Hollywood? Old. Bollywood? That's soooo 2003. Make room for Nollywood
, Nigeria's own film industry which is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and is currently worth about $45 million dollars
. About 400 Nollywood films are produced every year many on a budget of around $15000 and are distributed almost entirely by VHS and VCD. The stories are very much simplistic
and pulpy (check out 419 Stalk Exchange. Yes, 419 as in the email scam) but are much preferred
by local residents and emigre's than the usual arthouse fair one often thinks of when talking about African cinema. Now if you'll excuse me there's a bucket of popcorn and a copy of GSM Connection
waiting for me in the living room.
posted by PenDevil
on Jan 19, 2004 -
I.M.F. Report Says U.S. Deficits Threaten World Economy
With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund. Prepared by a team of I.M.F. economists, the report sounded a loud alarm about the shaky fiscal foundation of the United States, questioning the wisdom of the Bush administration's tax cuts and warning that large budget deficits pose "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world. The report warns that the United States' net financial obligations to the rest of the world could be equal to 40 percent of its total economy within a few years--"an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country," according to the fund, that could play havoc with the value of the dollar and international exchange rates.
From The Brookings Institute: Sustained Budget Deficits: Longer-Run U.S. Economic Performance and the Risk of Financial and Fiscal Disarray
(Full Report PDF
posted by y2karl
on Jan 8, 2004 -
Beginning in April 2002, the State Department project assembled more than 200 Iraqi lawyers, engineers, business people and other experts... to study topics ranging from creating a new justice system to reorganizing the military to revamping the economy. Their findings
included a much more dire assessment of Iraq's dilapidated electrical and water systems... warned... many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans' notion of quickly rebuilding civil society. Several officials said that many of the findings in the $5 million study were ignored by Pentagon officials until recently... The work
is now being relied on heavily as occupation forces struggle to impose stability in Iraq.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 20, 2003 -
Coca culture (NYT)
I am a cocalera. I owe my life to coca. My father died when I was 2 and my mother raised six children by growing coca. I was a farmer myself, growing coca for traditional purposes. But the United States says it is better for us to just forget about coca. In the early 1990's, Bolivian officials distributed American money — $300 to $2,500 per farm — and told us to try yucca and pineapples. But 60 pineapples earn us only about eight bolivianos (about $1). And unlike coca, yucca and pineapples are difficult to carry to the cities to sell, and they spoil. So many farmers returned to growing coca.
posted by magullo
on Oct 16, 2003 -
You are fat because there is too much corn. [NYT, forfeit of first-born son required]
I love good old-fashioned materialism, and Michael Pollan (author of The Botany of Desire
) scores one for the team with this article on the economics of corn production. Are we fat because New Deal agricultural policy was overturned in the 70s by Rusty Butz? Now there's a trailing question we can all enjoy.
posted by condour75
on Oct 11, 2003 -
«A fascist is one whose lust
for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.»
Henry A. Wallace’s article, titled «The Danger of American Fascism», ran in the New York Times in 1944. Veeery interesting reading.
posted by acrobat
on Aug 22, 2003 -
100 Years of New York City.
A New York Times special, originally published in 1998. 'The following articles offer a glimpse into the past 100 years of New York City -- a decade at a time. Each decade includes a full time line prepared by the staff at The New York Times, photos from The Times archives, headline clippings from archive copies of The Times, and essays by noted authors and Times staff writers. 'The new born city, seen from above
- a panorama from 1902.
posted by plep
on Jul 28, 2003 -
From the NYT (reg req.'d)
This is the saddest story I can imagine.
"It was only a week ago that the tiny body of Stephanie Ramos was found in a plastic bag in a garbage truck in the Bronx, discarded by a foster mother who told the police that she panicked when the severely disabled girl died.
It was an ugly ending by any measure, but particularly cruel in this case because the little girl's life began the same way: wrapped in a plastic bag and discarded on a New York City byway."
Has anyone ever been a foster parent? A foster child? Are things often this bad - and this good? (That'll make sense when you read the story.)
posted by Jos Bleau
on Jul 18, 2003 -
Savant for a Day!
NYTimes journalist Lawrence Osbourne becomes a guinea pig for a University of Sydney's professor's mind-enhancing device based on the theories of autistic "Rainman" cognition with interesting results.
posted by skallas
on Jun 20, 2003 -
Michiko Kukatani goes whacky!
