Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Why Not Make It a Case?

The state of Western Australia is finding it difficult to recruit general practioner physicians [not unlike the problems of many rural communities in Ontario]. As an inducement, the Australian Medical Association is offering current doctors a bounty in the form of a bottle of Grange (high-end wine) for each successfully sponsored immigration of a general practitioner.

Robert Gottliebsen understands the economics of the situation very well.

One of the reasons we are short of medical practitioners is that Australia places strict limits on the number of doctors it trains each year. And the rewards for specialists are usually greater than general practice so that the low number of trained GPs is further depleted by specialisation.

In the past many GPs worked very long hours. Now more are working less hours to improve their lifestyle.

Of course, part of the reason for the exodus of GPs is that the Government has put a low-level clamp on the fee levels that GPs can charge for bulk-billing patients.

The parallels to the shortage of doctors in Canada are clear: restricted entry into the profession, combined with gubmnt-set fees that are lower than the doctors' opportunity costs, with the result that the quantity demanded outstrips the quantity supplied at current prices.

As BrianF, who sent this to me, says, "Even doctors respond to incentives. But governments don't believe that or, if they believe it, don't want it. "

Update: In response to this piece, Jack wrote:

In this vein, the just-announced increase in medical training spots in Ontario would seem to be a bit off the mark.

The reason is that the major difficulty with the supply of GPs recently has been the declining percentage of medical school graduates choosing this path. As it is, some family medicine residency training positions go unfilled. Creating more of them might just create a higher vacancy rate. The life just isn't attractive anymore ...

Of course if you pile enough people into the residency sorting gate, you will inevitably get a few more in the GP slots, but it seems to me to be a very inefficient way of going about it.

In other words, the inducements for becoming a small-town GP simply are not high enough to meet or exceed the opportunity costs. Graduates from medskool would rather become specialists or practice in larger urban areas.

Perhaps in Western Australia, they should be offering the wine to medskool graduates instead of to people who are already doctors.

Dogs and Lemmings

Maybe they learned that their school had dropped its math department. What else might be causing this:

A SPATE of what appear to be canine suicides has animal psychologists in Scotland baffled. At least five dogs have thrown themselves off the historic bridge at Overtoun House in Dunbarton, Scotland, in the past six months.

[thanks, I guess, to BrianF for the link]

I don't know what it is about Brian and dogs. He also sent me this:
US prosecutors trying to crack a murder case realised they were barking up the wrong tree when one of their witnesses turned out to be a small dog.
They had been sniffing around Murphy Smith ever since the main suspect sent him a letter from his cell. ...

They sent out a subpoena, and the five-year-old Shih Tzu duly appeared at the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, led by the defendant's brother.

When he sent it, Brian added, "At least he didn't jump off a bridge when they subpoenaed him."

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Lot of People Prefer Regulation

Jetsgo, a discount airline in Canada, just closed up shop suddenly at 2am this morning.
Jetsgo's demise came after a series of setbacks.
The airline had to cancel flights shortly before Christmas during a Toronto winter storm, stranding thousands of angry passengers. Then came a botched landing attempt by a Jetsgo aircraft at Calgary International Airport in January, and last Friday, one of its planes left debris on the runway at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Despite these known problems, people continued to book flights with Jetsgo, assuming there would be no risk that the airline would cease operations.

At Pearson International, Canada's busiest airport, passengers were

“I'm getting married in a couple of days, and they just cancelled my flight,” one woman told CTV News. “How would you feel?”

One father said he had been working to pay for a March break vacation for his daughter, only to now be faced with a second bill because their flight has been cancelled.

“I've been working like a dog waiting for this vacation,” the man told CTV.

When the airline industry was heavily regulated, fares were much higher, but customers bore very little risk that the airline would suddenly cease operations. With deregulation, customers can choose much lower airfares, but they seem to think the gubmnt should insure them for the risks that an airline might close down without notice.

How Well Can Politicians Pick the Winners?

Not very well. Here is yet another example, this time from the sugar industry in Australia [h/t to BrianF].

The sugar cane farmers lined up to receive $444m. in aid, but they didn't use it to diversify, as the politicians thought they should.

[Minister-in-Charge] Mrs Kelly said that a central element of the package - $75 million for regional and community projects aimed at getting the industry to diversify into new products such as ethanol - had been misused.

