Bryan Caplan wrote a very good essay in The Atlantic in which he makes the case that investment in education is socially wasteful. It’s based on a forthcoming book he wrote on that issue, which I’m sure will be very interesting. I’m very sympathetic to his view, but if you know good responses to his arguments, please let me know in the comments.
I recently stumbled upon this good piece, also in The Atlantic, about how the US and the USSR came much closer than most people think to a nuclear confrontation in 1983. I think one of the reasons people are so irresponsible when it comes to the relations between the US and Russia is that they underestimate the probability that a misunderstanding of the sort this article describes might degenerate into a nuclear war. Sometimes, they don’t really underestimate it, but think that, because it’s very small, we don’t need to worry that much about it. This is a serious mistake that consists in failing to appreciate that even a very small probability can matter a lot for decision-making when, as in the case I’m talking about here, the stakes are extremely high.
Sanjay Srivastava wrote a very good post in which he explains a common statistical fallacy, which arises when people don’t take into account the fact that, if a sample was selected on 2 or more variables, the relationship between these variables can be completely different from what it was before the selection and not just because of restriction of range.
I also discovered this very interesting piece in Haaretz from a few years ago, which describes the successful integration of the Jews who emigrated to Israel in the 1990’s from the former Soviet Union, but also how it transformed the country.