A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Category: Reading

Read — 2018/01/18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Lost luggage? Why airlines can be slow to help“, by Scott McCartney (Wall Street Journal). In short, incentives. The article includes packing tips to help avoid issues and to resolve them when they occur.
  2. North Korea brings pop singer to talks with South“, by Andrew Jeong & Jonathan Cheng (Wall Street Journal).

Read — 2018/01/11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. No college kid needs a water park to study“, by James V. Koch (NY Times). Agreed. Interestingly, I don’t recall the author once addressing students’ mental health…which they do need to study.
  2. In France, some say #MeToo has gone too far“, by William Horobin & Sam Schechner (Wall Street Journal).

    “Insistent or awkward pickups aren’t a crime…This fever for sending ‘pigs’ to the abattoir [slaughterhouse], far from helping empower women, in reality serves the interests of the enemies of sexual liberation.”

    I don’t agree with the letter (English translation), but I respect its authors for calling attention to an aspect that they must realize will make them unpopular. See also this response by Caroline De Haas, which argues that flirting and harassment is not a difference of degrees but a difference of nature (with this I strongly agree. But how is nature measured? By the solicitor’s testimony? This may not be honest… By the response elicited? This may not be fair…); CNN’s article (CNN); and “French feminists blast Catherine Deneuve & Co over #MeToo slam“, by Nancy Tartaglione (Deadline).

  3. Bigger companies once meant much bigger pay. No more.“, by Theo Francis (Wall Street Journal).

In a separate pen, today’s selection of articles on crypto-assets:

  1. Bitcoin plunges as South Korea crafts cryptocurrency crackdown“, by Eun-Young Jeong & Gregor Stuart Hunter (Wall Street Journal, 2018-01-11).
  2. China quietly orders closing of bitcoin mining operations“, by Chao Deng (Wall Street Journal, 2018-01-11).
  3. It’s only a matter of time before China lifts crypto exchange ban, entrepreneur says“, by Dan Murphy (CNBC, 2018-01-03). To be determined. The entrepreneur is Bobby Lee, CEO of crypto-wallet company BTCC. So he presumably knows the market, but he also has a personal interest in his statement becoming (or at least being viewed) as true.
  4. China’s interference on bitcoin tests currency’s foundation“, by Chao Deng (Wall Street Journal, 2017-09-18).

Read — 2018/01/10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. If you want to live to be 20, the US is a terrible place to be born“, by Dan Kopf (Quartz).
  2. Silicon Valley reconsiders the iPhone era it created“, by Tripp Mickle (Wall Street Journal). What’s inside the box? Pandora…
  3. Kodak catches crypto fever“, by Erik Holm & Paul Vigna (Wall Street Journal). Eastman Kodak, the latest company to capitalize (literally) on the ICO hype.
  4. Jamie Dimon: I ‘regret’ calling bitcoin a fraud“, by Paul Vigna (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Ethereum cocreator Steven Nerayoff says the cryptocurrency’s value could triple in 2018“, by Chloe Aiello (CNBC).
  6. Some Great Barrier Reef turtle populations produce nothing but females“, by John Timmer (Ars Technica). Another victim of climate extremism: sex ratios in turtle populations.
  7. The psychology of inequality“, by Elizabeth Kolbert (The New Yorker). Kolbert notes that “feeling poor made people more willing to roll the dice”. A possible explanation for lottery participation…and recent cryptomania?

Read — 2018/01/08

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Don’t trust Dow 25,000. The economic cycle is broken“, by James Mackintosh (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Trump’s immigration priorities complicate ‘dreamer’ talks“, by Laura Meckler & Kristina Peterson (Wall Street Journal).
  3. Mark Zuckerberg resolves to ‘fix’ Facebook in 2018“, by Deepa Seetharaman (Wall Street Journal).
  4. Bitcoin is a hit in countries where locals face currency troubles“, by Matina Stevis-Gridneff & Georgi Kantchev (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Video game stars have fans, fortunes — and utterly baffled parents“, by Sarah E. Needleman (Wall Street Journal).
  6. This is the largest known prime number yet“, by Mika McKinnon (Smithsonian).
  7. The shirtless Tongan Olympic flag-bearer is now a cross-country skier“, by Tom Ley (Deadspin).
  8. Keep people safe in New York City emergencies“, by Patricia R. Olsen (NY Times).
  9. Farhad and Mike’s week in tech: another huge security flaw“, by Farhad Manjoo & Mike Isaac (NY Times).
  10. Can an algorithm tell when kids are in danger?“, by Dan Hurley (NY Times).
  11. Jimmie Holland, who cared for cancer patient’s mind, dies at 89“, by Sam Roberts (NY Times).
  12. Is your child lying to you? that’s good“, by Alex Stone (NY Times).

