Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bicycling Behavior Explained

Felix Salmon has an interesting post up on why bicyclists fail to follow the rules of the road. By and large it makes a lot of sense except for this:
But in stark contrast to motorists, nearly all of whom follow nearly all the rules, most cyclists seem to treat the rules of the road as strictly optional.
It hasn't been my experience that the majority of cyclist, which is what I take "most" to mean, don't follow the rules. There is, to be sure, a significant minority who do. On the other hand, it has been my experience that a super majority of motorist treat certain important rules as if they are optional. Speed limits are nearly never follow whether in neighborhoods or on the highways. Stop signs are treated like yield signs and yield signs are ignored. Pedestrians' and cyclists' right of way are seen as annoyances to be gotten round.

Beyond everyday rule breaking, motorists become increasingly selfish when they drive and look on everyone else as a barrier to their forward motion and, consequently, they are becoming ever ruder.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jonah Goldberg is Still Dumb

Recently Goldberg argued that
No one in the world knows how to make the newspaper you are holding (and, if you're reading this on your phone, computer, iPad or Kindle, no one knows how to make those things either).
He was, as he admitted, referencing I, Pencil, which argues that no one individual is in possession of the information, skills, and abilities to make a pencil. As he admits, this is probably not true
I suppose it's possible for someone to master all of the knowledge and expertise to make a pencil all by themselves, but why would they?
But he nonetheless insists that
The lessons one can draw from this fact are humbling. For starters, any healthy civilization, never mind any healthy economy, involves unfathomably vast amounts of harmonious cooperation.
In other words, libertarianism rests on the fundamental insight that free markets, because they are examples of voluntary cooperation, are better off without state intervention. Or, as he puts it,
More relevant, the modern market economy is the greatest communal enterprise ever undertaken. Friedrich Hayek did the heavy lifting on this point half a century ago in his essay "The Use of Knowledge in Society." The efficient pricing of markets allows millions of independent actors to decide for themselves how to allocate resources. According to Hayek, no central planner or bureaucrat could ever have enough knowledge to consistently and successfully guide all of those economic actions in a more efficient manner.
He claims that the
latest proof of Hayek's insight can be found not only in the economic winter that goes by "recovery summer," but in the crown jewel of the stimulus known as "cash for clunkers," which subsidized car purchases that would have happened anyway. That's a major reason the auto industry just had its worst August in 27 years. Meanwhile, lower-income buyers are seeing used-car prices soar thanks to the artificial scarcity created by destroying perfectly good "clunkers."
As John Cole points out, while arguing with a different wrong-headed fellow, this position misrepresents the purpose of CC; consequently it is judging success or failure by standards that don't apply.

Goldberg fails to mention that the state does things all the time necessary for the smooth running of society, i.e., the Interstate, and identifies and solves specific problems, how to build a really powerful bomb and, ultimately, harness the power of the bomb for the creation of energy -- neither of which is necessarily a good thing, by finding and financing the work of individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to solve the problem. Could some private enterprise have landed on the moon?  Maybe.  But the fact is they didn't and the state did.  Could some private entity have created DARPA, which led to the intertubes? Maybe but they didn't.  And so on.

Goldberg's position also errs in insisting that free market success doesn't stifle innovation.  Consider these vignettes from James Scott via:

It seems to me that large-scale exchange and trade in any commodities at all require a certain level of standardization. Cronon’s book Nature’s metropolis, which is a kind of ecological history of Chicago, has a chapter on the futures market for grain. There exists a tremendous natural variety in the kind of corn, soya and wheat that were grown, but they all have to be sorted into two or three grades in the great granaries, and to be shipped abroad in huge cargo ships–the impetus to standardize in the granaries found its way back to the landscape and diversity of the surroundings of Chicago, reducing the entire region to monocropping.
It’s the same principle at work as I describe in Seeing like a State with regards to the Normalbaum in German scientific forestry. Agricultural commodities become standardized as they move and bulk in international trade. If you build a McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, they tell you architecturally exactly how to construct it, you have to buy the equipment that is standardized, it all has to be placed in the same relationship to the other things in the floor plan, so it’s all worked out in detail, and it is worked out in such detail to produce a standardized burger or standardized fried chicken. And because it is standardized, the person who comes from the corporate headquarters can come with a kind of checklist in which every place is more or less the same, and they can check on cleanliness, quality, productivity and conformity to the corporate standard. This is the kind of control over distance that is required for industrial purposes. In the end, what is the assembly line? It is an effort to standardize the unit of labor power. The processes are not so different for grain production, burgers, or cars—as are the effects on diversity. Contract farming is then an instance to adapt agriculture to post-Fordist conditions with a higher emphasis on demand.
The demand by free markets for standardization means that consumers lose out on better products and eat crappy food because of the advantages of economies of scale and the top down wisdom of corporate head quarters insisting that this is how it ought to be done.

