Best of the Best:
The World’s Ball [The New York Times]
The 1970 World Cup was broadcast by satellite in both Europe and the Americas, and the Telstar Durlast was designed to be television friendly. The enduring black-and-white pattern was said to improve visibility on black-and-white sets.
Have Brazilians Lost Their Love of Soccer? [Brendan Greeley on Bloomberg Businessweek]
Wesley is a family friend, taking care of me while I’m in São Paulo for a two-day layover before heading north to Fortaleza to watch some soccer. In Paulinia, where he lives, I ask where the Brazilian flags are. He points down his street and says that in any other World Cup year, you’d see flags on every house. You see them this year, but isolated: two or three per apartment tower. This doesn’t mean that Brazilians don’t care about the cup. It does mean that the way they care about the cup is complicated…In the car, he tells me that Paulinia has an American football team—pigskin and helmets and pads, that kind of football—and says that pigskin football is Brazil’s fastest-growing sport. I ask why, and he explains that the soccer leagues in Brazil are frustratingly corrupt. He’s fed up with corruption in general.
An Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is out of control and requires massive resources from governments and aid agencies to prevent it from spreading further, medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières said on Monday. The death toll has hit 337 since February, the U.N. World Health Organisation said last week, making it the deadliest outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976.
L. Rock Hubbard [Nathan Rabin on Slate]
But even people morbidly obsessed with Hubbard might not realize that before John Travolta donned platform boots to cackle maniacally at the foolishness of puny man-animals in the film version of Battlefield Earth, the book had been adapted into an album written by Hubbard called Space Jazz. Space Jazz wasn’t the only album masterminded by Hubbard in the final years of his life, as the eccentric guru boogied his way toward death. Collectively, these albums offer a fascinating glimpse into both Hubbard’s psyche and rampant egomania.
Paper or Power: Nothing Cut and Dried About Hand Washing in Restrooms [Timothy W. Martin on The Wall Street Journal]
People prefer paper towels by a 4-to-1 margin over hand dryers, according to a 2009 study by industry trade publication Facility Cleaning Decisions. Paper towels, a $2.5 billion industry, still exist by themselves in 85% of the nation’s 30 million, nonresidential bathrooms…Research findings on the most effective way to dry hands is so far a bit wishy-washy. A Mayo Clinic publication, with a study done by a trio of researchers including a former Kimberly-Clark consultant, weighed in on the debate in 2012, declaring that “paper towels are superior” from a hygiene standpoint, because dryers weren’t as effective at wiping bacteria off the hands. But this year, University at Buffalo researchers, using blow torches and cotton swabs to collect bacteria samples, declared high-speed hand dryers more hygienic. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention take no position.
Ohio’s Measles Outbreak Prompts Amish to Get Vaccinated [Sarah Jane Tribble on Kaiser Health News via Governing Magazine]
The largest outbreak of measles in recent U.S. history is underway. Ohio has the majority of these cases – 341 confirmed and eight hospitalizations. The virus has spread quickly among the largely unvaccinated Amish communities in the center of the state.
The demographics and politics of gun-owning households [Rich Morin on FactTank on Pew Research Center]
The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%).
Demographics: Prime and Near-Prime Population and Labor Force [Bill McBride on Calculated Risk]
The prime working age labor force grew even quicker than the population in the ’70s and ’80s due the increase in participation of women. In fact, the prime working age labor force was increasing 3%+ per year in the ’80s! So when compare economic growth to the ’70s, ’80, or 90’s we have to remember this difference in demographics (the ’60s saw solid economic growth as near-prime age groups increased)…As Bruegel notes, the working age population in the US is expected to grow over the next few decades – so the US has much better demographics than Europe, China or Japan (not included). The key points are: 1) A slowdown in the US was expected this decade just based on demographics (the housing bust, financial crisis were piled on top of weak demographics). 2) The prime working age population in the US will start growing again soon.
Four myths about the Great War of 1914-1918 [Mark Harrison, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick via VOX.EU]
It is true that Germany imported 20‐25% of calories for human consumption before the war. Wartime imports were limited by an Allied blockade at sea and (via pressure on neutrals) on land. At the same time, German civilians suffered greatly: hunger-related mortality is estimated at around 750,000 (Davis and Engerman 2006: 204). But decisions made in Berlin, not London, did the main damage to German food supplies. The decision to attack Germany’s main food suppliers struck the first blow. In 1913, the German economy was more interlinked with future adversaries than allies. Britain, France, Italy, and Russia accounted for 36% of pre-war German trade. Britain alone provided more German trade than the 12% share of Austria‐Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire combined (Gartzke and Lupu 2012, Kramer 2013). Gerd Hardach (1987) conjectured that the effects of the loss of trade were outweighed by Germany’s war mobilisation. Mobilisation policies damaged food production in several ways (described by Feldman 1966). On the side of resources, mobilisation diverted young men, horses, and chemical fertilisers from agricultural use to the front line. Farmers’ incentives to sell food were weakened when German industry was converted to war production and ceased to supply the countryside with manufactures. Government initiatives to hold down food prices for the consumer did further damage. Because trade supplied at most one quarter of German calories, and German farmers the other three quarters, it is implausible to see the loss of trade as the primary factor. Germany’s own war effort probably did more to undermine food supplies.
