Archive for February 16th, 2017

Vijaywada: A city that remembers and honours its bureaucrats…

February 16, 2017

This is an interesting pointer from Anantha Nageshwaran.

Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh is a unique place which names its landmarks in bureaucrats which tried to develop the city:

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In a time of great powers and empires, just Europe experienced extraordinary economic growth. How and Why?

February 16, 2017

Prof Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University sums up years of his scholarship in this article.

One of the holy grails of economic history is how and why did Europe experience economic growth in 18th century. Prof Mokyr says there is no one answer:

How and why did the modern world and its unprecedented prosperity begin? Learned tomes by historians, economists, political scientists and other scholars fill many bookshelves with explanations of how and why the process of modern economic growth or ‘the Great Enrichment’ exploded in western Europe in the 18th century. One of the oldest and most persuasive explanations is the long political fragmentation of Europe. For centuries, no ruler had ever been able to unite Europe the way the Mongols and the Mings had united China.

It should be emphasised that Europe’s success was not the result of any inherent superiority of European (much less Christian) culture. It was rather what is known as a classical emergent property, a complex and unintended outcome of simpler interactions on the whole. The modern European economic miracle was the result of contingent institutional outcomes. It was neither designed nor planned. But it happened, and once it began, it generated a self-reinforcing dynamic of economic progress that made knowledge-driven growth both possible and sustainable.

How did this work? In brief, Europe’s political fragmentation spurred productive competition. It meant that European rulers found themselves competing for the best and most productive intellectuals and artisans. The economic historian Eric L Jones called this ‘the States system’. The costs of European political division into multiple competing states were substantial: they included almost incessant warfare, protectionism, and other coordination failures. Many scholars now believe, however, that in the long run the benefits of competing states might have been larger than the costs. In particular, the existence of multiple competing states encouraged scientific and technological innovation.

Superb read..

There are so many things which we just take for granted now but were so instrumental back then..

How did the heart symbol become mainstream despite being so anatomically incorrect?

February 16, 2017

Zachary Crockett has a terrific piece tracing history of the heart symbol. I mean there is fascinating history even behind things like a symbol.

The heart is a rather unsightly organ. A twisted, bulbous mass of ventricles, veins, and muscle, it inspires neither romance nor lust. Yet in a grossly simplified form, it has become the reigning metaphor of our love.

We’re talking, of course, about the anatomically incorrect heart () — a symbol at once cherished by teenage texters and detested by crusaders of medical accuracy.

The symbol is ubiquitous in our modern world. It dangles from necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. It shows its face in an endless sea of Valentine’s Day cards. It’s emblazoned on t-shirts, graffitied on walls, and is offered, in an endless array of colors, across all mediums of technology.

How did this weird-looking, medically-inaccurate symbol become the go-to representation of the human heart — and moreover, an expression of our love and desire?

More specifically, how did this:

…become this?:

 Read the article for more details..


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