Weekly Link Roundup: Debates, Downgrades and Discworld

Or, “Dan Hirschman reads the internet so you don’t have to.”

Best of the Econ Blogosphere

  • The Difference Between S&P and Moody’s (Felix Salmon). A very clear and helpful explanation of the different ratings philosophies of S&P and Moody’s. Key takeaway: S&P only cares about probability of default while Moody’s cares about expected losses. Hence the difference approach to US debt – our probability of default (in the technical sense) went up, even though the expected loss is still very low to negligible.
  • Best of the Soc Blogosphere

  • How Economists, Political Scientists, Sociologists and Anthropologists see each other. OrgTheory’s Omar has put together a fun chart showing how we social scientists demonize or lionize each other.
  • Tales from the Culture Wars?

  • A Washington State Indian Tribe Approves Same-Sex Marriage (NYTimes). A heartwarming story about a small tribe that approved same-sex marriage.
  • Politics

  • The Economist live-blog of the Republican Debate. For me, there are two things that make most hard to watch political events worthwhile: The Daily Show/Colbert Report and The Economist live-bloggers. A few sample lines:

    ‎9:07: Asking Ron Paul how he would calm the markets is like asking John Wilkes Booth how he would improve theatergoers’ viewing experience.
    9:55: I have never been as sure of anything as Michele Bachmann is of everything.
    ‎10:39: Tim Pawlenty’s hand gestures are exactly the same as those of the Tin Man, pre oil-can.

  • Discworld’s Terry Pratchett on Death and Dying (via NPR). Beloved fantasy author Pratchett is dying of Alzheimer’s, and has taken up the cause of legalizing assisted suicide. A sad story, but an important one.
  • Fake News

  • All roads to Michigan Stadium set for construction via The News of Ann Arbor, a newish fake news site. Their work is excellent, but much more specific to A2 (or similar college towns) that the Onion. This story was particularly chilling as it took me a few minutes (and the 4th paragraph) to remember that it was fake news.
  • Nerdy

  • Fashion It So: The Most Toys (3.22). Fashion It So is a tumblr blog that critiques the fashion of Star Trek: The Next Generation episode by episode. This week’s was a pretty good example of a hilarious site.. if you’re a big ST:TNG fan and enjoy critiques of the form: “There must be a wormhole holding this thing together, because this outfit is definitely from two different quadrants, amirite or amirite?”
  • Patrick Rothfuss Reread. Accomplished (and excellent) SF/F author Jo Walton is re-reading Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear” and doing detailed, chapter by chapter analysis and interpretation. It’s impressive to watch an author critique and (mostly) praise another, and to see the details of Rothfuss’ amazingly rich web of stories and allusions. Recommended for anyone who has read and enjoyed the first two books of Rothfuss’ trilogy and is eager for the third.
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