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Writing Worth Reading
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"
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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"
Why do we root for underdogs? Is it OK to cheat? How can we make the game
less boring for foreigners? Continue reading...
Today on FiveBooks: David Biro on Pain
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