Do the Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking (Sage, 2013)

John K. White
Softcover, 350 pages

Do the Math! is a refreshing look at mathematical concepts and moral dilemmas in the increasingly more numerate world of everyday living. Aiming to popularize and inform, Do the Math does for numbers what Eats, Shoots, and Leaves does for words.

To learn more about everyday economics, growing inequality, and our increasingly consumptive ways, check out the links below.

Do the Math cover

1. USE and ABUSE (Our unequal world)

What is the true poverty rate in America?
(CounterPunch: Emily Cleath, September 10 2014)

"The odds of escaping poverty in the U.S. (i.e. economic mobility) haven’t changed in 20 years."

Life on $2 a day
(CounterPunch: Dady Chery and Gilbert Mercier, September 9 2014)

"A fast-growing group of people in the United States, households with children, are living on $2.00 or less per person per day."

Goldman to Pay $3.15 billion to settle mortgage claims
(The New York Times: Nathaniel Popper, August 22 2014)

Goldman buys back band bonds from Fannie and Freddie (rubber baby buggy bumpers?)

City considering soda company partnership to fix basketball courts at 630 parks
(New York Daily News: Annie Karni, August 7 2014)

City court basketball brought to you by ...

The latest status symbol for Hamptons elite is adopting a highway
(New York Post: Doree Lewak, August 6, 2014)

Litter removal brought to you by ...

NY judge reluctantly approves Citigroup/SEC settlement
(New York Post: Kevin Dugan, August 6, 2014)

And the beat goes on: small fines for big crimes.

A deal to dodge the tax man in America
(The New York Times: Andrew Ross Sorkin, May 12, 2014)

Selling a skeptical British public on Pfizer's $106 billion takeover plan for AstraZeneca.

USA RIP?: Less tax for the rich versus infrastructure for the rest
(CounterPunch: John K. White, May 7, 2014)

"American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer wants to become British, joining the ranks of other major corporations opening “headquarters” in low-tax-rate countries. At 21.0 percent in the U.K. versus 32.8 percent in the U.S., it’s a no-brainer."

Jobs at risk in £60bn drug giant takeover
(Daily Mail: Ben Griffiths, April 28, 2014)

"The biggest ever foreign takeover of a British company is on the cards after American drugs giant Pfizer revealed it was preparing a £60billion bid for AstraZeneca."

How the Clinton team thwarted effort to regulate derivatives
(POGO: Michael Smallberg, April 25, 2014)

"In April 1998, a decade before a historic crisis wreaked havoc on global financial markets, an obscure regulator saw a potential gap in the government’s oversight of Wall Street and tried to do something about it."

50 years into the war on poverty, hardship hits back
(The New York Times: Trip Gabriel, April 20, 2014)

"When people visit with friends and neighbors in southern West Virginia, where paved roads give way to dirt before winding steeply up wooded hollows, the talk is often of lives that never got off the ground."

Merely rich and superrich: The tax gap is narrowing
(The New York Times: Floyd Norris, April 17, 2014)

"Will this be the year that the superrich finally pay higher taxes than the very rich?"

Yellen: Fed should focus on jobs, even if inflation edges past target
(Reuters: Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, April 4, 2014)

Fed chief-in-waiting prefers jobs to low inflation.

Charles H. Keating Jr., central figure in savings-and-loan scandal, dies at 90
(The Washington Post: Matt Schudel, April 2, 2014)

Before Madoff there was Keating. A history lesson in white-collar American crime.

$250,000 stuffed in pantyhose...and other Credit Suisse tax evasion tricks
(CNN Money: Evan Perez, February 20, 2014)

"U.S. prosecutors say they have evidence like this to support their case that bankers at Credit Suisse Group helped U.S. customers evade taxes on at least $4 billion in hidden assets."

Tech giants taunt the taxman
(El País (In English): Miguel Jiménez, January 22, 2014)

"Major US technology groups paid Spain’s revenue agency just 1.2 million euros in 2012. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay and others use fiscal engineering to avoid payments."

WORKING FOR THE FEW: Political capture and economic inequality [pdf]
(OXFAM: Briefing paper, January 20, 2014)

The most recent comprehensive source on world inequality: "Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population."

Shoppers want INSTANT benefits not 'meaningless' loyalty card points
(The Daily Mail: Sean Poulter, December 27, 2013)

Are loyalty schemes any good for consumers?

The 90% question
(The Economist: Free Exchange, April 20, 2013)

Reinhardt and Rogoff debt calculations under fire.

The 40 most unusual economic indicators
(The FinancialPost: Matthew Boesler, February 21, 2013)

And now for something completely different, from first dates to alligator populations to penis lengths.

Tax and how to create a more equal society
(The Globe and Mail: Gloria Galloway, April 10, 2012)

"Canadians are concerned about what they see as a growing gap between the rich and the poor and are willing to consider tax increases to create a more equal society"

On poverty: If it's Sunday, it's myths in the press
(Common Dreams: Greg Kaufmann, Feb 3, 2012)

"Here are just a few things made worse by tax breaks for the wealthy: unequal schools segregated by race, class and quality that are funded by property taxes. ..."

