Weekend Reads: August 3, 2018

Lava Lamps, Ancient Robots, and the Future of Economics

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How to Make a Life from Scratch

Elizabeth Alexander | The New York Times | Tweeted by Liya Palagashvili

When you hear the term “refugee,” what do you picture? Who do you imagine standing in front of you? Elizabeth Alexander details a real account of how life can be reconstructed and prosperous from difficult circumstances.


Ancient Dreams of Intelligent Machines: 3,000 Years of Robots

Stephen Cave and Kanta Dihal | Nature | Shared by Andrea O’Sullivan

From puppets to the modern production line, humans throughout history imagined artificially intelligent machines. Explore the presence of robots since 850 AD with Stephen Cave and Kanta Dihal in Nature.


The Urbanist Case for Trailer Parks

Nolan Gray | CityLab | Tweeted by Adam A. Millsap

With rising rents and increased burdens on households in metropolitan areas, Nolan Gray advocates for a type of housing that is often rare in urban cities—manufactured housing.


Meet the Anarchists Making Their Own Medicine

Daniel Oberhaus | Vice Motherboard | Shared by Tyler Cowen

A group of “tech-fueled anarchists” are side-stepping the Food and Drug Administration, billionaire pharma executives, doctors, and chemists to create medicine outside traditional power structures.


How a Bunch of Lava Lamps Protect Us from Hackers

Ellen Airhart | Wired | Tweeted by Robert Graboyes

The lava lamp has found a new purpose in web security. Writing for Wired, Ellen Airhart describes how the web security company Cloudflare uses the groovy lamp to keep away hackers.


Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: ‘No Experience Necessary’

Kelsey Gee | The Wall Street Journal | Shared by Tyler Cowen

Cutting job-credential requirements is becoming more common, opening new opportunities for Americans on the job hunt.


Inside the Life of Waymo's Driverless Test Family

Tom Randall and Mark Bergen | Los Angeles Times | Tweeted by Jennifer Huddleston Skees

The Jackson family in Chandler, Arizona, along with 400 of their neighbors, are part of the test group for Waymo’s driverless ride-hailing service. Learn about their experiences and the future of transportation in this profile in the Los Angeles Times.


How Robot Hands are Evolving to Do What Ours Can 

Mae Ryan | The New York Times | Retweeted by Andrea O’Sullivan  

Robots can perform a wide variety of tasks based on programmer inputs. Meet five robots that are learning to mimic human hands on their own.


Five Things I Learned about Envy in Politics

Laura Seay | The Washington Post | Shared by Tyler Cowen

When it comes to politics, individuals often act against their own self-interest, whether it’s participating in a costly protest or voting against beneficial policies. Why? It all comes down to status, says Gwyneth McClendon in her new book Envy in Politics.


Understanding Trade Deficits

Kevin Williamson | National Review | Shared by Donald Boudreaux

There is much chatter swirling about trade deficits, but what does the phrase actually mean? Kevin Williamson outlines the controversial word pairing’s interesting past in US policy.


Lessons Learned—and Forgotten—from the Last Trade War

Rich Miller | Bloomberg | Retweeted by Christine McDaniel

The last trade war occurred during the Great Depression. What comparisons can we draw between that dispute and current trade policy?  Read more in Bloomberg.


The Future of Economics

Edmund Andrews | Stanford Graduate School of Business | Tweeted by Peter Boettke

The winners of the National Academy of Sciences’ 2018 John J. Carty Award discuss economics field, past breakthroughs, and new opportunities for future economists to seize.