Weekly Roundup 38: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

I apologize for posting so late.  Lets just say that things got a little hectic around the office.



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Special Feature –THE IMPENDING DEMISE OF THE UNIVERSITY – Via Edge – In the industrial model of student mass production, the teacher is the broadcaster. A broadcast is by definition the transmission of information from transmitter to receiver in a one-way, linear fashion. The teacher is the transmitter and student is a receptor in the learning process. The formula goes like this: “I’m a professor and I have knowledge. You’re a student, you’re an empty vessel and you don’t. Get ready, here it comes. Your goal is to take this data into your short-term memory and through practice and repetition build deeper cognitive structures so you can recall it to me when I test you.”… The definition of a lecture has become the process in which the notes of the teacher go to the notes of the student without going through the brains of either.

Feature: Infographic-Death and Taxes – Via Chart Porn – Wallstats has released it’s latest Death and Taxes Infographic, updated for 2010.

Feature: The Dark Figure of Corruption – Via Policy Pointers – A US article on the effects of corruption on developing economies

Feature: College Majors and Making Money – Via Good – The site PayScale has just released new data on what kind of money you’re likely to make based on what you studied in college. The top ten money-making majors are dominated by more kinds of engineering than you knew existed. And physics is probably only in the mix because physics majors can work as engineers pretty easily.

Feature: Infographic -The American Dream/Nightmare –  It’s pretty simple (it’s a 3D column chart), but it get’s it’s point across well.  The accumulated debt for the average American continues to outpace their annual income.  The concept of living beneath your means is foreign to a lot of people.

Feature: 60% of Those Unemployed Can’t Get a Job Within 1 Year – Via Econom Pic – As I detailed in my previous post Exhaustion Rate Underestimates the Issue, the six months was applicable when unemployment insurance was… six months. That length has shifted to 12 months in November, thus the Exhaustion Rate (as listed by the DOL) is no longer applicable. Fortunately, I crunched the numbers and voila… we have the chart below.

Feature: Detroit RIP – Via Skeptica CPA – “Battered by massive layoffs, home foreclosures and nearly a decade of economic decline, more residents of Detroit’s middle-class suburbs are having a tough time putting food on the table. … Michigan has long struggled with poverty and unemployment in its urban areas. But the spread of financial hardship has been jarring for a region where the manufacturing-based economy once provided for high wages and comfortable middle-class lifestyles. … The problem is likely to get markedly worse in the coming months.

Feature: A critique of the President’s financial regulation reforms – Via Harvard Law – The Report’s fundamental weaknesses are its prematurity, overambitiousness, reorganization mania, and FDR envy. Let me start with the last. It is natural for a new President, taking office in the midst of an economic crisis, to want to emulate the extraordinary accomplishments of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s initial months in office. Under Roosevelt, within what seemed the blink of an eye, the banking crisis was resolved, public-works agencies that hired millions of unemployed workers were created, and economic output rose sharply. But that was 76 years ago. The federal government has since grown fat and constipated. The program proposed in the Report cannot be implemented in months or years, or perhaps even in decades—as would be apparent had the Report addressed costs, staffing requirements, and milestones for determining progress toward program goals and had the Report attempted an overall assessment of feasibility.

Video: Global and Domestic Imbalances: Why Rural China is the Key – Via MIT World -Contrary to popular thinking, China owes its astonishing economic expansion not to far-sighted government policy but to hundreds of millions of entrepreneurial peasants. Yasheng Huang’s research reveals not only how small-scale rural businesses created China’s miracle but how that nation’s recovery from the global recession and righting the massive East-West trade imbalance depend on this same under-acknowledged sector.

Video: Institutional Investors in Corporate Governance: Heroes Or Villains? – Via Uchannel- The Symposium addresses a wide range of issues in the corporate and securities field, including: Shareholder voting, SEC proxy rules on shareholder voting and shareholder proposals; the role of proxy advisory services; the validity of shareholder initiatives in corporate governance; the role of hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds in corporate governance; the role of tender offers and defenses against tender offers (including staggered boards and poison pills); the propriety of current levels of executive compensation, the effectiveness of various elements of executive compensation as appropriate incentives, the role of shareholders in approving executive compensation; and the effects of devices that separate voting rights from the economic interests of common stock ownership.

Video: Michael Sandel on Markets and Morals – Via Fora.Tv – Harvard Professor Michael Sandel deliveres a speech titled “Markets and Morals” as part of the Chautauqua Institution 2009 Summer Lecture Series. He tackles some of economist’s toughest ethical questions, such as the business of commercial surrogacy and the price of citizenship.

The Latest On Becoming Smarter Via The Atlantic- Pandemics. Global warming. Food shortages. No more fossil fuels. What are humans to do? The same thing the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenge. But this time we don’t have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive. We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence. Is Google actually making us smarter?

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications Via Policy Pointers – A 127-page US overview of the global financial crisis.

Who Is Killing America’s Millionaires? – Via Slate – It hasn’t been a good recession for the rich. The late boom was extraordinarily top-heavy, with the overwhelming majority of economic gains seemingly defying gravity and flowing to the top rung of the economic ladder. Now those with the most assets and income have the most to lose. Add together the declining markets, an imploding finance sector, a real estate rot that has eaten its way up from the ground floor to the penthouse, and the predations of Bernie Madoff and Sir Allen Stanford, millionaires who ripped off other millionaires, and, as my Newsweek colleague Robert Samuelson notes, these are tough times for the wealthy.

