Thursday, April 29, 2010


Good news!:
Americans familiar with Arizona's tough, new immigration law tend to favor it, a new poll found.

51 percent of those who have heard of Arizona's new law to crack down illegal immigration said they generally favor it, a new Gallup Poll found Thursday. 39 of those who have heard of the law opposed it, while 11 percent were unsure.
Long-term, a good immigration reform law is a political and policy winner for Democrats. Short-term, I’m not convinced at all as these preliminary numbers demonstrate. Note that immigration is an issue that’s particularly easy to demagogue in a right-populist direction. And Tyler Cowen points out some of the problems with the Democratic proposal, problems that aren’t particularly policy or politically friendly.

The history of debt: in essay and graphic form.

This news about Hungary’s possible debt problems is for two reasons: first, to remind you that the apocalypse is still a live scenario; second, and more happily to tell you that Prague, a really good novel set in Hungary (the title is deceptive), is one of three books you need to reading right now (or at least right after you finish reading this post). The other two? Then We Came To The End and Infinite Jest. Just trust me here.

This post about how television might be more difficult to break into via disruptive innovation than you'd think should be a perfect addition to my post earlier in terms of industries, though it doesn’t fit the improvised framework I set up. But it’s worthwhile to note the role of incentives here: you, the watcher, are confusingly tangential to the dollars and cents of content providers. Somewhat apropos of this discussion, note that Google is planning on introducing software to deal with TV boxes.

Remember how all the bees were dying recently, and how that was a big story? Still happening:
The Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and USDA-ARS Beltsville Honey Bee Lab conducted a survey to estimate winter colony loses for 2009/2010. Over 22.4% of the country’s estimated 2.46 million colonies were surveyed.

A total loss of 33.8% of managed honey bee colonies was recorded. This compares to total losses of 29%, 35.8% and 31.8% recorded respectively in the winters of 2008/2009, 2007/2008 and 2006/2007.

I thought this was an article with some very good tidbits about the NBA playoffs in the most recent Sports Illustrated.

Why industry must be smarter about its water use.

What the SAFE banking act will do.

Why one Republican is pleased to see Charlie Crist gone (convincing)

The dying languages of New York City.

Green Greenwald on Obama talking about the Supreme Court.

The power of supersition:
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, known for basing personnel decisions on statistics, notes with bemusement the superstition of some of his highest-paid employees. "Every locker room has a comical procession of superstitions," he said in an email. "We have things based on time, on speech intonations and on specific conversation exchanges. If you look at the introductions of any NBA team and what the players do, you have an anthropologist's dream."

In a test conducted by researchers from the University of Cologne, participants on a putting green who were told they were playing with a "lucky ball" sank 6.4 putts out of 10, nearly two more putts, on average, than those who weren't told the ball was lucky. That is a 35% improvement. The results suggest new thinking in how to view luck and are intriguing to behavorial psychologists.

The biggest news from this oh-my-Baidu story is that Google still has 31% market share in China, down from 35%. If it’s a durable trend, that’s a problem, but it suggests you have a fairly large group of savvy internet users in China who are very loyal to Google.

A profile of Jamie Mottram, the head of Yahoo!’s content division. Yahoo! Sports is very well done and features a lot of good content, so I’m intrigued by his future efforts.

I appreciate this roundup of the crazy laws passed by state legislatures during the year 2010. A list that inspires the confidence of every free-thinking citizen.

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