Marron: Zanran is Google for data.
Economist: The alternative-medicine industry plainly excels as a placebo delivery service.
Blattman: Why use spray cans when you can simply strategically clean dirt? [right]
McArdle via The .Plan: [Affluent white people in Manhattan] tend not to view themselves as affluent because they believe that living in Manhattan is a natural condition, like psoriasis, rather than a very expensive personal choice.
Yglesias on racism and egalitarianism in colonial America: there are multiple dimensions of inequality and social privilege, and tradeoffs between them do happen at the margin.
Fromson (via The .Plan) tells us that health food was created by cults (I’ve always felt there was something cultish about health food fads): The 1974 edition of the Spiritual Community Guide, "The Yellow Pages of the New Age Movement," listed 2,470 addresses throughout the country. ... 31.2 percent of the total, were health-food stores or restaurants. ... [U]nlike large religions, which can sustain themselves with tithes and donations, smaller groups usually have to generate revenue through actual businesses—and the restaurant industry has low barriers to entry.
Some of my soon-to-be colleagues at AUN evaluated Nigeria’s mobile phone network, finding that service has not improved in the last decade. Among the problems they want the government to address is corruption in activating SIM cards: "The registration and activation of SIM cards for MTN and Airtel took beyond seven days in Yola. This has led to some level of corruption on the part of their agents or employees, who expect some gratification before they would upload the registration request to head office," the report said.
The Economist on India’s new foreign policy efforts: Mr Singh promised $5 billion of loans on easy terms over the next three years for Africans willing to trade with India, plus another $1 billion to pay for education, railways and peacekeeping. It is a steep rise in aid and assistance—last year India gave a mere $25m to Africa