Links: Code, shaming, trade, drugs, the shadow pleasure economy, and more

* “What is Code?“, the most important link in this batch, and the most immediately actionable.

* The EITC, an Alternative to a Higher Minimum Wage. While EITCs are much less distortionary than minimum wages they are also less popular, perhaps because they’re not really understood by most people and aren’t as easy to sloganeer.

* Someone found this blog by searching for, “can nurses become professional even if they are messed up?” I hope so! If messed up people can’t become professionals, we’d have to get rid of three quarters of the professionals out there.

* “The Shaming of Izzy Laxamana: A Tacoma girl defied her father. He cut off her hair. She killed herself. The story would sound medieval if the details weren’t so modern.” Vile.

* “House Says No Thanks to Trade Bill,” demonstrating another triumph of politics over knowledge of basic economics. I deliberately truncated the title to reduce the mood affiliation of the piece, since this is a bipartisan failure. This article is also very good. Craven politics and group affiliation should not have this power at this date.

* State tax rates discussed and explained by Scott Sumner, or “What’s wrong with Louisiana?” The post is fascinating, contrary to the title.

coffee shop-2201* “ From Left Bank to left behind: where have the great French thinkers gone? From Voltaire and Rousseau to Sartre and De Beauvoir, France has long produced world-leading thinkers. It even invented the word ‘intellectual’. But progressives around the globe no longer look to Paris for their ideas. What went wrong?” This is a question I’d like answered; one big issue: French intellectuals seem to have missed the big shift towards empiricism, which is embodied by Edge.org writers and scientists. It is almost impossible to be a modern intellectual without at least paying attention to empiricists, which is also, incidentally, a serious problem in contemporary humanities departments.

* “Why Startups Love Moleskines;” I prefer Rhodia.

* “Everything we have been told about drugs and drug addiction and how society should deal with them is wrong, says the British author and journalist John Hari. He chooses the best books on the War on Drugs.”

* “Sex, Money, and the Trillion Dollar Shadow.”

* LinkedIn is creating a revolution in university rankings. Good. University rankings are bogus yet pervasive and loved, even by people who should know better. In grad school I listened to a woman who had a cube near mine proclaim that the University of Arizona’s rhetoric and composition department was “#2 in the nation,” and I would usually ask her, “According to who, and by what metrics?” She never knew and I never found out.

* Sexting and society: How do writers respond? (2011)

* “I Tried the ‘Warby Parker of Mattresses.’ It’s Spongy but Worth It.” No word on Tuft & Needle as a comparison. The author is also oddly silent on an important activity often conducted on mattresses.

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