Goldberg concludes with the rousing stem-winder of an dea that a
market economy is cooperative, and more successfully so than any alternative system ever conceived of, never mind put into practice. 
 Manchester's development into Cottonopolis is especially instructive.  Were the producers of cotton, southern American Slaves and the colonized in India, voluntarily producing cotton?  Did the Indians who consumed much of the cotton do so voluntarily.  Well, no they didn't. Did slavery and colonialism end because of free markets?  Well no they didn't. In today's market economy the demand for profit maximization means that consumers eat tainted eggs or some other equally abhorrent whatnotery.

English as a Foreign Language

Some you, no doubt, wonder on a daily basis what Bob Dylan would sound like if he were an Italian speaking English without the benefit of knowing how to speak English.

With subtitles

Now that I think about it this is, most likely, a comment on Eurovision English.

The Implication of Inferring

Until just now, I thought that I implied something when I said something gnomic and you inferred something from whatever gnomic thing it was I said.  And that never the twain shall meet, i.e., I can't infer something from what you implied.  Well, I was wrong.

David Brooks is Not a Serious Person

In his column today Brooks identifies a shift in cultural attitudes as the cause of the decline of America's industrial might. Before he does this, however, he proves he is a serious person by reducing a complex historical moment to a ridiculously simplified version of events.  In this case it is Britain's rapid rise to hegomonic status in the 19th century and relative economic decline in the 20th century.  He argues that this rise and fall resulted from a change in elite attitudes toward work, the first change good the second bad and kinda of sissylike.  He then identifies a similar change in elite attitudes in America towards work with the sissylike version and, hey presto!!, America's decline is the fault of Americans who would rather be do-gooders or make a fortune in finance.

Britain's relative economic decline, in Brooks' telling, had nothing to do with two expensive wars -- the first of which was pointless and cost more than Britain could afford and the second of which certainly wasn't pointless but it still cost more than Britain could afford, the rise of other industrial powers -- say Germany or America, decolonization with its loss of captive markets  -- like India, and other related whatnotery, like -- say -- the Great Depression or an ill-advised return to the Gold Standard at pre-WWI rates or Thatcher's industrial policy.  Nope not a bit of it.

Because if he did include these aspects of 20th century history, America's "decline" would be the result of ill-advised invasions and industries' drive for profit maximization, which means moving from here to countries with few or no labor and environmental laws, which-- in turn -- means that elites and others who might maybe want jobs in industry can't get them because those jobs no longer exist here.  Or China's rapid and successful industrialization.  And this would place the blame pretty squarely on the backs of the folks who made those decisions not some assumed changes in attitude of everyday and elite Americans toward work

In other words, when seeking to explain the reason there are so few jobs in industry in, say, Buffalo, Brooks concludes that it's the fault of people who don't want to work at the jobs that are no longer there because they've all lost their work ethic and now just want to lazy about as social workers or something.

Brooks writes:
As the historian Correlli Barnett chronicled, the great-great-grandchildren of the empire builders withdrew from commerce, tried to rise above practical knowledge and had more genteel attitudes about how to live.
Barnett writes that
in this seminal period of 1870-1914 — the widespread lack of appetite of British employers, themselves often ill-educated "practical men," for recruits with formal technical qualifications, and their preference for people "trained" on the job by the traditional method of "sitting next to Nellie." Here was an abiding double bind: the British system proportionately turned out far fewer technically qualified personnel than, say, America or Germany, and yet more than British industry wanted.[quoted cited here]
See what Brooks did there?  He got the argument wrong; they wallowed so much in practicality, which was in fact a code for Palinesque "Common Sense," that they turned their backs on technocrats.  I can't find any hard copies at the moment but Barnett seems to argue that the "over-strained structure of British power swiftly collapsed" because of the "shock" of WWII. Dintenfass wrote a nice summing up of the debate of Britain's decline, which is -- go figure -- much more complicated than Brooks lets on.

