A Book You Should Read (or Listen to or Watch)

  I’m reading The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Actually, I’m reading it, listening to it, and watching the movie made from it simultaneously. This is easy to do now if you are willing to pay to get a good book in audio form and rent the movie. (If there is one.) The obvious advantage is that you can get through it faster. But I’ve found that it also helps me get into it more deeply. And this, I think, helps me get more out of it. Anyway… The Quiet American is a very good novel. If you haven’t read it, you should. Graham Greene is one of those writers – like Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, and Vladimir Nabokov – …

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The Time You Spend on Your Smartphone: Gold, Wood, or Poison?

There are basically three kinds of activities that you can choose to spend your time on: Golden – meaning activities that improve you Wooden – meaning activities that have no apparent effect on you Poisonous – meaning activities that diminish you in some way With a Golden activity, you’re working well on something you value. Something you are proud of and would do for free (or even pay to do). This is indubitably the best way to spend your time. With a Wooden activity, you’re doing something that simply amuses you. Something like playing video games or watching mindless movies or playing golf. You’re not causing harm, but you’re not doing anything constructive either. You are simply wasting time. With …

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How To Travel Like A Pro

I spend a lot of time traveling, often to far flung destinations which can offer beautiful cities, picturesque beaches, exotic food and foreign cultures. But sometimes it feels as if I’m being wheeled from one drab hotel room to the next, with the briefest of colorful blurs in between. Ryan Murdock, has written a wonderful article for ETR, on “How to Travel Like a Pro”. He’s got great tips, for both the hardened road warrior and the casual tourist, on how to maximize your time and most importantly your experience. If you want to understand a place, travel alone. When you go with others, the trip is about the dynamics of the group. You seldom interact with the world you’re passing …

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Early Bird Catches the Cancer?

Here is an eye opening article from Bloomberg News on early stage cancer prevention. For decades, the reigning theory has been that the earlier a cancer is spotted and treated, the less likely it is to be lethal, because it won’t have time to grow and spread. Yet this theory infers causality from correlation. It implicitly assumes that cancer is cancer is cancer, even though we now know that even in the same part of the body, cancer is many different diseases — some aggressive, some not. Perhaps people survive early-stage cancers not because they’re treated in time, but because their disease never would have become life-threatening at all. This isn’t just logical nit-picking. Thanks to widespread screening, the number …

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Can a Computer Replace a News Reporter?

An interesting piece from Wired, about a developing technology that could conceivably replace your local beat reporter. A company based out of Chicago, Narrative Science, has developed an algorithm that can automatically generate and write a news story from data mined and collected over the Internet. Here’s a little bit about how it works: Narrative Science’s writing engine requires several steps. First, it must amass high-quality data. That’s why finance and sports are such natural subjects: Both involve the fluctuations of numbers—earnings per share, stock swings, ERAs, RBI. And stats geeks are always creating new data that can enrich a story. Baseball fans, for instance, have created models that calculate the odds of a team’s victory in every situation as the game …

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The Making of a Modern Debt Slave

Another great article from Bill Bonner over at Laissez Faire Club. If you have children…or grandchildren, you’ll want to read this. Today, the U.S. lumbers into the future with total debt equal to about 350% of GDP. In Britain and Japan, the total is over 500%. Debt, remember, is the homage that the future pays to the past. It has to be carried, serviced… and paid. It has to be reckoned with… one way or another. And the cost of carrying debt is going up! Over the last few weeks, interest rates have moved up by about 15% — an astounding increase for the sluggish debt market. How long will it be before long-term borrowing rates are back to “normal”? …

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Why Modern Economics Gets It Wrong

Here’s some great wisdom from Alaisdar Macleod of Gold Money, via Casey Research. There are four horsemen of the global economic apocalypse, all interlinked: the overburdened economy; broken banks; expensive interventionist governments; and a developing welfare and pension crisis. As a politician aptly described to me when I interviewed him a few months ago in Brussels, trying to squeeze out economic growth under these conditions is like trying to fly a plane with concrete wings. This simile applies best to the European Union, but it is also true in the US, Japan, and the UK. The economic establishment will never understand the true causes of our economic problems by focusing on econometrics. For example, reliance on gross domestic product (GDP) …

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Compliments

There’s a great post at The Art of Manliness, that deals with the ever awkward art of receiving a compliment. The authors show us why we deflect compliments, how we deflect compliments, and the best way to graciously accept a compliment (it’s actually quite simple!). Here are some reasons that we deflect compliments:  Fear of being seen as conceited. This is by far the most common reason people deflect a compliment. They worry that by agreeing with someone else’s praise of them, they are essentially praising themselves and thus being smug. The need to restore “balance.” Since a compliment is a positive act, you may feel a psychological need to balance things out by either negating the praise through deflection, …

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