Smart Picks 21 September 2014

A ‘Mosquito Theorem’ and how it helped fight malaria. 

Aeon -- The calculus of contagion

In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number.

 What I’m listening to. J. S. BACH - Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) 



Project Syndicate -- Ice Buckets and Ebola

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” was the feel-good health story of the summer.

Making the internet pay. 

Texas Monthly – The Click Clique

How Dallas’s Amber Venz transformed a stylist group of young bloggers into a …

Stay out of it. 

The New York Review of Books -- Israel & the US: The Delusions of Our Diplomacy

In the early days of the Gaza war that took the lives of some 2,100 Palestinians and seventy-two Israelis, a number of officials in Washington, Ramallah, and Jerusalem began to speak of renewing Israeli–Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States.

How the mighty have fallen. 

Economist -- Pouring cold water

Dismal results show the need for more vigorous restructuring.

When screwing around stopped being ok. 

New York Times -- How Gary Hart’s Downfall Forever Changed American Politics

On a scalding July day five years ago, I found myself hiking in Red Rocks Park, just outside Denver, with Gary Hart.


Financial Times -- Lunch with the FT

Sir John Sawers. In his first on-the-record interview the UK’s spy chief talks about risk, the Snowden revelations and reforming MI6.

China’s big shift. 

Project Syndicate -- In Praise of China’s New Normal

China’s economy is, at long last, undergoing a rebalancing, with growth rates having declined from more than 10% before 2008 to roughly 7.5% today. Is this China’s “new normal,” or should the country anticipate even slower growth in the coming decade?

Material world (by Madonna.)

Maclean’s -- The box is empty: On iPhones, religion and disconnection

Scott Gilmore finds a material fast doesn’t make him any nicer.



The Waitresses -- I Know What Boys Want


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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.