economics

Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that ‘the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine.’

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Although parents often try not to favor one child, we examine whether specific environmental factors might bias parents to favor children of one sex over the other. […] a series of experiments show that poor economic conditions favor resource allocations to daughters over sons.

{ Journal of Consumer Research | PDF }

Revisiting reputation: How past actions matter

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If you sold every share of every company in the U.S. and used the money to buy up all the factories, machines and inventory, you’d have some cash left over. That, in a nutshell, is the math behind a bear case on equities that says prices have outrun reality.

The concept is embodied in a measure known as the Q ratio developed by James Tobin, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Yale University who died in 2002. According to Tobin’s Q, equities in the U.S. are valued about 10 percent above the cost of replacing their underlying assets — higher than any time other than the Internet bubble and the 1929 peak.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

(they have three microwaves, so their food will always be ready at the same time)

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The future is always stranger than we expect: mobile phones and the Internet, not flying cars. […]

“We’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big.” […]

The dirty secret of the trade is that the bottom three-quarters of venture firms didn’t beat the Nasdaq for the past five years. […] The truth is that most V.C.s subsist entirely on fees, which they compound by raising a new fund every three years. Returns are kept hidden by nondisclosure agreements, and so V.C.s routinely overstate them, both to encourage investment and to attract entrepreneurs. […]

“We live in a financial age, not a technological age.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

‘When I look at things, I always see the space they occupy. I always want the space to reappear, to make a comeback, because it’s lost space when there’s something in it.’ –Warhol

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Of the total materials that flow through the U.S.’s production and distribution processes every day, 99% will be waste within six months. Half of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown out, two thirds of that before it even reaches the point of consumption. In a real, material sense, capitalism doesn’t produce goods nearly so much as it produces trash.

{ The New Inquiry | Continue reading }

Have you monbreamstone? No. Or Hellfeuersteyn? No. Or Van Diemen’s coral pearl? No.

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An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply. […]

The industry has long maintained that because fracking occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers, the drilling chemicals that are injected to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there pose no risk. In this study, the researchers note that the contamination may have stemmed from a lack of integrity in the drill wells and not from the actual fracking process far below. The industry criticized the new study, saying that it provided no proof that the chemical came from a nearby well.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Damn your yellow stick. Where are we going?

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Marketers often seek to minimize or eliminate interruptions when they deliver persuasive messages in an attempt to increase consumers’ attention and processing of those messages. However, in five studies conducted across different experimental contexts and different content domains, the current research reveals that interruptions that temporarily disrupt a persuasive message can increase consumers’ processing of that message. As a result, consumers can be more persuaded by interrupted messages than they would be by the exact same messages delivered uninterrupted.

{ Journal of Consumer Research/Stanford Business | Continue reading }

art { Teppei Kaneuji, Ghost in the Liquid Room (lenticular) #9, 2014 }

‘The dead govern the living.’ –Auguste Comte

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Aircraft are an interesting set of examples because they’re so well studied and corrected. We don’t spend time correcting hospital mistakes with nearly the speed and detail we do aircraft accidents, for example.

It used to be that airliners broke up in the sky because of small cracks in the window frames. So we fixed that. It used to be that aircraft crashed because of outward opening doors. So we fixed that. Aircraft used to fall out of the sky from urine corrosion, so we fixed that with encapsulated plastic lavatories. […] And so we add more rules, like requiring two people in the cockpit from now on. Who knows what the mental capacity is of the flight attendant that’s now allowed in there with one pilot, or what their motives are. At some point, if we wait long enough, a flight attendant is going to take over an airplane having only to incapacitate one, not two, pilots. And so we’ll add more rules about the type of flight attendant allowed in the cockpit and on and on.

There’s a wonderful story of the five whys.

The Lincoln Memorial stonework was being damaged. Why? By cleaning spray eroding it. Why? Because it’s used to clean bird poop. So they tried killing the birds. Didn’t work. Why are the birds there? To eat insects. Let’s kill the insects! Didn’t work. Why are the insects there? Because the lights are on after dusk. So let’s just turn the lights off. That works.

{ Steve Coast | Continue reading }

Just throw your hands up in the air

…the artists all signed some sort of “declaration” one by one. I don’t know what the document said—it was probably just a blank piece of paper…

{ Gawker | Continue reading }

The letter R is also just a loop with two legs. Hence, the letters A and R are homeomorphic.

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Snapchat, the photo-messaging app raising cash at a $15 billion valuation, probably isn’t actually worth more than Clorox or Campbell Soup. So where did investors come up with that enormous headline number?

Here’s the secret to how Silicon Valley calculates the value of its hottest companies: The numbers are sort of made-up. For the most mature startups, investors agree to grant higher valuations, which help the companies with recruitment and building credibility, in exchange for guarantees that they’ll get their money back first if the company goes public or sells. They can also negotiate to receive additional free shares if a subsequent round’s valuation is less favorable. Interviews with more than a dozen founders, venture capitalists, and the attorneys who draw up investment contracts reveal the most common financial provisions used in private-market technology deals today. […]

Billion-dollar companies join a club of “unicorns,” a term used to explain how rare they are. But there are more than 50 of them now. There’s a new buzzword, “decacorn,” for those over $10 billion, which includes Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Uber. It’s a made-up word based on a creature that doesn’t exist.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Until then, BTFATH

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I remember how artists in the ’80s made the emphatic point that under no circumstances would they be represented in art fairs.

(Laughter around the table)

They thought that it was in poor taste. That is how it was in the beginning. And has been quite astonishing to see how things have turned around—in 30 years.

{ Stefan Stux/Artnet | Continue reading }

People always ask me who had the funniest name in ancient Rome. It was Pliny the Elder.

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{ Chart of short-term and long-term interest rates all the way back to 3000 B.C., presented by Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist. Shakespeare may have missed a historic opportunity in the bond market. | WSJ | full story }

Lovely is the feeling now I won’t be complanin’ (ooh ooh)

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The majority of music people listen to in their daily lives includes lyrics. This research documents how more repetitive songs lyrically are processed more fluently and thus adopted more broadly and quickly in the marketplace.

{ Journal of Consumer Psychology | Continue reading }