Links, 6/10/13

Two graduation speeches of note. First one I’d like to which I’d like to call your attention is this gem by Ben Bernanke; the quote about meritocracy has gone viral, but is worth repeating in full:

We have been taught that meritocratic institutions and societies are fair. Putting aside the reality that no system, including our own, is really entirely meritocratic, meritocracies may be fairer and more efficient than some alternatives. But fair in an absolute sense? Think about it. A meritocracy is a system in which the people who are the luckiest in their health and genetic endowment; luckiest in terms of family support, encouragement, and, probably, income; luckiest in their educational and career opportunities; and luckiest in so many other ways difficult to enumerate — these are the folks who reap the largest rewards. The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others.

The other, by Jonathan Safran Foer, makes a point I’m well aware of and do not speak about enough. We are experts at using technology to keep others at a distance.

A few other things:

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