"I'm very disappointed that they've lined up for taxpayers' dollars for what amounts to upgrading their machinery when that is their shareholders' responsibility," she said.

"There have been three industry assistance packages since 1998. I would have expected that in six years, industry leaders would have come up with products that customers are willing to pay for."

This attack sounds so promising. A politician who doesn't like putting money in the pockets of shareholders and is upset with the recipients of gubmnt hand-outs. But then we learn the reason for her scorn:
Mr Ballantyne said ..."Her problem is that she thinks the only hope for the industry is ethanol, but that won't take hold until her Government mandates its use in fuel."
Summary: The gubmnt minister wants the country to switch to ethanol. She offers subsidies to sugar producers to induce them to alter their efforts and products and produce ethanol. The producers see no market for ethanol, so they use the money to upgrade their current production facilities. It all sounds like the usual round-about obfuscating efforts of politicians, who find it desirable to grant subsidies but not to raise specific taxes to alter incentives.

If gubmnts really want users to switch to ethanol (and I am not saying they should!), they should tax the use of petroleum-based fuels; then increasing numbers of consumers would gladly shift a portion of their purchases toward ethanol.

And Don't Talk to Your Students, Either

That seems to be the logical implication of this warning from teachers' unions in Ontario:

Ontario elementary students who e-mail with their instructors could find their messages ignored: The provincial teachers’ union has urged members to stop communicating electronically with their charges.

‘‘There is an emerging and alarming relationship between allegations of sexual misconduct and the use of e-mails and text messaging,’’ says the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario advisory, issued last month.

‘‘In a brief period of time following the initiation of this type of communication with students [sometimes days or even hours] members can begin to use inappropriate language and inappropriately share and receive personal information.’’

[from p.7 of the March 8th National Post, subscription required; thanks to Jack for the story] That advice is absurd. The same caution should also, then, be applied to talking to students, especially after classes. Instead of cautioning teachers not to use e-mail, the union could be reminding teachers of the inappropriateness of some types of behaviour and some topics for conversation with students. But this blanket condemnation of e-mail is ridiculous. And leave it to an education professor to support their stupidity:

And educator authorities like Allen Pearson, dean of the University of Western Ontario’s faculty of education, gives his students the same advice.

Don’t e-mail pupils, union warns teachers. “It invites teachers to be informal with students,” he says. “And that can be manipulated and used against them.”

disclaimer: I work from home much of the time but encourage my students to keep in touch with me via e-mail.

More Evidence about DDT

The World Health Organization estimates that more than a million people die each year from malaria. But many believe this estimate is too low.

At least 500 million cases of malaria occur each year - nearly 50% more than estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), health experts say.

BrianF, who sent this link, points out:
Malaria was well on its way to being brought under control until the environmentalists decided DDT had to be banned, not only in developed countries but also in underdeveloped ones. That brought malaria deaths back up rapidly. DDT was what made the southern part of Italy inhabitable: look at the malaria death figures in countries like Sri Lanka and South Africa (which revolted against environmental correctness and brought DDT back) in the with- and without-DDT eras.
Remind me again why it was that countries stopped using DDT. Was it because the eggs of bald eagles developed thin shells and didn't hatch? What were the total costs of using DDT? How did those costs compare with the benefits of controlling malaria, especially in developing countries? What is the value of a human life in a developing country?

The point I want to make here isn't that it was wrong to ban DDT back in the late 1960s. Maybe it was wrong, but based on the available evidence, banning DDT then might have been a good idea. By the same token, though, now that more evidence is available, it is time to reconsider the ban.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

An Economist's Anthem

John Chilton, the Emirates Economist, has just posted his version of "If I had a hammer." It is spectacular. The conclusion:
it's a song about trade between
my brothers and my sisters
all over this world

We need him to write some rap songs, now, to further our teaching of comparative advantage.

Auctioning Off Admission to Exclusive Universities

Back in 1990, I recommended that universities could ease their funding difficulties by auctioning off the last 50 - 100 admissions spots to the highest bidders. I'm delighted to see that Duke University (and probably others) has put my recommendation into practice, albeit somewhat crudely and with little or no publicity [h/t to Katie at A Constrained Vision]:

Under-endowed compared with rivals such as Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, Duke has been particularly aggressive in snaring donors through admissions breaks. Widely considered one of the nation's top ten universities, Duke accepts 23% of its applicants and turns down more than 600 high-school valedictorians a year. Three-fourths of its students score above 1320 out of a perfect 1600 on the SATs.

