Thursday , July 9 2020
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Tag Archives: Current Affairs

Megan McArdle on Patrick Collison on China

By the time someone gets to be chief executive of a successful firm, they have generally been trained out of saying anything surprising in public. So I was positively astonished Monday when I saw Patrick Collison, the CEO of payments firm Stripe, tweet that “As a US business (and tech) community I think we should be significantly clearer about our horror at, and opposition to, the atrocities being committed by the Chinese government against its own people.” On first read, that...

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Tales from Trinidad barter markets in everything

One of my favorite countries, this is from the newspaper: DESPERATE to get his taxi badge, a man bought a $500 used typewriter and donated it to the Licensing Office… The seller, who asked not to be named, wrote: “So funny story. I had a typewriter for sale on Facebook marketplace for some time. I get this call from a young man. We chat for a bit. He says he’s down at licensing office. He’s coming right now. “When he arrives he gives me the story. Since December he’s been trying to get...

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My Conversation with Annie Duke

Here is the transcript and audio, here is the opening summary: Annie joined Tyler to explore how payoffs aren’t always monetary, the benefits and costs of probabilistic thinking, the “magical thinking” behind why people buy fire insurance but usually don’t get prenups, the psychology behind betting on shark migrations, how her most famous linguistics paper took on Steven Pinker, how public policy would change if only the top 500 poker players voted, why she wasn’t surprised to lose Celebrity...

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China update of the day

Chinese authorities are carrying out forced sterilisations of women in an apparent campaign to curb the growth of ethnic minority populations in the western Xinjiang region, according to research published on Monday. The report, based on a combination of official regional data, policy documents and interviews with ethnic minority women, has prompted an international group of lawmakers to call for a United Nations investigation into China’s policies in the region. The move is likely to enrage...

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UK fact of the day

#COVID19 mortality in UK hospital patients has been falling steadily from >6% in March to ~1% now, with similar trends elsewhere. The reasons behind this pattern remain unclear, but #COVID19 Infection Fatality Rates will likely have to be revised downward. https://tinyurl.com/ybnlmkdz That is from Francis Balloux.  And again here is the source link.  And please do not conclude the virus is becoming less dangerous, that is not a necessary implication of the above!  Alternative explanations...

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The Long-Term Belief-Scarring Effects of COVID-19

The largest economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic could arise from changes in behavior long after the immediate health crisis is resolved. A potential source of such a long-lived change is scarring of beliefs, a persistent change in the perceived probability of an extreme, negative shock in the future. We show how to quantify the extent of such belief changes and determine their impact on future economic outcomes. We find that the long-run costs for the U.S. economy from this channel is many...

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We are living in a (very temporary) dining paradise

Of course current arrangements are terrible for restaurants, and pretty soon they will be bad for your dining too, as more restaurants close up for good.  But right now we live in a window of opportunity. The owner and/or best chef is in the restaurant at a higher rate than usual — where else can he or she go? Menus have been slimmed down, so there are fewer dishes, which means fresher ingredients and less delegation of cooking tasks. Most menus have new dishes, not otherwise available,...

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Why Americans Are Having an Emotional Reaction to Masks

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, easier read through than excerpted, but here is one bit: When no one can see our countenances, we may behave differently. One study found that children wearing Halloween masks were more likely to break the rules and take more candy. The anonymity conferred by masks may be making it easier for protestors to knock down so many statues. And indeed, people have long used masks to achieve a kind of plausible deniability. At Carnival festivities...

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Why the sudden uptick in cases?

From Nate Silver, I am smushing together his tweet storm: Something to think about: re-openings have been occurring gradually since late April in different states/counties. If you had a metric averaging out how open different states are, it would likely show a fairly linear pattern. So why is there a nonlinear increase in cases now? Obviously some of that gets to the nature of exponential growth. An R of 1.3 isn’t *that* different than an R of 1.1, but played out over a few weeks, it...

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Lead headline and sub-header for The New York Times

“Overlooked No More: Valerie Solanas, Radical Feminist Who Shot Andy Warhol She made daring arguments in “SCUM Manifesto,” her case for a world without men. But her legacy as a writer and thinker was overshadowed by one violent act.” The piece itself notes she argued for the wholesale extermination of men, that other people treated it as satire, but she defended its seriousness.  And of course she shot and tried to kill Warhol and came very close to succeeding.  The nature of her...

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