If banks have values, they are greed, hubris and sheer brass neck
(The Independent: Justin Cartwright, June 29, 2012)

The cry that goes up in dealing rooms when a trade is bad is ‘OPM’ – other people’s money

Money and morality
(The Big Issue: Paul McNamee, Jun 25, 2012)

"The Jimmy Carr tax business provided a screen for a more sinister piece of high finance."

The 10 best jobs in the United States?
(The Huffington Post: Harry Bradford, April 13, 2012)

Math, computers, software, ..., well, depending on the criteria: happiest, most income, least stress, ...?

Income inequality: Obama vs. Bush
(The Huffington Post: Alexander Eichler, April 11, 2012)

"During the post-recession period of 2009 and 2010, the rich snagged a greater share of total income growth than they did during the boom years of 2002 to 2007."

The nine American cities nearly destroyed by the recession
(24/7 Wall St, Jan 19, 2012)

Many regions in the U.S. still continue to lose jobs according to a report commissioned by the United States Conference of Mayors.

Senate moves to end Congressional insider trading
(The Huffington Post: Michael McAuliff, January 30, 2012)

It's about time Congress wasn't just a well-paid insider-driven boondoggle? Twenty-first century folks.

David Einhorn fined £7.2m for insider trading
(The Telegraph: Jonathan Russell and Richard Blackden, Feb 3, 2012)

"The man who made millions shorting Lehman Brothers was fined together with his hedge fund Greenlight Capital for trading in Punch Tavern shares while in possession of insider information."

Millions of TripAdvisor reviews reported as fake
(The Herald Sun, Feb 3, 2012)

The Advertising Standards Authority is to investigate the online company after receiving a complaint that fake and misleading reviews have reached "epidemic levels."

Romney fails to disclose income from 'secret' Swiss bank account
(Mail Online, Jan 27, 2012)

"How much money does the presidential hopeful really have stuffed in off-shore accounts around the world? The new mantra: Earn locally, invest globally."

A leading question: Poll and refererendum question bias
(Mail Online: Tim Shipman, Jan 26, 2012)

SNP leader and Scottish prime minister Alex Salmond wants to ask 'loaded' question for Scots independence: 'Do you agree your country should be independent?'

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer
(The Times: Sam Fleming, Jan 24, 2012)

"The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that the gap among its member states is at its highest level for more than 30 years."

Long march to banking justice
(Mail Online: Alex Brummer, Jan 4, 2012)

"All that the authorities have done so far is kick into touch action against the errant banks. The result is simmering public anger over the fact that the bankers have escaped justice whereas the boy who stole a bottle of water in the summer riots had his moment in court almost instantly."

Convicted embezzler gets sweetheart sentence
(France 24, Dec 16, 2011)

Former French president, Paris mayor, and convicted criminal, Jacques Chirac, gets less than a slap on the wrist -- no time in jail for fraud.

Congress: Trading stock on inside information?
(CBS News: Nov 13, 2011)

Steve Kroft reports that members of Congress can legally trade stock based on non-public information from Capitol Hill.

Ten questions for Tea Partiers
(Counterpunch: Ralph Nader, Oct 22, 2011)

So you want lower taxes, a return to constitutional protections, and clean government?

Do the math (The deficit reduction 'super commission')
(Financial Sense: Bob Eisenbeis, Sep 30, 2011)

Eisenbeis writes about the attempts to reduce the deficit by a total of $1.5 trillion over a period of 10 years.

Do the math, Obama tells Republican critics on tax
(The Independent: David Osborne, Sep 20, 2011)

"It's not class warfare, it's math," noted the president in a Rose Garden address.

American household % negative equity
(CoreLogic, Sep 13, 2011)

10.9 million, or 22.5 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter of 2011.

Nine things you didn't know about the history of debt
(Huffington Post: David Graeber, Jul 29, 2011)

"Debt ceilings, sovereign debt crises, credit crunches, senate battles over debt protection agencies, subprime mortgages, the creeping feeling that the United States has somehow hocked itself to China. ..."

Wealth gap between whites, minorities widens to greatest level in a quarter century
(Huffington Post: Hope Yen, Jul 26, 2011)

"The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring."

Peter Mandelson parties with his super-rich chums again
(Mail Online: Abul Taher, Jul 10, 2011)

"It was a lavish party packed with oligarchs and mining magnates. Just the sort of occasion where you might expect to see Peter Mandelson."

Congress increasingly staffed by former lobbyists
(Huffington Post: Dan Froomkin, Jul 12, 2011)

"The number of former lobbyists working as key congressional staffers has more than doubled since the Republican Party took control of the House, a new report finds."

51 percent of American households pay no income tax
(Tampa Bay Times: John Cornyn, Jul 7, 2011)

"The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring."

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
(Vanity Fair: Joseph E. Stiglitz, May, 2011)

Not quite what Lincoln had in mind!

