A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: July, 2014

Read — 2014/07/21

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Secrets of the creative brain“, by Nancy Andreasen (The Atlantic).

    Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
    And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

  2. This is the perfect time to visit USA“, by Rob Kelly (
  3. A whistleblower’s woes“, by M.V. (The Economist).
  4. Busy doctors, wasteful spending“, by Sandeep Jauhar (NY Times).
  5. Aiming at glass ceiling, but not with her jump shot“, by Billy Witz (NY Times).
  6. Blake Lively’s 10 best fashion moments in 2014“, by Edward Barsamian (Vogue).

Read — 2014/07/18

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Jetliner explodes over Ukraine; struck by missile, officials say“, by Sabrina Tavernise, Eric Schmitt, & Rick Gladstone (NY Times). Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was hit mid-flight at 33,000 feet by a surface-to-air missile. All 298 aboard the plane were killed.
  2. Israeli military invades Gaza, with sights set on Hamas“, by Jodi Rudoren & Anne Barnard (NY Times). Israel claims the invasion is focused on “terrorist infrastructure”.
  3. Google profit engine rolls on“, by Rolfe Winkler & Alistair Barr (Wall Street Journal). Year-on-year revenue rose 22%, beating expectations.
  4. America’s lost oomph” (The Economist).
  5. Coming home in your 30s: young adults drive rise in multi-generational living“, by Carol Morello (Washington Post). A report by the Pew Research Center estimates that 25% of young adults aged 25-34 are “living in households with several generations under one roof”.

Read — 2014/07/16

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Fed’s Yellen hedges her view on rates“, by Jon Hilsenrath (Wall Street Journal). Citing strong job-market measures, Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee that if the improvement continues to exceed the Fed’s expectations, then “increases in the federal-funds rate target likely would occur sooner and be more rapid than currently envisioned”.
  2. After brief lull in Gaza crisis, airstrikes resume“, by Jodi Rudoren (NY Times). Hamas rejected the cease-fire deal brokered by Egypt, which ignored their demands. One international analyst faults Egypt for having “helped Israel market” a “unilateral cease-fire”. Death and destruction continue to mount.
  3. Apple joins with IBM on business software“, by Brian X. Chen & Steve Lohr (NY Times). The article reports that “IBM and Apple have been working together on the venture for several months, and they are jointly working on more than 100 business software programs developed exclusively for Apple’s iOS operating system and for use on iPhone and iPads”.
  4. The benefits of failing at French“, by William Alexander (NY Times). An unscientific but promising self-experiment and a push for the elderly to keep their minds nimble by studying a foreign language.

Read — 2014/07/15

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Race to cut taxes fuels urge to merge“, by Liz Hoffman & Hester Plumridge (Wall Street Journal). M&As are up this year as U.S. firms look to reduce their tax bills via inversion, in which a domestic firm “buys a foreign target and adopts its lower tax rate or establishes a holding company in a country with a low tax rate”.
  2. Our bees, ourselves“, by Mark Winston (NY Times). Pesticides are superadditive.
  3. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Talent“, by Benedict Carey (NY Times). Despite the provocative title of this NY Times article, the actual study (“Deliberate practice and performance in music, games, sports, education, and professions: a meta-analysis“) suggests that the portion of expertise explained by deliberate practice is less than previously argued — 20% instead of 80%. In particular, the researchers do not claim that the residual percentage is due to innate talent. Expert expert Dr. Anders Ericsson argues that the measure of “practice” used by the study is imprecise.
  4. Because science: having a rival makes you run faster“, by Ana Aceves (Fusion). So does being chased by a lion, other researchers find.
  5. 9 stylish up-and-coming French actresses to know: the new wave of chic“, by Edward Barsamian (Vogue).
  6. Not everyone is beautiful“, by Nathan Biberdorf (Mindless Productivity). Why you should never again utter a consolatory “You are beautiful”.

Read — 2014/07/14

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Singapore rejigs anti-gambling ad after Germany’s World Cup Win“, by Chun Han Wong (Wall Street Journal). Watch the original advert on YouTube. Clever parry by Singapore’s NCPG — inspiring other wittiness in the blogosphere.
  2. Germany beat Argentina to win World Cup final with late Mario Götze goal“, by Daniel Taylor (The Guardian).
  3. Joachim Löw: I told Mario Götze to ‘show you are better than Messi’“, by Dominic Fifield (The Guardian). Wonderfully apt for this article’s title is captain Phillip Lahm’s post-match remark:

    Whether we have the best individual players or whatever does not matter: you have to have the best team. We stepped up time and again in the tournament, did not let ourselves get distracted by any disruption, but just went our way. And at the end you stand there as world champions, an unbelievable feeling.

Read — 2014/07/13

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. How Germany’s 14-year plan destroyed Brazil“, by Brendan Greeley (Bloomberg Businessweek). Forget nationalized health care — the Deutscher Fussball Bund has nationalized German soccer, with stunning results.
  2. Unlikely warriors: ‘Elephant Company’, by Vicki Constantine Croke“, a book review by Sara Gruen (NY Times). On elephant training and world wars.

