Weekly Roundup 33: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

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-Miguel Barbosa
Founder Of Simoleon Sense

Free Book: The Clue Train Manifesto (One of my favorite books & read by many online startup entrepreneurs)- Via Clue Train – What if the real attraction of the Internet is not its cutting-edge bells and whistles, its jazzy interface or any of the advanced technology that underlies its pipes and wires? What if, instead, the attraction is an atavistic throwback to the prehistoric human fascination with telling tales? Five thousand years ago, the marketplace was the hub of civilization, a place to which traders returned from remote lands with exotic spices, silks, monkeys, parrots, jewels — and fabulous stories.

Feature: Nobel Laureate James Watson On How To Avoid Boring People – Via Science Network – James D. Watson is a molecular biologist celebrated for his discovery of the structure of DNA with Francis Crick for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Watson has authored several books including The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery

Feature: Number of US Millionaires fell 27% in 2008 – Via Visualizing Econ –

Interview With Robert Cialdini on His Latest Book Yes – Via U Channel -Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University Engaging, connecting, reasoning and persuading citizens is a vitally important role for any public communicator. Indeed, influencing others is a crucial factor in any organisation’s success, be it a commercial institution, local authority or elected government.

In praise of renters – Via Andrew Leigh – Firsts are invariably memorable. Whether it’s a first love, a first job, or a first rock concert, there’s something that sears the memory. So it’s little surprise that canny politicians have decided that when it comes to first homes, they want to be a part of the experience, in the hope that voters might repay the favour when the next election comes around.

Finding Earth Like Planets – Via TRB – Have you ever gazed into the sky and wondered if there were actually other planets like ours in this huge galaxy? It is a fun question to ponder, a mystery beyond our imagination. Well that mystery might become reality a couple of years from now. NASA’s Kepler satellite is out in space right this moment staring down 100,000 stars for the next 3.5 years in search of Earth-like planets. Kepler will look for tiny changes in a stars brightness when a planet crosses in front of the star. The changes will be measured by scientist to see if the planet is Earth-like.

“Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science” The Quarterly Journal of Economics – Via Mc Master – Of the achievements of the classical economists, recent and living, the science may justly be proud; but they fall short of the evolutionist’s standard of adequacy, not in failing to offerma theory of a process or of a developmental relation, but through conceiving their theory in terms alien to the evolutionist’s habits of thought. The difference between the evolutionary and the pre-evolutionary sciences lies not in the insistence on facts. There was a great and fruitful activity in the natural sciences in collecting a collating facts before these sciences took on the character which marks them as evolutionary. Nor does the difference lie in the absence of efforts to formulate and explain schemes of process, sequence, growth, and development in the pre-evolutionary days. Efforts of this kind abounded, in number and diversity; and many schemes of development of great subtlety and beauty, gained a vogue both as theories of organic and inorganic development and as schemes of the life history ofnations and societies.

100 Greatest Discoveries In Physics – Via Documentary Log -Physics is the study of the world around us, asking some of the most profound questions in human history. How does the universe work? What holds matter together and what is this strange force, gently enough to make an apple fall yet powerful enough to lock the moon in captive orbit? Our need to understand has inspired humankinds greatest discoveries. From unleashing the fearsome power of the atom, to uncovering the nature of light itself, to revealing the forces that hold our entire universe together

Reflections on Gaze, Attention, and Other Minds – Via DLPFC -There is a surprising amount of truth in the old adage that “the eyes are the window to the soul.”  We possess an innate ability to understand that the focus of someone else’s vision is the object of her attention.  This ability is an important part of autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen’s model for our specialized cognitive module devoted to social processing, and he has called the vast nonverbal sphere of social communication “the language of the eyes.”Because of this ability, we’re also able to quickly trace others’ vision and lock onto whatever they are looking at.  The neural substrate of this behavior, known as gaze following, might have less immediately apparent implications for the broader project of understanding what makes us human, but it is nevertheless a computationally interesting question.  Now a study published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (the article is open access) has unified a deeper understanding of the mechanics of gaze following with a fundamental attribute of social cognition: neural mirroring.

Visualizing Food Inflation – Via Chart Porn – CHANGES in global food prices are affecting some countries much more than others. Despite a big fall from peaks in 2008, food-price inflation remains high in places such as Kenya and Russia. In China, however, falling international commodity prices have been passed on to consumers faster.

Warning: Big Financial Firms May Be Riskier Than They Appear – Via Wharton – Large financial institutions have failed with much higher frequency than is generally perceived, says Andrew Kuritzkes, a partner at Oliver Wyman and head of the management consulting firm’s public policy practice in North America. “What is surprising is that we’re surprised by how often large banks fail,” Kuritzkes says. His research shows the actual failure rate is an order of magnitude higher than the default rates implied by credit ratings. What’s more, such failures are unavoidable over the long term, he says. In this interview with Kuritzkes suggests new rules of the game that would greatly improve the financial system’s ability to absorb the inevitable, if individually unpredictable, shocks of big failures.

Hyperinflation: The Story of 9 Failed Currencies Via Mint & Dah Hui Lau – The world’s major economic powers are all suffering from the economic downturn but even the most cynical doomsayer is sure we’ll get ourselves out of this mess—eventually. Rare are those instances in which entire economies are disrupted to the point – typically as a result of rampant inflation, or hyper inflation – that an entire form of currency is discarded, reformed or replaced. But it does happen. There are invariably external issues (military, political, etc) at play,  which result in what can generally be referred to the ‘failure of a currency’, and each situation is unique. The following is a list of nine notable examples in which currencies became so devalued that they were eventually replaced.

