Weekly Roundup 148: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

Update for investors: My friends at Manual of Ideas produced an interesting video on their research products, take a look.

Handpicked to satisfy your intellectual curiosity!

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Most Interesting Reads:

How To Actually Change Your Mind: A collection of blog posts - via Less Wrong -People go funny in the head when talking about politics. The evolutionary reasons for this are so obvious as to be worth belaboring: In the ancestral environment, politics was a matter of life and death. And sex, and wealth, and allies, and reputation… When, today, you get into an argument about whether “we” ought to raise the minimum wage, you’re executing adaptations for an ancestral environment where being on the wrong side of the argument could get you killed… Politics is an extension of war by other means. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you’re on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it’s like stabbing your soldiers in the back – providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

Economic Inequality Is Linked to Biased Self-Perception – via Sage – People’s self-perception biases often lead them to see themselves as better than the average person (a phenomenon known as self-enhancement). This bias varies across cultures, and variations are typically explained using cultural variables, such as individualism versus collectivism. We propose that socioeconomic differences among societies—specifically, relative levels of economic inequality—play an important but unrecognized role in how people evaluate themselves. Evidence for self-enhancement was found in 15 diverse nations, but the magnitude of the bias varied. Greater self-enhancement was found in societies with more income inequality, and income inequality predicted cross-cultural differences in self-enhancement better than did individualism/collectivism. These results indicate that macrosocial differences in the distribution of economic goods are linked to microsocial processes of perceiving the self.

Income inequality, happiness, and trust. – via Deric Bownds- Using General Social Survey data from 1972 to 2008, we found that Americans were on average happier in the years with less national income inequality than in the years with more national income inequality. We further demonstrated that this inverse relation between income inequality and happiness was explained by perceived fairness and general trust. That is, Americans trusted other people less and perceived other people to be less fair in the years with more national income inequality than in the years with less national income inequality. The negative association between income inequality and happiness held for lower-income respondents, but not for higher-income respondents. Most important, we found that the negative link between income inequality and the happiness of lower-income respondents was explained not by lower household income, but by perceived unfairness and lack of trust.


Does income inequality cause health and social problems?
– via JRF
- The UK witnessed a dramatic growth in income inequality in the 1980s, and since then the level of inequality has increased further, though at a slower rate. But should we be concerned about this? This report provides an independent review of the evidence about the impact of inequality, paying particular attention to the evidence and arguments put forward in ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009).

John Kay: The Map is Not the Territory: An Essay on the State of Economics – via John Kay - The reputation of economics and economists, never high, has been a victim of the crash of 2008. The Queen was hardly alone in asking why no one had predicted it. An even more serious criticism is that the economic policy debate that followed seems only to replay the similar debate after 1929. The issue is budgetary austerity versus fiscal stimulus, and the positions of the protagonists are entirely predictable from their previous political allegiances.

Guess What? Midlife Crisis Don’t Exist - via Mind Hacks - It turns out that the idea of the ‘mid-life crisis’ is surprisingly new – first touted in 1965 – but was invented to refer to a crisis of creativity in geniuses – rather than a sudden urge to dye one’s greying hair. There isn’t actually any evidence that middle age is more of a time of crisis than any other period of life, but the concept has stuck.


Is Evolutionary Psychology Bunk
– Prospect – Stephen Pinker argues that we are becoming less violent. Nonsense, says John Gray


What if academics were as dumb as quacks with statistics?
– via Bad Science-
They’ve identified one direct, stark statistical error that is so widespread it appears in about half of all the published papers surveyed from the academic neuroscience research literature.


Hernando de Soto: The cost of financial ignorance
- via Washington Post- Advanced nations seem to have forgotten Point 10 of that consensus: how important documenting assets and transactions is to the creation of credit. Consider that most private credit is made up not of bills and coins, anchored in bank reserves, but in papers that establish rights over the assets, equity and liabilities that guarantee loans. Over the past 15 years, however, as they package, bundle and resell securities, Americans and Europeans have gradually undermined the reliability of the records that guarantee or make credit trustworthy — the deeds, titles, liens and other documentation that establish who owns what and how much, and who holds the risks.