Low federal tax rate means hundreds of billions of dollars lost annually
(Huffington Post: William Alden, May 31, 2011)

"Hearing some politicians talk about taxes, one might be convinced the United States has one of the highest tax rates in the world."

U.S. millionaire households will nearly double this decade
(The Huffington Post: Maxwell Strachan, May 5, 2011

"Fast as the number of millionaires in emerging economies might be growing, it'll be quite a while before any country catches the United States."

Apple's Chinese workers treated 'inhumanely, like machines'
(The Guardian: Gethin Chamberlain, April 30, 2011)

"An investigation into the conditions of Chinese workers has revealed the shocking human cost of producing the must-have Apple iPhones and iPads that are now ubiquitous in the west."

The U.S. tax code: A "huge convoluted mess"
(, Apr 17, 2011)

The American tax system is "a mess that's completely unfair, and that few Americans understand," says David Cay Johnston, who teaches tax regulation at Syracuse University Law School.

Retracing Bowles-Simpson and cutting through fog
(The Guardian: Michael Tomasky, Apr 12, 2011)

"President Obama will call for shrinking the nation's long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending."

Inequality and unsustainable growth: Two sides of the same coin?
(IMF Staff Discussion Note: Andrew G. Berg and Jonathan D. Ostry, April 11, 2011)

Thoughts from the IMF: Inequality amplifies the risk of crisis and makes it difficult for the poor to invest in education.

Bretton Woods 2011
(Institute for New Economic Thinking, Apr 11, 2011

Crisis and Renewal: International Political Economy at the Crossroads. Talks from Kenneth Rogoff, Larry Summers, Joseph Stiglitz, Niall Ferguson, Paul Volker, George Soros, and many others.

Attacking the U.S. middle class?
(Al Jazeera (Riz Khan): Ralph Nader, Mar 17, 2011)

Politician and activist Ralph Nader examines the future of workers' unions in the US.

Illinois abolishes death penalty: Republicans want it reinstated
(The Huffington Post: Christopher Wills, Mar 10, 2011)

Isn't it time to end the most foul form of punishment, especially in a country that supposedly trusts in God.

Berlusconi at his best worst self
(CRACKED.COM: Luke McKinney, Mar 5, 2011)

The 5 craziest exploits of the world's shadiest politician.

Social scientist sees bias within
(The New York Times: John Tierney, Feb 7, 2011)

"Social psychologists are a 'tribal-moral community' united by 'sacred values' that hinder research and damage their credibility - and blind them to the hostile climate they've created for non-liberals."

How the poor stay poor
(The Guardian: Jill Insley, Jan 6, 2011)

Credit cards used to pay mortgage or rent by 2 million people.

How fair is professional sports--really?
(The Toronto Star, Dec 22 2010)

Yankees hit with $18M luxury tax, their lowest since 2003.

The decline of the self-destructive middle class
(The Toronto Star: Thomas Walkom, Dec 1, 2010)

"That the middle class is under attack is not news. People know it in their own lives as pay cheques wither and jobs disappear."

Larry Summers remarks on the great recession
(C-SPAN, Dec 13, 2010)

Larry Summers speaks about policy decisions made during his tenure as director of the White House National Economic Council.

€220bn sovereign burden too big to carry
(The Independent: Constantin Gurdgiev, Nov 28, 2010)

"Last week's events have finally brought to national and international attention the true extent of the solvency crisis we face."

The secret behind cheap electronics
(ZDNet: David Gewirtz, Oct 18, 2010)

Is Apple's suicide factory outsourcing to even cheaper Chinese peasants?

So how did the Bush tax cuts work out for the economy?
( David Cay Johnston, Sep 24, 2010)

"The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess the fulfillment of the Republican promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency."

Poverty in the United States
(The Washington Post: Carol Morello, Sep 16, 2010)

About 44 million lived below the poverty line in the US in 2009.

How drunk was the Irish prime minister?
(The Independent: Fiach Kelly , Sep 15, 2010)

Does he respect you in the morning? The Irish prime minister drinks up a storm hours before a televized Morning Ireland interview.

Delta's Northwest pleading guilty to price fixing
(Reuters, Jul 30, 2010)

Northwest agreed to plead guilty to a single felony count that its now-shuttered Northwest Airlines Cargo conspired to fix prices, the department said. It agreed to pay a fine of $38 million.

Microchip firms settle price-fixing case
( Business News, Jun 25, 2010)

"The state of California has reached a $173 million settlement with six computer chip makers charged in a price-fixing scheme."

Dail family trees show clans who rule Ireland
(The Independent: Daniel McConnell, Dec 27, 2009)

"Children following in their parents' footsteps has been a hallmark of our electoral system."

How representative is your democracy?
(CBS News: Brian Montopoli, Nov 6, 2009)

"Even in tough times, it's good to be a lawmaker." The Center for Responsive Politics counted 237 millionaires serving in Congress.

