Weekend Reading 3/2/12

Story of Sushi, renaming Mt. Rainier, and more.
This post is 50 in the series: Weekend Reading

Clark:

Steve Mouzon explores how urban highways kill nearby property values. I feel like the idea could use more and better data—but this is certainly an interesting argument. Mouzon estimates that for every billion dollars spent on interstates, urban real estate has lost nearly three billion in property value.

Does wealth affect your ethics?  These researchers say yes.

“Occupying privileged positions in society has this natural psychological effect of insulating you from others,” said psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Berkeley. “You’re less likely to perceive the impact your behavior has on others. As a result, at least in this paper, you’re more likely to break the rules.”

The study was based on seven different experiments, several of which were rather clever. Two looked at the real-world behavior of drivers: apparently, folks who drive more expensive cars are more likely to cut off other vehicles or pedestrians at a 4-way stop. I’m not trying to bash the rich here. Even the act of imagining themselves as rich made experimental subjects less generous—suggesting that the attitudes around wealth are deeply ingrained, either in the DNA of our culture or in our actual genes.

Nicole:

Happy 4th Birthday to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault!

Alan:

This article from the New York Times fascinated me and my 18-year-old daughter: teenage girls are the ones who set new language trends.

Eric dP:

Mount Rainier National Park was founded today in 1899, which makes it a good day to remember what a lousy name “Rainier” is for the mountain.

As Tom Banse pointed out in a recent report on KPLU, the mountain’s official name comes from British explorers who were honoring a naval captain who fought to put down the American revolution. (The dude never even laid eyes on the mountain!) So go check out Restore Native Names. You may be surprised to learn that the odds-on favorite isn’t Tahoma, it’s Ti’Swaq’, one of several possible genuine renderings of the indigenous names for the mountain.

Then if you’re a geography or history geek, you might also check out this excellent Tacoma News Tribune account circa 1999 of Rainier’s naming problems. (The city of Seattle was firmly on the wrong side of history on this one.) Also, this News Tribune article about the first climber to summit Rainier, Hazard Stevens. Or was he?

Eric H:

Let’s end with a video on the Story of Sushi—a look of how fish gets on your plate—produced by Portland’s Bamboo Sushi, recently decreed the most sustainable restaurant in the country:

The Story of Sushi from Bamboo Sushi on Vimeo.

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Comments

  1. Be Green says:

    In regards to wealth affecting ethics, I would also proffer that because most punishments are monetary based, those with more money are less deterred by the fines. Is the guy doing 95mph in the Maserati that concerned with the speeding ticket? Perhaps fines based on an income percentage would serve as a better detriment.

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