Weekly Roundup 32: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web
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Founder Of Simoleon Sense
Free Book: 10 Great Economists from Marx To Keynes ( As PDF) – Via Mises.Org
Featured: Daniel Kahneman: On Using Psychology To Save You From Yourself – Via Npr – The ideas that underlie the Obama administration’s approach to social policies got their start in 1955 with Daniel Kahneman. Then a young psychologist in the Israeli army, Kahneman’s primary job was to try to figure out which of his fellow soldiers might make good officers. To do this, Kahneman ran the men through an unusual exercise: He organized them into groups of eight, took away all their insignia so know one knew who had a higher rank, and told them to lift an enormous telephone pole over a 6-foot wall.
Featured: Why Researchers Should Always Check for Outliers, and What To Do About Them – Via Geary Behavior Center – Researchers rarely report checking for outliers of any sort. This inference is supported empirically by Osborne, Christiansen, and Gunter (2001), who found that authors reported testing assumptions of the statistical procedure(s) used in their studies–including checking for the presence of outliers–only 8% of the time. Given what we know of the importance of assumptions to accuracy of estimates and error rates, this in itself is alarming. There is no reason to believe that the situation is different in other social science disciplines.
Featured: Can money really buy happiness? Depends – Via Financial Post – “The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds and bees. I want money. That’s what I want.” The fact that those words, written in 1959, have been sung by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and many other artists, shows what a chord the sentiment strikes. But if the best things in life are free, why is it that we always seem to be after more money? Because we think it can buy happiness.
Infographic: Visual Guide To Social Security – Via Chart Porn – A simple, but clear, summary of Social Security.
So You Think Owning a Home Will Make You Happy? Don’t Be Too Sure – Via Wharton – For generations, owning a home has been viewed as the cornerstone of the American Dream, the foundation for a happy family life and long-term financial security. Now, a new research paper challenges that conventional wisdom. Wharton’s Grace Wong Bucchianeri, a professor of real estate, says her research shows that while homeowners do experience significant joy, they also face more aggravation, spend less time with friends and are even heavier than renters living in comparable homes.
How To Make A Train That Can Travel From LA to San Francisco in 2.4 Hours – Via NYTimes – If it can get started, the California high-speed train would almost certainly be the most expensive single infrastructure project in United States history. And if it is completed, the train will go from L.A. to San Francisco in just under 2 hours 40 minutes and from L.A. to Sacramento in about 2 hours 17 minutes. Judging by the experiences of Japan and France, both of which have mature high-speed rail systems, it would end the expansion of regional airline traffic as in-state travelers increasingly ride the fast trains. And it would surely slow the growth of highway traffic.
Video: Michael Lewis: The End of Wall Street – Via Fora.Tv – The author of Money Ball – and one of the most trenchant commentators on the current financial crisis – speaks to the Hudson Union Society.
How to Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students – Via Faranam Street & SSRN – This essay is designed to help new law students prepare for the first few weeks of class. It explains what judicial opinions are, how they are structured, and what law students should look for when reading them.
Happy People See More – Via Neuromarketing – Participants were shown images designed to affect their mood in a good, neutral, or bad way. Then they were shown images, each with a face in the middle and surrounded by a place, such as a house. Participants were asked to identify the gender of the face. When in a bad mood, participants only took in information about the face. When in a good mood, participants also took in information about the surroundings.
Latest: Tracking The Federal Reserve – Via Subsidy Scope – The Federal Reserve has engaged in a broad range of activities to try to improve the economy. Under the Federal Reserve Act, the Fed is authorized to extend credit directly to individuals, partnerships, or corporations in times of “unusual and exigent circumstances.”According to Congressional Budget Office estimates in January and announcements from the Fed in March, the potential holdings of the Fed could exceed $5 trillion.The graphic below provides a breakdown of these holdings, both before and after the financial crisis. It also includes key events related to the Fed’s holdings. Click on the blue dots for more information.
Assessing The Effects Of Television On Young Children – Via Nature.com – In 1998, Dimitri Christakis took time off from work to care for his two-month-old son. At home he found himself watching television to pass the time — “more TV than I had ever watched in my life”, he remembers. Soon he noticed that his infant son was watching too. Even CNN kept the boy glued to the screen. “Obviously he wasn’t following the news,” says Christakis, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
How Cancers Spread To The Brain – Via ScienceDaily — Research has shown for the first time how cancers that spread to the brain establish themselves and begin to grow.
Infographic: The World’s Resources By Country – Via Dataviz
Information Technology: Not a Cure for the High Cost of Health Care – Via Wharton – President Obama made information technology a linchpin in his plan to reform health care when he included $19 billion in computerized medical record funding in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The goal: Use technology to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. The reality: Technology could increase health care costs without markedly improving quality, according to experts at Wharton.
Sleeping on it – how REM sleep boosts creative problem-solving – Via Science Blogs – The German chemist Friedrich Kekule claimed to have intuited the chemical structure of the benzene ring after falling asleep in his chair and dreaming of an ouroboros (a serpent biting its own tail). He’s certainly not the only person to have discovered a flash insight after waking from a good sleep. In science alone, many breakthroughs were apparently borne of a decent snooze, including Mendeleyev’s creation of the Periodic Table and Loewi’s experiments on the transmission of nervous signals through chemical messengers.
