Today’s Links: January 20, 2012


PHYSICS ARXIV BLOG: “Cartels Are an Emergent Phenomenon, Say Complexity Theorists
“The price of gas is a puzzle. Monitor the average price in gas stations in a particular city and it will vary dramatically, sometimes in a matter of hours and often in ways that appear cyclical.  Economists have long scratched their heads over this kind of pattern. One explanation is that this behaviour emerges when two competing companies change their pricing strategy at each stage by reacting to the other. The resulting behaviours are known as Edgeworth Price Cycles. […]  Today Tiago Peixoto and Stefan Bornholdt, physicists at the University of Bremen in Germany, show how a more complicated model with many buyers and sellers reproduces this kind of behaviour. But it also goes further. Peixoto and Bornholdt say that when condition are right, cartel-like behaviour emerges naturally without collusion between sellers.”

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY EDITORIAL: “When Will We Awake From Obama’s Bad Green Dream?
“Three years into the Obama presidency, the country has yet to see a wave of green-collar jobs. What it has seen is government pouring taxpayers’ money into pet projects that wasted the cash. A particularly sore example is Solyndra, which not only went bankrupt after taking in more than $500 million in taxpayers’ dollars, but also became the target of an FBI probe.”

DASHIELL BENNETT: “Anonymous’ Megaupload Revenge Shows Copyright Compromise Isn’t Possible
“Anonymous’ devious and speedy campaign to undermine the defenders of copyright yesterday served both as revenge for the loss of Megaupload and a demonstration of the futility of trying to police the Wild West of the Internet. Within minutes of the Justice Department’s triumphant announcement about the seizing of the massive file-sharing site, their own website was taken offline by a massive denial of service attack. The Web presences of the FBI, the MPAA, the RIAA, and several entertainment corporations involved in the case soon followed, as those tasked with protecting the Web from piracy were once again unable to protect themselves.”


MARRIAGE – Microsoft Calls For Gay Marriage in Washington State
“In a week of tech industry protests about censorship, one company — Microsoft — is lending its voice to a different political cause: gay marriage. It has joined with five other businesses (Vulcan, NIKE, RealNetworks, Group Health Cooperative, and Concur) to support bills that would legalize gay marriage in Washington state, where Microsoft is based. The letter to Governor Chris Gregoire was brief. In its entirety it reads, ‘We write you today to show the support of our respective companies for SB 6239 and HB 2516 recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples.'”

FAST & FURIOUS – Fed Prosecutor to Assert the Fifth in Gun-Smuggling Probe
“A federal prosecutor in Arizona plans to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as part of a congressional inquiry into a botched federal gun investigation known as ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ USA TODAY’s Kevin Johnson reports.”

SOCIAL MEDIA – Facebook Turns ‘Like’ Into Want, Cook, Read, and Many Others
“When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first used the phrase “frictionless sharing” at the company’s F8 conference last September, it raised some eyebrows among online-privacy advocates. Now that Timeline apps (also known as Open Graph apps) have become a reality, we’re getting a better idea of what “frictionless” really means.”