How ‘Crazy Negroes’ With Guns Helped Kill Jim Crow [Thaddeus Russell on Reason Magazine] – RW
Although the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were formally committed to nonviolence, when their volunteers showed up in Canton they happily received protection from Chinn and the militia of armed black men he managed. “Every white man in that town knew you didn’t fuck with C.O. Chinn,” remembered a CORE activist. “He’d kick your natural ass.” Consequently, Chinn’s Club Desire offered a safe haven for black performers such as B.B. King, James Brown, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and the Platters; illegal liquor flowed freely in the county; and, unlike their comrades in much of Mississippi, CORE and SNCC activists in Canton were able to register thousands of black voters with virtual impunity from segregationist violence. According to Charles E. Cobb’s revelatory new history of armed self-defense and the civil rights movement, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, Canton and the rest of the South could not have been desegregated without people like C.O. Chinn, who were willing to take the lives of white people and were thus known as “crazy Negroes” or, less delicately, “bad niggers.”
The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring [Elisabeth Rosenthal on The New York Times]
The earliest vaccines were not patented, in part because the law at the time held that natural products could not be so protected. And vaccines like polio were developed through a large infusion of government and foundation funds, not by a company. Even when commercialized by the 1960s, vaccines were made by small specialty manufacturers, instead of big pharmaceutical firms, since producing them involved particular challenges: using live organisms, some of them dangerous. Indeed, huge liability payouts and aggressive mergers had, by the 1990s, meant that more than half of the country’s vaccine makers had closed down. With low retail prices, no one regarded vaccine making as a lucrative business. When he started his pediatric practice in 1982 in San Antonio, Dr. Michael Ozer remembers, he charged $22 for a 2-month well-child checkup, with $8 added on for the polio vaccine and another $8 for the vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. “And I’m sure we were making money on it,” he said. But one by one, various barriers eroded: Drug manufacturers discovered new ways to protect their products, like patenting the manufacturing process. The number of vaccine patent applications rose tenfold in the 1990s to more than 10,000. In 1988, the federal government set up the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, effectively shielding manufacturers and doctors.
Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds [Tamar Levin on The New York Times]
At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.
Soccer Concussions Are More Frequent Than You Think [Eric Chemi on Bloomberg Businessweek]
According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy, more high school soccer players had concussions in 2010 than basketball, baseball, wrestling, and softball players combined. In the CIRP’s report (PDF) for the 2011-12 school year, concussions represented 34 percent of all injuries in boys’ soccer competitions and 30 percent in girls’ soccer. American football, of course, tops the list as the high school sport with the most concussions—but girls’ soccer ranks second. Soccer has seen a 58 percent increase in the number of children suffering concussions over the past decade. Some experts believe that banning headers in youth soccer is one way to limit injuries, because the combination of less-mature brains, weaker neck muscles, and poor heading technique contributes to the damage. While contact between head and ball isn’t directly responsible for most concussions, the long-term accumulation of those small impacts over time could cause problems with the brain, affecting thinking, concentration, and memory. The biggest danger of concussions comes from the act of going up in the air—head first—which leads to such risky situations as hitting another player’s knee.
The Misguided Freakout About Basement-Dwelling Millennials [Derek Thompson on The Atlantic]
[T]he share of 18-to-24-year-olds living at home who aren’t in college has declined since 1986. But the share of college students living “at home” (i.e.: in dorms, often) has increased. So the Millennials-living-in-our-parents meme is almost entirely a result of higher college attendance. That’s crucial to know, because the share of 25- to 29-year-olds with a bachelor degree has grown by almost 50 percent since the early 1980s. More than 84 percent of today’s 27-year-olds spend at least some time in college and now 40 percent have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. More young people going to school means more young people living in dorms, which means more young people “living with their parents,” according to the weird Census. Almost half of young people “living with their parents” are in college, where all campus housing counts as “living with their parents.”
Legal experts dissect the US government’s secret drone memo: a round-up [Alice K. Ross on The Bureau of Investigative Journalism]
On Monday, a US court ordered the publication of a secret memo outlining the government’s legal justification for killing an American citizen, Anwar al Awlaki…A CIA drone strike killed Anwar al Awlaki, along with three others, on September 30 2011. His 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, died in a separate drone strike two weeks later. The US government has said Abdulrahman was not the target of the strike that killed him – so no such document exists for him.
How Gowex CEO Went From Defiant to Disgraced in Five Days [Rodrigo Orihuela and Manuel Baigorri on Bloomberg]
It was 10:37 a.m. on July 1. Jenaro Garcia was preparing for a meeting with Madrid’s mayor aimed at fostering Spain’s entrepreneurial spirit when a message popped up on his phone. A short seller in New York had just released a report saying that Let’s Gowex SA (GOW), the company Garcia founded 15 years ago to offer Internet access via Wi-Fi hotspots, had overstated its revenue almost 10-fold in recent years. Garcia denied the accusations and threatened legal action against the report’s author, Gotham City Research LLC. Gowex employees and its auditor made Batman jokes about Gotham, named after the Caped Crusader’s fictitious burg. And Garcia continued his usual routine, posting on Twitter, “Gooooood morning Madrid!!!! Perfect day for a jog.” Then he said the report was on target. On July 6, Gowex announced that Garcia had been stripped of his powers. The previous day, the board said, Garcia told directors that he took responsibility for falsified financial accounts for at least four years. Gowex would file for creditor protection, putting an end to what had been seen as a rare success story of Spanish entrepreneurship.
