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History

May 20, 2015

"7 famous people who should have been cryogenically frozen when they died"

It's certainly a shame. (The author doesn't even mention polio.)

May 11, 2015

"The Engineer’s Lament: Two ways of thinking about automotive safety"

Interesting piece by Malcolm Gladwell that offers insight into the difference between how engineers view the world and how the rest of us do.

Almost all engineering jokes—and there are many—are versions of this belief: that the habits of mind formed by the profession enable engineers to see things differently from the rest of us. “A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.” To the others, the glass is a metaphor. Nonsense, the engineer says. The specifications are off. He doesn’t give free rein to temperament; he assesses the object. These jokes, like many of the jokes people tell about themselves, are grievances. The engineer doesn’t understand why the rest of us can’t make sense of the world the way he does.

It includes some interesting discussion of the infamous Pinto case.

April 29, 2015

"Riots Just Don't Work"

Detroit, South Central, Newark, D.C. . . . you don't say.

April 22, 2015

"The myth of Europe’s Little Ice Age"

It sounded real, but two economists seem to argue well against it.

April 02, 2015

"America’s Hottest New Meme Subject Is 16th-Century Theology"

Learn how to throw down like original OG Martin Luther.

We despise your whorish impudence. . . . I must stop. I can no longer rummage in your blasphemous, hellish devil's filth and stench.

March 30, 2015

"Why most American Jews vote for Democrats, explained"

With this information I hadn't known:

But these explanations don’t help us explain political differences among Jews across countries or over time. American Jews share a religious tradition, historical inheritance, and minority status with most Jewish communities around the globe — and yet only Jews in the United States are concentrated on the left. Jews outside the U.S. are sometimes centrist, sometimes rightist, and occasionally indistinct from the general population, but never as tightly clustered on the left as American Jews.

(The paper referred to the article is here.)

March 26, 2015

"What would have been the greatest event in history, but barely failed?"

Interesting answer: the voyages of Zheng He.

March 25, 2015

Good news for rats: they're probably off the hook

Rats probably weren't the transmission vector of bubonic plague. Gerbils probably were.

It’s always the cute ones you have to watch out for, isn’t it?

March 16, 2015

"Explaining the 1990s economic boom — before Hillary does"

Lord, don't let the Clintons take credit for that.

March 11, 2015

"The Smartest Person Who Ever Lived"

Argument for Isaac Newton. (I didn't know that in later life he "dabbled in economics".)

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