On February 1, 1968, the Penn Central railroad was created by the merger of the two largest railroads in the eastern United States, the Pennsylvania Railroad, long lauded as the "Standard Railroad of the World", and the New York Central Railroad, long famous for its passenger trains such as the 20th Century Limited, with its Dreyfuss-designed Hudson locomotives. [more inside]
When Bill de Blasio takes the oath of office on Wednesday to become New York City's mayor, one of the first things on his agenda will be the fight to ban horse drawn carriages in Central Park. [more inside]
A study [PDF] by CUNY Professor Diana Reiss and Rachel Morrison (Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Subprogram in Psychology The Graduate Center of CUNY) was published last week in Zoo Biology detailing for the first time a whisper‐like behavior in a non‐human primate, the cotton top tamarin at the Central Park Zoo. [more inside]
New York City officials are asking visitors to Central Park's Harlem Meer to beware of the northern snakehead fish, a predator common in the rivers and lakes of Asia but considered an invasive species in American waters, which had been spotted. [more inside]
What's Going On In Japan? "Really Japan is quite a remarkable case, since neither fiscal nor monetary policy seems to be working to achieve the anticipated results. This year Japan will have a fiscal deficit of around 10% of GDP and gross government debt will hit 235% of GDP, yet the country is still struggling to find growth. Instead of reiterating old dogmas (whether they come from Keynes or from Hayek) more people should be asking themselves what is happening here. This is not a simple repetition of something which was first time tragedy and is now second time tragedy, it is something new, and could well be a harbinger for more that is to come, elsewhere. Oh, why oh why are economists not more curious?" [more inside]
Be it the United States or the European Union, most Western countries are so highly indebted today that the markets have a greater say in their policies than the people. Why are democratic countries so pathetic when it comes to managing their money sustainably? This clear, well-written essay in Der Speigel lays out the current debt crisis - along with current, proposed solutions - in an understandable manner. Not included among the so-far-proposed solutions is one other that has opened up a veritable financial market and debt Pandora's Box - i.e. a central bank debt jubilee.
On the morning of November 13, 1909 there were around 500 men and boys working in the St. Paul mine in Cherry, IL. It would be more than six months before the last body was recovered. [more inside]
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. In a few hours, I will destroy the Greek economy. Unless, that is, you give me the sum of...one trillion dollars! (SLNYT, but with this much money I can afford to look frumpy)
Is it safe? While it looks that the banking system is in better shape than before, some companies still seem to want to hedge their bet. A German insurance company is suing the German central bank to force them open a checking account for them. "As an insurer, it’s our very own task to manage risks and regulators demand that from us,” Mallinckrodt said. “The Bundesbank is the only lender in Germany with no risk to become insolvent, so only an account there is risk free." [more inside]
"I understand you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a f*ckin game." (parts 1 2 3) After trading blows over the last couple weeks, CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer appeared opposite Jon Stewart as a guest on The Daily Show. While Cramer worked to keep his poise during the awkward exchange, the evisceration may call to mind Jon's appearance on Crossfire.
GrandCentral: Have a cell phone, a work phone and a business phone? This free service gives you one number that will ring all of them at once. Reviews: Slate, NYT, CNET
Russia's discomfort with its Muslim minority stems from a fear that the higher-than-average fertility of the Muslim population (6-10 children children per woman among Muslims vs 1.5 per woman among non-Muslims) will make the ethnic Russians of eastern-orthodox persuasion a minority within the state. [More Inside]
Conspiracy Central hosts a torrent for The AntiChrist and a Cup of Tea. Author, Tim Cohen, takes legal action. PayPal seizes CC's account. CC appeals to its members exlaining the situation. Tim Cohen joins the fray.
Latin America Turning Left? From the top: Lula da Silva*, Lopez Obrador, Nestor Kirchner, Hugo Chavez*, Alvaro Uribe, Michelle Bachelet*, Ollanta Humala, Alfredo Palacio, Oscar Berger, Leonel Fernandez, Oscar Arias, Tony Saca, Tabare Vazquez, Martín Torrijos, Evo Morales* Manuel Zelaya, Nicanor Duarte, Daniel Ortega, Rene Preval*.
The BTC Pipeline opened today after more than 10 years and $4B (US) in development. It runs from the Caspian Sea across Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, through the Caucasus mountain range to the Mediterranean. The project is so large and far-reaching some have called it Pipelineistan. The UK Independent calls it The Pipeline That Will Change The World. It travels through some of the most politically unstable regions in Central Asia, but is of such strategic importance political leaders have been replaced and the U.S. is willing to risk the wrath of neighbors Russia (with a competing pipeline of its own) and Iran to place permanent U.S. military bases along its path. It even merits personal visits from the U.S. Energy Secretary and President. Its opening may very well mark the return of the Great Game.
Opening the Gates. Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates opens tomorrow and many are excited about this potentially record-breaking public event. The finishing touches are now being put on the saffron-colored structures, which span 23 miles of path through New York's Central Park. Bloomberg hails the project as "a once-in-a-lifetime work of art," but others aren't so sure. For some, the question remains: is this art?