This is what a second Gilded Age looks like.
The above chart compares the inflation-adjusted incomes of the top 0.1 percent with annual inflation-adjusted S&P 500 prices, both indexed to 100 beginning in 1913. (Note: The income numbers for the 0.1 percent come from Picketty and Saez. The real S&P prices come from Robert Shiller).
It tells a three-part history of our economy over the last century. It’s a story about the age of the rentiers, their retreat, and subsequent return.
By 1913, the robber barons were in relative twilight. The so-called “malefactors of great wealth” had suffered a series of political setbacks over the previous decade — from Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting to the creation of the income tax itself. But they were still robber barons. The super-rich of the day still had more than enough wealth to live off. That’s what we see in the chart above: the incomes of the top 0.1 percent more or less track the S&P 500.
And then the New Deal happened.
Something, well, new happened. Markets went up, but incomes at the top didn’t. This change wasn’t evident until after the war because neither the Great Depression nor a time of mass rationing were exactly good for stocks — but it seems fair to ascribe it to FDR’s fundamental reshaping of the social contract. Most obviously there were very high top marginal tax rates, up to 94 percent at its peak. But it wasn’t just about higher taxes. Tough financial regulation reined in the casino culture that had prevailed on Wall Street before the Great Crash — which in turn reined in both incomes and how sensitive they were to the market. But even this isn’t the full story. There was a cultural shift too. Executives were embarrassed by high pay. Executives like George Romney, who turned down a bonus, because he didn’t think anyone deserved to be paid that much.
Atmospheric Optics “Atmospheric optics – Rainbows, halos, glories and many other visual spectacles produced by light playing on water drops, dust and ice crystals in the atmosphere with explanations, images and downloadable freeware to simulate them.”
Gold is so rare that the world pours more steel in an hour than it has poured gold since the beginning of recorded history. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
Scott Widak has Down syndrome and is terminally ill with liver disease, and he loves to receive mail. So his nephew Sean O’Connor recently posted his P.O. Box on Reddit, to see whether anyone might be interested in sending his uncle a letter: “One of my uncle’s favorite things to do is open mail, and I thought that if he got a lot of mail it would cheer him up.”
It’s been a month since the post, and Widak, an artist, has received mail from all over the world, including the United States, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Redditors have sent heartfelt letters, custom artwork, art supplies, DVDs, and personal keepsakes.
“The mail that’s arrived has all been extremely positive and thoughtful,” O’Connor says. “My family and I are amazed at how so many strangers could come together for a random act of kindness.”
Don’t miss the rest of the pics — they’ll make your Monday.
From : mashable
The Big Picture
Russia and former Soviet republics marked the 67 years since the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II today. Russia’s newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin promised a strong Russia during a speech he delivered during a military parade at Red Square in Moscow. The Soviet Union lost an estimated 26 million people in the war, including 8.5 million soldiers. — Lloyd Young (31 photos total)
Empire of the Bun….
Today, burgers. Tomorrow, the world. The Casual-dining revolution of Adam Fleischman and his Umami Group
Here’s the story Adam Fleischman likes to tell about the genesis of his Umami restaurant empire: Hunched over a ketchup-red plastic cafe-teria tray at the Culver City In-N-Out Burger, Fleischman, a 35-year-old wine entrepreneur, peers into a cardboard box flecked with french fry grease. He ponders the questions that bedevil future restaurant moguls: Why do Americans hunger for pizza and hamburgers more than any other dishes? And why, exactly, is the In-N-Out Double-Double he’s devouring his most beloved indulgence, not to mention one of Southern California’s premier sources of bragging rights?
One day last summer, Anne and her husband, Miguel, took their 9-year-old son, Michael, to a Florida elementary school for the first day of what the family chose to call “summer camp.” For years, Anne and Miguel have struggled to understand their eldest son, an elegant boy with high-planed cheeks, wide eyes and curly light brown hair, whose periodic rages alternate with moments of chilly detachment. Michael’s eight-week program was, in reality, a highly structured psychological study — less summer camp than camp of last resort.
