Assorted Links (3/31/2014)

“Tax-and-spend politics has driven Paris to the brink.”

Administration is making up good news about Obamacare

“The administration’s upbeat numbers about Obamacare don’t add up.”

“Leftists have their dearest Das Kapital fantasies confirmed by the theories of a Parisian economist.”

How to Cheat on a Test Using Electronics

This week I am giving midterm exams in my classes at Baylor University. I sincerely hope that nobody tries any of the cheating “strategies” outlined in this wikihow.com posting. Gotta love the “tagline” for this article: “Cheating on a test is never a good idea. You cheat both yourself and your future. However, if you must, at least try to do it right.”

EconTalk: Christy and Emanuel

This episode of EconTalk was one of the best yet. I highly recommend this hourlong podcast for anyone who is interested in getting beyond soundbites pertaining to climate change and actually understanding some of the science, methodological, and policy-relate issues…

“Is religion good for American society? It depends.”

Mr. Putin’s Revealing Speech

“At the Kremlin, he makes the case for an increasingly aggressive Russia, Peggy Noonan writes.”

The President’s Foreign Policy Paradox

“In The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead writes that Obama’s global wish list can’t be achieved while decreasing commitments overseas.”

Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray

“Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ (again). Charles Murray offers some tips on how to live to the fullest, adapted from his new book, ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.'”

Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

This is a an awesome documentary I highly recommend it!  “Directed by Morgan Neville. With Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill. Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now…”

Minimum wage hike comes with costs

“As income rises, government aid program payments are either reduced or cut off entirely, leaving those with wage hikes at a disadvantage.”

Companies Find Autism Can Be a Job Skill

“Some employers are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace. Software company SAP, for instance, believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs.”

Art meets chemistry meets physics meets finance

This Wired Magazine article provides a layman’s explanation of reaction-diffusion processes, which are characterized by reactive molecules that can diffuse between cells. A special case of a reaction-diffusion process is a “pure” diffusion process, where substances aren’t transformed into each other but nevertheless randomly spread out over a surface. While the reaction-diffusion process makes for much more aesthetically pleasing art, other so-called diffusion processes (e.g., diffusion of thermal energy as characterized by heat equations or movements of speculative asset prices as characterized by Itō diffusions) similarly generate (what appear to the naked eye to be) “patterns” from randomness…

Hypnotic Art

Hypnotic Art Shows How Patterns Emerge From Randomness in Nature

www.wired.com

These digital canvases represent British mathematician Alan Turing’s theory of morphogenesis.

Assorted Links (3/29/2014)

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

Holy Men

After reading this review of the new blockbuster film “Noah”, I think I’ll pass…

Mr. Putin’s Revealing Speech

“At the Kremlin, he makes the case for an increasingly aggressive Russia, Peggy Noonan writes.”

The President’s Foreign Policy Paradox

“In The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead writes that Obama’s global wish list can’t be achieved while decreasing commitments overseas.”

Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray

“Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ (again). Charles Murray offers some tips on how to live to the fullest, adapted from his new book, ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.’

Twenty Feet from Stardom

“Directed by Morgan Neville. With Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill. Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now…”  This is an awesome documentary – I highly recommend it!

College sports unions: ‘Careful what you wish for’

“Assuming the ruling on Wednesday that allows Northwestern University football players to unionize stands all challenges, it may not be so easy to do.”

Minimum wage hike’s unexpected drawback for the poor

“As income rises, government aid program payments are either reduced or cut off entirely, leaving those with wage hikes at a disadvantage.”

How Autism Can Help You Land a Job

“Some employers are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace. Software company SAP, for instance, believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs.”

Religious Groups Split on ‘Noah’ Judgment

“Hollywood’s first big-budget Bible movie in almost 50 years draws mixed reactions for straying from the original text.”

Obamacare’s Year of Delayed Deadlines

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the law’s recent track record…

Want a Raise? Quit Your Job

A particularly interesting takeaway from this article is that quit rates tend to be higher when the labor market recovers since already employed workers quit jobs in order to take advantage of better opportunities (I.e., a better match and often a bump in pay). Of course when this occurs it also creates opportunities for unemployed workers to find gainful employment. Unfortunately the labor market remains weak; thus quit rates remain somewhat suppressed and with limited labor market mobility this limits wage growth…