Some longer form columns for your holiday reading pleasure

• Top 50 Annuities (Barron’s)
• What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? (NY Review of Books)
• The Right’s False Prophet (The American Conservative)
• Europe’s New Normal (Foreign Affairs)
• Why China Won’t Rule (Project Syndicate)
The Trouble with Scientism: Why history and the humanities are also a form of knowledge. (The New Republic)
• Hippocrates’s 3-Cent Aspirin a Day May Keep Cancer at Bay (Bloomberg)
Body Language: Hands “almost equal in expression the powers of language itself,” (Lapham’s Quarterly)
• Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex? (The Atlantic)
• ‘I Was There’: On Kurt Vonnegut (The Nation)

What are you reading?


Spain Pours Billions Into Bank

Source: WSJ

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. Mike in Nola says:

    BR: Are you feeling particularly fuzzy headed this morning? Couldn’t get past the first few paragraphs of the article on Strauss. Typical academic journal inside baseball writing full of references to people only the initiated have ever heard of. Makes little sense to those not expert that particular area. Did manage to plow through the whole of The New Republic article. Both examples of why I tended to stay away from liberal arts courses, esp. philosophy, after taking a couple. The New Republic article seemed to be an almost an example of penis envy in trying to explain why disciplines that deal unverifiable speculations are just as good as real science.

  2. VennData says:

    ….and The Atlantic article’s causing some buzz.

  3. PeterR says:

    “Bailout Nation” = Spain on Monday?

    With their markets open on Monday, and ours closed, our open on Tuesday could be a doozy IMO.

    Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

    Have a good weekend.

  4. thought this was interesting..

    A TV Platform So Disruptive Everyone’s Suing It
    BY David Zax | 05-25-2012 | 8:51 AM

    We chat with Chet Kanojia of Aereo, the new TV-where-and-when-you-want-it service that has a few legal troubles. Could Aereo finally disrupt the loathed cable bundle–and TV altogether?

    Chet Kanojia is the CEO of Aereo, a Barry Diller-backed, TV-in-your-browser platform that launched in mid-March in a limited New York City release. For $12 a month, Aereo allows its users to watch live broadcast TV on any Apple device of their choosing (plus Roku), in high-definition. Users can also make DVR recordings that are stored in the cloud. I’ve sampled the beautifully-designed service

  5. Mike in Nola says:

    FT Cookies

    Someone a few days ago was put off by the FT’s website having visitors agree to the use of cookies while visiting their site. It’s not just the FT; all European sites are now required to do the same:

    As I said then, wouldn’t worry about FT cookies. Google and it’s minions are another thing. That’s the main reason I use IE9. Very easy to shut off tracking.

  6. jpmist says:

    “Hippocrates’s 3-Cent Aspirin A Day May Keep Cancer At Bay”

    I have two friends who now have tinnitus from taking aspirin daily.

  7. MorticiaA says:

    I echo Mike in NOLA’s sentiments. From vibrators to Vonnegut with a side order of annuities: what are you smoking this weekend, BR?

  8. Mike in Nola says:


    Well, I did enjoy the Vonnegut. I’m one of those “I don’t read fiction except for science fiction” guys. It’s not entirely true, but mostly. Vonnegut isn’t really science fiction. I haven’t read him in years and need to go find me some. My book stash is severely limited since we moved. Fortunately, Houston has an excellent public library system and you can order books and get them in a few days unless they are a hot item. They even have a book by a guy name Barry Ritholtz :)

    After finishing my most recent library book last night about 1am, was casting about for something and found I still had a copy of Rendevous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, my favorite individual science fiction book. What makes his writing good (other than that he writes well) is that he generally stays within either known or reasonably believable science. I liked Rama so much and kept forgetting that I still owned a copy that, when we moved, I found I had three.

    One other exception to the rule I can recommend is the book I just finished, a redo of Le Morte d’Arthur (my French ain’t good.) It’s called The Death of King Arthur by Peter Ackroyd. Very readable. It showed how fallable memory is. I hadn’t read any version in 30 years and kept being surprised by how close some bits of the movie Excalibur are to the old story; the number of characters is pared down, but episodes are still there.

