Sunday, November 30, 2014

Being Bad Europeans - NYTimes.com

Being Bad Europeans - NYTimes.com:



"THE U.S. economy finally seems to be climbing out of the deep hole it entered during the global financial crisis. Unfortunately, Europe, the other epicenter of crisis, can’t say the same. Unemployment in the euro area is stalled at almost twice the U.S. level, while inflation is far below both the official target and outright deflation has become a looming risk."



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Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball) - NYTimes.com

Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball) - NYTimes.com:



"A new paper by Marion Fourcade, Etienne Ollion, and Yann Algan on the structure of academic economics (pdf) is getting a fair bit of attention among people I talk to. The tone is rather jaundiced, but that’s surely a defensible attitude, and everything substantive it says about economics rings true from my own experience; I’m glad to see that quantitative analysis confirms what I thought."



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Perception

Professor Michael Eric Dyson reminds us that we construct what we see.

There is a blind spot in the eyes. It is a place where connecting nerves send the image to the brain. There are no sensing cells in that area, so literally we have a hole in our eyes. What gets sent then from there? We make up an image which makes sense, so we don't panic at our blindness.

Similarly, when something in the society around us, doesn't make sense, we make something up. So the junior policeman, who recently resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, Darrel Wilson, saw a huge devil attacking him, and he killed Michael Brown Jr. What is interesting, is that the jury, also saw a big menacing devil attacking this young white man.

Society has a blind spot, we don't see the humanity of African Americans.

For our social health, this has to change.

Where Do We Go After Ferguson?