(NYT Reg Required) Maybe all the craziness at the NYT is taking its toll, but everyone's favorite high-brow book bully reviews Candace Bushnell's (Sex and The City chick's) new book as a letter from...Elle Woods?!
posted by adrober
on Jun 19, 2003 -
writes that the Bush administration will fight a "khaki election" next year, taking advantage of the general good feeling after the Iraq war. The original khaki election was the British election of 1900, contested during the Boer War. Our armed forces don't really wear khaki so much anymore and I think we need a new term. I suggest calling 2004 the "Camo Election." Any better suggestions?
posted by Mekon
on Jun 3, 2003 -
The Shallowing of American Taste
First tastebuds and palates fall to McDonalds, now the eyes, ears, and minds fall to Wal-Mart, according to this NY Times article (free registration required)...
"The growing clout of Wal-Mart and the other big discount chains ? they now often account for more than 50 percent of the sales of a best-selling album, more than 40 percent for a best-selling book, and more than 60 percent for a best-selling DVD -- has bent American popular culture toward the tastes of their relatively traditionalist customers...But with the chains' power has come criticism from authors, musicians and civil liberties groups who argue that the stores are in effect censoring and homogenizing popular culture. The discounters and price clubs typically carry an assortment of fewer than a thousand books, videos and albums, and they are far more ruthless than specialized stores about returning goods if they fail to meet a minimum threshold of weekly sales."
Add in Clear Channel Radio and sanitized text books, and all I can say is that the internet has come along at the time it's needed. With the fingers of big commerce all over our culture, the web can serve to reverse an old mega-trend to "high-touch, high-tech." With Wal-Mart, et al, touching our minds, we need to resort to tech to add some depth and breath to their narrow and shallow offerings.
posted by fpatrick
on May 17, 2003 -
Latest dispatch from the inner sanctums of the evil empire: (NY Times article. All the usual warnings apply: Registration required. May not be factual. etc. etc.)
Last summer, Orlando Ayala, then in charge of worldwide sales at Microsoft, sent an e-mail message titled Microsoft Confidential to senior managers laying out a company strategy to dissuade governments across the globe from choosing cheaper alternatives to the ubiquitous Windows computer software systems. Mr. Ayala's message told executives that if a deal involving governments or large institutions looked doomed, they were authorized to draw from a special fund to offer the software at a steep discount or even free if necessary. Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, was sent a copy of the e-mail message. The memo on protecting sales of Windows and other desktop software mentioned Linux, a still small but emerging software competitor that is not owned by any specific company. ‘Under NO circumstances lose against Linux,’ Mr. Ayala wrote.
Legitimate competitive tactics?
posted by found missing
on May 15, 2003 -
Help celebrate National Underappreciated Librarian Month
Nominate your favorite librarian for The New York Times 2003 Librarian Awards. "The New York Times has long been committed to fostering literacy and building awareness of issues important to society. We are proud to support and honor public librarians across the nation, who do so much to nurture a better-informed society.
The awards honor those librarian[s] who consistently demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism, knowledge and public service in the execution of their duties.
Read the Eligibility and Rules
download the Nomination Form
and nominate Someone
posted by Blake
on May 14, 2003 -
The NY Times reports
that music companies are considering some new anti-piracy measures of questionable legality. The ideas include a program to lock up user's computers, another to find and delete illegally downloaded files, and what amounts to a DoS attack on user's computers. There are some supporters of these possibly extralegal measures. Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced a bill
last year to provide the music industry with a "safe harbor from liability" when pursuing P2P traders. Should media companies be allowed to operate outside the law in their efforts to stop illegal downloads of their music?
posted by punishinglemur
on May 3, 2003 -
Doing Their Own Thing, Making Art Together
is a NYT piece (mirrored, no registration needed) about modern American art collectives. Some are physical, in a real communal sense, while others are entirely virtual. Does anyone have direct experience with those mentioned in the article or listed here
(half-way down). Others?
posted by maniactown
on Apr 24, 2003 -
Is Tivo a Cult?
