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Weekend read: My final recommendation

My recommended read for this week is by Zachary Crockett on the Priceonomics blog, and concerns the invention of sliced bread. As an American, Crockett fails to point out the remarkable fact that the dates in the article mean that Sir Bruce Forsyth is older than sliced bread – which is a quite remarkable fact. But the rest of the article is so good that I can probably, just about, forgive him.

wheat toast bread

This week’s selection is the 125th in this two-and-a-half year series, and I’m sorry to say that it is also the last. It isn’t for want of material: I’ve 71 future ‘weekend reads’ – more than a year’s worth – tucked away in Evernote. The truth is that I’ve grown a little bit bored with this series. It’s not a series where I add much, but rather one where I just point and gawp. And pointing and gawping gets boring after a while. The fact that I have so many future options tucked away is revealing: why have I not just shared them as I’ve gone along? And I guess, at least in part, it’s because I feel constrained by my own format. So I’m ditching it.

I’m going to take a couple of weeks away from the blog, and then I’ll be back in the new year with some new ideas and a slightly more flexible format – but I’ll tell you more about that in 2015.

In the meantime, if you didn’t catch every one of those 125 recommendations first time round, you can access the whole back catalogue here.

Have a great Christmas!

This 2,287th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

2D: The economics of science & healthcare

The link between the two articles in this 2D is health and economics. It’s a reasonably weak link, granted… but it’s a link nonetheless!

The first article I’d like to recommend is this long and thoughtful interview with Bill Gates by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, which carries the arresting title “death is something we really understand extremely well”. He talks through some of the financial decisions his Foundation makes, and the economics of disease eradication. I found it quite fascinating.

The second article is really rather different. For Priceonomics, Alex Mayyasi gives a history and economics lesson to explain why articles in scientific journals are, more often than not, behind a paywall. He argues, too, that the system needs to move on and develop in the 21st century. As someone who spends a disproportionate amount of time whining about medical journals and their paywalls, I found this detailed blog post very interesting and informative.

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them! The picture at the top of this post was uploaded to Flickr by Howard Lake, and has been modified and used under Creative Commons licence.

This 2,039th post was filed under: 2D, Health, , , , , , .

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