Handpicked to satisfy your intellectual curiosity!
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All things Inequality:
David Graeber: “the American Empire collapse is, effectively, being negotiated both internationally, and within” – via janelanaweb.com – The bubble and credit cycles are different after 1971, I suspect so because now it’s marked by a broad shift of the very meaning of money and this will ultimately have enormous political effects. We create the sort of scenario the ancients most feared, where the bulk of the world’s population are reduced to debtors working for the tiny percentage that actually controls the creation of money»
But in a way 2008 let the cat out of the bag. We realize now that if money is owed by really important players, even trillions in debts can be made to disappear or renegotiated away. Money is just a social arrangement, a set of promises or IOUs. The ideology that debt is somehow a moral sin and it is wrong to ever let anyone off the hook has nothing to do with economics, it’s a moral discourse that has been deployed as a means of social control for millennium.Debt restructuring, it’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of how they dress it up
Debt and Democracy – Has the Link Been Broken? – via www.nakedcapitalism.com – Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history.
Wall Street Is Already Occupied – via ProPublica – That should be a great relief: Some of them are just like us! Just because you are deranged doesn’t mean you are irrational, after all. Wall Street is already occupied — from within.The insiders have a critique similar to that of the outsiders. The financial industry has strayed far from being an intermediary between companies that want to raise capital so they can sell people things they want. Instead, it is a machine to enrich itself, fleecing customers and exacerbating inequality. When it goes off the rails, it impoverishes the rest of us. When the crises come, as they inevitably do, banks hold the economy hostage, warning that they will shoot us in the head if we don’t bail them out.
Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators: Nick Hanauer – via Bloomberg – Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false. I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.
Tale of An OWS Arrested for 32 hours - via www.newyorker.com – But there simply cannot be any rule, or any carceral logic, or any arguments whatsoever, for filthy toilets. And sitting there, with the stench from our filthy toilet filling the room, and with the filth in our filthy sink making me less eager than I ought to have been to drink from it, despite being thirsty, I became angry—really, honestly, for the first time. I thought for the first time, with genuine venom, of the hypocrite mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire, who shut down the Occupy Wall Street encampment for reasons of “health and safety” but has not deemed it worthwhile to make sure that the toilets in facilities that he has control of meet even the most minimal standards of health and safety, such that, while I watched, about forty men, eating a total of a hundred meals, over the course of a day and a half, refused to perform a single bowel movement. This was its own form of civil disobedience, I suppose, and if I’d had my wits about me maybe I could have organized a meeting of all the inmates at Bloomberg’s residence, on East Seventy-ninth Street, so that we could all take a giant shit on his front stoop.
Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress – via Bloomberg – Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
The 70% Solution - via Project Syndicate – Unlike today’s public-finance economists, Smith understood that we are not rational utilitarian calculators. Indeed, that is why we have collectively done a very bad job so far in dealing with the enormous rise in inequality between the industrial middle class and the plutocratic superrich that we have witnessed in the last generation.
How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word of Fannie Mae Rescue – via Bloomberg – At the time Paulson privately addressed the fund managers at Eton Park, he had given the market some positive signals — and the GSEs’ shares were rallying, with Fannie Mae’s nearly doubling in four days. William Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, can’t understand why Paulson felt impelled to share the Treasury Department’s plan with the fund managers. “You just never ever do that as a government regulator — transmit nonpublic market information to market participants,” says Black, who’s a former general counsel at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. “There were no legitimate reasons for those disclosures.”
Ethics and Inequality – via www.bostonreview.net – These are startling facts, and the Occupy movement, with its references to “the 1 percent” and “the 99 percent,” has brought them to the fore of public consciousness. In response some critics have argued that the popular protest against inequality is inspired by mere envy, or an effort to inflame class warfare. We disagree. Inequalities can—in this case do—raise ethical concerns, and we think citizens are right to be outraged at the gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. We seek here to explain why these inequalities are so troubling.
Just Another Goldman Sachs Take Over - via www.counterpunch.org – In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt.My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayers’ expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.
Occupy Wall Street’s anarchist roots – via Al Jazeera – I should be clear here what I mean by “anarchist principles”. The easiest way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society – that is, one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth, institutions like slavery, debt peonage or wage labour, can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons, and police. Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants.
Best Reads of The Week:
Kathryn Schulz: Don’t regret regret – via Video on TED.com – We’re taught to try to live life without regret. But why? Using her own tattoo as an example, Kathryn Schulz makes a powerful and moving case for embracing our regrets.
