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What We Read Today 06 September 2014

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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.


  • Coffee's Caffeine Buzz Evolved Separately from Tea's (Ewen Callaway, Nature Magazine, Scientific American) Coffee plants habituate pollinators to caffeine and that is a key to their survival. Another interesting research fact is the biochemistry of caffeine formation in coffee plants is different that in other caffeine containing plants such as teas and cacao. That may indicate two independent origins for caffeine in plants.
  • Recent articles about Ferguson:

Ferguson Police Chief Lied About Why He Released Alleged Michael Brown Robbery Tape: Report (Simon McCormack, Huffington Post)

  • Articles about wars elsewhere in the world:

Boko Haram crisis: 'Bodies litter' Nigeria's Bama town (BBC News)

Damaged Buildings and Psyches Challenge Schools in Gaza (Jodi Rudoren, The New York Times)

White House confirms al-Shabab leader killed in airstrike in Somalia (Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post)

ISIS, Libya, NATO, and Preventing the Next 9/11 (Dennis J. Kucinich, The Huffington Post)

MAP: Islamic State’s brutal massacres in Syria and Iraq (Swati Sharma, The Washington Post)

Obama Says US Will 'Degrade and Ultimately Defeat' ISIS Like Al Qaeda (Erin Dooley, abc News)

U.S. says forms 'core coalition' to counter Iraq militants (Phil Stewart and Julien Ponthus, Reuters)

Querying Nato's rapid reaction force (Jomathan Marcus, BBC News)

Cease-fire takes effect in eastern Ukraine amid discord and skepticism (Sergei Loiko and Carol J. Williams, LA Times)

There are 10 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

This week we have started a new section "Other Economics and Business Items of Note", the final section every day.

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  • Forget Target Date ETFs And Consider These Options Instead (David Fabian, FMD Capital) Fabian suggests that diversified sector ETFs are better investor choices than target date funds, which were advertized to perform an asset allocation and time horizon problem for investors but have, instead, delivered continuing under-performance.
  • Teen birth rates plummet (Dennis Thompson, HealthDay, CBS News) Teen birth rates in the U.S. declined 57% over the past 20 years with a dramatic impact on school dropout and social services costs for the government. The savings in 2010 alone was about $20 billion. Over the past 55 years the teen birth rate has declined even more (72%). Abortion has not contributed to the decline: abortion rates have fallen even faster. In spite of the dramatic decline, the teen birth rate in the U.S. is still higher than many other countries. It is 6% higher than Russia, 22% higher than the UK and more than 500% higher than Japan, Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland.


  • Short Men Make Better Boyfriends and Husbands (Alice Robb, New Republic) They're less likely to divorce and they do an extra hour of housework each week. These conclusions are from a University of Michigan project that's been collecting demographic data on 5,000 families for almost 50 years.
  • Comparing Recoveries (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot email, no url) The last three economic recoveries have been criticized for being "jobless" yet there are several with lower employment growth rates and all others since 1939 have been much shorter in duration.


  • The Dreadnought of Dinosaurs (Rachel Ewing, Scientific Computing) An absolutely captivating summary of the new data found on the largest land animal ever discovered for this planet. Reading this an analogous size relationship occurred to us: Man and mouse.
  • It's Been A Really Long Time Since We've Seen A 10% Decline In Stocks (Myles Udland, Business Insider) There have been 58 10% corrections for the S&P 500 since World War II, The duration of the current span since the last correction is longer than 49 other occasions, putting it in the 84th percentile. But it is less than 1/3 the length of the longest, which started in August 1990.


  • Other Economics and Business Items of Note

99.999% certainty humans are driving global warming: new study (The Conversation)

MetLife 'strongly disagrees' with FSOC systemic risk tag (Employee Benefit Advisor)

American exceptionalism (The Economist)

How the economics of health care are changing (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Economic Inequality Continued To Rise In The U.S. After The Great Recession (FiveThirtyEight)

Brazil’s economy: Better than Ukraine (The Economist)

Do fast-food strikes actually work? (The Guardian)

Time to get over cost-benefit analysis (New Economics Foundation)

Alibaba files to sell up to $24.3 billion in stock, biggest US IPO ever (CNBC)

Nevada offered $1.25 billion in tax breaks to win Tesla (USA Today)

Dozens arrested nationwide in rallies for higher minimum wage (LA Times)

BP Ruling ‘Wakeup Call’ as Risks Mount in Oil Search (Bloomberg Businessweek)

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