Archive for the ‘The Economist’ tag
The Economist, with it’s trademark dense brevity, offers a nice little review of some of the most notable and drastic turning financial history. Many I’d not known about at all:
Luckily investors had a host of exotic new options. By the 1820s London had displaced Amsterdam as Europe’s main financial hub, quickly becoming the place where foreign governments sought funds. The rise of the new global bond market was incredibly rapid. In 1820 there was just one foreign bond on the London market; by 1826 there were 23. Debt issued by Russia, Prussia and Denmark paid well and was snapped up.
But the really exciting investments were those in the new world. The crumbling Spanish empire had left former colonies free to set up as independent nations. Between 1822 and 1825 Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Guatemala successfully sold bonds worth £21m ($2.8 billion in today’s prices) in London. And there were other ways to cash in: the shares of British mining firms planning to explore the new world were popular. The share price of one of them, Anglo Mexican, went from £33 to £158 in a month.
Like many, I’m not a big fan of April Fool’s Day. The whole internet becomes a undifferentiated combination of bad joke, real news, and some interesting novelty. Everything most go through your bullshit filter. But The Economist came up with a really great idea, they’ve created a literal comparison of apples and oranges:
In contrast, orange production has plateaued, due in part to a decline of orange juice consumption in America—around 40% less over the past 15 years. Close to the equator, oranges are more popular than apples, whereas farther north apples are more appealing, perhaps reflecting their ease of growth.
One of my harder-to-comprehend ideas that I always gets pushback when I shared is that science isn’t nearly as monolithically reliable as people like to believe. The newest study about how X or Y does or does not cause P or Q is as likely to be totally bogus as genuine and accurate. The Economist shares my thinking, and elaborates it somewhat more cogently:
A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research.
The story of how Martin Luther’s ideas went from a small bulletin-board post at a university to a religion-changing, war-causing force.
Tetzel, the indulgence-seller, was one of the first to respond to him in print, firing back with his own collection of theses. Others embraced the new pamphlet format to weigh in on the merits of Luther’s arguments, both for and against, like argumentative bloggers. Sylvester Mazzolini defended the pope against Luther in his “Dialogue Against the Presumptuous Theses of Martin Luther”. He called Luther “a leper with a brain of brass and a nose of iron” and dismissed his arguments on the basis of papal infallibility.
This Economist story’s a bit stale, but I feel a need to document such errata about obscure places.
This chart is impeccably executed.
The Economist — I need to start perusing that again — is only printed in English. But some enterprising Chinese crowd-source the translation of every issue and privately release it as a PDF.
Interestingly, after Andy Baio published the story on his site, the New York Times asked him to rework it and published it in the paper. The future of reporting, anyone?
That’s the theory being offered by Harvard’s Richard Wrangham.
And with Homo sapiens, what makes the species unique in Dr Wrangham’s opinion is that its food is so often cooked.
Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.
Chipping away at the “to read someday” pile, I found this bit from The Economist.
To be on the right-hand-side of an eye-level selection is often considered the very best place, because most people are right-handed and most people’s eyes drift rightwards. Some supermarkets reserve that for their own-label “premium” goods.
I’m definately going to be thinking about this next time I’m shopping.
If only to establish my present ignorance of current events, I was until today largely unaware of the widening problem of Gaza. One could trace the beginning to the complete Israeli blockade — as Sara Roy does — but the widely reported cause is an Israeli desire to lessen the rocket attacks.