Sratch the surface of free-market capitalism and you discover something close to visceral fear. Recent events provide a good example: the US treasury's extraordinary $800 billion rescue package was an enormous comfort blanket designed to restore confidence in the ailing financial markets. By forcing the taxpayer to pick up the "toxic debts" that plunged the system into crisis, it aims to protect our ability to go on behaving similarly in the future. This is a short-term and deeply regressive solution, but economic growth must be protected at all costs.  
 
As economics commissioner on the UK's Sustainable Development Commission, I found this response depressingly familiar. At the launch last year of our "Redefining Prosperity" project (which attempts to instil some environmental and social caution into the relentless pursuit of economic growth), a UK treasury official stood up and accused my colleagues and I of wanting to "go back and live in caves". After a recent meeting convened to explore how the UK treasury's financial policies might be made more sustainable, a high-ranking official was heard to mutter: "Well, that is all very interesting, perhaps now we can get back to the real job of growing the economy."  
 
“A UK treasury official accused me of wanting to go back to cave living”  
 
The message from all this is clear: any alternative to growth remains unthinkable, even 40 years after the American ecologists Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren made some blindingly obvious points about the arithmetic of relentless consumption.
The world is heading for an "ecological credit crunch" far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet, an international study warns today.  
 
The Living Planet report calculates that humans are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species. As a result, we are running up an ecological debt of $4tr (£2.5tr) to $4.5tr every year - double the estimated losses made by the world's financial institutions as a result of the credit crisis - say the report's authors, led by the conservation group WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund. The figure is based on a UN report which calculated the economic value of services provided by ecosystems destroyed annually, such as diminished rainfall for crops or reduced flood protection.  
 
The problem is also getting worse as populations and consumption keep growing faster than technology finds new ways of expanding what can be produced from the natural world. This had led the report to predict that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle. "The recent downturn in the global economy is a stark reminder of the consequences of living beyond our means," says James Leape, WWF International's director general. "But the possibility of financial recession pales in comparison to the looming ecological credit crunch."
Susanne Klatten, Germany's wealthiest woman and heiress to the Quandt family that controls BMW AG, was blackmailed for several million euros, according to her spokesman.  
 
Klatten asked prosecutors in January to investigate a man for fraud and extortion, her spokesman Joerg Appelhans said in an e-mailed statement today that identified the man only as ``Mr. S.'' Bild Zeitung reported earlier that the man was her former lover and sought 40 million euros ($51 million).  
 
The 41-year-old Swiss national threatened to publish photos and videos that an Italian accomplice secretly took when the couple met at a Munich hotel, the newspaper said. Both men were arrested in Austria and her former lover has been extradited to Germany where he's in custody, Bild said.
German Social Democratic Party leader Kurt Beck is to quit his post, allowing Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be the party's candidate for chancellor at next year's national election, N-TV said, citing unidentified party sources.  
 
Sorry, no longer article in english found - it means a significant move to the right for the german Social Democrats, might be a gift for the Linkspartei headed by former finance minister Lafontaine at the upcoming elections
Roll Over
Posted by rof rof in it's the arts 9 years ago
analysis of snapshot photography, photos of everyday life not initially produced as art  
 
The Snapshot's Museum Afterlife  
 
When approached as objects of folk-art, industrially abetted yet domestically conceived (or vice versa), snapshots brilliantly illustrate the kinds of collective invention and bracing incoherence that modernity at its best made possible. The comical, curious "successful failures" (as Fineman dubs them) that compose Walther's photography collection are of a type that has become, as A. D. Coleman puts it, "eminently collectible and culturally chic:' even though, he says, they were "not only unexpected surprises to the photographers responsible but unwanted--hence the discarding of them that makes [Walther's] collection possible." The latter point, one must object, is overstated, if not misconceived; the growing availability of nostalgia-ready snapshots is probably better explained by the gradual dying-off of a generation of baby boomers' parents and the dispersal of their closet contents into the public realm. To incinerate, tear up or throw out an actively unwanted and monetarily valueless drugstore p rint is the work of an instant, yet many of these vulnerable objects have endured for the better part of a century. The simple fact that "other pictures" survived (pictures other, that is, than the ones deemed worthy of putting in albums, mailing to relatives, or publishing on page one) hints at the subversive glee that the snapshot contributed to modern vision--not despite its ineradicable imperfections and surprises, but in large part because of them.
A new school of economists is controversially turning to neuroscience to improve the dismal science  
 
