I believe parliaments should be mandated to set an expiry date for every new law they institute. Especially in times of crises. Once the expiry date is reached, the law is up for renegotiation. If it fails to get a second majority, the law is automatically reverted to the status quo ante and the rules that previously governed are put back in place. Don’t get me wrong: I am (Edit: at least for now…) perfectly fine with setting the expiry … more
Link of the day: No-Knead Bread Recipe by the New York Times
So this is an usual one on this blog I guess and I still don’t see me as a regular food blogger. But I tried this recipe recently when quarantining around in London and it is REALLY good. I had used self-raising flour, so some baking soda also probably helps. Or try sourdough if you really have some time. Enjoy!
Face Masks do work quite well to stop the spread of Covid-19. They are most effective if the wearer themselves are infected to protect others from droplets from coughing and sneezing. But they also do convey some protection against droplets for healthy people. See e.g. here. The US Center for Disease Control is allegedly about to update their guidelines to recommend face masks to the general public. Face Masks, as well as hand hygiene, also go a long way … more
My friend Jan alerted me to this piece about the inflation and the cost of living and I found it quite interesting. The basic simplyfied argument is this: Inflation doesn’t capture the true rise in costs, because it doesn’t reflect what you actually need to have a decent living standard. A TV that is 3 times as good and … more
Edit: The much better link to read is probably this: SlateStarCodex on Facesmasks – Much more than you wanted to know.
There are many good arguments for low-risk people not to buy and hoard face masks to leave them to the ones who need them most. As far as I can tell, however, face masks do work. And in an ideal world, … more
Link of the day: Did Cars Save Our Cities From Horses?
There is an interesting story that cars helped to make cities much cleaner in the early 20th century by replacing horses and ridding cities of large piles of horse dung. When I wanted to write about this story, I discovered it does not seem to be true after all. Instead, I found this very interesting story about how cars came to conquer cities and how norms and perceptions around … more
Link of the day: Why did the half-plane, half-helicopter not work?
For quite a while now I have been thinking about green air travel. The thing that has been bugging me the most is that air travel doesn’t necessarily have to be as detrimental to the environment as it is right now. One big reason for the high environmental impact is the speed at which we travel (around 750-900 km/h for commercial airliners), as air friction increases quadratically with speed … more
Link of the day: In the long term, global living conditions are improving rapidly
Sometimes it is good to keep a positive perspective on the world. This is for these times.
Link of the day: A simulated outbreak illustration by the Washington Post
Nice visual illustration of the effect of different measures to slow down the epidemic. The biggest take-away: social distancing (i.e. avoiding meeting lots of other people) is far more effective than large-scale quarantine.
Link of the day: A take on the economics of the virus )
An interesting thought about the long term economic effects of the coronavirus is this: Much of the damage that could be done depends on intertemporal effects and whether companies are able to move cashflows through time. Imagine a small restaurant that is profitable, but loses customers in the short term due to the virus. Whether that restaurant will exist in two years time crucially depends on when … more