30 January 2011

"Seinfeld" in economics

Princeton econ prof Avinash Dixit's paper "An Option Value Problem from Seinfeld" is a treatment of Elaine's quandary in Episode 119 ("The Sponge") as an option pricing problem. When Elaine's contraceptive of choice goes off the market, she has only a finite supply remaining and she has to become much more, uh, judicious in her use of them. It's a case of "Investment Under Uncertainty" (Dixit's much more voluminous work on the subject).

There's a WSJ article about the paper. If you like this kind of stuff, there's a bit more in the same vein (though with less in-depth discussion) at Yada Yada Yada Econ (The Economics of Seinfeld).

I consider "Seinfeld" to be one of the better products of the 1990s, so it's awesome that it still gets talked about. Moreover it doesn't surprise me at all that there is so much econ content in a show that is ostensibly about "nothing". Econ is everywhere.

03 January 2011

Giant Plush Tux Penguin

or, What Happens When Engineers Learn to Sew

Encouraged by how well the plush (Linux) Tux penguins turned out, Santhosh, Samson, and I spent a couple of afternoons over the holiday making a Giant Plush Tux in honor of our favorite kernel. It was a lot of fun and I got to practice skills that I usually neglect (such as hand-eye coordination).

Giant Tux is 3'8" tall, weighs 24 lbs, is made out of fleece and reappropriated stuffing, and really likes to hog the couch.

You can read more about how Giant Tux was made and see more pictures here.