Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation (Ukraine's Got Talent)

Superfreakonomics: The Epic Battle

Sanjeev discovered an epic battle between Paul Krugman (NYT) and Steven Levitt (Freakonomics) regarding Levitt's new book Superfreakonomics, and its contrarian view on climate change.

Krugman's critique.

Levitt/Dubner's rebuttal.

Krugman's rebuttal.

Krugman again.

Levitt/Dubner's response.

Simply, Krugman accuses Levitt is of disingenuously quoting a famous climate researcher's work and incorrectly, which Levitt claims was unintentional.

Arnold to SF: Fuck You

This is almost too witty be true. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed Tom Ammiano’s AB 1176 bill -- and sent this remarkable veto letter: But -- there is a hidden message!Read the official blog post here.

Better Place

What if cars were as disposable as cell phones and you only really paid for its electricity, much like you only pay for your cellular service plan? Better Place is a venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California that makes a market-based electric vehicle network. Check out a Better Place's website here.

Age old question: what do women want?

An alarming and somewhat depressing stat from a BCG consultant's survey in this article: "Thirty per cent of American women who are married do not intend to be with the man they are with five years from now." Read the full New Yorker piece here.

Prepaid, but Not Prepared for Debit Card Fees

The NY Times writes about a newer phenomenon: prepaid debit cards. Here are a few excepts:
...For many people who do not have bank accounts, or cannot get a credit card, the appeal is irresistible, making the reloadable cards among the consumer banking industry’s fastest-growing products. But their convenience comes with a catch: fees, often hidden in the fine print.

A cottage industry only 10 years ago, reloadable prepaid cards have tapped into the vast pool of about 80 million consumers (!) who have little or no access to bank accounts. The market includes college students who do not want to carry around wads of cash and consumers who do not want to type their credit card number into the Internet...
You would need to accumulate massive overdraft fees on your bank account, if you have one, for this to be a good deal. To learn more about the prepaid debit card appeal, read the full article here.

Whoa, wireless electricity?

Thanks Freed for the find -- read more here.

SBA Summer '08 Controversy

Entrepreneurial small businesses stand to be one way to get us out of our mammoth corporate recession. But it's easy to forget the past.

As President Obama prepares to increase the loan portfolio for the Small Business Administration, let's not forget a little-known but troubling controvery that happened last summer. Read the NY Times article here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If you could read Obama's newsfeed, what would it say?

Check out the Slate satire here.

All This Anger Against the Rich May Be Unhealthy

Paul Sullivan of the NYT controversially writes that an obsession with punishing the wealth could have real health detriments. Here are a few excerpts:
"The vehemence in these e-mail messages made me wonder why so many people were furious at those who had more than they did. And why are the rich shouldering the blame for a collective run of bad decision-making? After all, many of the rich got there through hard work. And plenty of not-so-rich people bought homes, cars and electronics they could not afford and then defaulted on the debt, contributing to the crash last year."

"A big concern among the wealthy right now, their advisers say, is not populist anger but how it might translate into tax-the-rich legislation on the federal and state levels. Their concern is twofold.

The first is that any tax increase has a direct impact on the income they withdraw from their portfolios. More money going to the government means less to live on. “They’re very concerned about taxes going up,” said William Woodson, managing director at the Family Wealth Management group at Credit Suisse. “The percent that goes to taxes is significant if it’s a 15 percent capital gains vs. 25 percent capital gains. It makes a big difference.”

The second concern may be disheartening for those who are angry at the rich but like the museum exhibition or scholarship they pay for: increased taxes could cut into donations. While there is not a direct correlation between tax deductibility and personal donations, there is a correlation between increased taxes in a continued weak economy and charitable giving."

Read the NY Times article here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Is It a Day to Be Happy? Check the Index"

Researchers used two years of anonymous "status updates" to create a new Gross National Happiness Index, unveiled last Monday by Facebook.
The index is an attempt to say something profound based on the reports of daily life that Facebook users impose on — um, share with — their friends.The idea, one that is generally accepted in social psychology, is that word choice can reveal a person’s mood.

This is true in ordinary writing, these experts say, and even more so in writing like Facebook updates or the tweets of Twitter users, which ostensibly are attempts to describe what you are doing right now and how you feel. (While tweets limn the psyche in 140-character installments, Facebook updates are downright Augustinian, with some running as long as 420 characters.)
Read the entire NY Times article here. Check out the Happiness Index here.

"The Lines a German Won’t Cross"

How different is the German culture from American? Find out one (biased?) view here.

How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect

The hypothesis: disorientation begets creative thinking. The answer: here in the NYT.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .