The story is a scandal, and the book should be the bible of Occupy Wall Street....– Peggy Noonan, in her recent article The Divider vs. The Thinker, referring to NYT’s Gretchen Morgenson’s “Reckless Endangerment,” an account of the key players in the financial crisis. Best article I read all weekend.The description of Fannie/Freddie is pretty spot on.
47 percent of us trust the IRS compared with 36 percent ten years ago. The U.S....– Donovan Hohn, senior editor at Harper’s, in A Superbowl Spot for Uncle Sam. Harper’s tasked a group of ad creatives (Perry Fair of Grey Group, Mark Fitzloff of Wieden+Kennedy, Thomas Frank of Harper’s, Marc Sobier at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Con Williamson at Saatchi...
Idea: A Gym Membership that Charges You for Not... →
Concentration of Power
According to recent financial data from the 3rd quarter of 2010, six banks represent 64% of GDP. These are JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. In 2006, before the financial crisis, that number was 55%. And fifteen years ago, it was 17%.
The point, though, is that anyone who claims that transferring some income from...– Paul Krugman, Economics and Morality. I always enjoy reading the comments on Krugman’s blog.
Why Is The US Taxpayer Subsidizing Facebook – And... →
Goldman Sachs is investing $450 million of its own money in Facebook, at a valuation that implies the social networking company is now worth $50 billion. Goldman is also apparently launching a fund that will bring its own high net worth clients in as investors for Facebook. On the face of it, this might just seem like the financial sector doing what it is supposed to – channeling funds into...
a traditional kind of gal
A friend of mine is hosting a New Years party themed around New Years traditions. She’s from Atlanta, so her tradition is to eat black eyed peas and collared greens, symbolizing good luck and good fortune in the new year. As usual, I was curious and researched up on other New Years traditions. Also as usual, I am inspired (crazy?) and am going to try to enact all of them tonight....
is Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2010. People are making a big deal out of it for some reason. These are the past words of the year since 2003 when the site started tracking them. 2009: admonish 2008: bailout 2007: woot 2006: truthiness 2005: integrity 2004: blog 2003: democracy And perhaps more interesting are the top words that were created this year. Business Insider lists...
Wall Street... what is it good for? absolutely... →
at least per this New Yorker article.
Speaking of Taxes, a Tax on Saving?
From Bob Cringley’s Motivating Miss Daisy “It’s ass-backward, I know, but it would work. Give rich people a short term incentive to spend like poor people, then phase it out over time.”
A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I'm An... →
“I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.” UPDATE: He follows up with a Q&A.
Zuck just cost me $10
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg and 17 more of America’s wealthiest individuals pledged to donate a majority of their wealth to charity over their lifetimes, as part of The Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is just that - a campaign, spearheaded this year by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to invite America’s wealthiest to pledge to give over 50% of their wealth to philanthropy. It now has 58...
Did you know
the inspiration for Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ came from the last words of murderer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by firing squad in 1977. When asked if he had any last words he replied, “Let’s do it.” That phrase became a meme at the time, with references in movies, SNL, later on Seinfeld, even hit songs. Dan Wieden of ad agency Wieden+Kennedy tweaked it to be...
mitch in the kitchen →
My college roommate and bff Michelle has this great blog of her adventures in home cooking. Complete with recipes and photos and funnies. Check it.
TED Talks for Foodies
Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities Peter Reinhart on Bread Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world Barton Seaver: Sustainable seafood? Let’s get smart Dan Barber’s foie gras parable Christien Meindertsma: How pig parts make the world turn Ann Cooper talks school lunches Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness: William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? Michael Pollan gives a...
On Income Inequality →
This is a must read. Tyler Cowen, in his latest (long) article in The American Interest, takes us through the evidence of income equality, opines on the actual impact, and then asserts some root causes. While I don’t necessarily agree with it all (mainly his assertion that the root cause is practice of ‘going short on volatility’), it is really a great read. Let’s discuss!
I just had an awesome series of discoveries. I’ll take you through my journey.. I had recently stumbled upon and posted photos of Jonathan Safran Foer’s new innovative novel, Tree of Codes. It is innovative because it is basically a novel cut out of another novel. He literally cuts out words from his favorite novel, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz, thereby creating a new...
historians discover tiny numbers and letters in... →
A member of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage found a musty old book in an antique shop which describes how the Mona Lisa’s eyes are full of various signs and symbols. This prompted the committee to examine high res images of the painting. Sure enough - they found symbols and letters in the eyes! There’s an LV in the left eye, and in the right eye are symbols.. or...
Just kidding - it’s a big deal! So what is the deal with the tax deal? Well I’m sure we’ve all read about the details (just in case, here’s a quick overview): Bush tax cuts: Most of the current tax rates on income, dividends, and capital gains will be extended for the next two years. Stimulus programs: These were set to expire this year, but have been expanded and...
best thing i read today: Misery as Motivation →
Harvard Business Review suggests entrepreneurship is compensation for personal weakness and inner misery.
the egg theory
When instant baking mixes were introduced in the 1940s, some did well (piecrusts, biscuits) and others did not (cake mixes). Marketers wondered why this was the case. One theory was that the cake mixes simplified the process so much that women did not feel as though they had actually made anything. A piecrust or a biscuit were just a component of a larger meal, but a cake was its own course. A...
why is a turkey a turkey
Today I learned how turkey got its name, thanks to the newsletter to which I am newly subscribed, Now I Know. Now I Know was recommended to me by a w.i.l.t. reader who sends out a daily dose of something he finds interesting. So turkey. It’s actually indigenous to the US and Mexico. The bird, considered a delicacy, was brought to Europe via merchants in the East. It wholesaled out of Turkey...
Economic Man makes logical, rational, self-interested decisions that weigh costs...– The Marketplace of Perception : Harvard Magazine (new ambition.. neuroeconomics!)
best thing i read today: Sorry, But Your Soul Just... →
This was a celebrated essay written by Tom Wolfe, first published in 1996. It was referenced in an article I recently read, and it’s great - especially reading it in retrospect. It’s describes Wolfe’s fascination with neuroscience, and his fear for the repercussions of the prominent idea of neuroscience at the time that we are all hard-wired.. genetically predispositioned to be...
You Fix the Budget →
The NYTimes interactive deficit project is great. With just some cuts on spending and a few tax increases (carbon), and some major changes to medicare (capping it in 2013?), I fixed the budget! Easy enough, right? But apparently, nobody cares about the deficit.
The Power of FREE
A few weeks ago a club here in New York had an event with free tattoos. (I can’t figure out which, but it mayyy have been this event at 3rd Ward.) Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics, sent a research assistant to observe. In the 5 hours the researcher was there, from 9pm to 2am, she observed 76 people, ages 18 to 47 with an average age of 26, sign up for a free...
The Economics of Seinfeld →
Just stumbled upon this site, yadayadayadaecon.com. It is operated by three econ professors who select clips from Seinfeld to illustrate economic concepts like price ceilings, moral hazard, cost-benefit analysis, game theory, arbitrage, etc. Some examples: The Bottle Deposit episode, where Newman and Kramer scheme to take bottles from New York, where the deposit is 5 cents, to Michigan, where the...
Victor Hugo would write naked and tell his valet to hide his clothes so that...– What we can learn from procrastination : The New Yorker (via Instapaper) Great article explaining different schools of thought on procrastination. Those described are: ignorance - if we act against our own interests, it must be because we don’t know what’s right the planning fallacy - people...
237 reasons people have sex
A friend of mine is taking a sex class at Harvard. She told me about a study they read that found there are 237 reasons that people have sex. It was written up in the NYTimes a few years back. Per the abstract of the study, the first part used a nomination procedure to identify “237 expressed reasons for having sex, ranging from the mundane (e.g., ‘I wanted to experience physical...
San Francisco Bans Happy Meal →
An ordinance was just passed in San Francisco that requires meals to meet certain nutritional guidelines if restaurants want to include a toy with purchase. On a similar note, Yale researchers just released a report on fast food nutrition and marketing. Some interesting findings were only 12 of 3,039 kids’ meal combinations meet the researchers’ nutrition criteria for preschoolers ...
but the real question is, would you WANT to live...
Can we actually live forever? I’d always figured that, given historical increases in life expectancy over time, it likely would not be the case. But then I watched this TED Talk by Aubrey de Grey. He’s a British researcher on aging who claims he has drawn a roadmap to defeat biological aging. He believes we can identify what causes human tissue to age and design remedies for...
best thing i read today: Inside the Minds of... →
A super interesting article I finally got to today. It provides some examples of the consciousness of animals. Most fascinating anecdote was how Kanzi, a 29 year old male bonobo, knows 384 words, can build thoughts and sentences, and when he tried kale, he named it “slow lettuce” because it takes longer to chew than regular lettuce.
This is kind of funny. Throughout the midterm election campaign, Obama made a joke about Republicans “standing, watching us, sippin’ on a slurpee” while Democrats did all the work for the country. He later joked in a press-conference about Republicans and Democrats meeting for a “Slurpee Summit,” saying “they’re delicious drinks.” Now 7-Eleven is...