Nathan Heller in the New Yorker:
"In the thirties, the linguist George Kingsley Zipf had posited that a word's frequency is inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table - the third most common word would show up one-third as often as the most common word, and so on - and the Brown corpus and others have appeared to bear this out. Zipfian projections are inexact, especially far down the table, but the curve seems to hold broadly. It is unclear why."
Alvin Chang of Vox on those who leave and those who stay in their hometowns:
"People who stayed at home tend to be younger, whiter, and more male. This is a group that has gotten their fair share of privilege in this country. And in broad, sweeping statistics, it's a group that holds more regressive views toward marginalized people, including immigrants, minorities, and women. And yes, these factors likely played a bigger part in Trump winning the presidency than economic reasons. But in that same sweeping vein, it's also a group that didn't get the bulk of resources growing up, a group that was encouraged into a life path that kept them near home, and a group that is now suffering."
A new study out of GMU, reported on in the Economist:
"Cold spells hit medieval agriculture hard: a one-degree Celsius fall in temperatures reduced the growing season by up to four weeks. Lower yields caused widespread economic pain: up to 57% of people relied on farming for work in medieval England, for instance. The authors find that a fall in average temperatures of only a third of a degree increased the probability of a pogrom or expulsion by 50% over the next five years. They argue that violence against Jews was not simply caused by religiously-motivated anti-Semitism: “The Jews were convenient scapegoats for social and economic ills.”
China accounts for 27.3% of world carbon emissions, compared to 16% for the US.
The New York Review of Books:
"between 2007 and 2014, 25 percent of the rent-stabilized apartments on the Upper West Side of Manhattan were deregulated. … Not long ago a rent-stabilized building would sell for ten or at most twelve times its rent roll—the amount of money, before expenses, that it generates in a year. Today, it sells for perhaps thirty or forty times that amount, or ten times what the rent roll would be after regulated tenants have been dislodged. The clearing out of rent-stabilized tenants has become such a common real estate practice that it is added to a building’s value even before the fact. Landlords have found enough loopholes in tenant protection laws to make widespread displacement a viable financial strategy. A building in Crown Heights with one hundred stabilized units and a rent roll of $1.2 million might now fetch $40 million or more—and every tenant must be forced out for the investment to be recouped."