Photo
A protester wrapped himself in a United States flag in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday.CreditJewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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WASHINGTON — WHEN Ferguson flared up this week after a grand jury failed to indict the white police officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed black youth Michael Brown, two realities were illuminated: Black and white people rarely view race in the same way or agree about how to resolve racial conflicts, and black people have furious moral debates among ourselves out of white earshot.
These colliding worlds of racial perception are why many Americans view the world so differently, and why recent comments by President Obama and the former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani cut to the quick of black identity in America.
From the start, most African-Americans were convinced that Michael Brown’s death wouldn’t be fairly considered by Ferguson’s criminal justice system. There were doubts that the prosecution and defense were really on different teams. The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, looked as if he were coaching an intramural scrimmage with the goal of keeping Officer Wilson from being tackled by indictment.
The trove of documents released after the grand jury’s decision included Officer Wilson’s four-hour testimony, in which the 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound cop said that his encounter with the 6-foot-4-inch, 292-pound teenager left him feeling like “a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” He used the impersonal pronoun “it” when he said that Michael Brown looked like a “demon” rushing him. To the police officer and to many whites, Michael Brown was the black menace writ large, the terrorizing phantom that stalks the white imagination.
These clashing perceptions underscore the physics of race, in which an observer effect operates: The instrument through which one perceives race — one’s culture, one’s experiences, one’s fears and fantasies — alters in crucial ways what it measures.
The novelist Ann Petry vividly captured this observer effect in her 1946 novel “The Street,” in which the African-American protagonist, Lutie Johnson, remarks that racial perceptions of blacks “depended on where you sat.” She explains that if “you looked at them from inside the framework of a fat weekly salary, and you thought of colored people as naturally criminal, then you didn’t really see what any Negro looked like,” because “the Negro was never an individual” but “a threat, or an animal, or a curse.”
After a black man is killed in a failed robbery, she notes that a reporter “saw a dead Negro who had attempted to hold up a store, and so he couldn’t really see what the man lying on the sidewalk looked like.” Instead, he saw “the picture he already had in his mind: a huge, brawny, blustering, ignorant, criminally disposed black man.”
Photo
Tear gas engulfed the police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday.CreditJewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Our American culture’s fearful dehumanizing of black men materialized once again when Officer Wilson saw Michael Brown as a demonic force who had to be vanquished in a hail of bullets.
IT is nearly impossible to convey the fear that strikes at the heart of black Americans every time a cop car pulls up. When I was 17, my brother and I and a childhood friend were pulled over by four Detroit cops in an unmarked police vehicle. This was in the mid-70s, in the shadow of the infamous Detroit Police Department task force called Stress (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets), which was initiated after the 1967 riots. The unit lived up to its name and routinely targeted black people.
As we assumed the position against the car, I announced to one of the plainclothes officers that I was reaching into my back pocket to fish the car’s registration from my wallet. He brought the butt of his gun sharply across my back and knocked me to the ground, promising, with a racial epithet, that he’d put a bullet through my head if I moved again. When I rose to my feet, cowering, showing complete deference, the officer permitted me to show the car’s registration. When the cops ran the tags, they concluded what we already knew: The car wasn’t stolen and we weren’t thieves. They sent us on without a hint of an apology.
My recent dust-up with Mr. Giuliani on national television tapped a deep vein of racially charged perception. In a discussion on “Meet the Press” of Ferguson and its racial fallout, Mr. Giuliani steered the conversation down the path of a conservative shibboleth: that the real problem facing black communities is not brutality at the hands of white cops but brutality in the grips of black thugs. He cited the fact that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by black people; I argued that these murderers often go to jail, unlike the white cops who kill blacks with the backing of the government. What I didn’t have time to say was that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by white people, and yet no language of condemnation exists to frame a white-on-white malady that begs relief by violent policing.
This doesn’t mean that black people aren’t weary of death ravaging our communities. I witnessed it personally as I sat in a Detroit courtroom 25 years ago during the trial of my brother Everett for second-degree murder, and though I believe to this day that he is innocent, I watched him convicted by an all-black jury and sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
Many whites who point to blacks killing blacks are moved less by concern for black communities than by a desire to fend off criticism of unjust white cops. They have the earnest belief that they are offering new ideas to black folk about the peril we foment in our own neighborhoods. This idea has also found a champion in Bill Cosby, who for the past decade has levied moral charges against the black poor with an ugly intensity endorsed by white critics as tough love and accepted by most black journalists as homegrown conservatism.
But Mr. Cosby’s put-downs are more pernicious than that. How could one ever defend his misogynistic indictment of black women’s lax morals and poor parenting skills? “Five, six children, same woman, eight, 10 different husbands or whatever,” he liked to recite. “Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t know who this is; might be your grandmother.”