Understanding Variation & Chance with respect to bowel cancer – via Understanding Uncertainty -I’ve taken the headline from this BBC story. The three-fold variation is between Rossendale, in Lancashire, where there were 9 deaths per 100,000 people, and Glasgow City, where there were 31 deaths per 100,000. It’s based on this press release from the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, Nowhere in either source is consideration given to how much of the variation might be due to chance: that’s what this article is about.

Follow the Money: Behind Europe’s Debt Crisis Lurks Another Giant Bailout of Wall Street - via RobertReich- Today Ben Bernanke added his voice to those who are worried about Europe’s debt crisis. But why exactly should America be so concerned? Yes, we export to Europe – but those exports aren’t going to dry up. And in any event, they’re tiny compared to the size of the U.S. economy. If you want the real reason, follow the money. A Greek (or Irish or Spanish or Italian or Portugese) default would have roughly the same effect on our financial system as the implosion of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Video:James Surowiecki: Out of Our Control - via Fora.tv- On playing with other people’s money.

Why do Facebook and Twitter facilitate revolutions more than TV and radio? – via Kiss& Alfonso – A distinctive feature of recent revolutions was the key role of social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). In a simple model we assume that while social media allow to observe all previous decisions, mass media only give aggregate information about the state of a revolt. We show, first, that when individuals’ willingness to revolt is publicly known, then both sorts of media foster a successful revolution. However, when willingness to revolt is private information, only social media ensure that a revolt succeeds, with mass media multiple outcomes are possible. This suggests that social media enhance the likelihood that a revolution triumphs more than traditional mass media.


The Probabilistic Mind – Human brains evolved to deal with doubt
– via Science News & Leadon Young -Humans live in a world of uncertainty. A shadowy figure on the sidewalk ahead could be a friend or a mugger. By flooring your car’s accelerator, you might beat the train to the intersection, or maybe not. Last week’s leftover kung pao chicken could bring another night of gustatory delight or gut agony.

Video: Michael Lewis: The First World Third World – via Paul Kedrosky


Paul Graham: – Why Startup Hubs Work
– via Paul Graham - A couple weeks ago I finally figured it out. I was framing the question wrong. The problem is not that most towns kill startups. It’s that death is the default for startups, and most towns don’t save them. Instead of thinking of most places as being sprayed with startupicide, it’s more accurate to think of startups as all being poisoned, and a few places being sprayed with the antidote. Startups in other places are just doing what startups naturally do: fail. The real question is, what’s saving startups in places like Silicon Valley?

Can Google Searches Predict Stock Price Performance? - via Freakonomics- We propose a new and direct measure of investor attention using search frequency in Google (Search Volume Index (SVI)). In a sample of Russell 3000 stocks from 2004 to 2008, we find that SVI (1) is correlated with but different from existing proxies of investor attention; (2) captures investor attention in a more timely fashion and (3) likely measures the attention of retail investors. An increase in SVI predicts higher stock prices in the next 2 weeks and an eventual price reversal within the year. It also contributes to the large first-day return and long-run underperformance of IPO stocks.

Coping with Unpleasant Surprises in a Complex World: Is Rational Choice Possible in a World with Positive Information Costs? -via Congelton- This paper provides a rational choice-based analysis of the causes and consequences of surprise events. The paper argues that ignorance may be rational, but nonetheless produce systematic mistakes, inconsistent behavior, and both pleasant and unpleasant surprises. If ignorance and unpleasant surprises are commonplace and relevant for individual and group decision making, we should observe standing institutions for dealing with them – and we do. Insofar as surprises are consistent with rational choice models, but left outside most models, it can be argued that these methodological choices mistakenly limit the scope of rational choice based research.

A brief history of the brain – via New Scientist- This is possible because all living cells generate an electrical potential across their membranes by pumping out ions. Opening up channels that let ions flow freely across the membrane produces sudden changes in this potential. If nearby ion channels also open up in response, a kind of Mexican wave can travel along a cell’s surface at speeds of several metres a second. Since the cells in glass sponges are fused together, these impulses can travel across their entire bodies.

