The Best Paragraph I’ve Read in a While

Imagine a world where the physicists and engineers spent most of their time figuring out how to get internal combustion engines from 20 to 22 percent efficiency but where, outside of the lab, everyone else is riding horses because they think engines are evil and witchcraft and tools of capitalist oppression. Maybe it’s not quite that bad in economics, but it isn’t far from it.

There is much more from Eric on this issue here. Also see Brian Caplan here and here.

During our last election cycle I posted a status to my Facebook arguing that to promote a more vibrant democracy we should stop spending energy encouraging participation from the marginal voter and instead read one thoughtful research paper that disagreed with a view we held dear. My status was not well received.

What I’ve Been Listening To – Eclectic Mix Edition

Vincenzo Macaluso – “Claire de Lune”

Ben Howard – “The Fear”

He-man – “What’s Going On”

Passion Pit – “Little Secrets”

Omarion Ft. Wale – “M.I.A.” (Explicit Lyrics)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Man On Fire”

Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

May D – “Gat Me High”

Deana Carter – “Strawberry Wine”

Street Dogs – “Punk Rock & Roll”

What has become of Tatooine?

A new photojournal by Ra di Martino sheds light on the current condition of Luke Skywalker’s once charming desert estate. You can find many of the photos in this album, which are currently on exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. I’ve copied a few sample images below. All photo credits go to Ra di Martino; you can view his website here.

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A Bill Gates Interview on Global Health

Including one of the biggest lessons economics can teach us.

Ezra Klein: You’ve talked a lot so far about this question of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). We’re very uncomfortable putting a value on human life…[But] a prerequisite for the kind of cost-cutting innovations you’re talking about it is being willing to make judgments about what a human life is worth, or even what a few months of a human life are worth.

Bill Gates: Yes, someone in the society has to deal with the reality that there are finite resources and we’re making trade-offs, and be explicit about that.

There is much more here.