Aviation, Taleb, Billy Ray Bates, Families, Mafia


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Landing A Plan In A Crazy Crosswind

Alex Davies | Wired | 3rd March 2018

“When you crab, as you approach, you point the nose of the plane to the left or the right, angling into the wind. The plane is flying sideways, in a sense—the way a crab walks—but doing so keeps it on course. As you shed altitude and speed, you’ll turn further into the wind, using a mix of experience and trial and error to find the right angle. When you’re just 50 or 100 feet above the ground, about to lift the nose and put rubber to runway, you switch techniques, from the crab to the slip” (800 words)

Skin In The Game

Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Incerto | 5th March 2018

When selecting a surgeon for your next brain procedure, should you pick a surgeon who looks like a butcher, or a surgeon who looks like a TV-show surgeon? Answer: Pick the butcher-lookalike. He is so at ease with his skills that he doesn’t feel the need to win your confidence by dressing for the part. “The same logic answers many vital questions, such as the difference between rationality and rationalization, the nature of honour and sacrifice, and from whom to buy your next car” (1,220 words)

The Legend Of Black Superman

Rafe Bartholomew | Deadspin | 15th April 2010

Remembering Billy Ray Bates, who crashed out of the NBA with incipient alcoholism and washed up in the Philippines, where his legend, and his addiction, grew and grew. “His talent on the basketball court made him seem like his sport’s answer to Roy Hobbs, his habits off the court made him seem like the 20th century’s answer to Caligula, The people who saw him play have never forgotten a man they nicknamed the Black Superman. Nor have those who ever saw him drink” (4,200 words)

How Can Families Afford Children?

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 6th March 2018

Why do richer parents have fewer children? Here are some reasons: “Jobs for women are higher-paying and more satisfying than ever before, raising the opportunity cost of large families”. “The more the children, the harder it is to take advantage of the divorce option”. “Daughters are no longer less popular than sons, so the notion that you keep on having kids until a son arrives is weaker”. “You have the option of greater investment in quality, in lieu of boosting quantity” (480 words)

Causes And Consequences Of The Sicilian Mafia

Daron Acemoğlu et al | Vox EU | 2nd March 2018

The Sicilian Mafia rose to power as a late-19C bunch of toughs recruited by landowners to put down peasant uprisings, especially during the drought of 1893. Once established, the Mafia kept the State at bay, together with any benefits that government might have brought. “According to our estimates a significant Mafia presence is associated with an approximately ten percentage point decline in literacy in 1921 and a five percentage point increase in infant mortality” (1,900 words)

Video of the day Volumes

What to expect:

Computer graphics. Fabulous textures. At some point this will bore us, but for the time being it fascinates (3’04”)

Thought for the day

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other does not care at all
Eleanor Roosevelt

Podcast of the day Womb To Tomb | Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Stephen Dubner and guests talk about birth, parenting and death, with Alexander Petri and AJ Jacobs
(51m 38s)

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