Assorted Links (3/31/2014)

The French Implosion
“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 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

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