Assorted Links (5/24/2011)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

On path to riches, no sign of fluffy majors

“Over a lifetime, the earnings of workers who have majored in engineering, computer science or business are as much as 50 percent higher than the earnings of those who major in the humanities, the arts, education and psychology.”

Aaron Koblin: Artfully visualizing our humanity

“TED Talks Artist Aaron Koblin takes vast amounts of data — and at times vast numbers of people — and weaves them into stunning visualizations.”

Ronald McKinnon: The Return of Stagflation

“Stanford economist Ronald McKinnon writes in The Wall Street Journal that the U.S. economy enters the summer of 2011 facing an ugly combination of inflation and high unemployment. Blame the Federal Reserve and its near zero interest-rate policy.”

Religious Alternatives to the Public Sector — The American Magazine

“As fiscal pressures mean the public sector must contract, organized religious groups are stepping into the void.”

Obama’s Regulators Are Now Punishing Thought Crime

“The law allows companies to shift production for economic reasons, but not to retaliate for past strikes or other worker actions. For us, it’s a motive analysis.”

Federal Reserve Posters (1920′s)

“These cool posters below come from the San Francisco Fed archive, courtesy of NY Fed’s blog Liberty Street Economics.”

Stephens: An Anti-Israel President

“The president’s peace proposal is a formula for war.”

Analysis finds small number of UT faculty teach most students

“Twenty percent of University of Texas at Austin professors instruct most of the school’s students, while the least-productive fifth of the faculty carry only 2 percent of the university’s teaching load…”

The Economic Part of Our Brains

“Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have conclusively identified a part of the brain that’s necessary for making everyday decisions about value. Previous magnetic imaging studies suggested that the ventromedial frontal… cortex, or VMF, plays an evaluative role during decision-making.”

On Green Energy

“I recently studied the question of whether or not the whole “green energy leads to green jobs” paradigm has any merit to it, by studying how things have worked out in Europe, where it has been tested extensively. In this article, I focus on Spain (I’ve previously covered Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom).”

The Debt Limit Smackdown: Chicken Versus Rope-a-Dope

“If you were heading into a complex and lengthy negotiation would you put your key lieutenants on national television to declare how totally screwed you would be if the other side didn’t give you exactly what you wanted right now with no strings attached?”

The Lost Decade for the S&P 500

“Here is a new update of a chart that illustrates the total return performance of the S&P 500 since the Tech Bubble closing high on March 24, 2000. The chart shows the value of $1000 invested in the index, including dividends, but excluding any taxes or fees, as of May 20th. I’ve also included the real value using the Consumer Price Index for the inflation adjustment.”

High Taxes and Slow Growth Strangle California

“In 1967, five years after California became the most populous state, novelist Wallace Stegner said that California – energetic, innovative, hedonistic – was America, “only more so.” Today, this state’s budget crisis is like the nation’s, only more so. Bob Dutton is an island of calm in the eye of the storm – which should agitate Gov. Jerry Brown.”

The End of the Book? — The American Magazine

“Amazon, by far the largest bookseller in the country, reported on May 19 that it is now selling more books in its electronic Kindle format than in the old paper-and-ink format. That is remarkable, considering that the Kindle has only been around for four years. E-books now account for 14 percent of all book sales in this country and are increasing far faster than overall book sales. E-book sales are up 146 percent over last year, while hardback sales increased 6 percent …”

Alligators, Moats, and Other Such Nonsense

“President Obama gave what was billed as an important speech on immigration last week near the border in El Paso, Texas. Unfortunately, it was one of the most demagogic moments in recent presidential history. Nearly everything Obama said was either factually incorrect or deliberately misleading.”

It’s the End of the World As We Know It. Wait. No It Isn’t.

“We’re still here.”

Much Ado About Nothing

“The president laid claim to “a new chapter in American diplomacy,” which he described as “shifting our foreign policy after a decade of war.” But the vision he now endorses for the universality of American values has actually been the basis for our foreign policy in the Middle East for several administrations…”

NOVA | Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine

This program chronicles how a team of aviation experts replicated various accomplishments of Orville and Wilbur Wright, ranging from constructing a copy of their original glider to building a replica of their propeller-driven 1911 Model B. I was surprised to learn that the Wright brothers initially “monetized” their invention by charging admission to air shows staged by their company!