Links for 12/29. The best stories in economics, energy, investing and other remarkable news..Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff – Dallas Fed

Robert Lustig and the War on Obesity

From eating placenta to rubbing coffee on your skin: how celebrities went to war against science – Science – News – The Independent

The Perils of Yoga for Men –

Stock Buybacks: Separating Fact From Fiction | Breakout – Yahoo! Finance

Can You Replace Your Home Phone with Google?

Windows 8 sales disappoint Microsoft faithful

Germany ‘exporting’ old and sick to foreign care homes | World news |

Counterfeit medicine from Asia threatens lives in Africa | World news | The Guardian

The Market’s 10 Best Stocks

The top threats for 2013, as seen by McAfee | Security & Privacy – CNET News

The LINUX TABLET IS THE FUTURE – and it always will be • The Register

How Intel’s faith in x86 cost it the mobile market • The Register

The full story of the British empire is yet to be told | Martin Kettle | Comment is free | The Guardian

The Netherlands became a world power within the space of not much more than a generation. It was also an age of Dutch enlightenment, the age of Rembrandt, Spinoza, Grotius and Huygens. In those years, Amsterdam was the capital of the world…

In a few short years at the end of the 16th and the start of the 17th century, the Dutch republic made itself the hub of the world. State of the art shipping, weapons and science enabled them to capture and dominate the lucrative spice trade with the East Indies. Back in the Netherlands, the wealth and freedom fuelled by this trade brought a glittering age of writing, painting and technological invention. Their freedom of press and religion was a magnet to the rest of Europe. Its primary monument remains Amsterdam itself, so it is easy to feel the connection to this day.

In his modern classic, Vermeer’s Hat, Timothy Brook says simply that 17th-century Netherlands raised the curtain on the global world – which is our world. The Dutch bought and sold wherever they could find anything to trade. They wrote the fundamentals of international law to suit their needs. They mapped the globe and the heavens. Their way of life became multicultural. When Vermeer painted a geographer in 1669, he dressed him in a Japanese kimono and gave him a globe depicting the Indian Ocean.