Born in 1988? Sorry. [Peter R. Orszag via Bloomberg View]
Many studies have documented the income effect. A typical estimate, from a 2010 study, is that every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate during the year a person enters the workforce reduces his or her wages by 6 percent to 7 percent on average. And the reduction persists, though it diminishes somewhat over time. Even 15 years on, a person’s wages are 2.5 percent lower for every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate that happened when he or she graduated from college. This can make for big differences among members of the same generation who are born just a few years apart. Compare a person born in 1988, who graduated in 2010, when the unemployment rate averaged 9.6 percent with someone born in 1984 who graduated from college in 2006, when the unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent. The person unlucky enough to be born in 1988 had a 30 percent to 35 percent lower wage at graduation. And at their respective 15 year reunions, the 2010 graduate is expected to be earning 12.5 percent less than the 2006 graduate.
These Doctors Are Bowing to a Boy for Doing Something That Could Save Millions of Lives [Matt Connolly on NewsMic] – RW
The boy on the gurney in that powerful photo is 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi, and according to a QQ news story translated by chinaSMACK, he decided to donate his kidneys and liver after suffering from an eventually fatal brain tumor. The operation was performed in June, and doctors bowed to Yaoyi and his mother three times in recognition of his sacrifice.
What Does Your “Relfie” Say About Your Relationship? [Dr.Benjamin Le on The Science of Relationships]
The take home message is that others will assume you are in a good relationship if you post relfies, change your status to “in a relationship with…”, and talk about your relationship on Facebook. In addition, people viewing your profile are pretty accurate in their ratings of your relationship. If you are in a strong relationship, viewers can pick that up from your Facebook profile. However, there is some danger in getting too schmoopie about your relationship on Facebook; although your friends will think your relationship is going well, they will like you less.
Tales From the Friend Zone: REALLY Just Friends? [Dr. Gary Lewandowski on The Science of Relationships]
This demonstrates an important point: being attracted to someone does not mean that the two people will ever hook-up or develop a relationship. Surely, the guys in the study who admit to being attracted to their female friends may simultaneously be more attracted to their current relationship partners as well (“my friend is hot, but my girlfriend is hotter”). Similarly, guys may never pursue a romantic relationship with a female friend either because they know they have no realistic chance, because their female friend already has a relationship, or because she just simply does not see romantic potential with him (i.e., you are staying “just friends”).
Opting Out of Parenthood: How Couples Navigate the Decision to Not Have Children [Dr. Gary Lewandowski on The Science of Relationships]
A couple’s decision to remain childless is clearly one that spouses do not take lightly. Rather, the decision is a deliberative process that unfolds over time. Though many couples quickly reach the decision through mutual agreement to not have children, for other couples the decision is much more complicated and necessitates reconciliation by one partner. Perhaps most importantly, outsiders should view couples who remain voluntarily childless as a partnership that has a strong conviction about remaining childless, largely due to how the partners deeply value their relationship.
Why An African-American Sports Pioneer Remains Obscure [Alan Greenblatt on code switch on NPR] – RW
Alice Coachman Davis never entered the pantheon of breakthrough African-American sports heroes, like Jesse Owens or Wilma Rudolph. But she was a pioneer nonetheless. In 1948, competing as Alice Coachman, she became the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold, breaking the U.S. and Olympic records in the high jump.
I Don’t Want to Be Right [Maria Konnikova on The New Yorker]
Not all false information goes on to become a false belief—that is, a more lasting state of incorrect knowledge—and not all false beliefs are difficult to correct. Take astronomy. If someone asked you to explain the relationship between the Earth and the sun, you might say something wrong: perhaps that the sun rotates around the Earth, rising in the east and setting in the west. A friend who understands astronomy may correct you. It’s no big deal; you simply change your belief. But imagine living in the time of Galileo, when understandings of the Earth-sun relationship were completely different, and when that view was tied closely to ideas of the nature of the world, the self, and religion. What would happen if Galileo tried to correct your belief? The process isn’t nearly as simple. The crucial difference between then and now, of course, is the importance of the misperception. When there’s no immediate threat to our understanding of the world, we change our beliefs. It’s when that change contradicts something we’ve long held as important that problems occur.
This Isn’t a Brain Freeze—Manitoba Wins ‘Slurpee Capital’ Once Again [Julie Steinberg on The Wall Street Journal]
The Manitoba market comprises 52 7-Elevens in all, 43 of them in Winnipeg proper. Manitoba’s locations averaged 8,300 Slurpee sales a month in 2009, according to the most recent figures provided by 7-Eleven, which is a privately held unit of a public company, Tokyo-based Seven & i Holdings Co. The company hasn’t released specific Slurpee sales figures since then. It says other big Slurpee markets include Detroit, Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City…To some Manitobans, nothing beats a nippy winter night like a Slurpee with a nip of alcohol. Mr. Cassidy said some of his buddies “boost” their Slurpees, adding vodka to a Sprite Slurpee or rum to a Coke one. Manitoba’s reign as world Slurpee champion hasn’t gone unchallenged over the years. In 2008, Don Mariotto, the franchisee of a 7-Eleven in Kennewick, Wash., advertised on TV and on radio stations that his store was No. 1 for Slurpee sales in the world between July 2007 and June 2008. He said his slogan was: ‘Move Over, Manitoba, Kennewick is King.; The proclamation received a frosty reception in Winnipeg, where television and radio personalities reported the claim. Manitobans rallied and ultimately prevailed, winning the title that year and each year since. Mr. Mariotto alleges the rules were changed to count the number of cups of Slurpees sold and not the volume, putting his store at a disadvantage. A spokesperson for 7-Eleven said the company stands by the Manitoba victory. Years later, Winnipeg Slurpee aficionados still burst with civic pride over that win. Photographer Kineret Rifkind, who loaded up on Slurpees in 2008 to help defend the crown, now drinks hers out of a one-liter thermos emblazoned with the words “Manitoba Slurpee Capital of the World.”