Brooks also insists that
sometime around 1800, economic growth took off — in Britain first, then elsewhere. How did this growth start? In his book “The Enlightened Economy,” Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University argues that the crucial change happened in people’s minds. Because of a series of cultural shifts, technicians started taking scientific knowledge and putting it to practical use. For example, entrepreneurs applied geological research to the businesses of mining and transportation.
 The implication here is that the "crucial change" occurred around 1800.  Mokyr, in fact, links it to the Enlightenment's Scientific Revolution, beginning with Bacon,  the Republic of Letters, legal innovations -- like patents,  and important technological developments all in the 18th century or earlier. Like most historians, what Mokyr does is discusses the Industrial Revolution as a series of stages that ought most properly be understood as a first and second revolution, the second enjoying the success of the first and finally able to move forward armed with great piles of scientific knowledge, and he seeks to privilege the importance of the first, which includes changed attitudes of mind, new institutions and legal regimes,  and technology plus the destruction of "mercantilism" as the dominant economic paradigm.  See it's more complicated then Brooks lets on.

Mad Men

I am, I'm sure, one of the many people on the planet who find Mad Men insufferable. Indeed, I would venture to guess that there are more people who find Mad Men insufferable than are those who find brill and insightful. Why?  These kinds of posts in which way to much is proven.  Or because of consensus between flying monkeys and anti-flying monkeys on the greatness of Mad Men by virtue of is depthiness, which is -- I am going to suggest -- actual evidence of it's depthlessness.  I mean really, if someone you think is too dumb to tie his shoes suddenly writes a mash note to a tv show, it's time to reassess your view not double down on it. The depthlessness of Mad Men is the reason folks get to pour all manner of meaning into it. I've watched a couple of episodes and it strikes me as a typical TV show, which is to say badly written with thin characters burdened with silly plot devices, and a deep commitment to pretending to be profound by being as superficial as possible.

Allegedly Leopold Frieherr von Ranke was reading one or another of Scott's historical romances and generally enjoying himself when it occurred to him that there was no way that Scott could know what he was claiming to know and the truth was most likely far more interesting than Scott's fiction.  This is, I think, true and this account of the actual men and women who created Mad Men proves von Ranke's point.[1] This post doublely proves von Ranke's genius, as if von Ranke's genius needed proving, by showing how incoherent real WWII is if viewed as a fictional narrative.

If you want to write about TV here's the model. Pick solidly nobrow  or lowbrow or hilowbrow fair and wallow in the various pleasures it offers while mocking the pleasures.

[1] Via.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Save Grandpa

First game of Favre's second comeback and, as they say, practice makes perfect and he clearly didn't and so he wasn't.  Was it just me or did his arm look to be shot?

In addition if either or both Al Michaels or Chris Collingwood decided to retire they ought start a school dedicated to teaching tomorrows leaders how to ramble on about nothing in particular and never correct their mistakes. And, perhaps in the Gen Ed requirement, teaching courses dedicated to being as annoying as is humanly possible.

More on For-Profit Higher Ed

Previously, I mentioned that for-profit higher education was a bad idea and that the WaPo was in it up to its neck and was lobbying against reining in the worst aspects of the tawdry Wackford Squeersesqueness of the whole industry. If you're interested you might want to read this which exposes more skullduggery.

If They Aren't Tired, Why All the Lying?

Rober Costa, full time flying monkey, claims that
From Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, congressional leaders have found a way to work with presidents on policy, even if they were ideological opposites.
And seriously, serious, flying monkey Paul Ryan (R-WI) whimpers
"these days, it seems like every time you reach your hand out, you get burned . . . from what I can tell, President Obama has little interest in trying to triangulate like Bill Clinton or Dick Morris.” The president’s ideology, he laments, often gets in the way of negotiations. “Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan,” Ryan says. “At the expense of the American idea, he has doubled down on Chicago-style politics and class warfare, pitting one group against the other.”
It's all true, if you consider the Newt era impeachment and government shut down working with a president to first end his career and second end the government, although it seems unlikely that Clinton was interested in either goal.  And that Obama with his endless public meetings with Republicans on health care and his leaving out the public option, demonization of Sarah Palin for pallin' around with terrorists who hate real America, and his accusations that John McCain was both a Manchurian Candidate and a baby eater, really did divide the country. Oh wait.

