Saturday, October 29, 2011

Site reveals the human slavery behind your stuff

Politics, Pizzas and Pessimism

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The disconnect between the seriousness of our angst and the silliness of our politics — between how big our problems are and how hopeless or just plain stuck the people who are supposed to address them seem — defies belief. Right now the system isn’t working, and a recognition of that is one of the ties that bind Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. They don’t identify the same villains or promote the same solutions. But they’re flowers of a shared frustration.


Victories and Questions Pile Up for Paterno

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Joe Paterno, 84, has coached Penn State to a 7-1 record. His contract expires at season's end.


Facebook to build server farm on edge of Arctic Circle

The "other side" of Facebook.

The Path Not Taken

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But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.


Global Warming May Push Seaweeds Over the Edge

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Australian seaweeds are threatened by global warming.

Continued warming in the oceans around Australia could have dramatic effects on the seaweed that live in these waters, pushing their ranges south, and eventually, off the continental shelf. Changes in seaweed communities could have dramatic effects on other living things, since seaweeds provide habitat and food. Above, the Australian seaweed Pterocladia retangularis.

CREDIT: Thomas Wernberg


What should Wall Street do?

The finance industry needs a better response to the protest movement attacking it

Why The Haves Have So Much

Connecting neurons to fix the brain

New technology helps scientists discover drugs to strengthen synapses.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is ‘complexity’ the key to economic growth?

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Is ‘complexity’ the key to economic growth?

Meanwhile, if Hausmann and Hidalgo’s theory is actually right, then the future looks relatively limp for the United States. The authors note that the best way to predict a country’s future growth is to look at the gap between economic complexity and current earnings. On this score, China, India and Thailand have the highest expected growth in the years ahead. The United States, by contrast, ranks 91st. Economies that have already taken full advantage of their existing complexity, like the United States, have few remaining opportunities to move up further. This sounds unduly pessimistic, though it jibes pretty well with Tyler Cowen’s “great stagnation” thesis.


Why Workers Are Losing the War Against Machines

A serious read.

Google shows how governments are getting information about you

Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007

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CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:

  • 275 percent for the top 1 percent of households,

  • 65 percent for the next 19 percent,

  • Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and

  • 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.

homepage graphic

The share of income going to higher-income households rose, while the share going to lower-income households fell.

  • The top fifth of the population saw a 10-percentage-point increase in their share of after-tax income.

  • Most of that growth went to the top 1 percent of the population.

  • All other groups saw their shares decline by 2 to 3 percentage points.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Actually Tax Cuts Don't Seem to Have Much Impact on Economic Growth...

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My point, and I do have one -- is that ideology is a poor substitute for pragmatic approaches to complicated problems. In fact the evidence that tax rates influence economic growth in any way is equivocal at best. A myriad of other factors are involved. Simply reducing tax rates, and primarily for the wealthy, may hinder -- rather than enhance our economic recovery.

Table 1: Comparison of mean marginal tax rates and mean real GDP growth rate
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A Generation of CEOs Who Don't Know How to Raise Wages

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This inability to raise wages is also reflected in the data. There is no major occupation group that has seen substantial increases in real wages over the last decade. Even college graduates as a group (excluding those with a post-graduate degree) have not seen an increase in real wages over the last decade. This indicates either there is no problem of skills shortages or that companies are increasingly being run by CEOs who do not know how to increase wages.


Zombies Worth Over $5 Billion to Economy

At least the zombie economy is working.

Monday, October 24, 2011