Weekend Reads: August 10, 2018

Game Theory, Bacon Grease, and Virtual Models

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War Without End

C.J. Chivers | The New York Times | Tweeted by Christopher Coyne

Young Robert Soto found himself standing at Ground Zero about three months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. On that day, he decided he would enlist when he came of age. Read more about Soto’s story and the impact of a war that seems to have no end from C.J. Chivers in The New York Times.


Soon, the Most Beautiful People in the World May No Longer Be Human

Peter Holley | The Washington Post | Retweeted by Brian Knight

What if companies were able to find the perfect brand ambassadors without needing humans to market their products? Virtual models could change the industries that rely on these influencers forever.


Why Every Good Economist Should Be Feminist

Luigi Zingales | Pro-Market | Shared by Tyler Cowen

Luigi Zingales draws important lessons from the recently decided Ravina v. Columbia in which an assistant professor at Columbia Business School accused a full professor of sexual harassment. He points out that “there will never be gender equality in academia until men care about sexual harassment as much as women.”


The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life

Molly Worthen | The New York Times | Shared by Tyler Cowen

As Americans face political polarization and social isolation, an unlikely group of podcasters has stepped in to help their listeners navigate the chaos of modern life. From smoothies to Stoicism, these gurus aim to help improve the lives of the individual–mind, body, and soul.


A New Digital Divide: Young People Who Can’t Use Keyboards

Toshihiko Katsuda | The Asahi Shimbun | Shared by Tyler Cowen

The new “digital divide is being born,” and an increasing number of young adults haven’t interacted with personal computers by the time they land their first job. This impacts the workplace and changes the landscape of business—whether humans like it or not.


The Good Intentions Fallacy is Driving Support for Democratic Socialism

Barry Brownstein | Foundation for Economic Education | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

Support for Democratic Socialism among Americans is seeing a rise despite disastrous results in other countries. Barry Brownstein offers a possible explanation for this disconnect: the human tendency to excuse bad actions on the part of those with good intentions.


Why the Most Important Idea in Behavioral Decision-Making is a Fallacy

David Gal | Scientific American | Tweeted by Adam Millsap

Could the “most significant contribution of psychology to behavioral economics” actually be a fallacy? David Gal explores loss aversion and human decision-making, examining why scholars uphold this idea as important—and why he thinks differently.


When Your Uber Driver is a Spy

Violet Blue | Engadget | Shared by Tyler Cowen

When hackers meet Las Vegas summer heat and attractions, many things can happen, including getting spies as rideshare drivers. Stories of suspicious Uber drivers remind users that you don’t really know who is behind the app.


We’ll Never Know How Bad the Federal Reserve Is

James Freeman | The Wall Street Journal | Retweeted by Brian Knight

Should the Federal Reserve be in the habit of destroying documents? Do these reports on financial institutions need to be released to the public? In The Wall Street Journal, James Freeman discusses potential problems with the Fed’s handling of bank examination reports.


An Interview with Avinash Dixit, Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University

Eric Wallach | The Politic | Tweeted by Peter Boettke

How does game theory play into punishment, threats, and crime? Princeton Professor Avinash Dixit answers this question—and much more—in his intriguing interview with The Politic.


Wanted: ‘Lost Einsteins.’ Please Apply.

Steve Lohr| The New York Times | Retweeted by Tyler Cowen

A new group is implementing a Silicon Valley-style business model for identifying and uplifting high-potential individuals. The Pioneer fund seeks to invest in these individuals by putting “more science and less happenstance” into talent recruitment.


Everyone* Pours Bacon Fat Down the Drain, Everyone Lies About It

Lara Korte | The Wall Street Journal | Shared by Andrea O’Sullivan

Do you covertly pour bacon grease down the drain? You may not be alone in your clogged sink, especially considering that London officials found a 130-ton “fatberg” in the sewer. Learn more from Lara Korte’s article in The Wall Street Journal.