Tag: politics

  • Italian food and the ‘Invented Designation of Origin’

    Alberto Grandi is an Italian academic and food expert. He’s also, unsurprisingly, an oft maligned and despised figure across Italy. This is because Grandi exposes the myths surrounding Italy’s famous culinary traditions. From panettone’s industrial invention to carbonara’s American roots, and why if you want “real” Parmesan you should head to Wisconsin. In an interview…

  • Congestion Tolling at the Supermarket

    To help explain¬†why toll lanes might not be the great solution to traffic congestion many believe them to be, Timothy Lee goes to an unexpected place to draw parallels: your local supermarket. Supermarkets are a good analogy, suggests Lee, because they operate in a free market, are ruthlessly efficient, intensely competitive, and employ ‘lanes’ (checkout…

  • The Long Game: Civilization II and Sim City’s Magnasanti

    After ten years of playing the same Civilization II campaign (my favourite game ever), Reddit user Lycerius has ended up creating a dystopian semi-self-sustaining world, where the three remaining “super-nations” are in a constant state of espionage and nuclear war. The details of Lycerius’ “hellish nightmare” world are absolutely fascinating: the military stalemate; the 1700-year…

  • The ‘Bad Version’ and How to Tax the Rich

    A ‘bad version’ is a technique used by television writers to inspire creativity when experiencing a creative block. The technique involves writing a purposefully awful section of plot as a way of helping the writer find creativity and, eventually, the ideal solution: it’s a way of “nudging your imagination to someplace better”. In The Wall…

  • Equal Societies Good for All

    The more unequal a society’s income distribution, the more health and social problems ail both the rich and the poor. With this theory brought to his attention through the “quite fascinating book”¬†The Spirit Level, Nicolas Baumard displays the evidence to support the theory that economic inequality is bad for all inhabitants of a country before…

  • Political Risk Assessments

    “Safety is never allowed to trump all other concerns”, says Julian Baggini, and without saying as much governments must consistently put a price on lives and determine how much risk to expose the public to. In an¬†article¬†for the BBC, Baggini takes a comprehensive look at how governments make risk assessments and in the process discusses…

  • Why Science Needs PR

    Scientists needing to persuade society at large shouldn’t be relying on their data alone to persuade but instead should employ PR tactics, suggests Wired‘s Erin Biba (and a number of PR company employees, natch). I don’t totally agree with the idea (scientific integrity and all that jazz) but some of the thoughts/suggestions are entirely valid…

  • Cryptic Crosswords and Face Identification

    A study comparing the effects of various leisure activities on the recognition and identification of faces has concluded that eyewitnesses should not be permitted to do cryptic crossword puzzles prior to an identity parade. The study, conducted by Cardiff University’s Michael Lewis, compared logic puzzles (sudoku), crossword puzzles (both cryptic and standard) and mystery novels…

  • Immigration Makes Cities Safer

    Cities with large immigrant populations are some of the safest places to live, suggest the data and studies, especially those where the police “know how to work with [immigrants], not against them“. The studies in question–including one extensive study by the FBI–go on to suggest reasons¬†why immigrants reduce a city’s crime: This is not just…

  • Seven Threats to a Sustainable ‘Food Future’

    In a hugely captivating and comprehensive look at the food supply chain in Britain, Jeremy Harding provides a look at “the future of food and its supply”–including food ethics, food security and the dire need for a sustainable future. Harding’s case is the most cogent I’ve read and it offers much more than a condemnation…