Weekly Roundup 34: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

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-Miguel Barbosa
Founder Of Simoleon Sense

Exclusive Feature Alan GreenSpan Worried About Inflation – Via APR  – Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is warning that inflation could threaten economic recovery. And he’s not the only one raising that concern. Amy Scott reports on how worried we should be.

Exclusive Feature: How Churchill Became Churchill: Discovering Churchill’s American Mentor – Reason.tv’s –  Nick Gillespie recently sat down with Reason contributing editor Michael McMenamin, co-author with Curt Zoller of 2007’s Becoming Winston Churchill, now out in a paperback edition from Enigma Books. The volume promises “the untold story of Young Winston and his American mentor.”

Feature: Infographic: The 50 Richest People On Earth – Via Chart Porn –

Feature: Chris Anderson “Waste is Good”. FREE excerpt in Wired – Via Long Tail – “In 1969, the Neiman Marcus catalog offered the first home PC, a stylish stand-up model called the Honeywell Kitchen Computer, priced at $10,600. The picture shows an aproned housewife caressing the machine, with this tag line: “If she can only cook as well as Honeywell can compute.” That image should be on every cubicle in Silicon Valley; it’s a testament both to what technologists get right and what they get badly wrong.

Feature: What happens when you combine Google + Data.gov + Gapminder Visualizations – Via Tech President – Google.com is today highlighting some advanced ways of using their search functionality, in what’s obviously a bid to compete the less-linear kids on the search playground like Wolfram Alpha and Microsoft’s Bing. But what’s worth noting here is that two of the neat search gizmos Google is promoting, searches for earthquakes and population numbers, don’t return the sort of from-the-web results we expect from Google. Instead, here Google is actually building its results from original government data sources — the former earthquake.usgs.gov from the U.S. Geological Survey and the latter from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Feature: 3 More Collections Of Infographics – Via Data Visualizations – We’ve spotted 3 collections of information graphics on Flickr. For those who didn’t already know, Flirck.com is an excellent tool for archiving, sharing and collecting images. All three collections are archives of graphics done by the uploader – Density Design, Good Magazine and Público.

Feature: Why The Economist is thriving while Time and Newsweek fade Via The Atlantic – Newsweek’s recent decision to get out of the news-digesting business and reposition itself as a high-end magazine selling in-depth commentary and reportage follows Time magazine’s emergency retrenchment along similar lines. It accelerates a process by which the 76-year-old weekly will purposely reduce its circulation from 2.7 million to a bit more than half of that. (Its circulation was nearly 3.5 million in 1988.) Likewise, Time’s circulation, which 20 years ago was close to 5 million, is now at 3.4 million. Both newsweeklies are seeking to avoid the fate of U.S. News & World Report, which after years (decades?) of semi-relevance gave up on the idea of weekly publication entirely.

Feature: Visualizing Investment Banking (1st Half 2009 update) – Via Chart Porn – The FT has updated its interactive tables of investment banking activity. Lots of good data in here.

The Earthquake Risk Posed By A Geothermal Dig – Via NYT & Data Visualization – James Glanz from the new NY Times has published an article about the earthquake risk posed by a geothermal dig. While the article is well written and comprehensive the animated explanations using information graphics and data mapping does an excellent job in communicating the technical essence of the article in a fraction of the time it takes to read the article itself. “Interactive” is somewhat misleading as the application simply is a movie with a visual timeline and meta data to the discussed subject.

What Is The Best State To Be Unemployed – Via Chart Porn – Map of each States’ unemployment benefits.

Video: Ray Zahab treks to the South Pole – Via Ted – Extreme runner Ray Zahab shares an enthusiastic account of his record-breaking trek on foot to the South Pole — a 33-day sprint through the snow.

Slides of Chris Anderson’s Speech To Wired Business Conference – Via Long Tail

Pathways to Low Carbon Development – Via World Bank – On March 31-April 2, 2009, the World Bank held Energy Week 2009 in the spirit of gathering field specialists, practitioners and policy-makers to discuss energy and development issues. The conference was organized by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), The Energy and Mining Sector Board and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). The objective of this event was to enable leading energy experts to provide and exchange solutions and insights towards the current challenges in global energy issues

Video : The Future of Renewables – Via Fora.Tv – In this session presenters discuss the role of renewables in shaping the future composition of primary energy. Various renewable energy technologies and their potential for deployment in large scale are discussed. Policy directives currently being implemented and under consideration are also addressed.

