Today’s Links: February 8, 2012


MARK BUCHANAN: “A Bar May Be The Place to Understand Markets
“Economists have wondered for decades why markets have ‘excess volatility’ — that is, why prices move up and down more than they should by any sensible reckoning of assets’ fundamental value. […] Imagine a college bar with music and cheap drinks every Thursday night. Naturally, lots of students want to go. Trouble is, it’s a tiny place, and they will enjoy it only if 60 percent or fewer of them go. Otherwise, they will suffer miserably in the cramped heat. Hence, each week, every student faces a tricky decision: How to do what most other people will not do.”

FARHAD MANJOO: “The Thermostat Wars
“Late last year Tony Fadell, the guy who created the iPod at Apple, launched Nest, a new company that aims to reinvent household devices. Nest’s first product is a beautiful, easy-to-use, $249 ‘learning thermostat.’ It launched to rave reviews, and sold out instantly. […] Honeywell filed a wide-ranging patent infringement suit against Nest, alleging that the startup used seven different Honeywell inventions. […] The Honeywell v. Nest lawsuit is being justifiably criticized as another black mark on our broken patent system. If Honeywell invented all these cool features, why didn’t it make something of them?”

MARK CALABRIA: “Bernanke’s Anti-Stimulus
“One of the direct results of the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policies has been a massive reduction in interest income going to households. Since 2008, household interest income has fallen by about $400 billion annually. That’s $400 billion each year that families have not had to spend.”


GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE – CCTV Police Officer ‘Chased Himself’ After Being Mistaken For a Burgler
“As the probationary officer from Sussex Police searched for suspects, the camera operator radioed that he had seen someone ‘acting suspiciously’ in the area. But he failed to realise that it was actually the plain-clothed officer he was watching on the screen, according to details leaked to an industry magazine. The operator directed the officer, who was on foot patrol, as he followed the ‘suspect’ on camera last month, telling his colleague on the ground that he was ‘hot on his heels’.”

NANNY STATE – Caddo Commissioner Continues Push for Public Pajama Ban
“Williams, a self-described conservative in the dress code area, told other commissioners in a fiery speech that there should be respect for law and order, and asked them ‘Are we going to do let this generation tell us what to do, or are we going to be leaders and lead this community?'”

FOOD – Americans Getting Too Much Sodium, But Not From Salty Snacks
“For the report – released Feb. 7 – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled a list of the top 10 sources of sodium in the U.S. diet. These 10 foods were found responsible for 44 percent of all sodium consumed,HealthPop reported. But salty snacks, such as potato chips, were last on the list. […] If not salty snacks, then what was the biggest contributor of sodium? Bread and rolls – accounting for twice as much sodium as salty junk food.”