Is willpower all about sugar? - via Bakadesuyo- Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain (i.e., when insulin is low or insensitive). Restoring glucose to a sufficient level typically improves self-control. Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior. Alcohol reduces glucose throughout the brain and body and likewise impairs many forms of self-control. Furthermore, self-control failure is most likely during times of the day when glucose is used least effectively. Self-control thus appears highly susceptible to glucose. Self-control benefits numerous social and interpersonal processes. Glucose might therefore be related to a broad range of social behavior.


New Book: A profession with “no” at its core
– via Mindhacks- This book is 75% solid gold – absolutely essential perspective for scientists who want to communicate outside of their specialism. But it is also 25% misleading and elitistic simplification. At heart, Randy Olson’s message as a populariser ends up pandering to a mistaken belief in scientific exceptionalism – that what scientists do and who scientists are is so beyond the ken of the rest of the population that it cannot be conveyed to them, that we have to use a pound of silly songs and fart jokes to make the public to swallow an ounce of important information. Sorry, Randy, but when you underestimate the public taste you end up demeaning it.

Video: Ted Talks- Less stuff, more happiness – via Ted.com- Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

How Two Scammers Built an Empire Hawking Sketchy Software – via Wired- Before they built an international underworld empire—before they weaseled their way onto millions of computers, before their online enterprise was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, before they were fugitives wanted by Interpol—Sam Jain, now 41, and Daniel Sundin, 33, were just a couple of garden-variety Internet hustlers. The two, who met around 2001, started out with a series of relatively modest scams and come-ons. Capitalizing on post-9/11 paranoia, Jain sold anti-anthrax gas masks. Exploiting the anxieties of aspiring non-English-speaking immigrants, he helped run a green card lottery site that tricked applicants into paying for an INS form that the government provides for free. Together, the two men sold gray-market or counterfeit versions of popular software. They marketed all these dodgy ventures with a mix of hyperaggressive tactics, including classic blackhat tricks like “browser hijacking” and “typo-squatting.” But Jain and Sundin weren’t technological wizards; they didn’t break into their marks’ computers or steal their credit card numbers. Instead, they were masters of social engineering who got people to hand over their money willingly. The work was lucrative enough that Jain and Sundin could afford to hire programmers, designers, and emarketers. Still, their approach was unfocused—and exhausting.

Quantum biology: The weirdness inside us – via NewScientist- EVER felt a little incoherent? Or maybe you’ve been in two minds about something, or even in a bit of delicate state. Well, here’s your excuse: perhaps you are in thrall to the strange rules of quantum mechanics.

Richard Thaler: Deer in the Headlights, Financially Speaking – via NYT- BY any measure, the global economy is facing unusually high levels of uncertainty and volatility. But human nature may be impeding our ability to turn the economy around. Fear and anxiety don’t bring out the best in anyone. When normally loving spouses are lost in traffic and late for a flight, their conversation is rarely suitable for young ears, even when the children are in the back seat. Along with making people irritable, uncertainty can create paralysis. Some animals freeze when they are frightened. Acting like a deer in the headlights can be a good strategy if you are trying not to be seen, but it can get you run over.

Decision Making/ Behavioral Economics/Psychology/ Risk/ Sciences:

The Benjamin Franklin Effect – via You are not smart – You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.

The Inherent Reward of Choice – via Sage- Research suggests that the exercise of control is desirable and adaptive, but the precise mechanisms underlying the affective value of control are not well understood. The study reported here characterized the affective experience of personal control by examining the neural substrates recruited when individuals anticipate the opportunity to make a choice—in other words, when they anticipate the means for exercising control. We used an experimental paradigm that probed the value of having a choice. Participants reported liking cues that predicted a future opportunity to make a choice more than cues that predicted no choice. The anticipation of choice itself was associated with increased activity in corticostriatal regions, particularly the ventral striatum, involved in affective and motivational processes. This study is the first direct examination of the affective value of having the opportunity to choose. These findings have important implications for understanding the role of perception of control, and choice itself, in self-regulatory processes.

What a Feeling: The Role of Immediate and Anticipated Emotions in Risky Decisions – via JBM- The risk-as-feelings hypothesis argues that many risky decisions are not only predicted by anticipated emotions, as most consequentialistic decision making theories would presume, but also by immediate emotions. Immediate emotions refer to the “hot” visceral feelings people feel as they contemplate a specific decision option at the cusp of making a decision, whereas anticipated emotions are those emotions that people forecast that they will feel once they experience possible consequences of that decision. Four studies focused on the role of both types of emotions in decisions under risk and uncertainty. Decisions were substantively predicted by immediate emotional states beyond anticipated emotions or the subjective probability attached to outcomes. Thus, risky choices may be prompted, in part, by how people feel about the “riskless” portion of the decision—specifically, the various decision options they are contemplating—rather than the potential outcomes those options may produce.


