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Only technology will save us

The New York Times has a scary but numerically rich piece on the impending pension crisis in Europe. As in the days of yore Greece looks to be a pioneer. Here’s an interesting pair of numbers: According to research by Jagadeesh Gokhale, an economist at the Cato Institute in Washington, bringing Greece’s pension obligations onto…

Walking & racing to modernity

Two quantitative facts of note from When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: From page 33: Although the passage to modernity universally involves the transition from an agrarian to service-based society via an industrial one, here we find another instance of European exceptionalism.…

Disqus and Echo

I’m starting to see Disqus and Echo all over the web. Anyone else notice this? I wasn’t happy when I had to move Gene Expression Classic off Haloscan, so the whole “death of comments” fad isn’t something I’m a fan of. But it seems like Facebook’s creation of a successful private web is now driving…

Iceland tells them to shove it

Icelanders reject deal to repay British and Dutch: The outcome of the referendum had not been in doubt since Iceland had recently been offered better repayment terms than those contained in the deal on which residents were voting. Partial referendum results from around a third of the cast votes showed 93 percent opposed the deal…

Billion year contract

This is funny: Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org. They signed a contract for a billion years – in keeping with the church’s…

“Cuba of the north”

Iceland Voters Set to Reject Debt Deal: After the dust began to settle last year — after the banks failed, the currency collapsed, the stock market crashed and the government fell — the dazed inhabitants of Iceland woke up to another unpleasant problem: They owed, it seemed, some $5.3 billion to more than 300,000 angry…

It has been known for years that interracial marriages have higher than expected divorce rates. But I did not know that the rates varied quite a bit contingent on the combination of race & sex. Gori Girl* has a post up, Interracial Divorce in the U.S. – Statistics and How Much They Matter: – Marriages…

On the fundaments of fantasy

Fantasy-nerd in-chief at The New York Times, Ross Douthat points me to an essay, Why is there no Jewish Narnia? As others have pointed out there are plenty of Jewish fantasy writers, including perhaps the most prominent mainstream fantasist today, Neil Gaiman. But this part caught my attention: …and whether it is called Perelandra, Earthsea,…

Intelligence, politics & religion

My posts below on IQ, politics & religion resulted in a fair amount of blogospheric response, and weird comments. A few quick points 1) I think results on standardized tests are informative and correlate reasonably with a host of life outcomes. If you don’t think they do, that’s fine, I don’t particularly care. But just…

Hey Canada

Since Canadians seem to have an obsession with American health care policy (a nation of Ezra Kleins?), I thought I would pass along this weird Intrade screenshot: OK, I assume my liberal readers have cleaned themselves up after seeing that screenshot. I check Intrade as part of my “morning reads” and I really don ‘t…