Yet in recent years, Duke says it has relaxed these standards to admit 100 to 125 students annually as a result of family wealth or connections, up from about 20 a decade ago. These students aren't alumni children and were tentatively rejected, or wait-listed, in the regular admissions review. More than half of them enroll, constituting an estimated 3% to 5% of Duke's student body of 6,200....

During an all-day meeting in March, Mr. Guttentag and John Piva Jr., senior vice president for development, debate these 120 cases, weighing their family's likely contribution against their academic shortcomings.

The Duke system (and, I would venture, the system in place at many other institutions) is a probablistic auction. Admission places are set aside for some students based on the expected present discounted value of the future donations from the students and their parents. I wonder how many universities do this, and when they started doing it.

Scatological Socionomology?

I have a friend who had his tenure revoked [i.e. reached mandatory retirement age] from the socionomology dept of a mid-level university nearly a decade ago. For some reason, he is currently obsessed with toilets. He recommends the Toto Drake. From one of the consumer reviews,
I would have never thought I'd have given so much thought to "toilets"!. But I have. My knees are becoming troublesome, so I had a plumber out yesterday to do an estimate on an ADA. He recommended the Toto Drake. After browsing Consumer Reports ratings and doing a Google search and coming across your site, I immediately called and scheduled an installation for this morning. It sits very comfortably, is easy on the knees, flushes complete and remarkably fast, and has an almost no-noise refill. Amazing.

Looks worthy of consideration.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Vote for King!

King Banaian, of SCSU Scholars, is campaigning for the job of President of Colorado University now that noted experimental economist, Betsy Hoffman, has tendered her resignation in the wake of the football/sex and Churchill scandals. You can see King's platform here and here (with more planks being nailed onto the platform daily), and you can vote for him here.

Do it now. Go vote for King!

What is it about economists as university presidents and controversy? coincidence?

Labour Shortage?
What's Happening to Wages?

When there is an "acute labour shortage", wouldn't you expect wages to rise to eliminate the shortage? [thanks to BrianF for the link]

PLANS to reopen one of Australia's largest goldmines have been abandoned because of acute labour shortages that are threatening to delay mining projects worth billions of dollars.

[Prime Minister] John Howard expressed his support yesterday for a plan for a massive one-year migration rise of 20,000 skilled places, taking the overall intake to about 140,000 in 2005-06 -- the biggest quota in almost 20 years.

"We have an economic need at the moment for more skilled people. You can't generate them out of thin air in Australia," the Prime Minister said. "And if part of the solution to that problem is to bring in more skilled migrants then I am in favour of it."

We often see this type of concern from employers who expect and hope to be able to hire workers at some historical wage rate which is no longer relevant in a tighter labour market. When they are unable to do so, they then talk about an "acute labour shortage."

In economics, though, our models do not really like this concept since if there is a shortage at a certain wage rate, we expect wages to move upward. A major reason wages don't adjust instantaneously is that it takes awhile for people's expectations to adjust to changed market conditions. But they do adjust; it is only a matter of when.

And wages have, indeed, been moving upward in many occupations in Australia:

View Resources chief executive Derek Lenartowicz said wages were soaring as mining companies competed for the scarce pool of skilled workers available.
Kalgoorlie-based WA School of Mines director Peter Lilly said mining engineer graduates in 2000 started work on $50,000 salaries, but those graduating later this year could look forward to signing up on salaries of $90,000.
Mr Shanahan [of the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy ] said the labour shortages were causing disruptions throughout the West Australian economy; farm hands were leaving the land for higher paying jobs in mining and mining companies were losing workers to the mine contracting firms.

"This shortage is rippling through the labour market, due to the skills shortage," he said.

It's nice to see our basic supply and demand models at work!

A Shortage of Skilled Labour

In the posting just above this one [but dated after this one so it appears on top of this one], the shortage of mining engineers is described. That is not the only area of labour shortages in Australia [thanks to BrianF for the link].

EMPLOYERS are blaming the lack of skilled tradespeople in Australia on an inflexible apprenticeship system that demands four years' training on low wages.They also say the time apprentices are required to spend off the work site in courses such as TAFE – in many cases two days a week – makes hiring them more trouble than it is worth.

