Assorted links

1. There is no Great Stagnation (short video).

2. Poverty and depletable willpower.

3. Japan’s artistic gas storage tanks.

4. MIE: AlibiNetwork, from Elan.

5. Slate’s engine for graphing Hollywood careers, inspired by Alex.  And try to guess who the best and most consistent actor is.  The link is interesting throughout.


#2 is considerably more interesting than the average TNR article. Perhaps "depletable willpower" provides an explanation for the success of retailers offering what seems an excess of product choices... by the time the consumer has considered half them, his ability to resist the purchase of something he doesn't need has left him.

It may also explain why people who stretch their budget to buy a house planning to spend less on other things to meet the payments, fail to do so but just get deeper in debt every year.

Woulda loved to see how John Cazale fared on that Hollywood graph.

I think the much larger problem re international poverty is lack of property rights. DeSoto did some great work on this.

Aside from that quibble, a very interesting article. I've always tried to minimize these mental costs in my life and I think it's made it easier to control spending.

Nice links, but the statement "And try to guess who the best and most consistent actor is" should instead be, "And try and guess what actor has been in the most consistently highly-rated movies." Unless, for example, you consider John Ratzenberger's 'The Underminer' voice in 'The Incredibles' the key to that film. One problem with using Rotten Tomatoes data is that every individual review is treated as a binary 'positive/negative' judgment, which throws out the overwhelming majority of 'data' in those reviews.

Research irrefutably shows that there are traps that keep the poor poor. What I'd like to know is, why do some groups pass through poverty on the way to prosperity, while others stay mired in poverty generation after generation? To name names, why are these traps so dreadfully effective on, say, the Scotch-Irish, while the Jews proved immune to them?


The Jew's historically had an advantage, even where they encountered hostile locals. Whilst Muslims and Christians were prohibited from charging interest on loans, there was a clause allowing Jew's to charge interest to non-Jews. This lead to them developing financial expertise, from which they continued to benefit from even after Christians became allowed bank. Doesn't explain everything but would have helped.

#1 Claude Shannon had juggling robots decades ago

Shannon also invented the first wearable computer to cheat at roulette.
Which is a bit like finding out Einstein invented a time machine to grift rubes at 21.

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