Michel Vuijlsteke's weblog

Tales of Drudgery & Boredom.

Tag: economics

Links van 18 februari 2015 tot 23 februari 2015

The Trouble with Dijsselbloem | Jacobin
For Dijsselbloem, extinguishing Syriza’s promise is imperative. It is a precondition for restoring the stability of the EU that he, his party, and economic elites so desire. But it is as necessary for the continuation of the dreamless, managerial, suit-and-tie progressivism from which he has never strayed.

The dangers of the “Google Analytics-powered Startup”
Let me start off by saying that I am not advocating for people not to use Google Analytics; in fact I use it avidly and consider myself a big fan. With this post, my mission is rather to provide a bit of perspective for the many current and prospective startup founders out there who base (or intend to base) their ‘data-driven work style’ on Google Analytics alone. In my world, Google Analytics should be seen as one advisor of many rather than ‘the one truth’, and here’s a few reasons for that:

Opt Out From Online Behavioral Advertising By Participating Companies (BETA)
Some of the ads you receive on Web pages are customized based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits over time and across different Web sites. This type of ad customization — sometimes called "online behavioral" or "interest-based" advertising — is enabled through your computer browser and browser cookies. Such online advertising helps support the free content, products and services you get online. Using the tools on this page, you can opt out from receiving interest-based advertising from some or all of our participating companies.

Greece Should Not Give In to Germany’s Bullying | Foreign Policy
Had the Varoufakis plan been put forward by an investment banker, it would have been perceived as perfectly reasonable. Yet in the parallel universe inhabited by Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, such demands are seen as “irresponsible”: Greece must be bled dry to service its foreign creditors in the name of European solidarity.

Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist | News | The Guardian
A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the eurozone would soon lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps, while the rest of Europe is would be in the grip of vicious stagflation. Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public institutions? Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone.

Links van 7 februari 2015 tot 10 februari 2015

Why Is Food Babe Selling a Product With BHT? | Bad Science Debunked
Why is Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) harassing Kellogg’s and General Mills because their cereals contain BHT, when she’s earning a sales commission on a product that contains BHT?

The curious case of the Facebook page that posts the same thing every day – The Washington Post
Once a day, every day since August 21, some fan with a weird sense of humor has posted the exact same photo of Italian pop singer Toto Cutugno to Facebook.

‘Mijn leven is mislukt’ – Wetenschap – Knack.be
Whut? "Zelf heb ik als bioloog geen zin meer in zinloze discussies met creationisten die de evolutietheorie als onzin afdoen, wegens niet passend in de kraam van God. Je kunt je tijd niet blijven verliezen, hoewel ik af en toe geconfronteerd word met het gegeven dat de Steinerscholen creationisme laten onderwijzen in de biologielessen, en dat de evolutietheorie er als een 'geloof' wordt bestempeld – iets waar onze onderwijsadministratie zich eens over zou moeten buigen."

The Rat Tribe of Beijing | Al Jazeera America
Every morning, a metamorphosis takes place below the ground of China’s capital. In a world without sun or fresh air, people roll out of bed in windowless rooms, empty bedpans into communal toilets, pay 50 cents for a five-minute shower, ascend concrete stairways to the outside world and transform themselves from residents of the city’s most despised housing to strivers, hungry for a piece of the Chinese dream.These new Beijingers, who number about 1 million, are known as members of the “rat tribe,” or shuzu, because they make their homes underground in warrens of small, often-dank rooms that are cheaper than almost anything they can find above ground.

How startup Fab died – Business Insider
"We spent $200M in the past 2 years. $200M!" Goldberg's letter read. "We spent $200M and we have not proven out our business model. We spent $200M and we have not proven that we know precisely what our customers want to buy. "We are the most heavily funded startup in NYC in our life cycle and we have spent 2/3 of the cash … Holy shit this is a big deal."

Links van 3 oktober 2014 tot 6 oktober 2014

5 Steps To Fixing A Derailed Career | LinkedIn
All successful reinventions have one thing in common: a great story that makes people want to see the underdog win! You need to be able to articulate how you got to the point of needing the reinvention and what you hope to accomplish going forward in a way that has people hanging on every word and rooting for you to succeed.

The Mirrorball « ASCII by Jason Scott
Volgens mij gaat het over SJW's. "Group up a bunch of issues (Apples, Oranges, Watermelons, Rat Poison) and then people who show concern about the Rat Poison will seem to be showing concern on Apples and Oranges. And people who are supporting Apples and Oranges could easily be mistaken for supporters of Rat Poison. Once that spark hits the kindling, it’s over."

