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Archive for June, 2010

Not from The Onion

Posted by erweinstein on June 28, 2010

…but from the BBC, this past Friday:

‘Psychic’ octopus predicts Germany victory over England

Here’s more:

When consulted, Paul the octopus chose a mussel from a jar with the German flag on it ahead of one in a similar jar bearing the cross of St George.

The two-year-old cephalopod has a record of predicting past German results in this manner, his owners say.

Paul has so far correctly predicted all of Germany’s results in South Africa.

By the way, the octopus was right again, as Germany beat England 4-1 yesterday.

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Festival of Links

Posted by erweinstein on June 6, 2010

1. Matt Ridley’s new book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, is out. A positive review from The Economist is here. Ridley has written a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining the book here. Ridley’s blog is here.

2. An extremely in-depth article about Lady Gaga, for those interested in such things.

3. Facebook’s new privacy controls explained. See also here.

4. Ranking diseases by prestige (hat tip to Tyler Cowen).

5. Homer Simpson named greatest TV character by Entertainment Weekly.

6. Allegations–very disturbing if true–about the Turkish government persecuting political opponents, from Turkish economist Dani Rodrik. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of his claims, but Rodrik is a widely-respected scholar, a highly-regarded teacher, and an excellent writer, and I have no reason to doubt him.

7. Amidst news that Apple has exceeded Microsoft in market capitalization, Microsoft is reorganizing its Entertainment & Devices division. This shakeup also includes the departure of J Allard and Robbie Bach, two prominent and influential Microsoft executives. Here are two good opinion pieces commenting on these developments, one from InfoWorld, and one from ArsTechnica.

8. A new profile of Gary Becker, who was awarded the University of Chicago Alumni Medal yesterday. Becker previously received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. Becker’s blog (joint with Judge Richard Posner) is here.

9. In a move that heralds the future of the mobile telecoms industry, AT&T announced that new customers will no longer be able to purchase unlimited mobile data plans. Dan Indiviglio and Megan McArdle concur with AT&T estimates that most smartphone users would end up paying less under the new plans. Slashdot has a roundup of various other reactions to the change. The Unofficial Apple Weblog hosted a Q&A with an AT&T rep on how this will affect iPhone and iPad users.

10. The true history of the original Order of Assassins (hat tip to Alex Tabarrok, who has a good article in the Wall Street Journal about the portrayal of capitalism in American movies and TV, including in The Wire).

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