Read — 2018/01/07

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. I was a skeptic of mindfulness…until I tried to make my case“, by Chadwick Matlin (FiveThirtyEight).
  2. How actual smart people talk about themselves“, by James Fallows (The Atlantic). Whoah there, “actual” in the title? That smarts! “[T]he clearest mark of intelligence, even ‘genius,’ is awareness of one’s limits and ignorance.”
  3. Against intellectual monopoly“, by Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine. A book (freely accessible online) that argues against intellectual property.

Read — 2018/01/04

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Why Oklahoma has the most women per capita in prison“, by Elizabeth Winkler (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Iran accuses ‘enemies’ as US seeks emergency UN session“, by Hassan Rouhani (Al Jazeera).
  3. Why unplugging should be your most important resolution for 2018“, by Bridget Read (Vogue).
  4. Dating apps are awful — here’s how to make them work for you“, by Katherine Bindley (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Spotify files to go public through direct listing, cutting out underwriters“, by Maureen Farrell & Anne Steele (Wall Street Journal).
  6. Rush to fix ‘serious’ computer chip flaws” (BBC).
  7. The science behind psychopaths and extreme altruists“, by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee (National Geographic).
  8. Chess’s new best player is a fearless, swashbuckling algorithm“, by Oliver Roeder (Five Thirty Eight). With links to the arXiv paper and the singularity.
  9. Meet the woman risking it all for the perfect shot“, by Adrian Brune (OZY).

Read — 2017/12/23

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Rural Kansas fights to save grocery shops“, by Tracy Moran (OZY). Food deserts are real, and they have a real (detrimental) effect.
  2. The insane true story of how ‘Titanic’ got made“, by Sarah Marshall (BuzzFeed). “Level 3 crush pandemic” sounds about right.
  3. 19 people whose handwriting is so good it might actually calm you down“, by Keven Smith (BuzzFeed). Wow. As advertised, so good.

Read — 2017/12/21

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Big hedge funds want in on bitcoin“, by Gregory Zuckerman (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Venezuela’s brutal crime crackdown: executions, machetes, and 8,292 dead“, by Juan Forero & Maolis Castro (Wall Street Journal). W.T.F.
  3. China’s Didi cashes up to go global in next stage of Uber battle” (Bloomberg).
  4. LaVar Ball plans to start league for high school graduates“, by Darren Rovell (ESPN). Face it, America: We bemoan violations on “living wages” and “tax evasion”, but we’ve happily let higher education turn into the worst violators of workers’ rights and tax law in all of history. American universities run their own sports leagues without paying their athletes, run their own hedge funds without paying taxes,… WAKE UP!!!
  5. Wedding plus-one etiquette: rules for bringing a date to weddings“, by Marissa Miller & Jamie Lincoln (Vogue).
  6. From blackboard to bedside: high-dimensional geometry is transforming the MRI industry“, by David Donoho (American Mathematical Society).
  7. My father André Weil“, by Sylvie Weil (American Mathematical Society).
  8. So you think you want to upgrade your compact digital camera“, by Dan Wallach. NOTE: Article from 2011. Dr. Wallach is a professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, focusing on computer systems and cybersecurity. He is also a “serious amateur” photographer.

Read — 2017/12/20

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Are your taxes going down or up?” (Wall Street Journal). A “closer look” at the effect of the U.S. tax reform on various groups. While it’s good to know how legislation affects you, let’s not get caught up in the effect on “our” group, remembering to consider the grand effect of a law on our community and society more generally.
  2. Glow in the dark sharks: new species discovered in Hawaii — and it glows“, by Lauren Smith (The Guardian). Arguably way cooler than sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.
  3. The Soviet era’s deadliest scientist is regaining popularity in Russia“, by Sam Kean (The Atlantic). A sobering reminder to each of us not to let political allegiances control our judgment.

Read — 2017/12/19

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What needs to happen before electric cars take over the world“, by Jack Ewing (NY Times).
  2. Chasing the next bitcoin, investors shell out $700 million for coins with ‘no purpose’“, by Paul Vigna & Peter Rudegeair (Wall Street Journal). What exactly are investors (or speculators) paying for when they buy cryptocurrency? The answer depends on the currency, but for a general answer (and an accessible explanation of the technology underlying cryptocurrency), check out this 26-minute YouTube video by 3Blue1Brown.
  3. The bitcoin boom: in code we trust“, by Tim Wu (NY Times). When humans and human institutions fail, it’s time to put our trust in machines. (But who makes the machines?)

Plus, several intriguing articles in the 2017 Christmas double issue of The Economist.