Schwarzenegger drops F-bomb in veto message to lawmaker
(New York Post: David K. Li, Oct 28, 2009)

Arnold tells us what he really thinks.

China's Hu Jintao pledges to curb carbon dioxide emissions at UN summit
(The Telegraph, Sep 22, 2009)

Fact or fiction (or what is meant by a 'notable margin'): "We will endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level."

Air France Airbus pitot sensor linked to two fatal crashes
(, Jun 16, 2009)

Faults similar to those on an Air France Airbus that crashed into the sea on 1 June were major factors in two little-noticed fatal losses of passenger jets more than a decade ago.

America's socialism for the rich
(The Guardian: Joseph Stiglitz, Jun 12, 2009)

"The US has a huge corporate safety net, allowing the banks to gamble with impunity, but offers little to struggling individuals."

Scam of the century: Madoff and the $50 billion heist
(CNBC Business News: David Faber, Jun 4, 2009)

CNBC's David Faber takes an in-depth look at Bernie Madoff's multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Obama NBC Interview: "I Screwed Up"
(The Huffington Post, Feb 3, 2009)

Two sets of laws -- for the extraordinary and the ordinary: President Obama comments on Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer and Timothy Geithner, not paying all of their taxes.

How much did the former Irish prime minister actually steal?
(The Independent, Dec 20, 2006)

"DISGRACED former Taoiseach Charles J Haughey stole €45m in today's money from taxpayers, Fianna Fail and his best friend's medical fund." His best friend's MEDICAL fund!

Children of rich parents are better at reading
(The Observer, Amelia Hill Feb 6, 2005)

"A five-year-old whose parents earn more than £67,500 has reading skills six months more advanced than one whose parents are jobless."

2. EVERYDAY NUMBERS (News/Economics)

Rockefellers, heirs to an oil fortune, will divest charity of fossil fuels
(The New York Times: John Schwartz, September 21 2014)

The Standard Oil kings go green to the tune of $860 mil.

Euro zone deficit hits target for first time since 2008
(The New York Times: David Jolly, April 23, 2014)

"The 18 countries that use the euro as their currency reduced their deficits, on average, to 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, down from 3.7 percent in 2012."

Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK as ministers tighten safeguards
(The Guardian: Rowena Mason, July 28, 2014)

New U.K. fracking rules explained with fracking licensing map.

SEC adopts portion of cross-border derivatives rules
(Reuters: Sarah N. Lynch, June 25, 2014)

U.S. securities regulators enforce foreign banking derivatives to comply with new U.S. rules.

Seattle city council approves historic $15 minimum wage
(The Seattle Times: Lynn Thompson and Amy Martinez, June 2, 2014)

"The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage Monday, giving its lowest-paid workers a path over the next seven years to the nation’s highest hourly pay."

Correction: Biofuels-Global warming story
(AP: The Big Story: Dina Cappiello, April 22, 2014)

What not to do: Corn biofuels worse than gas for global warming.

The town that cooks the trash
(El País (In English): Antonio Nieto Moreno, January 20, 2014)

"The municipality of Rivas Vaciamadrid is looking to export a technology that reduces waste by 70 percent."

Offshore wind in Europe: Lessons for the U.S.
(The Huffington Post: Lewis Milford, September 30, 2013)

"There are a lot of great things Europe has that the U.S. doesn't -- comfortable taxis, good table wine, Idris Elba -- and then there's offshore wind, lots and lots of offshore wind."

Royal Canadian Mint to create digital currency
(The Toronto Star: Emily Jackson, April 11, 2012)

A penny saved is a penny earned. Gotta penny leave a penny, need a penny take a penny.

Greek PM says default would lead to 'chaos'
(The Toronto Star: Derek Gatopoulos and Nicholas Paphitis, Feb 10, 2012)

When spokes become wheels in the land of Chaos, Eros, Tartarus and Nyx. The beginning of the end of the European monetary union?

The death and life of Jane Jacobs
(The Toronto Standard: Síle Cleary, Feb 2, 2012)

Find out if the work of the great city planner and writer of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (published 1961) is still relevant.

Eurozone: The Greek haircut is worse than you thought
(Forbes: Tim Worstall,, Oct 22, 2011)

When is a haircut a scalping: When 15% + 35% at 2% for 30 years is too much

Do the math: Discovering limits to growth
(Do the Math blog: Tom Murphy, Sep 7, 2011)

This blog uses physics and estimation to assess energy, growth, options.

Greed, not Osama, took down the economy
(The Toronto Star: Jennifer Wells, Aug 12, 2011)

"Of course the world has changed. 'The last 10 years have really been America waking up from essentially a dream.'"

The U.S. deficit and taxes: Do the math
(The Economist: Buttonwood, Oct 26, 2010)

"It was very difficult to imagine any cuts in spending that would amount to more than 0.5% of GDP, given the limited size of non-discretionary spending."

After 21 years...The Wealthy Barber returns
(The Toronto Star: David Chilton, Oct 4, 2010)

Living within one's means means more money.

