Monthly Archives: March 2010

Girl Power Economics

The Libertarian Blog over at had a delightful piece today on the correlation between girl band popularity and economic growth. I’m actually not sure if it is satire or not.

“Why didn’t the United States see [strong] growth during the ’60s boom? America… lost interest in [girl bands] in favor of a self-styled “invasion” of boy groups… We went off the girl standard before France did… The Go-Go’s fueled the recovery from the early 1980s recession… The effect was strongest in the 1990s… NAFTA allowed the free exchange of angry Canuck songstress Alanis Morissette. Britain maintained low inflation and low unemployment… thanks both to economic liberalization and to the rise of the Spice Girls.

Just as the decrease in piracy is correlated with the increase in global temperatures, the economic tide seems to be correlated with girl bands. Thus, we need more pirates and more girl bands, then we will have economic prosperity and stable temperatures. As satire, this is good stuff. If gender balance in music is as good a predictor as anything else, it calls into question the validity of “real” economic predictors.

But, as I said above, I’m not sure if this is satire or not.


Printing Organs

I’ve loved the idea of 3d printing for a long time. I’ve followed the RepRap for a while. Open Source Hardware strikes me as a compelling idea – anybody who has read Feynman’s memoirs knows that playing with building thinds is important for any young scientist.

Well, here’s a new awesome application to the idea of printed 3d materials: printing organs. The idea is that a computer prints a scaffold impregnated with human cells which then grow into the desired organ which is then implanted. The current state-of-the-art is printed veins, but other things are coming soon!


Short post: Green, compensatory ethics

There was an article in the Guardian that talks about how “green” consumers may be more likely to engage in socially irresponsible or unethical behavior due to a phenomenon called “compensatory ethics.” I take that to mean that if a person feels good about himself for one reason (he only buys fair trade organic coffee, for instance) he won’t feel as bad about himself if he steals from the barista’s tip jar.

In the words of Dieter Frey, a social psychologist at the University of Munich quoted in the Guardian piece, “at the moment in which you have proven your credentials in a particular area, you tend to allow yourself to stray elsewhere.”

Does that mean your hippie friends are cheaters? No – but it does explain why my vegetarian roommate was habitually rude and inconsiderate.

NatureBlog picked up on it too!