Polarization in Poland: A Warning From Europe - The AtlanticUnlike Marxism, the Leninist one-party state is not a philosophy. It is a mechanism for holding power. It works because it clearly defines who gets to be the elite—the political elite, the cultural elite, the financial elite. In monarchies such as prerevolutionary France and Russia, the right to rule was granted to the aristocracy, which defined itself by rigid codes of breeding and etiquette. In modern Western democracies, the right to rule is granted, at least in theory, by different forms of competition: campaigning and voting, meritocratic tests that determine access to higher education and the civil service, free markets. Old-fashioned social hierarchies are usually part of the mix, but in modern Britain, America, Germany, France, and until recently Poland, we have assumed that competition is the most just and efficient way to distribute power. The best-run businesses should make the most money. The most appealing and competent politicians should rule. The contests between them should take place on an even playing field, to ensure a fair outcome.
Government has no room to maneuverthe US government is slowly giving up its room for fiscal maneuver. Non-defense discretionary spending made up over 60% of the federal budget in 1962. By 2017, that figure has fallen to 15%, and it’s expected to continue its decline. As that share falls, I wonder how that affects the mindset of legislators, who anticipate diminishing responsibility for allocating funds. In absolute terms, the budget they control is still enormous. But I suspect that it takes away the initiative of US politicians: they can simply let the government go on autopilot, since their predecessors have already committed most available funds. If legislators no longer have room to identify new initiatives for spending, what is there to do except find new things to ban, and then argue with the other side?
America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just BeginningThe debt coming due, along with America’s over-stored suburbs and the continued gains of online shopping, has all the makings of a disaster. The spillover will likely flow far and wide across the U.S. economy. There will be displaced low-income workers, shrinking local tax bases and investor losses on stocks, bonds and real estate. If today is considered a retail apocalypse, then what’s coming next could truly be scary.
The Running Bubble Has Popped. (You Couldn’t Hear It in New York.) - The New York Times“Back when you could enter a road race for $10 and you could enter a marathon for $25, the sport really had no appeal or very little appeal for for-profit businesses,” Stewart said. “But then we moved into an era where people would pay $85 for a half and $135 for a marathon. That’s when you really had all the for-profit groups, and it just transformed the model.” Stewart specifically cited the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon race series, which put a heavy focus on the social experience of running events and charged high prices for it. (Fees for races in its 2017 Las Vegas race series are $79.99 for the 5K up to $179.99 for the marathon.)
Penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions explained by neurons' firing: Spending decisions influenced by adaptation in neural circuits -- ScienceDailyThe researchers discovered that the neurons' firing rates reset between the two sessions. In the first session the maximum firing rate corresponded to the option of two drops of juice, and in the second it corresponded to 10 drops of juice. In other words, the same change in how rapidly the neuron fired corresponded to a fine distinction in value when the range was narrow, and a coarse distinction when the range was broad. "As we adapt to large values, we lose some ability to consider smaller values," Padoa-Schioppa said. "This is why salesmen try so hard to sell you upgrades when you're buying a car. Spending $100 to add on a radio seems like no big deal if you're already spending $20,000 on a car. But if you already have a car and you are thinking of spending $100 for a radio, suddenly it seems like a lot. They know that people don't come back and buy the radio later."
Civil, the blockchain-based journalism marketplace, is building its first batch of publications » Nieman Journalism LabBuilt on top of blockchain (the same technology that underpins bitcoin), Civil promises to use the technology to build decentralized marketplaces for readers and journalists to work together to fund coverage of topics that interest them, or for those in the public interest. Readers will support reporters using “CVL” tokens, Civil’s cryptocurrency, giving them a speculative stake in the currency that will — hopefully — increase in value as more people buy in over time. This, Civil, hopes will encourage more people to invest in the marketplaces, creating a self-sustaining system that will help fund more reporting.
America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most Peoplemajority of the low-wage sector is white, with blacks and Latinos making up the other part, but politicians learned to talk as if the low-wage sector is mostly black because it allowed them to appeal to racial prejudice, which is useful in maintaining support for the structure of the dual economy — and hurting everyone in the low-wage sector. Temin notes that “the desire to preserve the inferior status of blacks has motivated policies against all members of the low-wage sector.”
