Friday, January 30, 2015

Pitch 15

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


“Japan’s population shrank by its largest amount on record in 2014. Roughly 1.001 million people were born and 1.269 million people died last year, leaving the country with 268,000 fewer people overall.

Japan’s declining population has a powerful impact on its economic situation, and not for the better. An aging population leaves the country with fewer workers and more dependents. And conventional wisdom says aging leads to slower economic growth and more deflationary forces, both of which make it more difficult for Japan to chip away at the substantial debt burden from its economic crisis at the beginning of the 1990s.”

Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined

Monday, January 26, 2015


““We had people eat two times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people,” he said.”

Marika Sboros: more science to show Tim Noakes is smart on fats, carbs

Friday, January 23, 2015


“Probably the least surprising point in Watts’ post is that teens have virtually no interest in using Facebook whatsoever — but almost all of them still have an account anyway, because it’s the only way to keep in touch with certain people.”

Here’s how a real teenager uses, and doesn’t use, social media

Thursday, January 22, 2015


“There’s a great little test, which I learned from the poker community, to determine whether there’s any skill in an activity: ask if you can lose on purpose. If can lose on purpose, there must be skill. Investing is interesting in that it’s hard to win, or lose, on purpose.”

The Success Equation: An Interview with Michael Mauboussin

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


“In the past decade a growing number of studies have questioned the anti-fat orthodoxy. Ms Teicholz’s book follows the work of Gary Taubes, a science journalist who has cast doubts on the link between saturated fat and health for well over a decade—and been much disparaged for his pains. There is increasing evidence that a bigger culprit is most likely insulin, a hormone; insulin levels rise when one eats carbohydrates. Yet even now, with more attention devoted to the dangers posed by sugar, saturated fat remains maligned. “It seems now that what sustains it,” argues Ms Teicholz, “is not so much science as generations of bias and habit.””

The case for eating steak and cream

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


“Largely anecdotal evidence has been collected by “old timers” for over 50 years from non-Western societies that low back pain and joint stiffness is markedly reduced by adopting natural sleeping and resting postures. This observation must be recorded to allow further research in this direction as these primitive societies no longer exist and the great apes living in the wild are heading for extinction. All we have to do is to be good primates and use these preventive techniques.”

Instinctive sleeping and resting postures: an anthropological and zoological approach to treatment of low back and joint pain

Monday, January 19, 2015


“Yet the main asset that any former politician has is moral sway, and because Mr Blair has forfeited so much trust, he has far less credibility than he should have. Some contrition or regret among those ironclad certainties would serve him and his cause better. The late Mo Mowlam, an outspoken minister in the Blair government, was on to something when she observed early in his reign that “the trouble with Tony is that he thinks he’s fucking Jesus.” Mr Blair has plenty of the Messiah’s self-belief and sense of mission. He could do with a dash of his humility as well.”

Life After Power

Friday, January 16, 2015


“Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as “calculated misery.” Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins.”

Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer

“It’s also just like the playbook big broadband companies are using as they make efforts to charge both consumers and the content companies for access to their pipes.”

Want to see broadband’s future? Check out the airline industry

Thursday, January 15, 2015


“He is rational, far from perfect in his decision-making, and has a calculus which we find hard to emotionally internalize. His resentments make him powerful, and give him precommitment technologies, but also blind him to the true Lucasian model of global geopolitics, which suggests among other things that a Eurasian empire for Russia is still a pathetic idea.

Putin is also paranoid, and rationally so. We have surrounded him with NATO. China gets stronger every year. Many other Russians seek to kill him, overthrow him, or put him in prison.”

Modeling Vladimir Putin

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


“Such experiments stand in marked contrast to what is occurring in the United States, where a dysfunctional rule-making process at the Federal Aviation Administration has brought drone deployment to a virtual stand-still, even as American companies are clamoring to use them for business purposes.”

Delivery by drone: French postal video shows it can be done

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


“For the language learner, the networked nature of languages poses an interesting dilemma: should you learn a language popular among global elites? The tradition of learning French still looks like a good bet here. Or should you learn a language whose number of globetrotting bilinguals is small relative to its importance? Supply and demand says that this will be valuable. This is the real case for learning Chinese: not because it is the rising global language, but because it isn’t—at least certainly not yet.”

“There is a “what else did you expect?” nature to the outsized role of Western languages in three Western-born products: the mass book-publishing industry, Wikipedia and Twitter. But the results are still meaningful: Twitter really is globally important (just ask the Iranian mullahs or the former president of Tunisia). Sina Weibo and VK (Russia’s Facebook) are not.”

When bigger isn’t better

Monday, January 12, 2015

Friday, January 09, 2015


“Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change.”

“This means that the “reservation wage”—the wage below which a worker will not accept a job—is now high in historical terms. If governments refuse to allow jobless workers to fall too far below the average standard of living, then this reservation wage will rise steadily, and ever more workers may find work unattractive. And the higher it rises, the greater the incentive to invest in capital that replaces labour.

Everyone should be able to benefit from productivity gains—in that, Keynes was united with his successors. His worry about technological unemployment was mainly a worry about a “temporary phase of maladjustment” as society and the economy adjusted to ever greater levels of productivity. So it could well prove. However, society may find itself sorely tested if, as seems possible, growth and innovation deliver handsome gains to the skilled, while the rest cling to dwindling employment opportunities at stagnant wages.”

The onrushing wave

Thursday, January 08, 2015