Fear of Death? As it happens, blogs by economists have become part of my regular reading. Marginal Revolution, by two George Mason University professors usually has something amazing every day. The latest is by Tyler Cowan on "The Fear of Death". Cowan cites several papers (all worth a look) which attempt to analyze the evidence for and effects of people fearing death. Brilliant and enlightening stuff.
USA! USA! USA! Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber is just back from Munich and he says the Germans are... badly dressed. He says: "Admittedly, the competition is stiff from us British and from the Americans, but I think the Germans may win on grounds of sheer uniformity." I had no idea, but good for America! We need more good press, whatever the source.
Wait, There's More I've wasted more time than I care to admit, (even though I'm admitting it here, which makes you wonder about the utility of that particular figure of speech) watching Ron Pupeil's infomericials and earlier Ronco commercials. Now, upon turning seventy, Ron is cashing out - to the tune of $56.5 million! Read all about it here (not available in any store!) (Via LA Observed)
Bananas, Going... I didn't realize it at the time, but the banana I ate last night is the Cavendish variety, as are virtually every one of the typical yellow bananas grown all over the world. Unfortunately, this one variety is now the victim of a fungus, (follow the link, at least for the photo) which has already wiped out plantations in Asia. If it reaches Central America, the banana as we know it will disappear. (Via Michael Froomkin).
Tipping Point? Also at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowan reports that "A top New York restaurant is replacing tipping with a mandatory twenty percent service charge." Be sure to take a look at this, and follow the links if you have a few minutes. I think this discussion gives insight into way more about our culture than just what we tip - I do 17.5% at nicer places, btw, but it's easy for me to do math in my head.