“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
― Charles Bukowski
Earlier this year, researchers at the university of Southern California published the results of a study examining whether the wealthy – the mythical “engines of our economy” – display a better character than the rest of us.
As it turned out, after conducting seven experiments they found that the narrow pursuit of self-interest at the top of the economic heap leads our elites to behave like complete dirtbags.
THE business deal from hell began to crumble even before the Champagne corks were popped.
The deal, the $580 million sale of a highflying technology company, Dragon Systems, had just been approved by its board and congratulations were being exchanged. But even then, at that moment of celebration, there was a sense that something was amiss.
The chief executive of Dragon had received a congratulatory bottle from the investment bankers representing the acquiring company, a Belgian competitor called Lernout & Hauspie. But he hadn’t heard from Dragon’s own bankers at Goldman Sachs.
“I still have not received anything from Goldman,” the executive wrote in an e-mail to the other bank. “Do they know something I should know?”
If the case goes to trial in Boston, as scheduled, on Nov. 6, the final argument that Goldman can be expected to make is that the bankers, as Mr. Wayner testified, gave the Bakers “great advice.”
Mr. Berzofsky, too, testified in his deposition that the Goldman Four did a “great job.”
Even though Dragon lost everything?
“Yes,” Mr. Berzofsky said. He was given several opportunities to clarify. And then he was asked one more time — the fact that the Bakers and Dragon’s shareholders lost everything doesn’t affect your opinion?
“Correct,” Mr. Berzofsky responded. “We guided them to a completed transaction.”
A parasite that has plagued the human race since antiquity is poised to become the second human disease after smallpox to be eradicated. “We are approaching the demise of the last guinea worm who will ever live on earth,” says former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center has spearheaded the eradication effort.
Unlike polio’s high-profile eradication program, the mission to eliminate guinea worm disease has largely been off the public’s radar. Affecting some of the poorest and most remote communities in Africa—97 percent of cases are in South Sudan—guinea worm is a parasitic infection caused by the nematode roundworm Dracunculus medinensis. It is the only disease transmitted solely by drinking water, and humans are its only reservoir, says James Hughes, professor of medicine and public health at Emory University. The disease spreads when villagers consume water containing fleas that harbor guinea worm larvae. The larvae grow to maturity inside the human body and emerge after a year as a fully grown two- to three-foot-long worm that often exits through the leg or foot. It is an excruciatingly painful process, and individuals often immerse the limb in water to cool the burning sensation, which starts the cycle all over again.
Every time I go through airport security nowadays the thought that comes to mind – as I take off my shoes and belt, unpack my laptop and display my toothpaste in a transparent plastic bag – is that Osama bin Laden won hands down. The same thought pops up when taking a photograph outside the London Stock Exchange – or inside an airport or a railway station – and a uniformed jobsworth appears from nowhere to inform me that photography is “not allowed, sir”. And it also comes to mind whenever the home secretary opens her mouth on the subject of the draft communications data bill, aka the snooper’s charter. Terrorism – or the perceived threat of it – has turned democracies into paranoid armed camps in which the state feels justified in assuming that every citizen is a potential terrorist.
The intrusiveness and ubiquity of state surveillance is already shocking. But we ain’t seen nothing yet – the technology is just getting into its stride.
Prompted in part by newspaper stories about the US role in the Stuxnet worm, House lawmakers are considering amending the Espionage Act to enable the prosecution of journalists who disclose sensitive national security information.
During a House Judiciary Committee panel hearing on Wednesday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said the committee was considering revamping the World War I era Espionage Act to allow prosecution of journalists for divulging state secrets, according to a report by the Christian Science Monitor.
Sensenbrenner acknowledged the First Amendment hurdle that such a law would have to clear, a hurdle that the Supreme Court has set quite high. “We’ve got the constitutional issue about the First Amendment protecting the freedom of the press, but there has to be a balance”, he was quoted as saying.
“The Agile movement is designed to sell services,” says analyst firm Voke Inc. in a brand-new report analyzing the movement, presenting findings about its use and providing insight to organizations considering its adoption.
If you were involved in Icelandic high finance in the runup to the recession, you might want to start watching your back.
That’s because the government has appointed a white collar crime bounty hunter who wants to haul your behind in (alive, to be sure).
LeMonde reporter Charlotte Chabas has a profile of Ólafur Þór Hauksson, a former local police lieutenant whom the Iceland government appointed to track down individuals likely to have helped sink the country’s banking sector during the credit crunch.
According to newly released documents, Tim Geithner and other U.S. authorities were aware of international rate-fixing as early as 2007, reports Alex Klein. Search and explore the full cache of emails, phone calls, and reports here.