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Interesting Links

May 31, 2011

Economists have become pretty good at figuring out if a social program works or not. They have a much harder time figuring out why something works. 

Terrance Wood has a couple good posts about what the TV show “The Wire” can teach us about development. The first post is about the limit of measuring progress through statistics. The second post is about the complexity of people and how hard it is to stereotype behavior.

Did religion spark civilization? New evidence from Gobekli Tepe suggests that it did.

The construction of a massive temple by a group of foragers is evidence that organized religion could have come before the rise of agriculture and other aspects of civilization.

Is Arab democracy doomed?

The future of soil in two words: terra preta

“With eight billion people, we’re going tohave to start getting interested in soil,” he said. “We’re simply not going to be able to keep treating it like dirt.”

A very good and sobering report by Oxfamon the challenges of global food production and distribution, and potential solutions.

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