The Man Who Busted the ‘Banksters’ – via Past Imperfect – Ferdinand Pecora was an an unlikely answer to what ailed America at the time. He was a slight, soft-spoken son of Italian immigrants, and he wore a wide-brimmed fedora and often had a cigar dangling from his lips. Forced to drop out of school in his teens because his father was injured in a work-related accident, Pecora ultimately landed a job as a law clerk and attended New York Law School, passed the New York bar and became one of just a handful of first-generation Italian lawyers in the city. In 1918, he became an assistant district attorney. Over the next decade, he built a reputation as an honest and tenacious prosecutor, shutting down more than 100 “bucket shops”—illegal brokerage houses where bets were made on the rise and fall prices of stocks and commodity futures outside of the regulated market. His introduction to the world of fraudulent financial dealings would serve him well.
The invisible hand meets the invisible gorilla: Economics meets psychology – via Vox.eu- Have economists been asleep at the wheel? This column reports from a conference on the psychology and economics of ‘scarce attention’. Among the ideas discussed is whether too much information can blind decision-making and whether this can explain why so many economists missed the warning signs of a crisis.
The Higher Education Bubble? – via Times Higher Education – The neoliberal transformation of higher education is a global phenomenon. In the Americas, Europe, Russia and its former colonies, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Australasia, higher education is being rebranded as a private investment and the university repurposed to generate profit and economic growth. As a consequence, academics and students are confronting very similar conditions across the world: the escalation of fees and student debt, the expansion of management and administrative systems for measuring the efficiency of services, the quest for a plethora of new types of fee-paying consumers, and the casualisation of academic labour.
The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA – via Longform.org – Prosecutors have spun creative theories to explain away scientific evidence when DNA tests haven’t fit their version of events.
Information Processing: Higher education: signaling vs learning – via infoproc.blogspot.com – Recently, there has been a sizable interest in the return to attending a more selective or prestigious college. Students who attend more prestigious schools earn more over their lifetime, on average, than those who attend less selective schools, but the mechanism underlying this premium is not well understood. In particular, there is disagreement over whether the earnings di fference is primarily due to the college itself or whether it is driven by unobserved student characteristics. The first of these channels is consistent with human capital theory — attending the more selective school actually makes the worker more productive — and the second more closely accords with models of signaling — more innately productive workers are more likely to attend more selective schools.
Is Talent Underrated? Making Sense of a Recent Attack on Practice – via calnewport.com – The key take away is that the impact of deliberate practice dominates the impact of memory capacity. Practicing more makes you over twice as good. Going from low to high working memory capacity, on the other hand, yields only a minor improvement for an already well-practiced player.
A Wise Man Knows The Limits of His Knowledge – via John Kay – The models share a common approach. They pose the question: “How would we make our decision if we had complete knowledge of the world?” With such information you might make a detailed assessment drawing together many different pieces of relevant information on matters such as costs, benefits, and consequences.But little of this knowledge exists. So you make the missing data up. You assume the future will be like the past, or you extrapolate a trend. Whatever you do, no cell on the spreadsheet may be left unfilled. If necessary, you put a finger in the air.
Behavioral Economics, Complexity Research, Decision Making, Psychology, & Risk
The Creative Situation of Cheating - via thesituationist.wordpress.com – Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but creative sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” said lead researcher Francesca Gino, PhD, of Harvard University.
How Often Do People Lie in Their Daily Lives? – via Psychology Today – ome evolutionists have argued that one of the factors that led to the evolution of our large brains is the complexity of human sociality (Social Intelligence Hypothesis; cf. Dunbar, 2003). One element of social intelligence is the capacity to be Machiavellian (see Byrne & Whiten, 1988; Whiten & Byrne, 1997; Wilson, Near, & Miller, 1996), which results in an evolutionary arms race between the capacity for improved deception (without being detected) whilst being able to detect deception in others. Incidentally, the great evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers argues that self-deception has evolved as a means of navigating the minefield of deceiving others. Specifically, he proposes that self-deception permits an individual to better deceive others, as overt signals of the Machiavellian intent are less likely to manifest themselves in the deceiver
When You Try to Buy Status, It Can Backfire – via www.scientificamerican.com – The desire for social status is one of the most important factors driving human behavior. Our place on the social hierarchy can determine everything from who we marry to how long we live. However, recent research suggests that some of the things we do to boost our status can backfire: they may make us feel better temporarily but increase the chances we will be stuck with lower status.
Exploiting Neuroscience to shape public Policy – via BBC – Politicians and their advisers are exploiting advances in neuroscience in order to better understand the public, and how they make decisions.
