was not that cold. Windy and cloudy though. Typical British winter weather. I met more sheep than people on the way.
Beechy Head & Lighthouse (photo courtesy National Trail, UK)

I stayed one night at Alfriston youth hostel. A manager of the hostel told me that I was the first ever Korean visitor to the remote hostel. Next morning, I visited the beautiful small town while all residents were still sleeping and kept walking my way. I walked from Eastbourne to Brighton. I was lonely on the way. My knees were hurt. At the end, my body pulled my legs. But it was a moving journey. I cannot forget the joy when I finally arrived at Brighton.

The Cuckmere River (photo courtesy National Trail, UK)

One 70 year old hiker in the documentary said, "It is difficult and sweating... But I will do it anyway!" On the South Downs way, I told myself the same thing. Today, I tell myself the same spell again: Journey to Ph.D. is rough, bu I will do it anyway.

If I have a chance in the future, I would love to walk again the South Downs way. I want to see how I grow up standing at the top of white cliff.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zero Sun-Burn

My goal of this fishing season was zero sun-burn. Sounds not so ambitious? Sun-burn is the most frequent injury that fishermen suffer, and the damage lives long for whole life time. Skin cancer is the ultimate danger of prolonged sun exposure, and skin age is adversely affected by sun-burn. Many anglers do not pay much attention, but sun exposure is clearly dangerous aspect of the sports.

I invested mostly on sun protection this season. Not much on tackles. Here are the items that I used:
  1. Strike King polarized sun goggles with strap: I saw Shaw Grigsby wearing this glasses in his fishing show. It satisfies all my needs (1) polarized lenses, (2) strap, (3) goggle. So far I am very happy with this. One drawback is that sometimes lenses get foggy.

  2. Columbia Performance Fishing Gear (PFG) UPF 30+ hat: One with neck drape. I could not find exact picture of the product. Here is a picture look like mine. Neck drape did not make me feel warm. The opposite. One drawback is that it looks not cool. My fishing buddies complained about my appearance... It is hard to become a fashionable angler.
  3. Buff: It is a simple fabric product. I bought this for face protection. It is a very versatile gadget. I used this more for wind proof. When I covered my face sunny day, it did protect me from the sun, but it made me sweat while I was paddling. Not so comfy. When I was doing still fishing at bank under the sun, it definitely helped. I strongly recommend this for other anglers, not for sun protection but for wind protection and keeping you warm.

  4. Field & Stream Long Sleeves Fishing Shirts: I did not believe that there are shirts exclusively for fishing. All fabric provides reasonable UV protection. The thing that makes this shirts exclusively for fishing is that this shirts keeps your cool under the sun while providing sun-protection. I was amazed. This shirts has good ventilation, and the nylon fabric wicks off moisture from your skin. I like this shirts.

  5. Alpine Design Convertible Outdoor Pants: After buying the fishing shirts, I decided to give a shot to fishing pants, too. Again, the pants was very satisfying. This pants is not designed exclusively for fishing but provides the same benefits. I can convert it to shorts, but I have never done it. Because this pants made me cool enough; I did not need shorts.

  6. Facial Sun Block with SPF 55: I used Neutrogena Age Shield Face. No special reason to pick this product.
  7. Body Sun Block with SPF 50: I used Coppertone Sport. Again, no special reason. It might be the cheapest.
Disappointingly, I didn't take a picture while I was wearing all of these items. I just took a picture at home. Not a good one, but to give you an idea about all of these, here it is.

Not so cool. But it is better than suffering sun damage from my favorite sports.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Windows 7 and Open Office

I bought Windows 7 with student discount from Microsoft ($30, professional edition). Although I am comfortable with XP, I did not want to lose my last opportunity of the student discount event. I have been hearing all good review of Windows 7. So, I will eventually move to Windows 7. But my top concern is compatibility with Open Office. Currently I use Open Office Version 3.1.1. I checked the compatibility at OpenOffice. org and found that version 3.2 would be fully compatible with Win 7. Someone commented that version 3.1.1 would work fine under Win 7, but there could be stability issues.

Hm, stability... I am not so sure if it is right timing for me to move. I will take some time. The blue box of Windows 7 is sitting on my desk and luring me, 'install me, install me'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Graph presentation? Need help!

I am working on my dissertation. There is no economics dissertation without graphs. Economists love graphs! So, I am putting many graphs. Decomposition results are hard to present. I found this bar and line graph style was the best. If you know better one or have any other suggestion, please let me know. One of my problem is that there are so many decomposition factors (26). Some of them are zero and meaning less. But still many, as you can see. This graph is auto-generated by open office calc. Unfortunately, there are color code overlapping. I can customize color code, but it is not easy task. I have many graphs, I have to keep same color code for all the graphs...

By the way, a bit explanation of the graph. Blue total line shows change of total demand for gasoline. Orange change line shows change of difference between total demand for gasoline of two terms. Bar shows decomposition factors.