The debt to pleasure
Anonymous | The Economist | 26 April 2013
Discussion of a paper from Nobel-prize-winning economist Daniel McFadden, arguing that, to understand consumer choice, we need a “new science of pleasure” incorporating psychology, neuroscience and anthropology. Economics has taken too narrow a view: Human decision-making isn’t all about self-interest and revealed preferences. It is shaped by memory, experience, mood, trust, and brain chemistry.
What if we never run out of oil?
Charles Mann | The Atlantic | 24 April 2013
Fracking and shale gas have transformed America’s energy balance. In another decade, led by Japan, we may well be recovering natural gas – methane hydrate – from beneath the oceans, tapping reserves perhaps twice as big as all other fossil fuels combined. In short, humanity may well have all the fossil fuels it can possibly use for lifetimes to come. Which would be great news – if not for climate change.
How not to die
Jonathan Rauch | The Atlantic | 24 April 2013
Humbling, enlightening essay on end-of-life care. “Unwanted treatment is American medicine’s dark continent. No one knows its extent, and few people want to talk about it. The US medical system was built to treat anything that might be treatable, at any stage of life – even near the end, when there is no hope of a cure, and when the patient, if fully informed, might prefer quality time and relative normalcy to all-out intervention.”