Solar system necklace

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Order yours here (hat tip: @pickover).

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Circle drawing champion

Hat tip: @kottke

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Scholar bites dog

We’ve heard of Johannes Haushofer’s iconic “CV of failures“, but Professor Haushofer’s anti-CV has got nothing on Caitlin Kirby’s skirt consisting of academic rejection letters (pictured below). Kirby, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University, defended her dissertation while wearing a skirt made of 17 rejection letters–rejections from grants, scholarly journals, and academic conferences–that she had received during the course of her graduate studies:

To make this unconventional skirt, Kirby printed out 17 rejection letters and folded each one into a fan, connecting them in rows until they resembled a skirt. According to this report, Kirby still had many rejection letters left over. Good for her! Hat tip: @pickover.

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The problem with the Greta Thunbergs of the world

By now, you have probably heard of Greta Thunberg, the world-famous Swedish teenage climate-change activist who has urged immediate action to address the risks posed by man-made climate change. That’s putting it mildly; in the words of Ms Thunberg, “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” Although Ms Thunberg is no doubt a very eloquent speaker, her stern and strident call for action suffers from a fundamental flaw: one must also consider the benefits–not just the costs–of continued economic growth. Climate activists like Ms Thunberg do a great job of pointing out the environment costs of economic growth, but we must not blind ourselves to the benefits of growth nor ignore the costs of economic decline. A further irony is that curtailing the world’s continued economic growth will make it less likely that we will find a solution to climate change! To sum up, fanaticism in defense of the environment is a vice.

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The paradox of Markovits’s critique of meritocracy

Check out Kay Hymowitz’s excellent review of Daniel Markovits’ new book (pictured below), which is titled The Meritocracy Trap (Penguin, 2019). Here is one revealing excerpt from her review of Markovits’s book: “As economist (yes, Harvard-educated) Tyler Cowen has quipped: ‘The best critiques of the meritocracy have come from those with extreme merit.’ I’ll come back to this puzzle later, for it’s one that Markovits’s book, like others in the genre, doesn’t fully explore.”

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Variance flashcards

Check out the entire set of “machine learning flash cards” here. They were created by data scientist Chris Albon (@chrisalbon).

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Also: Free Havana, Free Hanoi, Free Caracas, and Free Pyongyang! In other words, what if every socialist economy had at least one free city so that the people in that economy could vote with their feet, and vice versa, what if every market economy had a socialist enclave for the Bernies and AOCs of this world …?

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