Willpower: It’s in Your Head - via therearefreelunches.blogspot.com – IS willpower an illusion? Is the traditional notion of a deep mental reservoir of strength a fiction?In recent years, the popular answer has been yes. Our abilities, according to this argument, are constrained by the narrow limits of our biology. In her 2008 book, “Health at Every Size,” the nutritionist Linda Bacon argues that, because of how the brain’s hypothalamus works, it is a “myth” that anyone can will himself to lose weight by maintaining a diet. “It’s not your fault!” she writes. “Biology is so powerful it can ‘make’ you break that diet.”
Stereotypes and Schadenfreude – via spp.sagepub.com – People often fail to empathize with outgroup members, and sometimes even experience Schadenfreude—pleasure—in response to their misfortunes. One potent predictor of Schadenfreude is envy. According to the stereotype content model, envy is elicited by groups whose stereotypes comprise status and competitiveness. These are the first studies to investigate whether stereotypes are sufficient to elicit pleasure in response to high-status, competitive targets’ misfortunes. Study 1 participants feel least negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other social targets; participants’ facial muscles simultaneously exhibit a pattern consistent with positive affect (i.e., smiling). Study 2 attenuates the Schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information; Schadenfreude decreases when the target-group member has lowered status or is cooperative. Stereotypes’ specific content and not just individual relationships with targets themselves can predict Schadenfreude.
Ingrained in the brain | Features – via Research – Behavioural economics has taken hold in the minds of market researchers. Nick Southgate explains why it’s here to stay.Behavioural economics is certainly fashionable. It has been embraced at the highest levels of government. The co-authors of the most popular books in the area, Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler of Nudge fame, find themselves respectively advising Barack Obama and David Cameron. The Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Unit uses ideas from behavioural economics to make government and public services more efficient by being more human. Their annual report details changes to the way prescriptions are managed, taxes are collected and smoking, alcohol and obesity tackled. Businesses are also enthusiastic, with products inspired by behavioural economics being launched by brands as different as Westpac Bank and Domino’s Pizza.
Women Fake Orgasms as a Mate Retention Strategy – via Psychology Today – (1) The likelihood of faking was positively correlated to infidelity risk (p < .001). In other words, women who felt insecure about their partner’s loyalty were more likely to fake sexual arousal/orgasm.(2) The likelihood of faking was positively correlated to each of the five MRI measures (all p-values less than 0.05). Women who engage in a wide range of mate retention tactics (ostensibly because they are likely to feel insecure in the relationship) are more likely to fake orgasms. Gentlemen: If your woman frequently fakes orgasms, it might be that she is insecure about your loyalty to her (beyond the obvious possibility that you might not be a good lover!). One more source for male performance anxiety!
Solomon Asch Experiment Repeat – via Old Children in the Asch Experiment without Using Confederates – We investigated the conformity of young children without the use of confederates by utilizing the fMORI-Asch paradigm. The Asch-equivalent tasks were presented by means of a presentation trick so that one participant observed different stimuli than the other three, creating a minority-majority confrontation without using confederates. Ninety-six Japanese first graders (6-7 years old; 48 boys and 48 girls) participated in same-sex groups of four. The response order was randomly assigned and the third responders observed the standard lines differently from the other three children. The results showed that the minority children who had observed different stimuli tended to make more errors than the other three children. No gender differences were observed.
Why Moral Self-Regulation Makes Your Brain Happy – via Psychology Today – A great deal of “green” marketing is predicated on the assumption that people will buy a green product to make themselves feel better about moral deficiencies in other parts of their lives. Other forms of green messaging, such as expensive hotels asking patrons to reuse bath towels, use this same dynamic; nothing is offered to the patron in return for not using the towels other than a feeling of “doing good for the environment”—a feeling that will offset a sense of moral deficiency for not recycling at home, as an example. (The hotel, meanwhile, benefits from reduced costs which add directly to its bottom line.)
Do Nice Guys Finish Last? – via Wired.com – This suggests that nice guys finish last because people are subtly biased against them. Although agreeable people are less likely to get fired, and are just as likely to supervise others, they appear far less effective at negotiating pay increases, thus suggesting that the main financial benefit of disagreeableness is a willingness to stubbornly fight for what’s wanted, even if it makes others uncomfortable. In addition, the researchers argue that agreeableness is particularly costly for men because it violates our gender expectations. Since we assume men will selfishly pursue their interests — please pardon the lazy generalizations — we tend to look down on those who do not, which leads to a “backlash” against unselfish and altruistic men. In other words, we expect the worst and punish the best.
