Friday, 30 September 2016

The Weekend Edition


We publish the Enterprise Morning Edition in English and Arabic from Sunday through Thursday before 7am, with a focus on the business, economic and political news that will move markets each day. What you’re reading now is our Weekend Edition, which is light on news and heavy on stories to read, videos to watch, and podcasts to which you may want to listen on Friday and Saturday (that being the weekend for the vast majority of our readers). The Weekend Edition comes out each Friday between 9:00am and 9:30am CLT. We’re in beta and in English only right now.

We’ll be back on Sunday at around 6:15am with our usual roundup. Until then: Enjoy the weekend.

Speed Round, The Weekend Edition

Speed Round, The Weekend Edition is presented in association with

Does anyone else know where September went? On the soundtrack this morning: Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends. The classically melancholic meditation on the end of our favourite month. Does it get any cheesier than that? You can hit up the official video on Youtube if you want, but the cheesy teenage theatrics ruin the track. Best head to Spotify, Apple Music or the like. Also on rotation: Chevelle.

Had a bad week? Wish you could just disappear? Well, faking your own death is a lot more difficult than you might think. But not impossible, as it turns out, even in today’s world — provided your heart is really in it, suggests Elizabeth Greenwood, author of the book Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud. Don’t have time for the book? Start with these seven tips. And one bonus tip: “Making your death look like a drowning virtually guarantees you’ll be caught. Disappearing while hiking, however, is a great way to go.”

NASA’s mixtape for aliens will be reissued in honour of its 40th anniversary: The Voyager Golden Record, the object comprised of Earth’s best representation of song and sound that launched into space aboard the Voyager I and II spacecrafts in 1977 for extraterrestrial beings, will be reissued on vinyl in honour of its 40th birthday, Rolling Stone says. “The discs were created by a special committee that included beloved astronomer Carl Sagan alongside musicologist Alan Lomax, who served as a volunteer member. The discs featured an array of music from around the world, including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, an Indian raga and Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’ (though neither Sagan nor Lomax were fans of the latter track).” The set’s tracklist, which does not include any Middle Eastern music but has some audio recording of “whale greetings,” is available on Stereogum. Pitchfork says even Sagan didn’t have a copy of the record, as “up until now, the only two physical copies of the Golden Record were attached to the Voyager spacecrafts.” The project is funded through a Kickstarter campaign that has already surpassed its pledge goal of USD 198k. The set on sale will include three translucent gold vinyl LPs featuring all the music and audio from the Golden Record available to pre-order through the project’s Kickstarter campaign with a pledge of USD 98 or more, with digital downloads available for USD 25.

An extra reason to look forward to the 6 October long weekend: Season four of Startup — the most entertaining entrepreneur-focused podcast we know — drops to your podcatcher of choice on 6 October. Meanwhile, Startup has released a mini-episode featuring a conversation between show creator Alex Blumberg and Jonathan Goldstein, host of the new Gimlet offering Heavyweight, which made its debut this week. Episode two of Heavyweight is oddly promising: A late-40s almost-was sends Goldstein on a quest to confront Moby — yes, that Moby — about CDs that Moby borrowed from him 20 years ago. Bonus: The CDs are Alan Lomax’s recordings of southern US and slave-era songs (the Alan Lomax from the Voyager Golden Record, above), which formed the core of Moby’s 1999 album Play.

“Most money is indexed. That’s a disaster.” Jerusalem-born Hermes Investment Management chief Saker Nusseibeh is well-known for being blunt. When he sat down for a recent interview, he was also “irascible,” writes the Financial Times’ Aliya Ram. Nusseibeh — “a practising Muslim and one of the few chief executives in the [UK] who self-identifies as ‘brown’ — holds forth on a variety of topics, but nowhere is he more on-point than when he unleashes his broadside against index funds: “He argues that passive [fund] management has diluted the effect of corporate engagement: ‘What you have is absentee landlords and companies that have absolutely no one holding them to account, doing what the hell they want. Why? Because most of the investment in companies [is through] index funds.’”

Success as a hedgie is correlates to how aware you are of your “gut feelings,” a recent study by the University of Cambridge and Sussex revealed. These sensations “can report anything from body temperature to breathlessness, racing heart, fullness from the gut, bladder and bowel” and subsequently “underpin states such as hunger, thirst, pain, and anxiety,” according to Science Daily. Researchers tested the abilities of 18 high frequency-male traders in counting their own heartbeats without touching their chests or pulses, against a control group of 48 male students. The results revealed that the traders “performed significantly better.” The researchers’ conclusion: “Our results suggest that signals from the body, the gut feelings of financial lore, contribute to success in the markets.” The Financial Times has more.