Despite Exposure of Madoff Fraud, New Ponzi Schemes Emerge [Elizabeth Olson on New York Times Dealbook]
Over the last five years, Mr. Maglich said, he has followed about 500 Ponzi schemes on his site, which includes links to legal documents, including those filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which posts some of them on its website; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and state financial authorities. Such swindles are largely viewed as distasteful cousins in the high-rolling world of securities, but they still rake in amounts that could be envied on Wall Street. In May alone, at least nine newly discovered Ponzi schemes were claimed to involve more than $96 million, said Kathy Bazoian Phelps, a Los Angeles lawyer who keeps a running tally on her blog.
Chinese Hackers Show Humans Are Weakest Security Link [Jordan Robertson on Bloomberg]
Spearphishing, a more targeted version of mass-e-mail phishing attacks, has long been known as a glaring vulnerability. In 2011, RSA Security, a unit of EMC, was hacked that way, exposing a hiring campaign. A Coca-Cola Co. executive opened a spearphishing message in 2012, leading hackers to gain access to internal documents. At Alcoa, about 19 employees received an e-mail purporting to be from a board member, Carlos Ghosn, who is also chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co. An attachment to the message, once opened, unleashed a virus that penetrated Alcoa’s network. While Ghosn wasn’t directly identified in yesterday’s indictment, the document refers to a director with the initials “C.G.” Ghosn was the only board member at the time matching that criteria. Chris Keeffe, a spokesman for Nissan, and Monica Orbe, a spokeswoman for Alcoa, declined to comment. Some of the main targets are personal assistants, who play a central role inside companies and are targeted because they often have access to executives’ calendars, contact lists and e-mail accounts, according to Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Corp.’s Security Response team. The other type of workers targeted most often are public-relations professionals, whose names and e-mail addresses are easy to harvest from public Web pages. They’re also accustomed to hearing from people they don’t already know, Haley said.
Wealthy Somalis Flout Kenyan Law Banning Female Circumcision [Abjata Khalif on Bloomberg]
Halima Abdi charges foreign visitors at least $1,000 for a tour of remote northeastern Kenyan villages that most people wouldn’t dream of making. Her clients are young girls sent by their parents to undergo traditional circumcision. Most of her customers are ethnic Somalis who arrive from countries such as the U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands, Abdi explained in an interview at her cramped one-room office in the suburb of Eastleigh in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Abdi says she’s offered ‘consultancy services’ to hundreds of migrant families from abroad since she began operating in 2000. ‘I have undergone the female cut and I have administered the same to my daughters and their granddaughters too will go through it,’ said Abdi, a 48-year-old mother of five children. ‘These beliefs and values are still present and valued by Somalis in Africa and the developed world.’ While female genital mutilation has been illegal in Kenya since 2011, practitioners like Abdi continue to earn a handsome living from the procedure. The Wagalla Centre for Peace and Human Rights, a Wajir, Kenya-based advocacy group, says the practice has made some circumcisers rich enough to buy four-wheel-drive vehicles, build luxury homes in remote villages and acquire livestock.
Cynk Short Squeeze Blamed by Trader for Costing Him Job [Zeke Faux and Jing Cao on Bloomberg]
A Wall Street trader said Cynk Technology Corp.’s (CYNK) 36,000 percent stock surge cost him his job, and he blames a short squeeze and regulators who didn’t halt the shares before the company’s value shot past $6 billion. Tom Laresca, a market-maker at Buckman Buckman & Reid Inc., said he was among traders who thought they spotted a scam as the shares jumped to $2.25 last month from pennies. He sold it short last week around $6 — which means selling stock you don’t own with a plan to buy it cheaper soon, pocketing the difference. Laresca figured the Securities and Exchange Commission would suspend trading, sending the price toward zero. Cynk has said it’s a social-network service with no revenue and one employee…Instead of falling, the price more than doubled the next day, July 9, starting the squeeze. Market-makers who had sold the shares short got nervous and scrambled to buy them to close their positions, driving the price even higher, Laresca said. The SEC stopped trading two days later, citing concerns about the accuracy of information in the marketplace and “potentially manipulative transactions.” That was too late, Laresca said.
Craft Beer Industry Taps Profits of “Big Beer” [Elaine S. Povich on Stateline]
According to Beer Marketer’s Insights, a trade industry publication, the craft beer industry produces 16 million barrels annually, approximately 7.8 percent of the total beer volume in the U.S. Back in 2008, the crafters produced only 8.9 million barrels for a 4.2 percent share. The craft beer industry is growing 13 percent to 14 percent each year, with a commensurate drop in production by the “big guys” like Anheuser-Busch and Coors, from 177.6 million barrels in 2008 down to 162.7 million in 2013, said Beer Marketer’s vice president Eric Shepard.