Journalistic mea culpas are now accompanying Mr. Cosby’s Shakespearean fall from grace. He has been recast as a leering king who is more sinner than sinned against as the allegations of drugging and raping women pile up. But these writers avoid mentioning the sexist blinders that kept them from seeing how hateful Mr. Cosby was toward black women long before he was accused of abusing mostly white women.
Bill Cosby didn’t invent the politics of respectability — the belief that good behavior and stern chiding will cure black ills and uplift black people and convince white people that we’re human and worthy of respect. But he certainly gave it a vernacular swagger that has since been polished by Barack Obama. The president has lectured black folk about our moral shortcomings before cheering audiences at college commencements and civil rights conventions. And yet his themes are shopworn and mix the innocuous and the insidious: pull your pants up, stop making racial excuses for failure, stop complaining about racism, turn off the television and the video games and study, don’t feed your kids fried chicken for breakfast, be a good father.
As big a fan as he is of respectability politics, Mr. Obama is the most eloquent reminder that they don’t work, that no matter how smart, sophisticated or upstanding one is, and no matter how much chastising black people pleases white ears, the suspicions about black identity persist. Despite his accomplishments and charisma, he is for millions the unalterable “other” of national life, the opposite of what they mean when they think of America.
Barack Obama, like Michael Brown, is changed before our eyes into a monstrous thing that lacks humanity: a monkey, a cipher, a black hole that kills light. One might expect the ultimate target of this black otherness to have sympathy for its lesser targets, who also have lesser standing and lesser protection, like the people in Ferguson, in Ohio, in New York, in Florida, and all around the country, who can’t keep their unarmed children from being cut down in the street by callous cops who leave their bodies to stiffen into rigor mortis in the presence of horrified onlookers.
President Obama’s clinical approach to race was cemented after the 2009 Henry Louis Gates Jr. incident — in which the Harvard professor and the white police officer who arrested him for breaking into his own house were invited to the White House to commune over a beer — convinced him that he should talk race only when his hand was forced.
He has employed a twin strategy: the “heroic explicit,” in which he deliberately and clearly assails black moral failure and poor cultural habits, and the “noble implicit,” in which he avoids linking whites to social distress or pathology and speaks in the broadest terms possible, in grammar both tentative and tortured, about the problems we all confront. It’s an effort that hinges on false equivalencies between black and white and the mistaken identification of effect for cause.
MR. OBAMA spoke twice in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision. He spoke Monday night about America as a nation of laws and said that we must respect the jury’s conclusion, even if we don’t agree with it, and make progress by working together — not by throwing bottles, smashing car windows or using anger as an excuse to vandalize property or hurt anyone.
On Tuesday, the president doubled down on his indictment of “criminal acts” and declared, “I do not have any sympathy” for those who destroy “your own communities.” While he avoided saying so, it was clear that his remarks were directed at the black people who looted and rioted in Ferguson. But their criminal activity is the effect of going unrecognized by the state for decades, a crime in itself. As for the plague of white cops who kill unarmed black youth, the facts of which are tediously and sickeningly repetitive and impose a psychological tariff on black minds, the president was vague, halting and sincerely noncommittal.
Instead, he lauded the racial progress that he said he had witnessed “in my own life,” substituting his life for ours, and signaled again how his story of advancement was ours, suggesting, sadly, that the sum of our political fortunes in his presidency may be lesser than the parts of our persistent suffering. Even when he sidled up to the truth and nudged it gently — “these are real issues,” the president acknowledged — he slipped back into an emotional blandness that underplayed the searing divide, saying there was “an impression that folks have” about unjust policing and “there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion.”
Whose impression is it, though that word hardly captures the fierce facts of the case? Who feels it? Who is the subject? Who is the recipient of the action? Mr. Obama’s treacherous balancing act between white and black, left and right, obscures who has held the power for the longest amount of time to make things the way they are. This is something, of course, he can never admit, but which nevertheless strains his words and turns an often eloquent word artist into a faltering, fumbling linguist. President Obama said that our nation was built on the rule of law. That is true, but incomplete. His life, and his career, too, are the product of broken laws: His parents would have committed a crime in most states at the time of their interracial union, and without Martin Luther King Jr. breaking what he deemed to be unjust laws, Mr. Obama wouldn’t be president today. He is the ultimate paradox: the product of a churning assault on the realm of power that he now represents.
No wonder he turns to his own body and story and life to narrate our bodies, our stories and our lives. The problem is that the ordinary black person possesses neither his protections against peril nor his triumphant trajectory that will continue long after he leaves office.
More than 45 years ago, the Kerner Commission concluded that we still lived in two societies, one white, one black, separate and still unequal. President Lyndon B. Johnson convened that commission while the flames that engulfed my native Detroit in the riot of 1967 still burned. If our president and our nation now don’t show the will and courage to speak the truth and remake the destinies of millions of beleaguered citizens, then we are doomed to watch the same sparks reignite, whenever and wherever injustice meets desperation.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

