Pull up a chair, pour a cup of joe, and dig in to my longer form weekend reading list:

• The Gates Effect (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
• Jack Handey Is the Envy of Every Comedy Writer in America (NYT Magazine)
• Morgan Stanley is having an identity crisis (Quartz)
• An interview with Tim Harford and an excerpt from his new book,  Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (boingboing)
• Automation Anxiety (Wilson Quarterly)
• 8 Successful Entrepreneurs Give Their Younger Selves Lessons They Wish They’d Known Then (Fast Company)
• The Case of the Trombone and the Mysterious Disappearing Camera: As cameras become smaller and more ubiquitous, they risk disappearing entirely (Tribeca)
• From Coast to Toast: America’s most golden coastal enclaves wage losing battles against erosion (Vanity Fair)
• The Strange Disappearance of Cooperation in America (Social Evolution Forum) see also How Fox News created a new culture of idiots (Salon)
• The Inner Game Of Everything: Why Is A Four-Decade-Old Tennis Book Still A Self-Help Sensation? (BuzzFeed)

Whats up for the weekend?


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. franklin411 says:

    As a companion piece to the Gates article:

    San Jose State suspends collaboration with online provider
    San Jose State University is suspending a highly touted collaboration with online provider Udacity to offer low-cost, for-credit online courses after finding that more than half of the students failed to pass the classes, officials said Thursday.

    Preliminary results from a spring pilot project found student pass rates of 20% to 44% in remedial math, college-level algebra and elementary statistics courses.

    So perhaps the meatbag at the front of the class actually serves some useful purpose, Mr. Gates?

  2. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    A science experiment running for nearly 70 years finally yields results. World’s slowest-moving drop caught on camera at last.

  3. VennData says:

    Rolling Stone cover: Why we must look.

    “… Having to state that you’re against the killing and maiming of families and the loved ones they were cheering on creates a rift where there isn’t one…”


    What “rift?” What are you talking about? A rift between whom? We must minimize attention to terror, and certainly not sexualize it. Let’s put a cute picture of Pol Pot on the cover too, right? si that what you want?

    Dave Wienberger, ‘Rolling Stone’ is a pile of shit and you a silly fellow.

    Good work to all the responsible businesses who reject it. Hey RS advertisers, better check your ad buys.

  4. VennData says:

    Woman’s Death on Roller Coaster to Be Investigated


    Texas! Low wages! Low Taxes! Less regulation! Good for Business!

    The Texas Miracle!

  5. krice2001 says:

    Barry, not only is – The Strange Disappearance of Cooperation in America – a very interesting perspective but the comment section is enlightening, too. Turchin makes a point of answering comments. I’ve read that some anthropologists see the human race becoming dominant on the planet (over other similar primates) because of our better ability to cooperate. If true, a downtrend is not a good omen for the U.S.

    I guess, encouragingly, according to the article, cooperation (or the lack of societal cooperation) is cyclical so perhaps there is hope going forward. Seems society is less happy during this period of relative political acrimony.

    • I am willing to say that its more than just some anthropologists — there is a growing literature including evolutionary biologists, historians, sociologists and psychologists who have written about the pack, the tribe, the school, the flock all imbue enormous advantages to the individual.

      The problem with absurdist fantasies like Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged is its complete disregard/ignorance of how Humans evolved and why social cooperation was a key aspect of it

    • bear_in_mind says:

      I studied Professor Putnam’s work, especially his research and publication of “Bowling Alone” about the decline in social connectedness in the U.S. Initially, it was startling to see these trends graphed and quantified, but I then recognized the parallel of these changes in my own life. I grew up playing in a number of team sports and learned how to win with grace and lose with dignity. Learned about teamwork, discipline, how to pull together to succeed, and how to compensate for a teammate’s weakness without showing-up or shaming someone.

      Over the intervening decades, so many of these opportunities have vanished for kids; well, unless the family is ever-increasingly well-heeled. Virtually all of my experiences were connected with school-based programs (even bowling leagues in elementary school), or as part of various municipal recreation leagues.

      It seems the backlash against taxation consistently took precedent over funding various group social activities in educational settings. So-called non essential programs such as archery, swimming, bowling, auto shop, metal and wood shops, photography, drama and music all were severely reduced or shuttered altogether. The “core” offerings of football, baseball, basketball and tennis were usually retained, but obviously this greatly limited the pool of people who would participate, either due to limitations in available positions to play, individual skill or the increasingly competitive social atmosphere.

      Turchin’s indeed suggests that these trends are changeable… granted, however, these periods appear to run 50 to 80 years before trends change. But from his limited data set (approx. 200 years) it’s seems there’s transitions akin to the proverbial pendulum. Things swing too far in one direction and appears seemingly inevitable they’ll swing back in the opposing direction.

      I appreciate Turchin really embraces multi-factorial causation of these shifts, which is probably totally accurate, though not all that satisfying from our typical cause-effect perspective.

      I don’t know the U.S. ever completely got over the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK in the ’60′s, concurrent with Vietnam, then Nixon/Watergate. As Turchin’s work suggests, these factors likely aren’t causal, but I do think they were significant enough to serve as negative feedback loops about the preeminence of the U.S. in our collective subconscious and cultural fabric.

  6. From one wag:

    “What we need, is to declare war on Detroit. Then we can send in troops to restore order, start rebuilding infrastructure, build schools, and use aid programs to put the locals back to work. Once we’ve won their hearts and minds, the job will be done.

