Friday Assorted Links

1. Can you guess how many of the top ten most liveable cities in the world are in the U.S.? I don’t believe in American exceptionalism.

2. ‘Rich Getting Richer’ Under Washington State School Funding Plan.

3. Book recommendation from my economics blogger, Tyler Cowen. Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy by Tim Harford. From a Smithsonian interview with Harford:

What’s your favorite invention in the book?

It varies, but right now it’s paper. I just loved the realization that there was an alternative to talking about the Gutenberg press. Obviously I have nothing but admiration for the Gutenberg press – it’s a tremendously important innovation. But everybody told me, ‘oh, you’ve doing fifty inventions that shaped the world, you must do the Gutenberg press.’ And I thought, ‘yeah, but it’s so obvious.’ Then I was looking at the Gutenberg Bible in the New York Public Library, and thinking, ‘this bible is printed on something. It’s not printed on nothing. It’s printed on a surface.’ It turns out that the Gutenberg press works perfectly well with parchment, technologically speaking, but economically speaking it doesn’t make any sense without paper. Parchment is just too expensive to produce a long print run. So as long as all you’re doing is handwriting bibles and making them look beautiful, there’s no need to use paper at all. But with paper you’ve got a mass-produced writing surface. It’s often the very cheap inventions that get overlooked, but nevertheless change the world.

4. What do Trump supporters have in common? His supporters think that whites and Christians are the most oppressed groups of people in the country. From “Trump Holds Steady After Charlottesville; Supporters Think Whites, Christians Face Discrimination“.

“The reason Trump hasn’t lost more ground for his widely panned response to the attack is probably that many of his supporters agree with some of the beliefs that led white supremacists to rally in Charlottesville in the first place. Asked what racial group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump voters say it’s white people followed by 17% for Native Americans with 16% picking African Americans, and 5% picking Latinos. Asked what religious group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 54% of Trump voters says it’s Christians followed by 22% for Muslims and 12% for Jews. There is a mindset among many Trump voters that it’s whites and Christians getting trampled on in America that makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his ‘both sides’ rhetoric.”

5. Why Floyd Mayweather can still box after beating women. When I am asked to be the world’s Sports Czar, I will ban boxing and MMA.

6. The world’s best female soccer player writes a letter to her younger self.

7. And finally, the question on everyone’s mind. . . why are people so mean to Taylor Swift?

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