This is the first installment of a new Freakonomics.com feature from Sudhir Venkatesh. Each AI: Adventures in Ideas post will showcase new research, writing, or ideas. A new book is garnering significant attention. In Going Solo, Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, looks at a growing trend in contemporary adulthood: living alone. How we live, Klinenberg argues, is shifting, and it could be one of the most important developments of the last half-century.
Source: Introducing “AI: Adventures in Ideas,” a New Blog Series from Sudhir Venkatesh. Episode 1: Going Solo – Freakonomics Freakonomics
If someone has their own apartment all on their own, but they see the same group of friends 3 to 5 days a week, are they really living alone?
The manufacturers took what matters least about the iPhone – the trade dress – and made that an obsession. Take what matters most – Apple’s consumer-focused clarity of vision – and see where that gets you.
Source: Intelligent Design And The Modern Cellphone | TechCrunch
For a singularly grim, if fiercely literary, assessment of the earth’s environmental fate, the grizzled wisdom of Cormac McCarthy is always there to deliver the dark pronouncement that we’re flat-out doomed.
reminding environmentally conscientious consumers how easily virtuous intentions can be trumped by negative and unexpected outcomes
Source: The Prius Driver’s Conundrum – Freakonomics Freakonomics
At the core of Lessig’s reasonable manifesto is the corrupting influence of money in politics, a corruption that predates the notorious Citizens United Supreme Court case. Lessig ascribes to this corruption the outrage that mobilizes both Occupy and the Tea Party, and he believes that the corruption can’t be ended until both the left and right realize that though they don’t have a common goal, they do share a common enemy, and unite to defeat it.
Source: Lessig’s One Way Forward / Boing Boing
Pepper spray, tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets — these “non-lethal” weapons are being used by more and more local police forces, as well as military forces brought in to control civilian crowds and other situations. Despite their name, non-lethal weapons have been known to cause deaths … and as Stephen Coleman suggests, there are other, more insidious hazards as well. He explores the complex ethics — and the unexpected consequences — of using non-lethal weapons to control civilians.
Source: Stephen Coleman: Non-lethal weapons, a moral hazard? | TED Talk | TED.com
Many people have said to me in the past month, “I’m going to buy a home.” Or, “What do you think of the idea of me buying a home?” I like the second batch of people. They are my friends and it seems like they are sincerely asking for my advice. And I’m going to give it to them. Whether they meant it or not.
Source: Why I’d Rather Shoot Myself in the Head than Ever Own a Home Again – Freakonomics Freakonomics
Original: Why I Am Never Going to Own a Home Again – Altucher Confidential
Only a fool ultimately stays a renter, because they are bypassing the very thing that defines western society and law. Real property ownership.
The new science of interrogation is not, in fact, so new at all: “extraordinary rendition” and “enhanced interrogation” and “waterboarding” all spring directly from the practices of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. The distance, in both technique and ideology, between the Inquisition’s interrogation regime and 21st-century America’s is uncomfortably short—and provides a chilling harbinger of what can happen when moral certainty gets yoked to the machinery of torture.
The Bush Administration’s threshold for where an act of torture begins was the point at which the Inquisition stipulated that it must stop.
Source: Torturer’s Apprentice – The Atlantic
VIA Matt Yglesias, an interesting discussion on the value of gold by the world’s most famous value investor: Today the world’s gold stock is about 170,000 metric tons.
Source: Quips: The wisdom of Warren Buffett | The Economist
An alarming view of prospective young employees comes from the Defense Department, which has found that 75% of Americans aged 17 to 24 are not qualified to serve in the armed forces.
If America wants its economy to be as good as its armed forces, then the same requirements apply to young people looking for private-sector jobs. And the Pentagon is telling us that some 26 million young adults don’t meet the requirements.
Source: The unemployment facts we’d rather not face – Fortune