The Economist

You are currently browsing articles tagged The Economist.

Online Highlights 6

It’s time for another round of Online Highlights. Since all things on the internet are found through linking or references by others (such as this post), thanks to those who, passively and actively, helped me out this time.

Blog Metrics – When I wrote the post celebrating post 1000 a couple of weeks ago, I said that I’d written about two million characters. Martin kindly pointed out that there is a WordPress plugin called Blog Metrics, which calculated such things. It only returns the number of words (461 530), but a checking my average character-per-word ration (around 6), that gives closer to 2.8 million characters. Using the same comparison as Martin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment consists of a mere one million characters.

Hi-Games.net – This site provides a free virtual Rubik’s cube (of various sizes), as well as some other games, such as Tetris, Minesweeper and a typing test.

Method of Loci – Learning to solve Rubik’s cube blindfolded, it’s essential to learn some basic memory techniques, and the loci method is probably one of the oldest in the game. It’s a bit crude, but the concepts used are extremely powerful and can be improved in many ways.

Mind Tools – I haven’t yet had time to explore this site in any greater datail, but it’s also the result of my blindfolded cubing. On this site, there are lots of techniques and tricks to improve mental capacity. So far, I’ve mostly been interested in memory, but there is much, much more.

Photographic memory – Not many people have photographic memory, but this guy certainly has (he has autism, too). After a viewing Rome, a city he’s never seen from the sky, from an aircraft for less than an hour, he spends three days drawing an almost perfect 360-degree panoramic picture of the city.

Google’s opt-out village – I always like people who can say something quite serious, but still make people laugh. This time it’s The Onion who’s done it again, aiming for the information gathering aspects of Google’s dominance. If you don’t like their monitoring you, perhaps you would like to move to the opt-out village?

BensonThe Economist is on average very well-written, but few sections are as good as the obituaries (they are even published in a best-of format separately for people do buy). Last weeks edition sported an obituary of a deceased fish, Benson, beautifully concluding with a parallel between Benson and wisdom: “And there she lay, like Wisdom drawn up from the deep: as golden, and as quiet.”

Personal Library Kit – I always say that I want to live in a library, and this $16 kit takes me a bit closer to my dream. Part of the reason to have a library is of course that you can lend books to your friends, so why not do it properly with this handy kit?

Last.fm Normalizer – I’ve been using Last.fm for more than three years to keep track of what I’m listening to. One complaint has always been that Last.fm only counts the number of times a track has been played, ignoring the length of the track. This should disrupt the stats, since some artists have on average very long tracks. This was confirmed by this handy website. On my top 50 artists list, the biggest winner was Shpongle, who rose from 34th to 16th place, and the biggest loser was Robyn Miller, who plumeted from 13th to 34th place.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lately, I have spent a decent amount of time reading or listening to The Economist, a weekly news publication, focusing on business and politics around the globe. I have known about The Economist for a long time, and have occasionally read an article or two, but it was only earlier this year that I really understood its greatness. Some of the material are available for free on their website; I have student access to everything relating to the publication,

First and foremost, the articles are often brilliantly written, in fact, many of them rank fairly high on my list of enjoyable non-fiction. They make good use of vocabulary and are also resourceful and witty. English being a second language for me, this is a great source of good grammar and useful words. The audio edition is adeptly performed, with skilful readers and comprehensible structure, which further adds to the value.

Furthermore, The Economist is outspoken in its liberal views and does not hide its opinions. I prefer this way of writing about politics and economics, since all authors have an agenda and it is thus more honourable to openly declare what it is, rather than to hide it. Through short and powerful articles, anonymous authors educate the readers about the world, fighting a somewhat uneven war against ignorance (remember Schiller: Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend).

During our courses concerning North-East Asia, I have felt my interest for world affairs gradually increasing. I am especially interested in East Asia, but this increase in interest is palpable elsewhere as well. The Economist therefore satisfies two needs I seem to have developed lately: excellent English and understanding about the world.

In short, I really enjoy The Economist, even though I skip most business related material (which constitutes a surprisingly small part of the publication). What remains consumes about five hours each week and it is worth every minute. I highly recommend The Economist to anyone interested in world politics, business or both.

Tags: ,