What's Cooking?

The kitchen that my mother used 50 years ago is really not that different from the one we use today. Electricity, a mechanical refrigerator, and hot and cold running water have been here for a long ti…

Random Technology Notes

In 1810, Nicholas Appert, a cook and bottler, inserted some food in a Champagne bottle, sealed it, and placed it in boiling water. Described by James Burke in Circles: Fifty Roundtrips Through History…

Consumer spending

In Pursuing Happiness: American Consumers in the Twentieth Century, economist Stanley Lebergott asked us to imagine that automobiles, penicillin, electric washing machines, refrigerators, disposable d…

The GDP and Happiness

Yesterday’s post about the impact of individual wealth on happiness started me wondering about flush toilets, washing machines, and cars. As our nation became wealthier and produced more goods a…

Ricardo and China

What happens when you build an airport and nobody uses it?  China has an answer. Although China faces underutilization as it develops its transportation infrastructure in the air, by rail an…

The Impact of the Vammas

What is 68 feet long, has a giant blade in front for plowing, massive sweeper brushes in the middle, and a 452 MPH wind blowing capacity in the rear? A Vammas. Imported from Finland, the Vammas is use…

Random Snow Stories

Property rights When you shovel a parking space, does it remain yours when you pull out? In Boston, if you shovel out your car during a snow emergency, the space is yours for at least two days. Just &…

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