  9. MorticiaA says:


    Thanks for the heads up on the The Death of King Arthur – sounds compelling. I’m quite familiar with the Houston library ordering system as I, too, live in H-town. I work two blocks away from the downtown building – quite often I order online then it’s waiting for me to pick up a day or two later.

    I will definitely put the Ackroyd and possibly the Clarke books on my ordering list – right after the CFA exam next weekend. Wish I could return the favor and recommend some good books but you can guess what I’ve been reading for the last few months.

  10. Mike in Nola says:

    Hope I’m not being sexist, but but, don’t know if the Rama book would appeal as much to younger women. It’s something of an adventure/exploration story. I did grow up during the beginning of the space age, so that might be part of it’s appeal to me.

    Clearly, King Arthur is timeless.

  11. Jojo says:

    Re: The Bloomberg story on aspirin.
    Discover Magazine
    Vital Signs
    Over-the-counter drugs can be risky
    From the March 2005 issue

  12. Mike in Nola says:

    If anyone has watched the Monarchy series (recommended) on Netflix, here is an often off color interview with the author/narrator. He keeps getting in trouble for playing the Christopher Hitchens curmudgeon role in his TV appearances, but he is an entertaining guy. I can’t imagine an American newspaper publishing anything like this.

  13. Jojo says:

    Microsoft has asked Google to remove more than 500,000 links from its search index last month, new figures published by the search giant show.
    25 May 2012

  14. ToNYC says:

    “Greta Garbo: A Life Apart”, by Karen Swenson
    Uncompromising European natural talent idolized by the media and the green monster and when found un-digestible hounded forever. All the Media requires is total attention to their time and their money. What you manage to assemble are crumbs for your soul.
    Keep the good fight and your talented curator who reminded regularly of the pearls in what Vonnegut calls Tralfamadore.

  15. SOP says:

    Linking Civilization’s Needs to Nature’s

    …We ask a question: “What is a forest?” Traditionally you look at a forest as a source of timber. It’s a building material. What we began to say is, actually, a forest is a water factory. It produces water. It produces pollinators, which are essential for crop production. It produces soil…

    If you go to South America, there are 1,200 planned hydroelectric projects. What we analyzed is, where is the sources of the water coming from for those hydroelectric dams? Half of the water comes from cloud forests. All of a sudden it’s in the enlightened self-interest of the energy industry to make sure that those cloud forests are protected…

    We showed that the productivity of a small farm depended upon the water that came from an aquifer or a forest that was outside that farm, and those hillsides had to be protected.

    We showed that production depended on the health or the organic content of the soil. That also came from outside the farm. The production of crops came from pollinators that were outside the farm.

    But those ecosystems were being destroyed as more farmland was being cleared…

  16. SOP,

    toward a different of that ‘Topic’..

    Hemp: It Ain’t About Drugs
    May 24, 2012

    I like plowing through old agricultural entries, books and journals. Hemp is one of my favorite topics to research and not for the reasons that you might assume as obvious. None of us has ever lived in a world where we’re “allowed” to even grow the most useful plant on the planet much less use it to its fullest potential, so looking at how hemp used to be cultivated strikes me as a fruitful endeavor. It’s also a window into a world that’s long gone but could be partially regained if only a critical mass had both knowledge and motivation.

    There’s much knowledge and folklore about hemp that’s been forgotten about. It used to be as prevalent as corn, wheat or bad TV shows. In Elizabeth’s England, the town of Bridport was known for its flax, hemp, ropes, yarns and canvas sails (the word ‘canvas’ comes from the Latin word for hemp, cannabis), materials that ensured the defeat of the Spanish Armada. As such, the hangman’s rope was also known as a Bridport dagger, made from the Bridport’s hemp. The reason that Bridport’s canvas was so good was because the material used to make it was boiled and sized, never rotting or shrinking on the rigging. Rotting and shrinking sails were a life-threatening hazard for anyone using ships, much as bad tires make for dangerous driving today.

