Dec 09

Daily Links for December 2nd through December 4th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

Aug 09

Daily Links for August 27th through August 28th

All excerpts are quoted from the respective link(s).

  • Money Supply – Where Does New Money Come From? | MintLife Blog | Personal Finance News & Advice – President Obama’s stimulus bill is a reminder of how creative our government can be when injecting cash into our economy. However, many are not aware of exactly how and where the money comes and goes. The government does not simply dump billions of dollars into the system and inflation and deflation are some magical by-products — in reality, money is distributed to specific groups at specific times for specific reasons. Today we will examine some of the basic ways that our government puts money into the economy, including some specifics of the recent stimulus package.
  • The Value of United States Currency in Circulation | Visual Economics
  • Ultimate Cover Song List – Best Cover Songs – Esquire – A few months back, Tom Junod wrote an appreciation of the artful cover song. A few weeks later, reader John James wrote in to say he felt the same way — and to offer Tom his personal list of more than 1,800 covers. This struck us as a Cool Thing. So we asked John, a former record-store owner and syndicated music columnist, to give us his thoughts on the matter. And to give us that amazing list

Jun 09

Daily Links for June 22nd

  • Confessions of a Bailout CEO Wife – Portfolio.com – As you can see, being a TARP wife means, in short, making decisions according to a complex algorithm: balancing the need to look like your world hasn’t crumbled beneath you—let’s not alarm the investors!—with the need to appear duly repentant for your subprime sins. It also means we’re part of the community of more than 400 companies that have received government bailout funds, whose fall from grace has been swifter and harsher than any since Mao frog-marched intellectuals into China’s countryside.

May 09

Daily Links for May 4th

  • New Statesman – Caught in the net – The politics of the counterculture had long been eclipsed, but its central idea of bringing about direct communication between peers outside of the reach of authority survived intact. In the course of just a few years at the beginning of this century, as broadband connections became widespread and opened up a permanent window on the web, many of us took to zoning out at work or disappearing into the spare room at home to spend hours watching or communicating with one another online. No longer content with passively absorbing information on the internet, we began to set up our own castles on its turf.
  • A Visual History of Flu Pandemics – So much is being said about the recent Swine Flu outbreak and it’s potential dangers. While the world is panicking and running for cover, some are taking a second look at Swine Flu. We will explore the history of flu pandemics the perceived dangers of Swine Flu are greatly changed.
  • Immorality and Twitter: Scientific American Podcast – The other week saw people climbing the walls of the “twittersphere” with some claiming that Twitter—the brief blogging platform—makes us immoral. The controversy was a good example of the danger of popculture references when explaining science. You’ve got to make sure it’s accurate in these days of Susan-Boyle-instant-stories.
  • FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Is Sestak the Right Choice for the Left? – In fact, it's plausible that he could be a bit worse. ProgressivePunch.org ranks Sestak as the 158th most progressive member out of 221 non-freshman Democrats, and notes that he's an order of magnitude or so more conservative than you'd expect of a Congressman from his Democratic-leaning district. Sestak's DW-NOMINATE score in the 110th Congress was -.287 on a scale that runs from -1 for extremely liberal to 0 for moderate; this is actually slightly more conservative than the score that we'd projected for Specter, which was -.303. The National Journal, moreover, found that Sestak took the liberal position only 63 percent of the time in the votes they tracked in 2007.
  • Leaking under stress – Paul Krugman Blog – NYTimes.com – But that just adds to the bad feeling about all this. Even Brad DeLong, who has been relatively sympathetic to the administration here, is disturbed by the idea that regulators are negotiating with the banks about the test results. Now it seems as if the report’s contents may also be dictated by what, based on the response to leaks, the informed public is willing to swallow.
  • "Facebook and Academic Performance: Reconciling a Media Sensation with Data" – Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog – Given the way that these things typically turn out, I doubt that many journalists will be clamoring to scream, "We were wrong! Facebook doesn't cause bad grades!" This is a sad reality of media sensationalism. Unfortunately for all of us, when scholars (or students) disseminate findings based on poor methodology that reinforce myths that the media wants to propagate, they get picked up even if they are patently untrue and can be disproved through multiple alternative data sets. Even though I doubt this article will make it into mainstream media, I hope that some of you will take the time to make it clear to those around you that the media coverage of this story was patently ridiculous and unfounded.

