Links: Unmarried moms and ignoring incentives, higher education and competence, Moleskine’s IPO, Victoria’s Secret, and more!

* “The New Unmarried Moms: We’ve reduced teen pregnancy, but now childbearing outside wedlock is exploding among 20-somethings,” which is interesting but ignores some of the really powerful social factors at work. A lot of women are willing to sleep with fun-loving bad boys over dutiful workers; consequently, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that men modify their behavior in response. In addition, as Philip Greenspun says in “Another reason to feel like a failure: Scientists say that women are easy to get into bed:”

At lower paternal income levels, a variety of forms of government assistance will provide the single mother with roughly $45,000 per year in tax-free benefits, depending on the state (see this chart). That is more than the average American worker’s take-home pay. At higher paternal income levels, court-ordered child support payments may provide the non-working single mother with a substantially higher (tax-free) income than working at an average wage.

In other words, the financial consequences of having a child often aren’t dire and in some cases may actually be a net financial improvement. Note that I’m not trying to make a normative statement about whether this is good or bad: I am trying to observe how people respond to incentives.

* Great news: we’re (slowly) moving toward a world where education looks at competency, not hours with ass-in-seat. This is flying under the radar of the national press but is hugely important.

_MG_9736-1* Moleskine’s IPO; if the company is this profitable, why aren’t more companies getting into the notebook biz? Rhodia’s Webnotebook is my favorite, despite some flaws.

* Get LED lightbulbs.

Buzz Bissinger’s extraordinary story of shopping and (a little bit of) sex. I thought it would be boring but laughed a lot.

* “The Shadowy Residents of One Hyde Park—And How the Super-Wealthy Are Hiding Their Money.” I don’t think I’d want to live in a $5M+ apartment even if I had the money for it.

* How marriage changes relationships and gender dynamics; actual title includes the phrase “the boob test.” See also the first link in this post.

* How to think like the next generation, by Penelope Trunk; as usual overstated but still useful.

* 11 solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

* “Victoria’s Secret Sells to High School Girls. So What?” Sample: “Apparently, you can fill out applications to major universities or have boys see you in your underpants, but you can’t do both.”

* A Man’s “C-Card:” Commitment.

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