Whole lifeto do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
"Exploration personality type" for beers, breads, coffees, toilet papers, washing detergents and yogurts"If people show a particular shopping pattern for one product type, they tended to show it for the others as well," says lead author Dr Peter Riefer, who conducted the study for his PhD at UCL and now works at dunnhumby. "This suggests that people have individual 'exploration personalities' when they shop, which is really remarkable given how different the six products were. Over a timescale of many years, the rate at which people explore is remarkably stable -- people are always exploring at about the same rate. What we find is that within that stability there are these trends in exploration and exploitation."
Alt takes on unemploymentYes, true: there are approximately seven million more Americans in poverty now than when Obama was elected. On the other hand, the economy under Obama has gained about seven times as many jobs as it did under Bush; even given the financial meltdown, the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historical average. But, yes: the poverty rate is up by 1.6 percentage points since 2008. Then again the number of Americans in poverty fell by nearly 1.2 million between 2012 and 2013. However, true: the proportion of people who depend on welfare for the majority of their income has increased (although it was also increasing under Bush). And under Obama unemployment has dropped, G.D.P. growth has been “robust,” and there have been close to seventy straight months of job growth. But, O.K.: there has indeed been a “skyrocketing” in the number of Americans needing some form of means-tested federal aid, although Obama’s initiatives kept some six million people out of poverty in 2009, including more than two million children.
A very bad sign for all but America's biggest cities - Chicago TribuneIn the economic recovery of the early 1990s, 125 counties combined to generate half the total new business establishments in the country. In this recovery, half the growth has been generated by just 20 counties.
Twitter stops buying ping pong tablesAsked why Twitter stopped buying tables, spokesman Jim Prosser says: “I guess we bought really sturdy ones.” Twitter spokeswoman Natalie Miyake says: “Honestly, we’re more of a Pop-A-Shot company now,” referring to an indoor basketball game. Is the tech bubble popping? Ping pong offers an answer, and the tables are turning. “Last year, the first quarter was hot” for tables, says Mr. Ng, who thinks sales track the tech economy. Now “there’s a general slowdown.”
Putting for par is easier than putting for birdieA study of over 1.6 million putts shows that professional golfers are significantly more likely to succeed in sinking a par putt than a birdie putt of equal distance and difficulty. Remarkable but true: If the average top golfer putted as well for birdie as he puts for par, he would make an additional $1.2 million a year.
Economists of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences speak out against the central bank’s “foundations” – Hungarian SpectrumThese purchases are nothing compared to the €700 million earmarked by the Hungarian National Bank from its profits for foundations to support the teaching of economics, outside of the regular channels of higher education. The Bank set up five such foundations named after Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. A perfect description of Hungary today! The amount the National Bank allocated to teach economics is one and a half times more than the Hungarian government spends a year on higher education.
Even when not threatened, some bacteria specialize as antibiotic resistance"It's costly from a metabolic standpoint for a cell to express the proteins that enable it to be resistant," said Mary Dunlop, assistant professor in the university's College of Engineering and Mathematics Sciences, and the paper's corresponding author. "This strategy allows a colony to hedge its bets by enabling individual cells within a population to assume high levels of resistance while others avoid this extra work." Previous research has demonstrated that, when exposed to some antibiotics, all the cells within a bacterial population will use the protein cascade strategy, activated by a mechanism called MarA, to become resistant. But the new study is among the first to show that colonies use the protein cascade strategy even when they are not under threat. "This transient resistance, distributed in varying degrees among individual cells in a population, may be the norm for many bacterial populations," Dunlop said.
The sad economics of being famous on the internet | FusionWe’re a two-person video creation machine. When we’re not producing and starring in a comedy sketch and advice show, we’re writing the episodes, dealing with business contracts and deals, and running our company Gallison, LLC, which we registered officially about a month ago. And yet, despite this success, we’re just barely scraping by. Allison and I make money from ads that play before our videos, freelance writing and acting gigs, and brand deals on YouTube and Instagram. But it’s not enough to live, and its influx is unpredictable. Our channel exists in that YouTube no-man’s-land: Brands think we’re too small to sponsor, but fans think we’re too big for donations.