Larry Summers and the subversion of economics
(The Chronicle Review: Charles Ferguson, Oct 3, 2010)

Larry Summers resigns as director of the White House National Economic Council.

Yankees on top in global pay review, Premier League in the shade
(Sporting Intelligence: Nick Harris, Mar 28, 2010)

"The New York Yankees are the best-paid team in global sport measured by average first-team wages, ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and basketball's Dallas Mavericks, according to the inaugural Annual Review of Global Sports Salaries."

Asia's rise -- how and when
(TED: Hans Rosling, Nov, 2009)

The always engaging Hans Rosling graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the dates when India and China will pass the United States.

Sustainability & justice: Do the math
(Rex Wyler, Nov 11, 2009)

"Nature's rules: 1. Total human consumption = 130% of Earth's capacity, 2. The rich 15% use 85% of the stuff; while the poor 85% use 15% of the stuff."

Why the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is controversial
(Investopedia: Fred Kaifosh, Oct 17, 2009)

"For several years, there has been controversy about whether the CPI overstates or understates inflation, how it is measured and whether it is an appropriate proxy for inflation."

The 500 richest people in America
(, Sep 30, 2009)

$50bn William Gates III (Microsoft), $40bn Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), $27bn Lawrence Ellison (Oracle), $21.5bn the Waltons (Wal-Mart), ...

The love of money - episode 2: The age of risk
(BBC (Cosmo Learning): G. Smith (Director), Sep 17, 2009)

Television series that examines the boom years before the bust.

The elusive green economy
(The Atlantic: Joshua Green, Jul/Aug, 2009)

"It feels like 1977 all over again: economy in the doldrums, crisis in the Middle East, and a charismatic new Democrat in the White House preaching the gospel of clean energy. Can Obama succeed where Carter did not? Yes-but only if we've learned the lessons of three decades of failure."

List of lawyers in the 111th Congress
(Daily Paul, May 28, 2009)

How many lawyers are there in congress?--The number might surprise you.

"American Idol" makes $15 million per hour
(Business Insider: Hilary Lewis, Apr 9, 2009)

How much is that strategically placed Coke cup really worth?

Gordon Brown's speech to the U.S. Congress
(in The Guardian, Mar 4, 2009)

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets with President Obama on a snowy January day and then speaks about growth to the joint houses of Congress (only the fifth British prime minister to do so).

The affinity Ponzi scheme
(Newsweek: Barton Biggs, Jan 2, 2009)

"It's incredible that Madoff could have sucked so many rich and very sophisticated people into his Ponzi scheme."

Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage [pdf]
(U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)

This report presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States. To see if the rich are getting richer, see, especially, Selected Measures of Household Income Dispersion: 1967 to 2009.

The net worth of Congress
(, Center for Responsive Politics, 2009)

How much are your representatives making and how many are millionaires?"

What is the difference between a recession and a depression?
(Club Troppo: Saul Eslake, Nov 23, 2008)

Politics, economics, law and life from a 'radical centrist' perspective, defined by Noel Pearson as "the intense resolution of the tensions between opposing principles."

Paul Krugman's Nobel Prize news conference
(World News Inc., Oct 13, 2008)

Professor Paul Krugman addresses the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University after being awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics "for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity."

A G.I. Bill For The 21st Century
(The Progress Report, Feb 29, 2008)

FDR's original G.I. Bill falls far short of actual costs today because of cut backs and skyrocketing college tuition and fees.

Ten common tax audit flags: What does the IRS look for before auditing an individual?
(Budgeting @ Suite101: E. Bailey, Jan 17, 2008)

"Over one million taxpayers are audited each year, but your chances are only 2%. What types of things will increase your chances of being audited?"

Paul Krugman on inequality and democracy
(The Economist (Free exchange), Aug 21, 2007)

GQ interviews Paul Krugman about the growing American income gap.

What percent of the U.S. population do lawyers comprise?
(wiseGEEK, Oct 24, 2006)

"According to the American Bar Association there are currently 1,116,967 lawyers practicing in the United States."

More countries introduce federal tax incentives [pdf]
(Center For Entertainment Industry Data and Research (CEIDR), Jul 30, 2006)

"The U.S. economy has lost some 47,000 jobs per year and an estimated $23 billion in economic benefits related to the production of theatrical length films alone since 2000."

A conversation with Warren Buffett
(Fortune Magazine: Carol J. Loomis, Jun 25, 2006)

Fortune's Carol Loomis asks Warren Buffett why he gave his money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gordon Brown's speech to the CBI
(in The Financial Times, Nov 28, 2005)

Full text of Gordon Brown's speech to the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry in London.

U.S. companies moving more jobs overseas
(Common Dreams: David Zielenziger, Dec 24, 2003)

"U.S. corporations are picking up the pace in shifting well-paid technology jobs to India, China and other low-cost centers, but they are keeping quiet for fear of a backlash."

