When I hear that someone has been given multiple life sentences as punishment for a crime, I ask myself what the difference is between one life sentence and five life sentences. I understand there is symbolism in the additional sentences; and in some cases people with a "life sentence" may be released early. Regardless, would there be a way for multiple life sentences to actually be carried out? Perhaps the sentence could mandate killing the criminal and then resuscitating them again, only to kill them again and then resuscitate them. The process could be repeated enough times that a criminal could serve 5 life sentences in the course of a month. (No, I'm not a lawyer, I just think like one sometimes.)
A new book by a doctor who specializes in resuscitation suggests that there is a common experience of dying that is consistent across cultures. To be considered "dead", one's heart has to stop beating. This stops brain activity, but it does not mean the the brain cells have died. In fact, it is possible for a body to be chilled, and the person to be resuscitated several hours later.
Upon regaining consciousness, many patients have no memory; but others report seeing a bright light and feeling a very loving presence. They recall having their life reviewed with them and feeling pain as they recall times when they caused others pain. Some patients even report being inspired to try to do better with their new lives.
So perhaps instead of giving our prisoners a lethal injection, we could give them "death thearapy".
I also can imagine many wealthy people would pay for such an experience, assuming that the resuscitation is perfected, so that the risk of staying dead is minimal.
This is the time of the year when sites around the web compile "best of" lists, as a way of reflecting on the past year. It's one of the few times we reflect on which of the many messages we've been drowning in will have lasting significance -- what messages are more than just noise.
There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the forest. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three thousand toothpicks a day..
I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:
Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
I feel like flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but we neglect stock at our own peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: Oh man. I’ve got nothing here.
So what are the ways that I can increase my ratio of stock to flow?
You can choose to subscribe only to what is most important and you can filter out messages from people you know less well. It would be nice if there were a service I could subscribe to which could dial back the level of flow and receive a greater quantity of stock on the web. Monthly magazines are supposed to serve this function. Or I can just go to the library and find some classic books.
So for 2013, my resolution is to increase the quality of what I read -- more stock and less flow.
How would Frank Luntz frame Warren Buffett's Tax Debate?
The Secretary-Billionaire Tax Equality Principle
Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed recently that suggested that the top 0.3% of yearly earners were paying too little in taxes.
One of his favorite illustrations of this point is that his secretary pays a much higher tax rate that he does.
His prescription is:
undefined cuts to entitlement programs
higher taxes on the top 0.3%
The Power of Framing
The idea that a secretary should not pay a higher tax rate than their billionaire boss
is hard to argue with and shows the power of "framing".
Here's an other tax framing idea:
It is often said that we don't want to push the burden of current spending onto future generations.
Reihan Salam: During the Bush years, it was often said that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
represented redistribution from future taxpayers to current taxpayers.
You might reframe this as:
Those older Americans, who can afford it, should not get a better deal their grandchildren's generation
Even the promise of reunification with the South will bring disillusion. Poor North Koreans will be exploited by South Korean employers and tricked by financial scammers. Members of the former regime, their criminal skills already honed, will seize chunks of the economy and even prey on hitherto safe South Korean cities. And what fate awaits educated North Koreans? Doctors can make drips out of beer bottles, but know nothing of the modern pharmacopoeia. The typical history teacher, Mr Lankov says, “knows a lot about events that never actually happened”.
in the same week that Mr Benítez was sacked, a local radio station in the south-eastern state of Tabasco revealed audio recordings of Andrés Granier, a former governor of the state, bragging about his 400 pairs of shoes, 600 suits and 1,000 shirts, most of which he kept in his swanky homes abroad because, he said, he was obliged to dress down in Tabasco. Responding to the revelations, which were recorded shortly before he left office, he claimed that he was drunk at the time, and denied most if it. But newspapers were quick to note the old saying that children and drunks always speak the truth.
The evolution toward platforms such as Twitter that empower the individual are allowing Al-Qaeda's supporters to avoid forum censors and promote their own personal narratives, which are not necessarily in agreement with that of Al-Qaeda's messaging strategy writ-large.