FOR all the undoubted wit of their neuroscience-inspired concept album, “Heavy Mental”—songs include “Mind-Body Problem” and “All in a Nut”—The Amygdaloids are unlikely to loom large in the annals of rock and roll. Yet when the history of economics is finally written, Joseph LeDoux, the New York band’s singer-guitarist, may deserve at least a footnote. In 1996 Mr LeDoux, who by day is a professor of neuroscience at New York University, published a book, “The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life”, that helped to inspire what is today one of the liveliest and most controversial areas of economic research: neuroeconomics.  
Taste of Home
Posted by rof rof in just add bacon 9 years ago
Our recipe search tools make it easy to find the perfect recipe for any occasion. Search over 30,000 kitchen-tested recipes from Taste of Home, Simple & Delicious, Healthy Cooking, and Cooking for 2 magazines, along with recipes from our best-selling cookbooks.
The Walrus is a Philadelphia-based music blog and a destination for people who are looking to discover new and old music. Our blog offers a variety of video clips and mp3s, accompanied by creatively written content full of humor and a fresh perspective. The genres we cover include, but are not limited to: Psych, Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, Krautrock, Indie-Rock, Alt-Country, Experimental, Folk, New Indie-Rock/Pop, Hip-Hop and Electronic.
... before file sharing  
 
Most everyone who follows the record industry knows that it is slowly imploding and most don't care seeing as how its leaders have basically ignored technology and tried to sue people to push their profit margins back in line. But, the demise of the record industry actually began long before technology gave it the final push over the edge. It started in the 80's with the birth of the CD and the swallowing of independent record labels by major corporations to the point that now there are only four majors left.  
 
In each critical moment, record labels had the opportunity to think ahead and look beyond their immediate revenue streams. Like many large corporations, they were unable to do so. As a result, they forgot that music is about people and they continue to ignore that fact at their own peril.  
 
For myself, I believe the record industry - and this includes radio - made four mistakes that preceded their ignorance of technology and lawsuit happy antics of present day.
Mondo Urania
Posted by rof rof in the good ol' days 9 years ago
italian publisher's site with hundreds of vintage fantasy/horror/monster/sci fi pulp novel covers  
 
favorite one
World-class museums aside, a lot of people find second-rank museums lacking. At best, they're hermetically sealed repositories of dusty culture; at worst, they're tourist traps teeming with children on field trips. Sometimes, you gotta take a walk on the weirder side.  
 
Doug Kirby, publisher of the book series and Web site Roadside America, has catalogued bizarre museums and other attractions best avoided by elementary school field trips. By heading off the beaten path, he says, “you’ll see amazing things—but just duck your head and make sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date.”
BlogScope
Posted by rof rof in blogs & zines 9 years ago
BlogScope is an analysis and visualization tool for blogosphere which is being developed as part of a research project at the University of Toronto. It is currently tracking over 28.62 million blogs with 405.46 million posts. BlogScope can assist the user in discovering interesting information from these millions of blogs via a set of numerous unique features including popularity curves, identification of information bursts, related terms, and geographical search.
Some Assembly Required
Posted by rof rof in it's the arts 9 years ago
Hosted by Jon Nelson, since January of 1999, Some Assembly Required features work by a variety of artists and groups who work with bits and pieces of their media environments, giving something back to the cultural landscape from which they so enthusiastically appropriate.  
 
The genre is young, despite examples dating as far back as 1961, when James Tenney constructed a tape collage borrowing heavily from cut-up fragments of a recording by Elvis Presley. Both provocative and surreal, this style continues to evolve and to challenge.  
 
Since its inception in 1999, Nelson has produced over thirty artist features, interviewing everyone from John Oswald and The Evolution Control Committee, to Christian Marclay and DJ Spooky - providing a variety of unique perspectives on the nature of this daring and creative style of expression.
Kyocera funeral
Posted by rof rof in entertainment 9 years ago
Funny video about what happens when you let your cell phone ring at a funeral
One Hot Stove
Posted by rof rof in just add bacon 9 years ago
This blog is a chronicle of my adventures in home cooking. It features my ongoing fascination with Indian regional food, as well as little tastes of new flavors from around the world. One Hot Stove comes to you from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.