Weekly Roundup 24: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

Hi guys,

I apologize for putting this out so late. I hope your enjoying the weekend.

Update: Tomorrow I will launch our first weekly wisdom newsletter. It will be delivered on a weekly basis every Monday. The news letter will essentially take the same format as this post except the collection of links will be much more in depth.

If you like my weekly roundup I highly recommend you signup for our free weekly wisdom newsletter via our homepage

P.S. I recommend you check out the first link.

Click The Title To Access The Articles

0. Video: What Happens When You Share Your Deepest Secrets With The World – Via PopTec -Four years ago, Frank Warren walked the streets of DC at night, handing out self-addressed postcards to strangers, soliciting their secrets. Watch as the creator of the wildly popular blog PostSecret reveals some of the hundreds of thousands of secrets shared by people from around the world in those four years…including a few of his own.

1. The 100 most beautiful places in the world -Via Terra Sans .FR – I couldn’t Resist Linking To This

2. Recession slowing water investment to a drip – Via Paul Kedrosky & Reuters – LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Water scarcity means big growth for companies that purify, transport, and distribute the world’s most essential resource, but a global recession that has halted new projects and put off price hikes means water investors will have to wait for the boom years.
Water, cheap and indispensable, has long been prized as a stable investment in both good and bad times.

5. One Of The Best Primers On Solar Energy – Via Oil Drum -Our economy and wealth is constrained by the price of energy and our efficiency in using that energy to create value. Peaking fossil fuel production and climate change concerns have resulted in growing interest and subsidy for many forms of alternate energy. The EIA’s <“http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/index.html”>Annual Energy Outlook notes that no alternate energy is expected to take up the slack expected as fossil fuel production swoons over the decades ahead – the U.S. is doing NOTHING on the massive energy scale required. Among the contenders, the cleanest, most promising, most poorly understood, most daunting and most ignored is Space Solar Power. Why?

6. Josh Wolfe’s Weekly Insider – Via Forbes Wolfe – Exclusive Forbes sit-down with Nathan Myhrvold, Ph.D., former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and now founder of Intellectual Ventures.

7. Google Voice: It’s the End of the Phone As We Know It – Via Xconomy – Brace for impact, again. Google is about to change the way you think about telephones. The information giant has a pattern of setting its sights on an existing technology, moving in with overwhelming software-engineering force, and upending all of our old expectations. We didn’t know we needed ads alongside our search results, and Google turned keyword-based advertising into a multi-billion-dollar industry. We all thought e-mail was something we could only access and manage using desktop programs like Outlook, then along came Gmail. We thought we had to go to libraries to find out-of-print books, then Google went and created Google Book Search. We imagined cell phone platforms would always be controlled by a few elite carriers and handset makers, then Google started Android.

8. Masonomics – A New Book Neuroworld Readers Via NeuroWorld – Masonomics looks at the human brain as an organ that is highly evolved to engage in deception, including self-deception. It can reason without necessarily being rational. The way I see it, Masonomics does not necessarily agree that humans tend to choose the best ways to achieve their objectives. Instead, we are limited by our capacity for self-deception, among other shortcomings.

9. Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett Via NeuroNarrative – Book Review Intelligence And How To Get ItWhile the debate over intelligence rages on many fronts, the battle over the importance of heredity rages loudest. It’s easy to see why. If the camp that argues intelligence is 75 to 85 percent genetically determined is correct, then we’re faced with some tough questions about the role of education. If intelligence is improved very little by schools, and if the IQ of the majority of the population will remain relatively unchanged no matter how well schools perform, then should school reform really be a priority?

10. Video: The Peculiar Power of Music on Memory – Via NeuroNarrative Though the psychology of music is an old field of study, the last 20 years have seen tremendous strides in understanding music processing in the human brain. Daniel Levitin from McGill University is on the leading edge of advancing this understanding, with particular focus on how music effects higher order cognitive processes. Everyone has wondered why they can recall a song that was popular when they were in elementary school, but forget where they put their keys. Levitin enlightens us on why this happens, among other topics, during this talk at Unlocking the Secrets and Powers of the Brain, sponsored by the NSF, The Franklin Institute, and DISCOVER magazine.

11. How Behavioral Economics Can Help Americans Save – Via Newsweek -Aging Americans are facing a perfect storm when it comes to retirement. Many have done little saving over the past two decades and have now seen what they have saved, either in their 401(k) or their home equity, decline sharply in value. Once they face these facts, Americans will have to relearn the saving habit. To figure out how, we need more than standard economic thinking, which is based on an idealized conception of behavior. Instead we need to focus on how people actually behave—a sensibility that defines the new field called “behavioral economics.” Traditional economists bestow upon humans the mind of a computer and the willpower of a saint; I like to call these imaginary creatures Econs. These Econs have no difficulty saving because they rationally calculate how much wealth they need for retirement, reduce their consumption accordingly and then invest optimally. Econs never splurge or speculate. But the world is not populated by Econs—and if we understand how humans really behave, we can come up with ways to get them saving again.