After all, Pastor Brown is right to call the Bible scandalous, filled as it is with stories of murder, adultery, deception, theft, and other risqué activities. Scandal is no more salacious than the accounts of Old and New Testament biblical figures, from King David and his philandering-but-wise son, King Solomon, to Apostle Paul, pre-conversion.
Mr. Blankfein has had a public image makeover, thanks in part to initiatives by Goldman. After the financial crisis, Goldman announced new charitable efforts, started an advertising campaign and showed an increased willingness to engage with the media.
Every summer, the 59-year-old Chinese blogger Zhang Shihe rides his bicycle thousands of miles to the plateaus, deserts and hinterlands of North Central China. In this Op-Doc video, we meet Mr. Zhang, known to his many followers online as “Tiger Temple,” as he goes to great lengths to document the stories of struggling rural villagers whose voices are seldom heard in China’s state-monitored media.
"Producing a kilo of beef requires 13 kilos of grass or green matter. But to produce a kilo of cricket, beetle or grasshopper meat one needs just 1.5 to 2 kilos of feed and it produces a fraction of the carbon dioxide emissions”
To boil it down, I don't think Hu Jintao or Xi Jinping believe in Communism themselves. And I don't believe any of the political leaders believe in Communism themselves, otherwise they wouldn't need to accept bribes and they wouldn't be so corrupt.
Sometimes strings need to be pulled. When Sunny Thakur, the scion of a suburban family influential in politics and real estate — and, according to press reports, the underworld — realized that even with a hydraulic nose-lift system, his matte-black 2012 Aventador LP700-4 couldn’t clear the local speed bumps. His solution, he said, was to lobby his uncle, an influential politician, to have them lowered.
In this insight was the germ of Chapter 11 of the modern US bankruptcy code, the provision that allows an insolvent corporation to write off old debts and have a fresh start as a going concern.
The British devised the concept of legal discharge from debt not out of a sudden attack of compassion but because the economic crisis of the 1690s had put much of the merchant class in jail. The cause was not improvident or immoral behavior on the part of debtors, but general economic dislocation beyond their control, caused by the confluence of bubonic plague, recent wars with France, and a storm that devastated the merchant fleet in 1703.
.. Legal historians such as Bruce Mann have observed that, for capitalism to proceed, it was necessary to shift the economic thinking and legal policy governing debt from moral questions to instrumental ones.
.. after a brief flirtation with World War I–style reparations, the occupying powers agreed to behave differently: they wrote off 93 percent of the Nazi-era debt and postponed collection of other debts for nearly half a century. So Germany, whose debt-to-GDP ratio in 1939 was 675 percent, had a debt load of about 12 percent in the early 1950s—far less than that of the victorious Allies—helping to produce postwar Germany’s economic miracle.
As Fed chairman, every time I expressed a view, I added or subtracted 10 basis points from the credit market. That was not helpful. But I nonetheless had to testify before Congress. On questions that were too market-sensitive to answer, “no comment” was indeed an answer. And so you construct what we used to call Fed-speak. I would hypothetically think of a little plate in front of my eyes, which was the Washington Post, the following morning’s headline, and I would catch myself in the middle of a sentence. Then, instead of just stopping, I would continue on resolving the sentence in some obscure way which made it incomprehensible. But nobody was quite sure I wasn’t saying something profound when I wasn’t. And that became the so-called Fed-speak which I became an expert on over the years.
I imagine that I’m a person who’s never sick, never needs medicine, has no vices, comes from a healthy family, and is so spiritually and emotionally balanced that he never needs help. The person I actually am is more than a little out of shape, is probably a candidate for heart trouble, enjoys a scholarly pipe smoke a little too much, and has several times been so beset with spiritual and emotional trouble that he needed serious help from a counselor. It’s official. Hello, Doc. My name is Andrew, and I’m a person with Real Problems. I sat on the papery hospital bed thinking about how uncomfortable I was that the doctor knew more about the “real” me than most people.
