1. Research Digest reports that Students motivated by wealth are just as likely as others to help in an emergency
"... Seventy-eight per cent of the business students offered some kind of help to the stranger. Sixty-six per cent went so far as refusing to leave the stranger or giving him/her their mobile phone. The degree to which the students reported being wealth-driven was not associated with their levels of helping. Neither was their self-reported willingness to accept an illegal stock trading tip off. Being in a hurry also made no difference, neither did the content of the speech they were about to give. A factor that was linked with helping behaviour was "intrinsic religiosity" - that is, pursuing religion as an end in itself, not for the sake of status or other gain. ..."
2. American progressives are fond of pointing to the Scandinavian economic model as a model for the United States. As I've noted in other posts, for years Sweden has been moving steadily away from the model progressives champion. (for example see Free Market Sweden, Social Democratic America and Are free markets the secret to Sweden's success? Now the New York Times reports that Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault.
... Already the government has reduced various early-retirement plans. The unemployed used to be able to collect benefits for up to four years. Now it is two.
Students are next up for cutbacks, most intended to get them in the work force faster. Currently, students are entitled to six years of stipends, about $990 a month, to complete a five-year degree which, of course, is free. Many of them take even longer to finish, taking breaks to travel and for internships before and during their studies....
... It is proposing cuts to welfare grants for those under 30 and stricter reviews to make sure that such recipients are steered into jobs or educational programs before they get comfortable on government benefits.
Officials have also begun to question the large number of people who are receiving lifetime disability checks. About 240,000 people — roughly 9 percent of the potential work force — have lifetime disability status; about 33,500 of them are under 40. The government has proposed ending that status for those under 40, unless they have a mental or physical condition that is so severe that it keeps them from working. ...
4. Yuval Levin makes an excellent point about how conservatives frequently respond poorly with arguments against dependency when progressives talk about "community."
... We [conservatives] reach for the idea of dependency because of the kind of arguments we often respond to from the left—arguments that seem like calls for common action instead of individual action. But we should look more carefully at those arguments. The problem with the “you didn’t build that” mindset, as becomes particularly clear if you read what the president said before and after that line, is not just that it denies the significance of individual initiative (though that’s an important part of the problem, and our culture of individual initiative, which is far from radical individualism, is a huge social achievement in America) but also that it denies the significance of any common efforts that are not political. The president took the pose of a critic of individualism, but in fact the position he described involves perhaps the most radical individualism of all, in which nothing but individuals and the state exists in society. ...
... The utopian goal of the most radical forms of liberalism has always been the complete liberation of the individual from all unchosen “relational” obligations—obligations to the people around you that are a function of the family and community in which you live. Resentment against such obligations was a central and powerful motive in the radical late-18th century thought that gave us some (though not all) forms of modern libertarianism and the modern Left, and the defense of such obligations was central to the counter-arguments that yielded modern conservatism. ...
5. Pew Research has a report on the Public's Knowledge of Science and Technology. You can take the test here. (I got a gold start, though I confess I had two lucky guesses.) And on a related note, 4th-Grade 'Science Test' Goes Viral: Creationism Quiz Claims Dinosaurs Lived With People. Oye!
6. Tyler Cowen looks at two reports on Why did Cuba become healthier during the economic meltdown of the 1990s? From one report:
This “abrupt downward trend” in illness does not appear to be because of Cuba’s barefoot doctors and vaunted public health system, which is rated amongst the best in Latin America. The researchers say that it has more to do with simple weight loss. Cubans, who were walking and bicycling more after their public transportation system collapsed, and eating less (energy intake plunged from about 3,000 calories per day to anywhere between 1,400 and 2,400, and protein consumption dropped by 40 percent). They lost an average of 12 pounds.
It wasn’t only the amount of food that Cubans ate that changed, but also what they ate. They became virtual vegans overnight, as meat and dairy products all but vanished from the marketplace.
And this report:
During the special period, expensive habits like smoking and most likely also alcohol consumption were reduced, albeit briefly. This enforced fitness regime lasted only until the Cuban economy began to recover in the second half of the 1990s. At that point, physical activity levels began to fall off, and calorie intake surged. Eventually people in Cuba were eating even more than they had before the crash. The researchers report that “by 2011, the Cuban population has regained enough weight to almost triple the obesity rates of 1995.”
... A strain of anti-humanism has always run through population paranoia, a notion that human beings are a problem rather than a resource. But as Jonathan Last documents in his new book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, it is not overpopulation that threatens the well-being of the human race, it is under-population. As Last writes, “Throughout recorded human history, declining populations have always been followed by Very Bad Things.” Particularly for our modern, high-tech, capitalist world of consumers who buy, entrepreneurs who create wealth and jobs, and workers whose taxes fund social welfare entitlements, people are an even more critical resource. ...
8. 21 Maps Of Highly Segregated Cities In America. I remember doing a less sophisiticted version of dissimilarity analysis for Kansas City back in 1988 without benefit of a computer. Here is the map for Detroit, the most segregated city in America:
9.Christianity Today asks Who Volunteers the Most? Answer? "Graduates of Protestant high schools, apparently."
11. Climate change inspires a new literary genre: cli-fi. "Cli-fi, or 'climate fiction,' describes a dystopian present, as opposed to a dystopian future. And don't call it 'science fiction.' Cli-fi is literary fiction."
13. Business Insider with Ten Technologies That Will Shape the Future
14. Atlantic Cities has a great piece on the future of the the payphone: The Payphone of the Future Is Calling
15. Business Insider also had a couple a very interesting retro articles: The First Email, The First Tweet, And 13 Other Famous Internet Firsts and These Huge Brands' Early Websites From The 1990s Looked Terrible.
16. Stonehenge archaeologists reveal new theory of why monument was built. "Stonehenge may have been built on a site occupied by hunters for roughly 5,000 prior to its construction."