Industry groups are pushing for shorter apprentice schemes to get workers qualified and on to full salaries more quickly and to reduce the high apprentice drop-out rate.

Who do you think might object to fast-tracking the training of skilled labourers? Here is one part of the answer.

But union intransigence on the traditional broad four-year apprenticeship scheme was also hampering both employers and aspiring apprentices.

A shortage of skilled workers at current wage rates should certainly make it easier to negotiate higher wage rates in the future. Why would people who had already completed their apprenticeship want to make it easier for the supply curve to shift to the right?

Why Students Should Major in Economics

From Katie, at A Constrained Vision:

Was Tom Wolfe in my classes??

In I Am Charlotte Simmons, the nerd hero defines what it means to be "cool": A cool guy--and I've seen this happen--can secretly work his ass off five--no, four--nights a week at the library, but he has to make light of it if anybody catches on. You know what the favorite major of the cool guy is? Econ. Econ is fireproof, if you know what I mean. It's practical. You can't possibly be taking it because you really love economics. [emphasis added]

I always knew there was something I didn't like about Tom Wolfe's writings --- I love economics.

ohmygod. what does that say about the meaning of "cool"?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Judicial Activism - a Recipe for Oligarchy

Legislative bodies are supposed to make laws. Judicial bodies are supposed to interpret them. That division of power has been effective in controlling temporary oligarchical tendencies in either branch of gubmnt.

Sadly, the Supreme Courts in both Canada and the U.S. are using their respective constitutions as a mechanism to make legislation themselves and overturn legislation with which they disagree. George Will does a superb job of pointing this out by dissecting Justice Kennedy's most recent over-reaching majority opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the capital punishment of a young man who committed a gruesome murder when he was 17-years-old.
Kennedy's opinion, in which Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens joined, is a tossed salad of reasons why those five think the court had a duty to do what state legislatures have the rightful power and, arguably, the moral responsibility to do....

"[I]nappropriate" is not a synonym for "unconstitutional." Kennedy simply assumes that those 12 states [with capital punishment] must consider all capital punishment unconstitutional, not just wrong or ineffective or more trouble than it is worth -- three descriptions that are not synonymous with "unconstitutional."
This point is really important. The justices may strongly believe that some legislation is inappropriate, out-of-step with the mainstream, counter to international opinion, or based on flawed research, but none of these criticisms of the legislation makes it unconstitutional. If legislatures produce legislation that is "inappropriate, out-of-step with the mainstream, counter to international opinion, or based on flawed research", and if the electorate do not like the legislation, let the electorate vote the legislators out of office. What is both inappropriate and unconstitutional is for the Supreme Courts to overturn legislation, calling it unconstitutional when their real reason is something else.

Rory Leishman has written on this topic often in the past, with reference to the Canadian courts. I eagerly await his putting this work together in book form.

Controlling Communications

There is a reason revolutionaries or despots try to gain control of communications systems. We can see it currently in Nepal.
KATMANDU, Nepal - Cell phones aren't ringing these days in this Himalayan nation: Small businessmen can't take orders, children can't phone their parents and political activists can't call around to organize a decent-sized protest.

For the past month, since King Gyanendra seized power and ordered communications links switched off, Nepalese have been learning to live without their cell phones.

Link courtesy of The Emirates Economist, who adds,

But many movie goers are happy....

But, seriously, this story does point up the revolutionary effect technological change in communications has had on recent, uh, revolutionary movements. Contagion and coordination are essential to an effective mass movement. Witness the Orange Revolution and the Lebanese protest, to name a few.

The effect of mobile phones on the supply of revolutions makes for a nice example of an increase in supply.

At least the professors and teachers in Nepal don't have to deal with cell phones ringing in class!

More on the Marriage Contract

When a marriage contract ends in divorce, the economic basis for compensation in the form of spousal support raises interesting questions, presented very well at Division of Labor. The discussion is about Moore v. Moore, an Ohio case in which a divorced spouse had a sex-change operation.

The Moores divorced after 25 years of marriage. Mr. Moore was ordered to pay his ex-wife spousal support that would terminate if she remarried or cohabitated with another male. After the divorce, the ex-Mrs. Moore had a sex change operation and began cohabitating with a female. ...

