Fertility, Numbers, Betting, Feelings, Karl Marx

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Human Husbandry

Elaine Ou | Elaine's Idle Mind | 2nd May 2018

“Raising children carries a huge opportunity cost – remove this cost and the population has way more productive capacity. San Francisco, home of the most advanced civilization in the world, also has the lowest share of children out of any major city in the country. Just as a broody hen negatively impacts a farmer’s productivity, a gravid human poses a significant inconvenience to her employer. That’s why companies like Google pay for female employees to freeze their eggs” (506 words)

As Easy As 1,2,3

Thony Christie | Renaissance Mathematicus | 3rd May 2018

A short history of Hindu-Arabic numbers. Three thinkers transmitted the place-value decimal number system from ancient to modern times. The 6th-century Indian astronomer Brahmagupta wrote the oldest extant text. The 8th-century Persian mathematician Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizm wrote the first text translated into Latin for European consumption. The Italian merchant Leonardo Pisano, also known as Fibonacci, popularised arithmetic for bookeeping in the 13th century (2,100 words)

The Gambler Who Cracked The Horse-Racing Code

Kit Chellel | Bloomberg | 3rd May 2018

Conventional wisdom holds that you cannot beat the odds at the racetrack. Not consistently. There are too many variables, too many unknowns. But what if you could? What if there was one person who masterminded a system that guaranteed a profit? One person who’d made almost a billion dollars, and who’d never told his story? Here is that person — Bill Benter, a statistician and casino gambler whose algorithms beat the odds in Hong Kong for decades (6,500 words)

Biology Runs On Feelings

Anthony Damasio | Nautilus | 18th January 2018

Pleasant and unpleasant feelings have a chemical basis and an evolutionary purpose. “The stress associated with sadness is caused by calling into action the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland and by releasing molecules whose consequence is to damage countless body parts such as blood vessels and muscular structures. The homeostatic burden of physical disease can activate the same hypothalamic-pituitary axis and cause release of dynorphin, a molecule that induces dysphoria” (1,900 words)

The Influence Of Karl Marx

Branko Milanovic | Global Inequality | 2nd May 2018

Karl Marx’s fame might have died with him in 1883, had it not been for the dedication of Friedrich Engels, who shaped his late friend’s disparate papers into canonical works soon to be as influential as the writings of Plato and Aristotle. “So long as capitalism exists, Marx will be read as its most astute analyst. If capitalism ceases to exist, he will be read as its best critic. So whether we believe that in another 200 years, capitalism will be with us or not, we can be sure that Marx will” (1,260 words)

Video of the day Infinite Energy From A Spinning Black Hole

What to expect:

Kurzgesagt explains why black holes are a more or less infinite source of energy (9’14”)

Thought for the day

Unless you’re a terribly bad writer, you are never going to have too many readers
Andrew Wylie

Podcast What’s Wrong With GDP? | Talking Politics

How do we measure an economy? David Runciman talks to Diane Coyle about the shortcomings of GDP
(45m 14s)

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