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Less-than-universal basic income

Ten years ago, almost no one in the United States had heard of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Today, chances are that the average college graduate has not only heard of the idea, but probably holds a very strong opinion about it.

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Word Origins

Etymologicon and other books on etymology

In the previous post, I answered the first question from our correspondents (idioms with the names of body parts in them) and promised to answer the other one I had received during the break. The second question concerned the book titled The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections.

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Living Black in Lakewood: rewriting the history and future of an iconic suburb [Long Read]

In the annals of American suburban history, Lakewood stands as an icon of the postwar suburb, alongside Levittown, NY, and Park Forest, Ill. Noted not only for its rapid-fire construction—17,500 homes built from 1950-1953—it was also critiqued for its architectural monotony, alarming writers at the time who feared that uniform homes would spit out uniform people. That worry quickly faded when the demography of Lakewood began to change.

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How can business leaders add value with intuition in the age of AI? [Long Read]

In a speech to the Economic Club of Washington in 2018, Jeff Bezos described how Amazon made sense of the challenge of if and how to design and implement a loyalty scheme for its customers. This was a highly consequential decision for the business; for some time, Amazon had been searching for an answer to the question: “what would loyalty program for Amazon look like?”
A junior software engineer came up with the idea of fast, free shipping. But a big problem was that shipping is expensive. Also, customers like free shipping, so much so that the big eaters at Amazon’s “buffet” would take advantage by free shipping low-cost items which would not be good for Amazon’s bottom-line. When the Amazon finance team modelled the idea of fast, free shipping the results “didn’t look pretty.” In fact, they were nothing short of “horrifying.”

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Title cover of "Understanding Human Time", edited by Kasia M. Jaszczolt, published by Oxford University Press

Flow of time: reality or illusion?

Real time of space-time is one of the dimensions on which we comprehend and describe reality. Time neither flows, nor flies, or drags on; it doesn’t run out and is not a commodity that can be wasted.

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Five unexpected things about medical debt

100 million Americans hold medical debt which causes people to forgo or be denied necessary medical care. Luke Messac, a historian and physician, looks at five unexpected things about medical debt.

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"A Concise Guide to Communication in Science and Engineering" by David H. Foster, published by Oxford University Press

The risks of boosterism in research writing

At first glance, the significance of a piece of research may not be obvious, either from a paper submitted to a journal or from a published article. Its novelty, importance, and future impact are often uncertain, needing time to become clear to the research community.

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