Quick Links, Opening Weekend Edition

Here are some fun random links on this first day of April:

  • Is VCU’s Final Four run the least likely of all time? Let’s ask Nate Silver. Meanwhile, my bracket has actually survived assuming Kentucky doesn’t take the title.
  • Interesting review of the book Scorecasting by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. Seems like it tries to apply the Freakonomics approach to sports subjects. If you’re a sabermetric nerd, some of it might be old hat. But what I found interesting is that, according to the research, “home field advantage” really is nothing but refs unintentionally making more calls for the home team in an psychological attempt to be liked. Food for thought.
  • In the wake of the Congressman Gabby Giffords shooting, Richard Florida checked out the gun rights conventional wisdom that “an armed society is a polite society.” In terms of gun deaths, most certainly not. In the states with the most restrictive gun laws, he saw much fewer violent and accidental gun fatalities. In Hawaii, 2.6 per 100,000 for example; in New York 5.0 per 100,000; and in New Jersey 5.2 per 100,000. On the other hand Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alaska with their liberal gun laws saw many more deaths. Not sure what to make of D.C. in there on the high end; their gun laws were draconian until the recent Supreme Court decision.
  • The Economist defends the teaching of…. history? Wow, finally props for the liberal arts in public discourse. Someone tell Obama that it takes more than science and math nerds to Win the Future.
  • Murder in the Time of Cholera. This is really cool, and kind of creepy. From Philadelphia Magazine, a story that combines historians, anthropologists, earth scientists, a 178-year old railroad murder mystery, and… ghosts?
  • A Man’s Guide to Boots and Shoes. The first place many women look, my friends.
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