The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals — Scientific American – Our evolutionary history offers clues to mistakes made and species gone by the wayside, all lessons for our own civilization. It is interesting to note, for instance, the effect of climate change in this story. My favorite quote hints at one of the reasons that storytellers, historians, and journalists like this blog remain a valuable part of society: “A long-standing view holds that moderns outsmarted the Neandertals with not only their superior tool technology and survival tactics but also their gift of gab, which might have helped them form stronger social networks”
An Electronic Solution to Illegal Immigration — Edward Schumacher-Matos – One of the most objective, common sense articles I’ve seen on this debate. Schumacher-Matos is a highly underrated columnist. We’re headed in this direction eventually, for the reasons he cites at the end; the question is how long we plan to diddle in this middle ground where no one is content.
Is Financial Innovation Good? — Tyler Cowen – Cowen is right; Salmon is wrong. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a regulator to determine which innovations are safe enough for public consumption, but it does mean we shouldn’t demonize innovations that have helped millions of people. (Salmon’s criticisms of subprime mortgages and prepayment penalties are on-target, though.)