The Fundamental(ist) Attribution Error via thesituationist.wordpress.com – Attribution theory has long enjoyed a prominent role in social psychological research, yet religious influences on attribution have not been well studied. We theorized and tested the hypothesis that Protestants would endorse internal attributions to a greater extent than would Catholics, because Protestantism focuses on the inward condition of the soul. In Study 1, Protestants made more internal, but not external, attributions than did Catholics. This effect survived controlling for Protestant work ethic, need for structure, and intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity. Study 2 showed that the Protestant–Catholic difference in internal attributions was significantly mediated by Protestants’ greater belief in a soul. In Study 3, priming religion increased belief in a soul for Protestants but not for Catholics. Finally, Study 4 found that experimentally strengthening belief in a soul increased dispositional attributions among Protestants but did not change situational attributions. These studies expand the understanding of cultural differences in attributions by demonstrating a distinct effect of religion on dispositional attributions.
Illusion of Judicial Objectivity - via thesituationist.wordpress.com – Judicial decision making is influenced by unconscious decisions and motivations – implicit biases. This paper explores how implicit bias impacts judicial decision-making, as well as considerations for minimizing negative impacts of implicit bias
Now for Me, Later for Us? Effects of Group Context on Temporal Discounting - via Wiley Online Library – Delayed rewards are less valuable than immediate rewards. This well-established finding has focused almost entirely on individual outcomes. However, are delayed rewards similarly discounted if they are shared by a group? The current article reports on three experiments exploring the effect of group context on delay discounting. Results indicate that discount rates of individual and group rewards were highly correlated, but that respondents were more willing to wait (decreased discounting) for shared outcomes than for individual outcomes. An explanatory model is proposed suggesting that decreased discount rates in group contexts may be due to the way the effects of both delay and social discounting are combined. That is, in a group context, a person values both a future reward (discounted by delay) and a present reward to another person (discounted by the social distance between them). The results are explained by a combined discount function containing a delay factor and a factor representing the social distance between the decision maker and group members. Practical implications of the fact that shared consequences can increase individual self-control are also discussed.
Is this why sex sells? – via Barking up the wrong tree – The findings revealed that men in the mating condition said they would spend much more money on luxuries than men in the non-mating condition.
Dan Ariely Can beggars be choosers? – via danariely.com – I think there are two main lessons here. The first is to realize how much of our lives are structured by social norms. We do what we think is right, and if someone gives us a hand, there’s a good chance we will shake it, make eye contact, and act very differently than we would otherwise.
Can we really multitask? Are women better at it than men? – via Barking up the wrong tree – Our results show that multitasking is bad for productivity even if one is not concerned with average duration. We do not find any evidence for gender differences in the ability to multitask. In sum, the view that women are better at multitasking is not supported by our findings.
Re Link–The Bias Against Creativity – via pss.sagepub.com – People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. In two experiments, we manipulated uncertainty using different methods, including an uncertainty-reduction prime. The results of both experiments demonstrated the existence of a negative bias against creativity (relative to practicality) when participants experienced uncertainty. Furthermore, this bias against creativity interfered with participants’ ability to recognize a creative idea. These results reveal a concealed barrier that creative actors may face as they attempt to gain acceptance for their novel ideas.
Does the Level at Which Cognitive Change Occurs Change With Age? – via pss.sagepub.com – Increased age in adulthood is associated with systematically more negative cognitive change, but relatively little is known about the nature of change at different ages. The present study capitalized on the hierarchical structure of cognitive abilities to investigate possible age differences in the level at which change operates. Reductions in the longitudinal associations between test scores when across-time relations were specified at different levels in the hierarchical structure were used to infer contributions to change from the level of abilities and from the level of a general factor. Although the pattern of influences varied across different cognitive abilities, the results revealed little or no age differences in the relative contributions to change from different levels in the hierarchy.
How not to revert to habit under stress… – via mindblog.dericbownds.net – Our findings show that the shift from goal-directed to habitual control of instrumental action under stress necessitates noradrenergic activation and could have important clinical implications, particularly for addictive disorders.
Depressive realism: Evidence for the level-of-depression account – Cognitive Neuropsychiatry – via Volume 16, Issue 5 – Consistent with the depressive realism hypothesis, mild depression was associated with better calibration than nondepression. However, this “sadder but wiser” phenomenon appears to only exist to point, as moderate depression and nondepression showed no calibration differences. Thus, the level-of-depression account of depressive realism is supported.
Overconfidence vs. Optimism – via falkenblog.blogspot.com – In this TED video, Trivers argues that we continually paint a distorted picture of the world so that we might more easily get our way with others. This involves constantly inflating our acheivements and abilities, and playing down our failings and rationalizing our mistakes. You are a better liar to others if you first lie to yourself. Lying to others and ourselves is evolutionarily selected for the same way that pale skin is selected for in northern latitudes. [The video is better than the book. He has many riffs on his Chomskian view of the world. I don't mind so much, remembering that Isaac Newton was a grade-A looney]
Profiles in Science – Steven Pinker – Human Nature’s Pathologist – via NYTimes.com – He has also become a withering critic of those who would deny the deep marks of evolution on our minds — social engineers who believe they can remake children as they wish, modernist architects who believe they can rebuild cities as utopias. Even in the 21st century, Dr. Pinker argues, we ignore our evolved brains at our own peril.
The Eclectic Mix:
FinanceProfessor.com: Taxi!! A better investent than almost anything? – via financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com – nvesting in a taxi medallion has proved a better investment than gold as Bloomberg showed back in August.
The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix – via IEEE Spectrum – They say that when one door closes on you, another opens. People generally offer this bit of wisdom just to lend some solace after a misfortune. But sometimes it’s actually true. It certainly was for Ken Thompson and the late Dennis Ritchie, two of the greats of 20th-century information technology, when they created the Unix operating system, now considered one of the most inspiring and influential pieces of software ever written.
The Constant Gardeners – via OnEarth Magazine – Confronting climate change and poverty, a new crop of city farmers comes of age in Africa
Standup Comity – via The Morning News – “Comic” is a tricky term to use, to casually bestow upon someone. At a minimum, I use it to suggest, as with any professional label, such as carpenter or lawyer, a level of proficiency and experience. In the standup community, to be considered a “comic” rather than someone who simply has done standup, or does it sometimes, is based less on income and 1099s, less on whether or not one does it full-time without a day job (though this is a big milestone), less on accolades (called “credits,” though they do matter, especially to bookers) and more, ultimately, on the frequency of performances.
Prisoners of the Fun Factory – via www.letsgetcritical.org – This was a personality cult, pure and simple. We may be grateful for the manifold life-enhancing contributions of Charles and Ray Eames without reservation, but this suffocating documentary makes one grateful not to have been present at the creation.
Following Digital Breadcrumbs To ‘Big Data’ Gold - via www.npr.org – What do Facebook, Groupon and biotech firm Human Genome Sciences have in common? They all rely on massive amounts of data to design their products. Terabytes and even zettabytes of information about consumers or about genetic sequences can be harnessed and crunched.The practice is called big data, and as the term suggests, it is huge in both scope and power. Analyzing big data enables anything from predicting prices to catching criminals, and has the potential to impact many industries.
Observed decreases in oxygen content of the global ocean – via www.agu.org – Comparing the high-quality oxygen climatology from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment to earlier data we reveal near-global decreases in oxygen levels in the upper ocean between the 1970s and the 1990s. This globally averaged oxygen decrease is −0.93 ± 0.23 μmol l−1, which is equivalent to annual oxygen losses of −0.55 ± 0.13 × 1014 mol yr−1 (100–1000 m). The strongest decreases in oxygen occur in the mid-latitudes of both hemispheres, near regions where there is strong water renewal and exchange between the ocean interior and surface waters. Approximately 15% of global oxygen decrease can be explained by a warmer mixed-layer reducing the capacity of water to store oxygen, while the remainder is consistent with an overall decrease in the exchange between surface waters and the ocean interior. Here we suggest that this reduction in water mass renewal rates on a global scale is a consequence of increased stratification caused by warmer surface waters. These observations support climate model simulations of oxygen change under global warming scenarios.
Upheaval at the New York Public Library – via The Nation – The New York Public Library, which comprises four research libraries and eighty-seven branch libraries, has seen other cutbacks as well. Since 2008 its workforce has been reduced by 27 percent. In a recent newsletter to library supporters, the institution reported that its acquisitions budget for books, CDs and DVDs had been slashed by 26 percent. Despite these austerity measures, NYPL executives are pushing ahead with a gargantuan renovation of the Forty-second Street library, the crown jewel of the system. The details of the Central Library Plan (CLP) are closely guarded, but it has already sparked criticism among staff members, who worry that the makeover would not only weaken one of the world’s great libraries but mar the architectural integrity of the landmark building on Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, renamed the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in 2008, following the Wall Street billionaire’s gift of $100 million. (Every staff member I spoke with demanded anonymity; a number of them talked openly about their fear of retribution from management.)
Geographical Distribution of Global Foreign Exchange Turnover – via Visual.ly – This infographic provides information the geographical distribution of foreign exchange currency by providing the daily averages for several different countries.
How Education Can Affect Your Income – via Visual.ly – An infographic that graphically shows how your level of education can impact your level of income.