Stuff for the weekend

Here are some things that caught my attention this weekend. A little less on the business side.

What makes a true football fan? – FT

Fever Pitch is a wonderful memoir, the most influential football book ever written, and an important source for our image of the football fan. The fan, as most Britons have come to think of him, is a creature tied for life to the club he first “fell for” as a child. Hornby says his love of Arsenal has lasted “longer than any relationship I have made of my own free will”. But is Hornby’s fan found much in real life? Or are most British football supporters much less loyal than is usually presumed?

Data mining isn’t a good bet for stock-market predictions – WSJ

Every year, billions of dollars pour into data-mined investing strategies. No one knows if these techniques will work in the real world. Their results are hypothetical — based on “back-testing,” or a simulation of what would have happened if the manager had actually used these techniques in the past, typically without incurring any fees, trading costs or taxes.

Why dictators love kitsch – WSJ

This week the world’s eyes were on the extraordinary photograph of former President Bill Clinton seated next to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il—an official picture taken at the end of talks that led to the freeing of two imprisoned American journalists. Mine, I confess, were elsewhere, continually diverted to the photo’s dramatic backdrop, an enormous mural of crashing seas and fluttering birds rendered in lurid greens and brilliant whites.

Paulson’s calls to Goldman tested ethics during crisis – NYT

Before he became President George W. Bush’s Treasury secretary in 2006, Henry M. Paulson Jr. agreed to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than his predecessors. He not only sold all his holdings in Goldman Sachs, the investment bank he had run, but also specifically said that he would avoid any substantive interaction with Goldman executives for his entire term unless he first obtained an ethics waiver from the government.

Job growth lacking in the private sector – NYT

(Click to enlarge)


The pain of being a redhead – NYT

A growing body of research shows that people with red hair need larger doses of anesthesia and often are resistant to local pain blockers like Novocaine. As a result, redheads tend to be particularly nervous about dental procedures and are twice as likely to avoid going to the dentist as people with other hair colors, according to new research published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The two faces of Ghana – NYT

But as one of the few African nations with a history of smooth transitions of power in free elections, Ghana was also a logical platform for a presidential speech urging all Africans to embrace democracy. And as an English-speaking country with abundant natural gifts and an appealing culture, Ghana today draws international tourists who not only want to explore the slave trade’s dark past, but also desire a joyous African experience.


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