This case certainty makes us rethink the basis for spousal support. Is it to correct gender inequities in our society or is it to reinforce investment in a marriage contract? If the purpose is to correct gender inequities then we certainly can argue that since he is no longer a she that spousal support should end? However, if the purpose of spousal support is the repayment of investment in a contract that was broken by the other partner, then gender or switching gender should be irrelevant. It also should be irrelevant whether the party receiving the support has remarried or is cohabitating, since the lost past investment is the same regardless of future living arrangements. The payments should also be independent of the ex-wife’s financial circumstance; otherwise, they create a disincentive for future investment in human capital.
Another reason for spousal support might be insurance of the form, "If we divorce, your lifestyle won't suffer too much." The problems with this basis for support (which is clearly one of the reasons for the initial divorce agreement in this case, halting payments should the spouse begin living with a different partner) are that (1) it raises a moral hazard issue because (2) it creates a serious negative tax on re-partnering.

Thanks to JC for the pointer. For more on the economics of marriage, see here for Phil's take on game theory and marriage. And if you're big on game theory, see this.

What Is Wrong with Price-Gouging?

Another community in Ontario is undergoing a contaminated water crisis.

People in the southwest Ontario city of Stratford are being warned not to drink the tap water – or even wash themselves with it. Health officials issued the advisory at noon Monday after the city's water distribution system became contaminated by potentially dangerous chemicals. It's believed to have come from a spill of detergents and waxes at a car wash in the city, located about 45 kilometres northeast of London, Ont.

....The city is bringing water in by tanker and running stations to supply water to households.

The local television newscasts also showed people queuing up to buy bottled water at Stratford stores and being limited to one case of 24 bottles per purchaser.

Why don't stores raise the price of water in these situations? Economists ceaselessly point out that higher prices would make sure water gets to those people who value it most. They also point out that higher prices would induce more stores to stock more water for the future, just in case they might have the opportunity to charge high prices for their inventory. Tom Sowell sets out the case quite well. The indomitable Karen Selick did an even better job here.

If merchants alienate regular customers by appearing to take advantage of their temporary misfortune, they might well lose more profits in the long run than what they will make in the short run. This is why some businesses choose not to increase prices, preferring instead to simply sell out.

On the other hand, stores that increase prices and thereby manage to keep scarce items in stock might actually gain new customers as shoppers stray from their normal haunts seeking a place that hasn’t sold out. Like most other business decisions, it’s a judgment call.

So, if we all know that price-gouging promotes both short-run and long-run economic efficiency, what's the problem? I expect it has to do with jealousy and redistribution. Put crassly, the objection to price-gouging is, "You have it, and I want it, and I don't want to pay any more for it than I would have paid yesterday." And, to add to that, "Furthermore, I'm gonna lobby for laws so you have to sell it to me at yesterday's price."

As I have asked many times before: who is the least-cost bearer of the risk, in this case, of water contamination? Who should bear the inventory costs of providing insurance in the form of a large stock of bottled water? Or who should bear the transportation costs of shipping water in from nearby communities?

If we don't allow/encourage retailers to recoup these costs, they won't provide the services. Individuals will be expected to anticipate and insure against a host of unforeseen risks. Shortages will recur in all sorts of areas because prices are not allowed to rise. And gubmnts will be expected to intervene.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Why Are Stock Indices Rising??

Beats me.

I see massive U.S. deficits and rising U.S. interest rates in the future, either through a tightening of the money supply or, more likely over the next year or so, through the effect of inflationary expectations on nominal interest rates (the Fisher Effect). I'm not the only one with these concerns. Here's what Walter Jacobs of the Wall Street Examiner says:
Consider what has to happen now for investors to make money. Either risk spreads have to contract further from all time lows in many cases, or the situation for companies must improve. That would mean labor must remain quiescent, tax breaks must continue, homes continue to be leveraged for current consumption, and commodity prices stop escalating. These are possible, but are about as likely as a beach day in Maine this time of year.
The situation in Canada is only slightly different. We do not have massive federal gubmnt deficits (yet), and we do not have substantial underlying inflationary pressures (yet). However, our unemployment rate is probably two or three tenths of a percentage point below the natural rate, which means we are over-heated a bit, and both M1 and M2 have been growing at double-digit rates. I don't see how these phenomena can persist for a long time without having some impact on inflation, inflationary expectations, and interest rates in the future.

