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links for 2008-10-27 October 27, 2008

Posted by arikjohnson in Uncategorized.
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  • Don't think I'm not a little worried about voting for Obama mind you… just less worried that I am about voting for McCain – here's an excerpt (the WSJ's Murdoch is starting to show):

    … growth in government spending outstrips revenues. Fiscal and trade deficits soar. Public debt, excessive taxation and unemployment follow. The central bank tries to solve the problem by printing money. International competitiveness is lost and the currency depreciates. The system stagnates. And then a frightened electorate returns conservatives to power.

    The economic tides will not stand still while Washington experiments with European-type social democracy, even though the dollar's role as the global reserve currency will buy some time. Our trademark competitive advantage will be lost, and once lost, it will be hard to regain. There are too many emerging economies focused on prosperity and not redistribution for the U.S. to easily recapture its role of global economic leader.

  • A paradox of human life is that the evolutionary forces that have made us cooperative and empathetic are the same ones that have made us prickly and explosive. Jonathan Haidt, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, is a leading theorist in the field of moral psychology. He says the paired emotions of gratitude and vengeance helped us become the ultrasocial, ultrasuccessful species that we are. Gratitude allows us to expand our social network and recruit new allies; vengeance makes sure our new friends don't take advantage of us.

    You could say our lives as social beings are ruled by the three R's: respect—the sense that proper deference has been paid to our status, reputation—the carefully maintained perception of our qualities, and reciprocity—the belief that our actions are responded to fairly. In other words, high school may be the most perfect recapitulation of the evolutionary pressures that shaped us as a species.

  • Last night came final and irrevocable proof that the country is entering tough economic times, unseen since the 80s: AC/DC have returned to the top of the album charts for the first time in 28 years.

    Even by the standards of a band whose commercial success is a given – the venerable Australian rockers have shifted more than 80m records since forming 35 years ago (in the midst of the 1973 oil crisis) – the circumstances of their 16th studio album's British success seem striking.

    At one point last week, AC/DC's Black Ice was outselling its nearest competitor, Kaiser Chiefs' Off With Their Heads, by two to one, despite the fact that they declined to release it as a digital download, preferring vinyl and CD.

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