Newsletter 152

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Writing Worth Reading

[2]Tragedy Of The Technocrats

Steve Randy Waldman | Interfluidity | 10 November 2010

Morality is at the root of human affairs, and so must be at the root of
  economics too. Policy ideas that don't fit public notions of fairness and
  justice are doomed. Market fundamentalism has failed that test

Global Monetary System

Anonymous | Economist | 4 November 2010

Good economic primer on problems of current, dollar-based global currency
  system, and difficulties of replacing it with something better. China has to
  take a lead, given the size of its economy and reserves

Jews Of San Nicandro

Adam Kirsch | New Republic | 10 November 2010

Amazing story. Donato "Shitface" Manduzio, southern Italian Catholic
  peasant, converts to Judaism in 1930s. Persuades dozens of neighbours to
  follow. They survive fascism, meet Jews from Palestine, reach Israel in 1949

HRH The Prince Of Wales: A Review

Terry Eagleton | Guardian | 6 November 2010

Very funny, very rude. "Old-style Tories like the prince support a system
  that breeds materialism and cultural cretinism, then throw up their hands in
  well-bred horror at what they have helped to bring into existence"

[6]Dialysis: Great Risk, Great Cost

Robin Fields | Pro Publica | 9 November 2010

Dialysis in US costs $77,000 per patient per year, 6% of all Medicare
  spending. Two corporate chains dominate market, make $2bn per year profits.
  Quality of care alarmingly low. Clinics "run like factories"

[7]Dirty Coal, Clean Future

James Fallows | Atlantic | 10 November 2010

Any workable anti-global-warming strategy must include technologies for
  burning coal cleanly. Ideal area for US-Chinese co-operation. Would be a
  better piece with more science, less background. But still good

[8]Fed Is Right To Turn On Tap

Martin Wolf | FT | 9 November 2010

Fed has mandate to promote maximum employment. Has no mandate to maintain
  external value of dollar. By easing, it is doing exactly what it should.
  Outraged holders of US debt should have read small print

[9]One Hundred Million Calls

Steven Johnson | Wired | 1 November 2010

New York City's 311 telephone helpline has been huge popular success.
  Handles 50,000 calls a day. Started as a complaints-box. Now it's a way to
  crowdsource data, predict problems, target public services

[10]Testimony Of Elizabeth Smart

Sheena McFarland | Utah News | 9 November 2010

Harrowing transcript of court testimony. Witness says she was kidnapped at
  age 14 in 2002, held for nine months as "plural wife" by self-styled Mormon
  prophet Brian Mitchell and wife Wanda Barzee, now on trial

[11]Myth Of Record-High Gold

David Leonhardt | Economix | 9 November 2010

Gold price only at record high in nominal terms. In inflation-adjusted
  dollars, it's 65% short of true 1980 peak. Then, buyers were hedging against
  inflation. Now they're hedging against a weak dollar

[12]Costa Rica, Nicaragua, And Google

Stefan Geens | Ogle Earth | 7 November 2010

Did Nicaragua really use Google Maps' cartography to justify seizing a bit
  of Costa Rica? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, with plenty of
  history attached. Here's the full story. With lots of maps

[13]On Pain

David Biro | Five Books | 9 November 2010

Dermatologist discusses and recommends five books about pain. "Pain is not
  merely indescribable but that it actively destroys language, reducing the
  sufferer to a state before language, to primal screams"

America Catches "British Disease”

Barry Eichengreen | Project Syndicate | 9 November 2010

Shrewd comparison of US now with Britain after WWII. Morally exhausted.
  Pulling back from overseas commitments. Leapfrogged by industrial
  competitors. Polarised politics. Stop-go economic policies

Through The Language Glass

Mark de Silva | Paris Review | 9 November 2010

Linguist Guy Deutscher argues against Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that language
  determines thought. Favours Boas-Jakobson principle: "languages differ
  essentially in what they must convey, not in what they may convey"
  Topic: Soccer

Why do we root for underdogs? Is it OK to cheat? How can we make the game
  less boring for foreigners? [16]Continue reading...

[17]Today on FiveBooks: David Biro on Pain

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