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  • July 2011
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links for 2011-07-29

  • Quote:"In terms of total employment, the U.S. lost 0.7 million jobs during the first 24 months of Obama’s recovery. The nation has never before had an economic expansion where total employment after two years of recovery was lower than it was at the end of the recession. In June 2011, America had 2.9 million fewer people working than when Obama was inaugurated. (By the same point in Reagan’s presidency, our total number of jobs had increased by 0.7 million, equivalent to 1.0 million jobs after adjustment for today’s higher population.)

    // Whoa. That's hardcore Fail.

  • Quote:"Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.

    Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for "non-urgent" conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years. One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.

    // Duh. There is no free lunch.

  • Quote:"NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

    // Duh.

  • Quote:"Jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to 398,000 in the week ended July 23, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 415,000. Another report showed the number of contracts to buy previously owned homes unexpectedly rose in June.

    Fewer firings are a first step toward gains in hiring that will help stem a slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. A report tomorrow may show household purchases last quarter grew at the slowest pace since the end of the recession in 2009 as the jobless rate climbed above 9 percent and payroll gains decelerated.

    // It might be good news. Or it might mean the economy has simply bled out and there's nothing left to bleed.

    (tags: economy jobs)
  • Quote:"In March 2010, Congress passed President Obama’s health care reform legislation. The bill had appeared in serious jeopardy, and after the upset special election victory of Senator Scott Brown (R–MA), many analysts expected the bill to fail. Instead, it became law.

    The law discourages employers from hiring in several ways:

    Businesses with fewer than 50 workers have a strong incentive to maintain this size, which allows them to avoid the mandate to provide government-approved health coverage or face a penalty;
    Businesses with more than 50 workers will see their costs for health coverage rise—they must purchase more expensive government-approved insurance or pay a penalty; and
    Employers face considerable uncertainty about what constitutes qualifying health coverage and what it will cost. They also do not know what the health care market or their health care costs will look like in four years. This makes planning for the future difficult.

  • // Another interesting article on human evolution, this time it's about brain size and the sacrifices nevessary to have a large brain.

    Turns out our ancestors sacrificed a lot of guts (literally, our intestinal organs shrank), we had to change (or did) change our diets (including eating meat) and our genetic structure changed in a way that created more paths for glucose to get to our brains.

  • Quote:"Other research shows that concern about reputation also helps to motivate people to behave cooperatively. The U.C. Santa Barbara researchers speculate, “If defection damages one’s reputation among third parties, thereby precluding cooperation with others aside from one’s current partner, defection would be selected against far more strongly.” John Tooby, in a press release, asserts that his group’s research supports the happy conclusion, “People who help only when they can see a gain do worse than those who are motivated to be generous without always looking ahead to see what they might get in return." In other words, being nice is a winning strategy when it comes to economics and evolution.

    // Interesting read. Evolution favors the nice guy. Who knew?