Weekend reading

Stop plastic pollution (bag deposits will help)
  1. Great TED talk on how fast technology is eliminating any pretense that we will have privacy (e.g., pitching adverts to you with “spokespeople” whose faces are copied from photos of your Facebook friends).
  2. In the 1870s came rail and steamship technology, which brought economic gains (via larger markets) and social oppression (via colonialism).
  3. How Amsterdam’s government doubled down on failed decisions regarding its metro.
  4. The Dutch are dealing with their “9/11” differently. They know the Russians are responsible, but they cannot invade. It will be a patience game.
  5. Russia tried to shut down Telegram and kneecapped itself. (Read this to learn of how little privacy Russians have online: your name and address costs only $0.01.) I use Telegram because I trust its encryption more than I trust WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) with anything. Telegram is a Russian app, btw 😉
  6. Watch this video on the challenges entrepreneurs face in Senegal (typical for developing countries). Want more? Watch Poverty Inc.
  7. Mr Money Mustache explains cost accounting, i.e., why avoid > rent > buy.
  8. Behavioral economics starts to grow up (less hype, more balance)
  9. Work norms in America are killing people.
  10. A very long introduction to the claim (and probably fact) that “Egalitarian cities, even regional confederacies, are historically quite commonplace,” i.e., egalitarian life did not end when hunter gatherers moved to cities.

H/T to CD

Weekend reading

  1. This is indeed what cyber warfare will look like. Stay tuned, but people may not know its happened until years after it’s too late.
  2. Transwomen are to women…” and an economist on how s/he transitioned and knew she “succeeded”: men ignored her ideas.
  3. This Argentinian hitchhiked across 90+ countries to meet people and understand our common humanity.
  4. Alcohol is not good for sleep and melatonin for sleeping.
  5. A math-economist on markets and complexity.
  6. Zuckerberg won’t fire himself on handling the world’s “social network utility.” It would be better if he did and Facebook was reorganized as a non-profit that served its users instead of its advertisers (and Russians).
  7. “The brilliance of the Russian move is to make domestic failure into foreign policy success. No one in Russia thinks that Russia is a success in conventional terms. What their leaders want them to believe is that everyone else is also a failure.
  8. Manipulating Amazon’s book rankings (and revenues), a romance.
  9. Rural Arizona flounders as its farmers pump aquifers dry and residents “cope,” unable to find consensus or pass a law on sustainable use.
  10. The Dutch governing coalition says it “needs 2 years” to write a law for deposits on bottles and cans (as a means of reducing litter), in the meantime “hoping industry can fix this.” What a failure of public service.

H/T to DL

Weekend reading

  1. The Netherlands is in drought >> 
  2. Are Americans buying big houses to show off (and risk) their wealth?
  3. A long but insightful look at US-China relations — and how Trump’s personality is undermining America’s future.
  4. A libertarian leaves China after 9 years. Read this essay on rule of law bureaucratic dictatorship.
  5. A podcast with Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist who was in the lead to push back against the “mathurbation” version of economics that doesn’t work in reality
  6. American intellectuals trying to break out of the D-R axis
  7. A very nice podcast on bringing civility back to American discourse
  8. The academic left that downplayed Cambodia’s genocide
  9. How the Dutch use sand dunes to filter their drinking water
  10. What’s the value of crypto? Read this interview with Vitalik Buterin, creator of the ethereum protocol.

Weekend reading

  1. Gendered path dependency hinders corporate performance
  2. We are moving from “endless” to scarce sand for the same reasons as the increase in scarce water: growing demand and mismanaged supply.
  3. Ex-EPA head Gina McCarthy talks about environmental policy, how the Trump team is doing it wrong, and why America is still in Paris. Watch “Environmental policy and the assault on science” (she starts at 6:45).
  4. A brutal, but fair, critique of a Dutch policy failure (taxes on expats)
  5. This essay on a struggle with student debt is heavy on pathos but not logos, as the author’s debt is the result of “pay whatever it takes for the degree(s) in English literature.” The Baby Boomers found themselves through sex,  drugs and questioning authority; their children are finding themselves indebted to authorities issuing certificates of knowledge.
  6. Melatonin is useful for sleep but don’t overdose.
  7. Speaking of [this blog], here are a few things economists agree on.