As Mexico Addresses Climate Change, Critics Point to Shortcomings - NYTimes.com

As Mexico Addresses Climate Change, Critics Point to Shortcomings - NYTimes.com:



"EJIDO RANCHO OJO LAGUNA, Mexico — For six years, while drought ravaged Chihuahua State, Mario Ruiz clung to his small herd of cattle."



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Drop in oil prices weakens peso vs. dollar | Economy | GMA News Online

Drop in oil prices weakens peso vs. dollar | Economy | GMA News Online:



"The peso traded on a softer note against the dollar Friday as oil prices tumbled in the region, benefiting the greenback."



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Oil Prices Are Plunging. Here’s Who Wins and Who Loses. - NYTimes.com

Oil Prices Are Plunging. Here’s Who Wins and Who Loses. - NYTimes.com:



 "While Americans were stuffing their faces with poultry Thursday, global oil markets were in chaos. And the implications are far-reaching."



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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pollution and Politics - NYTimes.com

Pollution and Politics - NYTimes.com:



 "Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed regulations to curb emissions of ozone, which causes smog, not to mention asthma, heart disease and premature death. And you know what happened: Republicans went on the attack, claiming that the new rules would impose enormous costs."



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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Borders

States define themselves through borders. For instance I've been in the Mexico-US border. The first time I saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes. The US was so beautiful, in contrast, my country looked ugly. I was not aware of how ugly, until I'd seen the American side more carefully. Of course there are ugly places on this side of the border. Nevertheless, as you can see in Acemoglu's book, Why Nations Fail, all in all, life is better on this side.

Material conditions usually don't interest me. I am more of an idea person. Nevertheless, now that my immediate family is on the US side, I feel grateful. It just happened, different events put me where I am now. Waiting for Thanksgiving day, for a turkey cooked by my daughter.

Life is good!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

News Drumsticks - NYTimes.com

News Drumsticks - NYTimes.com:



 "Finally, Ferguson, Mo., reminds us of our own wounds of mistrust we need to heal. The controversial verdict was announced the same day President Obama awarded this year’s Presidential Medals of Freedom, which also reminded us that we’ve been a work in progress in repairing our racial divide. Among those honored were the three civil rights workers killed in the Freedom Summer of 1964. Another was Charlie Sifford, a black golfer who helped desegregate the P.G.A. Tour and pave the way for Tiger Woods. And another was Stevie Wonder, who, as Obama put it, “channeled his inner visions into messages of hope and healing.”"



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Monday, November 24, 2014

Robert P. McCulloch

I just watched the St. Louis County Prosecutor announce, that officer Darren Wilson can go on with his life.

I know my opinion is not as high as his. Nevertheless I did not see a human behind that face. He is a messenger of a blind Justice System.

Amen.

Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com

Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com:



"CLAYTON, Mo. — A St. Louis County grand jury has brought no criminal charges against Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, more than three months ago in nearby Ferguson."



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Solving the Riddles of an Early Astronomical Calculator - NYTimes.com

Solving the Riddles of an Early Astronomical Calculator - NYTimes.com:



 "A riddle for the ages may be a small step closer to a solution: Who made the famed Antikythera Mechanism, the astronomical calculator that was raised from an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901?"



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Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels - NYTimes.com

Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels - NYTimes.com:



"For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas."



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Grand Jury Reaches a Decision in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com

Grand Jury Reaches a Decision in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com:



"FERGUSON, Mo. — A grand jury deliberating whether to charge Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., has reached a decision in the case that will be announced later Monday, the prosecutor’s office said."



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Interstellar

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Inflation and Rising Interest Rates That Never Showed Up - NYTimes.com

The Inflation and Rising Interest Rates That Never Showed Up - NYTimes.com:



"Six years ago the Federal Reserve hit rock bottom. It had been cutting the federal funds rate, the interest rate it uses to steer the economy, more or less frantically in an unsuccessful attempt to get ahead of the recession and financial crisis. But it eventually reached the point where it could cut no more, because interest rates can’t go below zero. On Dec. 16, 2008, the Fed set its interest target between 0 and 0.25 percent, where it remains to this day."



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Turmoil Over Immigration Status? California Has Lived It for Decades - NYTimes.com

Turmoil Over Immigration Status? California Has Lived It for Decades - NYTimes.com:



"LOS ANGELES — There may be no better place than California to measure the contradictions, crosswinds and confusion that come with trying to change immigration law."