The Economics of Fake Degrees [Scott McLemee on Slate]
Last year a dog received his MBA from the American University of London, a non-accredited distance-learning institution. It feels as if I should add ‘not to be confused with the American University in London,’ but getting people to confuse them seems like a pretty basic feature of the whole AUOL marketing strategy. The dog, identified as ‘Peter Smith’ on his diploma, goes by Pete. He was granted his degree on the basis of ‘previous experiential learning,’ along with payment of 4,500 pounds ($7,723). The funds were provided by a BBC news program, which also helped Pete fill out the paperwork. The American University of London required that Pete submit evidence of his qualifications as well as a photograph. The applicant submitted neither, as the BBC website explains, ‘since the qualifications did not exist and the applicant was a dog.’
How Gamblers Get Hot [Jay Caspian Kang on The New Yorker]
Juemin Xu and Nigel Harvey, the study’s authors, took a sampling of 569,915 bets taken on an online sports-gambling site and tracked how previous wins and losses affected the probability of wins in the future. Over all, the winning percentage of the bets was somewhere around forty eight per cent. Xu and Harvey isolated the winners and tracked how they fared in their subsequent bets. In bet two, winners won at a rate of forty-nine per cent. From there, the numbers go haywire. A player who had won two bets in a row won his third bet at a rate of fifty-seven per cent. His fourth bet won sixty-seven percent of the time, his fifth bet seventy-two. The best gamblers in Las Vegas expect to win fifty-five per cent of their bets every year. Seventy-two per cent verges on omniscience. The hot hand, it appears, is real. Losers, unsurprisingly, continued to lose. Of the 190,359 bettors who lost their initial bet, fifty-three per cent lost their next, and those who had enough money left for a third round lost sixty per cent of the time. When unfortunate bettors got to five straight losses, their chance of winning dropped to twenty-three per cent. The losing streaks should be familiar to problem gamblers and can be explained by another well-worn theory called the gambler’s fallacy. If you’ve ever called heads on a coin flip, seen the coin land tails up, and then called heads again because ‘heads is due,’ you’ve been caught up in the gambler’s fallacy. Winning and losing streaks had no correlation with the skill or risk aversion of the gambler. Xu and Harvey examined the over-all payoffs of gamblers across three currencies and found no significant difference between hot-streakers and cold-streakers. What the research did find was that gamblers on streaks—good or bad—acted under the influence of the gambler’s fallacy. Winning bettors began placing more prudent bets because they assumed their luck would soon run out. Losers began placing bets with longer odds because they wanted to win big when their luck finally, inevitably changed.
Here’s What Obama’s ‘Part-Time America’ Really Looks Like [Derek Thompson on The Atlantic]
Three thoughts for the road: 1) Most people working part-time want to work part-time because they’re in school, or they’re raising kids, or they consider themselves mostly retired. Don’t pay attention to anybody who’s using the number of stay-at-home dads and moms to argue that Obamacare is destroying full-time work. 2) Last fall, the Fed produced a useful document explaining that “current levels of part-time work are largely within historical norms, despite increases for selected demographic groups, such as prime-age workers with a high-school degree or less.” 3) If you insist on being a pessimist, here’s a very smart way to express fear about the future of part-time work, also from the Fed. There are some industries, such as hotels, food service, and retail, that have historically had shorter workweeks and more part-time workers. If those sectors continue to grow faster than the overall economy (because other sectors, like government and manufacturing, are shrinking), then we should expect part-time work to remain elevated. Indeed, the relative strength of those industries today is one reason why part-time work hasn’t declined even faster than it has.
Master’s degrees are as common now as bachelor’s degrees were in the ’60s [Libby Nelson on Vox]
The story of the past four decades isn’t just about how master’s degrees became as common now as bachelor’s degrees were in the 1960s. It’s about how the US has redefined which fields need or reward postgraduate study. In 1970, the 15 most popular master’s degrees — which made up 94 percent of all master’s degrees given that year — split up their market share [with] education…dominant, and many of the other master’s degrees were in traditional academic fields. Over the next four decades, they’d lose ground to professional degrees. And slowly but surely, MBAs would take over the world. By the time the class of 1981 donned their master’s hoods, the degrees that would dominate for the next 30 years had established themselves at the top of the heap. Two categories of professionally oriented degrees, health professions (public health, nursing, and similar fields) and public administration and social services (public policy and social work) were gaining. And computer science has made its first appearance. The top 15 degrees don’t change much in the 1980s and 1990s, even as the number of master’s degrees continued to grow. By the class of 2002…[c]omputer science has jumped up, while theology and history are losing ground. Education, once far more popular than business, is now on more or less the same level. The 2000s see the real rise of professional master’s degrees. In 1971, about 64 percent of master’s recipients were getting either a degree in business or a degree that lined up with a specific job (engineer, nurse, librarian, policy wonk). By 2012, about 80 percent were — and business reigned supreme, passing education in 2010.
