Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.
And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, including a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday.

ZIMBABWE has just $217 in the bank:

The government of Zimbabwe reportedly has just $217 in the bank.

According to Agence France Presse, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told reporters in Harare today that that's the amount that was left after the government paid its civil servants last week.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TEN THINGS extraordinary people say every day.

Friday, January 25, 2013

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: an interactive map of where there's more singles in the US.

BANNING PLASTIC BAGS, a health hazard?

Are the bacteria living in reusable grocery bags making us sick? A new study finds that plastic bag bans may be causing an uptick in emergency room visits and even deaths from common foodborne bacteria like coliform and E.coli.

The bag bans, which are usually justified on environmental grounds, are increasingly popular around the nation and usually incentivize shoppers to replace plastic with reusable canvas or nylon totes.

The study , by Jonathan Klick of University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Property and Environment Research Center and Joshua D. Wright of the George Mason University School of Law, found that in jurisdictions where plastic bags were banned saw ER visits increase by about one-fourth, with a similar increase in deaths compared with neighboring counties where the bags remained legal.

Basically people were schlepping leaky packages of meat and other foods in their canvas bags, then wadding to the bags somewhere for awhile, leaving bacteria to grow until the next trip, when they tossed celery or other foods likely to be eaten raw in the same bags.

Washing your bags reduces the risk, but let's be honest: who does that?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WHY THE MOON LANDINGS could have never ever been faked: the definitive proof.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"OBAMA'S’s First Term: A Romantic Oral History". US President? Romantic? Oral? Er, wouldn't that apply rather to Clinton's second term?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

IS THE WORLD becoming more peaceful: a debate between Steven Pinker, Robert Kaplan and Joel Rosenthal at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Worth reading.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Is it relevant that the man who helped craft Obamacare’s regulations on insurers will now make lots of money by suing insurers based on those regulations?

The firm that hired him seems to think so.


ANDREW SULLIVAN vs. Jodie Foster after her 'coming out' speech last night (I wasn't that shocked since Ricky Martin confessed he's gay...)

CREEPY INDEED: The 38 Most Unexplainable Images On The Web.

BIG DRAWBACK of online media:

A shortage of high-quality paper for recycling could mean scratchy toilet tissue. To keep consumers happy and avoid any chafed rear ends, companies are now on a quest to find new paper supplies, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

The problem: Consumers once could fill up large bins with their recycled newspapers, magazines and print paper. But as electronic communication surges, these sources of recycled paper are becoming scarce.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

YOU ALREADY THOUGHT Congress wasn't popular? You were right:
In a poll released Tuesday, Public Policy Polling found that Americans have a higher opinion of traffic jams (56%-34%), colonoscopies (58%-31%) and cockroaches (45%-43%) than Congress. Ditto for love-‘em or hate-‘em band Nickelback (39%-32%), used-car salesmen (57%-32%), root canals (56%-32%) and NFL replacement refs (56%-29%).
Not suprised about the comparison of Congress with colonoscopies. After all, both shove stuff up your a**...

GEOPOLITICS of the rare earth metals: the next oil?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WHAT IF everything you thought you knew about the Cuban Missile Crisis was wrong?

AT VANITY FAIR, a must-read: Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers


FORTUNE MAGAZINE: "The euro crisis no one is talking about: France is in free fall"

CAN YOU TRUST an infographic?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

EUROPE'S ENERGY POLICY delivers the worst of all possible worlds.


Global regulators gave banks four more years and greater flexibility on Sunday to build up cash buffers so they can use some of their reserves to help struggling economies grow.

The pull-back from a draconian earlier draft of new global bank liquidity rules, which aim to help prevent another financial crisis, went further than banks had expected by allowing them a broader range of eligible assets.

Banks had complained they could not meet the January 2015 deadline to comply with the new rule on minimum holdings of easily sellable assets, known as the liquidity coverage ratio and devised by the Basel Committee of banking supervisors, and at the same time supply credit to businesses and consumers.

The committee's oversight body agreed on Sunday to phase in the rule from 2015 over four years, as reported by Reuters on Thursday, and widen the range of assets banks can put in the buffer to include shares and retail mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), as well as lower rated company bonds.

Friday, January 04, 2013

THE GREECE OF ASIA? Der Spiegel on Japan's growing sovereign debt time bomb.

ON THE BBC, Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years

Thursday, January 03, 2013

GUNS DON'T STOP CRIME, but since the brutal gang-rape and murder in Delhi last month, hundreds of Indian women are applying for gun permits. Somebody tell them that it turns them into violent blood-thirsty murderers.

I LOVE THIS BIT about Al Gore's Current TV being sold to al-Jazeera (empasis mine):

Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.


AT LAST: Spain sees fall in unemployment rate

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

GEORGE MONBIOT (George Monbiot!): The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all.

AN OPTIMISTIC TAKE on Spain's economy for the next few years — for a change. Some of the factors are pretty anecdotal, and most of the negatives are left out, but it's worth noting out nevertheless.

SEE? Austerity doesn't work...

Greece recorded a primary surplus in the first 11 months of the year, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said Wednesday, showing the government΄s budget cutting efforts are starting to pay off.

"The general government primary balance, without interest spend, in the first 11 months of 2012 showed a surplus of 2.3 billion euros ($3.0 billion), against a deficit of EUR3.6 billion in the comparative period of 2011," a statement from the finance ministry said.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013