Saturday, March 13, 2010


1. Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac? (via Flowing Data) Short answer: subsidies. Reality is somewhat more nuanced - since subsidies for soy and corn have been lumped into meat/dairy in this graph.

2. Canada: The country that pees together.  They sure take their hockey seriously!

3. Economic forecasts are BS! I recall Warren Buffett once remarked "Forecasts may tell you something about the forecaster, but they tell you nothing about the future."


Raghu said...

Seems like we read the same stuff. :-)

1. On the corn/soy issue, Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma is an extended treatise on why meat is essentially corn (which is essentially fossil fuel). The corn subsidy is what makes meat, hence fast food, cheap enough to out compete healthier substitutes.

2. Terry Tao has a nice buzz (is that the equivalent of a tweet?) on how "[t]he law of large numbers can make the behaviour of a large population essentially deterministic in the aggregate, even if each individual in that population behaves randomly (or pseudorandomly)."

Sachin Shanbhag said...

raghu, :) thanks for the links.

the idea of reducing human behavior into something like statistical mechanics for molecules (where individual behavior is still random, but collective behavior is reasonably well-defined) is not terribly novel. issac asimov (via harry sheldon's "psychohistory" in the Foundation series) attempted something like that about 60 years ago.

Sachin Shanbhag said...

i should pick up omnivore's dilemma one of these days from the library.