How a Copyright Dispute Helped Give America Rock ‘n’ Roll [Alex Mayyasi on Priceonomics]
Lobbying by ASCAP helped secure the passage of the 1909 copyright law — the organization also survived an antitrust case in 1937 — but it did not become really lucrative until radio performances became a significant source of revenue. After ASCAP’s share of radio revenue increased from $750,000 to $4.3 million from 1932 to 1939, it doubled the fees it charged to play its copyrighted works in 1940. Radio stations balked; after all, they had hosted bands to play on the air at no charge just years earlier, since it was seen as good publicity and marketing for the performers. In response, a number of radio broadcasters boycotted ASCAP and formed BMI as an alternative. BMI focused on local music — lots of blues, country, and folk — that ASCAP ignored in its focus on LA, New York City, and music it considered highbrow. (To the extent ASCAP represented black musicians, they played genres like jazz that white audiences had already adopted, according to Garofalo.) Suddenly rhythm and blues music had a national audience that included white listeners, while other local musicians also received a national airing.
The Hippie Hobby Lobby: Eden Foods Says No to Birth Control [Susan Berfield on Bloomberg Businessweek]
Eden Foods calls itself the oldest natural and organic food company in North America. Chances are that if you buy organic food, you’ve bought Eden’s soy milk, beans, or pasta. The company, which started as a food co-op, is owned and run by Michael Potter, a practicing Catholic who similarly doesn’t want to provide birth control to his employees. In fact, Potter’s objections go farther than those that took the Hobby Lobby case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Greens refused to cover four kinds of birth control they consider tantamount to abortion, while Potter objects to paying for any form of birth control. Eden Foods filed a lawsuit last year, seeking exemption on religious grounds, and lost. Following the Supreme Court’s decision on June 30, Eden’s case is being reconsidered.
Librarians Lack LeBron’s Pull as Miami Arena Deal Precedes Cuts [Toluse Olorunnipa on Bloomberg]
Last month, Miami politicians approved a $19 million subsidy for the professional basketball arena. Six weeks later, they turned to a grimmer task: deciding how many police and librarians to fire.
Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter [Caroline Moss on Business Insider]
The tweet was still being retweeted, hitting close to 16,000 around July Fourth. And when Scott thought it couldn’t get anymore bizarre — being accused of plagiarizing his own joke was surely the strangest thing that could happen — someone pointed out that YouTube celebrity Tyler Oakley was a fan of the joke. But Oakley had posted the screengrab of the tweet to his Facebook and blacked out Scott’s handle. In fact, the only credit Oakley gives is to himself and his Tumblr page. With 1.6 million fans on Facebook, Oakley cheats Scott out of the small fame and glory he would have had from having his name attached to his joke in this particular situation.
Netflix’s 50 Million Subscribers Face a Flood of New Shows [Ashlee Vance on Bloomberg Businessweek]
Netflix has spent more and risked more to become a real competitor to HBO (TWX) and Showtime (CBS) in programming while maintaining a technology edge over everyone. When Netflix first set out on this strategy, it was easy to predict a bleak future in which the company would spend itself to death buying shows that no one watched. Netflix took a huge risk, although hindsight and the rising subscriber numbers are making it harder to remember just how gutsy the move was.
Why The Last Five Years Of Your Life Have Disappeared [Ron Friedman on Fast Company]
Studies show that people who feel “time-rich” tend to be happier and more fulfilled than those of us who constantly feel rushed. They experience fewer headaches and upset stomachs, and regularly get better quality sleep. And it’s not just people who are time-rich and financially successful. Studies show that time affluence is independent of income. Feeling less pressured promotes a happier existence, regardless of how much you earn.
Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense [Derek Thompson on The Atlantic]
Forty-two percent of Millennials think socialism is preferable to capitalism, but only 16 percent of Millennials could accurately define socialism in the survey.
How Advanced Socialbots Have Infiltrated Twitter [MIT Technology Review]
The team also teased apart the data to find out what factors contributed to the success of the bots. Unsurprisingly, activity level is important and the more active bots achieved greater popularity in their social networks. That’s expected since more active bots are more likely to be seen by others (although they are also more likely to be detected by Twitter’s defense mechanisms). More surprisingly, the socialbots that generated synthetic tweets (rather than just reposting) performed better too. That suggests that Twitter users are unable to distinguish between posts generated by humans and by bots. “This is possibly because a large fraction of tweets in Twitter are written in an informal, grammatically incoherent style, so that even simple statistical models can produce tweets with quality similar to those posted by humans in Twitter,” suggest Freitas and co. The groups that the socialbots were set up to follow also had a major effect. The group of socially connected software developers produced the fewest followers while the group of randomly chosen software developers generated the highest number of them.
It’s Very Difficult for Patients to Compare Hospital Prices [Kaiser Health News on Governing Magazine]
Seattle-area hospitals, while insisting that charges are largely meaningless because they’re not what insurers or most patients end up paying, were nevertheless quick to provide explanations when their own charges were high or low. Swedish, pointing to its destination Heart & Vascular Institute, says its average charges, often the highest in the area, reflect the high numbers of complicated cases it handles. Virginia Mason, on the other hand, says its low charges reflect a commitment to eliminating unnecessary tests and procedures, inefficient use of staff and sloppy supply ordering.