In any event, Ryan is clear that as soon as Obama agrees to transform himself into Paul Ryan, he can count on Paul Ryan's support to enact Paul Ryan's policies. Well, some of them.


Victor David Hanson, serious flying monkey and super serious professional dolt, asks
Does all of Obama’s us/them talk about the apparently greedy who make over $250,000 a year bother any of his rather affluent blue-county supporters? Given that so many of the progressive pundits, professors, and professionals that supported Obama make over $200-250K, at some point his arbitrary economic Mason-Dixon line — dividing the bad 1 percent that pays 40 percent of income taxes from the good 40 percent who pay nothing — gets too close to home (especially in the New York/D.C. corridor, where a $250,000 gross income — given income, payroll, and state taxes — does not give one much of a house or prep school). I would expect some progressive pushback soon (e.g., He can’t mean us, can he?), resulting in something like, Why not put the top bracket at $500,000-1,000,000 and go after “them”?
 Which is a long way of his saying "I'm mortal, I'm a greedy prick; Liberals are mortal, therefore, Liberals are greedy pricks."

One of the reasons why what he expects to happen won't happen is that he is making stuff up about who earns what and about who supports Obama. For example, academics on average don't make that kind of money.

Relatedly, VDH might be unaware of this, although I am not clear why he would be unaware of this, but income and wealth inequality, which was already pretty bad, has been growing worse.  There are fewer but richer individuals and families in the upper deciles.

When Mediocrities Attack

Matt Yglesias and Jonah Goldberg go at one another, here, here, here, and here.  The only way  this debate could shed less light on anything other than the mediocrity of Yglesias and Goldberg would be if Megan McArdle weighed in and illuminated her mediocrity.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

World's Greatest Blog Comment

In the comments to to this post, I found this

  1. Who are they that treated him like hi was a dog?
    If the President does not tell their names, it is just having some more holes in the water.
    So,can we verify the truth of our president?[That's not in my prepared remarks, it's just- but it's true.]We don't know the other supposed bad side.
    His speech is based on personal preferences and it's a fault in premise..
    The truth ,of course, needs some more information to be known by the people, but the most important thing ,I think, is that the nation needs the unity and a balanced president.
    This is the world's  greatest blog comment not because it is incoherent, although it nearly is, but because it makes the argument that we can't know that Obama's detractors make all manner of baseless claims about his nationality, political, sexual, or religious orientation, etc. unless the he offers right then and there examples of the baseless claims. It is a nearly perfect example of faux naivete masquerading as serious argument.

Political Generals

David Patraus recently condemned the nutjob in Florida who plans on burning the Koran on 9/11.  Personally, I think Patraus ought to pipe down.  It is not his job to tell Americans how they can or cannot use their various rights particularly if he does so in the context of saying its bad for the war effort.  I mean, after all, what could be more deleterious for the war effort than, say, a peace march?

Sarah Palin on the the Koran burning argues, in part, that it will "appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance."  Got that?  Not that it is mean-spirited religious intolerance but that it will appear so. Sort of like that Pastor in Dallas who claimed that Islam causes pedophilia only appears to be an imbecile.

I would like to be the first to nominated this kerfuffle  Koranburinggate or Nutgate.

I am, it seems, not the first person to make the Petraus ought shut up claim.

Cool Shoes

Via comes news of a nifty regular shoe clipless pedal adapter. From Germany, no less.

Rules and Rule Breaking: Cycling Edition

Bjarne Riis recently sent Andy Schleck and Stuart O'Grady home from the Vuelta becuase they had a drink after a stage.  From Riis' perspective
“It doesn’t matter if it was one drink or 10, or if he was out until five in the morning and that’s between us anyway, rules are made to be kept,” Riis told reporters after stage 10 of the Tour of Spain. “I’m not here to give any explanations or further details. What actually happened will stay between us.”
Slightly longer ago "Riis said he took EPO from 1993 until 1998, including the 1996 season when he won the Tour de France."

The question this raises falls somewhere along a line bounded on one end by hypocrisy and the other by either lacking self awareness or lacking historical perspective.  Maybe it's a triangle and not a line but you get the point.

