our national parking snarl

We are a nutty nationhood: 

In the United States hundreds of engineers make careers out of studying traffic.

Entire freeway systems like L.A.’s have been hardwired with sensors connecting to computer banks that aggregate vehicle flow, monitor bottlenecks, explain congestion in complicated algorithms.

Yet cars spend just 5 percent of their lives in motion… !

…and until recently there was only one individual in the country devoting his academic career to studying parking lots and street meters: Donald Shoup.


free lunch of economic rent

Michael Hudson

Suppose you were alive back in 1945 and were told about all the new technology that would be invented between then and now: the computers and internet, mobile phones and other consumer electronics, faster and cheaper air travel, super trains and even outer space exploration, higher gas mileage on the ground, plastics, medical breakthroughs and science in general.

You would have imagined what nearly all futurists expected: that we would be living in a life of leisure society by this time. Rising productivity would raise wages and living standards, enabling people to work shorter hours under more relaxed and less pressured workplace conditions.

Why hasn’t this occurred in recent years? In light of the enormous productivity gains since the end of World War II – and especially since 1980 – why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised?

If the 99% is not getting the fruits of higher productivity, who is? Where has it gone?

can you honor what you steal??

Jon Taplin

99% of musicians, writers, actors are just “working the land”. They don’t need to get rich, they just want the honor of getting paid for their work.

Levon Helm and Garth Hudson made a good living ($150,000 a year) off royalties from The Band’s eight recordings in the 60′s and 70′s up until 2001 when the Big Pirate sites like Limewire and (in 2003) Pirate Bay really got going.

And then the record royalties came to a halt.

a first hand chilling account

In 2007, the cruise ship MV Explorer sank after hitting an iceberg off the Antarctic.

From my lower bunk I could not only hear the sound of ice banging and scraping against the hull of the ship, I could feel the vibrations of the impact through the wall and the cold radiating through the hull of the ship.

I was looking forward to setting foot on Antarctica, and wanted to make sure I was rested and ready to go the next day. I couldn’t let the banging of the ice keep me up all night… 

Then there was a bang followed by what sounded like a creaky door in a haunted house swinging open and closed.

The wall of my cabin flexed… !


the market that won’t market

Dan Crawford: 

The only commonality is that all of the medications we have seen in shortage status are off patent, generic medications, that are harder to formulate than various others and have a definable shelf life. 

President Obama has signed legislation that will give the FDA more latitude in heading off shortages, but this problem plainly reports to a market problem.

Demand exists, buyers are stable, but profits are not high on these medications. This would suggest that companies are simply avoiding generics and focusing on more profitable patented medications. 

Meanwhile, cancer trials have been put on hold… 

peeking into history

Photographs. Photographs. Photographs. Each tell a story. 

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague preserves almost one thousand years of history, in the form of over 110 kilometres [68 miles] of archives, almost 300,000 maps and drawings and more than 2 million photos. 

Hague Archives


flame retardant increases poison gas

Materials in our home that are doped with fire retardent may slow a fire but kill more people. 

Flame retardants in upholstered furniture and other household items to stop the spread of flames also increase emissions of two poisonous gases. Hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide are odorless, colorless chemicals, making them silent killers. 

Carbon monoxide is an important toxicant in fire effluents. However, we have seen that it is less important than hydrogen chloride from burning PVC, or hydrogen cyanide from burning nitrogen-containing polymers such as nylon, polyurethane or acrylic, in developed fires.

Hydrogen cyanide –  so lethal it was used in the Nazi gas chambers – is a bigger cause of fire deaths than previously thought. 

“If there is a fire, it doesn’t matter how big or how small, you have the possibility for those gases.”

the football loophole

Journalist Joshua Benton says, “I’m sure there are good legal reasons why the NFL is a nonprofit.” 

How can that be?! 

Attorney Andrew Delaney says the NFL is a “glorified tax shelter.” 

The salary of National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell is $11,554,000 while the National Football League is a 501(c)(6) non-profit. 

Sportswriter Frank Deford says, “I believe that professional wrestling is clean and everything else in the world is fixed.” Maybe so. Maybe so.