Chart of the day

Found this New Yorker post on the French fighting over the nature of their work week to be fascinating.  Here’s the key chart:


And some context:

Today, the average disposable household income is thirty-four per cent higher in the U.S. than in France, according to the O.E.C.D., and Americans, on average, report a higher level of life satisfaction; the French, along with having three hundred more hours of leisure time, enjoy a stronger social support network and a much better work-life balance than Americans (not to mention better bread, cheese, and wine). All this translates into a quality of life that is at least as good as—if not better than—that of Americans. Adding to that, French workers have protections and guarantees that went by the wayside a generation ago in the United States. The French approach to labor might be less productive, from a purely economic point of view, but it has its benefits. Closing Home Depot on Sundays might seem like a serious abridgement of freedom to Americans, but many Europeans see it differently.

“The well-being of each of us is not independent of what others do,” Artus, Cahuc, and Zylberberg wrote. “The value of our free time depends on the possibility of spending it with one’s family and friends and the ability to share that time with others.” In other words, the value of almost no one working on Sunday is that it forces families—or friends—to do things together.

This isn’t as trivial as it may seem, on first glance; social scientists are increasingly finding links between family time and well-being.

Photo of the day

So, there’s a lake in Tanzania that’s so alkaline it basically turns animals to stone.  These photos are real.  Unreal.

(Images: Nick Brandt)

Quick hits

1) 1493 is one of my favorite books in recent years.  And I just came across a magazine article summing up my favorite part of the book– how the potato changed the world.

2) Nice summary piece putting all the political changes in NC into context.

3) Charter schools seem to rely on a model where teachers are only in it for the short term.  That’s probably not a good thing.

4) Why you shouldn’t give money to child beggars in other countries (seriously, it’s really, really bad).

5) I’ve always found these for profit runs (i.e., color, neon, whatever) to be just silly.  Apparently, it’s a lot worse than that.

6) Really liked this Chait piece on how what’s going on with the budget is disturbingly like the situation that got everyone into WWI

7) Very nice piece in Wonkblog on the Constitutional roots of the present crisis (certainly informed my thinking on yesterday’s post).

8) Loved this story about an Amarillo, TX teenager who pretended to be pregnant for a week.  People were not nice.

9) Jim Wallis on why Jesus would not want a government shutdown.

10) I still remember back in 8th grade how they tried to scare us about the crazy things people did on PCP.  Although, they did suggest it gave you the power of Superman.  Slate’s Justin Peters on PCP and super-strength.

11) How the ebay of illegal drugs (and all sorts of illegality) was busted.

12) Another good takedown of the “both sides” narrative– this one with lots of good (i.e., absurd) examples.

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