I was cleaning out a box of mementos this evening and found a stack of 7” vinyl from my college days in Portland. I couldn’t resist sharing what I found.
I really wish that I had a record player handy, but alas, I have to sit and try to remember the songs. I’m totally amused by some of the record label names.
Wonderfully geekfy fun. I’m always amused at the circular nature of debt.
For example, the UK owes the USA €578.6bn, but the USA owes the UK €834.5bn. So net, the USA actually owes the USA a lot of money. And yet, we argue about the absolute value of debt, not the net amount.
Yes, of course, there at different interest rates and different expiry dates. But why doesn’t someone just calculate the net present value and write off mutually canceling balance?
I’m very much looking forward to this. Train ticket search & booking the same way airplane tickets work. Especially important as so many of the train lines change at national borders still in Europe.
Two steps remain: getting a broader set of European rail companies on board and building the service into retail travel sites.
The pros and cons of Italy leaving the Euro.
The If default is forced upon Italy, goes the argument, why would it not go the whole hog and create a new domestic currency?
Being on this side of the pond, I get the increasing sense that dissolution of the Euro as it exists today is an increasing prospect. Still very, very unlikely, but well above the minuscule chance that existing previously.
So sad to see the plane trees dying. They’re such an emotional symbol of France to me.
Grief bacon. That may be my new favorite word. Can’t wait to move to Germany.
Over at Mental Floss, they’ve gathered two lists of words with no match in English, Volume 1 here, Volume 2 here. Of these, my favourite, easily, is the German Kummerspeck: “Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.”
Fascinating! And I love the outcome.
About this debate
There is a paradox in people’s thinking about the wilderness. They think uninhabited wildernesses have a value simply in not being touched by humans and thus seek to preserve them—at the same time wanting to visit them. In practice, the desire to visit tends to win, which puts the preservationist in a bind. If people visit, they put a value on what they visit that may make them more interested in its conservation. But what is being conserved is no longer wilderness. The preservation of truly untouched wilderness has to put a value on nature over and above what nature may offer to humans. And such a value system imposes real costs. The earth has resources that people need, especially at a time when the population is still growing and billions are desperately poor. Should some of those resources be put off-limits because some people place an aesthetic or moral value on the wildernesses where they are to be found? Or should a utilitarian approach be taken, accepting that human needs come before the needs that humans imagine for nature? Some might even argue that wildernesses are particularly good places for mines and oilfields—better, if something goes wrong, that there be no humans around to get hurt. If resources are taken from the wilderness something is gained. But is something also lost—even if the resources are taken out cleanly and without degradation, and if the resulting human presence is respectful? That is the question at the heart of this debate: what, exactly, is lost in such circumstances, and what is its value?
Where Facebook is headed:
Users will be encouraged to report to their friends in real time via these apps that they are, say, listening to a piece of music, cooking a particular kind of meal or watching a specific film. Their friends will then be able to click on, say, a music app and listen to the same piece of music. The company has been working with a group of firms, including Spotify, an online-music outfit, Netflix, a video-streaming service, and a range of news organisations (including the Washington Post and The Economist), to flesh out the offerings it will need to make this new feature take off.
The more that Facebook can learn about people’s lives and interests, the better positioned it will be to target advertising at them and to persuade companies to use it to market their wares.
I love Johnson. A fantastic column on language.
Finally, it once bugged me that in British and American officer ranks, a lieutenant general outranked a major general, while by contrast a major outranks a lieutenant. (Plain “general” outranks both.) Only later did I learn: major general is shortened from sergeant-major-general. So just as ranks proceed upwards as sergeant-major, lieutenant, captain, so do (sergeant-)major-general, lieutenant-general and (captain-)general.
A great little 2m video (that I can’t embed unfortunately) demonstrating the reality of the Northwest Passage* and the Northern or Northeast Passage** now available as a result of dwindling Arctic sea ice.
* Northwest Passage = the Canada/Alaska route
** Northern/Northeast Passage = the Russia route
First, for all the breathless headlines from the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, DC, Europe’s leaders are a long way from a deal on how to save the euro. The best that can be said is that they now have a plan to have a plan, probably by early November. Second, even if a catastrophe in Europe is avoided, the prospects for the world economy are darkening, as the rich world’s fiscal austerity intensifies and slowing emerging economies provide less of a cushion for global growth. Third, America’s politicians are, once again, threatening to wreck the recovery with irresponsible fiscal brinkmanship. Together, these developments point to a perilous period ahead.