Curiously Strong Remains:
- In Asia, 1,600 Papier-Mâché Pandas Bring Pandemonium [Lara Day on The Wall Street Journal]
- How Americans Spend Their Day: Less Work, More Sleep And TV [BLS via Zero Hedge]
- Why Are Some Countries Good at Soccer? [Alex Mayyasi on Priceonomics]
- Earth may have underground ‘ocean’ three times that on surface [Melissa Davey on The Guardian]
- Tearful Flight of Iraqi Deserter Shows Challenge for Routed Army [Mariam Fam on Bloomberg]
- The Medicaid Black Hole That Costs Taxpayers Billions [John Tozzi on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- John Kerry snubbed by Egypt’s heavy jail sentences for al-Jazeera journalists [Simon Tisdall on The Guardian]
- Sticky-Fingered Missionary Clarifies Bank Fraud
- The Michael Bay Review Graph Seems To Show A Distinct Trend [Vince Mancini on FilmDrunk]
- A Guy Got Busted Trying To Recruit Porn Stars At A County Fair [Vince Mancini on FilmDrunk]
- Terminator’s Trench Rehab Drives L.A. Land Prices Crazy [John Gittelsohn and Alan Ohnsman on Bloomberg]
- Alien Abductees Over the Moon To Find a Close-Encounter Group [Matthew Dalton on The Wall Street Journal]
- The Pocket Guide To Understanding The Different Schools Of Economics [Ha-Joon Chang via Zero Hedge]
- Financing Jihad: Why ISIL Is a Lot Richer Than Al-Qaeda [Glen Carey, Mahmoud Habboush and Gregory Viscusi on Bloomberg]
- Fastest-Growing Metro Area in U.S. Has No Crime or Kids [Toluse Olorunnipa on Bloomberg]
- Google Just Made Big Data Expertise Much Tougher to Fake [Ashlee Vance on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- China Builds Its Own Manhattan — Except It’s a Ghost Town [Bloomberg]
- How to Beat Inflation: Skip Kids, Cars, Getting Old [Ben Steverman on Bloomberg]
- Companies Choose Profits Over Productivity [Matthew Philips and Peter Coy on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Barclays Not Smart [Matt Levine on Bloomberg Views]
- “I Was Terrified:” The World’s Tallest Waterslide’s Engineer Fesses Up [Kate Knibbs on Gizmodo]
- Airplane drops fish bombs to repopulate lake [Casey Chan on Sploid on Gizmodo]
- Accidental Orgasms [Rena Shaikh-Lesko on The Scientist]
- John Cleese Wrote This Amazing Letter To A 14-Year-Old Monty Python Fan [Vince Mancini on FilmDrunk]
- ‘Tammy’ Is A Preachy, Family-Friendly, Feel-Good Movie About Self-Confidence: Brace Yourself [Heather Dockray on FilmDrunk]
- Someone Finally Called Out Steven Spielberg For Being A Dinosaur-Killing Monster [Josh Kurp on Uproxx]
- UPDATED: Cop Shoots 17-Year-Old Boy Who Answers Door, Nothing Else Happens GBI Says “Case File” Still Open [Ed Krayewski on Reason]
- Boogie Nights gave Burt Reynolds a comeback that didn’t stick [Scott Tobias on The Dissolve]
- Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is ‘Trade Secret’ [Justin Elliot on ProPublica via TPM]
- How Tourette’s-afflicted Tim Howard went from international ridicule to World Cup history [Terrence McCoy on The Washington Post]
- The Sorry State of Goalkeeping in Brazil: Flashy Saves Mask Major Technical Gaffes; How Ochoa Invited Disaster [Joshua Robinson on The Wall Street Journal]
- Obamacare Premiums Are Going Up—Here’s Why [John Tozzi on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Who Turned Out the Lights? The Coming Mega Sun Storm [Stephanie Stoughton on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Pay for State Lawmakers Varies Widely [Jake Grovum on Stateline]
- In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are [Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani on The Washington Post]
- Tesla Eager to Study Stolen Model S Split in Fiery Crash [Alan Ohnsman on Bloomberg]
- The Summer’s Most Unread Book Is… [Jordan Ellenberg on The Wall Street Journal]
- Demographics and Behavior [Bill McBride on Calculated Risk]
- “This Is The Worst Of All Possible Worlds,” The Fed “Is Borrowing Returns From The Future” [Zero Hedge]
- The Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Some Canadian Competition [Matthew Phillips on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- The Geographic Legacy of ‘Seinfeld’ [Eric Jaffe on CityLab]
- How A Lucky Run In Vegas Saved FedEx [Priceonomics]
- Fewer People Are Quitting Their Jobs, And Why That’s Not Good [Kathleen Madigan on The Wall Street Journal]
- Proof Investors Love Tech Companies That Skimp on R&D [Ashlee Vance on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Reagan-Era Weapons Hinder India Army as Modi Strives to Stem Decay [Andrew MacAskill and Bibhudatta Pradhan on Bloomberg]
- Discouraged Workers: Economists Puzzle Over Labor Force Dropouts [Victoria Stillwell on Bloomberg QuickTake]
- “Profitless” Amazon Myth Lives On Thanks To Lazy Financial Media [Peridot Capital Management]
- How San Francisco Is Using Technology to Measure Neighborhood Sustainability [Jason Shueh on Governing Magazine]
- Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn’t compete [Giles Parkinson on The Guardian]
- A Fourth of July inflation bugaboo [Ryan Chittum on Columbia Journalism Review]