Michael’s problems started, according to his mother, around age 3, shortly after his brother Allan was born. At the time, she said, Michael was mostly just acting “like a brat,” but his behavior soon escalated to throwing tantrums during which he would scream and shriek inconsolably. These weren’t ordinary toddler’s fits. “It wasn’t, ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m frustrated’ — the normal things kids do,” Anne remembered. “His behavior was really out there. And it would happen for hours and hours each day, no matter what we did.” For several years, Michael screamed every time his parents told him to put on his shoes or perform other ordinary tasks, like retrieving one of his toys from the living room. “Going somewhere, staying somewhere — anything would set him off,” Miguel said. These furies lasted well beyond toddlerhood. At 8, Michael would still fly into a rage when Anne or Miguel tried to get him ready for school, punching the wall and kicking holes in the door. Left unwatched, he would cut up his trousers with scissors or methodically pull his hair out. He would also vent his anger by slamming the toilet seat down again and again until it broke.
Most Child Deaths Due to Preventable Infection
Of the 7.6 million children under the age of five who died in 2010, two-thirds succumbed to infectious diseases that are largely preventable. Half of the child deaths occurred in Africa, with India, Pakistan, and China accounting for much of the rest. Despite the fact that the past decade has seen significant reductions in the leading causes of death, including diarrhea, measles, and pneumonia, pneumonia remained the leading cause of death in young children in 2010. Given the findings, experts believe that few countries will reach UN targets for reducing child mortality by the 2015 deadline. More …
Art has always been subjective, but the newest exhibit at “the subversive adult Disneyland” in Sydney, Australia, is essentially an automated poop machine:
It was built by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye to mimic the actions of the human digestive system. A series of glass receptacles hang in a row with the machine being “fed” twice a day on one end. The food is ground up “naturally,” the way it is in the human body, and the device produces feces on the clock at 2 p.m. at the other end.
Though the motto at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is “to shock, offend, inform and entertain,” NBC reports that as far as the poop machine is concerned, “not many visitors can take it.” One guest said the exhibit’s byproduct is an “overwhelming assault on the senses.”
From here: death+taxes
Do the Eyes Have It?
Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neandertals declined
We all know the adage that dogs are man’s best friend. And we’ve all heard heartwarming stories about dogs who save their owners—waking them during a fire or summoning help after an accident. Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows the amazing, almost inexpressible warmth of a dog’s companionship and devotion. But it just might be that dogs have done much, much more than that for humankind. They may have saved not only individuals but also our whole species, by “domesticating” us while we domesticated them.
One of the classic conundrums in paleoanthropology is why Neandertals went extinct while modern humans survived in the same habitat at the same time. (The phrase “modern humans,” in this context, refers to humans who were anatomically—if not behaviorally—indistinguishable from ourselves.) The two species overlapped in Europe and the Middle East between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago; at the end of that period, Neandertals were in steep decline and modern humans were thriving. What happened?
A stunning study that illuminates this decisive period was recently published in Science by Paul Mellars and Jennifer French of Cambridge University. They argue, based on a meta-analysis of 164 archaeological sites that date to the period when modern humans and Neandertals overlapped in the Dordogne region of southwest France, that the modern-human population grew so rapidly that it overwhelmed Neandertals with its sheer numbers.
Because not all the archaeological sites in the study contained clearly identifiable remains of modern humans or Neandertals, Mellars and French made a common assumption: that sites containing stone tools of the Mousterian tradition had been created by Neandertals, and those containing more sophisticated and generally later stone tools of the Upper Paleolithic were made by modern humans. This link between tool and toolmaker is well supported by sites that do contain hominin remains, but there is nothing inherent in a stone tool that tells you who made it—not even if you find a skeleton right next to it. Still, stone tools are one of the best available indicators of which species—modern human or Neandertal—inhabited a particular location.
Rockefeller Foundation Established (1913)
The Rockefeller Foundation is a private philanthropic organization established by John D. Rockefeller to promote “the well-being of mankind throughout the world.” Its first grant was issued to the American Red Cross, and over the years, it has donated more than $14 billion in grants to fund medical research, education, agriculture, and work in a number of other fields. Before and during WWII, it worked to bring scholars and artists persecuted by the Nazis to the US. Who was saved in this way? More…
How to Beat the Odds at Judging Risk
Most of us have to estimate probabilities every day. Whether as a trader betting on the price of a stock, a lawyer gauging a witness’s reliability or a doctor pondering the accuracy of a diagnosis, we spend much of our time—consciously or not—guessing about the future based on incomplete information. Unfortunately, decades of research indicate that humans are not very good at this. Most of us, for example, tend to vastly overestimate our chances of winning the lottery, while similarly underestimating the chances that we will get divorced.