Regulating Bankers’ Pay – Via SSRN – This paper contributes to understanding the role of executive compensation as a possible cause of the current financial crisis, to assessing current legislative and regulatory attempts to discourage bank executives from taking excessive risks, and to identifying how bankers’ pay should be reformed and regulated going forward. Although there is now wide recognition that bank executives’ decisions might have been distorted by the short-term focus of pay packages, we identify a separate and critical distortion that has received little attention. Because bank executives have been paid with shares in bank holding companies or options on such shares, and both banks and bank holding companies issued much debt to bondholders, executives’ payoffs have been tied to highly levered bets on the value of the capital that banks have. These highly levered structures gave executives powerful incentives to take excessive risks.
Video: John La Grou plugs smart power outlets – Via Ted – John La Grou unveils an ingenious new technology that will smarten up the electrical outlets in our homes, using microprocessors and RFID tags. The invention, Safeplug, promises to prevent deadly accidents like house fires — and to conserve energy.
Infographic: Debt, Debt, Debt & Then You Die – Via Chart Porn – A playful and informative collection of stats about the debt that people accumulate throughout life.
6 Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks – Via Chronicle – Northwest Missouri State University nearly became the first public university to deliver all of its textbooks electronically. Last year the institution’s tech-happy president, Dean L. Hubbard, bought a Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reading device, and liked it so much that he wanted to give every incoming student one. The university already runs an unusual textbook-rental program that buys thousands of printed books for students who pay a flat, per-credit fee. Mr. Hubbard saw in the gadget a way to drastically cut the rental program’s annual $800,000 price tag, since e-books generally cost half the price of printed textbooks.
Can We Please Stop Saying The Market Is Efficient – Via HBS -The economist Jovanovic wrote, about a quarter of a century ago, “efficient firms grow and survive; inefficient firms decline and fail”. What he meant is that the market is Darwinian; it will rule out the least efficient firms, with habits and practices that make them perform comparatively badly, and it will make sure efficient firms prosper, so that only good business practices prevail. Yeah right.
The secret of Google… sort of – Via Can Turtles Fly – Someone you never heard of may actually have made one of the biggest innovations in advertising and online sales. According to this Wired story (h/t The Big Picture) on the economics behind Google’s initial foray into the online world, Computer scientist Eric Veach, with the assistance of Salar Kamangar, may be responsible for turning Google into what it is.
Europe Under Stress – ViaF&D – The global financial crisis has jolted Europe’s historic journey toward “an ever closer union.” For many years, the great European project progressed smoothly, adding new members, eliminating the barriers that divide its people, and delivering greater prosperity. This crisis is its first major test, revealing framework flaws that the good years had covered up. Although national and regional responses to the crisis have grown more coordinated over time, it is still too little and too late. Will European institutions and policymakers be able to respond and adapt to keep moving toward “more Europe” or will the result be “less Europe,” or indeed “many Europes”? The choices made during this crisis will shape Europe’s destiny for the foreseeable future. The problems differ in the west and in the east, but many, indeed the most important, challenges must be tackled jointly.
Social Influence Given (Partially) Deliberate Matching: Career Imprints in the Creation of Academic Entrepreneurs – Via HBS – How do people select partners for relationships? Most relationships arise from a matching process in which individuals pair on a limited number of high-priority dimensions. Although people often match on just a few attributes, it may be that some set of additional characteristics, which was not considered when a choice was made to develop the relationship, results in the social transmission of attitudes and behaviors. For this reason, social matching is only “partially” deliberate. HBS professor Toby Stuart and coauthors observe this phenomenon in an analysis of the origins and consequences of the matching of postdoctoral biomedical scientists to their faculty advisers. This work shows the imprints of postdoctoral advisers on the subsequent choices of the scientists-in-training who travel through their laboratories. The researchers’ findings contribute to a burgeoning literature on the interface between academic and commercial science.
Infographic: US Deficit Creation – Via Chart Porn – Visualizing the expansion of the US fiscal deficit since 2000.
How social science ends up as urban myth – Via FT – Richard Nisbett, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, complained to The New York Times a decade ago about the study’s fame, calling it a “glorified anecdote”. He had a point. Among managers, the study is generally held to demonstrate that people respond to change: whatever you do, output rises for a while, as long as you do something. Inside academia, “the Hawthorne Effect” refers to the idea that people work hard once you start experimenting on them. Both beliefs are surprising enough to be interesting, while nicely confirming the prejudices of those who hold them.
Putting Investors First in Regulatory Reform – Via Harvard Law – Investors around the country are feeling the pain of this economic crisis — in their retirement nest eggs, their college savings plans and in their brokerage accounts. Any credible effort at regulatory reform has to work for investors, so that they can feel confident in our markets. My objective is to ensure that prioritizing investors is the primary goal of any regulatory reform.Remaking Paris – Via NYT Magazine – The results, a year later, may be the beginning of one of the boldest urban planning operations in French history. A formidable list of architects — including Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Djamel Klouche and Roland Castro — put forward proposals that address a range of urban problems: from housing the poor to fixing outdated transportation systems to renewing the immigrant suburbs. Some have suggested practical solutions — new train stations and parks — while others have been more provocative, like Castro, who proposed moving the presidential palace to the outskirts.
Infographic: How Much Are Politicians Around the World Paid, and How Effective Are They? – Via Good – A quick primer on reading the chart: the further a dot is from the center, the more an MP from that country makes in relation to the average citizen. And the greater the angle from the yellow line (you can toggle the angles on and off), the worse that country’s governance is. So, depending on how much you think politicians should be paid relative to ther rest of us, the closer a dot is to the center point, and to the top of the