Saturday morning reading
I’m feeling deliciously lazy today, with one more week left of my current job and one more week of hazy New York weather before I head up to math camp for three weeks (woohoo!). I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life after that, and suggestions are very welcome! Bonus for ideas on how to use modeling techniques to help people rather than to exploit them.
In the meantime, please join me in some light reading:
1) Read this (hat tip Kurt Schrader). Seriously, it’s incredibly snarky and funny and right on – a gawker’s view on the New York Times Style Section and its systematic approach of torturing its readers. My favorite line:
I want to take this sentence, drag it out into the backyard, and beat it to death with a shovel.
2) How are bee hives like too-big-to-fail banks? Turns out, in fewer ways than you think. Read more to understand a beekeeper’s perspective on risk (hat tip Eugene Stern). A nugget:
Take, for example, their approach toward the “too-big-to-fail” risk our financial sector famously took on. Honeybees have a failsafe preventive for that. It’s: “Don’t get too big.” Hives grow through successive divestures or spin-offs: They swarm. When a colony gets too large, it becomes operationally unwieldy and grossly inefficient and the hive splits. Eventually, risk is spread across many hives and revenue sources in contrast to relying on one big, vulnerable “super-hive” for sustenance.
3) As we already knew, people with bad credit scores don’t really have access to all this amazing lending at amazing rates, as the Fed now admits and as I suggested in this post, “A low Fed rate: what does it means for the 99%?”. I think the next step is a data dive into credit scoring histograms (say, aggregate FICO scores for all Americans) over the past 20 years, compared to corresponding credit card offers – I want to see what kind of deals average people can expect to get on loans. If you know how to get this data, please tell me!
4) One of my readers was kind enough to leave a link to this article on why incompetent people think they’re awesome. I’m sharing it with you guys but I reserve the right to write a post on this as well. Specifically, I’m thinking of writing a meta-piece about why, when people read about incompetent people thinking they’re awesome, they somehow always smugly conclude that those pathetic fools should get a clue and realize this article is about them.