Hiéq's Rants

Things that I think you should know

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Why it’s hard to get people to do what you want them to do

Why it’s hard to get people to do what you want them to do

A dad and his seven-year-old son were watching a Detroit Tigers game at the ballpark. His son asked him for some lemonade and Dad went to the concession stand to buy it. All they had was Mike’s Hard Lemonade, which was five percent alcohol. Dad, being an academic, had no idea that Mike’s Hard Lemonade contained alcohol. So he…

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Filed under psychology TED talks

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Gallery: What inequality looks like

Gallery: What inequality looks like

Featured Image -- 99

Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:


Inequality is a complicated term. It can be applied to so many factors, for one thing. There’s income inequality, asset inequality, gender inequality, social, class, political … you name it, someone, somewhere likely feels (and is) hard done by. And, for all the focus that Thomas Piketty has gained for his analysis of a new, ever-diverging global class of…

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A New Way to Help

Sometimes you don’t need years of education reform to keep these children out of crime. Sometimes, just introducing them to a hobby will do.


When I first saw this photo of a young boy playing football in Brazil while scrolling through the Guardian article on “Brazil 2014: What the World Cup Means to Us” – an ironic title considering the recent flood of protests against World Cup – nothing can…

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Filed under 2014 brazil crime disadvantaged football psychology teenagers world cup

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I really respect these people, to be honest… Wish there are more organizations like this in Singapore to reach out to the elderly…

I really respect these people, to be honest… Wish there are more organizations like this in Singapore to reach out to the elderly…

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What people can do if they are determined: how limiting carbon emission may save the economy

As the legislation loomed, prophecies of economic doom bubbled up. The U.S. Business Roundtable anticipated two million jobs would be lost, and the Chamber of Commerce foresaw compliance costs of $20 billion a year.

After the launch, Appalachian Power in West Virginia got an order from General Electric. The scrubbers cut 98 percent. “I was really shocked,” McLean said. “It had never been mentioned as a possibility.” It also turned out that coal from some parts of the country had lower sulfur content, so plants tried new mixes, bought from different mines, and took advantage of dropping rail transport prices. 


Filed under carbon emission environment featured

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Gamers solve decade old HIV puzzle in ten days

Scientists from University of Washington have been struggling for the past decade to decipher the complex structure of an enzyme that exhibits AIDS-like behavior, and which might hold a critical role in building a cure for the disease. Gamers playing spatial game Foldit have managed to collectively determine the enzyme’s structure in ten days.

Read more at http://www.zmescience.com/research/studies/gamers-solve-decade-old-hiv-puzzle-in-ten-days/#bjyg26C37PticUtG.99

Filed under science featured gaming hiv

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Are there too many people in finance?

The classic example of rent-seeking is that of a feudal lord who installs a chain across a river that flows through his land and then hires a collector to charge passing boats a fee (or rent of the section of the river for a few minutes) to lower the chain. There is nothing productive about the chain or the collector. The lord has made no improvements to the river and is helping nobody in any way, directly or indirectly, except himself. All he is doing is finding a way to make money from something that used to be free. If enough lords along the river follow suit, its use may be severely curtailed.

Those in “other finance” often engage in similar behavior. They skim the best business deals, creating a “negative externality” on those who are not party to them. If the bad assets that they reject – for example, the subprime mortgage securities that fueled the 2008 financial crisis – are created anyway and foisted on less knowledgeable investors, financiers contribute no more to society than a lord who installs a chain across a river.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-rent-seeking-problem-in-contemporary-finance-by-robert-j—shiller#XGw2WYIFuuw2SF8S.99

Filed under featured inequality economics rent seeking finance project syndicate price of inequality Joseph Stiglitz