“In the weeks leading up to the eruption, Landsburg visited the area tens of times in order to photographically document the changing volcano. On the morning of May 18, he was within a few miles of the summit. When the mountain exploded, Landsburg must have realized that he would not survive the rapidly approaching ash cloud, but he kept snapping pictures as long as he could. He managed to rewind the film back into its case, replace his camera in its bag, put the bag in his backpack, and then lay himself on top of the backpack in an attempt to protect its contents. Seventeen days later, Landsberg’s body was found buried in the ash with his backpack underneath. The film could be developed and has provided geologists with valuable documentation of the historic eruption.

[Kenneth] Arrow was able to prove–with the inexorable force of pure mathematics–that the only way to satisfy all of the requirements [of democracy] is to select one voter and give him all the votes. The only “democratic” procedure that meets the minimal requirements for democracy is to anoint a dictator.
—  Steven E. Landsburg, The Armchair Economist 

The infamous professor from the University of Rochester, Steven Landsburg, has, once again, managed to offend the entire female population.

At least the students are getting fired up about something!

Landsburg’s Blog Post:

Gawker Article, as referenced above:

Censorship Petition, As referenced above:

Imagine a physicist, well versed in the laws of gravity, which he believes to be excellent approximations to the ultimate truth. One day he encounters his first helium-filled balloon, a blatant challenge to the laws he knows so well. Two courses are open to him: He can say, “Well, the laws of gravity are usually true, but not always; here is one of the exceptions.” Or he can say, “Let me see if there is any way to explain this strange phenomenon without abandoning the most basic principles of my science.” If he takes the latter course, and if he is sufficiently clever, he will eventually discover the properties of objects that are lighter than air and recognize that their behavior is in perfect harmony with existing theories of gravity. In the process, he will not only learn about helium-filled balloons; he will also come to a deeper understanding of how gravity works.
—  Steven E. Landsburg, The Armchair Economist
Alan Landsburg Passes - Standardbred Canada

Alan Landsburg Passes – Standardbred Canada

Alan Landsburg Passes
Standardbred Canada
Alan Landsburg, a television writer, producer and director who in later years focused on improving horse racing as a racing commissioner and industry leader, died Thursday at the age of 81. Mr. Landsburg graduated from New York University with a degree

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View full post on standardbred horse – Google News

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University of Rochester involved in Limbaugh and Fluke Ordeal.

As a University of Rochester Student, i just wanted to address this.

First off, this has gotten so huge, its interesting to be apart, even from a distance, of something so controversial and important.

One of our professors, Professor Landsburg, of the Econ department, has posted blog posts in support of Limbaugh’s derogatory name’s for Sandra Fluke in her support of having her University cover Birth Control as apart of their health insurance.

Since this initial post, Landsburg has gotten attention from the President of our University, Joel Seligman, who have continued their dialog, as well as from the D&C and our own, Campus Times.

All of this attention has really fired up the student populous, and is flooding everyones facebook feeds. Students even protested in his Econ 108 class.

Links are being posted and shared, commented on, debated via social media outlets, etc.

It makes me happy to see that something has gotten everyone so enthusiastic, whether you’re for Limbaugh or against, or for contraception or not, blah blah.

This is the sort of thing that i think our generation has needed. Maybe it seems like its just happening right now because its so close to home. Literally.

UR students have been extremely active in the Occupy Wall street and UR movements this year as well.

I’ve just really been following this story lately.

However, at the very root of the problem, this issue seems to’ve become a giant slander-fest. Limbaugh and Landsburg called Fluke out, now everyone is calling Landsburg out. And Landsburg and Seligman are exchanging words.

Both Landsburg and Seligman have been receiving furious letters from students and outsiders alike.

Here’s my bottom line. If Limbaugh and Landsburg disagreed with Fluke about her wanting contraception as apart of her health insurance, then they should have done so in a more respectable manor. One reflecting their intelligence and knowledge on the subject.

Resorting to derogatory terms like “slut” and “prostitute” is a cop-out, i think.

As i have commented on my facebook, the main issue should be the language. Everyone should express their views. Yadda yadda.

But what happened to thinking before you speak?