Samantha Bee, rightful successor to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, reviewed the first presidential debate of the season. You can watch the clips here and here, total running time: 9 minutes. Tomorrow, it’ll be Saturday Night Live’s turn to do their take, with Kate McKinnon reprising her role as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin portraying Donald Trump.

Meet the South Korean company that might have already ruined Christmas for Amreeka: US retailers are in fear that the Christmas shopping season might be ruined as Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s biggest container line and the world’s seventh-largest, filed for receivership. Sixty-six of Hanjin’s ships, carrying USD 14.5 bn worth of goods, including large quantities of consumer electronics heading for America, were left stranded at sea, The Economist says. “Ports around the world did not want to let Hanjin’s vessels dock because the bankrupt line had no money to pay unloading fees. Neither did they want creditors impounding Hanjin’s vessels in their facilities, leaving valuable moorings occupied for months.”Some of the goods were destined to retailers in order to be sold during Christmas.

Bonus fact for iSheep like us: Hanjin is apparently behind slow delivery of iPhone 7 units to the US and Canada — to the point that Apple has apparently stepped in and paid port fees just to get its cargo off the vessels

This is part of a bigger problem in the shipping industry as a whole. “Hanjin’s bankruptcy—and the abysmal performance of so many lines—is the result of overcapacity in the shipping industry. Since the financial crisis, too many vessels have been built and not enough scrapped, while the growth in global trade has decelerated.” Activist investors are calling for consolidation in the sector, but the newspaper says the woes of the industry will not be addressed until enough lines scrap their ships to the point at which “the amount of spare capacity in the industry would fall, and freight rates would rise to a point where firms in it would break even.” The problem is that “for stronger players such as Maersk, building more big ships means that freight rates fall faster, pushing weaker competitors out of business. And many smaller lines cannot afford to scrap their ships. Low steel prices mean that they would need to declare big losses on their balance sheets if they scrapped them.”

This leads The Economist to the grim prediction that more shipping lines will declare bankruptcy, unless “some serious scrapping takes place,” which remains unlikely as Hanjin has become an acquisition target for Maersk. Bloomberg cites David Kerstens, Jefferies’s transport analyst, in saying that “the most likely scenario is that Maersk would take over the assets of Hyundai and Hanjin.” Maersk says its acquisitions aims to avoid flooding the market with new vessels, but did not address the idea that the market is already suffering from excess capacity.

Where corporate drones really come from: Young, ambitious graduates joining the workforce every year may be surprised to learn that “the people who get ahead are the stellar practitioners of corporate mindlessness,” André Spicer — Cass Business School professor and co-author of The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work — writes for Aeon. In fact, most corporations simply promote stupidity in staff. Many of these individuals would have been top achievers throughout university and graduate school, selected precisely because of their brains, drive, and character, yet a “mindless compliance with rules and regulations can detract [them] from actually doing their jobs.” Employees who reflect too much, find creative solutions to problems, or ask questions their supervisors deem unwelcome are often viewed negatively, or even politely told that their employer might not be their best fit. “Collective mindlessness” or “stupidity,” says Spicer, is a balancing act for the employee between not having their coworkers find them a liability, but not getting them to think you’re a fake, either.

Biologists are looking at how to use genetic engineering to eradicate species such as mosquitoes that carry parasites causing human diseases. Research in this field has been progressing rapidly, and has most recently seen support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who pledged USD 75 mn in investment in the project, in an effort to eradicate malaria. Cue the environmentalist backlash, with claims that the impact of gene drives on the environment is outright dangerous — and morally wrong. Members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have passed a motion that would prohibit it from endorsing or supporting research in this field “until a comprehensive assessment of the technology’s effects has been undertaken,” according to the Washington Post. For example, the eradication of mosquitoes could wipe out swallows, who feed on the horrible little creatures. It could also result in a population boom in other species with which it competes for resources. The Economist worries that no matter how carefully the impact is modelled, it will still be unpredictable. Funny how messing with nature has that effect…

A baby boy born of three parents. That, not the Economist piece, is the story on genetic engineering that most gave us pause this week. Canada’s CBC reports that a baby boy has been born to Jordanian parents “using a ‘three parent’ technique that combines DNA from three individuals, researchers report.” Fine, it’s ‘just’ mitochondrial DNA (the DNA that runs the little powerhouses of each individual cell in the human body), but you want to talk slippery slope? It’s before us. And then we remembered the classic 2007 Stanford Review note on Michael Sandel’s book The Case for Perfection: “The critics are right that a world with genetic engineering will contain inequalities. On the other hand, it is arguable that a world without genetic engineering, like this one, is even more unequal.

