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What I’ve been browsing

July 17, 2011

Some nice graphs showing just how unbelievably inefficient the US healthcare system has become.  It almost makes me feel better about the Irish system.

How blood passports work for dope controls.  Speeds have dropped a little in the Tour de France, but I suspect there are still plenty of dopers in there.  And this very interesting article (NYTimes) indicates that doping controls are now working.  TdeF riders are now riding up Alpe d’Huez  3 minutes slower on average than 10 years ago!

Matt Yglasias gives a good argument in favour of spending too much on high speed rail.  I think its an often overlooked point that in the long term, we don’t worry too much if infrastructure spending was economically unjustifiable, so long as we are left with something useful.  Most 19th Century railways lost money for their investors, same for the earlier canals.  Only in exceptional circumstances have mass transit systems been genuinely profitable.  Sometimes you have to accept that good things won’t make money.  Its better to waste money on infrastructure than on war or bailing out banks (to give just two obvious examples).

Yglesias on street character and planning in Washington.  I agree with him that emphasizing ‘character’ is often a way to prevent any kind of development that local busybodies don’t want.  Having said that, the proposed office building looks particularly grim.

My favourite technical paper on nuclear power plants and why we are stuck with such appalling designs, despite countless billions spent over the last 50 years.  Its all Eisenhowers fault, apparently.

Correlation does not imply causation.  But maybe it does…. anyway, this does show that Finnish economists do more useful research work than Irish ones.

And finally…

Astonishing clip of what its like to cycle through Valparaiso, Chile while wearing a suit.





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