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Posts Tagged "Economics"

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Book Reviews: Smart Implants, Ultralight Aerogels and Other Innovations

aerogel

Here is a selection of book reviews from recent issues of Nature on scientific daring, entrepreneurial brio and finely tuned judgment of social need. Economists Leonid Gokhberg and Dirk Meissner compare studies on the troubled trajectories of innovation in Russia and the United States. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/501313a Historian Cyrus Mody reviews an epic account on the visionary [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The 5 Biggest Myths about the Endangered Species Act

bald eagle

This December will mark the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), a vital piece of legislation that has been called one of the world’s most effective environmental laws. But despite four decades of successes, the ESA remains poorly understood. Here are five of the biggest myths and misconceptions surrounding the law. Myth [...]

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Guest Blog

A Universe Made of Stories: Why We Need a Science and Technology Dialogue

In quantum mechanics, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle holds that it is impossible to determine both the position and momentum of a particle. Heisenberg’s breakthrough relates to a subject of vital importance to America: the need for better communications practices in the science and technology fields. Communications is my profession, and I am concerned by what I [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Krugman’s Theory of Interstellar Trade

Are we all the same? (Credit. C. Scharf, original LeCire/Wikipedia)

Everyone needs a little light relief sometimes, including the Nobel winning economist and writer/blogger extraordinaire Paul Krugman. A few months back he reminded the world of a short paper he’d written some years ago on the rather unexpected topic of interstellar finance. You can teleport a copy to your automated reading device by clicking here. [...]

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Observations

U.S. Falls Short in New Measure of Human Capital

A female worker adding protective coverings to new Pinot Noir plantings

Businesses in Switzerland, Finland and Singapore milk the most economic value out of their workers—and the U.S. lags pretty far behind them. According to the World Economic Forum’s new Human Capital Index, in which researchers attempt to quantify the factors that help a country unlock the capabilities of its workforce, the U.S. has a lot [...]

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Observations

Metrocard Mathematics: Are Unlimited Subway Passes a Good Deal?

Metrocards subway bike

Unlimited, or Pay-Per-Ride? That’s the question posed by the New York Times City Room blog this morning, as New Yorkers confront the great algebraic unknown of August: are unlimited subway passes still a good value even if you’re going out of town on vacation? Perhaps the author, reporter Clyde Haberman, has been reading too much [...]

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Observations

Job Killer? Try Bottom Line Booster: Workplace Safety Inspections Save Money, Jobs, Limbs

job safety inspection osha

Costly safety upgrades, nitpicky government inspection and resulting fines are often blamed as being bad for business. But a new study shows that when government job-safety inspectors make a surprise visit, they actually enable companies to save money—and jobs—for years to come. Occupational safety has improved immensely over the decades, but in industries with traditionally [...]

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Observations

Growing an Economy by Growing Weed

Investors rocked world markets this week by selling Spanish bonds  because of doubts about the country’s ability to put in place an austerity program. As prices plummeted, one small Catalonian village tried to think global and act local. It voted for a novel agricultural measure to work its way out of a €1.3 million debt [...]

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Observations

Damage from Extreme Weather Increasing

line graph of billion dollar weather events

Hurricane Irene is part of a worsening trend. Weather disasters have grown more frequent and more costly over the past 30 years in the U.S., according to data that was released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On Thursday afternoon, NOAA posted a map of the 99 weather disasters that caused at [...]

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Plugged In

Simplest Bike Commuting Infrastructure: The Shower

Research, as ever, tells us what we already know. Eric Jaffe, of Atlantic Cities, cites new research in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, by Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech. The shocking revelation? After you ride a bicycle, it’s nice to take a shower. I don’t mean to sound snide. The research is good and sensible [...]

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Plugged In

Food waste in the land of ‘Man vs Food’

Here is some more food for thought about the modern global food economy. A study recently published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that about one-third of all food produced on the planet is wasted, to the tune of 1.3 billion tons per year. Put another way, planet Earth throws away over 300 [...]

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The Primate Diaries

On the Origin of White Power

KKK square

A new book argues race and genetics explain “the rise of the West.” Bad science explains the downfall of its ideas. Nicholas Wade is not a racist. In his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, the former science writer for the New York Times states this explicitly. “It is not automatically racist to consider racial categories [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Commodity Traitors: Financial Speculation on Commodities Fuels Global Insecurity

Greed Square

“Food is always more or less in demand,” wrote Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. While the founder of modern capitalism pointed out that the wealthy consume no more food than their poor neighbors, because the “desire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity of the human stomach,” the desire [...]

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Roots of Unity

Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying

Sex and money: the Bearina IUD, a conceptual intrauterine device design that would incorporate a (thoroughly cleaned, I hope) copper coin. One of the most effective forms of reversible contraception is the copper IUD. Image: Ronen Kadushin

On Saturday, my Twitter feed alerted me to a totally non-sensationalistic Gawker article called More Buck For Your Bang: People Who Have More Sex Make The Most Money. “Scientists in the adonis-laden European country [Germany] found that people who have sex more than four times a week receive a 3.2 percent higher paycheck than those [...]

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The White Noise

Excess by the numbers, on more than Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Poster

The Occupy Wall Street movement may do wonders in fighting outlandish bouts of capitalism on the upper echelons of society, but it got me thinking about egregious waste on our own ground, right here within the 99%. Let’s consider, for a moment, the question of substance use and abuse. Alcohol Our U.S. consumer culture spends [...]

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The White Noise

Case study: why economics and addiction do not mix

Addiction and Economics, "Perfect Competition"

Let me start by saying that I’m admittedly an economics fan. So much so that I nearly threw away my science and writing training and ran off into the sunset for an economics PhD. It’s the cleanness of it, the logic. The economics of everyday life seems shiny, interesting and alluring, and I delight in [...]

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