News – Monitoring current threats: ECDC Communicable…
As reported to ECDC by Belgian authorities, on 2 September 2014, following a human error, 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution were released into the environment by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Rixensart city, Belgium. The liquid was conducted directly to a water-treatment plant (Rosieres) and released after treatment in river Lasne affluent of river Dyle which is affluent of the Escaut/Scheldt river.

De Rechtzetting » Subsidiestop voor werkgeversorganisaties bedreigt honderden banen
‘Initiatieven en diensten als het Agentschap Ondernemen, de Sociaal-Economische Raad van Vlaanderen, Unizo [http://www.unizosubsidies.be/], Voka, Overnamemarkt, de Zenito-startersgids, de kmo-portefeuille en ga zo maar door hebben misschien elk hun verdiensten, maar op zich doen ze allemaal ongeveer hetzelfde’, zegt Vlaams minister-president Geert Bourgeois (N-VA). ‘Ik zie in ieder geval het verschil niet.’

Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone | Business | The Guardian
Zouden ze daar al van gehoord hebben, bij de mannen van de septemberverklaring? "All of the suffering in Europe – inflicted in the service of a man-made artifice, the euro – is even more tragic for being unnecessary"

Links van 13 mei 2014 tot 18 mei 2014

The death of the homepage in one simple graph
So it’s an odd thing when you’ve been saying something for years and nobody believes you, then suddenly, someone publishes one leaked graph, and overnight all the world agrees with you: The homepage is dead. And still they’ve got it wrong.

Gamasutra – The Cabal: Valve’s Design Process For Creating Half-Life
While Half-Life has seen resounding critical and financial success (winning over 50 Game of the Year awards and selling more than a million copies worldwide), few people realize that it didn’t start out a winner — in fact, Valve’s first attempt at the game had to be scrapped. It was mediocre at best, and suffered from the typical problems that plague far too many games. This article is about the teamwork – or "Cabal process" — that turned our initial, less than impressive version of Half-Life into a groundbreaking success.

The Trade of the Century: When George Soros Broke the British Pound
In 1992, George Soros brought the Bank of England to its knees. In the process, he pocketed over a billion dollars. Making a billion dollars is by all accounts pretty cool. But demolishing the monetary system of Great Britain in a single day with an elegantly constructed bet against its currency? That’s the stuff of legends.

SUPERHOT by SUPERHOT Team — Kickstarter
A unique first-person shooter game where time moves only when you move, making each level a deadly puzzle. PC/Mac/Linux.

Metaprogramming for madmen | The ryg blog
Alas, we spent an afternoon looking at different such packages, and none of them actually understood even that much about C/C++ code; they were mostly trying to make do with regular expressions. That wasn’t gonna fly for what we needed. At the end of the day (the Sunday before Easter Sunday, 2004), we hadn’t found anything useful – we had a plan, but no way to make it work. That’s when Chaos decided that, “well, guess I’ll need to write my own C++ parser then”. What, you think I was kidding with the title of this post? Note we had about 3 days total to make this work, and we were going all in by doing this; if this hadn’t worked out, we’d have been screwed.

Cuttings from a Medieval Italian Choirbook | The Public Domain Review
James Freeman, intern in Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Section at The British Library, looks at cuttings from a huge 14th-century Italian choirbook and how digital technology is now helping scholars build a picture of the once intact original through virtually reuniting the “diaspora” of fragments.

Links van 5 februari 2014 tot 16 februari 2014

The Facebook Comment That Ruined a Life – – News – Dallas – Dallas Observer
Approximately one hour after Justin Carter posted a sarcastic comment on a Facebook thread, his life began to ­unravel.

The Economics of Star Trek — Editor’s Picks — Medium
The key here, to me, is to start thinking about how economics would work when we decouple labor from reward. Does that make a system inherently communist? I don’t think it does. People work. They get paid. It is market driven, and not centrally planned. In reality,the market already basically dictates this, for who can claim that a Wall Street banker works more than a teacher? The only thing we really need to do is take this to a logical extreme: that people can still get paid doing zero work.

What the hell is a pixel?
So to future CSS designers: We are sorry for the confusion we caused you. Just try to forget about the pixel and it's now meaningless original definition. To you a pixel is just an arbitarily small dot. To us it will always be the size of the ball in pong.

