Michael Hanson, Alex Nelson and Andrew Bates
The Big Picture

45 Things That Mattered This Week - 11/18/2011

By, 11/22/2011

Navajo credit ratings. The value of Ivy League diplomas. The McRib. Smokin’ Joe and the Keystone XL pipeline. What do they have in common? They’re all in this week’s eclectic mix of interesting articles. Enjoy!

  1. Is an Ivy League Diploma Worth It? Maybe not, but then, who will get to wear those cool crested blazers?
  2. You want a job with a high attrition rate? Try running the President’s office. Key Obama Aide Relinquishes Some Duties.
  3. France Announces New Austerity Plan. So much for retiring before your first gray hairs set in.
  4. Malcolm Gladwell on Steve Jobs’s true genius: The Tweaker.
  5. Indian politics are fascinating, and sometimes odd, but vital for the country’s future. Indians Urge Political Heir to Take Top Role.
  6. “There's no scarcity of reliable information about Iran's nuclear programs, licit and illicit. The only question is whether the report will do much to end the current scarcity of Western will to do something meaningful to check them.” Now For a Real Iran Debate.
  7. If you haven’t read the literature of Mario Vargas Llosa, you must. Literature and the Search for Liberty.  “What is lost on collectivists is the prime importance of individual freedom for societies to flourish and economies to thrive.”
  8. Michael Lewis on Daniel Kahneman’s new book: The King of Human Error.
  9. "’Our backs are finally against the wall,’ {the super committee chairman} says, and both sides are ‘finally starting to get serious.’ Still, his expectations are modest. ’We're not going to be high-fiving each other over any deal that's reached.’ Especially not since they’ve now officially failed. A Look Inside the Super Committee.
  10. The next great super-hero frontier? Digitization. Action Heroes’ Digital Challenge.
  11. “Going by exports to Europe, the Continent's debt crisis seems to pose about as much threat to the US as the giant asteroid that zoomed by this week.” Reading Between the Lines on Italy’s Woes.
  12. A major shift in US military and political policy: US to Build Up Military in Australia. Obama Seeks New Pacific Influence.
  13. Will the return of Putin be as bad for Russia as many believe? Russia Closes on WTO With Georgia Pact.
  14. Bullish for China in 2012: Beijing Appears Set to Ease Lending Limits. But let’s not forget its geopolitical aims: China-Oil Deal Gives Chavez a Leg Up.
  15. Will software replace human teachers? Not likely . . . for now. My Teacher Is an App.
  16. “I would hazard a guess that 90% of great scientists start out as heretics. The problem is that 90% of scientific heretics are talking nonsense.” Is That Scientific Heretic a Genius—or a Loon?
  17. Rethinking Thinking:  “Biologism has two cardinal manifestations. One is the claim that the mind is the brain, or the activity of the brain, so that one of the most powerful ways to advance our understanding of ourselves is to look at our brains in action, using the latest scanning devices. The other is the claim that Darwinism explains not only how the organism Homo sapiens came into being (as, of course, it does) but also what motivates people and shapes their day-to-day behavior.”
  18. A fascinating history of a relevant 20th century conflict: Moscow vs. the Mujahideen.
  19. The era of hyper-activist central banking continues: Bank of England Signals More QE.
  20. The Stock Markets: Devices for Exposing Foolish Activities. ‘Nuff said.
  21. Eeewww! The Economics of the McRib  And The World’s First Lab-Grown Hamburger Could Be Created by August of 2012.
  22. How Historians Boot the Reagan Revolution. “Here is an implication that the Reagan Revolution did not solve stagflation. It is notwithstanding these facts: as Reagan’s reforms got put into practice in the 1980s, unemployment fell from 11% to 5%, inflation went down from 14% to 2%, growth boomed at 4.3% per year, and stocks tripled.”
  23. “But the delay is a decision itself, one that favored environmentalists who assert that the pipeline's route across the Midwest would endanger sensitive lands and drinking water supplies. One leading environmental group declared the pipeline dead. A chorus of labor and business leaders complained about the failure to create jobs for thousands of construction workers.” Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Delayed Until After 2012 Election.
  24. “The explosive growth of the micro-blogging service’s global popularity is emblematic of a trend affecting the entire internet: it’s becoming less American, and less Anglophone. The most recent numbers I could find, indicate a drop in US-based ‘unique users’ from 62% in June 2009 to just over 50% in January 2010.” 539 - Vive Tweet! A Map of Twitter's Languages.
