Italian Fakes

Swiss Combat Cheese Counterfeits With Fingerprint Technology. (Bloomberg)

The country’s cheese industry, worth 604 million Swiss francs ($659 million) in exports last year, has turned to DNA fingerprinting to fight counterfeits, which Emmental producers estimate have cost them as much as 20 million francs.

“It has a deterrent effect, because people know there is a method” to catch fakes, said Petra Luedin, a project manager at Agroscope. “Fakes in Italy have declined.”

Dino Mecca! (Siglo 21)

One of the scientists working on the project described the findings as similar to what is shown in the movie “Ice Age.” The scientists have already recovered large bone samples from the hip of what they believe to be a mastodon.

School is out with ISIS. (Al-Quds)

The “Islamic State” terrorist group (formerly known as ISIS) has issued a decree canceling classes at Syrian educational institutions under its control that are not in line with the group’s beliefs.

“Topics from music education, social studies, history, fine arts, mathematics, philosophical, social and psychological issues, Islamic and Christian studies are canceled with alternative courses to be added to the curricula,” read the IS’s decree.


The plan to save jeans, by Kim Bhasin.

The movement away from jeans is due to the rise of something the industry calls “athleisure” — stretch clothes that work outside of the gym.

Uh oh…

Three years after the NATO-backed ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the violence threatens to turn Libya into a pocket of chaos destabilizing North Africa for years to come.


Libya is well along the road to becoming something new: the world’s first failed petro state.


A good look at one of the U.S.’ mind-boggling foreign policy messes, by my friend Michael Kelley.

However, any coordination with Iran and Assad in Syria would have far-reaching consequences in regards to America’s traditional allies in the region. It would also create the awkward situation of the U.S. being on the same side as Iranian proxy groups who have targeted Americans in Iraq and elsewhere.

(Obama’s Syria Trap)

“Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality,” or, “The recipe for perfectly browned pizza cheese as established by science.

Birds warn: we’re screwed.

Through analysis of the inner workings of birds’ cells, scientists have been deciphering increasingly urgent signals from ecosystems around the world.

Like the fabled canaries that miners once thrust into coal mines to check for poisonous gases, birds provide the starkest clues in the animal kingdom about whether humans, too, may be harmed by toxic substances. And they prophesy what might happen to us as the load of carbon-based, planet-warming gases in the atmosphere and oceans climbs ever higher.

Making the best of the Bay Area quake.

Runyon·esque — (rny-nsk) adj.

Reminiscent of Damon Runyon (1880–1946), the American newspaperman and writer known for his stylized, idiomatic stories about Broadway and the New York underworld, such as “Guys and Dolls” (1931).

Out There On Saturday

Ant mega-colony takes over world.

“However, the irony is that it is us who likely created the ant mega-colony by initially transporting the insects around the world,”

Water that used to hold down land masses in California is now being lost, so some parts of the state’s mountains are being uplifted by a surprising amount

Islamic State threatens to destroy world’s largest Buddhist temple.

August 2014

The debtor’s prison effect on Ferguson, Missouri.

Ferguson is a city located in northern St. Louis County with 21,203 residents living in 8,192 households. The majority (67%) of residents are African-American of residents live below the poverty level.
Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants,and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.

Tabarrok: You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant,low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.

visualizations of how our world’s changed, by @maxcroser 

Yobeat gold

Screenshot 2014-06-26 03.07.36

Hats off to my friends Jesse and Andy,

who along with the crew of Ora.TV have produced a fine program featuring Mr. William Shatner. The first episode just went live, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. Introducing Brown Bag Wine Tasting.

Good ones

Congrats to my friend Shanan and his associates on this incredible project just completed.

A machine-compiled macroevolutionary history of Phanerozoic life
This is my unscientific understanding of what they did: Much about the world and the life that inhabits it comes from paleontological data collected by guys like Shanan. But this data is locked away in different scientific reports, tables, graphs, and whatever else researchers can pack it into. In order develop well-founded theories about our world, it is critical to compare as much relevant data as possible. Shanan and his team made a super computer thing that spotlights data locked away in various sources and synthesizes it with other relevant data. AMAZING.