Why Have The Rich Been Getting Richer?
– Via Bill Moyers – This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich about the power of Washington lobbyists and his vision for reforms to make America more prosperous and equitable. Reich lamented that the middle class has not shared the benefits of our nation’s economic expansion over the past few decades.

The Systemic Risk of Venture Capital – Via Pe Hub – The debate is heating up about the impending regulations from the government applied to Private Equity (PE) and its sub-class Venture Capital (VC), fought by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and reluctantly supported by the Private Equity Council (PEC). The latter stating that private equity does not represent a systemic risk. Perhaps not, if the council excludes VC from its membership, but VC as Private Equity poses a systemic risk as the gatekeeper to innovation.

Are humans cruel to be kind? – Via New Scientist – AROUND the time of the G20 summit in London on 2 April, the streets of cities across the world were filled with people protesting against the excesses of the banking bosses, among other things. Chances are you agreed with the sentiment. Chances are too that if you had been asked to put your hand in your pocket to fund a campaign to seize their bonuses, even if you wouldn’t see any of the money, you’d have been sorely tempted. If so, congratulations: you have just confounded classical economics, which says that no rational person should ever reduce their own income just to slash someone else’s. And yet that’s exactly what we do. Classical economics, it turns out, is a pretty terrible predictor of how we actually behave.

A Hands-On Philosopher Argues for a Fresh Vision of Manual Work – Via Chronicle –  The faculty job market was as bleak as the Chicago winter when Matthew B. Crawford sent out his first applications.He had just earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago, and was serving as a postdoctoral fellow there. But it was while rebuilding his 1975 Honda CB360 motorcycle in a Hyde Park basement during that winter of 2000-1 that Crawford realized just how closely the hands and mind are intertwined.

Infographic:  Michael Jackson Billboard Rankings: the Man, the Legend – Via Flowing Data-

Party Animals: Early Human Culture Thrived in Crowds – Via Live Science – Party planners know that scrunching a bunch of people into a small space will result in plenty of mingling and discourse. A new study suggests this was as true for our ancestors as it is for us today, and that ancient social networking led to a renaissance of new ideas that helped make us human. The research, which is published in the June 5 issue of the journal Science, suggests that tens of thousands of years ago, as human population density increased so did the transmission of ideas and skills. The result: the emergence of more and more clever innovations.

Power Rules Versus Laws of Power– Via Big Think – Niccolò Machiavelli is the ultimate power maven.  I’ve read books on him to learn how to gain power and to defend myself against it.Leslie Gelb’s book “Power Rules: How Common Sense can Rescue American Policy” (HarperCollins, 2009) draws extensively on Machiavelli’s cunning political treatise, “The Prince.”

Video: Michael Lewis On Charlie Rose Via CR -Michael Lewis is an American contemporary non-fiction author. After graduating from the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Lewis received an art history degree from Princeton University and a Masters Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics. He went on to write several bestselling books, including “Liar’s Poker”, “The New New Thing”, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” and “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game”.

Chris Hughes on the (Political) Value of Sharing – Via GOOD – Eric Steuer is the creative director of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that works to make it easier for creators to share their work with the rest of the world. It also provides tools to make it easier for people to find creative work that’s been made available to them—and the rest of the world—to use, share, reuse etc., freely and legally. What follows is the first in a series of interviews called “We like to share,” in which Eric talked to people who work across a variety of fields who use sharing as an approach to benefit the work that they do.

How to get money flowing again Via APR – Stuffing money in the mattress Americans have socked away money at its highest rate in more than 15 years. But if consumers are saving more, and banks are being stingy too, how do we get money flowing through the economy? Bob Moon reports.

DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman’s Four Principles for Moving Ahead during Turbulent Times – Via Wharton-  The impact of the financial crisis began to hit DuPont about a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Sales volume slid, good customers cancelled orders and employees were gripped by fear and uncertainty. As the environment worsened and sales fell by up to 50% in some units, DuPont CEO Ellen J. Kullman ordered two traumatic restructurings. Perhaps more importantly for DuPont’s future, Kullman also concluded that the company faced a “new reality” requiring fundamental changes if it were to remain successful.