    Thomas Tusser, 16th century author of Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, has some things to say about hemp in his couplets. While going through this book, I found this tidbit:

    “Where plots full of nettles be noisome to eye,
    sow thereupon hempseed, and nettles will die.”

    He said it very matter of factly, as though it was known that hemp was a natural herbicide. It was a fact unknown to me, mostly because I’m a thoroughly free and modern fellow that isn’t permitted to grow one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth because banks, oil companies, drug companies and a host of other centralized industries and their various political dependents might lose their grip and their shirts should we all be “allowed” to compete with them via agriculture. But I digress…

    Here’s another area where hemp’s very existence conflicts with the interests of the aforementioned centralized Capital-Industrial Complex. The huge agrochemical market, representing tens of billions to be shared by the likes of DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, etc., would be quite threatened by an unpatentable natural herbicide/pesticide that grows most anywhere. Considering the decades, effort and money that large agrocorps have put into positioning agriculture in a full nelson, for them to allow hemp to be grown is as crazy an idea as legal hemp is to the Prison-Industrial Complex, one of the few industries that profits from hemp’s existence.

    In closing, a few links that will hopefully back up my balderdash. Please note the sources. I look forward to the day when governments are advising people on how to grow hemp again rather than throw them in jail to protect the financial interests of a few.

    Entry for Hemp, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1810…”

    “When men attempt to amass such stupendous capital as will enable them to suppress competition, control prices, and establish a monopoly, they know the purpose of their acts. Men do not do such things without having it clearly in mind.” -President William Taft, 1911, Message of the President of the United States: communicated to the two houses of Congress at the beginning of the second session, Sixty-second Congress, December 5, 1911, on the anti-trust statute

  17. “…banking and industrial corporations, really in partnership, one with the other, have caused the issue of stocks and bonds upon the railroads and industrial resources until it is now seriously suggested that the fundamental principles of the American Constitution must be violated, and our form of government changed in order to protect the fabulous amount of watered securities dishonestly issued by and through these corporations.

    The time of the voters is taken up during each campaign with furious debates over all kinds of issues except the most important one, a sound money system. In the meanwhile, presidential candidates are syndicated by the moneyed interests. There is no patriotism in these men now controlling the politics and policies of the country. It is a cold-blooded, far-seeing, avaricious, and systematic greed for wealth and the power that goes with it. What do these men care for political creeds? Their maxim is, “Let us issue and control the money supply, and manage the United States Treasury, and we care not what political party is in power.”

    The question now is, how much longer will the intelligence of the American people be diverted from this vital question by the politicians and their political theories, striving after shadows, while the people lose the substance.

    Hearings on House resolution no. 314: authorizing the appointment of a committee to investigate as to whether there are not combinations of financial and other concerns who control money and credits, and operate in restraint of trade through that control, 1911…”

    jeop·ard·y (jpr-d)
    n. pl. jeop·ard·ies
    1. Risk of loss or injury; peril or danger.
    2. Law A defendant’s risk or danger of conviction when put on trial.
    [Middle English juperti, from Old French jeu parti, even game, uncertainty : jeu, game (from Latin iocus, joke, game; see yek- in Indo-European roots) + parti, past participle of partir, to divide (from Latin partre, from pars, part-, part; see part).]

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000

    if you, ever, ~Wonder why Trabek is asking about “The Spirit of St. Louis”, instead of Lindberg’s Father, you may, actually, begin to understand Why? that Diversion is named..”Jeopardy!”..

  18. SOP says:

    Mark, thanks for the info.

    So…. When Nature is a Threat to Profits – profits win.

    I might try growing some around my garden. If you check it every few days to stake down the stalk and branches as they start to reach for the sky, you can get it to grow like a vine along the ground… incredible how even “pot head” friends do not see The weed around the garden when it is not growing vertically – until you point it out to them (then their jaw drops).

  19. [...] linked to the Barron’s cover story on Top 50 Annuities Saturday. The entire article by Karen Hube is [...]