Smells, Marriage, and the Divorce Pill

In response to my earlier piece about a woman wanting to divorce her husband because he smells bad, JC sent me this summary of some research about the detrimental effects of birth control pills on a woman's sense of smell, thus inducing her to make an incorrect marital choice:

[T]he Pill makes women feel pregnant, so they feel like they need to be protected. And they tend to go for a guy who smells like their father or brother. ...[T]hat's why women pick the wrong men and the divorce rate is so high.

Herz, a Brown University professor and odor expert, believes that
before you marry someone, you should get off the Pill.

Quite frankly, I don't buy it. Why should marrying someone who offers protection, stability, and support lead to marital breakdown? Is it that women on the pill get the wrong signals about which type of men will offer these virtues? Or is it that, except when they are pregnant, women are risk-seekers?

Why Martha Got Jail Time

What Martha Stewart did was a comparatively minor crime. Tom Luongo agrees.

I'm still at a loss to understand what it is that she actually did wrong... as for why it was so damned important that she and all the people she does business with had to pay for this supposed crime she committed, I wish I could answer that in some other way than, "It served the purposes of those in power."

It would be a fascinating economic study to figure out (even to 1 signifigant figure) how much economic damage was done due to the prosecution of Martha Stewart, and can that even begin to compare to the crime that was committed. You've got to wonder if the scales could ever be balanced.
My take:

Hypothesis #1: many males feel threatened by an uppity woman. She publicly disparaged her husband and his sexual prowess; she made it really big financially (in what is traditionally a man's world). So they had to teach her a lesson.

I'm not the only one who thinks this hypothesis might have merit. Maureen Dowd, with whom I rarely agree, says that Americans like to see women who wear the pants be beaten up [figuratively, I expect] and humiliated.
Obviously, many men are uncomfortable with successful women, so when these women are brushed back, alpha men can take comfort in knowing that alphettes are not threateningly all-powerful and that they had better soften those sharp edges.

Hypothesis #2: Martha Stewart's lawyer let her down. I wonder if she'll use that lawyer or law firm for much work in the future.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

One of my favourite roles in the many mystery dinner theatre shows in which I perform is Major Sam Tilfinger, a knock-off of Colonel Parker (Elvis Presley's manager).

A Case of Misleading Advertising?

An Iranian woman wants a divorce. Her husband used to be a clean freak, but now he's so dirty and stinky that even their children do not want to be near him. [thanks to BrianF for the link]

She said he "does not like water and does not want to take a shower. He doesn't even wash when he wakes up in the morning."

She said that when they first married, he had an obsessive compulsion to stay clean.

To the extent that marriage is a contract, this sounds like a case of breach of contract. But marriage is usually more than a simple contract because people change; it would be extremely costly, if not impossible, to specify all the possible contingencies. It makes me wonder: how much change is acceptable within the extended terms of the marriage contract?

A legal expert told the AFP news agency that being smelly was not a valid reason for divorce in Iran.

But Mina could argue it had caused her to hate her husband so much that she could no longer live with him, which would meet the criteria.

Hate is adequate grounds for divorce; smell isn't. [for many links to mid-east events, visit The Emirates Economist]

What an Idiot!

But, then, who said thieves were smart?

A newly signed Cardinals running back was arrested Friday at Sky Harbor International Airport after he allegedly stole another flier's laptop.

Larry Lee Ned, 26, joined the team Thursday when he was claimed off waivers from Minnesota....

Moments earlier, Ned had walked through a security checkpoint. After he went through the detector, he picked up a Dell laptop at the end of the scanner....

The laptop's owner was still going through the screening process. ...

On Friday evening, the Cardinals announced that Ned had been
released, and that they had re-signed running back Damien Anderson.

Keep in mind that he (Ned) had been place on waivers by Minnesota, and possibly his future as a professional football player was in doubt. I expect that if he felt more secure about his employment situation and his worth as a human being, this incident would never have happened.


Thanks for the link to Eric at Off-Wing Opinion, where you can always get up-to-date information about the NHL lock-out/buy-out/fade-out/whatever-out. Eric's advice is to keep an eye on your laptop when you go through airport security. Also see Phil Miller's post on this item at Market Power.
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