Video: Paul Romer: A Theory of History, with an Application – Via Fora.Tv – This talk was the first in a series of public discussions of an idea that Paul Romer has been working on for two years. His economic theory of history explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules.

Does having more competitors lower the motivation to compete? – Via Science Blogs – Imagine that you’re taking a test in a large public hall. Obviously, your knowledge and confidence will determine your score, but could the number of people around you have an influence too? According to psychologists Stephen Garcia from the University of Michigan and Avishalom Tor from the University of Haifa, the answer is yes. They have found that our motivation to compete falls as the number of competitors rises, even if the chances of success are the same.

One Way to Lower Health Costs: Pay People to Be Healthy – Via Wharton – Good news: Health costs as little as $3 a day. At least, that’s all it took in one recent study for several patients to forgo bad behaviors that put their health at risk. Each year, more than 40% of premature deaths in the United States result from unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, over-eating or failing to take medications as prescribed. Physicians routinely struggle to get patients to give up their bad habits for the sake of their long-term health, yet 20% of Americans still smoke, and 71% are either overweight or obese.
Google’s ‘Street View’ Eyeballs College Campuses – Via Chronicle – The campus: a haven of green quadrangles and footpaths winding around academic buildings, largely inaccessible to car traffic—and to Google Maps’ “Street View” feature. It has been busy providing closeup photos—taken from cars—of buildings around the world.

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.

Effiel Tower – Wilson Quarterly.org  –The Eiffel Tower, universal symbol of Paris and destination of more than 200 million visitors, was almost as avidly hated by the French when it was built as it is beloved today, in part for a startlingly familiar ­reason—­it was too ­American.

Inverse correlation between norms and behaviour? – Cognition Culture – We know, of course, that people don’t strictly abide by the norms they publicly express: the flesh is weak, and so on, but, from an anthropological point of view, it would be surprising to see a complete disconnect between norms and behaviour. Even more surprising would be to see a reverse correlation, that is to have people who insist, “don’t do A!” (for instance, don’t commit adultery) do A more often than other people who have no strong objection to A. This, however, is exactly what is happening with American conservatives, according to Charles M. Blow (a New York Times‘s columnist with a blog about all things statistical and their visual expressions) who published on June 27 an op-ed with a fascinating chart (reproduced below) to prove it.

Why Saints Sin And Sinners Get Saintly – Via Science Daily – To many, New York Gov. Eliott Spitzer’s fall from grace seemed to make no sense at all. But a new Northwestern University study offers provocative insights that possibly could relate to why the storm trooper of reform — formerly known as the Sheriff of Wall Street — seemingly went from saint to sinner overnight.

Rating Attractiveness: Consensus Among Men, Not Women, Study Finds Via Science Daily  – There is much more consensus among men about whom they find attractive than there is among women, according to a new study by Wake Forest University psychologist Dustin Wood. The study, co-authored by Claudia Brumbaugh of Queens College, appears in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The Situation of Chasing Storms – Via Situation –  Most of us aren’t quite as ambitious as the storm chaser to brought us video of the tornado in Austin, Minn. But think about how you react when crazy weather comes through. Even though we know it’s dangerous, a lot of us still can’t help but go outside or to our windows to watch. So what attracts us to dangerous weather? There is something incredibly powerful about a storm.

Why Commercial RE May Not Crash – Via Pure VC – Many market commentators have been predicting that commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop in the credit crisis. I’ve seen a handful of presentations with whopping statistics on the amount of outstanding debt that will need to be revolved in the upcoming years. However, there has not been the massive apocalypse in commercial RE. At least not yet.

The True Story of True Ventures – Via PE Hub – San Francisco-based True Ventures emerged on the venture scene in 2005 and its way of doing business — focusing on seed-stage startups that it can afford to back for the long haul — quickly resonated with LPs. Not only did they give True $155 million back in 2006 but they came back for a second, $195 million, offering last fall. That True had already enjoyed two quick exits helped: In late 2006, it participated in the $850,000 seed round of Maya’s Mom, a social networking site for mothers that BabyCenter bought for an undisclosed amount less than a year later. True was also the first institutional money into blog search engine Sphere, which sold in April 2008 to America Online for $25 million after raising just $4.3 million.

About Miguel Barbosa

I run this site.

28. June 2003 by Miguel Barbosa
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