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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Downside of the Boom - NYTimes.com

The Downside of the Boom - NYTimes.com:



"WILLISTON, N.D. — In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.”"



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After Snow, Western New York Prepares for Floods - NYTimes.com

After Snow, Western New York Prepares for Floods - NYTimes.com:



 "BUFFALO — As dump trucks, plows and payloaders continued laboring to clear snow as high as seven feet, western New York girded on Saturday for the feared second act of the storm — widespread flooding."



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Stampeding Black Elephants - NYTimes.com

Stampeding Black Elephants - NYTimes.com:



 "SYDNEY, Australia — I PARTICIPATED in the World Parks Congress in Sydney last week and learned a new phrase: “a black elephant.” A black elephant, explained the London-based investor and environmentalist Adam Sweidan, is a cross between “a black swan” (an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications) and the “elephant in the room” (a problem that is visible to everyone, yet no one still wants to address it) even though we know that one day it will have vast, black-swan-like consequences."



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com:



 "LANCASTER, N.Y. — Jack Fasanella and Pattie Higgins had not seen another soul, aside from each other, for days."



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Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com

Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — All but drowned out by Republicans’ clamorous opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration are some leaders who worry that their party could alienate the fastest-growing group of voters, for 2016 and beyond, if its hottest heads become its face."



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Suffer Little Children by Paul Krugman

The Tenement Museum, on the Lower East Side, is one of my favorite places in New York City. It’s a Civil War-vintage building that housed successive waves of immigrants, and a number of apartments have been restored to look exactly as they did in various eras, from the 1860s to the 1930s (when the building was declared unfit for occupancy). When you tour the museum, you come away with a powerful sense of immigration as a human experience, which — despite plenty of bad times, despite a cultural climate in which Jews, Italians, and others were often portrayed as racially inferior — was overwhelmingly positive.
I get especially choked up about the Baldizzi apartment from 1934. When I described its layout to my parents, both declared, “I grew up in that apartment!” And today’s immigrants are the same, in aspiration and behavior, as my grandparents were — people seeking a better life, and by and large finding it.
That’s why I enthusiastically support President Obama’s new immigration initiative. It’s a simple matter of human decency.
That’s not to say that I, or most progressives, support open borders. You can see one important reason right there in the Baldizzi apartment: the photo of F.D.R. on the wall. The New Deal made America a vastly better place, yet it probably wouldn’t have been possible without the immigration restrictions that went into effect after World War I. For one thing, absent those restrictions, there would have been many claims, justified or not, about people flocking to America to take advantage of welfare programs.
Furthermore, open immigration meant that many of America’s worst-paid workers weren’t citizens and couldn’t vote. Once immigration restrictions were in place, and immigrants already here gained citizenship, this disenfranchised class at the bottom shrank rapidly, helping to create the political conditions for a stronger social safety net. And, yes, low-skill immigration probably has some depressing effect on wages, although the available evidence suggests that the effect is quite small.
So there are some difficult issues in immigration policy. I like to say that if you don’t feel conflicted about these issues, there’s something wrong with you. But one thing you shouldn’t feel conflicted about is the proposition that we should offer decent treatment to children who are already here — and are already Americans in every sense that matters. And that’s what Mr. Obama’s initiative is about.
Who are we talking about? First, there are more than a million young people in this country who came — yes, illegally — as children and have lived here ever since. Second, there are large numbers of children who were born here — which makes them U.S. citizens, with all the same rights you and I have — but whose parents came illegally, and are legally subject to being deported.
What should we do about these people and their families? There are some forces in our political life who want us to bring out the iron fist — to seek out and deport young residents who weren’t born here but have never known another home, to seek out and deport the undocumented parents of American children and force those children either to go into exile or to fend for themselves.
But that isn’t going to happen, partly because, as a nation, we aren’t really that cruel; partly because that kind of crackdown would require something approaching police-state rule; and, largely, I’m sorry to say, because Congress doesn’t want to spend the money that such a plan would require. In practice, undocumented children and the undocumented parents of legal children aren’t going anywhere.

