Assorted Links (12/30/2011)

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

The Perils of Drunk Walking

www.freakonomics.com

Friends don’t let friends drive OR walk drunk. Quoting from this article, “…every mile walked drunk… turns out to be eight times more dangerous than the mile driven drunk. To put it simply, if you need to walk a mile from a party to your home, you’re eight times more likely to die doing that than if you jump behind the wheel and drive your car that same mile.”

Chavez Falls Off The Edge of the World

blogs.the-american-interest.com

“Hugo Chavez has a new theory: that the US has developed a secret technology and is using it to give cancer to left wing Latin American rulers that we don’t like… Bringing the logical acuity and sure grasp of the laws of probability and of cause and effect that he brings to all his policy making, Chavez… has shared his reasoning with the world…”

Are we alone in the universe?

www.washingtonpost.com

“The Fermi Paradox: Is intelligence fatal?”

10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution

www.forbes.com

“You know you’re getting old when you start using the same sort of “kids these days” rants with your children that your parents threw your way long ago…”

Vaclav Havel 1936-2011: Living in truth

www.economist.com

“HAD communists not seized power in his homeland in 1948, Vaclav Havel would have been simply a distinguished Central European intellectual.”

Repo Men

www.nationalreview.com

Very interesting essay on the “poisonous” combination of Wall Street and Washington (hat tip to Cato’s Dan Mitchell for pointing this article out @ http://bit.ly/uBCWX2)…

What ‘Fact Checkers’ Call Lies, I Call Politics

bloomberg.com

“Last year, PolitiFact, a widely cited “fact-checking” project of the Tampa Bay Times, awarded its “Lie of the Year” to Republicans who said that the health-care law President Barack Obama had signed amounted to a “government takeover” of the field. This year, the uncoveted prize has gone to Democrats who said that Republicans had voted to “end Medicare” by voting for Representative Paul Ryan’s budget… PolitiFact often seems unaware that the same facts can be interpreted in different ways, with neither interpretation qualifying as a lie. Here is a different interpretation of its evenhandedness: PolitiFact was wrong last year and this year — in each case injecting a little poison into the political system in the name of cleaning it up.”

Saving the New Year

www.theatlantic.com

The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle explains why we all need to save much more – “…15% of each paycheck into the 401(k) is the bare minimum” – as part of shift away from an unsustainable social model based upon facilitating and promoting consumer debt toward a sustainable social model based upon prudent patterns of spending and consumption…

Where to Save?

www.theatlantic.com

Here’s Megan McArdle’s sequel to her “Saving the New Year” essay in which she provides very sound advice about how to implement one’s savings plan…

The Fed’s Mission Impossible

professional.wsj.com

University of Chicago finance professor John Cochrane provides some excellent insights about “too big to fail” and the unintended consequences of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in this WSJ op-ed.

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