In the comments section of the article on Scheck and O'Grady being sent home, some are arguing that it is utter Balzacs to suggest that Riis past failures means he can't enforce rules now.  True enough, I say; however, including some recognition of his past failures, for example: Rules are meant to be followed and I ought to know, I will forever regret the shadow my EPO use cast over my accomplishments, would have inoculated from this kinds of charges.  Relatedly, in  world as it actually exists, Riis' drug use and success consequent to that drug use aided him in becoming a DS and team owner.  It is, isn't it?, ironic that someone with that history chooses to now become a master of law and order, no?

Where's Fido

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Jonah Goldberg, Although Still Dumb, Manages to be Half Right.

He is right to argue that
Some church in Florida wants to burn Korans on 9/11. I am at a loss as to how this isn’t a repugnant and stupid idea. Public book-burning, by its very nature, is offensive no matter what the book. Burning the Koran is idiotic on every level, even for people who think Islam is to blame for terrorism.
He is wrong to argue that 
I never said the government should ban this nut from burning Korans. Indeed, my position on this is pretty much identical to my position on the Ground Zero mosque: there’s a right to do it, but that doesn’t make it a good or smart idea.
Because he here suggests that the Islamic Community Center is somehow or another equivalent to burning books.  The controversy over the ICC is ginned by a bunch of geographically ignorant know nothings who want, well, I really do not know what they want but, like Professor Wagstaff, whatever it is, I'm against it.

New Trends in Publishing

Via Tom Socca comes news that there is now a 12 volume hard copy set that contains every edit of Wikipedia's entry for the Iraq War.

The world gets every weirder.

A Depressing Debate

The other day, Paul Krugman wrote an editorial calling for more stimulus spending that cited FDR's retrenching in 1938 as evidence for doing more rather than less and pointing out that government spending, aka WWII, ended the Depression.  Victor David Hanson, a real historian, weighed in and pointed out that because now and then are not totally identical, Krugman was wrong, wrong, wrong to make an analogical argument.  Of course, since no two moments are identical, on Hanson's reasoning, we can never make arguments based on historical analogies.

Then today, we learn that "Amity Shlaes has a point-by-point and fact-by-fact rebuttal."

In the first instance, Shlaes is hopeless as a historian.

In the second instance, she writes at a fourth grade level:
The whitewashing of Keynesianism is what has kept us from knowing about it all these years.

Taxes are also overlooked by Dr. Krugman. In 1935 likewise, Congress and Roosevelt had raised income and other taxes. That shift discouraged already enervated businesses.
This is the actual order of the argument.  Likewise?

In the third instance, Shlaes is  a fibber McGee.  She insists that
The President spoke in his 1937 inaugural of “fashioning an instrument of unimagined power” with government, a phrase so bold no modern president, Democratic or Republican, would dare to read if he saw it on a Teleprompter.
Here is what Roosevelt actually said

In that purpose we have been helped by achievements of mind and spirit. Old truths have been relearned; untruths have been unlearned. We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays. We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.
This new understanding undermines the old admiration of worldly success as such. We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.
In this process evil things formerly accepted will not be so easily condoned. Hard-headedness will not so easily excuse hardheartedness. We are moving toward an era of good feeling. But we realize that there can be no era of good feeling save among men of good will.
For these reasons I am justified in believing that the greatest change we have witnessed has been the change in the moral climate of America.
He is not discussing the expansion of state power but rather a moral awakening.

It's almost like the Right cannot win the argument with the facts so they need to use lies, half-truths, and evasion in order, if not to win, to confuse everyone.

What is really odd is that if you read Brooks today he is making more or less the same argument as FDR did, just not as coherently.

