Weekly Roundup 08: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web

Weekly Roundup

1. Daniel Bell’s Talk On China’s New Confucianism - Via Princeton University Press – Daniel A. Bell discussed China’s changing political landscape this past October at the United Nations University.   Communism has lost its capacity to inspire the Chinese. But what is replacing it? And what should replace it? Clearly, there is a need for a new moral foundation for political rule in China, as well as a new philosophy that can provide moral guidance in everyday.

2. The Psychology of Grifting- Via Neuro Narrative – According to Paul Zak, neuroeconomist, the essential part of running a con is not to convince the pigeon to trust you, but rather to convince him that you trust him.  Zak discusses the underlying dynamics in this post on his Psychology Today blog, The Moral Molecule.   The neurochemical system at play in the con is, as Zak explains, the The Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System (THOMAS).

3. Why We Remember Important Things & Forget Trivia - Via Science Daily- Where would we be without our ability to remember important information or, for that matter, to forget irrelevant details? Thanks to the flexibility of the nerve cell’s communication units, called synapses, we are good at both. Up to now, only the receiving side of a synapse was believed to play an active role in this reorganization of the brain, which is thought to underlie our ability to learn but also to forget.

4. Agility Means Simple Things Done Well Not Complex Things Done Fast - Via CIO- Experience shows me (again and again) that agility is not about working fast but about finding elegantly simple solutions to business problems. You’ll know you’ve found an elegantly simple solution when the business people agree it solves their most important and immediate problems and when the developers know the solution can be built and tested in 30 days or less.

5. Universities As Sellers - Via Bloomberg & Finance Professor.com – “A push by the richest U.S. universities to unload their stakes in private-equity funds is flooding the market, driving down prices for the world’s best- known buyout firms. Investors led by Harvard University, which manages the largest U.S. endowment at $36.9 billion, may increase so-called secondary sales of private-equity funds to more than $100 billion during the next year, overwhelming available pools of capital. Interests in funds managed by KKR & Co., Madison Dearborn LLC and Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. all are being offered at discounts of at least 50 percent, according to people familiar with the sales.”

6. Using Challenging Concepts To Learn Promotes Understanding Of New Material - Via Science Daily – It’s a question that confronts parents and teachers everywhere- what is the best method of teaching kids new skills? Is it better for children to learn gradually, starting with easy examples and slowly progressing to more challenging problems?

7. Almost Convergence Of Mises, Hayek, & Popper – Via Organization & Markets – O&M dabbles in economics, sociology, and the history and methodology of science so Rafe Champion’s new paper, “Mises, Parsons, and Popper: Comparison and Contrast of Praxeology, the Action Frame of Reference, and Situational Analysis,” may be of interest.

8. More Decoys Compromise Marketing - Neuromarketing – When marketers plan a company’s product offerings, they usually try to do so in the most logical way possible. Several levels of product may be offered – a stripped-down, basic version, a more capable better version, and perhaps a “best” version. These would normally be priced at quite different levels, probably based in part on the relative manufacturing costs of the products. In one of my most-read posts, Decoy Marketing, I described research that showed how a seemingly irrational pricing strategy, i.e., pricing an inferior product either the same or almost the same as a better one, could boost sales of the better product by making it look like a bargain. (In that case, the inferior product is the decoy.)

9. The Dead Stay With Us – Via Mind Hacks – Scientific American Mind Matter’s blog has just published an article I wrote on grief hallucinations, the remarkably common experience of seeing, hearing, touching or sensing our loved ones after they’ve passed away. Grief hallucinations are a normal reaction to having someone close to you die and are a common part of the mourning process, but it’s remarkable how often people are embarrassed to say they’ve had the experience because they worry what others might think.

10. A Study On How To Appropriately Name Drop - Via BPS Research – Most of us have done it: dropped a name in a conversation and then waited for people to form the appropriate conclusions. “Wow, if Christian is friends with that guy, well then he must be really important/intelligent/popular”. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly transparent strategy. Indeed, according to Carmen Lebherz and colleagues, name-dropping will probably make you appear less likeable and less competent – unless, that is, you make your association with the famous name sound suitably distant and casual. Even then, it’s only likely to do you any good as a kind of sympathy vote, after your audience have witnessed you fail.

11. Economics & Psychology Lectures -Via UCD.edu-The purpose of this lecture is to introduce the area of behavioural economics and to discuss the interaction between economics and psychology more generally. I will give an overview of the history of linkages between economics and psychology, discuss the wave of psychological developments in Economics that culminated in the award of the 2002 Nobel Prize to Daniel Kahneman and provide a broad survey of current areas in this field that will form a basis for the rest of the course. I will also begin to outline potential real-world applications of this work.

12. Keeping Perspective During The Economic Downturn- Via Mind Your Decisions – Investment losses never feel good. Perhaps the worst part is that the losses remind us we are not always in control. The stock market is impacted by unpredictable macro-economic events. We can’t control government bailouts, job layoffs, and irrational panic, but these are the things hurting all of us. It’s natural to react with rage and despair. But a more worldly view may convince you things are not as bad as they seem.

13. Collection Of Papers on Capital Market Disfunctionality - Via Paul Woolley Center For The Study Of Capital Market Disfunctionality

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