Love is wise, hatred is foolish

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Economic research shows that the medical advances sparked by the research done by medical academics added $3.2 trillion to the value in the economy, in terms of improved health, each year since 1970. Yet all academics in the United States—including all the researchers in other fields—were paid less than $100 billion. Financial workers earned five times that amount.

A system that delivers rewards in such poor proportion to the benefits society derives will stifle economic growth as well as sharpen inequality. Thus, the fundamental problem facing American capitalism is not the high rate of return on capital relative to economic growth that Piketty highlights, but the radical deviation from the just rewards of the marketplace that have crept into our society and increasingly drives talented students out of innovation and into finance.

The New Republic’s review of 2014’s blockbuster academic tome, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by French economist Thomas Piketty suggests solutions to socially harmful economic drives in terms of honour, rather than taxing capital. Another case is made for public investment in the basic sciences. The authors, Eric Posner and Glen Weyl, may have been reading Alain de Botton’s Utopia series in the Philosopher’s Mail.

Filed under economics thomas piketty alain de botton eric posner glen weyl capitalism

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… And Home of the Brave


As discussed in our last blog post, while the United States of America is conventionally known as the land of the free, it is also called the home of the brave. Unlike the word free, brave has taken a more circuitous lexical course. In Modern English, to label someone as brave is high praise, calling to mind heroic deeds and admirable courage. Brave can be traced back through Early Modern English and Middle French to the Old Italian bravo, meaning “wild.” Bravo is likely derived from the Vulgar Latin *brabus, which is in turn derived from the Latin barbarus. Barbarus is unsurprisingly also the root of our word barbarous, which today connotes savagery and cruelty—nearly opposite imagery to that of brave firefighters rushing into burning buildings to save babies and puppies.

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Well this was unexpected and interesting.

Filed under language linguistics etymology

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Caustic Window - Caustic Window

The self-titled album by “Caustic Window” aka the Aphex Twin was ready to be released 20 years ago in 1994, but for whatever reason it never made it past the test-pressing stage. Internet people gathered together to spend $67 424 to win an auction for one of these test pressings, and then ripped it and uploaded it to YouTube. Go Internet!

Musically, the sound is like a harder “Selected Ambient Works” , more frantic than the Analogue Bubblebath releases. All tracks have beats, except for the last one, which is just prank calls.

The techno is industrial enough to be played out by Blawan or Sandwell District today, and it will be. Call it the anti-EDM: disquieting yet soothing, lyric-less yet communicative.

Filed under aphextwin aphex causticwindow afx idm techno music album 1994

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A guest post by Dr Ben Goldacre: Why are the results of clinical trials hard to find?


Dr Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, has written us a piece exposing crazy new European Medicines Agency policies on clinical drug trials.


Credit: US Cochrane Center

Tough regulations, like a ban on researchers copying trial data or looking at it ANYWHERE but on screen, make it likely results won’t be analysed properly.

Over to Ben…

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Filed under research medicine trials data alltrials bengoldacre goldacre usvsth3m science