Welcome to the weekend. Pour a cup of coffee, settle into your favorite chair, and enjoy our longer form reads:

• Billion-Dollar Billy Beane (FiveThirtyEight)
• Don’t tell anybody this story on HFT power jump trading (Bloomberg)
• Soaring student debt sparks response from Catholic colleges (Catholic News Agency)
• If you can’t choose wisely, pick at random (Aeon)
• We Work: A Secret History of the Workplace (The Minnesota Review) see also Post-its, push pins, pencils: In the stationary cupboard (LRB)
• What the Hobby Lobby Ruling Means for America (NY Times)
• The Fascinating…Frustrating…Fascinating History of Autocorrect (Wired)
• Britney Spears is a pop queen. And pop queens don’t need to sing. (Vox)
• If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist? (Nautilus)
• Just Undo It: The LeBron James Profile That Nike Killed (Deadspin)

Whats up for the weekend?



How Recent Grads Fare in the Job Market

Source: Bloomberg

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.

17 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. SkepticalOx says:

    That Aeon article on making choices at random is utterly fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

    *sips coffee*

  2. hue says:

    Where Are The Snowdens of Yesteryear? The Whistleblowers Who Tried To Lift The Veil (npr)

    Washington’s Economic Boom, Financed by You (NYTimes) Mr. and Mrs. Vox

    Corporations used to pay almost one-third of federal taxes. Now it’s one-tenth. (Vox) Plutocratic Maverick: If You Move Overseas, I’m Selling Your Stock (Mark Cuban) If I were an NBA player, I’d played for Dallas

  3. winstongator says:

    The 538 article about Billy Beane misses a crucial fact. Fans in Oakland will let Beane have some bad years, while those in Boston would not. It is much easier to run a team if you can write a year off, trade expensive players, and build for the future. That is part of why, looking cumulatively, the Marlins have a pretty good performance relative to payroll.

    I don’t know if John Henry is a involved as the Steinbrenners, but if there is relentless pressure to win now, AND an expectation that ‘we’ don’t lose free-agents like that, you overpay for older established stars.

    It is a stretch to say that Beane’s success would translate to the major market teams, as the ‘rules’ for those teams are different.

  4. VennData says:

    Data on Inequality. Feel free to ignore this GOP tax-cuts-for-the-rich types. You’ll find a way to mentally block out the facts yet again anyway.

    “…Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too. The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in​ ​2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline ​…”​


    “…​The rich get richer and the poor are gettin’ poorer.​..”

    World Destruction


  5. willid3 says:

    the border ‘crisis’ isnt all that some claim it is?

  6. RW says:

    North Carolina’s Pro-Business Climate Reduced the Unemployment Rate by Driving People Out of the Labor Force

    A New York Times article on the senate race in North Carolina referred to cuts in the state’s unemployment benefits and tax breaks for businesses. It then told readers: “The resulting business climate …has played a role in an unemployment rate drop from 10.4 percent, when Mr. Tillis was elected speaker in January 2011, to 6.2 percent today.” …

    If North Carolina’s labor force had increased in step with rest of the region, its unemployment rate would still be far higher than the rate for the rest of the country.

    NB: I think the mathematically literate can see that, unlike author of the NY Times bit, the news from North Carolina vis-a-vis unemployment is not good. Would it really be too much to expect that financial or economics reporters understand that rates have a denominator as well as a numerator?

  7. willid3 says:

    remember that big explosion in West Texas last year? now the fertilizer companies are suing the city blaming it for the blast.


  8. VennData says:

    Obama Says Offshore Tax Inversions are Unpatriotic


    This is a great stick in the eye to the Right wingers now defending this tax dodgers as patriotic who have a high degree of overlap with the liars who said Obama is from Kenya.

  9. Jojo says:

    Careful with those keys, Eugene….
    The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home

    * By Andy Greenberg
    * 07.25.14

    When I broke into my neighbor’s home earlier this week, I didn’t use any cat burglar skills. I don’t know how to pick locks. I’m not even sure how to use a crowbar. It turns out all anyone needs to invade a friend’s apartment is an off switch for their conscience and an iPhone.