Weather forecasters tend to focus on a few clear questions, and their accuracy gets tested the very next day
Psychologists have tended to assume that such biases are universal and virtually impossible to avoid. But certain groups of people—such as meteorologists and professional gamblers—have managed to overcome these biases and are thus able to estimate probabilities much more accurately than the rest of us. Are they doing something the rest of us can learn? Can we improve our risk intelligence?
Sarah Lichtenstein, an expert in the field of decision science, points to several characteristics of groups that exhibit high intelligence with respect to risk. First, they tend to be comfortable assigning numerical probabilities to possible outcomes. Starting in 1965, for instance, U.S. National Weather Service forecasters have been required to say not just whether or not it will rain the next day, but how likely they think it is in percentage terms. Sure enough, when researchers measured the risk intelligence of American forecasters a decade later, they found that it ranked among the highest ever recorded, according to a study in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society.
Nature and culture loss ‘linked’
The study identified that high biodiversity areas also had high linguistic diversity
The decline of linguistic and cultural diversity is linked to the loss of biodiversity, a study has suggested.
The authors said that 70% of the world’s languages were found within the planet’s biodiversity hotspots.
Data showed that as these important environmental areas were degraded over time, cultures and languages in the area were also being lost.
The results of the study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“Biologists estimate annual loss of species at 1,000 times or more greater than historic rates, and linguists predict that 50-90% of the world’s languages will disappear by the end of the century,” the researchers wrote.
Lead author Larry Gorenflo from Penn State University, in the US, said previous studies had identified a geographical connection between the two, but did not offer the level of detail required.
What I Learned About Money in My Twenties
I’m 30. By virtue of that fact, I should be qualified enough to tell you about how to get your finances in order during your twenties. Luckily for you, I am not going to dole out the same tired financial advice that you’ve heard time and again. I bet you already know all the “right” things you are supposed to do with your money. And there are probably a lot of reasons why you’re not doing them. But what I will tell you is that you’ve got to figure out why you spend (or don’t spend) money if you’re going to start solving your own financial woes.
Everyone has his or her own very personal and unique relationship with money. Looking back on my twenties, I realized that I spent my money mainly because I wanted to feel richer than I actually was. This single desire was probably the most fundamental problem I had with money during my twenties, and admittedly, it is one that I still struggle with today.
My parents were small business owners who worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. We weren’t poor, but we definitely went without things found in most family households, most notably, cable television and an abundance of toys. Knowing how hard my parents worked, I decided that I would have to rise above my upbringing and make the best of it. I traded in my dreams of going to a small Northeast liberal arts college for a free ride at a nearby state university. While in school, I supported myself on waitressing tips until well after I graduated.
Above: Pétrus 1961 (real). Below: Pétrus 1961 (fake).
(Photo: Jeffery Salter/Redux)
Even at Rudy Kurniawan’s coming-out party in September 2003, there were questionable bottles of wine.
A score of Southern California’s biggest grape nuts had gathered at the restaurant Melisse in Santa Monica that Friday for a $4,800-a-head vertical tasting of irresistible rarities provided by Kurniawan: Pétrus in a dozen vintages, reaching as far back as 1921, in magnums.
Although Pétrus is now among the most famous wines in the world, it gained its exalted status relatively recently; before World War II, it was virtually unheard of, and finding large-format bottles that had survived from the twenties bordered on miraculous. Paul Wasserman, the son of prominent Burgundy importer Becky Wasserman, is something like wine royalty, but before this event, the oldest Pétrus he had tasted was from 1975.
Nonetheless, two bottles left him scratching his head. The 1947 lacked the unctuousness of right-bank Bordeaux from that legendary vintage, and the 1961 struck him as “very young.” He briefly entertained the idea of “possible fakes”—’61 Pétrus in magnum has fetched up to $28,440 at auction—and jotted, in his notes on the ’47, “If there’s one bottle I have serious doubts about tonight, this is it.”
Thirtysomething? How’s your sex life?
Financial worries and the stress of caring for children leave them too listless for bedroom fireworks, a survey claims.
London – Thirtysomething men and women are more dissatisfied with their sex life than any other age group.
Financial worries and the stress of caring for children leave them too listless for bedroom fireworks, a survey claims.< But they should not despair. The best sex apparently happens in the fifties, while sexual confidence peaks between the ages of 60 and 69.
The Sex Census 2012, which involved almost 25,000 respondents, suggests that 25 percent of those aged 30 to 39 are unhappy with their sex lives owing to money worries and the demands of modern life.