Recommended Reads (Week of 8/26)
The Week: The Switches in Your Genes
It turns out genetics can be manipulated by experiences. If I ever have kids, I wonder if my fascination with terrible music will have an effect on them.
... genes can be turned on and off by experiences and environment. What we eat, how much stress we undergo, and what toxins we’re exposed to can all alter the genetic legacy we pass on to our children and even grandchildren. In this new science of “epigenetics,” researchers are exploring how nature and nurture combine to cause behavior, traits, and illnesses that genes alone can’t explain, ranging from sexual orientation to autism to cancer.
Normally the argument of public vs. private investment is very abstract. This is only one example, but Rodgers makes a clear case for incentivizing the use of private dollars when possible.
According to recent Congressional Budget Office statistics on the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus program, each job created has cost between $500,000 and $4 million. Thus, my $1.2 million, taxed and respent on a government project of uncertain duration, would have created about one job, possibly two, and not the 65 sustainable jobs that my private investment did.
On the other end of the capital-intensity scale, Cypress Semiconductor required huge investments to create jobs in its chip-manufacturing plants. Between 1983 and 2003, those investments totaled $797 million and led to the creation of 4,033 jobs at an investment of $198,000 per job created. Thus, my own experience on the cost of job creation ranges from $18,000 to $198,000 per job, compared with $500,000 to $4 million per job created by the Obama stimulus program.
I've been a proponent of Amazon Prime for over a year now, and I was excited to read Fast Company's cover story of Jeff Bezos this month. Amazon is forcing a huge shift in retail. Basically the only thing I don't ever order through Amazon is milk, and Amazon Fresh might change that.
Bezos has turned Amazon into an unprecedented speed demon that can give you anything you want. Right. Now. To best understand Amazon's aggressive game plan--and its true ambitions--you need to begin with Amazon Prime, the company's $79-per-year, second-day delivery program. "I think Amazon Prime is the best bargain in the history of shopping," Bezos tells me, noting that the service now includes free shipping on more than 15 million items, up from the 1 million it launched with in 2005. Prime members also gain access to more than 40,000 streaming Instant Video programs and 300,000 free books in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
, it is not intended primarily as an assault on that business. Rather, Bezos is willing to lose money on shipping and services in exchange for loyalty. Those 10 million Prime members (up from 5 million two years ago, according to Morningstar) are practically addicted to using Amazon.