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21 April 2009

Reading Material

Sudhir Venkatesh on loan sharks. From Freakonomics.

If you haven't checked out the blog Stuff White People Like please do. It's hilarious. Here's "taking a year off".

First plug-in hybrid slated to sell in the US in November... at $87,000 it barely counts as it isn't accessible to hardly anyone at that price point. The Aptera 2e seems more sensible at about a third the price and $0.015 per mile in electricity.

I love Daniel Hamermesh. He's a guest poster on Freakonomics and most of his posts are dry and somewhat boring, but sometimes they contain some really great insight or just wry economic critic that I love. This one is on his lack of empathy for those who lost a lot of their retirement funds.

Here's a Q&A with one of the featured scientists from the documentary The Linguists. Decent read, mostly just want to see the documentary. I've read a decent amount about the subject. That is, the number of languages that are going extinct as small cultures die off. Perhaps I'm ignorant but besides the novelty of having thousands of languages to keep up separated from foreign peoples I just don't see the need for such a variety. Lamentable but practical perhaps?

And by far the coolest story goes to an Apollo 14 astronaut who claims that aliens exist and have visited us. Normally I'd be skeptical as usual and explain that while I believe that we are not the only living organisms on the celestial block the whole "government cover up" thing is a bit crazy. But an astronaut? To be an astronaut you basically need to be a genius, have multiple PhD's, be a professional athlete in great shape, serve in the military, be an excellent pilot or scientist... see where this is going? They're quite possibly the only profession more credible and trustworthy than a doctor. Then again they are doctors... who can also do more push ups than you.

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