10 Weekend Reads

Good Saturday morning. Pour yourself a strong cup of Sumatra, settle into your favorite chair, and enjoy our longer form weekend reads:

• 22 Smart Investment Ideas (Barron’s)
• How stories change hearts and brains (Aeon)
• Why you should stop relying on your phone, and buy a nice camera (The Verge)
• The Virtue of Scientific Thinking (Boston Reviewsee also A Theoretical Physicist Explains Why Science Is Not About Certainty (New Republic)
• The mystery of the falling teen birth rate (Vox)
• The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Government (Washington Monthly)
• Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? (The Guardian)
• Big Mother Is Watching You: The Track-Everything Revolution Is Here Whether You Want It Or Not (Buzzfeed) see also What does Cambridge sewage say about residents? MIT plans to find out (Boston Globe)
• NHL Dentist Has Some Gory Stories (Bleacher Report)
• The Hunting of Billie Holiday: How Lady Day found herself in the middle of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ early fight for survival. (Politico)

Be sure to check out part 2 of my interview with Bill Gross in our Masters in Business series.



U.S. Markets Favored by Investors, Bright Spot in Dim Global Economy
us a growing favorite
Source: Bloomberg

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  1. RW commented on Jan 24

    Time to get serious about bank reform

    After the financial crisis, governments staved off a second Great Depression – too well. This triumph let them duck tough reforms. Until now.

    Unicorn Bloodbath: VC Bill Gurley Sounds The Alarm, Again

    “I think you’re going to see a lot of failure in 2015,” venture capitalist Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital tells Fortune for a cover story (“The Age of Unicorns”) about how all these companies are now raising money at sky-high valuations.

  2. RW commented on Jan 24

    Joe Nocera on Politicians and Trade

    Joe Nocera used his NYT column this morning to beat up on a number of politicians who oppose President Obama’s call for fast-track authority to facilitate passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). …

    …There are three points that people should understand in assessing the impact of trade and the meaning of these trade deals:

    1) Trade has been an important factor increasing inequality in the United States;

    2) The trade deficit is the major reason that the economy has weak demand and remains far below full employment;

    3) The TPP and TTIP are about imposing a corporate friendly regulation structure, not trade.

    Taking these in turn ….

    • VennData commented on Jan 24

      So that if you’re right than each US State should raise trade barriers to become more successful.

  3. rd commented on Jan 24

    It is interesting that violent crime and teen pregnancy follow nearly identical time-lag patterns regarding exposure to lead.


    I suspect that there is a confluence of beneficial influences as pointed out in the Vox article. But is should give food for thought that more focus on cleanup of lead in paint and surface soils in inner city neighborhoods could have major long-run benefits for society.

  4. Jojo commented on Jan 24

    Jan 21, 2015
    What’s a safe distance between us and an exploding star?

    Scientific literature cites 50 to 100 light-years as the closest safe distance between Earth and a supernova.

    A supernova is a star explosion – destructive on a scale almost beyond human imagining. If our sun exploded as a supernova, the resulting shock wave probably wouldn’t destroy the whole Earth, but the side of Earth facing the sun would boil away. Scientists estimate that the planet as a whole would increase in temperature to roughly 15 times hotter than our normal sun’s surface. What’s more, Earth wouldn’t stay put in orbit. The sudden decrease in the sun’s mass might free the planet to wander off into space. Clearly, the sun’s distance – 8 light-minutes away – isn’t safe. Fortunately, our sun isn’t the sort of star destined to explode as a supernova. But other stars, beyond our solar system, will. What is the closest safe distance? Scientific literature cites 50 to 100 years as the closest safe distance between Earth and a supernova. Follow the links below to learn more.


  5. Jojo commented on Jan 24

    Live for ever: Scientists say they’ll soon extend life ‘well beyond 120’
    Fixing the ‘problem’ of ageing is the mission of Silicon Valley, where billions is pouring into biotech firms working to ‘hack the code’ of life – despite concerns about the social implications

    Zoë Corbyn
    Sunday 11 January 2015

    In Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley, hedge fund manager Joon Yun is doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation. According to US social security data, he says, the probability of a 25-year-old dying before their 26th birthday is 0.1%. If we could keep that risk constant throughout life instead of it rising due to age-related disease, the average person would – statistically speaking – live 1,000 years. Yun finds the prospect tantalising and even believable. Late last year he launched a $1m prize challenging scientists to “hack the code of life” and push human lifespan past its apparent maximum of about 120 years (the longest known/confirmed lifespan was 122 years).

    Yun believes it is possible to “solve ageing” and get people to live, healthily, more or less indefinitely. His Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which 15 scientific teams have so far entered, will be awarded in the first instance for restoring vitality and extending lifespan in mice by 50%. But Yun has deep pockets and expects to put up more money for progressively greater feats. He says this is a moral rather than personal quest. Our lives and society are troubled by growing numbers of loved ones lost to age-related disease and suffering extended periods of decrepitude, which is costing economies. Yun has an impressive list of nearly 50 advisers, including scientists from some of America’s top universities.



  6. Jojo commented on Jan 24

    Practicing Catholic but you don’t got rhythm? Be sure to pull out quickly [lol]
    Catholics don’t have to breed ‘like rabbits’, says Pope Francis
    Pope says Catholic church supports responsible parenting but criticises ‘ideological colonisation’ of the developing world

    Associated Press
    Tuesday 20 January 2015

    Catholics do not have to breed “like rabbits” and should instead practise responsible parenting, Pope Francis said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters en route home from the Philippines, Francis said there were plenty of church-approved ways to regulate births.

    But he firmly upheld church teaching banning contraception and said no outside institution should impose its views on regulating family size, blasting what he called the “ideological colonisation” of the developing world.


  7. Joe commented on Jan 24

    Re: a strong cuppa Sumatra…. Try a 50/50 blend of light roast Abyssinia/Sumatra. It doesn’t make the actual news better, but it does help with the reading…..

  8. rd commented on Jan 24

    Interesting comments by Steve Schwarzman about funding for education:


    I think he is both right and wrong. My wife is a teacher in an inner city school. They are clearly underfunded and badly managed/administered. They should be able to get more bang for the buck for the dollars they have but they also need more dollars to put more staff in the classrooms.

    Two huge problems with public school funding in the US:

    1. Poor schools tend to have low parental involvement. As a result, the kids attending the school have more problems and less home support than in the wealthier districts (4 parents for a class of 26 showed up at my wife’s last parent open house – 40 parents would have shown up at the school my kids went to).

    2. The wealthier districts put more money into their schools, so they have more staff, better facilities, and more resources for their students than the poorer schools.

    By the time you put these two issues together, it is amazing that we are graduating kids from the inner cities at all.

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