State lotteries: Advocating a social ill for the social good [pdf]
(The Independent Review: M. Heberling, Spring 2002)

"Fifty years ago, anyone caught 'playing the numbers' might be in serious trouble with the law. ... How could such a complete turnaround have taken place?"

The Bloomberg Machine. If he runs for mayor of New York, what happens to his empire?
(Bloomberg Businessweek: Tom Lowry, Apr 23, 2001)

Prior to his declaring a run for New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg got his start in 1981 providing real-time market information (estimated $2.5 billion annual revenues at Bloomberg LP).

Bill Clinton statement on signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
(The American Presidency Project, Nov 12, 1999)

The beginning of the end of modern banking regulation? The beginning of the boom that went bust?

Orders of the day: Budget debate (on lotteries)
(Mainitoba Legislature, Mar 14, 1995)

"I believe [lotteries] are a tax on the poor, ... and I do not like to promote gambling." Mr. Jim Maloway (Elmwood)

The culture of contentment
(C-SPAN: John Kenneth Galbraith, Oct 27, 1992)

The Harvard economist discusses the political response of an economically mature nation.

The age of uncertainty
(BBC CosmoLearning: John Kenneth Galbraith, 1977)

All 12 episodes from the acclaimed BBC television series, from Ep. 1 (The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism) to Ep. 12 (Democracy, Leadership, Commitment).

3. MATH and SCIENCE (for fun and profit)

Comet takes near-miss route to mars
(USA Today: Traci Watson, October 17 2014)

The coolest solar system math and physics right in our own celestial backyard.

Math wars: Rote memorization plays crucial role
(The National Post: Joseph Brean, August 21 2014)

Remember your times tables? It's good to memorize.

Researchers publish precise mathematical equation they say accurately predicts moment-to-moment happiness
(The National Post: Sarah Boesveld, August 5, 2014)

Happiness = a function of (x,y,z).

How Obama shocked Harper as Keystone's frustrator-in-chief
(Bloomberg News: Edward Greenspon, April 26, 2014)

"Canada vs the U.S.A blow-by-blow account in the controversial pipeline routing.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not, climate change version
(CounterPunch: Robert Hunziker, April 22, 2014)

"Carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere and absorbed by the ocean may be invisible to the naked eye, but it is extraordinarily visible in its effect, as will be chronicled herein, and it shows up in the weirdest places."

Here’s why other countries beat the U.S. in reading and math
(The Washington Post: Olga Khazan, December 11, 2012)

"Two international tests released Tuesday show that U.S. students continue to lag behind those in many Asian and some European countries in reading, math and science."

Brain science and mind reading
(The Huffington Post, Feb 1, 2012)

Can mind-reading of voices in our heads let brain scientists listen into our thoughts?

High schoolers send Lego Man into space
(The Toronto Star, Jan 25, 2012)

See how high a lego man flies in a home-made baloon/parachute--video of the students and lauch.

Annual ranking of America's largest corporations
(FORTUNE 500, 2011)

See the list of America's largest corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Fannie Mae, ...).

Record 232-digit number from cryptography challenge factored
(Scientific American: John Matson, Jan 8, 2010)

"A team of researchers has successfully factored a 232-digit number into its two composite prime-number factors, but too late to claim a $50,000 prize once attached to the achievement."

Significant earthquakes in the past 30 days
(U.S. Geological Survey)

Data from the most recent earthquakes around the world, including fascinating animated maps from the US. More geological information about earthquakes, tsunamis, minerals is also available at (Geology)

Zipf's law and world city populations
(AI and Social Science: Brendan O'Connor, May 24, 2009)

Plotting the biggest city, the next biggest, etc., shows a power-law exponential fall-off in size. The same goes for word size in books, earthquakes, and other distributions).

Nash bargaining via flexible budget markets
(Google Tech Talks: Vijay Vazirani, Sep 12, 2008)

Georgia Tech's Professor Vazirani talks about algorithm design and the theory of computing.

John Nash and game theory
( Nobel Seminar, Dec 8, 1994)

The Princeton mathematician discussing his work at a Nobel seminar.

Probabilities in the game of Monopoly
(Truman Collins)

Lots of interesting links (especially in his Math, Science, and Critical Thinking section).

Teach yourself statistics online

StatTrek's mission is to help solve common statistics problems - from the basics to probability distributions.

Microsimulation of road traffic flow
(ACTIVE - Adaptive and Cooperative Technologies for Intelligent VEhicular traffic: Martin Treiber)

Awesome interactive applet showing the effect of pertubations on traffic flow.

Panic: A quantitative analysis
(Nature: D. Helbing, I. Farkas & T. Vicsek, Sep 2000)

Articles and videos on simulating dynamical features of escape panic.

2000 U.S. presidential general election results
(State Elections Offices, Dec, 2001)

Who really won? Count up the Gore + Nader Electoral College votes and see if they equal more than Bush's in any state.

The rise and fall of Albania's pyramid schemes
(Finance and Development, International Monetary Fund: Christopher Jarvis, Mar 2000)

A Ponzi scheme that brought down the governement. How to prevent similar disasters.

