Monday Reading List

by Bill Sweet
The start of a busy week. Good luck!

Braving the Elements Atop the New Tappan Zee Bridge

It is breathtaking to watch it happen. $4 billion and probably worth every penny. We should do more of this as a nation.

"Yet the Tappan Zee workers seem to feel a verve that goes beyond what they might experience on more workaday projects, an esprit de corps that comes from knowing they are erecting a mammoth specimen of infrastructure that they can point to and say they helped bring into the world."

In east Buffalo, drug addiction's grip is tightened by decades-long cycle

"Amplifying this is a national drug policy that treats addiction amongst the wealthy as a tragedy, and amongst the poor as a crime. The result is the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of those in poverty, especially African Americans, who are more likely to get arrested, more likely to face charges, and more likely to get jail time than wealthier users. It can turn a youthful mistake or a bad period into a lifetime stigma, and it further decreases the chances of getting a job, increasing the hopelessness."

Bayes's Theorem: What's the Big Deal?

"Embedded in Bayes’ theorem is a moral message: If you aren’t scrupulous in seeking alternative explanations for your evidence, the evidence will just confirm what you already believe. Scientists often fail to heed this dictum, which helps explains why so many scientific claims turn out to be erroneous."

"You might then cite dubious evidence to support your dubious belief. In this way, Bayes’ theorem can promote pseudoscience and superstition as well as reason."

Powerball: No Winner, So Jackpot Hits $1.3 Billion

This is a colossal waste of money. Few things depress me more.

"At a gas station in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood... [w]ith more modest lotteries, the store might sell 700 to 800 tickets a day, but the store sold more than 4,600 tickets on Saturday alone, he said."