100 Ways to leave your lucre
– via PsiFiBlog- To finish Sutherland suggests that if we want to improve our rationality we need to follow Aristotle’s dictum: if we want to be good we need to resist being bad because practising good habits leads to them becoming automated. Well, maybe, but either way Irrationality is an essential part of any investor’s toolkit. We all ought to want to practice rationality in markets – unless, of course, we simply want to let the securities industry take our profits in order to fund its next round of profligacy. Now that would be genuinely irrational.

Video: Neuroscience and Justice – via Edge.org- Asking the fundamental question of modern life. In an enlightened world of scientific understandings of first causes, we must ask: are we free, morally responsible agents or are we just along for the ride?

Collective behavior in financial market - via Cornell- Financial market is an example of complex system, which is characterized by a highly intricate organization and the emergence of collective behavior. In this paper, we quantify this emergent dynamics in the financial market by using concepts of network synchronization. We consider networks constructed by the correlation matrix of asset returns and study the time evolution of the phase coherence among stock prices. It is verified that during financial crisis a synchronous state emerges in the system, defining the market’s direction. Furthermore, the paper proposes a statistical regression model able to identify the topological features that mostly influence such an emergence. The coefficients of the proposed model indicate that the average shortest path length is the measurement most related to network synchronization. Therefore, during economic crisis, the stock prices present a similar evolution, which tends to shorten the distances between stocks, indication a collective dynamics.


The Push and Pull of Temptation: The Bidirectional Influence of Temptation on Self-Control
– via Sage-
This article examines how people respond to the emergence of temptation in their environment. Three studies demonstrated that how people respond to temptation depends critically on their visceral state—whether or not they are actively experiencing visceral drives such as hunger, drug craving, or sexual arousal. We found that when people were in a “cold,” nonvisceral state, the presence of temptation prompted cognition to support self-control. However, when people were in a “hot,” visceral state, temptation prompted the same cognitive processes to support impulsive behavior. Study 1 examined how heterosexual men’s level of sexual arousal influences their attention to attractive women. Study 2 examined whether satiated and craving smokers would engage in motivated reasoning in order to dampen (or enhance) the appeal of smoking when confronted with the temptation to smoke. Study 3 tested the boundaries of the interaction between visceral state and temptation.

Do we advise others to acquire status - via Overcoming Bias- We study the effect of participative decision making in an experimental principal agent game, where the principal can consult the agent’s preferred option regarding the task to be undertaken in the final stage of the game. We show that consulting the agent was beneficial to principals as long as they followed the agent’s choice. Ignoring the agent’s choice was detrimental to the principal as it engendered negative emotions and low levels of transfers. Nevertheless, the majority of principals were reluctant to change their mind and adopt the agent’s proposal. Our results suggest that the ability to change one’s own mind is an important dimension of managerial success

We See Dominance it’s our nature – via Overcoming Bias- This study also showed that when social relationships are difficult to learn, people’s preference for hierarchy increases. Taken together, these results suggest one reason people might like hierarchies—hierarchies are easy to process. This fluency for social hierarchies might contribute to the construction and maintenance of hierarchies.

Narcissistic Leaders and Group Performance – via Sage – Although narcissistic individuals are generally perceived as arrogant and overly dominant, they are particularly skilled at radiating an image of a prototypically effective leader. As a result, they tend to emerge as leaders in group settings. Despite people’s positive perceptions of narcissists as leaders, it was previously unknown if and how leaders’ narcissism is related to the performance of the people they lead. In this study, we used a hidden-profile paradigm to investigate this question and found evidence for discordance between the positive image of narcissists as leaders and the reality of group performance. We hypothesized and found that although narcissistic leaders are perceived as effective because of their displays of authority, a leader’s narcissism actually inhibits information exchange between group members and thereby negatively affects group performance. Our findings thus indicate that perceptions and reality can be at odds and have important practical and theoretical implications.

