Archive for category: World News

How to Lead a Happy Life or Live Like an Italian

How to Lead a Happy Life or Live Like an Italian

At times, I think the political and cultural columnist David Brooks has a little bit of Mediterranean blood flowing through his body (regardless of his Anglo-Saxon appearance). ¬†Time and time again Brooks puts together elegant arguments on the paradox of American living, why gun control is necessary, or, say, how most people struggle to find happiness. ¬†While I don’t agree [...]

The Bailout as High Drama

The Bailout as High Drama

The current political and financial scene in Washington and New York could not be unfolding in a more dramatic fashion.  Key congressional leaders, the President, McCain, Obama, and Secretary Paulson met late into the evening yesterday only to walk away with no deal to rescue US banks and the ailing markets.  Click here for a brilliant account of the events via Stolberg of [...]

How The Use of Statistics Killed the Banking Industry or How Statistics Can Fool You

How The Use of Statistics Killed the Banking Industry or How Statistics Can Fool You

If you’re fully engaged in the modern world then you’ve probably used statistics to make arguments and push a particular interest (like predicting orders or market conditions, if you work at a consumer product company, for example). Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in both his book, The Black Swan, and more recently in his essay, THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS [...]

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch – Who Will Fall Next?

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch – Who Will Fall Next?

If you’re any where near the NYC metro area, then you’re bound to notice great tension in the air.  The tension is the by-product of recent financial news headlined by the financial giant Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy.  Today’s NY Times summarizes the current state on Wall Street well: Nervous investors tried to make sense of a rapidly changing financial landscape on Monday [...]

OPEC, Fighting in Pakistan, Black Holes and the Psychology of Voting

OPEC, Fighting in Pakistan, Black Holes and the Psychology of Voting

OPEC is taking measures to cut oil production in order to control market pricing - don’t you love the oil cartel. George Bush has ordered fighting to begin in Pakistan. The world didn’t suck itself into a man-made black hole. You think your family was competitive, see the latest review on The House of Wittgenstein. Finally, what makes working class [...]

Attitude and Economic Growth: Why Certain Countries Prosper While Others Fail

Attitude and Economic Growth: Why Certain Countries Prosper While Others Fail

Gregory Clark’s new book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World asks some pretty big economic questions: - Why do certain countries prosper while others find it so difficult to grow? - Why did the Industrial Revolution occur in England during the 17th century? - How do cultural attitudes play a role in economic development? Clark also [...]

Global Discretionary Income, Unemployment Numbers, and 16th Century Heretic Giordano Bruno

Global Discretionary Income, Unemployment Numbers, and 16th Century Heretic Giordano Bruno

The NY Times has a terrific interactive map on how people across the world spend their discretionary income.  Some interesting findings include Japan spending more on recreation than clothing and Greece throwing money at clothing versus electronics.  Read the full article here. The US Government likes to keep unemployement between 2-5 percent, 0 unemployment is actually a bad thing (according [...]

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (or Rodriguez) at Joe’s Pub

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (or Rodriguez) at Joe’s Pub

NPR ran a piece on US born psych-folk singer, Rodriguez.  Rodriguez is a completely obscure artist (outside of South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand), but is know enjoying a renaissance after the re-release of Cold Fact. You can read Rodriguez’s bio at Joe’s Pub here and listen to his single Sugarman here.

NPR’s Series On How Other Countries Manage to Provide Universal Health Care

NPR’s Series On How Other Countries Manage to Provide Universal Health Care

Global Standard of Living Measurements: Where Would You Live?

Global Standard of Living Measurements: Where Would You Live?

Given a recent conversation on “where would you live in the world” I dug up some info on 1., standard of living and 2., human development index.  Here are some fun facts to consider next time someone asks the ”where should you live” question:   The United States ranks 4th in GDP (or gross domestic product), but 92nd in terms of distribution of [...]