Friday, January 10, 2014

Linkfest - A Post About Other Stuff

I always planned to use this blog, on occasion, to post on topics unrelated to Northwestern Basketball. Originally, I figured that would happen mostly in the off-season, but after three horrid B1G games, I don't have a lot of motivation to write about the numbers. They're bad. Really bad.

So, rather than wallow, I present a number of links. These are pieces I've read recently that struck a chord with me in one way or another. There's a brief synopsis or excerpt for each one, along with the relevant link. Enjoy.

On correlation, causation, and the "real" cause of autism
Obviously, vaccines do not cause autism. What, then, does?

Koch-backed sinecures for some, miniature American flags for others
"The funny thing about this Megan McArdle essay arguing that all of us spoiled academics should stop trying to be professors and get real jobs is that Megan McArdle lives a more profoundly professorial life than most professors I know, and wouldn’t occupy what she thinks of as a real job at gunpoint...
"...she’s living the life that she criticizes others for pursuing. I suppose saying “fuck you, I got mine” is kind of the epitome of the libertarian ideal, so there’s no real contradiction there."

Education and poverty, again
"If you are saying nothing but education will dramatically cut poverty, when things other than education absolutely will and have, you are an enemy of the poor. You are contributing to a discursive world where people ignore the easiest, most proven ways to cut poverty. You are a bad person."

Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For
"It's a new year, but one thing hasn't changed: The economy still blows. Five years after Wall Street crashed, America's banker-gamblers have only gotten richer, while huge swaths of the country are still drowning in personal debt, tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed – and the new jobs being created are largely low-wage, sub-contracted, part-time grunt work."

The entire economy is a house of cards waiting to tumble
"The result is the modern economy: a seemingly puzzling combination of record stock prices, record corporate profits, very strong housing prices and robust GDP gains, combined with rising cost of living, increasing unemployment in developed nations, insanely high youth unemployment rates and student debt, diminishing savings, entire industries disappearing with no hope of return, and minimal or even negative wage growth.
"The entire economy is run by the asset classes on behalf of the asset classes. There's no money left in the real economy anymore, and the trends toward mechanization and globalization of jobs are only increasing at exponential rates, dramatically increasing the power of the asset classes at the expense of wage earners."

The myth of health care's free market
"We don't have a free market for health-care services. If we did, we would see a narrow range of prices for the same service. After all, a Ford F-150 pickup with the same options costs about the same in Washington, West Virginia, or Wyoming. Not so hospital and medical costs, a fact brought home in the 2012 Pricing Report of the International Federation of Health Plans, a trade association for health insurance companies."

Striking Images Reveal What It Really Takes to Live a Life Of Luxury
"Artist Ramiro Gomez worked as a live-in nanny in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Laurel Canyon area of the Hollywood Hills from 2009-2011. During this time, he began his series of works "Happy Hills," which was inspired by his daily observations of life and his complex relationship with the family for whom he worked.
In his art, Gomez, a child of Mexican immigrants, features the workers who are an integral but invisible part of wealthy society in Los Angeles. His images interrupt the mainstream commercial narrative by introducing a critical human element."

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