Habituation from Thought: Thinking Can Enhance Self-Control—in Eating and Elsewhere - via There Are Free Lunches- Last December, a series of provocative studies appeared in Science. The finding: imagine eating a food, over and over and over, and you will eat less of it when you are actually given the opportunity to do so. At first glance, it seems completely counterintuitive. Don’t we get hungry when we watch The Food Network or read delicious descriptions in cookbooks, magazines, or novels? Doesn’t thinking about eating make us hungrier to eat? Yes. Absolutely. But these studies come with a twist, and that twist is repetition. Mind-numbing, frequent repetition, plain and simple.

Business/ Entrepreneurship/Finance/Investing:

The Thirty-Year Stock Market Hangover – via Unexpected Utility- This result confirms what psychologists have known for some time about our perception of extreme outcomes: whereas the psychological impact of most of our experiences diminishes rather quickly with the passage of time, extreme experiences tend to remain vivid in the psyche regardless of when they occurred. This means that when we reflect on our past experiences, what we perceive is not a historical average of those experiences. This retrospective evaluation is heavily influenced by the most recent experience and by the most extreme, because this is all that we still perceive. So when I think about my entire stock market experience, the only things that I bring to the evaluation are the current disappointing performance and the stock market crash of 1987. This is hardly the basis for an aggressive equity engagement today. In fact, for me, there is hardly ever a basis for an aggressive equity engagement. My only consolation is that, after 2017, I might finally be able to chase my stock market demons away.

What Would Keynes Say Now? – via New Yorker- Finally, and I didn’t put this in the piece, I think Keynes would be sympathetic towards the anti-Wall Street protestors who are camping out in downtown Manhattan. Somewhat like George Soros, Keynes was an ardent and skilled speculator in the markets who, nonetheless, had few illusions about the social utility of various fashionable forms of finance. “Speculators may do no harms as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise,” he wrote. “But the position is serious when enterprise becomes a bubble on the whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, it is likely to be ill-done.”

Koch Brothers Flout Law Getting Richer With Secret Iran Sales - via Bloomberg- In May 2008, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., one of the world’s largest privately held companies, sent Ludmila Egorova-Farines, its newly hired compliance officer and ethics manager, to investigate the management of a subsidiary in Arles in southern France. In less than a week, she discovered that the company had paid bribes to win contracts.

The Eclectic Mix:


Short-Term Music Training Enhances Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function
- via Sage- Researchers have designed training methods that can be used to improve mental health and to test the efficacy of education programs. However, few studies have demonstrated broad transfer from such training to performance on untrained cognitive activities. Here we report the effects of two interactive computerized training programs developed for preschool children: one for music and one for visual art. After only 20 days of training, only children in the music group exhibited enhanced performance on a measure of verbal intelligence, with 90% of the sample showing this improvement. These improvements in verbal intelligence were positively correlated with changes in functional brain plasticity during an executive-function task. Our findings demonstrate that transfer of a high-level cognitive skill is possible in early childhood.


How our brain links to our immune system via vagus nerve
– via Deric Bownds-
Neural circuits regulate cytokine production to prevent potentially damaging inflammation. A prototypical vagus nerve circuit, the inflammatory reflex, inhibits tumor necrosis factor–α production in spleen by a mechanism requiring acetylcholine signaling through the alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expressed on cytokine-producing macrophages. Nerve fibers in spleen lack the enzymatic machinery necessary for acetylcholine production; therefore, how does this neural circuit terminate in cholinergic signaling? We identified an acetylcholine-producing, memory phenotype T cell population in mice that is integral to the inflammatory reflex. These acetylcholine-producing T cells were required for the inhibition of cytokine production by vagus nerve stimulation. Thus, action potentials originating in the vagus nerve regulate T cells, which in turn produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine required to control innate immune responses.

Do cents follow Benford’s Law? - via Decision Science News- Benford’s law, if you don’t know about it, is an amazing thing. If you know the probability distribution that “natural” numbers should have, you can detect where people might be faking data: phony tax returns, bogus scientific studies, etc.