Everyone could have handled the situation better.

Here are links to everything im talking about:

*Landsburg’s original post

*Seligman’s response

*D&C article

*UR’s Campus Times Article

*Landburg’s direct response to Seligman

“What’s the best way to blood test a pot-bellied pig?” #new in pb: The Big Questions


What’s wrong with stealing?
What’s the best way to blood test a pot-bellied pig?
Should we tolerate intolerance?

In the wake of his enormously popular books, The Armchair Economist and More Sex is Safer Sex, Steven Landsburg uses concepts from maths, economics and physics to address the big questions in philosophy: Where does knowledge come from? What’s the difference between right and wrong? Do our beliefs matter? Is it possible to know everything?
Provocative, utterly entertaining and always surprising, The Big Questions challenges readers to re-evaluate their most fundamental beliefs and reveals the relationship between the loftiest philosophical quests and our everyday lives.

Browse inside.

 (opens new window)

Steven E. Landsburg writes the popular ‘Everyday Economics’ column in Slate magazine and has also written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He teaches in the department of economics at the University of Rochester.

Steven E. Landsburg - The Big Questions | € 11.95 | paperback | 288 pages

The lack of basic economic knowledge in this video is astounding given that it presents a larger part of the picture that could have been used to explain this better.

Steven E. Landsburg gave a great explanation of this in chapter 16 of his 1993 book, The Armchair Economist. Movie theaters are not simply selling movie tickets and concessions as separate items to earn a profit; they are selling the experience of a night at the movies.

This video correctly shows that movie theaters would be far in the red without concession sales. However, it incorrectly isolates concession revenues, compares the prices of various concessions online versus at a movie theater, and refers to the entire “markup” as profit. Even ignoring the fact that it is unlikely the online prices correctly correspond to the cost to the theater of cooking the popcorn in the manner it does or dispensing sodas via fountains and the required maintenance costs, it is not entirely profit if the movie theater would be several times more in the red than they are in the black without and with concession revenues, respectively.

Ticket sales do not have enough “markup” to produce a profit for movie theaters. A significant portion of ticket sales are licensing fees paid to the movie distribution companies. Revenue is not the same thing as profit and equating the two demonstrates a high level of economic ignorance. Ticket revenue alone is not enough to even come close to breaking even on the other costs to operate a movie theater such as the massive amount of real estate needed by a movie theater, the technology costs, the comfort costs, etc.

People are drawn to a movie theater because of the entire experience of the night at the movies. Some people only want to enjoy the movie. Others enjoy the concessions as part of the experience. The people willing to pay higher prices at the concession stand compared to online prices for similar foods are typically willing to pay higher prices for the experience as a whole. Those who are not willing to pay for concessions because of the higher prices are less likely to pay higher prices for the experience as a whole. If ticket prices are too high, you will lose the people who are marginally making the decision to attend a movie or not based on the cost of the ticket alone versus another form of entertainment. Those people may just skip the concession stand altogether. The people willing to buy a lot at the concession stand are not basing their decision to attend or not on the ticket price.

Taking a loss on ticket sales but making it up on concessions allows movie theaters to get more people to come to the theater by charging customers with diverse preferences and incomes closer to each customer’s willingness to pay despite wide differences in the elasticity of demand among the diverse groups of people who enjoy watching movies. Movie theaters make a profit based on selling the entire experience of a night at the movies. Isolating the profit or loss of individual parts of the experience is not an accurate way to examine the profit or loss of a business as a whole.

Landsburg posed an interesting hypothetical question to the often-cited captive audience explanation for high prices at movie concession stands: why do movie theaters not charge anything to use the restroom during a movie? You are a captive audience in terms of restroom options during a movie and there is even more urgency in that regard. Why don’t movie theaters charge to use their restrooms? The answer is because restrooms are not something people are generally willing to pay to use in America. Charging for restroom use will make the experience of a night at the movies very unpleasant for a lot of people. You are a “captive audience” in a lot of situations in this usage of the term but people still adapt by eating before or after such events based on their willingness to pay high food prices. If you gotta go, you gotta go, though, so the captive audience theory is debunked by the zero cost of the service that should be priced the highest under this logic.