Infographic – US Financial Fraud Cases Via Chart Porn

Understanding the Subprime Mortgage Crisis
– Via SSRN-Using loan-level data, we analyze the quality of subprime mortgage loans by adjusting their performance for differences in borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and macroeconomic conditions. We find that the quality of loans deteriorated for six consecutive years before the crisis and that securitizers were, to some extent, aware of it. We provide evidence that the rise and fall of the subprime mortgage market follows a classic lending boom-bust scenario, in which unsustainable growth leads to the collapse of the market. Problems could have been detected long before the crisis, but they were masked by high house price appreciation between 2003 and 2005.

Tech visionary Jim Clark speaks his mind – Via MercuryNews- Jim Clark, a Stanford University computer scientist who morphed into the entrepreneur behind Silicon Graphics (SGI), Netscape and various Web startups, recently returned to Silicon Valley from his home in Florida to accept a “Visionary” award from the software industry group SD Forum. Known for his forceful, opinionated personality, Clark recently had an interview-by-email with the Mercury News. The following is a condensed version of the exchange, edited for clarity.

Informed and Interconnected: A Manifesto for Smarter Cities – Via HBSWK- To make our cities and communities smarter, we must become a little smarter ourselves, seeking information and an agenda to forge connections enabling collaboration, according to HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter and IBM’s Stanley S. Litow. Their vision is that someday soon, leaders will combine technological capabilities and social innovation to help produce a smarter world. That world will be seen on the ground in smarter cities composed of smarter communities that support the well-being of all citizens. This paper outlines eight challenges facing cities and the communities they encompass, based on experience in the United States. Kanter and Litow provide examples of practices and programs led by both government and nonprofit organizations, many technology-enabled, that point the way to solutions, and they conclude with a call for leaders to embrace an agenda for change.

Bernanke Tells Senate New Agency Isn’t Needed
– Via NYT – Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, put himself at odds with the Obama administration on Wednesday by resisting its plan to create a consumer protection agency for risky financial products.

WalMart Exposes The De-Value Chain – Via Daniel Goleman – Wal-Mart’s announcement of its new sustainability index marks the dawning of the age of ecological transparency in the marketplace. This is not just idle speculation; Wal-Mart has signaled that suppliers who ignore the requirements for ecological transparency will become “less relevant” to them. In other words, suppliers may one day compete for shelf space on the basis of their transparency about the ecological impacts of their products.
Craftsmen, Karlgaard & Wriston’s Law – Via Forbes Wolfe –  Regardless of the raging rhetoric over healthcare reform, let’s not lose respect and awe for the march of modern medicine and the soldiers of science specifically the corp of “corpus craftsmen”who practice to perfection their handiwork on our hands, knees, legs, backs, elbows, shoulders–the surgeons and doctors who cut us and stitch us up. While the government, lobbyists, insurance companies, drug companies and assorted mudslingers fight it out, I cheer on with awe and appreciation these body repairmen. As luck has it, I’m on the mend recovering from reconstructive knee surgery after tearing up nearly ligament in my left knee. Equally awesome is the body’s own remarkably resiliency at healing. Talk about a complex adaptive system. So today I present friend, colleague and Publisher of Forbes, Rich Karlgaard’s recent writings on Walter Wriston and what’s needed for the magnetism of capital and talent:

The Fed’s Exit Strategy – ViaWSJ -The depth and breadth of the global recession has required a highly accommodative monetary policy. Since the onset of the financial crisis nearly two years ago, the Federal Reserve has reduced the interest-rate target for overnight lending between banks (the federal-funds rate) nearly to zero. We have also greatly expanded the size of the Fed’s balance sheet through purchases of longer-term securities and through targeted lending programs aimed at restarting the flow of credit.

The Arab world Waking from its sleep- Via Economist – The Arab world has experienced two decades of political stagnation, says Peter David (interviewed here). But there is a fever under the surface

Was Moore’s Law Inevitable? – Via Technium – In the early 1950s the same thought occurred to many people at once: things are improving so fast and so regularly, there might be a pattern to the improvements. Maybe we could plot technological progress to date, then extrapolate the curves and see what the future holds. Among the first to do this systemically was the US Air Force. They needed a long-term schedule of what kinds of planes they should be funding, but aerospace was one of the fastest moving frontiers in technology. Obviously they would build the fastest planes possible, but since it took decades to design, approve, and then deliver a new type of plane, the generals thought it prudent to glimpse what futuristic technologies they should be funding.

If You’re Happy, Then We Know It: New Research Measures Mood – ScienceDaily — In 1881, the optimistic Irish economist Francis Edgeworth imagined a strange device called a “hedonimeter” that would be capable of “continually registering the height of pleasure experienced by an individual.” In other words, a happiness sensor.

Infographic – Flip That “Worthless” House – Via Economic Pic – Paul Kedrosky with an unbelievable example of how out of control the housing bubble got.

About Miguel Barbosa

I run this site.

26. July 2003 by Miguel Barbosa
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