Links, 11/24/10

  • Firoozeh Dumas, “The Real Supermarkets of Orange County” – from the article: In Iran, we have zerangi, a concept that loosely means “cleverness.” Zerangi can be both ethical and unethical. Coming to America and starting a successful business? That’s zerangi. Finding a way to avoid paying taxes? Also zerangi. Moving ahead in a long line? Zerangi at its finest. François likes to remind me that people from all cultures cut in line, including his own. True, but I like to think my people have turned it into an art form.
  • “Helmet Visor Could Protect Troops From Shock Waves” (Wired) – from the article: Designing a blast-resistant helmet requires a better knowledge of what happens in the brain when an explosion washes over it. Soldiers experiencing explosions often describe a wind or wave that makes them see stars. “I really got my bell rung,” is a common report. The resulting “mild” traumatic brain injury doesn’t lead to long-term loss of consciousness, and brain scans yield normal results. But labeling these injuries as mild is a misnomer, says Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “It is not mild; that term has led people astray,” says Smith. “It is something very serious that can lead to severe dysfunction.”
  • “The Cautionary Tale of a Short-Lived College” (Chronicle of Higher Ed) – I get the distinct feeling I might get involved in something like this. At least people ate well for a time.
  • Megan McArdle, “7 Thoughts About Ireland” – make sure to read the post by Tyler Cowen she links to. It’s very short. From the article: I now think that there should probably be some limit on the size of the banking sector, at least in smaller economies.  The decision to guarantee the bank losses was disastrous, and also necessary, given Ireland’s capital account.