Two things keep us up at night when we consider the world that will be inherited by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of anyone able to read Enterprise today: Genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. This New York Times review of Sandel’s book is also worth reading if you want to dip your toes into the debate for a couple of minutes without taking a full plunge.

Yemen may be torn by a ferocious war for over two years now, but in its stunningly remote landscape, children work, study, and play far from the centers of fighting. Reuters photographer Abduljabbar Zeyad captured the countryside lifestyle, where life has become “a medieval struggle for survival”. Shortages of electricity, fuel, and medicine have led most of those living in more remote areas to turn the clock back on their habits by centuries. Photographed on a trip to the Dhalamlam Mountain, Zeyad’s collection portrays the difficulty of moving supplies or teaching a classroom in an environment where a population’s most rudimentary needs are no longer provided.

Ignore state institutions. Don’t think the sheikh has the solution. Forget about your elected representative. Political economist and columnist Tarek Osman has some of the best advice we’ve ever read for Muslims living in ‘The West’ who want to help less affluent (and / or more easily radicalized) co-religionists into society: work with “local civil society – not state vehicles, religious authorities, or political parties. The objective is to get the small educational, occupational, entertainment, and other social organizations that serve local Muslim communities to interact with counterparts that serve the ‘rest’. ‘Communities’ is the key word here. Hundreds of thousands of European Muslims have rich, varied, and multi-faceted interactions with their wider societies, but many of those are at the upper (affluent) segments of European Muslim communities, which as a whole, often have shockingly limited exposure to the ‘rest’.” His essay The Future of European Muslims on the Yale University Press’ blog is eminently worth reading. New to Osman? Scroll down past the essay for his bio and links to his latest works.

The Classic Books You Haven’t Read: You’re back in college. Or your kid is. Or, heck, it’s just that it’s September. It is officially that _that_ season: “Nearly everyone who considers themselves well-read, or just desires to be, has a book, or several, that haunts them—the classic they haven’t read.” If you’re a Wall Street Journal subscriber, read “The Classic Books You Haven’t Read.”

We have rats on the brain

The tide may finally be turning in favour of the humans in our war on rats, Jordan Kisner writes for The Guardian. Trying to kill rats is futile: under pressure they multiply faster. “The rat’s primary survival skill, as a species, is its unnerving rate of reproduction. Female rats ovulate every four days, copulate dozens of times a day and remain fertile until they die… This is how you go from two to 15,000 in a single year. When poison or traps thin out a population, they mate faster until their numbers regenerate.” The solution is to keep them from mating, which would collapse rat colonies without rebound — essentially putting rats on the pill — but “until recently no pharmaceutical product existed that could make rats infertile, and even if it had, there was still the question of how it could be administered.” An Arizona company, SenesTech, claims to have found the solution in a liquid product that, in tests, caused a drop in rat populations of roughly 40% in 12 weeks. “This will change the world,” Loretta Mayer, a biologist and CEO of SensTech, says. The trick for the company was to make the liquid potable for rats, which are known to avoid what they don’t know. City rats, in particularly, will be difficult because they’re simply so well-fed. Another problem was that the liquid’s “active ingredient, 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD), is bitter and caustic” and rats “have the same taste preferences as humans”: they prefer fat and sugar. “ContraPest, the finished product, is viscous and sweet” and it did not kill the rodents. Kisner describes the development of ContraPest and SenesTech’s CEO and investors as something that “sounds crazy: a band of animal lovers and firemen in the mountains of Arizona, led by a Buddhist girl scout, making a pink milkshake for rats that may eventually improve the lives of [mns] of people.”

Rats aren’t entirely bad, though, according to some misguided souls. They are being used in a wide range of fields — from detecting landmines to testing for diseases. One tech startup named Apopo is even using African giant pouched rats to detect tuberculosis in humans. The rats, affectionately named HeroRats, have a significantly higher correct diagnosis rate than conventional tests at just a fraction of the cost, Ashoka Ireland’s communication manager Fiona Koch writes for Silicon Republic.

