links for 2010-08-31

  • In a hiring climate in which companies find talented workers by seeing how they already perform, the RethinkDB founders turned to sites like and, where programmers collaborate and work on special projects. "You can see the code being written and how technically accurate they are," said Glukhovsky, who inhabits a world where 95 percent of coders can't complete basic computer-science tasks. Now, a few months from releasing their first product, RethinkDB is up to six people, a mix of full-timers and interns, both senior and junior.
  • get to know an internet commenter is one of my favorite mcsweeney's. this guy might fail a turing test
  • The prize firms are after: talented people, to be sure, but also the ability to tell clients, "We can put together a team for your company that is entirely made up of Ivy League graduates." Apparently this is enormously appealing to companies, which makes sense, given that law firms and especially consulting firms are often used as a kind of responsibility deferral system, allowing managers to fall back on some variation on, Yes, technically I approved this consequential decision that didn't actually work out for the company, but as you can see we hired the most prestigious consulting firm in America -- a whole room full of Harvard graduates! -- who affirmed that this was the best option.
  • Morgan Stanley’s report estimates that the ratio of current U.S. public debt to realistically realizable tax revenues is 3.58 to 1, which is the highest by a large margin of the countries in the report’s list; only Greece comes close (3.12 to 1). But America has certain advantages, such as a younger population and a more rapid rate of economic growth, and as a result its ratio of net worth to GDP is in the middle of Morgan Stanley’s list of countries—but it is strongly negative, as are the ratios of all the countries in the list (Italy, surprisingly, being at the top, and Greece, unsurprisingly, at the bottom). According to Morgan Stanley’s calculation (which obviously is merely suggestive, as the report emphasizes, because of the uncertainty of the future), America’s net worth is negative, and this negative net worth is eight times larger than our GDP. This means that the net present value of the government’s liabilities, minus assets, is approximately $120 trillion.

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