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Heard, not seen

Since I haven’t been reading very much, I haven’t been posting bookmarks. But the trip to and from Boston gave me a chance to catch up on podcasts – both ones publicly available, and ones custom made for me. (Thanks David, Sandy.) Some of the highlights:

This American Life takes a close look at the intricacies of the US mortgage market and the collapse in value of mortgage-backed investments. It’s a huge, complex story, and an hour-long show is exactly the amount of time it takes to get a sense for just how badly broken regulatory mechanisms have been surrounding these financial instruments.

I’ve got mixed emotions about WNYC’s “Radio Lab“. At best, it’s a terrific popular science show. At worst, it’s annoying, cloying and cutesy. But I really liked the closing segment of “Pop Music”, a story about accordianist and journalist Gregory Warner, who discovers that Afghan tribesmen really, really like American country music. (Based on his success playing Johnny Cash songs to Afghan audiences, I’m now learning “Ring of Fire” on the squeezebox, because, well, you never know.)

Paul Collier’s “The Bottom Billion” is the best book I’ve read this year. So I was thrilled to find an hour-long podcast of him discussing economic theory with the host of EconTalk. And there’s now half a dozen podcasts on EconTalk I’m looking forward to this week.

Got something I should hear? Please let me know in the comments – with eyes closed, I’m all ears.

6 thoughts on “Heard, not seen”

  1. Ethan,

    I’m intrigued to know whether this is the first time you have come across EconTalk. I am a regular reader of both your blog and EconLib, and their associated weekly podcast never ceases to teach me something. I can highly recommend the 2 recent discussions on world trade if they aren’t already on your list for this week.

    In homophily news:
    here is a link to a new working paper from FEEM (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei), titled “Opportunity and Choice in Social Networks”. It looks at education and marriage data to asses the relative importance of choice-based homophily (i.e. social preference for links with own-type individuals) and opportunity-based homophily (i.e. prevalence of individuals of her same type) for minority groups. The researchers test the hypothesis that, “as the relative size of the minority gets small, individuals of the minority rarely meet and have the chance to establish links together. Therefore the effect of choice-based homophily gets weaker and weaker as the size of the minority shrinks.”
    That’s probably one to leave for when your eye has healed!

    Finally, I want to personally say “Hi” as I’ve been a very long-term lurker on your blog but never posted. I worked in Ghana from 2002-2004, and knew Stoph and the early Geeks, who in turn introduced me to your blog. Keep up the good work, and I wish you a speedy recovery,


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