Coffee Talk

It's far better to discover important truths that never leave the Ivory Tower than propagate errors that take the world by storm.

Still no deal in Greece.  A twitter correspondent suggests that maybe the Troika now think markets are strong enough to just let Greece go, and I'm starting to wonder if he's right:
A meeting among Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, the parties supporting his coalition, and New Democracy, the opposition conservative party, broke up early Thursday morning without an agreement on economic overhauls sought by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for lending an additional €130 billion ($170 billion) to the Greek government.

A single issue was the sticking point: cuts in the Greek pension system. Mr. Papademos said after the meeting that the parties would continue to discuss the issue with EU and IMF officials, aiming to reach a final deal ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers Thursday evening in Brussels.

Our national love affair with a hunk of stone:

A couple walks into a house, in any city, on any HGTV show. 
This house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, the real estate agent tells them. It has a fenced-in back yard, lots of light, a good school district, a new furnace. It comes with a unicorn. 
This house -- she thinks they're ready to hear this news -- this house will make them lose 15 pounds from their thighs. 
Does it have granite countertops? the husband asks. 
Well, then.
A lot of things are correlated with income mobility

Which should we use to predict future social mobility in America: current inequality, projected size of population, projected export / import structure, or projected mix of religious affiliations? Surely all of these, and many more, are potentially relevant.

The difficulty of talking calmly about obesity:

The debate ended with a sensational closing-statement arms race. It began when John Stossel brandished the directions for a package of birth control pills and groused about how complicated they were, thanks to federal regulations. Then David Satcher conjured the ghost of a racist South to show that he was no stranger to government corruption. ("I've seen government at its worst, but I've also seen government at its best,'" he concluded.) Next, Paul Campos likened the pathologizing of erectile dysfunction--a natural symptom of being 50 years old, he said--to the pharmaceutical-company-fueled belief that obesity is a disease. Not to be outdone, Pamela Peeke used her two-minute closing statement to recount a story about being chased by feral dogs in a poor neighborhood, ostensibly because it showed that it's not always safe to exercise outside.