Monday, February 14, 2011


The final line of David Brooks’s column: “During these years, commencement speakers have urged students to seek meaning and not money. Many people, it turns out, were listening.” Read the beginning!

Some crazy statistics about Afghanistan’s economy here (in the context of its inflation rate).

A good article about the bloated defense budget includes this sad factoid:
The budget also includes $9.4 billion to buy 32 F-35 stealth fighter planes. The F-35 has run into so many technical problems and delays that Gates is also requesting $3.5 billion to build more of the planes that the F-35 was supposed to replace, including 28 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter-attack jets and 12 EA-18G radar planes. Gates is also asking for $2 billion to upgrade the radar on older F-15 planes.
Unfortunate because the F-35 was supposed to be an antidote to the high-cost, low-value budgeting that is the defense budget—as you can learn from James Fallows’s great article “Uncle Sam Buys An Airplane.”

Why Van Gogh’s sunflowers are turning brown.

The bureaucracy behind the Pentagon’s drones.

Are India’s rich losing their luster? Relatedly, are India’s rich like Gilded Age robber barons?:
…India’s recent growth has created billionaires to equal the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Rockefellers and Morgans of America. India has 6.9 per cent of the world’s 1,000 or so billionaires, while its gross domestic product is only 2.1 per cent of world GDP. The total wealth of Indian billionaires is more than a fifth of the nation’s GDP, equalled only by Russia. By comparison, the wealth of China’s billionaires is less than 3 per cent of its GDP.

The U.S. government: an insurance company with a large standing army to protect it.

Bringing cheap, effective irrigation to India.

D.C. is expanding its use of data on teacher’s performance.

Apparently states and local governments are going after retired public workers’ health care costs…and, predictably, they’re huge.

China’s trade surplus shrank.

Do we have too much scientific data?

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