Are Claims Of Transparency All They Are Cracked Up To Be? - via Grossman, Komai, Benie - The current “buzzword” among leaders is “transparency.” Hardly a day goes by that a group leader (politician, manager, or administrator) doesn’t state that he values transparency and will provide full disclosure of his information and actions. This project tests experimentally whether or not leaders, when given a choice, actually reveal a preference for transparency. Our experiment is based on a theoretical model by Komai, Stegeman, and Hermalin (2007). Fifteen subjects are randomly assigned to five groups of three. Each group separately participates in an investment game with three possible return scenarios (high, average, and low) that are equally likely to happen. Investing in the low-return scenario is not profitable to either individual group members or the whole group. In the average-return scenario, group well-being is maximized if all the group members invest in the project, but full cooperation may not be achieved simply because the dominant strategy of the individuals is to free ride on others. In the high-return scenario full cooperation is also optimal for the group, but subjects may or may not coordinate on full cooperation because they may fail to coordinate their efforts with the others. We consider a leader-follower setting. Only one member of the group (the leader) observes the scenario. The leader moves before the rest of the group members and first decides whether or not to invest in the project. The leader then chooses between two information regimes: revealing his decision and the return scenario to the rest of the group or revealing his decision but not the return scenario. Absent any information provided by their leader, followers know only the possible return scenarios and their likelihoods. They do not know which scenario is assigned to their group. Given the leaders’ information choices and investment decisions, the relevant information will be conveyed to the followers. The followers then will separately and simultaneously decide whether or not to invest in the project (followers do not know anything about the different information regimes). This is realistic in many real-world circumstances because in many business or political environments the leaders have exclusive access to critical information and are in charge of deciding whether or not to reveal the details of their information and actions to their potential followers; in many circumstances it is practically difficult for the followers to verify the real information or the leaders’ actions.


Talking tech with Peter Thiel, investor and philanthropist (Q&A)
- via Cnet
- Peter Thiel believes technology will make the world a much better place. He’s simply frustrated at how long it’s taking. The billionaire entrepreneur is best known for co-founding PayPal, and, more recently, for his very early investment in Facebook. He founded Clarium Capital Management, a hedge fund, created the philanthropic Thiel Foundation, and co-produced the irreverent 2005 comedy Thank You for Smoking.

Novelty in Music and Markets: The Evolutionary Forces Behind our Appreciation of the Unfamiliar - via Why We Reason - All great musicians share one thing in common: the ability to combine the familiar with the unfamiliar to create something novel and intriguing but, at the same time, not alienating and absurd. It’s Dylan going electric; it’s the Beastie Boys combining punk and hip-hop; and it’s Zappa incorporating jazz and rock. Going too far in either direction is risky. As any one hit wonder will tell you, too much familiarity is a career killer. And the work of musicians like John Cage illustrates that music which is completely unconventional is usually rejected. Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music, explains this perfectly: ”As music unfolds, the brain constantly updates its estimates of when new beats will occur, and takes satisfaction in matching a mental beat with a real-in-the-world one… [but it also] takes delight when a skillful musician violates [an] expectation in an interesting way – a sort of musical joke that we’re all in on. Music breathes, speeds up, and slows down just as the real world does, and our cerebellum finds pleasure in adjusting itself to stay synchronized”.

Ambition Gone Awry: The Long-Term Socioeconomic Consequences of Misaligned and Uncertain Ambitions in Adolescence – via Wiley - The objective of this study was to investigate whether misaligned or uncertain ambitions in adolescence influence the process of socioeconomic attainment.

Visual Journalism & Infographics :

How US Poverty Undercount The Jobs- via Sociological Images - Children are our most important resource. Everyone says it, but we don’t really mean it. Exhibit one: the percentage of children under the age of 18 that live in poverty. In 2007, at the peak of our previous economic expansion, the child poverty rate was 18%. In 2009, it hit 20%. The figure below provides a look at child poverty rates in each state. New Hampshire had the lowest rate: 11%. Mississippi the highest rate: 31%. According to a recently released Census Bureau study, the 2010 national child poverty rate was 22%.

Obama Presidency by Numbers: Contrasting Statements with Statistics – via Infosthetics- During the 2011 State of the Union Address, the White House showed a series of infographics alongside the televised speech to show the data-driven evidence behind some of most important themes that were addressed.

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