The real question, then, is how we’re going to treat them. Will we continue our current regime of malign neglect, denying them ordinary rights and leaving them under the constant threat of deportation? Or will we treat them as the fellow Americans they already are?
The truth is that sheer self-interest says that we should do the humane thing. Today’s immigrant children are tomorrow’s workers, taxpayers and neighbors. Condemning them to life in the shadows means that they will have less stable home lives than they should, be denied the opportunity to acquire skills and education, contribute less to the economy, and play a less positive role in society. Failure to act is just self-destructive.
But speaking for myself, I don’t care that much about the money, or even the social aspects. What really matters, or should matter, is the humanity. My parents were able to have the lives they did because America, despite all the prejudices of the time, was willing to treat them as people. Offering the same kind of treatment to today’s immigrant children is the practical course of action, but it’s also, crucially, the right thing to do. So let’s applaud the president for doing it.

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants."



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Historic!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

‘Extreme’ Snowstorm Pummels Western New York - NYTimes.com

‘Extreme’ Snowstorm Pummels Western New York - NYTimes.com:



"LANCASTER, N.Y. — A powerful snowstorm has swept across western New York, creating snow drifts as high as houses, trapping people in their homes and forcing hundreds of motorists to abandon their cars on roadways that were quickly buried in the blizzard-like conditions."



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Monday, November 17, 2014

‘Interstellar’: The Cinema of Physicists - NYTimes.com

‘Interstellar’: The Cinema of Physicists - NYTimes.com:



 "The Earth is a dying dust bowl where a blight is destroying all the crops and oxygen. Schoolchildren are being taught that the moon landings were faked to bankrupt the Russians, and NASA is a secret agency consisting of a dozen scientists huddling underground. The Yankees are a barnstorming troupe who play games in cornfields and let ground balls go through their legs."



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Mega-Mergers Popular Again on Wall Street - NYTimes.com

Mega-Mergers Popular Again on Wall Street - NYTimes.com:



 "Stocks are surging, corporate executives are ambitious and debt is cheap. The result is one of the biggest booms ever in mergers and acquisitions."



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NYT Science Video

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tamales in Warrenville!

I'm happy to report that my wife and I, had good tamales this morning!

She didn't even have to cook. We have some entrepreneurial neighbors who did it for us. They mainly sell ice cream, with Michoacan recipes. We don't like Oberweis, we prefer La Super Michoacana. Besides, Mr. Oberweis is good to run for office, and he has the habit of loosing, but he doesn't have a clue on how to speak Spanish, and even less, and how to make tamales, and atole. 

Granted, Mr. Oberweis got to DuPage County before we did. Nevertheless this is a democratic country, and my wife and I, like to have options.

¡Todos Unidos con Tamales Calientitos!

When Government Succeeds - NYTimes.com

When Government Succeeds - NYTimes.com:



 "The great American Ebola freakout of 2014 seems to be over. The disease is still ravaging Africa, and as with any epidemic, there’s always a risk of a renewed outbreak. But there haven’t been any new U.S. cases for a while, and popular anxiety is fading fast."



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Alexander Grothendieck, Math Enigma, Dies at 86 - NYTimes.com

Alexander Grothendieck, Math Enigma, Dies at 86 - NYTimes.com:



"Alexander Grothendieck, whose gift for deep abstraction excavated new ground in the field known as algebraic geometry and supplied a theoretical foundation for the solving of some of the most vexing conundrums of modern mathematics, died on Thursday in Ariège, in the French Pyrenees. He was 86."



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Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico - NYTimes.com

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico - NYTimes.com:



"MEXICO CITY — The fate of 43 college students missing and presumed killed and burned to ashes in a mass abduction in September has bred ire and indignation in many corners of Mexico."



