Reading for Monday

Apparently Dubai is a slave state run by dictators. It's a long read but if it's all true then it's worth it. Here's a blogger from Dubai who says otherwise. (HT: Freakonomics)

New experiments suggest that amino acids form and replicate with greater frequency than previously believed. Basically it's saying that the formation of life may not be so uncommon after all. The same ten amino acids that keep coming up in the experiments are also commonly found in meteorites that crash into earth... hm.

I've been reading a lot of GOOD Magazine recently which is really... good. The article below is features that crazy smart crazy dude I wrote about before, Raymond Kurzweil. He says just enough stuff that makes sense... but he also seems insane. The article deals with the future of transportation.

This is a short fascinating piece about unintended consequences due to restrictions. (HT: Freakonomics again)

On Forbes Sudhir Venkatesh, the sociologist featured in Freakonomics and who wrote Gang Leader for a Day, is profiled. He talks about poverty, the sex trade, and other marginalized segments of society. Great quote near the end: "[He] dismisses the 'culture of poverty' theory, which suggests that poor blacks in America don't work because they don't value employment. 'People in America want to work,' he says. They do so ever so industriously, even when they're breaking the law."