Monday, December 1, 2008

stray bullets

Is the US too big to fail? Why are investors rushing to purchase US government securities when the US is the epicentre of the financial crisis? This column attributes the paradox to key emerging market economies’ exchange practices, which require reserves most often invested in US government securities. America’s exorbitant privilege comes with a cost and a responsibility that US policy makers should bear in mind as they handle the crisis. A bit arcane, but worth it, if you can slog through. (via)

A way with words: Lexical wizard Henry Hitchings on the crazy history of our language It's rather nerve-racking, interviewing an acknowledged master of the English language. I tell Henry Hitchings that I feel as though I'll have to take extra care with my choice of words. "Don't," he says briskly, as he ushers me into his book-lined 13th-floor Bermondsey flat. Fortunately, his attitude to language is anything but stuffy, snobbish or prescriptive.

Art sleuth: Museum director also helps nab the bad guys She now routinely goes once a month to The Fortress, the vault where U.S. Customs keeps valuable confiscated goods, ''just to see what they have.'' She reviews photos of artifacts on her computer, and, if she determines more investigation is warranted, she goes to see the items in person. If they are valuable, Damian and the government follow up with an archaeologist from the country to which the artifacts belong. If the case merits prosecution, they contact government authorities as well.

Restaurateur tracks down bill dodgers on Facebook An Australian restaurateur left holding a hefty unpaid bill when five young diners bolted used the popular social network website Facebook to track them down -- and they got their just deserts. (via)

'Mummy, can I phone the pirates?' One of the biggest frustrations facing journalists is being unable to get through to people on the phone. But as Mary Harper discovered, contacting the Somali pirates on the Sirius Star turned out to be child's play. (via)

Shipwreck in Antarctica: Part 1 - Discovering we are sinking (via)
William Friedkin: We're all Dirty Harry now
A Year of Parking Tickets (map of NYC with block-by-block stats - one block had over 10,000) (via)
How to: Transfer Music from One iPod to Another
Quiz: TS Eliot
Patti Smith’s favourite books (via)
Huge glossary of drug slang (via)

Lucian Freud on 'Diana and Actaeon'
1964 U.S. anti-China propaganda
Kerouac Scroll Unrolled (via)
Fifty People, One Question: New York (seemed somewhat more superficial and materialistic than the first) (via)
Interesting new synth interface
Orbital to reunite! (plus video of Chime from their farewell set - they are amazing live, more than this video could possibly convey)

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