You Might Like … to Think Just a Little About Banking, Numbers, Brains, Pianos, Quakes, Water and More

This is the last post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. Plans are well underway for a redesign for Slaw that will, among other things, see the end of this series after nearly a year of entries. More on the redesign later in the month.

Berfrois – Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Three Fireside Chats – Franklin D. Roosevelt – Here are the texts of these historic talks, the first on banking delivered by radio on March 12, 1933, the second on the economy eight weeks later, and the third, on the New Deal, a couple of months after that. If you’d like to listen to the actual broadcast of the first of these, you can, thanks to the American Presidency Project.

YouTube – Paul Erdős: N is a number: The man made of maths – George Paul Csicsery – And then to another great man also with a disability. Erdős published a huge number of papers, typically with other mathematicians, leading to the development of the “Erdős Number,” a measure of how near one was to one of these joint publications.

The American Scholar – Upper Middle Brow – William Deresiewicz – Somewhere between the content of a fireside chat and a mathematics paper lies middle brow, the purpose of which “is to make consciousness safe for the upper middle class.” Hmm. You looking at me?

New York Magazine – A Brain With a Heart – David Wallace-Wells – Behind that brow sits the brain, belonging to Oliver Sacks in this case. And we learn a lot about it thanks to this interview with him to explore his new book, which is also about him. – The Piano – Stuart Agraffe – So what happens when you marry a big brain to mathematics? Sometimes it’s a new piano. Which is the case here: Australian piano makers, Stuart & Sons, have improved on that greatest of instruments, as you can hear in this video (and others on the site).

US Geological Survey – Earthquakes – USGS – Shocking though it may be that Australians have improved the piano, that’s nothing to the shocks you can see on this map of quakes around the world. The display is updated every single minute and allows you to zoom in to any region. Here, for example, is the 6.3 quake that occurred off Port Hardy, Canada, just yesterday.

NPR – Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate) – Theo Francis – Looked at individually there’s little that’s earthshaking about these policies — upon which “all” economists, left or right, managed to agree. Taken together, though, they’d make for a scary platform, apparently. (As ever with NPR, you can listen to the article as well.)

New York Times – Five Thirty Eight – Nate Silver – How do we know these economists’ policies wouldn’t make a good platform? The polls tell us so. And no one does the poll / stats thing better right now than Nate Silver. Five Thirty Eight is his blog. If you’re a data-point junkie, this is the place to be. – Virtual Water – Angela Morelli – You might like your data in a more potable form, in which case this is the site for you: Morelli has constructed an animation showing graphically how much water we consume each day – 3496 litres, as it happens – because of the way in which our food is produced.

Vimeo – Kuala Lumpur DAY-NIGHT – Rob Whitworth – A kaleidoscopic view of KL done in time-lapse from “5 months. 400 hours of solid work. 4 cameras. 40 shoots. 640 gigabytes of data. 19,997 photographs.”


  1. I look forward to this series every week, so I’m sorry to see that the “You Might Like” posts have run their course. They were a Friday treat while they lasted. Thanks.