    “Failing that, Detroit should declare itself a bank. That would free up the Fed and the Treasury to make billions available, no questions asked. If we treat the pensions of former city employees the way Wall Street CEOs get their golden parachutes regardless of performance, who could object? (Although a case can be made that it’s not quite the same, as those retired workers spent their lives doing work of actual value to society.)”

    We Have to Step In and Save Detroit (NYT)


  7. Jojo says:

    The Economist
    Falling crime
    Where have all the burglars gone?
    The rich world is seeing less and less crime, even in the face of high unemployment and economic stagnation

    Jul 20th 2013

  8. Jojo says:

    French nuclear tests ‘showered vast area of Polynesia with radioactivity’
    July 3rd, 2013

    Declassified papers show extent of plutonium fall-out from South Pacific tests of 60s and 70s was kept hidden, says French paper

    French nuclear tests in the South Pacific in the 1960s and 1970s were far more toxic than has been previously acknowledged and hit a vast swath of Polynesia with radioactive fallout, according to newly declassified ministry of defence documents which have angered veterans and civilians’ groups.

    The papers, seen by the French paper Le Parisien, reportedly reveal that plutonium fallout hit the whole of French Polynesia, a much broader area than France had previously admitted. Tahiti, above, the most populated island, was exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. The impact spread as far as the tourist island, Bora Bora.

    Thousands of veterans, families and civilians still fighting for compensation over health issues have insisted France now reveals the full truth about the notorious tests whose impact was kept secret for decades.


  9. constantnormal says:

    I’ve gone over the Gates piece a couple of times, and hope that I”m missing the boat on my interpretation of what they are actually doing — never mind the doublespeak PR that is being offered up as an explanation for their intent in these programs. My take on it is that is it essentially a standard co-op education … minus the education component.

    Co-op programs (as I went through to acquire my undergrad engineering degree) provide the necessary grounding in the practical aspects of industry, and reduce the amount of training that employers eventually have to apply. They provide a context for the formal education that occurs in the classrooms, and do not replace the classroom. I see this as nothing more than paying for corporate training of minimum wage workers from the public tax coffers.

    When I described it to my wife, she (also a graduate of a co-op higher ed program in a different field), said that my description sounded a lot like what Mao attempted in China when he sent all the professors out to the fields …

    I think there is a certain similarity here.

    Don’t get me wrong, our educational system is largely broken — almost as badly as our health care system, which is still in better shape than our “representative democracy” — but throwing out formal education in favor of minimum wage on-the-job training is a big step toward making it even worse.

    I once heard Herbert A. Simon address parents at a Carnegie Mellon family weekend session about his research into improving contemporary educational methods, which he said had not significantly changed in the past 400 years, with some font of knowledge lecturing in front of a room of students, and there being no real “science” in the process of transferring knowledge from the lecturer to the students, it is all “art”, and as such, is not suited to the mass-production of education. That needs to change, in order to get costs under control. Education, as performed today, does not scale well at all.

    Well, this ain’t working either. I frankly do not see how statistics, or other niceties of higher mathematics, or molecular biology, physics, thermodynamics, or actuarial sciences, or a hundred thousand other things (that will soon be better performed by robots than people — which does not reduce one iota the need for people to understand the subject area basics) are going to be taught by having people perform minimum wage work under the guise of “alternative education”.

    I hope that Bill Gates, as he approaches his senior years, gets to benefit from having his health care delivered by a crack team of meat-packers (nothing against meat-packers, but that’s a different problem). All hail the Wal-Mart plan for higher education.

    • bear_in_mind says:

      @ConstantNormal: Bill Gates was publicly SHAMED into philanthropy by his own father. Such is the piggishness of today’s America, but I will give Gates credit for trying to achieve some noble goals with his technology fortune.

      I think some of the biggest things missing today are the loss of middle class social mobility and the absence of a spirit of boundless possibility. It starts in K-12 schools, where costs have been cut to-the-bone through a “starve-the-beast” mentality, and builds from there.

      And in today’s employment marketplace, there’s no clear career path where you can be confident you can secure work at a living wage with a HS diploma. Even worse, kids graduating from college with bachelor’s degree’s are facing increasing student debt burdens with high UE and also no guarantee that they can generate a living wage.

      I think that thinking Americans can clearly see we’re in the midst of some major labor market changes, but the question becomes what can we (the average American) do to adapt to a new reality that doesn’t demonstrate a clear direction? What is it that a 16 year-old; or a 25 year-old; or a 45 year-old, should be doing to prepare themselves for a lifetime of gainful appointment?

  10. VennData says:

    More Dodd-Frank blather from the far right banker apologists…


    More narrative disproved with a simple fact:

    On CNBC last week the US Bancorp CEO Richard k. Davis says his bank is fully complied with Dodd-Frank.


  11. VennData says:

    Microsoft Bug Bounties Flowing To Googlers


    Attn 10K readers!

    1) Microsoft is NOT a value stock.

    2) Google is not too expensive, but of a collection of the best IT talent anywhere.

  12. VennData says:

    G20 finance ministers outline new rules to crack down on global tax evasion


    ​This will KILL job creation!
    The G20 wants to stop you from homeschooling!
    World government!!!

  13. Conan says:

    Wealth Taxes: A Future Battleground

    IF you’d like to know where American political debates are headed, the data suggest a simple answer. The next major struggle — in economic terms at least — will be over whether taxes on personal wealth should rise — and by how much.

    The mathematical reality is that wealth is becoming more important, relative to income.