Weekend reading

  1. Blockchain and crypto will disappoint and succeed like other technologies
  2. Plastic straws provide insight into America’s cultural evolution, from eating out to women’s rights to environmental consciousness to political schism.
  3. Tech companies know more about your credit rating than credit agencies. Now what will they do with the information?
  4. Jean Tirole, a Nobel-prize-winning economist, on how to limit monopolistic abuses by tech companies
  5. Traditional statistics (with confidence intervals, degrees of freedom, etc.) is all wrong. We need to drop the math pretense and use our hunches, as recommended by Bayes.
  6. A short overview of six books discussing GDP and how it goes wrong
  7. This 1978 Q&A with Hannah Arendt is very relevant today: “If the ruling classes permit a small crook to become a great crook, he is not entitled to a privileged position in our view of history.”
  8. Climate change and rising seas expose the new normal of Florida: “We have to start relocating the things we value…”
  9. This 1965 view of abortion gives us as idea of the America that Trump and the Republicans want. (After watching Trump’s inaugural speech, I predicted they’d go after abortion. Make sure you vote in November if you support a woman’s right to choose when to have a baby.)

Weekend reading

  1. Neoliberalism’s roots date to a time when the rich wanted to protect their assets by confirming the precedence of voluntary trade over government intervention, but that meaning shifted to “pro-market” in the 1980s and now “crony capitalism” in the eyes of many. What’s the real meaning of neo-liberalism? It depends.
  2. It’s time for portable identity and a user-centric redesign of Facebook.
  3. Want to buy and sell in a really free market? Try Open Bazaar.
  4. The Dutch consumers association goes after packaging lies
  5. A prose poem on the wonders of water
  6. Cruel conditions (death in a Soviet gulag) can teach us about human nature.
  7. Repeating themes (of humanity)
  8. The origins of “well-regulated militia”
  9. The OECD points out that cities should align their planning with tax (and other incentives) because — no duh — incentives can undermine plans.
  10. Are you excited to have a “circular economy”? Who isn’t? The researchers who found 114 different definitions of the term. Which one do you choose?

 

Weekend reading

  1. Illiberal democracy seems to mean that Hungarian politicians can sell residency for cash
  2. Power is diffusing. Thus, there’s a need for more governance, at all levels of society
  3. The geography (rural vs urban vs suburban) of America’s divisions
  4. Surfers, property rights, the commons and gentrification in San Francisco
  5. What’s killing Americans? A primer on fentanyl
  6. Cooperation varies as water does, as a solid, liquid or vapor
  7. Sure, “try everything” to counter climate change, but not every idea is a good one
  8. The IMF has a special issue on digitalization and crypto (including this gem to “tax crypto”, this history of the pros/cons of fiat money, and LaGuarde’s wisdom on wait and see.
  9. Saving Curitiba and Vancouver from [excess] cars and roads
  10. A long look at Coke’s attempt to be “water neutral.” I think the journalist is a little too harsh on the company, given the massive issues with water management at larger scales, but it’s a good exposé of corporate and activist failures to understand water’s complexity. One big mistake: blaming Coke for the footprint of its supply chain when the real blame for “water use” falls with the consumers of the products.

Weekend reading

I read a lot, and I think you may enjoy reading these:

  1. Stuff your agenda, and you will lose time. Leave space to breathe.
  2. The Big Four accounting firms: “too few to fail, but definitely failing investors
  3. The Russian mafia are growing in America, often with help from Trump and his cronies
  4. Some options for privatization in Saudi Arabia [pdf] discusses water, oil, etc.
  5. How to Build a Smart City (an insightful podcast)
  6. Rich kids do better on the marshmallow test because their homes are calmer
  7. I watched “Downsizing,” a Matt Damon movie who’s plot revolves around some subtle discussions of sustainability and community. Recommended.
  8. Tech-culture: Customer feedback is worthless and longing for community 
  9. The decline of the Fourth Estate (reporters too lazy to check sources or find stories)
  10. Logic is hard.
  11. These villagers have kept their hand pumps working, with local rules of use

H/T to ED