Apr 09

Daily Links for April 8th

  • How Obama Is Using the Science of Change – TIME – The existence of this behavioral dream team — which also included best-selling authors Dan Ariely of MIT (Predictably Irrational) and Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago (Nudge) as well as Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman of Princeton — has never been publicly disclosed, even though its members gave Obama white papers on messaging, fundraising and rumor control as well as voter mobilization. All their proposals — among them the famous online fundraising lotteries that gave small donors a chance to win face time with Obama — came with footnotes to peer-reviewed academic research. "It was amazing to have these bullet points telling us what to do and the science behind it," Moffo tells TIME. "These guys really know what makes people tick."
  • Media Matters – Glenn Beck and the rise of Fox News’ militia media – "There are a lot of people who hate liberals, and if we stir that around in the pot and on the airwaves, eventually there will be people (like Adkisson) … who get infected by the violent rhetoric and put it into violent action," Bohstedt said.
  • Firedoglake » At What Point Did Republicans Become the Party of Bed-Wetting Hysterics? – Get a hold of yourselves, wingnuts. It's only been three months and at this rate, you're going to run out of crazy before the midterms.
  • I Want You to Apologize – Peter Bregman – HarvardBusiness.org – We have big problems in this country. Wall Street played recklessly with our money. Banks made bad loans. Insurance companies guaranteed stupid risks. People took out unrealistic mortgages and borrowed too much to buy things they couldn't afford. Companies are going out of business and laying off workers. And, the government is bailing people out and billing our kids. It would be easy (and tempting) to go on. But we have one more, deeper problem that's making all these other problems worse. No one is apologizing. No one is taking responsibility for what they did to contribute to our problems. They're all blaming someone or something else. We have a kindergartener's problem and it's tearing us apart.
  • Scholars and Rogues » Maybe ‘banksters’ are the exception, not the rule – “Banksters,” “break up the banks,” “trust busting” — reprising those old refrains is music to the ears of those of us who are instinctively anti-big business.
  • Perceiving Randomness | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine – The kind way to say it is: “Humans are really good at detecting patterns.” The less kind way is: “Humans are really good at detecting patterns, even when they don’t exist.”
  • Pew Research Center: Republicans: Fewer, More Conservative – Among registered voters, 28% call themselves Republicans, a decline of five points since 2004 and only a point above a record low level of Republican self-identification in 16 years of polling by the Pew Research Center, found in March 2008. Nearly four-in-ten voters (38%) identify as Democrats and 34% self-identify as independents. These data are based on more than 28,000 interviews conducted during 2008 prior to the election. Among voters who now identify as Republican or Republican-leaning, roughly two-thirds (68%) identify themselves as conservative, and of the conservatives, three-quarters think the party should turn further to the right. While a majority of moderates and liberals within the party advocate a centrist approach (66%), they make up fewer than a third (31%) of Republican voters overall. As a result, 60% of all Republican voters support a more conservative direction for the party.
  • Media Matters – Glenn Beck and the rise of Fox News’ militia media – We don't know if Poplawski tuned in to watch Jones' star turn for Fox News last month. But is there any doubt that Fox News is playing an increasingly erratic and dangerous game by embracing the type of paranoid insurrection rhetoric that people like Poplawski are now acting on? By stoking dark fears about the ominous ruins that await an Obama America, by ratcheting up irresponsible back-to-the-wall scenarios, Fox News has waded into a territory that no other news organization has ever dared to exploit.
  • Marketing In A Post-Consumer Era – Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog – If the "backlash against bling" is real, then we really have to ask ourselves, what on earth is marketing going to look like to millions of people who don't want to buy like they used to—who are marketing weary? People just like my dad, only more digitally savvy. Not only that, but beyond marketing, what's the effect on companies who make their profits by continually producing new products? Bigger, better faster—guaranteed to make your life meaningful. Business and brands have a problem.
  • GOOD Transparency – Trading Down – A nice infographic showing international trade deficits.
  • Pew Research Center: Marital Bliss – Married people (43% very happy) are a good bit happier than unmarrieds (24%) and this has been a consistent finding over the years. It holds up for men as well as for women, and for the old as well as the young, though the marriage gap in happiness is not quite as great among the old. Overall, parents are happier than adults who have no children, but this gap disappears once a person's marital status is considered. That is, married people with children are about as happy as married people without children. And unmarried people with children are about as happy as unmarried people without children.