What We Read Today 29 June 2014

June 29th, 2014
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

Follow up:

  • Why elites hate it when you say giant student debts aren’t the problem (Matt Phillips, Quartz) Matt Phillips has written a good piece on factors that are big problems in the student loan debt situation and other factors that are not significant problems. But he does miss the point that an article discussed yesterday (in the public portion of WWRT) by Choire Sicha was a takedown of a Brookings Institute study Econintersect has also attacked. Phillips seems to think Sicha was attacking a New York Times article by David Leonhardt which was only obliquely criticized by Sicha in his discussion of the misleading Brookings Institute publication. Is it any wonder mass confusion can develop on a subject when the discussion gets so fragmented? Phillips' essay would be much better at making his valid points if he avoided bringing the Sicha article (or the Leonhardt article for that matter) into his article in any substantive way. Sicha and Leonhardt are discussing the Brookings Institute report and Phillips is not. But Econintersect will wager that the Phillips article will be used to represent support for the Brookings work when it doesn't go near the issues in dispute there. Perhaps he could update his piece with a note stating that he is not discussing issues with Brookings study which have been a major consideration in the Sicha and Leonhardt blogs he references.
  • If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist?If the World Began Again, Would Life as We Know It Exist? (Zach Zorich, Nautilus) Experiments with 60,000 generations of 12 different colonies of E. coli which at generation 1 were identical have shown that dramatically different results can evolve in different colonies all maintained in identical external environments for that many generations. In terms of modern humans 60,000 generations would be of the order of 1 million years, a few hundredths of 1% of the time that life has been evolving on earth. The author's conclusion from the scientists involved in the experiments is that of we could start earth all over again the current outcome would be highly improbable.

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