Geologist finds a meteorite crater in Google Earth
(Universe Today: Fraser Cain, Mar 19, 2008)

"Want to discover an impact crater, and even get it named after you? All you've got to do is spend a few (hundred) hours poring over images in Google Earth or Google Maps."

Nasa Earth Observatory

Loads of cool animated earth data (aerosol optical depth, carbon monoxide, cloud fraction) from the EOS Project Science Office at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Jupiter effect
(HyperPhysics, R. Nave)

Debunk stupidity using the simplest of physics knowledge.

The Apollo 15 hammer-feather drop
(NASA, Aug 1971)

Which hits the moon first--a hammer or a feather? Watch Apollo 15's commander David R. Scott drop a 1.3-kg aluminum hammer and a 0.03-kg falcon feather on the moon at the same time.

Exponential growth in "The trouble with tribbles"
(Star Trek Episode 44, Dec 29, 1969)

The tribbles of Star Trek fame grew exponentially, with just one multiplying to 1,771,561 in 3 days via a tenfold growth every 12 hours, according to Spock's calculation.

Cosmic zoom
(National Film Board of Canada: Eva Szasz, 1968)

The art of animation transports one from a boat on the Ottawa River to the end of the universe (8-minute animated film).

Powers of ten

From a girl sititng on a square at the Univeristy of Utah to the Virgo cluster 1024 meters out. See the exponential growth.

Cosmic view: The universe in 40 jumps
(Boeke: Kees Boeke, 1957)

A classic on learning about scale and gemoetric growth in powers of 10.

The eleventh census of the United States: Schedule No. 1 - Population and social statistics
(U.S. Census Bureau, 1890)

The original questionnaire used by Herman Hollerith (director of the first mechanical census calculation and founder of the precursor to IBM).

An essay on the principle of population
(The Project Gutenberg EBook: Thomas Malthus, 1798)

Malthus's original 1798 essay on the principle of population, as it affects the future improvement of society with remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other writers.

4. Journals, blogs, the front line

The injustice of poverty demands a powerful and practical response to address both its causes and its impact on peoples' lives. Oxfam uses people power against poverty.
Global Poverty Project
Global Poverty Project's mission is to grow the number and effectiveness of Global Citizens to achieve the public, business and political commitment and action to end extreme poverty by 2030.
"America's best political newsletter." Tells the facts, names the names. If you want to learn the truth about what's really going on in the corridors of power.
Common Dreams
Ideas, opinions and in-depth analysis by some of the world's best progressive writers, thinkers and activists.
Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp
Pay off debt sooner than you think. Get credit advice from a housing and debt counseling agency.
The Tax Justice Network
TJN shares concerns about the harmful impacts of tax avoidance, tax competition and tax havens.
The Heidelberg Project
Using art to provoke thought, promote discussion, inspire action and heal communities.
The Homeless Football League
The Homeless FA is part of Centrepoint, the UK's leading youth homelessness charity.
World Resources Institute
Turning big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment—the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being.
Planet Money
The global economy via a twice-weekly podcast, radio stories, and a blog hosted by PBS and NPR.
The Enlightened Economist
Articles, reviews, and thoughts from Diane Coyle, the author of The Economics of Enough.
True Economics
Articles, Twitter updates, and links on recent economic events from Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev.
Peace Voice
PeaceVoice is devoted to changing U.S. national conversation about the possibilities of peace and the inadvisability of war.
Today with Barack Obama
An exhaustive collection of video of Barack Obama's presidency, including all major speeches.
Random Observations for Students of Economics Harvard University economics professor Greg Mankiw's blog
Visual Economics
Unravel the complexities of economic and financial data using charts, graphs, diagrams, and lists.
Warren Buffett
Articles, interviews, letters from Squawk Box, Charlie Rose, Bloomberg, etc., etc.
Expert, unbiased information to help you make the right choice, whatever you're buying.
Chance News (Dartmouth College)
Become more informed about current news stories that use probability and statistics.
The Erdös Number Project
How close are you related? Jerry Grossman of Oakland University studies research collaboration.
AI and Social Science
On artificial intelligence and social science, with an emphasis on computation and statistics.

5. Questions and answers

Are you a libertarian? (Advocates for Self-Government quiz) How many pathological gamblers are there? (American Gaming Association)
What is quantitative easing? ( How many people die in drunk-driving crashes? (MADD)
How many Americans are religious? (City University of New York [pdf]) Was the Ford Pinto safe? (
Are airplanes safe? (Discovery Channel: Unlocking disaster) What is the TVA? (TVA)
How many unauthorized immigrants are in the United States (Department of Homeland Security [pdf]) How much resources do we consume? (American Museum of Natural History)
How do advertiser's get your attention? (Association of National Advertisers) How much does all that advertizing really cost? (The Economist)
How random is a random number? ( Are tests biased? (Wilderdom)
What percent of the American workforce is unionized? (Bureau of Labor Statistics) How much do Americans owe on credit cards? (U.S. Census Bureau [pdf])

6. Useful data downloads

Consumer credit - G.19, 2011
(The Federal Reserve)

$ Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 10%, revolving credit at 8-1/2%, and nonrevolving credit at 10-3/4%.

