Pokemon, Ivory, Tolerance, Economic Growth, Russia

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Pokemonumber On It

Jacob Falkovich | Put A Number On It | 27th July 2016

How long does it take to catch every Pokemon type? One player reports catching a full set in 100 hours, but that sounds low when measured against a Monte Carlo simulation. “The median number of turns before seeing each of the 66 pokemon types is 5,800, or 232 hours of play at 25 pokemon/hour. The mean is higher, at 6,600 turns. So, my best estimate is that catching all 142 pokemon will take at least 500-700 hours, or about a year of your life if you play for 2 hours a day” (2,140 words)

African Wildlife: Darkness Falls

Jeffrey Gettleman | New York Review of Books | 15th August 2016

Wildlife experts speak of an “elephant holocaust” in Africa. The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania has lost 90% of its elephants in the past 40 years. The last comparable slaughter was in the late 1800s when Europeans ransacked Africa for ivory to make billiard balls and piano keys. This century’s market is China. Demand there may have peaked thanks to government regulation and celebrity-led public-opinion campaigns, but ivory still commands higher prices than cocaine or gold (1,900 words)

Tolerance Troubles

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 15th August 2016

A doctor wonders why the body adjusts to some drugs but not to others; and why tolerance to a drug can vary radically from person to person. “Benzodiazepines are a special offender here. Some people can take Xanax once a day for anxiety, and it’s a perfect solution – it suppresses their anxiety, it never stops working, and they never become addicted. Other people will lose all effect after a couple of weeks, up the dose, up the dose some more, and end up as total wrecks” (2,025 words)

There’s No Such Thing As An Economic Miracle

Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg View | 15th August 2016

East Asian countries from Japan to China, by way of Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and others, achieved “economic miracles” in the late-20C by sustaining growth of 8-10% a year, vaulting in a single generation from developing to developed world. They did this by adopting technologies, ideas and models created in the rich West. This catch-up phase is now over. The low-hanging fruit has not merely been picked, it has been eaten. There will be no more miracles (660 words)

Putin’s Shrinking Circle

Mark Galeotti | Open Democracy | 15th August 2016

Perceptive note on the departure of President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, which may turn out to be a watershed in Putin’s reign. Sergey Ivanov was Putin’s closest confidant from day one in the Kremlin; now he is being “taken conclusively out of the running as a potential successor, but with honour”, and his job given to a former chief of protocol, a man who used to carry Putin’s umbrella. This cannot be good. Is there anybody now left in the Kremlin who will dare to disagree with the president? (980 words)

Video of the day: Dugma — The Button

What to expect:

Documentary. Al Qaeda suicide bombers in Syria. By Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal (4’05”)

Thought for the day

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster — it is an opportunity
Alfred North Whitehead

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