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April 19, 2014

Three on survival

"5 Survival Myths That Will Kill You".

"6 Little-Known Driving Tips That Could Save Your Life".

"Here's How Long Someone Could Survive At Sea".

"What Does a Black Widow Spider Bite Feel Like?"

I really don't want to know. But in case you do.

April 18, 2014

"The World's Most Spectacular University Buildings"

The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo is certainly different looking.

". . . the world's most important 6-sec drum loop"

Almost certainly as much as you'll ever want to know about the "Amen Break".

"Let's Just Listen to Marvin Gaye's Isolated Vocal Tracks All Day Long"

"All day" is a bit much, but it's certainly worth one listen or two

April 17, 2014

Tom Sargent's list of 12 valuable lessons economics teaches

From a 2007 Berkeley graduation speech. (Link via Utopia--You Are Standing On It.)

"Why Northerners Are Born Earlier In The Year Than Southerners"

The article doesn't really explain the "why," but the data are interesting enough

"Untold Tales of the 1%"

"The Top 1% of Recording Artist Superstars Capture 77% of All Revenues From Internet-Based Sales; the Remaining 99% Divide the Remaining 23% of Revenues".

Who's up for taxing the hell out of those filthy rich musicians?


Yes, Quebecois, you can get--supposedly--poutine in the U.S.

I'm not really sure, however, the KFC version would be up to par

April 16, 2014

"Social Security stops trying to collect on old debts by seizing tax refunds"

Just three days after the Washington Post revealed the heinous practice, the Social Security Administration announced "it will immediately cease efforts to collect on taxpayers’ debts to the government that are more than 10 years old."

Commentary by Ed Morrissey and by Megan McArdle

I'd say it's another example of Justice Brandeis's fine axiom, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants."

"America's Most Expensive Hotel Room Costs $45,000 A Night — And It's Non-Negotiable"

Supposedly it cost $50 million to build. So even at $45,000/night, I don't see how it works out as a sound investment. 

"23 Global Warming & Climate Change Stories All Americans Should Read Before Earth Day"

Excellent list

"Study reveals a major mechanism driving kidney cancer progression"

Yet another example of just how evil cancer is:

The shortage of oxygen, or hypoxia, created when rapidly multiplying kidney cancer cells outgrow their local blood supply can accelerate tumor growth by causing a nuclear protein called SPOP — which normally suppresses tumor growth — to move out of the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where it has the opposite effect, promoting rapid proliferation.

April 15, 2014

Economics "Yo momma" jokes

Two years old, but still good.

Yo mamma so dumb she thought marginal analysis was about butter.

"Want A 70 Percent Tax Cut? A Libertarian Government Could Deliver It"

The author well knows--as do the readers--that this is, currently, but a dream

But a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. 


"At 90, Freeman Dyson Ponders His Next Challenge"

Very interesting. Three highlights:

Why math?

I think the decisive moment was reading the book “Men of Mathematics” by Eric Temple Bell. Bell was a professor at Caltech, and he wrote this book, which is actually just a wonderful collection of biographies of mathematicians. Historians condemn it as romanticized. But what was wonderful about this book is that he showed the mathematicians as being mostly crooks and people of very mixed kinds of qualities, not at all saints, and many of them quite unscrupulous and not very clever, and still they managed to do great mathematics. So it told a kid that “if they can do it, why can’t you?”

. . . 

You became a professor at Cornell without ever having received a Ph.D. You seem almost proud of that fact.

Oh, yes. I’m very proud of not having a Ph.D. I think the Ph.D. system is an abomination. It was invented as a system for educating German professors in the 19th century, and it works well under those conditions. It’s good for a very small number of people who are going to spend their lives being professors. But it has become now a kind of union card that you have to have in order to have a job, whether it’s being a professor or other things, and it’s quite inappropriate for that. It forces people to waste years and years of their lives sort of pretending to do research for which they’re not at all well-suited. In the end, they have this piece of paper which says they’re qualified, but it really doesn’t mean anything. The Ph.D. takes far too long and discourages women from becoming scientists, which I consider a great tragedy. So I have opposed it all my life without any success at all.

. . . 

What scientific advance do you see on the horizon that will have a big impact on society?

People are often asking me what’s going to happen next in science that’s important, and of course, the whole point is that if it’s important, it’s something we didn’t expect. All the really important things come as a big surprise. There are many examples of this, of course, dark energy being the latest example. Anything I mention will be something that, obviously, is not a surprise.

"Top 10 Google Products You Forgot All About"

I can recommend both Google Alerts and Google Book Search

"This Ultimate Map Shows Where People Are Moving Inside The United States"

"This map shows the net domestic migration for each county in the U.S. for the year between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013, adjusted by the original 2012 population. Counties with positive net domestic migration (more people moving in than moving out) are in blue and counties with negative net migration are in red . . . 

"The most startling aspect is the mass of dark blue in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. It coincides with the Bakken Formation, ground zero of the recent shale oil boom.

"The map also shows the trend of people leaving areas in the Northeast and Midwest — and of people moving to the Southeast."

April 14, 2014

"Students Seeking Skills, Not Degrees"

Well . . . yeah. It's about time.

A rare sign of sanity in higher education: students are doing an end run on the ‘time served’ model of degree attainment at colleges, and instead are attending university in order to pick up only the skills they need.

And so it begins (maybe)

Sooner or later, most Americans will get tired of paying so much in taxes for such poor results. Maybe this is the beginning of "sooner": "New York Legislators Just Did The Unthinkable, And Voters Will Love It".

(Maybe this map hints at future developments.)

"Drunken Passover grilled cheese? Yes, please!"

Passover starts tonight and this sounds good

"Where did all the bandits go? At one time, bank robberies were part of L.A.'s daily routine. Not so anymore."

We're not sure of the reasons why, but regardless, it's a welcome development

"The Essence of Antitrust and Regulation"

Don Boudreaux summarizes the unpleasant truth about antitrust:

Antitrust began in 1889, with the enactment of a dozen or so state statutes, as an effort to protect economically inefficient but politically influential producers (chiefly, local butchers) from the competition of more economically efficient but politically less popular producers (chiefly, the newly emergent Chicago meatpackers with their newfangled refrigerated railroad cars).  (See also here.)  The 1890 Sherman Act, at the national level, reflected this populist reaction against market-unleashed creative destruction.  The absurdity of antitrust reached its legislative zenith with the 1936 Robinson-Patman Act.

"Germs Rule the World"

Be nice to your gut bacteria and other germs.They own you

April 13, 2014

"Slaves of the Red Carpet"

Goes some way toward explaining why so many actresses look so unattractive at the Hollywood awards shows

"Garbage In, Garbage Out"

"Or, How to Lie With Bad Data".

An introduction to selection bias, publication bias, recall bias, survivorship bias, and healthy user bias.

April 12, 2014

"33 Genius Three-Ingredient Recipes"

When cooking I tend to like recipes with fewer ingredients.

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