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Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet Kip Thorne, the Man Who Crafted the Artful Science of ‘Interstellar’ - The Daily Beast

Meet Kip Thorne, the Man Who Crafted the Artful Science of ‘Interstellar’ - The Daily Beast:



"Legendary physicist Kip Thorne responds to Interstellar's critics, praises Anne Hathaway’s ability to geek out, and chats about his bromance with Stephen Hawking."



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Obama’s Moves Defying Label of Lame Duck - NYTimes.com

Obama’s Moves Defying Label of Lame Duck - NYTimes.com:



 "WASHINGTON — President Obama emerged from last week’s midterm election rejected by voters, hobbled politically and doomed to a final two years in office suffering from early lame-duck syndrome. That, at least, was the consensus in both parties. No one seems to have told Mr. Obama."



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China, Coal, Climate - NYTimes.com

China, Coal, Climate - NYTimes.com:



"It’s easy to be cynical about summit meetings. Often they’re just photo ops, and the photos from the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, which had world leaders looking remarkably like the cast of “Star Trek,” were especially cringe-worthy. At best — almost always — they’re just occasions to formally announce agreements already worked out by lower-level officials."



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‘Rosewater,’ Directed by Jon Stewart - NYTimes.com

‘Rosewater,’ Directed by Jon Stewart - NYTimes.com:



 "Among its virtues, “Rosewater,” the directorial debut of Jon Stewart, is an argument for filmmakers to start their trade after they’ve looked beyond the limits of their own horizons. This fictional movie tells the story of the real Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born journalist living in London who was arrested in Iran while covering the 2009 elections for Newsweek. Accused of being an agent for foreign intelligence organizations, he was thrown into the Evin Prison, where he was interrogated and beaten, partly for the surreal reason that he had appeared on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Mr. Stewart’s interest in the material is obviously personal, but his movie transcends mere self-interest."



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Comet Landing Bumpier Than First Thought - NYTimes.com

Comet Landing Bumpier Than First Thought - NYTimes.com:



 "This historic landing of a spacecraft on a comet on Wednesday turned out to be not one but three landings as the lander hopped across the surface."



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Lower Oil Prices Give a Lift to the American Economy - NYTimes.com

Lower Oil Prices Give a Lift to the American Economy - NYTimes.com:



"American consumers are going to enjoy a more bountiful Christmas this year, thanks in part to a most unlikely source: Saudi Arabia."



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Obama Plans to Avert 5 Million Deportations, Officials Say - NYTimes.com

Obama Plans to Avert 5 Million Deportations, Officials Say - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan."



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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Major Breakthrough on Climate Change - NYTimes.com

A Major Breakthrough on Climate Change - NYTimes.com:



"The deal jointly announced in Beijing by President Obama and China’s president, Xi Jinping, to limit greenhouse gases well beyond their earlier pledges is both a major diplomatic breakthrough and — assuming both sides can carry out their promises — an enormously positive step in the uncertain battle against climate change."



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The Descent of Philae Toward the Comet in Tweets - NYTimes.com

The Descent of Philae Toward the Comet in Tweets - NYTimes.com:



 "On Wednesday, at 4:05 a.m. Eastern time, the 220-pound lander, named Philae, detached from the Rosetta spacecraft and was pulled downward by the gravity of the comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Signals from Rosetta will take nearly 30 minutes to travel more than 300 million miles to mission control in Darmstadt, Germany."



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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More Bank Settlements Coming in Widening Currency Case - NYTimes.com

More Bank Settlements Coming in Widening Currency Case - NYTimes.com:



"As authorities in the United States and Britain ready actions this week against giant banks suspected of manipulating the foreign currency market, both the number of government agencies involved and the cost of settling the cases continues to grow."



