My weekly links of note…
Middle school kids love the world’s tallest, longest, largest… and these new shipping boats are larger than the Empire State Building. Great article on the economics and the cyclic nature of the ship-building industry. I expect these huge boats will become the norm for the Asia to Europe route as the Arctic sea opens for shipping. See this wonderful New Yorker article for example. Update: And sure enough, even container ships are now plying the route.
I always read Malcolm Gladwell, especially when he is being a contrarian (do genetics make sports unfair, so should we allow doping to make a level playing field?) Thought-provoking questions.
Given Man’s history with death and epidemics there is a larger than zero chance that this will go down in history as mankind’s single greatest mistake of the modern era. Antibiotics have saved my life at least once, so I obviously have some strong feelings about this.
Like the author I believe there is more to the global obesity epidemic then simply sloth and poor food choices (although they play their roles), we just haven’t figured it out yet. I have known far too many people with stronger willpower than myself struggle to control their weight. This study on gut bacteria certainly indicates that something more is happening then simply over-eating. (And this piece on personal body image is a great read as well, while these fad diets pictures are both amusing and depressing)
I firmly believe that these five books explain the modern Political Economy brilliantly (Suggestions by Professor Mark Blyth). I have only read 2 of them, but I just ordered another one. I recommend anything by Albert Hirschman. He has had a great influence on my understanding of how the really world works.
And incidentally, science has found that strong political identity really can make us stupider.
Finally, As if there wasn’t enough interesting distractions on the web…but one more video channel to collect my clips.