12. Video: Cuba After Castro – Via Fora.Tv – Since Fidel Castro handed over the presidency of Cuba to his brother, Raul in early 2008, signs of greater economic openness have led to much speculation. Will Raul seek to reopen ties with the U.S.? What role will Cuba’s American exiles play in shaping a post-Castro Cuba?

13. Where Does Neuroeconomics Happen In The Brain – Via Gene Expression – When making choices under uncertainty, people usually consider both the expected value and risk of each option, and choose the one with the higher utility. Expected value increases the expected utility of an option for all individuals. Risk increases the utility of an option for risk-seeking individuals, but decreases it for risk averse individuals. In 2 separate experiments, one involving imperative (no-choice), the other choice situations, we investigated how predicted risk and expected value aggregate into a common reward signal in the human brain. Blood oxygen level dependent responses in lateral regions of the prefrontal cortex increased monotonically with increasing reward value in the absence of risk in both experiments. Risk enhanced these responses in risk-seeking participants, but reduced them in risk-averse participants. The aggregate value and risk responses in lateral prefrontal cortex contrasted with pure value signals independent of risk in the striatum. These results demonstrate an aggregate risk and value signal in the prefrontal cortex that would be compatible with basic assumptions underlying the mean-variance approach to utility.

14. Video: Can Monopolies Save The Internet? – Via Big Think and the Berkman Center present Peter Thiel vs. Jonathan Zittrain on the Facebook monopoly.

15. Millions of Money-in-Politics Data Records Now Available Via Flowing Data The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a research group well-known for its tracking of monetary influence on United States politics, announced some great news. Their expansive dataset is now available to the public via OpenSecrets.

16. How the banks are posting big profits – Via APM – Citigroup is the latest big bank to post big earnings — a $1.6 billion profit in the first quarter. But with the economy still far from sound, how have the banks been able to post such big profits? Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.

17. Do We Hate Credit Default Swaps for The Wrong Reasons?
Via Atlantic – There’s a lot of crazy ignorant hating on CDSs out there, especially from certain political journalists who displayed no interest in learning about the financial community until they found that pronouncing the words “credit default swaps” in a sneering tone made them seem extraordinarily wonky and profound, particularly to themselves. Credit default swaps have been indicted in so many of our national ailments that I have begun to wonder if those people do not curse credit default swaps when they stub their toes or find that the milk jug is empty again. Credit default swaps certainly caused AIG to fold, and they’ve undoubtedly made all manner of things worse, but giving them single-handed credit for the financial crisis is like blaming Italy for World War II.

18. Video: The Evolution of Religions: A Talk by Jared Diamond Via Open Culture

19. Doing what you’re told: how ritual behaviour and beliefs can be inherited Via Epiphenom – Jesse Bering wrote recently of how children soak up the opinions of those that they regard as reliable, and treat them as fact. He was talking about the work of Paul Harris at Harvard and Melissa Koenig at the University of Minnesota, but it put me in mind of another experiment on imitation that I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while, but never got round to.

20. Microsoft’s Encarta, Rendered Obsolete by Wikipedia, Will Shut Down Via Chronicle – Microsoft has announced that it will soon euthanize Encarta, the onetime encyclopedia-of-the-future that has lost much of its luster in the last decade. But the company really didn’t have much choice in the matter: For all intents and purposes, Wikipedia had fatally shivved Encarta some time ago.

21. Diagram: All You Need To Jump Start Civilization Via Long Now

22. Forget Stem Cells! Switch Cell Types by Simply Changing the Messenger RNA Via Al Fin – “What’s new about this approach is that we didn’t have to make the host cell pluripotent, that is the ability to develop into any of three major tissue types, we can directly convert from one cell type to another, without the intermediate step,” explains Eberwine. _Physorg

23. Institutional Investors and the Informational Efficiency of Prices Via Review Of Financial Studies –

24. What Do Independent Directors Know? Evidence from Their Trading – Via Review Of Financial Studies

25. EC4024 Lecture 19: Neurofinance – Via Stephen Kinsella – I know that’s not too helpful yet. Behavioural economics in its modern incarnation looks at persistent deviations from the basic description of the hyper rational homo economicus. Proponents of the theory argue that these deviations aren’t deviations at all: they are, in fact, features of human behaviour we’d like to take as primal to any description of human behaviour. Practitioners use game theory to model how boundedly rational (that is, agents don’t know everything, and can’t process information they receive quickly enough to make sense of the entire world simultaneously) agents might react given an investment decision, and then test the predictions of the game against people’s actual responses. Only instead of looking at revealed behaviours and choices made, neurofinance specialists will look at actual brain responses, and try to figure out what neurological basis there is for such a decision. This area of research is still very much in its infancy, but it is definitely worth a lecture to expose you to the cutting edge of this type of research.

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About Miguel Barbosa

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19. April 2003 by Miguel Barbosa
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