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Monday, November 10, 2014

Preserving an Accident for the Good of Nature - NYTimes.com

Preserving an Accident for the Good of Nature - NYTimes.com:



"MECCA, Calif. — The area around this town of date palms attracts two kinds of migrants — hundreds of humans who work the land, and millions of birds that stop to rest and gorge at the nearby Salton Sea. The sea is a 110-year-old, increasingly briny, shallow lake that covers 350 square miles but is dwindling fast."



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Learning How Little We Know About the Brain - NYTimes.com

Learning How Little We Know About the Brain - NYTimes.com:



"Research on the brain is surging. The United States and the European Union have launched new programs to better understand the brain. Scientists are mapping parts of mouse, fly and human brains at different levels of magnification. Technology for recording brain activity has been improving at a revolutionary pace."



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[1405.1031] Detecting Dark Matter with Imploding Pulsars in the Galactic Center

[1405.1031] Detecting Dark Matter with Imploding Pulsars in the Galactic Center:



 "The paucity of old millisecond pulsars observed at the galactic center of the Milky Way could be the result of dark matter accumulating in and destroying neutron stars. In regions of high dark matter density, dark matter clumped in a pulsar can exceed the Schwarzschild limit and collapse into a natal black hole which destroys the pulsar. We examine what dark matter models are consistent with this hypothesis and find regions of parameter space where dark matter accumulation can significantly degrade the neutron star population within the galactic center while remaining consistent with observations of old millisecond pulsars in globular clusters and near the solar position. We identify what dark matter couplings and masses might cause a young pulsar at the galactic center to unexpectedly extinguish. Finally, we find that pulsar collapse age scales inversely with the dark matter density and linearly with the dark matter velocity dispersion. This implies that maximum pulsar age is spatially dependent on position within the dark matter halo of the Milky Way. In turn, this pulsar age spatial dependence will be dark matter model dependent."



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Microsoft's Nadella Talks About the Future of Office - NYTimes.com

Microsoft's Nadella Talks About the Future of Office - NYTimes.com:



"REDMOND, Wash. — “Getting stuff done.”"



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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Scientists, and Universe’s Odd Behavior, Are Recognized With $3 Million Prizes - NYTimes.com

Scientists, and Universe’s Odd Behavior, Are Recognized With $3 Million Prizes - NYTimes.com:



"Who knew there was so much money in dark energy?"



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The Latest Frivolous Attack on Obamacare - NYTimes.com

The Latest Frivolous Attack on Obamacare - NYTimes.com:



"My parents used to own a small house with a large backyard, in which my mother cultivated a beautiful garden. At some point, however — I don’t remember why — my father looked at the official deed defining their property, and received a shock. According to the text, the Krugman lot wasn’t a rough rectangle; it was a triangle more than a hundred feet long but only around a yard wide at the base."



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The Dawn of Nuclear Weapons Goes Viral - NYTimes.com

The Dawn of Nuclear Weapons Goes Viral - NYTimes.com:



"It was near midnight when John Coster-Mullen, the author of “Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man,” was scrutinizing one image among hundreds newly released by Los Alamos, the birthplace of the bomb."



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Saturday, November 08, 2014

[1009.4116] Spin-wave interference patterns created by spin-torque nano-oscillators for memory and computation

[1009.4116] Spin-wave interference patterns created by spin-torque nano-oscillators for memory and computation:



"Magnetization dynamics in nanomagnets has attracted broad interest since it was predicted that a dc-current flowing through a thin magnetic layer can create spin-wave excitations. These excitations are due to spin-momentum transfer, a transfer of spin angular momentum between conduction electrons and the background magnetization, that enables new types of information processing. Here we show how arrays of spin-torque nano-oscillators (STNO) can create propagating spin-wave interference patterns of use for memory and computation. Memristic transponders distributed on the thin film respond to threshold tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) values thereby detecting the spin-waves and creating new excitation patterns. We show how groups of transponders create resonant (reverberating) spin-wave interference patterns that may be used for polychronous wave computation of arithmetic and boolean functions and information "



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