We tend to think about GDP as if it’s a natural object. It’s like a mountain, and we have methods of measuring it that are better or worse and more or less accurate. But there is a thing there to be measured. And that’s not just true with the economy: There’s no natural entity called GDP in the universe.Diane Coyle
Our ancestors discovered that they could dramatically improve the accuracy of their mental scenarios by increasingly connecting their minds to others. We give each other advice—for instance, by posting signs about the possible presence of crocodiles. We can broadcast our imaginary play not only throughout our own system but to others around us. We exchange our ideas and give feedback. We ask others, and we inform them—for instance, by recounting what it was like when we were in a similar situation. We take an interest even without knowing whether anything important or useful comes of it. There are individual differences in how much an interest people display in what certain others have to say, but we are generally driven to wire our minds to those around us. Our expectations and plans are subsequently a lot better than they could have been if we didn’t listen. It is generally good advice to consider advice—preferably from a variety of sources before making up your own mind.Thomas Suddendorf
When identifying themselves in a word, Americans choose “conservative” far more than “liberal.” In fact they have done so for 70 years, and increasingly so since the early 1960s. But when it comes to saying what the government should actually do, the public appears more liberal than conservative…John Sides
…almost 30 percent of Americans are “consistent liberals” — people who call themselves liberals and have liberal politics. Only 15 percent are “consistent conservatives” — people who call themselves conservative and have conservative politics. Nearly 30 percent are people who identify as conservative but actually express liberal views. The United States appears to be a center-right nation in name only.
(Source: Washington Post)
"If we really are driving less than we used to — or, at the very least, no more than we used to — when will we stop increasing road capacity? Traffic growth or decline is a notoriously difficult trend to forecast accurately. But given vehicle-mile trends, it stands to reason that sooner or later states and cities will warm to the possibility that maintaining existing roads is a wiser public investment than building new ones.”
"The extremely wealthy are objectively far wealthier, far more politically powerful and find a far more indulgent political class than at any time in almost a century," wrote the commentator Josh Marshall. So how come they’re more touchy about criticism than ever? One theory: the more cushioned your life is, the more you’re surrounded by lackeys and flatterers, the more horrifying any minor intrusion on that comfort will seem. The more perfect things get for you in general, the more intensely you’ll feel it when something isn’t.Oliver Burkeman
Perhaps it was inevitable that some day, somewhere, someone would put a doughnut on a penis.Amanda Hess
This is why I tend to get irritated when any discussion of drug policy is met by dismissive jokes by news anchors and self-aggrandizing cheers from talk show audiences.