Energy data - India oil, gas, electricity, coal, 2011 [pdf]
(Energy Information Administration)

₹ India was the world's fourth largest energy consumer in 2009 after the United States, China, and Russia.

Energy data - China oil, gas, electricity, coal, 2010 [pdf]
(Energy Information Administration)

¥ China is the world's second largest oil consumer (behind the United States) and in 2006 became the world's third-largest net importer of oil.

GNI per capita (tables: 1981-2010) (The World Bank)

$€¥ Tables and graphs of world GNI per capita converted to U.S. dollars using the World Bank Atlas method.

GNP per capita (maps: 1960-1999) (The University of California Atlas of Global Inequality)

$€¥ Maps showing changing GNP from World Bank GNP data (1960-2000).

GNP per capita (text: 1960-1999) (The University of California Atlas of Global Inequality)

$€¥ Text data of changing GNP from World Bank GNP data (1960-2000).

Historical crude oil prices

$ How to calculate the effect of inflation on oil prices.

Historical CPI-U data from 1913

$ How to calculate inflation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI-U).

Historical tables -- U.S. Budget [pdf]
(Fiscal Year 2010)

$ Contains data from 1940 to present on budget receipts, outlays, surpluses or deficits, debt, and employment.

Hourly electrical demands

$ IESO publishes detailed price and demand information for the IESO-administered markets, including electricity demand.

Input-Output accounts data
(Bureau of Economic Analysis)

$ The BEA publishes industry economic data from 1998.

Insider's report - Advertising expenditures [pdf]
(Universal McCann)

$ More than half a trillion dollars per year is spent on advertising. That's a 5 followed by eight zeroes and preceded by a dollar sign.

International energy outlook, 2011
(Energy Information Administration)

$€¥ World energy consumption (from 1990 to a projected 2035 in OECD and non-OECD countries).

The next decade in global wealth among millionaire households
(Deloitte, May 2011)

$€¥ Deloitt'es study "examines the next decade in global wealth in 25 economies selected for their size, growth potential and strategic importance."

Number of U.S. executions by state and region since 1976
(Death Penalty Information Center)

$ Total executions since 1976 = 1278, including 477 in Texas (as of Jan, 2012)

Population estimates
(U.S. Census Bureau)

$ American population data from 1900 (nation, states, counties, place and county subdivisions, metropolitan areas).

World oil consumption map (color-coded)
(indexmundi, 2011)

$€¥ Total oil consumed in barrels per day (bbl/day) by country from CIA The world factbook and other important data.

World population data [pdf]
(United Nations)

$ Population data from year 0 to near stabilization and beyond?

7. Reference sites

Congressional Research Service The CRS publishes an informative annual report of legislative achievements in both the U.S. House and Senate.

Gapminder Gapminder Desktop is a fascinating 4-dimensional plotting tool (3D data animated in time) that helps promote sustainable global development.

International data base The U.S. Census Bureau database provides country demographics (growth, age distributions, mortality, imigration rates).

Nationmaster NationMaster compiles CIA, UN, and OECD data with global graphical comparisons.

Nobel Prizes in economic science provides interesting autobiographies of all the Sveriges Riksbank Prize winners since 1968.

An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations (Adam Smith, 1776) Electronic public domain version of Smith's original "Wealth of Nations."

The world factbook Full of international economic information (populations, GNP, debt, etc.) for most countries.

About the author

John K. White received a B.Sc. in Applied Physics from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a Ph.D. from University College Dublin, Ireland.

He has worked around the world as a physicist, lecturer, project manager, and computational analyst over a 25-year career. He has worked as a project manager and technical writer for Sun Microsystems, The Netherlands Organization, and Berminghammer Foundation Equipment, consultant for Interactive Image Technologies, ScotiaBank, and the Ontario Government, and as a lecturer and research fellow at University College Dublin, and has analyzed game playing strategies, from professional sports teams to the stock market as well as many other thought provoking systems.

He is also active in promoting physics and numeracy in schools, and has published widely in academic journals, contributed chapters to edited volumes, and authored numerous technical publications. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he grew up in Toronto, Canada, and now lives and works in Dublin.

Do the Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking

John K. White
Softcover, 350 pages, Sage Publications (2013)

Better numeracy, Do-it-yourself analysis, Social inclusiveness, Foster critical and strategic thinking, Uncomplicated mathematical discussion

Our world has become more complicated, and the notion of growth at any cost has led to constant economic uncertainty, a permanently stressed-out workforce, and everyday stories of government and corporate abuse. John K. White argues that a better knowledge of basic systems is needed to understand the world we live in, from pyramid scams to government bailouts, from sports leagues to stock markets, from the everyday to the seemingly complex.

   John K White