- California Doctors Are Getting Rich from Medicare [Lisa Aliferis, April Dembosky and Lisa Pickoff-White on Kaiser Health News via Governing Magazine]
- Texas Is Dangerous for Walkers [Cathaleen Qiao Chen on The Texas Tribune via Governing Magazine]
- “Hang in There!” –Arthur Schopenhauer [Mark O’Connell on Slate]
- Poor man’s polar vortex to make shocking summer return in eastern U.S. next week [Jason Samenow on The Washington Post]
- Is the U.S. as Corrupt as the Third World? [Charles Kenny on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science [Belle Beth Cooper on Huffington Post]
- 4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer [Mark Wilson on FastCoDesign]
- Great Lakes Around the World [Ruth Styles on The Wall Street Journal]
- As tech millionaires multiply, wealth advisers struggle to connect [David Randall on Reuters]
- Diamond crushed to Saturn’s extremes [James Morgan on BBC News]
- Disliking Congress, as a Whole And as Individuals [Harry Enten on FiveThirtyEight]
- 25 Years After Communism, Eyesores Spur Landmark Debate [Dalia Fahmy on Bloomberg]
- Why Are Europe’s Voters So Angry? It Has Nothing to Do With EU [Carol Matlack on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- For Libertarian Utopia, Float Away on ‘Startup’ Nation [Edward Robinson on Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine]
- Chris Christie pension video returns to YouTube, sans The Rock [Brent Johnson on Newark Star-Ledger]
- 7 Indicted in $50 Million Pump-and-Dump Scheme [Stephanie Clifford on New York Times Dealbook]
- Which disease is most likely to kill you across the planet? [Salon via The Big Picture]
- Low-hanging pants now a crime in Ocala, punishable by jail time, $500 fine [Susan Latham Carr on Ocala StarBanner]
- A Former Comcast Employee Explains That Horrifying Customer Service Call [Jordan Weismann on Slate]
- Gay Marriage Stirs Backlash as Businesses Assert Religion [Greg Stohr on Bloomberg]
- How to Get Ahead by Speaking Vaguely [Joel Stein on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Emanuel Fights Sagging Chicago Polls With CEO Donations [John McCormick, Tim Jones and Elizabeth Campbell on Bloomberg]
- Wives Hide HIV as Stigma Undermines Progress on AIDS [Jason Gale on Bloomberg]
- Yo, One-Word Messaging App, Is Valued at Up to $10 Million [William Alden on New York Times Dealbook]
- Why Seven Hours of Sleep Might Be Better Than Eight [Sumathi Reddy on The Wall Street Journal]
- Self-Driving Cars Will Mean More Traffic [Joshua Brustein on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- King County’s Wellness Plan Beats the Odds [Christine Vestal on Stateline]
- Redesigning Mary Meeker’s Ugly Internet Slideshow [Belinda Lanks on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Spies, Cash, and Fear: Inside Christian Money Guru Dave Ramsey’s Social Media Witch Hunt [Matthew Paul Turner on The Daily Beast]
- South and West Draw Highest Share of Newcomers [Tim Henderson on Stateline]
- Is Silicon Valley the Future of Finance? [Kevin Roose on New York Magazine]
- Chinese Officials Seal Off ‘Plague’ City, Puzzling US Experts [Rachel Rettner on Live Science via Yahoo News!]
- Sierra Leone’s chief Ebola doctor contracts the virus [Umaru Fofana and Emma Farge on Reuters]
- Scientists’ Cheat Sheet for Improving Global Food Production [Christina Larson on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Why the ‘Sucker List’ of Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street, Won’t Be Released to ‘Inside Edition’ [Susan Antilla on New York Times Dealbook]
- Preserving Online Accounts After Death [Jenni Bergal on Stateline]
- It’s Time to Split Up Microsoft [Ben Thompson on Stratechery]
- How Robots Are Getting Smarter [Georgia Wells on The Wall Street Journal]
- Beyond Congestion Pricing: Reducing Traffic Problems by Changing People’s Commuting Habits [Tod Newcombe on Governing Magazine]
- Mayfly Swarm Wreaks Havoc in Upper Midwest [Andrea Gallo on The Wall Street Journal]
- Chinese Social Media Lose 7 Percent of Visitors During Crackdown [Dexter Roberts on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- China’s Next Great Water Project Uproots More Than 330,000 [Christina Larson on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Xiaomi Unveils a Fresh Chapter in Its Plan to Conquer the World [Brad Stone on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- How Jon Stewart Made It Okay to Care About Palestinian Suffering [Dan Obeidallah on The Daily Beast]
- The Library of Congress Wants to Destroy Your Old CDs (for Science) [Adrienne LaFrance on The Atlantic]
- Bezos Alarms Amazon Investors With Spending Pace as Loss Widens [Adam Satariano on Bloomberg]
- Subway Inn to Close After 77 Years in Midtown Manhattan [Jonathan LaMantia on Bloomberg]
- Ebola Orphans Flee Sierra Leone Farms as Cocoa and Rice Rot [Silas Gbandia on Bloomberg]
- Five Retail Rules Flagrantly Violated by the Apple Store [Belinda Lanks on Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Inside the White House’s decision to free Bergdahl [Steve Holland and Warren Strobel on Reuters]
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