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January 2011

"Life Without Left Turns"

We already know that minimizing left turns can save gas and money. Now, research conducted at N.C. State Univ. concludes that roads which mimimize left turns "are actually more efficient than traditional intersections."

“The study shows a 20 percent overall reduction in travel time compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs,” says NCSU engineering professor Joe Hummer, one of the researchers who conducted the study. “We also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46 percent fewer reported automobile collisions—and 63 percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”

"How Much Does California Owe?"

Joe Nation, Lecturer in Public Policy at Stanford, argues the amount is between $265 billion and $737 billion.

For perspective, the proposed California general fund budget for next year is $84 billion. In a best-case scenario, per capita indebtedness is more than $7,400. In a worst-case scenario, it is $19,800, nearly one-half the U.S. figure of $45,600. Given those dismal numbers, Californians would be served well by focusing on state finances as much as on federal finances. 

Link via Linkiest.


Go to Boston, young man

Story on young people starting food businesses in Boston.

While leaving the nonstop pulse of New York was difficult, Hester couldn’t have launched his crouton company there. “In New York you have to be on a career path,’’ he says. He finds the population in Boston young and “everyone is doing their own thing.’’

Good for them. (But I'm not too sure about the future of the crouton business.)


"State Budget Bunk: A taxonomy of fiscal gimmicks, evasions, and ploys"

Important information courtesy of Steven Malanga.

Facing scary revenue drops that left their budgets dangerously unbalanced after years of runaway spending, states have employed an unprecedented number of fiscal gimmicks over the last two years to try to make up the difference. They have swiped revenues dedicated to maintaining roads or enhancing emergency medical systems; sold future lottery proceeds for cash today; grabbed unclaimed money in personal bank accounts; and redefined taxes as fees to get around constitutional limits on tax hikes. And they’ve justified these moves by claiming that voters are in no mood for the spending cuts or explicit tax hikes necessary to shrink deficits legitimately—even though the tricks often circumvent budget restrictions that the voters themselves enacted. 

Titles for academic papers

Jeff Ely, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Economics at Northwestern, offers interesting advice--it would be nice to test it using important papers--on titling academic papers.

One piece of his advice is widely, and I would guess increasingly, flouted: he advises that the "worst thing you can do with your title is to insert a colon into it". Why do I guess "increasingly"? Because when I download papers as .pdf files, more and more, I encounter Window's refusal to include colons in file titles.

Link via The Browser ("Writng Worth Reading"). If you haven't seen it, you might want to take a look.