  25. “What are the odds that you, as an individual, exist? Pretty good, you'd guess, since you're sitting right here reading this. But, in an abstract sense, the chances that you exist are really rather slim.”Great Moments in Pedantry: The Odds of Your Existence.
  26. We’re sure they’re not talking about economics . . . right? “Quantum theory is the most successful framework for understanding the universe that we have, providing predictions that are borne out to a stunning degree of precision. But there’s a problem: no one actually knows how to interpret it.” Testing the Copenhagen Interpretation: A Matter of Live and Dead Cats.
  27. Yes, but does it also have a calculator on it? Engineering the 10,000-Year Clock.
  28. “For Nietzsche, Emerson provided an image of the philosopher willing to go it alone without inherited faith, without institutional affiliation, without rock or refuge for his truth claims.” American Idol: On Nietzsche in America.
  29.  “The crowd is stupider than the averaging of its component minds.” A bold new look at the wisdom of crowds. CROWDS R US.
  30. RIP, Smokin’ Joe! Sports Book Hall of Fame: Ghosts of Manila.
  31. The global agricultural community is spectacularly more adaptive than most realize. “With crop prices soaring and housing in a deep slump, the economics of land investment have turned upside down.” US Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers.
  32. A look into Italy’s wonky economy. Culture Built on Family Firms Tests Italy’s Plan for Growth.
  33. Free trade continues to burgeon through this era, and the US is participating: Framework Is Set for New Trade Bloc.
  34. The sad plight of the Keystone pipeline project: Canada Shops Oil After Pipeline Halt.
  35. Amen: “So the behavioralists may be right after all: People don’t act the way economists predict they should. The trouble is that they don’t act the way policymakers want them to, either.” Behavioral Economics Foils an Obama Tax Cut?
  36. How important is sea to land? Not as much as it used to be. The US Marine Corps Fights for Its Budget.
  37. “Politicians in Texas and three other states are invoking the 10th Amendment to defy a federal law phasing out incandescent bulbs.” A States’ Rights Battle Over Light Bulbs.
  38. A Bond Offering from the Navajo Nation: “In May, Standard & Poor’s awarded the Navajo Nation an A rating—one level above California’s—citing its natural resource revenue and cash reserves of more than $1 billion.”
  39. Million-Dollar Taxi Medallions: “Someone who leases a medallion to a driver or garage operator could expect to earn about $2,500 a month, according to Simon Greenbaum, a broker at NYC Medallion Brokers. That’s about a 3 percent return for a $1 million medallion, better than the 2.13 percent effective yield on US AAA rated corporate bonds as of Nov. 7 and the 2.04 percent yield on 10-year Treasuries.”
  40. “Borders’s demise, though, has as much to do with real estate as any metaphysical market shift.” The End of Borders and the Future of Books.
  41. Cali to Business: Get Out!In surveys, executives regularly call California one of the country’s most toxic business environments and one of the least likely places to open or expand a new company.”
  42. To Increase Jobs, Increase Economic Freedom. “Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.”
  43. “The connections between a symbol and a product allow for companies to build customer loyalty throughout the generations. So long as their products remain high quality and reasonably priced, these companies know that their iconography will keep customers returning for years to come.” Why Corporate Logos Matter to Companies.
  44. Psychology Rife with Inaccurate Research Findings. “While inaccurate and even fabricated findings make the field of psychology look silly, they take on potentially far more serious ramifications in forensic contexts, where the stakes can include six-figure payouts or extreme deprivations of liberty.”
  45. “The study of literature isn’t limited to Shakespeare and Dickens; it can illuminate the tokens of our daily lives, from cookbooks to Vogue.” Does that make Spiderman the latter day Job? Or are we over-thinking this? The Thrill of Applying Literary Theory to Everyday Texts.
Click here to rate this article:

*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.


Get a weekly roundup of our market insights.Sign up for the MarketMinder email newsletter. Learn more.