Big Breakthroughs Come in Your Late 30s – Atlantic Mobile
Damn. Te laat.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Zina Lahr | Media | OutsideOnline.com
When 23-year-old Lahr went missing on a trail outside Ouray, Colorado, the world lost an amazing young talent

Your 60-Hour Work Week is Not a Badge of Honour | Jeff Archibald
Your 60-hour work week is not a badge of honour. It is a problem. There is a sense of pride over being able to state that we worked an exorbitant amount of hours this week, last week, or last month. But as you dig into the 60-hour work week, you realize it is a problem. Not just for the obvious reasons either, like work/life balance, burnout, how unhealthy it is, errors that come with being tired and so forth.

The Startling Intelligence of the Common Chicken – Scientific American
These new insights into the chicken mind hint that certain complex cognitive abilities traditionally attributed to primates alone may be more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously thought. The findings also have ethical implications for how society treats farmed chickens: recognizing that chickens have these cognitive traits compels moral consideration of the conditions they endure as a result of production systems designed to make chicken meat and eggs as widely available and cheap as possible.

Marvel gives comic book characters their own API
From Captain America and Spider-Man to Wolverine and Iron Man, Marvel Entertainment, a Disney subsidiary, has built an empire by bringing more than 8,000 characters to life through a diverse array of mediums, including comic books, movies and other entertainment properties. Now, it’s giving those characters a new medium to inhabit: the world of the API.

Links van 18 januari 2014 tot 21 januari 2014

Beats Music | Online Music Streaming
Our curators are driven by a passion for music. They know the only thing as important as the song you’re hearing now is the song that comes next. Their expertise, combined with the best technology, always delivers the right music to you at the right time.

Geocodio | Ridiculously cheap bulk geocoding
turn street addresses into map coordinates using our straightforward REST API

Generate a Random Name – Male, French, Belgium – Fake Name Generator
Your Randomly Generated Identity!

Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world | Business | theguardian.com
The extent to which so much global wealth has become corralled by a virtual handful of the so-called 'global elite' is exposed in a new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world's population.

Gaan we voor angst en vernedering, of zetten we in op emancipatie en hoop? – Opinie – De Morgen
Crul vergeleek de situatie van jonge Turkse Europeanen in al die landen met elkaar. De ondervraagde jongeren hadden allemaal dezelfde startpositie (geboren in Europa), dezelfde herkomst (ouders geboren in Turkije) en het betrof allemaal kinderen van laaggeschoolde arbeidersgezinnen. De onderzoeker vroeg zich af of die jongeren, die in verschillende landen in erg vergelijkbare omstandigheden aan de start kwamen, zich anders zouden ontwikkelen op sociaal-economisch vlak en of ze vervolgens ook andere maatschappelijke opvattingen zouden ontwikkelen. Het antwoord op beide vlakken luidt ontegensprekelijk "ja". In Zweden stromen zes (6!) keer meer van die jongeren door naar academische opleidingen dan in Duitsland.

Het keerpunt is bereikt: de emancipatie is niet uit, maar simpelweg af – nrc.nl
Emancipatie wordt dan niet gemeten in termen van vrijheid, maar in termen van gelijke uitkomsten. Maar wordt het zo langzaamaan niet eens tijd voor de conclusie: allebei kan blijkbaar niet? De huidige, ongelijke (of in ieder geval verschillende) verhoudingen en opvattingen zijn dan juist het product van die vrijheid, omdat vrouwen nu eenmaal geneigd zijn om andere prioriteiten te stellen en keuzes te maken, wat er vervolgens toe leidt dat er meer vrouwen zullen zijn die parttime werken, en net wat minder vrouwelijke ME’ers en topmanagers.

Links van 7 maart 2012 tot 12 maart 2012

Improv Everywhere – Spinning Beach Ball of Death – YouTube
It's rare that two obnoxious phenomena completely jump the shark at the same time.

Striptekenaar Jean Giraud/Moebius overleden – De Standaard
Met de dood van de Franse stripmaker Jean Giraud, die ook publiceerde als Moebius, verliest Europa een van zijn invloedrijkste auteurs.

U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers on E-Book Pricing – WSJ.com
The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.

Stephen Wolfram Blog : The Personal Analytics of My Life
"One day I’m sure everyone will routinely collect all sorts of data about themselves. But because I’ve been interested in data for a very long time, I started doing this long ago. I actually assumed lots of other people were doing it too, but apparently they were not. And so now I have what is probably one of the world’s largest collections of personal data. "

How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies » Medium Difficulty
I couldn’t even bring myself to fight back. I just stood there. I was one of the few true Dark Jedi Masters, and I let him kill me. That very act illustrated perfectly what SOE did wrong. Those of us who had faithfully put in the hours and weeks and months required to earn those lightsabers were spit on and betrayed by the very architects of the game we loved.