Category Archives: social science

Mad Max Economics

Writing in The New York Times, the business columnist Eduardo Porter quotes Paul Ehrlich quoting Kenneth Boulding: “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” Then Porter, siding … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, social science | 12 Comments

Fast money, slow data

The other day I bought lunch from a food truck on the Harvard campus, paying with a debit card that my server swiped through one of those little plastic doodads attached to an iPhone. Ten minutes later, while I ate … Continue reading

Posted in social science, statistics | 5 Comments

Lopsided

Sifting through the election results last week, I noticed that the precinct where I used to live in Durham, North Carolina, voted 620 to 40 in favor of the Blue candidate in the U.S. Senate race. That’s a margin of … Continue reading

Posted in social science, statistics | 19 Comments

Black and white in one dimension

At the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington I find myself writing again about racial segregation, and specifically about Thomas C. Schelling’s mathematical model of how people wind up living in monochrome neighborhoods. I have mentioned Schelling’s model several … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, social science | 3 Comments

The Mother Ditch

I was in Santa Fe for a couple of weeks. When I went out for my morning run, I followed a paved pathway along the “river” (a parched, sandy channel, even in the monsoon season). I found my way back … Continue reading

Posted in off-topic, social science, technology | 2 Comments