Quotes & Links #8

1) vox.com: Too Big To Govern: the real roots of Nigeria’s Boko Haram problem

The predicament of northern Nigeria is complicated by the divisions. Boko Haram tried to assassinate the Sultan of Sokoto, a religious leader of the north. This is in the past year. This is like a group of renegade Catholics trying to kill the pope. Pretty clearly there are some serious divisions within the Muslim north and that would make it difficult for them to give birth to some kind of inland empire.

I think eastern Congo has similarly been seen as a responsibility of a sovereign Congo. There are some parallels among these super states of Africa. Sudan’s been cut down to size. Congo and Nigeria continues to be too large to govern.


I’m not sure if a country can actually be too big to govern. It always seems to be more of a case of bad institutional design and social contracts gone foul. Sometimes caused by overeager political maneuvering or greed. Although it’s obviously harder to govern states with diverse ethnicities and a nearly 50/50 split of Christians and Muslims. (I wonder why they wrote “south Sudan” and not “South Sudan”?)

2) vox.com: Legal marijuana created thousands of jobs in Colorado

The marijuana industry doesn’t expect its growth to slow any time soon. And there’s good reason for that: at least during the first three months of retail sales, marijuana revenue grew from $14 million a month to $19 million a month.

My first thought was: “One data point and you are jumping for joy?
I remain optimistic about the legalization and the future of a more risk & health sensitive regulation towards drugs.

3) newyorker.com: I don’t want to be right

If factual correction is ineffective, how can you make people change their misperceptions? The 2014 vaccine study was part of a series of experiments designed to answer the question.

It’s only after ideology is put to the side that a message itself can change, so that it becomes decoupled from notions of self-perception.

Yeah, and now imagine topics that aren’t as clear-cut and never will be. Tough luck. But what are the consequences for democracy and governing? Transparency won’t help. Trust will not be regained, but might erode further. But then, how did we even get to this point in the first place? Maybe the people having the wrong beliefs have to die out?

4) washingtonpost.com: No, David Brooks, we don’t need less democracy

Daron Acemoglu, Suresh Naidu, James Robinson and Pascual Restrepo have a new paper that finds that countries that switch to democracy have about 20 percent higher GDP per capita 30 years later. That seems to be because greater civil liberties lead to governments that reform more economically and invest more in education and health care — in short, that are more responsive to the people.

So… the single best long-term policy for the people is switching to democracy?

5) nytimes.com: More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White

The data provide new evidence consistent with the theory that Hispanics may assimilate as white Americans, like the Italians or Irish, who were not universally considered to be white. It is particularly significant that the shift toward white identification withstood a decade of debate over immigration and the country’s exploding Hispanic population, which might have been expected to inculcate or reinforce a sense of Hispanic identity, or draw attention to divisions that remain between Hispanics and non-Hispanic white Americans.

6) spiegel.de: Richter erlauben Extra-Boni für Gewerkschafter

Gewerkschaftsmitglieder dürfen bei Sonderzahlungen bessergestellt werden als andere Arbeitnehmer. Das hat das Bundesarbeitsgericht in Erfurt entschieden.

What would Mancur Olson say?

7) wikipedia.de: EDEKA (Yes, I know that the correct German spelling would be “Edeka”…)

Die Edeka-Gruppe entstand 1898, als sich 21 Einkaufsvereine aus dem Deutschen Reich im Halleschen Torbezirk in Berlin zur „Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhändler im Halleschen Torbezirk zu Berlin“ – kurz E. d. K. – zusammenschlossen.

TIL or more like YIL.

8) vox.com: Sports drafts are exploitative and would be illegal in any normal industry

The key thing about the draft cartel is that it provides every team with an underpaid player or two. The fact that the very worst teams get some extra gravy is a sideshow compared to the fact that there’s some gravy for each owner.

9) nytimes.com: The Role of Elites in Holocaust Denial

By contrast, Holocaust denial is much more common in countries where more Muslim respondents reported a continuing struggle in their country between modernizers and Islamic fundamentalists — a striking result given that the Pew data predates the events of the Arab Spring and the messy aftermath.

I wonder how a similar analysis would look like for European countries. Religion seems to not be an option. Economic struggle? Close elections?

10) zeit.de: Warum sind deutsche Würstchen weiß?

11) twiter.com: Prince Charles tries out Google Glass
Reminds me of this.

12) businessinsider.com: Researchers Want To Make Chickens Happier By Giving Them Virtual Reality Headsets And Treadmills

An Iowa State University professor has a fresh idea for how to improve living conditions for confined chickens on farms — give them omni-directional treadmills and headsets to create a virtual reality living environment.

You can’t make this shit up.

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