David Brooks

I'd like to say a few words about David Brooks' latest entry into the big debates of the day, today he explains that "Americans are moral materialists" but also "spiritualists working on matter"and what these means for the future of the "Gospel of Wealth."  The fact of the matter is that the essay is so trivially true and argumentatively incoherent that there isn't that much  to say.  This column does, however, illuminate Brooks overarching method.  He finds someone even more intellectually boring than he is, in this case a 26 year evangelical pastor of a megachurch, who arrives at some obvious conclusion, in this case Jesus wouldn't much care for megachurches and their parishioners, and transforms that obvious conclusion into some unproven, and unprovable because of its broad meaninglessness, insight about America's essential nature, in this case it's the "tension between  . . . God and mammon" which he sees as "the  central tension in American life" and history," and there you have it. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Economic Stimulus

Recently, I mentioned that many of our bridges were in dire shape.  Today, Obama asks for money to fix the direness of our decaying infrastructure.  Any bets on bipartisan action designed to fulfill this worthy goal?  As an example, Kansas City, Mo's water system is 100 yrs old, or much of it, and requires billions to replace, up-grade, and generally fix.  Wouldn't it be nice if the Republicans would think a bit about governance and bit less about baying at the moon.

Jonah Goldberg is Still Dumb

Goldberg writes
If the Dems do get shellacked in November, what’s the over-under that Hoyer or Rep. X mounts a challenge to Pelosi? I have no inside info or insight on the matter, it just seems like a reasonable question to ask and a fun way to stir the pot.
Usually when posing a hypothetical the individual posing the hypothetical will cloak the hypothetical in some penumbra of insiderness in order to limit arguments that the hypothetical is stuff and nonsense.  In this instance, Goldberg attempts to use his much touted ignorance to his own advantage. Because it is fun to be an ignorant ignoramus ignorantly stirring the pot.

In a similar vein, I claim no special knowledge, information, or insight but I wonder when Goldberg will stop beating his wife. 

Federal Government: What is it Good For?

John Miller, a man so smart he proved that the Rock and the Roll is conservative, forwards a bleg from some other super genius.
Martin Morse Wooster (mmwooster at yahoo dot com) asks:
I am trying to find the original source for this quotation: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’s be a shortage of sand.” This is commonly attributed to Milton Friedman BUT the oldest article I have found with this quote (from 1982) attributes it to William Rusher. I need to know the original source for this quote with a citation if possible.
It seems that the pithy remark was one of the many Soviet era jokes about the misery of the communist state and the general hopelessness of socialism.[1]  As this comment applies to America, if you leave aside WWII, the Berlin Air Lift, the A-Bomb, the Internets, the Eisenhower's national highways, the Moon, Mars, Space Stations, disease control. pre-Reagan public education,   and other related whatnotery, they've got a point.

[1] My favorite:
What's the difference between capitalist hell and socialist hell.
In capitalist hell, the damned must lie on a bed of nails while a steam roller drives over them. In socialist hell, it is exactly the same, except sometimes there are no nails, sometimes the steam roller is broken and sometimes the driver is too drunk to work.

There are multiple version of this.

Surf and Turf

Waiting for Godot?

Godot arrives?

Cooking for Godot?

Godot eats?

Still waiting for Godot?

Godot arrives?

Eric Erickson: Boy Genius

This is one of the silliest things I've ever read.  In the course of burbling an incoherent ode to the light bulb, Erik Erickson writes:

People may not realize it, but one of the first acts of the Democratic Congress in 2007, was to ban the light bulb effective in 2014.
Now, you may say that this is an exaggeration, and it is a bit, but the incandescent light bulb is the light bulb of choice for millions of Americans. It turns on instantly, it can be tossed in the trash without summoning a hazmat team, and is cheap.
Got that?  Congress banned the light bulb except that that claim is a bit exaggerated but people like the light bulb.  These statements are supposed, I assume, to be an argument; what they are is a series of sentences in close proximity to one another.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bar Handled

This post deals with wrapping handlebars and using twine to lash the ends.  For this project you will need twine, I use nylon, handlebar tape, I use the cheapest available, some kind of stain, a paint brush, a lighter, and scissors, and a pen.  I don't use Shellac any more because, although this seems unique to my experiences, I found it wore off fairly quickly even when clear coated. Others swear by it.

I trim the tape to make the wrap sleeker.

When it is time to lash the ends, I use an old thread dealy so I have more or less the same amount of twine so that the lashing is more or less the same length.

Here is a video on how to lash complete with really annoying music.

This what mine looks like after lashing.  I put the loop on the bottom and burnt the ends after cutting them.  Personally, I think it looks better.

This is what it looks like after two coats of stain/gloss.

I am going to give this one at least one more coat.  When treated like this the tape lasts at least three years, it is possible to replace cables and housing.  The handlebars can, however, be a bit slick.

The other bike: