PUBLIC FINANCE | SPECULATION
. . . In a field noted for its conservatism and adherence to free-market orthodoxy, she has long stood out as a lively and liberal thinker who resisted the rightward shift that many of her colleagues took in the eighties and nineties. More recently, at the Fed, she has strongly supported Bernanke’s unorthodox (but very necessary) efforts to revive the economy and bring down the unemployment rate, and to expand the Fed’s thinking beyond its traditional fixation with inflation.
. . . Since becoming the vice-chair of the Fed in 2010, Yellen, in arguing for expansionary policies, has consistently highlighted the human costs of the recession, particularly the high levels of unemployment and underemployment.
Mike Elkin | The New York Times
MADRID — The men and women now tasked with building a viable Libyan state might learn something from bird watching — or at least, how civilian groups like bird watching associations have influenced European lawmakers in the field of environmental protection. During one week in early April, a dozen Libyans from grassroots, pro-democracy groups — several of whom volunteer in nonpolitical roles for the General National Congress — attended sessions in Madrid on Spain’s post-dictatorial transition to democracy and on how the state interacts with its citizens: The role of those bird-watching associations, for example, and related questions — are these associations regulated by the government? How do they communicate with local and central authorities? And how about their funding?
. . . One of the most popular topics among the delegates was how Spain decentralized power, after the end of the Franco dictatorship, to 17 regional and 52 provincial governments, according to Haizam Amirah-Fernández, senior analyst on the Arab World for the Elcano Royal Institute research institution in Madrid, who co-led a session on the Spanish transition.
“Obviously these aren’t things you can copy and paste into different contexts, but talking about the Spanish experience helps them think about the different options for the type of state they want to create,” Mr. Amirah-Fernández said. “They were especially interested in the Moncloa Pacts. The concept of consensus really caught their eye.”
The 1977 Moncloa Pacts were a set of pre-constitutional agreements between Spain’s transitional government, the newly legalized political parties, Spain’s main business association and its two largest labor unions to stabilize the economy and to re-establish civil rights such as freedom of expression, press and assembly.
Christopher Jobson | Colossal
French artist Bernard Pras works almost entirely within the realm of assemblage and anamorphosis, a visual illusion where a distorted projection—often made from paint or a collection or objects—must be viewed from a specific vantage point to reconstitute the intended image. His latest piece, a portrait of Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté, is comprised of numerous objects including clothes, paint, wood, rubber, and other objects found or scavenged around the installation site. Only when viewed through the lens of his camera is the image clearly visible. Watch the video above to see everything come together. Pras currently has a solo show at MazelGalerie in Brussels, Belgium and you can see a collection of his work here (flash).
. . . Here’s the thing, however: the economy won’t always be in a liquidity trap, or at least it might not always be there. And while investors shouldn’t care about what the central bank does now, they should care about what it will do in the future. If investors believe that the central bank will keep the pedal to the metal even as the economy begins to recover, this will imply higher inflation than if it hikes rates at the first hint of good news – and higher expected inflation means a lower real interest rate, and therefore a stronger economy.
So the central bank can still get traction if it can change expectations about future policy.
The trouble is that central bankers have a credibility problem – one that’s the opposite of the traditional concern that they might print too much money. Instead, the concern is that at the first sign of good news they’ll revert to type, snatching away the punch bowl. You can see in the figure above that the Bank of Japan did just that in the 2000s. . .
Rahilla Zafar | Guernica
Guernica: You spend a lot of time in war zones, what observations do you have on the long-term societal impact of war?
Jon Lee Anderson: The more I’ve traveled to war zones, the more I’m convinced that the impact and the effects are way beyond anything we can even begin to imagine. I distinctly remember how the United States changed after Vietnam, but we still live in denial of that and, God forbid, what’s been going in the last few years. We have this idea that it’s okay to be armed, it’s okay to go off and do war. You come back, you can have an iPod, you can drive a Mustang, you can go on vacation. Everything’s cool, what’s your problem? War is just what we do. Yet, of course, the effects of it are repeatedly deeper, then deeper, then deeper.
What war does to a society is deeply damaging. Look at the Russians. What kind of society do the Russians have? They have a violent, criminal state with a Mafioso as their President, and everyone in the world knows it. The only reason he’s getting any respect for the time being is because he has nuclear weapons. That’s it. He and 2,000 guys have raped that country and appropriated its natural assets for themselves.
Corey Robin | coreyrobin.com
Last month, New Yorker reporter Jon Lee Anderson turned twelve shades of red when he was challenged on Twitter about his claim in The New Yorker that Venezuela was “one of the world’s most oil-rich but socially unequal countries.” A lowly rube named Mitch Lake had tweeted, “Venezuela is 2nd least unequal country in the Americas, I don’t know wtf @jonleeanderson is talking about.” Anderson tweeted back: “You, little twerp, are someone who has sent 25,700 Tweets for a grand total of 169 followers. Get a life.” Gawker was all over it.
What got lost in the story though is just how wrong Anderson’s claim is. In fact, just how wrong many of his claims about Venezuela are. . .
Jennifer Mascia | The New York Times
We all know the terrible toll a mass shooting can take on human life: 26 people can be gunned down in a matter of seconds. But how does that compare to a mass stabbing?
On Tuesday, a deaf college student named Dylan Quick, 20, went on a stabbing spree at Lone Star College near Houston, Tex., randomly plunging a razor-like knife into unsuspecting students. Like other mass shooters over the last decade, Quick had apparently fantasized about stabbing people since elementary school and had been planning the attack for some time. He wanted to kill many people, a witness said, but his knife broke.
14 people were injured, two critically. But no one was killed. Now just imagine if he’d had an AR-15.
Here is today’s report.
[MR: 3 of 11]
A deadly double shooting in east Columbus, Ohio, claimed the life of a father of four children. William T. Stubbs, 32, and his uncle, Thomas Stubbs, 46, were in a residence talking to a man who excused himself, went into his car to get a gun and shot them both. Williams Stubbs died; Thomas Stubbs was treated and released. —10TV.com
A 17-year-old boy was killed in a shooting in the parking lot of the River Road Condominiums in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Tuesday night. The teen was found lying by his car with gunshot wounds. His name is being withheld while police notify family members, and a suspect and motive have not been identified. —AL.com
Someone fired 10 shots into a densely residential area of Henderson, N.C., one of which struck a man working on a landscaping project at a duplex. Jermaine Hargrove was taken to a hospital with an upper leg injury, which could be life-threatening. Hargrove was injured in a shooting last June; his assailant that day, 22-year-old Robert Ross, is currently awaiting trial in the federal system. —The Daily Dispatch
E.O. Wilson | The Wall Street Journal
For many young people who aspire to be scientists, the great bugbear is mathematics. Without advanced math, how can you do serious work in the sciences? Well, I have a professional secret to share: Many of the most successful scientists in the world today are mathematically no more than semiliterate.
During my decades of teaching biology at Harvard, I watched sadly as bright undergraduates turned away from the possibility of a scientific career, fearing that, without strong math skills, they would fail. This mistaken assumption has deprived science of an immeasurable amount of sorely needed talent. It has created a hemorrhage of brain power we need to stanch.
. . . Over the years, I have co-written many papers with mathematicians and statisticians, so I can offer the following principle with confidence. Call it Wilson’s Principle No. 1: It is far easier for scientists to acquire needed collaboration from mathematicians and statisticians than it is for mathematicians and statisticians to find scientists able to make use of their equations.
Andrew Palmer | McSweeney’s
I write songs on my mountain bike. I match my tie width to my jacket lapel. I do trap bar dead lifts, medicine ball slams, barbell rows, and cable core presses. Immediately after my workout I consume an easily digestible source of protein, and a few hours later I eat a meal rich in branched-chain amino acids. I eat one and a half cups of cooked spinach daily. I prevent molting by maintaining the moisture I already have. I wear shoes inspired by the human spine and embrace the ’50s Dad aesthetic.
I pair Oregon wines with pepper-crusted tuna. I use body wash with date-seed powder. I take 8,000 milligrams of Echinacea daily, for endurance. To avoid scratching my sex partners in tender areas, I keep my fingernails neatly trimmed. I button all the buttons on double-breasted pea coats—except when I sit down, when I unbutton the bottom button for more maneuverability. I give the keyboard of my office computer a weekly wipe-down.
HOSPITALITY | ARCHITECTURE
Steph | Web Urbanist
Do you want to spend a night on a river bank, a cliff, a meadow or a busy urban street? The ‘Sleeping Around’ pop-up hotel concept can go virtually anywhere you like, setting up quickly in locations where static architecture isn’t possible or practical. Made from four recycled 1950s shipping containers, this traveling hotel opens up possibilities for travelers who want more than just a night of comfort.
ntsdpz | Vimeo
If you’ve ever seen a movie, you’ve seen opening titles of some kind. Opening credits have existed pretty much since the beginning of moving pictures, and they are as varied as the films themselves.
“THE FILM before THE FILM” is a short documentary that traces the evolution of title design through the history of film.
This short film was a research project at the BTK (Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule) that takes a look at pioneers like Saul Bass, Maurice Binder and Kyle Cooper by showing the transitions from early film credits to the inclusion of digital techniques, a resurgence of old-school style, and filmmakers’ love of typography in space.
Randall Roberts | The Los Angeles Times
. . . the guitarist, 33, has witnessed much on the way to his new album, “Nomad,” which was produced by Black Keys’ singer-guitarist and Grammy Award-winning producer Dan Auerbach. While Bombino was touring the festival circuit and drawing legions of admirers – including a couple more gigs at the Mint in L.A. – the northern Mali region near his home was overrun by Muslim extremists, who devastated the vibrant artistic culture until being repelled by French and African troops. (In the last week, the situation has once again become unstable.)
Bombino issued a statement decrying the extremists’ actions, calling them “devastating beyond words” and declaring: “These invaders are not welcome in any of our lands and we reject their philosophies and their idea of Islam.”
On “Nomad,” his first album for the estimable Nonesuch Records imprint, the musician offers a more transcendent and celebratory philosophy, but not through overt political arguments.
Rather, by setting to song meditations on life, patience, history and heritage – sung in his native Tuareg tongue – Bombino and his band have released a killer document not only for fans of North African guitar music; anyone who has ever appreciated a master player make magic on a Fender while a band, which on “Nomad” is augmented by a few Auerbach’s go-to session men, organizes structures behind him, will find comfort in Bombino’s music.
. . . “All these world music artists always get recorded like they’re artifacts — like they’re field recordings,” Auerbach said. “I put them in the studio and we recorded a studio record — and it’s so psychedelic. It’s crazy.” Though the two didn’t share a common language, they were able to communicate enough to make it work.
Auerbach said he marveled at Bombino’s approach. While overdubbing his fretwork to create layers of sound, for example, Auerbach witnessed the guitarist’s precision. “He would triple his guitar leads, and he’d do it note-for-note, first take. It sounds massive. His guitar’s running through fuzz pedals, with double drummers playing at the same time — lots of percussion.”