March 14, 2009
Washington Post reports that the American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses.
Cockroaches, these nasty things, are susceptible to an environmentally friendly solution, perhaps, much like these ingenious things.
Clay Shirky writes about what is killing newspapers and what will replace them.
"The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course." [more inside]
A new California proposition attempts to neutralize Prop 8 by substituting "domestic partnership" for "marriage" in state laws, thus leaving marriage to the Mormons and other interested parties. Getting the government out of marriage entirely has been proposed countless times before. (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4)
What the Hashtag?! is a Twitter wiki (a twiki?) that explains most of those inscrutable acronyms and helps users find the sweetest tweets on any given topic. If you set up the TwitterBot, you can investigate hashtags on the fly. For other topics, though, you may wish to tweet your local librarian.
When communism crumbled in 1989 it created an opportunity for wildlife. The Iron Curtain that divided communist Eastern Europe from the capitalist West had created a no-man's-land protected by barbed wire and minefields - a last haven for many rare animals and plants.
The Czech Republic offers surgical castration as a "voluntary" option to sex offenders, whose rate of recidivism in some studies then drops precipitously. Officials at the Council of Europe are outraged, calling the punishment "invasive, irreversible and mutilating." Atul Gawande noted 10 years ago that, despite his reservations, castration works - at least against a subclass of offenders: the pedophiles and sadists.
Not all groups with synthesizers in the 1970s and 1980s were lame Top 40 acts with keytars. Some groups of the era used synths for spastic keyboard bleeps, herky-jerky tempos, and angst-ridden aggression in a style now classified by record collector geeks as synthpunk, minimal synth, or minimal wave. Several famous New Wave acts dabbled in the style before providing soundtracks for Molly Ringwald movies (OMD, Electricty) or singing about waitresses in cocktail bars (the Human League, Being Boiled), but vintage videos from synth punk acts all over the world can be found all over YouTube. [more inside]
Malaria is one of the world’s most serious health problems. No single approach has yet to fully conquer either the disease or the disease vector, the mosquito. The most common electronic means of killing mosquitoes, the “bug zapper” is not particularly effective. Using lasers to kill mosquitoes has previously been thought of as completely ridiculous. Now the concept is being taken seriously.
"The debaptism certificate started out as a kind of satirical comment on the idea that you could be enrolled in a church before you could talk, but it seems to have taken off from there. People are beginning to take it seriously."
Illustration Friday is a weekly illustration challenge. A topic is posted every Friday and then participants have all week to come up with their own interpretation. Check out the illustrator interviews. Here you'll find motivations, processes and styles, with links to the fine contemporary artists. From MeFi's own annathea. [via mefi projects]
Robots ruined the economy. But even robots are affected by bad financial times. Nonetheless, robots help relieve the stress of financial worries. There are worse things than a financial crisis.
West treats East. "To help traumatized Tibetan monks, doctors in Boston turn to cross-cultural medicine." [Via]