I’m a bit behind on my reading, but I had a wonderful 3 week break without the internet where I actually had time to read several books–and even a pair of fiction books, which I hadn’t read in awhile. Anyway here are my links of note for the month of January.
To be a good history teacher… you have to actually know history. I also agree that you should not rely too much on textbooks (but I am not as negative as the author). While on the topic I am on the topic I quite happy to have just found this great IB – History resource.
I wish every government was as cutting edge with technology as Estonia. I would love to be able to be a good citizen and do everything online, particularly without having to pay a third party like turbotax for the privilege (usa!). Also I’d like to own all my data–by default. Go Estonia!
This book review, Evolving without Darwin by Rachel Mason Dentinger, of historian Peter J. Bowler’s new book Darwin Deleted, Imagining a World Without Darwin deserves some serious thought. I recently realized that I have been operating with some fundamental misconceptions of Darwin’s theory and found this really helped me piece it back together and place the theory in the right context–ecology.
This is another great Remnick interview with President Obama. Times are tough for change these days.
I am not really in support of Bitcoin, but I do think it is potentially very important.
I just read this utterly depressing National Review expose on “The White Ghetto” of Appalachia, the nation’s poorest county, right after reading Branko Milanovic’s review of Thomas Piketty‘s forthcoming Capital in the 21st century. It was hard not to draw parallels. Piketty’s book is a grand attempt to identify the basic mechanisms of capitalism on society. He finds that rising inequity appears to be intrinsic to Capitalism, in a similar manner to Marx, but here he has an overwhelming amount of historical data with which to make the case (unlike Marx). File under important. Meanwhile The National Review article seeks to fins what is going wrong in our poorest regions. It’s not just the economics that are hurting us, but failures of well-intentioned but fundamentally flawed government welfare programs, and most critically in my opinion culture are really keeping many places poor.
Wow, this new year is off to some great deep think pieces on the future of our economy. Along with Piketty’s books The Economist chimes in with a pair of articles on the coming “immense” impact of new technology, particularly automation and computational analysis on the job market. The Economist’s Ryan Avent looks even deeper at the historical trends.