Read — 2014/07/11

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. U.S.-German relations fray over espionage allegations“, by Anton Troianovksi & Bertrand Benoit (Wall Street Journal).
  2. In U.S. data, a baffling contradiction“, by Floyd Norris (NY Times). How to reconcile a significantly contracting GDP with strong hiring.
  3. Google to tour Europe to discuss privacy“, by Mark Scott (NY Times). Starting as early as September 2014, “a group of executives and legal experts” will hold public meetings in “France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Britain and Italy”.
  4. Crack down on scientific fraudsters“, by Adam Marcus & Ivan Oransky (NY Times). A clarion for heavy penalties for fabrication.
  5. World Cup: soccer goes into attack mode“, by Matthew Futterman (Wall Street Journal). Better athletes and a relocation of action to the wings.
  6. Eating an apple a day improves women’s sex lives, study shows“, by Alice Philipson (The Telegraph).

Read — 2014/07/10

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Fed sets October end for bond buying“, by Jon Hilsenrath & Pedro Nicolaci da Costa (Wall Street Journal). From the Fed’s minutes:

    Low implied volatility in equity, currency and fixed-income markets, as well as signs of increased risk-taking, were viewed as an indication that market participants were not factoring in sufficient uncertainty about the path of the economy and monetary policy.

  2. Fed, confident in economy, details end of bond-buying program“, by Binyamin Appelbaum (NY Times). Banks are a-slush with excess reserves from the Fed’s bond-purchase program, so demand for interbank loans is low, muting the effect of the federal funds rate in the short term. The Fed plans to turn to two other monetary levers: the rate it pays banks on excess reserves, and the rate it pays investors for short-term loans.
  3. Race is on to profit from rise in urgent care“, by Julie Creswell (NY Times). A “low-margin, high volume” sector, the ability to screen patients, and a rising demand for 24/7 convenience is attracting investors to urgent care.
  4. Adidas joins wearable stampede with fitness tracker“, by Nick Wingfield (NY Times). Wingfield warns that Adidas may be out-muscled (or out-nerded) by the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
  5. IBM wants to invent the chips of the future, not make them“, by Steve Lohr (NY Times). Says technology analyst Richard Doherty, “IBM is not giving up on silicon, but it is saying it’s time to place an array of bets, and to move beyond silicon”.
  6. Karlie Kloss shares her summertime fitness tips“, by Alainna Lexie Beddie (NY Times).

And, inspired by reading the news online (and noting various forms of URLs):

  1. Why do some Web sites include www in the URL while others don’t?” (HowStuffWorks). Ask the network admin. No, this is not a (completely) snarky answer — the admin really does hold the answer.
  2. How web servers work“, by Marshall Brain (HowStuffWorks). Cliff’s Notes: Each URL comprises (1) a protocol; (2) a server name, itself comprising a host name (e.g., www), a domain name (e.g., thegraywolff.wordpress), and a top-level domain name (e.g., com); and (3) a file name. Name servers translate the server name into an IP address. The host name (“www” in the preceding example) is determined by the host.

Read — 2014/07/09

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Ground operations in Gaza ‘might become necessary’, Israeli official says“, by Diana Magnay, Ed Payny, & Josh Levs (CNN). Tensions mount along the Gaza strip as 40,000 Israeli reservists are called up.
  2. Probing Brain’s Depth, Trying to Aid Memory“, by Benedict Carey (NY Times). The U.S. Department of Defense directs $40 million toward direct brain recording, with hopes of treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). The hope is that electrodes implanted in the brain can act like thermostats of the brain’s electric activity.
  3. World Cup massacre“, by Jim Powell (The Guardian). Front pages from around the world following Brazil’s 1-7 embarrassment to Germany.
  4. Your Next Lesson: Zinfandel“, by Eric Asimov (NY Times).
  5. Repudiation Has Won” (NY Times, 9 July 1896). Blatherskite!

Read — 2014/07/08

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. The Psychology of Clutter“, by Melinda Beck (Wall Street Journal). If you want to succeed in cleaning the clutter, first ask yourself why you kept the clutter in the first place.
  2. Tim Cook’s Vision for ‘His’ Apple Begins to Emerge“, by Daisuke Wakabayashi (Wall Street Journal). A kinder and more cooperative, if less decisive and focused, Apple.
  3. Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer“, by William J. Broad (NY Times). A profile of mathematician, investor, and philanthropist James H. Simons.
  4. Refining the palette“, by K.S.C. (The Economist). A review of the “Making Colour” exhibit in the National Gallery in London.
  5. Future English: simpler and more foreign“, by R.L.G. (The Economist).
  6. L’Allemagne, partenaire privilégé de la Chine“, par Harold Thibault & Blandine Milcent (Le Monde).
  7. Japan on alert as fierce typhoon heads toward Okinawa“, by the Associated Press (Asahi Shimbun). Typhoon No 8, a.k.a. Neoguri.
  8. Executives’ Good Luck in Trading Own Stock“, by Susan Pulliam & Rob Barry (Wall Street Journal, 27 Nov 2012). Does own-firm stock-trading behavior of executives contain price-relevant, non-public information?