The Depression – If Only Things Were That Good –

But the country has not developed any major new industries that employ large and growing numbers of workers.

There is no contemporary version of the 1870s railroads, the 1920s auto industry or even the 1990s Internet sector. Total economic output over the last decade, as measured by the gross domestic product, has grown more slowly than in any 10-year period during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s or ’90s.

Perhaps the most important reason, beyond the financial crisis, is the overall skill level of the work force. The United States is the only rich country in the world that has not substantially increased the share of young adults with the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree over the past three decades. Some less technical measures of human capital, like the percentage of children living with two parents, have deteriorated. The country has also chosen not to welcome many scientists and entrepreneurs who would like to move here.

The relationship between skills and economic success is not an exact one, yet it is certainly strong enough to notice, and not just in the reams of peer-reviewed studies on the subject. Australia, New Zealand, Canada and much of Northern Europe have made considerable educational progress since the 1980s, for instance. Their unemployment rates, which were once higher than ours, are now lower. Within this country, the 50 most educated metropolitan areas have an average jobless rate of 7.3 percent, according to Moody’s Analytics; in the 50 least educated, the average rate is 11.4 percent.

Despite the media’s focus on those college graduates who are struggling, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that people with a four-year degree — who have an unemployment rate of just 4.3 percent — are barely experiencing an economic downturn.

via The Depression – If Only Things Were That Good –


Are we going to blame this on Wall Street?


Rob Walker: Pictures of the Familiar: Observers Room: Design Observer

The camera is a device that “makes real what one is experiencing,” Susan Sontag argued, whether for “cosmopolitans accumulating photograph-trophies of their boat trip up the Albert Nile,” or “lower-middle-class vacationers taking snapshots of the Eiffel Tower or Niagara falls.”  Moreover: the “alliance … between photography and tourism” is at the heart of what she called “the predatory side of photography.” We’re still hunter-gatherers, under this theory, bagging images like sustenance.More recently, I was randomly reminded of a passage from White Noise that seems relevant. It’s a somewhat famous bit about “The Most Photographed Barn In America,” and conveniently, a site called Check In Architecture has plucked that very excerpt and posted it right here. Basically the barn is known for being photographed, and as a result, people show up to photograph it. “Every photograph reinforces the aura,” one of DeLillo’s characters observes. The suggestion here is that we take pictures of much-photographed things precisely because they are much-photographed.   “GPS and The End of the Road,” an essay by Ari N. Schulman, in the Spring 2011 edition of The New Atlantis, adds another wrinkle. The piece cites a number of other writers, most notably Walker Percy, complaining about the problem of pre-familiarity, whether via imagery or guidebook, with a place you’re supposed to see; the example of the Grand Canyon is offered. Schulman argues that GPS, in effect, exacerbates the underying problem: “In travel facilitated by ‘location awareness,’ we begin to encounter places not by attending to what they present to us, but by bringing our expectations to them, and demanding that they perform for us as advertised.”

via Rob Walker: Pictures of the Familiar: Observers Room: Design Observer.

The 9/11 Decade – Falling in Love With Death –

At vast cost in human capital, we carved 9/11 into the history of loss in other places, the enmities of a decade rising from the horrors of the day. But the majesty of that day does not belong to the chronicles of war. It lives in truths the size of atoms, nearly invisible and — one hopes — indestructible.

That morning, Raffaele Cava, age 80, was working on the 90th floor of the north tower. After the plane hit, no one could open the exits, so he went to another office and sat with Dianne DeFontes and Tirsa Moya. The hall floors were melting. Suddenly, two men in the stairwell pried open the door, walked in and ordered everyone to go. They were Frank De Martini and Pablo Ortiz, Port Authority employees who worked one flight down, and who took it on themselves to climb up and down 14 floors, getting scores of people out. They never left.

Tirsa Moya walked Raffaele Cava down all 90 floors.

You could ask no more of human beings.

via The 9/11 Decade – Falling in Love With Death –

“A City So Big You Gotta’ Say It Twice”: A Reflection by Wajahat Ali and Ishmael Reed « GOATMILK: An intellectual playground edited by Wajahat Ali

“A City So Big You Gotta’ Say It Twice”: A Reflection by Wajahat Ali and Ishmael Reed « GOATMILK: An intellectual playground edited by Wajahat Ali.

Kindergarden in Seattle

I think this stage in my life can most accurately be compared to kindergarden. Starting over completely, from scratch.

Having new friends in my new city of Seattle and new neighborhood of Capitol Hill, I decided to catch a movie tonight. About five or six blocks away, I found the Harvard Exit Theatre, the cutest and comfiest random theater I’ve walked into.

Caught “The Guard,” which was solid.

iMovie ’11: Sharing Requires More Memory To Be Available

Just posting this on the internet so that some other poor soul doesn’t need to go through the stress of figuring out how to work with the buggy piece of software that is iMovie ’11…

I spent a good 12+ hours putting together movie footage my mom took between 1959 and 1969, which is the first footage of my grandparents (who I never knew) I had ever seen. We distilled 75 minutes of footage into 40 minutes, using only a single iMovie “event,” which seems to have been our first mistake, and adding music, titles, and transitions.

My mom had scheduled a big family dinner for the purpose of watching the video, and as iMovie had become frustratingly slower and slower the longer the movie became, I was still putting the final touches on the video as the evening rolled around. I finally finished, only to find that iMovie refused to export my movie into a watchable format. “Sharing requires more memory to be available,” it told me, along with instructions to quit and relaunch the application.

I did so and tried to export again, but got the same message. Then I tried moving the movie to a computer with more RAM (4GB as opposed to 2GB), but it too required more memory to be available. Neither computer was capable of rendering the movie in real-time at this point.

So anyway, the solution is simple, but not listed on the internet anywhere as far as I could find. It certainly is not in any of the iMovie documentation. First, you do need to relaunch iMovie. Second, rather than opening the movie you want to export, you right-click on it and select export in the Project Gallery. This obviates the need for iMovie to load your project into memory, and allows it to commit all of the computer’s memory to the rendering task.

What a stupid, stupid program. Blegh.

Marbury: the age of hyper-imitation

We may be seeing a new strain of mass behaviour, one that results from the meeting of two factors, one social and the other technological. On the one hand, large numbers of people who are floating free from wider communities and who are thus both less bound by their norms and more vulnerable to influence from people with whom they have no enduring relationship. On the other, technologies that instantly transmit information to participants about what others are doing, supercharging the feedback loops and obliterating their sense of individual responsibility.

When you’re not part of a community you are more likely to join the herd.

via Marbury: the age of hyper-imitation.