16 Jun 2009

Speed Blogging

  • In Brazil's Amazon region, "relative development, in terms of life expectancy, literacy, and standard of living, increases as deforestation begins but then declines again as the frontier passes through. As a result, pre- and postfrontier levels of development are similarly low, indicating a pattern of boom and bust."

  • Good news [pdf]: Japanese scientists have figured out how to raise AND reproduce blue fin tuna in captivity. Bad news: Captive babies are a TINY portion of the babies caught in the wild for captive farming. Even worse, "the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna’s management of bluefin tuna fisheries for sustainable fishing is widely regarded as an international disgrace."

  • More from TED: "Bennington president Liz Coleman delivers a call-to-arms for radical reform in higher education. Bucking the trend to push students toward increasingly narrow areas of study, she proposes a truly cross-disciplinary education -- one that dynamically combines all areas of study to address the great problems of our day." She explains exactly why I will NOT be looking for jobs at research universities.

  • "Pete Alcorn shares a vision of the world of two centuries from now -- when declining populations and growing opportunity prove Malthus was wrong." Interesting thoughts of a world where negative growth [sic] is good.

  • "The authors use a sample of 133 countries to investigate the link between the abundance of natural resources and micro-economic reforms. Previous studies suggest that natural resource abundance gives rise to governments that are less accountable to the public and states that are oligarchic, and that it leads to the erosion of social capital. These factors are likely to hamper economic reforms. The authors test this hypothesis using data on micro-economic reforms from the World Bank's Doing Business database. The results provide a robust support for the "resource curse" view: a move from the 75th percentile to the 25th percentile on resource abundance equals 10.9 percentage points more reform." In other words, governments have better policies when they have fewer resources (contrast Venezuela to Singapore).
hattip to JA


  1. "Liz Coleman.... explains exactly why I will NOT be looking for jobs at research universities."

    Could you please explain why?

  2. Because research that's too narrow to be useful in the real world is useless -- except as a form of intellectual masturbation. The "ivory tower" is a derogatory term because it refers to academics who do not care about people. I do, and I want my work to be useful to them...


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