Friday, December 28, 2007

Today's Explainers

When Great Economists go Wrong. A tale in 2 parts

Why we get bored
Don't blame your job, the traffic or your mindless chores. Battling boredom, researchers say, means finding focus, living in the moment and having something to live for
Developing ways to cope with boredom may even help cure other ills. For example, some research hints that if former drug addicts learn to deal effectively with boredom, they are less likely to relapse. In an ongoing study of 156 addicts at a methadone clinic at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Todman found that the addicts’ reported level of boredom was the only reliable indicator of whether they would stay clean.

Of course, boredom also has its benefits. It can provide an opportunity for thought and reflection, many study participants observe. It can also be a sign that a task is a waste of time—and thus not worth continuing. “Rather than fighting boredom, we would do well to pause and learn from the experience,” Eastwood says.

Indeed, many scholars have considered boredom a catalyst for action. In his 1995 essay “In Praise of Boredom,” Nobel Prize–winning poet Joseph Brodsky wrote: “When hit by boredom, go for it. Let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. In general, with things unpleasant, the rule is, the sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface.” Adds Vodanovich: “If you don’t succumb to its negative effects, boredom is a great motivational force.”

Why It's So Hard to Be Happy

A Thought on the Sub-prime Debacle

Trouble With Trade

Explaining CDOs, Overcollateralization Edition

And finally everything you wanted to know about your health, drugs and sex

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