Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute say they've uncovered a pattern that triggers riots wherever it's found. What is that pattern? The price of food. When it rises to a certain level, social unrest & violence are soon to follow. According to their calculations the food price index is due to peak in August of 2013, assuming no corrective action is taken. The original paper is here.
Ken Lay & Enron. Bernie Madoff. Bernie Ebbers & WorldCom. What is it about CEOs that makes them uniquely capable of pulling off the most audacious & expensive kind of white collar crime? Control Fraud Theory has the answer. Via the ever-enlightening Bruce Schneier.
Dr. Schelling's neighborhood. Is segregation the holdover of a racist past or an inevitable result of simple mathematical processes? After you've read the theory, try it for yourself here, here & here. Dr. Thomas Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics for developing these ideas, but not everybody agrees that he deserved to.
The Wealth of Networks: the seminar. We've talked about The Wealth of Networks before. Now Crooked Timber is hosting a web seminar on the book & the ideas in it. How it works: a bunch of smart guys read the book & write essays on it, then post them for anyone to read & comment on. You can read them all together (PDF) or separately with comments: Norms and Networks, A General Theory of Information Politics, Why Do Social Networks Work?, Whose Networks? Whose Wealth?, Mediating the Social Contradiction of the Digital Age, The Dialectic of Technology & the author's response. And now you can join in too!
The Wealth of Networks. Yochai Benkler is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A few years ago he wrote one of the seminal papers on Commons-based production, Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm. Now he has a new book - The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. You can buy it, download it or add to it.