First World Packaging

Hat tip: neglected_martian (via reddit).

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Hypothetical theft-deterrence devices

Hat tip: obviousplant (via reddit).

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U.S. statehood map

When will the next State (Puerto Rico or Nova Scotia anyone?) be added to this list, or did the era of U.S. territorial expansion end in 1959 with Hawaiian and Alaskan statehood? (By the way, 1959 was also the year of the Cuban Revolution.)

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Why did the N.Y. Times drop Joe Sharkey’s travel column?

According to this report by the excellent Jim Romenesko, it’s because some evil hack at the New York Times decided to slash the paper’s already paltry budget for freelance writers. Although Sharkey’s column had been published every Tuesday in the business section of the Times for the last 16 years, no one–not even Joe Sharkey himself–saw this coming. (Why didn’t the Times use this opportunity get rid of David Brooks or Charles Blow’s utterly predictable and unoriginal columns instead?) Am I the only one mad at the Times for dropping Sharkey’s Tuesday travel column and for eliminating the weekly profiles of frequent fliers to boot? Now the “Itineraries” section is completely lame and irrelevant. Thanks New York Times. You managed to alienate one of your last faithful print readers …


You can now add the Times’s “Itineraries” section to this list.

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In defense of pirates …

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So when is Cheryl’s birthday?

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Coase theorem primer (police shooting video edition)

Broadly speaking, the so-called Coase theorem states that when bargaining is feasible (i.e. when transaction costs are low), bargaining among parties with conflicts of interest will produce an efficient economic outcome regardless of the initial allocation of property rights. English economist Ronald Coase originally developed this idea to explain the economics of externalities, such as railway sparks. Does his theorem also apply to media outlets that air newsworthy videos filmed by private citizens? From the New York Times (17 April 2015, p. A21):

The video of a North Charleston police officer shooting an unarmed man in the back will now cost news outlets that want to run it $10,000, according to a publicist representing the man who shot it. Cease-and-desist letters went out this week to news outlets around the world from Markson Sparks, a publicity and celebrity management company based in Sydney, Australia. The video, taken April 4, showed a North Charleston police officer, Michael T. Slager, shooting a man who ran from him after a traffic stop. A bystander, Feidin Santana, took the video and then turned it over to the family of the man who was killed, Walter L. Scott.

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