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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Words Matter

The internet is full of questionable jokes. Gay is a generic negative adjective, in gaming circles rape is used as a term for defeating your opponent, and many people enjoy some sexist and otherwise disparaging humor.

When people, especially moderators, step up and try to ask to skip these phrases, they are generally met with dismissive reactions. Can’t they take a joke? No one’s being hurt, it’s their fault if someone is offended – after all, it’s just words, right?

Sadly, that’s grossly underestimating the power of language and interaction.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Effects of Top Income Tax Rate Increases in Germany

In the recent debate on tax changes in Germany following the proposal of the Green Party to increase tax rates to 49% from currently 42% for incomes of 80,000 EUR and above, the German Industry and Trade Chamber (DIHK) submitted an opinion piece which claims that increases in top tax rates correlates with an increase in jobless numbers. This opinion piece is an excellent example of two major abuses of statistics: Cherrypicking and confusing correlation with causation.