Smart Links 25 December 2012

Bill Gate’s top 10 books in 2012 and interesting reviews.

Guardian -- The Better Angels of our Nature
The decline of violence, 'may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species'

 

New York Review of Books -- The Real Deng
When a scientific experiment uncovers a new phenomenon, a scientist is pleased.


 

 

Spectrum -- The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
Daniel Yergin, probably the best-known and most widely quoted American in all matters having to do with energy, is in the spotlight again with a big new book.


 

Computer Sight -- A Summary and Analysis of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer for Practicing and Aspiring Managers
Joshua Foer, a freelance journalist, becomes intrigued with mental sport of memory after finding out Ben Pridmore, former U.S. Memory Champion, could remember the precise order of 1,528 random digits in a hour. He was then surprised to hear Ben Pridmore claim that anyone could do it. Ed Cooke, a grand master of memory, also claimed that anyone could perform the outstanding feat.

 

youtube -- Joshua Foer, "Moonwalking with Einstein"
Joshua Foer gives a talk about his latest book 'Moonwalking With Einstein' in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin in April 2011.


 

Slate -- Behind the Beautiful Forevers -- Katherine Boo, a Pulitzer-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer, has many ways of illuminating the people she writes about

 

The New Agriculturalist -- One billion hungry: Can we feed the world?
The question of the title is of concern to everyone.


 

Education Week – A World-Class Education
Delving into Vivien Stewart's new book, A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation, is, to indulge a metaphor from Chinese cuisine, a simultaneously sweet and sour experience.



The Society Pages – Academically Adrift
Bless your hearts, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, for calling on institutions of higher education to prioritize undergraduate learning.

 


New York Review of Books -- This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
Lately, the big concern roiling financial markets has been fear of Greek default.



The New Republic -- The City that Became Safe: New York’s Lesson for Urban Crime and Its Control
SINCE THE EARLY 1990s, New York City has experienced the deepest and most prolonged crime drop in recorded history.


 

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.