Marine Le Pen, Kitty Litter, Shinzo Abe, Selection Bias


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Marine Le Pen: At The Gates Of Power

Charles Bremner | New Statesman | 4th December 2014

Intelligent, accomplished portrait of the French National Front leader, her politics and family. She's almost mainstream. The more the French despair of their current leaders, the better her chances in the presidential election of 2017. "Given the toxic atmosphere that reigns in French politics and the colossal errors being made by her opponents, Marine Le Pen has only to stay in her armchair and watch the news” (3,450 words)

The Birth Of Kitty Litter

Paul Ford | Business Week | 4th December 2014

Back in 1947 Ed Lowe was selling fuller's earth to Michigan farmers as bedding for chickens. The farmers didn't much go for it. Then one customer tried it in a cat box, and found it absorbed the pee smell. Her cat-owning friends came flocking. Eureka! The pet-care industry was born. Soon Lowe was shipping bagged dirt to supermarkets across America. His motto: "We aim to stay No. 1 in a No. 2 business" (770 words)

Shinzo Abe Talks To The Economist

Dominic Ziegler & Tamzin Booth | Economist | 5th December 2014 | Metered paywall

"From the time of my birth to when I reached my 30s, Japan was in its prime in terms of economic strength. I thought this good trend would continue for a very long time to come, and I thought that Japan would be a country of much greater importance to the world. But it didn’t turn out like that, because we’ve stagnated. There is no way that we can separate our domestic policies from our diplomacy" (3,940 words)

Learn From The Losers

Tim Harford | Undercover Economist | 2nd December 2014

Explaining selection bias. We draw conclusions about the world based on the evidence we have; but the evidence may not be representative. Nobody travels on an empty bus, lots of people travel on a full bus, so passengers tend to think that buses are fuller than they are. If we only hear about successful projects on Kickstarter, we get an overly-optimistic impression of Kickstarter. Moral: Always zoom out (848 words)

Video of the day: The McGurk Effect

What to expect: An auditory illusion. Like an optical illusion, but for the ears. From the BBC (3'25")

Thought for the day

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept
Angela Davis (https://twitter.com/urbancusp/status/540973732265988097)

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