10 Weekend Reads

Pour yourself a strong mug of Intelligentsia Coffee (I’m drinking Black Cat Espresso), settle back and enjoy our longer form weekend reading:

• The World’s Best Investment For the Next 12 Months (Philosophical Economics)
• Inside the Design Labs Where the iPhone’s Coolest New Feature Was Built (Bloomberg)
• How Stanford Took On the Giants of Economics (The Upshot)
• What Makes Uber Run: The transportation service has become a global brand, an economic force, and a cultural lightning rod. (Fast Company)
• What Are a Hospital’s Costs? Utah System Is Trying to Learn (NYT)
• How Art Reveals the Limits of Neuroscience (Chronicle of Higher Education)
• The Sunniest Climate-Change Story You’ve Ever Read: This Is the Year Humans Finally Got Serious About Saving Themselves From Themselves (NY Mag) see also We Might Be Near Peak Environmental Impact (Bloomberg View)
Life Story: Looking at unsolved scientific mysteries, we ask how living things got going and whether they exist elsewhere than Earth (The Economist)
• From Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and New England Patriots apart (ESPN)
• What Kinds of Pets Get Adopted? (Priceonomics) see also This Korean lab has nearly perfected dog cloning, and that’s just the start (TechInsider)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist, author of “Your Money & Your Brain and the forthcoming “The Devil’s Financial Dictionary.”



Global Fish Shortages by 2030

Source: Bloomberg


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  1. RW commented on Sep 12

    Labor Economics Are Having a Moment – And So Is Larry Mishel

    Larry Mishel has found his moment.

    Americans are finally paying attention to wealth inequality – or, as he puts it, “how economic policy affects the vast majority.” It’s been his focus for 28 years at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based liberal think thank that focuses on labor issues. ….

    Whoever takes the Oval Office in 2016, Mishel said, they’ll have a lot of work to do. “We’re digging ourselves of a 40-year hole, and we’re not going to get out of it with one shovelful of dirt,” he said. “But we can change it.” He elaborates: America needs true, persistent employment, not the glorified freelancing of the so-called gig economy. ….

    • RW commented on Sep 12

      More from EPI:

      The Decline in Labor’s Share of Corporate Income Since 2000 Means $535 Billion Less for Workers

      Between 2000 and the second quarter of 2015, the share of income generated by corporations that went to workers’ wages (instead of going to capital incomes like profits) declined from 82.3 percent to 75.5 percent, as the figure shows. This 6.8 percentage-point decline in labor’s share of corporate income might not seem like a lot, but if labor’s share had not fallen this much, employees in the corporate sector would have $535 billion more in their paychecks today. If this amount was spread over the entire labor force (not just corporate sector employees) this would translate into a $3,770 raise for each worker.

      NB: Income inequality didn’t come from nowhere and it certainly didn’t come from the 1% earning more because they worked harder than everyone else (their lobbyists probably worked pretty hard though).

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Sep 12

      Well that assumes that the next President wants to do something about it. A position that I’m not convinced ANY Republican nor Hilary Clinton wants to do.

  2. Jojo commented on Sep 12

    Frankenvirus emerges from Siberia’s frozen wasteland
    Scientists to revive a 30,000-year-old giant virus, warning more microscopic pathogens may awake due to climate change

    September 8, 2015 7:25PM ET

    Scientists plan to reanimate a 30,000-year-old giant virus that has been found preserved in the frozen wastelands of Siberia, one of several pre-historic viruses to have been unearthed in the last 15 years. But while the researchers believe the finding will be of great scientific interest, they warned that the effects of climate change were likely to unearth more such microscopic pathogens, a reality which could pose an increased threat for the spread of disease.

    Reporting this week in the flagship journal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, French researchers announced the discovery of Mollivirus sibericum, the fourth type of pre-historic virus found since 2003 — and the second by this team.

    Before waking it, researchers will have to verify that the bug cannot cause animal or human disease. “A few viral particles that are still infectious may be enough, in the presence of a vulnerable host, to revive potentially pathogenic viruses,” one of the lead researchers, Jean-Michel Claverie, told AFP.



  3. Jojo commented on Sep 12

    The Book No One Read
    Why Stanislaw Lem’s futurism deserves attention.

    By Lee Billings
    September 10, 2015

    I remember well the first time my certainty of a bright future evaporated, when my confidence in the panacea of technological progress was shaken. It was in 2007, on a warm September evening in San Francisco, where I was relaxing in a cheap motel room after two days covering The Singularity Summit, an annual gathering of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs discussing the future obsolescence of human beings.

    In math, a “singularity” is a function that takes on an infinite value, usually to the detriment of an equation’s sense and sensibility. In physics, the term usually refers to a region of infinite density and infinitely curved space, something thought to exist inside black holes and at the very beginning of the Big Bang. In the rather different parlance of Silicon Valley, “The Singularity” is an inexorably-approaching event in which humans ride an accelerating wave of technological progress to somehow create superior artificial intellects—intellects which with predictable unpredictability then explosively make further disruptive innovations so powerful and profound that our civilization, our species, and perhaps even our entire planet are rapidly transformed into some scarcely imaginable state. Not long after The Singularity’s arrival, argue its proponents, humanity’s dominion over the Earth will come to an end.


  4. howardoark commented on Sep 12

    “The more meaningful number is how many Wall Street executives have gone to jail for playing a part in the crisis. That number is one. (Kareem Serageldin, a senior trader at Credit Suisse, is serving a 30-month sentence for inflating the value of mortgage bonds in his trading portfolio, allowing them to appear more valuable than they really were.) By way of contrast, following the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, more than 1,000 bankers of all stripes were jailed for their transgressions.”


    That seems very odd – there must have been 5,000 people doing what Mr. Serageldin did. Why was he the only one who went to jail?

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