A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Tag: U.S. society

Read : 2020-02-12

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The nuclear family was a mistake” by David Brooks (The Atlantic, 2020-03). An extended look at extended family.
  2. How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime” by Harry Low (BBC News, 2017-01-06). Restricted availability, strict ownership conditions, and intentional de-escalation during tense encounters by law enforcement.
  3. ‘The intelligence coup of the century’” by Greg Miller (Washington Post, 2020-02-11). As Bruce Schneier corrects on his blog, “this isn’t really news…What is new is the formerly classified documents describing the details”.
  4. Cybersecurity tips for international travelers” (US Federal Communications Commission).
  5. Airbnb swings to a loss as costs climb ahead of IPO” by Jean Eaglesham, Maureen Farrell, & Kirsten Grind (Wall Street Journal, 2020-02-11).

Read : 2019-02-10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Tech is splitting the U.S. work force in two“, by Eduardo Porter (NY Times, 2019-02-04).
  2. Alphabet is in a tumultuous time, but the business keeps booming“, by Daisuke Wakabayashi (NY Times, 2019-02-04).
  3. President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address“, by Donald Trump (, 2019-02-05).
  4. How 19 claims Trump made during the State of the Union check out“, by multiple contributors (CNN, 2019-02-06).
  5. ‘Good to go’ review: The best way to get better“, by Michael Shermer (Wall Street Journal, 2019-02-07).
  6. How a strange grid reveals hidden connections between simple numbers“, by Kevin Hartnett (Quanta Magazine, 2019-02-06).

Read — 2018-08-06

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Hiroshima remembers atomic bombing on 73rd anniversary“, by Mari Yamaguchi (Associated Press, 2018-08-06).
  2. Japan’s habits of overwork are hard to change” (The Economist, 2018-08-02). Japan’s labor habits are perhaps most strikingly revealed by the fact that Japan has the world’s most generous paternity leave laws, but only 5% of men avail themselves of the benefits, and those that do typically use only a few days.
  3. Old-money billionaires are chasing new tech riches“, by Anupreeta Das & Juliet Chung (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-03).
  4. Traders are talking up cryptocurrencies, then dumping them, costing others millions“, by Shane Shifflett & Paul Vigna (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-05). The authors should be more up front that this is old, old news. What the article does contribute, perhaps, are methodical and documented methods of measuring such “pump-and-dumps”, and (thanks to the WSJ’s readership) a raised awareness of such scams, both in crypto and in other markets.
  5. Roth IRA” (Investopedia). Roth IRAs explained, especially vis-à-vis regular IRAs.
  6. Disney’s streaming service starts to come into focus“, by Brooks Barnes (New York Times, 2018-08-05).
  7. Why a trade truce could add almost $2 trillion to the stock market“, by Peter Eavis (NY Times, 2018-08-03).
  8. The blockchain begins finding its way in the enterprise“, by Ron Miller (Tech Crunch, 2018-07-22).
  9. ‘The beginning of a wave’: A.I. tiptoes into the workplace“, by Steve Lohr (NY Times, 2018-08-05).
  10. The way we read now“, by Adam Kirsch (Wall Street Journal, 2018-08-03). In general, Americans care about the story and the world it creates — not how the story is conveyed. Which is how books like Crime and punishment come to share top accolades with books like Harry Potter.
  11. What are capitalists thinking?“, by Michael Tomasky (NY Times, 2018-08-05). The author, Michael Tomasky, is a special correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. The article alleges that the widening wealth gap promoted by recent American capitalism is in turn promoting a rise in socialist sympathies, especially among younger Americans.

Read — 2018-08-05

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The age that women have babies: how a gap divides America“, by Quoctrung Bui & Claire Cain Miller (NY Times, 2018-08-04). The data are great, the article’s analysis, not so much. Does the article imply (assert?) that younger pregnancies, compared to older ones, tend to put their children down a path to poverty? If so, the implication (assertion?) seems to fail to control for the (allegedly) relevant confounding factors highlighted throughout the article: parents’ education, politics, and wealth. The article acknowledges that values differ among people, but it seems to value education, career, and independence above all else. While these may be the authors’ values, or yours or mine, they might not be everyone’s.
  2. The stock market is shrinking. That’s a problem for everyone.“, by Jeff Sommer (NY Times, 2018-08-04). The U.S. stock market is “shrinking” when measured by the number of listed companies. The profits are also increasingly localizing to the largest companies (by earnings). I disagree with the second sentence of the article’s title. As the article discusses briefly at the end, private companies today are waiting longer to go public. The article cites the difficulty of accurately assessing the finances of private companies as a cause for this delay: This uncertainty about a start-up’s finances, the article alleges, makes it harder for the start-up to obtain funding, thus delaying its growth and IPO. I question this logic, and suspect that the author has it backward: Start-ups have greater access to capital than ever before, in the form of venture capital from wealthy individuals and private equity firms, so start-ups are happy to take the cash infusions and remain private for longer, rather than go public and submit to the scrutiny and command of shareholders. Which position has more credibility might be reasonably assessed, at first blush, by investigating the market value of companies upon IPO, today versus in years past. Should the second hypothesis has merit, that’s the real problem: Wealthy individuals have access to the most lucrative (and risky, yes) investment opportunities, and artificial moats prevent more than 95% of Americans from accessing the same. (As of 2016, approximately 3.5% of Americans were millionaires.) The wealth gap in America is widening. Could it be, in part, that the rules of the financial game are written for precisely this end?
  3. Autoplay videos are not going away. Here’s how to fight them.“, by Brian X. Chen (NY Times, 2018-08-01). Well, at least the sound is (mostly) going away. Slowly.
  4. Americans are terrible at small talk“, by Maeve Higgins (NY Times, 2018-08-03). I’m not a fan of small talk, but I’m sympathetic to parts of this article.
  5. Where boys outperform girls in math: rich, white and suburban districts“, by Claire Cain Miller & Kevin Quealy (NY Times, 2018-06-13). Highly informative graphic. Says Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education, Stanford University,

    It could be about some set of expectations, it could be messages kids get early on or it could be how they’re treated in school.

Read — 2017/09/17

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. America’s crisis of disconnection runs deeper than politics“, by Brené Brown (Fast Company).
  2. Here’s the one predictor of whether eyour kids will be successful in life“, by Calah Alexander (Aleteia). Spoiler alert: It’s grit. Be careful what is meant by “success”; better, define it for yourself. The ideas in this article echo those in Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset“. See Dweck’s TED talk.
  3. The Tim Ferriss Show: How to be creative like a motherf*cker“, by Tim Ferriss & Sheryl Strayed (The Tim Ferriss Show).