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James Choi
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James Choi

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Life as a bride in rural India
Upon reaching adulthood, they would be transferred to the guardianship of another family, along with a huge dowry that serves as an incentive to treat them well. The transfer is final. Once married, the new bride cannot return to visit her parents without p...
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Winning the lottery makes you like incumbent politicians more
Incumbent politicians tend to receive more votes when economic conditions are good. In this paper we explore the source of this correlation, exploiting the exceptional evidence provided by the Spanish Christmas Lottery. Because winning tickets are typically...
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Why Americans don't favor more redistributive taxation
[A] large share of survey respondents resist full equalization of after-tax incomes even when conventional optimal tax analyses would strongly recommend it. In a hypothetical situation meant to mimic the tax policy problem, between 50% and 95% of respondent...
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Richer people spend less time on the Internet
Our dataset contains information for more than forty thousand primary home computers, or “home devices,” at US households in 2008 and more than thirty thousand in 2013. These data come from ComScore, a firm that tracks households over an entire year, record...
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What it's like for a chef to get a bad NYT review
[David] Chang, knowing that the [New York Times] review would appear online the next day, slept fitfully, and woke in a bed that “was wet with sweat,” he told me later. Mid-morning, he went uptown, to discuss an expansionary media venture. During the meetin...
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How companies track your web browsing without cookies
In the ad tech industry, cookies are gradually being shunted in favor of fingerprinting. The reason that fingerprinting is so effective is that even if you have a device that you think is identical to the device of the person sitting next to you, there are ...
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Dhaka has the world's worst traffic
Dhakaites will tell you that the rest of the world doesn’t understand traffic, that the worst traffic jam in Mumbai or Cairo or Los Angeles is equivalent to a good day for Dhaka’s drivers. Experts agree. In the 2016 Global Liveability Survey, the quality of...
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How to get a 3.5% riskfree interest rate for the next 20 years
If someone offered you a guaranteed 3.5% return for 20 years, you’d probably be tempted either to sign up right away or call the cops to arrest the guy for securities fraud. But the guy offering this deal is Uncle Sam, and you should neither barge in nor ru...
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What it feels like to die
For those who do die gradually, there’s often a final, rapid slide that happens in roughly the last few days of life—a phase known as “active dying.” During this time, [Stanford palliative care specialist James] Hallenbeck writes in Palliative Care Perspect...
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The new college orientation: Microaggression edition
A freshman tentatively raises her hand and takes the microphone. “I’m really scared to ask this,” she begins. “When I, as a white female, listen to music that uses the N word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it O.K. to...
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Design secrets of medieval castles
A moat, which is a body of water that surrounds a castle, is often thought of as a water obstacle that had to be crossed; but this wasn’t the primary function of a moat. One of the biggest concerns of the inhabitants of a medieval castle or fortress was the...
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One man's nuclear fears helped create today's San Francisco housing crisis
In 1948, a federal housing bureaucrat named Paul Oppermann, trying to come to terms with the perils of the nuclear age, proposed a solution to the problem of protecting America’s cities from the bomb: empty them out preëmptively by encouraging the populatio...
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