    This was done politely: I even warned him the day before. My neighbor lives on the second floor of a Brooklyn walk-up, so when I came to his front door he tossed me a pair of keys rather than walk down the stairs to let me in. I opened the door, climbed the stairs, and handed his keys back to him. We chatted about our weekends. I drank a glass of water. Then I let him know that I would be back soon to gain unauthorized access to his home.

    Less than an hour later, I owned a key to his front door.

    What I didn’t tell my neighbor was that I spent about 30 seconds in the stairwell scanning his keys with software that would let me reproduce them with no specialized skills whatsoever. The iPhone app I used wasn’t intended for anything so nefarious: KeyMe was designed to let anyone photograph their keys and upload them to the company’s servers. From there, they can be 3-D printed and mail-ordered in a variety of novelty shapes, from a bottle opener to Kanye West’s head. Or they can be cut from blanks at one of KeyMe’s five kiosks in the New York City area.



  10. Jojo says:

    The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less
    JULY 26, 2014

    Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

    The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.

    The Russell Sage study also examined net worth at the 95th percentile. (For households at that level, 94 percent of the population had less wealth and 4 percent had more.) It found that for this well-do-do slice of the population, household net worth increased 14 percent over the same 10 years. Other research, by economists like Edward Wolff at New York University, has shown even greater gains in wealth for the richest 1 percent of households.


  11. kaleberg says:

    That Aeon article is basic game theory. When you know all the previous moves, the full state of the game and all the rules of the game, there is a single best move. When you don’t know everything, the optimal strategy is going to have a random component.

  12. RW says:

    The Real Raw Material of Wealth

    …adding value to raw materials is one path to diversification, but not necessarily a long or fruitful one. Countries are not limited by the raw materials they have. ….

    Having the raw material nearby is only an advantage if it is very costly to move that input around, which is more true of wood than it is of diamonds or even iron ore. Australia, despite its remoteness, is a major exporter of iron ore, but not of steel, while South Korea is an exporter of steel, though it must import iron ore.

    …the more promising paths to development do not involve adding value to your raw materials – but adding capabilities to your capabilities.

  13. slowkarma says:

    I was a little surprised by the Times’ article on the Hobby Lobby decision. Written by a Times economics columnist, it suggests that the ruling is far broader than I understood. The article says that the ruling allowed the corporation to refuse to provide insurance for “contraception,” while I was under the impression that it referred fairly narrowly to contraceptive agents that act as abortifacients. I also understood that it only referred to closely held corporations, while the writer seems to suggest that this will have an effect on the rights of all corporations. I can understand the ruling if it only applied to closely held corporations, where the corporation is simply a legal device, and a very small number of owners (who may all share a similar point-of-view) make the rules, but if it applies to all corporations, then that does seem to be a rather egregious expansion of corporate rights; especially since with large corporations there is no one set of “owners,” but only managers, who may change from time to time, or even frequently. Would that mean that the insurance rules could change with the managers?

    • 873450 says:

      From the Times article:
      “While the Hobby Lobby decision ostensibly addresses only a narrow set of circumstances – a corporation with relatively few owners, a religious objection to particular kinds of birth control – these sorts of limited rulings have a history of becoming more broadly cited as precedent over time.”

      - narrow set of circumstances
      - corporation with relatively few owners
      - religious objection to particular kinds of birth control
      - history of becoming more broadly cited as precedent over time”


      Closely held corporations account for:
      - 90 percent of companies in the U.S.
      - 52 percent of today’s private sector employees
      - 60.4 million people
      - 51 percent of private-sector output in the country

  14. frodo1314 says:

    About the Hobby Lobby article in NYTimes:
    “But corporations, as F. Scott Fitzgerald might have put it, are not like you and me. Those special legal powers, which allow them to play a valuable role in the economy, can also give them the financial power to tilt the rules of the game by lobbying for particular legislation, among other things.”

    Hello! Just like unions! What’s the big deal? And also:
    “If the court follows the logic of its Hobby Lobby decision in the decades to come, it’s not so hard to imagine a job market where people must interview employers about their religious and political views. Or where people who need to make a living may just feel compelled to accept a work environment increasingly shaped by their employers’ beliefs.”

    What’s wrong with that?