Lifes Worth Knowing

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Weekender

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Speeches that were never delivered. This great article over at the Atlantic looks at two doomsday speeches that never had to be given. Eisenhower had a very short, but eloquent remarks prepared had the D-Day invasion been pushed back into the English Channel – a probability that the General considered highly likely. The other speech is the one that Nixon had prepared if there was a malfunction during the moon landing that would’ve stranded the astronauts in space. Nixon’s never given speech was beautiful; “For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.” It kind of makes you wonder about other speeches that never had to be given…I wonder if Kennedy had one prepared for the Cuban Missile crisis, or if Obama had one prepared for the raid on Osama.

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The Hidden Cost of Everything

In Economics, Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

Imagine a world where everything mattered, and where everything had a price. A world where the actual costs of our actions weren’t hidden, but where on full display.

There is a concept in economics known as externalities, which are costs that are not part of the price of a good. The most commonly referenced externality is pollution. If a shoe factory just dumps it’s waste into a river, the factory is not paying the cost of it’s actions, and neither are the people that are buying the shoes. The cost of the pollution is paid by those downstream who have their drinking water degraded. This is clearly a negative externality – a cost that is not paid by those engaging in the economic transaction (buying shoes in our example).

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The Weekender

In Current events, Economics, Fascinating, Interesting, Politics, Uncategorized on January 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

“Out of the Crooked Timber of Humanity, no straight thing has ever been made.” The most influential work of literature I had ever read was Isaiah Berlin’s essay “The Pursuit of the Ideal” which holds (at its essential level) that the biggest threat to humanity is absolutism in any form, because humanity is far too complex to fit into one mold, whether it be religious or political. I recently stumbled across this website, aptly called “crooked timber” which is basically what lifesworthknowing is…except with really smart authors.

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You Are What You Eat

In Current events, Food Politics, Justin on January 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Food Politics has been the “next” big thing for a  long time now. From the documentaries “King Corn”, “Food Inc.”, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” to the books “Eating Animals” and “Omnivore’s Dilemma” it has been a hot topic of the past couple years.  In fact Food Politics is the name of an actual blog that covers exclusively, well, you can guess. The point is that food politics is a big issue – and it is not going away.

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Too Awesome to Wait

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

The Science of the Sledding Crow

Stumbling across this video made my weekend – how incredible is it to see an animal finding joy in the same things that we do?

 

awesome.

The Weekender

In Current events, Fascinating, General, Interesting, Justin, Local, Science, Thoughtful on January 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

That’s a good amount of that. A new report out shows that just 5% of our population accounted for 50% of our healthcare costs. 1% accounted for 20%. That’s incredible, though I don’t know how to contextualize it. The report broke down the 10% that spent the most on healthcare and had some interesting demographic breakdowns – 80%were white, 60% were women, and 40% were over 65. So, if we want to find a scapegoat for our healthcare system…blame grandma?

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We All Have Aspirations

In Fascinating, Interesting, Justin, Thoughtful on January 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

If Life’s Worth Knowing had:

1.) A budget

2.) Spare time

3.) Technical expertise in the audio medium

4.) The backing of a national radio organization

I like to imagine that it would end up looking something like Radiolab – but we have none of those things, so the best that I can do is pass along another fascinating piece by geniuses Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad.

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The Weekender

In Current events, Fascinating, Interesting, Justin, Politics, Uncategorized on January 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

The Underwritten States of America. This map proves that health reform is not just a modern issue. From 1855, the cartography shows the USA divided up into different “risk zones” for the purpose of writing health insurance. Apparently Californians are much more expensive to insure than New Yorkers.

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Grading Gregory: Smells Like Santorum (Don’t Google That)

In Current events, Iowa, Justin, Meet the Press, Politics on January 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

This week – the week of the Iowa caucus, David Gregory sat down with Presidential pre(con)tender Rick Santorum. On Sunday, when the interview aired, this was of little consequence. Today? It is of monumental importance as Santorum took a strong second place showing in Iowa losing to Mitt Romeny by only eight votes. Eight votes! Even though Romney got more votes, Santorum is the big winner, coming from nowhere. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was stumping to mostly empty church basements, and now he is labeled with the seemingly disastrous republican front-runner tag (see: Bachmann, Michelle; Perry, Rick; Cain, Herman; Gingrich, Newt)

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