Video: Charlie Rose Interviews – Peter Richard Orszag– Via Charie Rose – is an American economist who is currently the 37th Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama. He was Director of the Congressional Budget Office when nominated.

Extensive Interview With Paul Samuelson Parts I
& PartII Via Atlantic – I’ve spent the last six months, off and on, trying to interview Paul Samuelson. Samuelson has a long list of accomplishments — A John Bates Clark Medal, a Nobel Prize — that I won’t try to recap here. But by most accounts he is responsible for popularizing Keynesian economics in Post-Second World War America, and I wanted his thoughts on the current administration’s fiscal policies and the modern Keynesian resurgence.

Why Do We Rape, Kill and Sleep Around? – Via Newsweek – Among scientists at the university of New Mexico that spring, rape was in the air. One of the professors, biologist Randy Thornhill, had just coauthored A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion, which argued that rape is (in the vernacular of evolutionary biology) an adaptation, a trait encoded by genes that confers an advantage on anyone who possesses them. Back in the late Pleistocene epoch 100,000 years ago, the 2000 book contended, men who carried rape genes had a reproductive and evolutionary edge over men who did not: they sired children not only with willing mates, but also with unwilling ones, allowing them to leave more offspring (also carrying rape genes) who were similarly more likely to survive and reproduce, unto the nth generation. That would be us. And that is why we carry rape genes today. The family trees of prehistoric men lacking rape genes petered out.

Daniel Kahneman: Timid Choices & Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective On Risk Taking – Via JSTOR – Decision makers have a strong tendency to consider problems as unique. They isolate the current choice from future opportunities and neglect the statistics of the past in evaluating current plans. Overly cautious attitudes to risk result from a failure to appreciate the effects of statistical aggregation in mitigating relative risk. Overly optimistic forecasts result from the adoption of an inside view of the problem, which anchors predictions on plans and scenarios. The conflicting biases are documented in psychological research. Possible implications for decision making in organizations are examined.

Video Jeff Jarvis: Future of Media and the Prospects for Brands – Via Fora- Jeff Jarvis, Associate Professor and Director of the Interactive Journalism Program of the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and author of Buzzmachine.com, speaks at Columbia Business School. He discusses the future of media and how it relates to business, including the successful rules of business used by Google, valuing the customer’s input, and Twitter’s influence on customer service.

The Brain Stop Paying Attention: Zoning Out Is a Crucial Mental State – Via Discover Magazine – Everybody knows what it is like for our minds to wander, and yet, for a long time psychologists shied away from examining the experience. It seemed too elusive and subjective to study scientifically. Only in the past decade have they even measured just how common mind wandering is. The answer is very.

Video: Peter Ward Says Life Will Come To An End Via PopTech – Life as we know it will come to an end, says earth scientist Peter Ward in this talk from PopTech 2003. The big question is whether the planet will kill off our species (and millions of others) naturally, millions of years hence, or whether we’ll accelerate our own demise by poisoning the climate first.

Small Business Valuation Calculator Like Trendalyzer With Style – Via Inc. Com & Flowing Data – Inc.com just released their annual valuation guide for 2009, which allows business owners to gauge the value of their, uh, business. At the center of this guide is an interactive “business valuation calculator” by Tommy McCall. I guess the best way to describe the graphic is Trendalyzer with some style and added functionality.

Video: Dr. David Gruen Helps You Get to Grips with the Economy – Via Fora.Tv – Have you read an awful lot about the economy, noticed and felt that change in the financial climate, but still don’t completely understand it? You know it has something to do with sub-prime mortgages in America, banks collapsing, share-markets getting jittery and spooked, unemployment rates, international trade and a myriad of other interconnected elements, but when push comes to shove, you couldn’t really talk intelligently about how it all fits together?

Getting Your Variety On Keeps the Joy Rolling Via NeuroNarrative – But reseachers who conducted a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research think that they’ve found a cure for habituated boredom.  The trick, they say, is overcoming “variety amnesia” — our tendency to forget that we’ve been exposed to a variety of great things, be they people, food, music, movies, home furnishings or other — and instead focus our attention on the singular thing that no longer gives us the tingles.

Audio Interview: On The Mind Of The Market – Via U CHannel – Michael Shermer explains how evolution shaped the modern economy-and why people are so irrational about money. How did we make the leap from ancient hunter-gatherers to modern consumers and traders? Why do people get so emotional and irrational about bottom-line financial and business decisions? Is the capitalist marketplace a sort of Darwinian organism, evolved through natural selection as the fittest way to satisfy our needs? In this eye-opening exploration, author and psychologist Michael Shermer uncovers the evolutionary roots of our economic behavior. Drawing on the new field of neuroeconomics, Shermer investigates what brain scans reveal about bargaining, snap purchases, and establishing trust in business. He scrutinizes experiments in behavioral economics to understand why people hang on to losing stocks, why negotiations disintegrate into tit-for-tat disputes, and why money does not make us happy. He brings together astonishing findings from psychology, biology, and other sciences to describe how our tribal ancestry makes us suckers for brands, why researchers believe cooperation unleashes biochemicals similar to those released during sex, why free trade promises to build alliances between nations, and how even capuchin monkeys get indignant if they don’t get a fair reward for their work.

Visualizing The US Power Grid – Via Chart Porn – This interactive map provides obscene amount of information on the structure and composition of the United States electrical grid, including breakdowns by type of power (wind, solar, etc), info roll-overs, potential alternative capacity, and proposed upgrades.

About Miguel Barbosa

I run this site.

21. June 2003 by Miguel Barbosa
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