U.S. Payrolls Rise as Jobless Rate Drops to Six-Year LowThe last time payrolls increased at least 200,000 for as many months was a stretch that ended in March 1995.
The money put into these trusts is ostensibly for charity. If the assets appreciate substantially over the years, though, the trusts have another desirable feature: they can pass money tax free to heirs. A donor locks up assets in these trusts, formally known as charitable lead annuity trusts, or CLATs, for a period of time, say 20 or 30 years. An amount set by the donor is given away each year to charity. Whatever is left at the end goes to a beneficiary, usually the donor’s heirs, without any tax bill.
Two studies, one by the Women's Sports Foundation and the other by the Oppenheimer Foundation, found that 82 percent of executive businesswomen played organized sports in middle school and high school and that 80 percent of female executives in Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as competitive tomboys during childhood. The Oppenheimer study also found that while 16 percent of women describe themselves as athletic, when you look at the responses of women who earn over $75,000 annually, the number rises to about 50 percent. These findings are consistent with the work of economist Betsy Stevenson on Title IX, which finds that participation in high school sports increases the likelihood that a girl will attend college, enter the labor market, and enter previously male-dominated occupations.
Indeed, if people write columns not because they are driven to inform and educate their readers but rather because it is a way to make money to leave to their children--well, then those columns will be written not to inform but to entertain, and so they will be worthless as sources of information and education (rather than as sheer entertainment) to their readers. I do not think society can survive if the voices writing on political-economic issues in our public sphere are doing so not to inform but merely to entertain. I think that society can only survive if those who write columns are driven by a geas to make Americans better-educated citizens but rather to leave more wealth to your children. We ought to write columns not because we think our children will need extra money in thirty years, but because we think our fellow-citizens need better information now.
The number of applications for unemployment insurance payments declined by 15,000 to 320,000 in the week ended Aug. 10, the fewest since October 2007, from a revised 335,000, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 335,000. There was nothing unusual in the data and no states were estimated, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data was released to the press.
Whether Bezos decides to make any of these changes to the Post remains to be seen — but I for one hope that he tries to implement at least one or two of them, because it would make for a fascinating experiment in building a truly next-generation digital newspaper.
Most of the women, Hewlett found, stayed home longer than they had hoped. Eighty-nine percent of those who “off-ramped,” as she puts it, said they wanted to resume work; but only 73 percent of these succeeded in getting back in, and only 40 percent got full-time jobs. “It was distressingly difficult to get back on track,” Hewlett told me. In addition, the women Hewlett surveyed came back to jobs that paid, on average, 16 percent less than those they had before. And about a quarter took jobs with lesser management responsibilities or had to accept a lower job title than the one they had when they left. The impact of those sacrifices, Hewlett noted, was in many cases amplified after the financial meltdown, when 28 percent more of the women she surveyed reported that they had a nonworking spouse at home.
7. Startups are just one industry. Startups are still probably just the sixth or seventh best way to make money in New York. Accordingly, if you're a founder, don't expect a lot of media attention unless you're (1) exceptionally interesting, (2) making tons of money or (3) you have just sold your company for a billion dollars.
The goals of patrons and amateurs are more varied than providing a platform for department store ads. Some will want to preserve 20th-century ideals of objectivity and investigative reporting. Some will want to explore new forms of story-telling or data analysis. Some will want to pursue social crusades, and those crusades will themselves vary. Some will want to demonstrate their high-mindedness or support for the arts. Some will want to support political candidates, foster downtown development or root for local sports teams. Some will, like magazines, want to serve niche audiences, defined by lifestyle, ethnicity, religion, ideology, education or enthusiasms.
There is just so much weird talk these days about financial engineering and weird business models by investment banker types that it pervades and distorts even normal peoples' expectations of how a business might be run - at reddit we are just trying to run a business in the old fashioned way: we make a thing, we try to make it as good we can for YOU, and you pay us money for it. My background is that of an engineer - I like to keep things simple. A note about short-term vs long-term money. It turns out that you have to plan for BOTH the short-term and the long-term. If you don't eat in the short-term, you die and never make it to the long-term. If you do everything short-term, you have no long-term future. So we need to make enough money this year to pay the bills and fund next year's growth, and we also need to put into place the cornerstones of future growth at the same time. It's a balancing act.