Fifteen on Friday – The Week’s Best Articles – 08/19/16

Food for Thought:

  1. Esquire – El Chapo and the Secret History of the Heroin Crisis.  If you wonder why America is in the grips of a heroin epidemic that kills two hundred people a week, take a hard look at the legalization of pot, which destroyed the profits of the Mexican cartels. How did they respond to a major loss in revenue? Like any company, they created an irresistible new product and flooded the market. The scariest part: this might not have happened with El Chapo in charge.
  2. Oaktree – Howard Marks: Political Reality.  Oaktree’s Howard Marks with a thoughtful reflection on the economic challenges informing the current political climate.
  3. TheAtlantic – The Junk Playground of New York City – Credit TP – Where children tinker with saws and hammers while parents stand on the sidelines.
  4. ID – Yes, There is Such a Thing As An Introvert Hangover
  5. JN – The Roomba Disaster.  Technology’s advance often faces unique challenges when it faces the most basic of human experience.  Case in point – What Happens when a Roomba (robotic vacuum cleaner) meets a puppy’s accident on the carpet at 1:30 in the morning? Hilarity Ensues.
Business/Economics:

  1. NC – Economists Mystified that Negative Interest Rates Aren’t Leading Consumers to Run Out and Spend – Credit JC – Not only has it been remarkable to witness the casual way in which central banks have plunged into negative interest rate terrain, based on questionable models. Now that this experiment isn’t working out so well, the response comes troubling close to, “Well, they work in theory, so we just need to do more or wait longer to see them succeed.”
  2. Economist – Secrets and agents – Credit CD – How does the information signaled by prices affect behavior – a look at George Akerlof’s 1970 paper, “The Market for Lemons”, a foundation stone of information economics.
  3. NYT – A Danish Wind Turbine Maker Harnesses Data in a Push to Stay Ahead
  4. Institutional Investor – Charles Ellis and the Index Revolution.  The longtime consultant explains why he’s come to believe that active investing is ultimately a loser’s game.
  5. WSJ – As Forecasts Go, You Can Bet on Monte Carlo.  From Super Bowls to hurricanes, this simulation method helps predict them all.
Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. WSJ – Yes, You Can Train Your Cat.  By nature, our feline friends are solitary, antisocial hunters who bristle at being cooped up—but we can change the way we relate to one another
  2. New Yorker – The Race for a Zika Vaccine.  In the throes of an epidemic, researchers investigate how to inoculate against the disease.
  3. TGAM – How to use style as a tool to invent yourself.  The first thing you notice about G. Bruce Boyer is that he dresses as well as you’d expect him to. No peacocking, just khaki trousers, brown calfskin lace-ups, a blue button-down shirt and a silk tie – but man does he make it look good.
  4. TG – Chris Harris Drives: the Porsche 911 Turbo S.  The Porsche 911 Turbo has always been a bit of an enigma, so how does this new, facelifted version fare?
  5. Economist – Seek, but shall ye find?  A proliferation of quieter submarines is pushing navies to concoct better ways to track them.
Podcasts Episodes:

  • Revisionist History – Blame Game.  In the summer and fall of 2009, hundreds of Toyota owners came forward with an alarming allegation: Their cars were suddenly and uncontrollably accelerating. Toyota was forced to recall 10 million vehicles, pay a fine of more than $1 billion, and settle countless lawsuits. The consensus was that there was something badly wrong with the world’s most popular cars. Except that there wasn’t.
  • Material World – Skinny Jeans are Killing the Fashion Industry.  Skinny jeans have dominated the denim world for 10 long years and the fashion industry has had enough. In the midst of the back-to-school shopping season, apparel companies are eager for pant styles to change.
  • Placemakers – They Tore Down East Lake.  Atlanta wanted an end to its public housing projects—no more pockets of poverty, crime, and despair. In the 1990s, the city started tearing the projects down, replacing them with mixed-income neighborhoods. The shining success story of this effort? East Lake, which turned “Little Vietnam” into a safe, beautiful community