- The New York Times discusses Tivo owners and their propensity to evangelize. What is it about Tivo that turns us into volunteer salesmen? I feel the devotion myself, you'll take away my Tivo when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers...
posted by Argyle
on Apr 20, 2003 -
In 1937, Professor Wendell Johnson, a stutterer, designed an experiment to induce stuttering in a group of normal youngsters. Things didn't quite work out as planned. An interesting longish read from the NY Times magazine.
posted by dydecker
on Mar 15, 2003 -
MMmmm, doughnut. (NYT link, reg. req'd)
Lots of great philosophical answers to the old universe question, like our galaxy is in some giant's fingernail, and others. How about this one? Our universe is the shape of a doughnut! (more inside)
posted by msacheson
on Mar 10, 2003 -
Coming to America!
Rejected by several countries, this relatively small tribe that has been living in slavery and in violent refugee camps is coming to the US. NY Times reg. req.
posted by Plunge
on Mar 10, 2003 -
Governing by The Book?
While reading this
column from Nicholas Kristof (NY Times, reg. required), I was struck by the following quote: "President Bush has said that he doesn't believe in evolution (he thinks the jury is still out). President Ronald Reagan felt the same way, and such views are typically American." Lots more info here, including stats that 46% of Americans consider themselves "Evangelical" or "Born Again" Christians, and that more than twice as many Americans believe in a red guy with a pitchfork than natural selection. I have no doubt that me-fites will have much to gripe about here, but my question is this: Do a majority of Americans want a Christian government? How far away are they from getting it?
posted by Gilbert
on Mar 4, 2003 -
We all must do our civic duty.
But how many of us can fill in President of the United States on the questionnaire when it asks for former jobs held? A bit of mirth for today. NY Times req. required.
posted by Plunge
on Mar 1, 2003 -
Ethics, Shmethics! You Stole Someone's Umbrella, You Pompously Rationalizing Fink!
Has anyone else taken Randy Cohen's ethics quiz and violently disagreed with his sneaky, say-nothing, keep-quiet approach? Silence (and therefore lying by omission) is a touchy subject, rabinically debated since records began... but still! [So I flunked 5... But they were all ethically unimpeachable, unimpeachable, you hear?! But, yeah, for now I'll sneakily keep quiet and say nothing about those I took exception to, the better to gauge anyone else's outrages...
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Feb 18, 2003 -
A group of rich Democrats plans a full daily slate
of liberal-oriented radio programming. The first major figure they're courting to do a show: Al Franken, who wrote a satirical book
about a certain right-wing radio host a few years ago. Want to hear smart, funny, liberal radio right now? Tune into Harry Shearer's Le Show
, available royalty-free to any station that will broadcast it, or online via RealAudio.
posted by Artifice_Eternity
on Feb 16, 2003 -
Smithsonian Folkways shows the way? (NYT link, blah blah)
"The major music companies may fret over falling revenue, but one label saw its business jump 33 percent last year — thanks in part to the recordable compact discs that the industry says are hurting its sales." Smithsonian Folkways
has been burning CD-Rs for customers ordering some of its obscure titles. Would this work on a larger scale? Why should any recording ever go out of print again?
posted by pmurray63
on Feb 16, 2003 -
The New York Times published on Sunday a very favorable report on Ken Lay.
In it, they argue that he was, at least in part, wrongly chastised for his role in the Enron affair. Apparently, we are to believe that the CEO didn't know what was going on inside the company he ran. After news of the report appeared in numerous U.S. media earlier this week, the BBC today counterattacks brutally
(although perhaps not intentionally), describing some of the most ruthless Enron practices - like placing the combined total salary of the top 200 executives salary at one and a half times the company's total earnings (Lay's went from 15m to 164 mil in that period). My question is simple: just what is going on here?
posted by magullo
on Feb 14, 2003 -
Paul Krugman, Princeton prof
columnist is the subject of a Google Question
. Some one wants to know "What kind of house does he live in?
What kind of car does he drive? Is anything known about his personal
life (hobbies, sports, sexual orientation, etc)? "
. Krugman himself answers
with panache and asks for the money!
posted by tboz
on Jan 12, 2003 -
It's about Time
this guy was recognized with accolades as the premiere whistleblower in the US. Just think of all the tax money that could be saved if everyone learned what Postol already knows!
Is NMD more theology than science? It would appear so.
posted by nofundy
on Jan 3, 2003 -