TimmyDee writes: Over the last 30 years, wealth in the United States has been steadily concentrating in the upper economic echelons. Whereas the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent. It's a trend that was for decades brushed under the rug but is now on the tops of minds and at the tips of tongues. Since too much inequality can foment revolt and instability, the CIA regularly updates statistics on income distribution for countries around the world, including the U.S. Between 1997 and 2007, inequality in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent, making it more unequal than Russia, infamous for its powerful oligarchs. The U.S. is not faring well historically, either. Even the Roman Empire, a society built on conquest and slave labor, had a more equitable income distribution.
TimmyDee writes: "The world crossed a milestone today--7 billion people. Getting a handle on the magnitude of that number is tricky, but this infographic helps a bit. It answers a simple question: If the world's population lived in one city, how large would that city be if people lived as dense as Paris, New York, Singapore, San Francisco, London, or Houston?"
TimmyDee writes: The rhetoric in Washington, D.C., of late has been rather monotonic. The political landscape seems dominated by the economy, from stimulus bills and consumer protection agencies to tea parties and anti-tax rallies. Yet despite Capitol Hill's singular focus, a new study of congressional speeches suggests the left and the right are separated by a cultural divide rather than different views on the economy. Previous analyses of congressional speeches relied on manually classifying the content, a time-consuming and laborious process. The approach used in the new paper supplants man-hours with processor time, using intelligent computer programs to distill hundreds of hours of transcribed speeches into clarified political ideologies.
TimmyDee writes: Twenty years ago, nearly all the world's nations agreed to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. (The United States signed the accord but, like othertreaties, the Senate has not ratified it.) Well, it's 2010 and we are nowhere near that goal. While the Convention on Biological Diversity is currently meeting to update its targets for 2020, a new study released by Science says one-fifth of the world's vertebrate species are threatened with extinction. But the good news is things would be a whole lot worse if we had done nothing at all. "What our results show is that conservation efforts are not wasted. They are making a noticeable difference," said Ana Rodrigues, a researcher at the Center for Evolutionary and Functional Ecology in Montpelier, France, and one of the authors of the study. The researchers compiled the status of over 25,000 vertebrate species as rated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. "The rates of decline in the Red List index would have been 18 percent steeper" in the absence of conservation programs.
TimmyDee writes: Sociologist Lauren Rivera knows what it takes to get behind the velvet rope. She recommends, 'Know someone. Or know someone who knows someone. If you're a guy, bring attractive women—ideally younger women in designer clothes. Don't go with other dudes. And doormen are well versed in trendiness, so wear Coach, Prada, Gucci—but don't show up in a nice suit with DSW shoes.' No, Rivera doesn't write an advice column for the rich and the restless. But the Kellogg School of Management professor did go undercover to expose how people evaluate status in a glimpse. Specifically, she wanted to know how the meaty doormen positioned outside exclusive clubs—bouncers in nightlife language—determine who enters.