.. I saw the great Garrison Keillor at the Ryman Auditorium a few years ago when A Prairie Home Companion came through town, and was struck by how comfortable he was in his own skin. He has one of the most recognizable voices in radio history and has been entertaining us for decades—but he has, as they say, a face for radio. He’s not an attractive man. His eyes are bulgy, his nose is a little too small, he’s gangly, he hunches, and though his speaking voice is magical his singing voice is about as plain as you could imagine. But when he steps out onto the stage in his suit and bright red sneakers, he shines. He dances around as awkward as a goose on stilts, singing badly and looking odd—but he’s so joyful, so clearly doing what he loves to do, that he doesn’t care how weird he looks.
The extensive involvement of Rove, not only with Liberty Works, but with all aspects of Republican efforts to build a technologically advanced, integrated voter list has provoked new charges that Rove is acquiring unprecedented control over the Republican electioneering machine: over the aggregation of tactically valuable data and of sharing it; over fundraising; over candidate selection; over voter mobilization; and finally over issue prioritization.
.. Here’s why data ownership is a big deal. To paraphrase the geographer Halford Mackinder: Who controls the data controls the candidates; who controls the candidates controls the party.
In these big sets of data, which were far larger than those used in, for instance, the 1985 basketball study, success did slightly increase the chances of subsequent success — though generally over a longer time frame than the next shot. Basketball players experienced statistically significant and recognizable hot periods over an entire game or two, during which they would hit more free throws than random chance would suggest. But they would not necessarily hit one free throw immediately after the last.
It was during this time that he conceived what he calls his “Keplerian quest.” Three centuries earlier, Johannes Kepler had made sense of the seemingly irregular motions of the planets by a single geometrical insight: he posited that their orbits, instead of being circular as had been supposed since ancient times, took the form of an ellipse. As a teenager, Mandelbrot “came to worship” Kepler’s achievement and aspired to do something similar—to impose order on an inchoate area of science through a bold geometrical stroke.
.. To Mandelbrot, these two men were “made of stardust.” He served as postdoc to both: first to Wiener at MIT, and then to von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton—where he had a nightmarish experience. Delivering a lecture on the deep links between physics and linguistics, he watched as one after another of the famous figures in the audience nodded off and snored. When he finished, the renowned historian of mathematics Otto Neugebauer woke the sleepers by shouting, “I must protest! This is the worst lecture I ever heard!” Mandelbrot was by now paralyzed with fear, but happily a formidable pair came to his rescue: first Robert Oppenheimer, who flawlessly conveyed the intended gist of the lecture in one of his legendary “Oppie talks”; and then von Neumann, who did the same in one of his equally celebrated “Johnny talks.” The audience was transfixed, and the event ended in triumph.
.. The fractal model of financial markets that Mandelbrot went on to develop has never caught on with finance professors, who still by and large cling to the efficient market hypothesis. If Mandelbrot’s analysis is right, reliance on orthodox models is dangerous. And so it has proved, on more than one occasion. In the summer of 1998, for example, Long-Term Capital Management—a hedge fund founded by two economists who had won Nobel Prizes for their work in portfolio theory and staffed with twenty-five Ph.D.s—blew up and nearly took down the world’s banking system when an unforeseen Russian financial crisis foiled its models.
In other words, Keynes was saying economics has to do more than just tell us how the world works when the world works. It has to tell us how the world works when it doesn't -- and how to make it work again. An economist who only says our problems will eventually go away is no better than a doctor who says the same of illnesses. This is not a call to ignore the future, but rather to stop ignoring the present.
South african classic. Clasico verbenero.
The Queens are Emily Zwane from Brakpan,
Thandi Radebe from Dube ( Soweto ),
Beatrice Ngcobo from Durban,
Thandi Nkosi from Emdeni ( Soweto )
and Caroline Kapentar from Bloemfontein.
They are considered the best Mgqashiyo entertainers in Southern Africa.