Assorted Links (1/4/2012)

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

Dave Barry’s 2011 Year in Review

Dave Barry’s “Year in Review” columns are quite good – the “2011 Year in Review” is no exception…

The Hidden Dangers of the “Living Wage”

Besides being a Constitutional scholar, NYU law professor Richard Epstein is also a very capable labor economist…

Rent Control Hits the Supreme Court

NYU law professor Richard Epstein, who is renowned for his scholarship on the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, discusses an upcoming Supreme Court case which presents “…a serious constitutional challenge to rent-control and stabilization laws” in New York City…

Why Public Pensions Are So Rich

“Andrew Biggs and Jason Richwine write in The Wall Street Journal that shifting government workers to 401(k)-style plans would offer greater transparency and keep benefits in line with the private economy.”

Why Placebos Work Wonders

“From Weight Loss to Fertility, New Legitimacy for ‘Fake’ Treatments”

Teen Tells Story on Youtube Before Death

“Watch a video that 18-year-old Ben Breedlove from Austin, Texas posted on YouTube explaining his near-death experiences due to a serious heart condition, only a few days before he passed away on Christmas night.”

Does Airport Security Really Make Us Safer?

“Heaps of federal money, endless bureaucracy, and constant travel delays are the most visible by-products of the Transportation Security Administration. Too bad “increased safety” doesn’t fit on that list.”

M.I.T. Game-Changer: Free Online Education For All

“For Wall Street Occupiers or other decriers of the “social injustice” of college tuition, here’s a curveball bound to scramble your worldview: a totally free college education regardless of your academic performance or background.”

How To Get Smart in 2012

I resolve to follow (at least some of) Walter Russell Mead’s advice given here…

Argentina in December 2001 versus Europe in December 2011

“This month marks the ten-year anniversary of Argentina’s massive sovereign debt default, an event with many lessons for the European sovereign debt crisis of today, though analogies are far from perfect.”

Farnam Street The Challenge Of Causation

“An insightful piece by Jonah Lehrer on the challenge of causation. Despite all of our fancy tools and computers, we’re still trying to figure out how X relates to Y.”

Philadelphia: The Cheesiest Are Robbing the Neediest

“Marian Tasco is a Philadelphia city councilor who voted for DROP, an outrageous pension giveaway that allows the shameless and depraved to retire for one day, collect a six figure retirement payout, and return to work the next morning.”

Deepening Crisis Over Euro Pits Leader Against Leader

Fascinating telling of the sequence of events which led to the European sovereign debt crisis. Quoting from this article, “Europe’s leaders were reluctantly realizing that living with a common currency meant surrendering more of their national independence than they had bargained for.”

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