There are a number of causes, one is the underlying shift in technology and globalization. Another is systematic underinvestment in the commons, which is a set of shared resources that every business needs in order to be productive: an educated populace, pools of skilled labor, a vibrant network of suppliers, strong infrastructure, basic R&D and so on. A third is shifts in institutions and politics and bargaining power, which is embodied in the decline in collective bargaining and the weakening of labor unions. There’s no question that that is part of the story. How large a part? I don’t think anyone has a well-informed perspective.
Two years into Greece’s debt crisis, its citizens are reeling from austerity measures imposed to prevent a government debt default that could cause havoc throughout Europe. The economic pain is the price Greece and Europe are paying to defend the euro, the center…
Public health experts preparing for an international conference on Ebola on Tuesday seem to have no doubt that the disease can be vanquished in the West African countries ravaged by it in the last year. But the steep downward trajectory of new cases late last year and into January did not lead to the end of the epidemic.
Recent news reports suggest Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing a better job of hurting the Ukrainian economy than the West is doing of bolstering it—but at what cost? The chaos Putin has sown in Ukraine has extracted a huge toll on his own economy. Together, sanctions and cheap oil have given Russia the deadly combination of a crashing currency and a sinking economy. To manage, Russia’s central bank has tacked between propping up the ruble with higher interest rates, and trying to goose economic growth by lowering them a month later. Neither strategy has worked. The ruble is at near-historic lows against the dollar, and Russia’s economy is in free fall.
A report from the National Academy of Sciences concluded that experiments in blotting out the sun in order to reduce the amount of the sun’s rays that hit the Earth would be too risky. Spraying aerosols into the atmosphere – one leading approaching to “geoengineering” – would be a massive science experiment that would have unknown environmental side effects. The fallout on precipitation patterns, agricultural productivity, and the global climate cannot be fully known until it is unleashed. If the United States seeded the atmosphere with aerosols that produced more drought in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, that would potentially raise indefensible ethical questions. Lowering global temperatures by reducing sun exposure – euphemistically known as “albedo modification” – would also merely treat the symptom of climate change, rather than the cause. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would remain unchanged. As such, sending aerosols up into the sky would be a process that would need to be maintained for many hundreds of years.
A Week On My Bike (jdargis)
Learning to force myself to ride up steep hills has been my biggest accomplishment on a bicycle. I am a seeker of comfort, an avoider of hardships. The act of seeing the hill, thinking this is a big hill, and I don’t really want to ride up it and doing it anyway has revealed to me that I can push myself. I will get up the hill, and it will be an accomplishment when I am done. This is a simple and obvious thing that most people know, but it has taken a lot of effort for me to know it.
The Coast Guard cutter Ida Lewis made its way through the harbor ice in New Bedford, Mass., last week. The harsh winter has slowed commerce in the nation’s No. 1 commercial fishing port.
In a number of cities, the frequency of precipitation has been unchanged even as temperatures rise, but the number of days with heavy rains is going up. In Oklahoma city, for example, the chance of a rainstorm exceeding an inch of rain has gone from 10-15 percent 20 years ago to over 25 percent now. Similar things have happened with tornadoes. Although there’s no overall trend in these events, they’re now coming in bunches; the records for months with both the most and fewest tornadoes have all been set recently.
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