The Calhoun experiments on mice, rats, crowding and density — the real life inspiration for The Secret of NIMH: Some of our readers may be familiar with the 1971 children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, later adapted into the 1982 animated film The Secret of NIMH, featuring this now-famous scene with the Great Owl (2:48) which served as nightmare fuel for an entire generation. The book and film tell the story of a widowed mouse trying to save her home from a farmer’s plow by seeking the help of rats who had been experimented on and had achieved literacy and technology. What is less well known is that the book and film were inspired by a series of experiments on mice and rats beginning in 1968 at the Bethesda, Maryland National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). As detailed two weeks ago by Atlas Obscura’s Cara Giaimo in ‘The doomed mouse utopia that inspired the ‘Rats of NIMH,’’ Dr. John Calhoun set out to study the effect of raising mice in controlled settings where the only constraint on the growth of their population was the setting of their communal nest. “They were given the run of the place, which had everything they might need: food, water, climate control, hundreds of nesting boxes to choose from, and a lush floor of shredded paper and ground corn cob.”

While the work was ongoing, many tried linking the results of Calhoun’s findings to rising population sizes and densities of humans living in urban settings. “There could be no escape from the behavioral consequences of rising population density,” according to Calhoun in one of his early papers. In each experiment, the population of the mice would double before suddenly crashing into a terminal decline as the majority of the specimens exhibited pathological behavior resulting from the frequency of the unwanted social interactions. As noted in a report by the World Health Organization on the Calhoun experiments: “It seemed that the adrenal system offered the standard binary solution: fight or flight. But in the sealed enclosure, flight was impossible. Violence quickly spiralled out of control. Cannibalism and infanticide followed… Calhoun called this vortex ‘a behavioural sink,’… At the experiments’ end, the only animals still alive had survived at an immense psychological cost.”

But was the problem density, or crowding? Residents of megalopolises such as Cairo may hear of such reports and wonder how the findings of Calhoun’s experiments may ultimately play out with regard to human populations. However, follow-up experiments on humans found no ill-effects on greater density. Rather, as the WHO report notes, “focus now shifted away from simply identifying the pathological consequences of density and towards factors that mediated its effects. This was aided by a distinction between ‘density’ as a physical measure and ‘crowding’ as a subjective response… Researchers recognized that Calhoun’s work… was about degrees of social interaction. By reducing unwanted interaction through improved design of space — providing prisoners with individual cells or patients with independent living areas — crowding stress could be avoided. This had been the focus of Calhoun’s later research.”

Watch This

DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Netflix’s Print the Legend. It is hard for some of us here to admit that we lived through the PC revolution almost 40-something years ago, but those that have followed the tech scene back then remember the epic battles of the tycoons and corporations and the competition of different gadgets and products. Print the Legend traces those very similar stories to take us into the heart of the nascent 3D Printing revolution. It looks at how the industry has evolved — and at the three very different figures who are driving the evolution: Bre Pettis, co-founder and former CEO of MakerBot Industries — the poser, more concerned with carving an image for himself as the next Steve Jobs, but whose products demonstrated the viability of mass produced 3D printers. Maxim Lobovsky, co-founder and CEO of Formlabs — the craftsman, who uses his technical prowess to push the technical boundaries of the technology and fights deep-pocketed corporations trying to profit of his success. And Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed — the anarchist, whose extreme libertarian views brought us the 3D printed gun, and who has shaped the conversation on the very nature of the technology and its power to liberate the individual. The film was released in 2014, so a lot has happened since. But it captures that unique moment in the rise of an industry that is still trying to figure out its identity. You can watch the film on Netflix here (runtime: 1:40:00).

F*** Portlandia: Our readers may recall being periodically bombarded by clips of Portlandia, and in particular its Feminist Bookstore skit, by a certain individual at Enterprise who consistently demonstrates a lack of regard to the fact that no one else wants to watch Portlandia, despite his (and some people’s) assertion that it is the best comedy on television. Following a decision reportedly made months ago and disclosed just this past Wednesday, the show’s stars, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, are going to have to find a new shooting location for their feminist bookstore owners Candace and Toni, as the actual feminist bookstore that served as the backdrop for the skit has severed all ties with the program.

The store’s management explains their reasoning in a post titled F*** Portlandia, which opens by noting that a particular day of filming left the store a mess and culminated in a volunteer placing a ‘F*** Portlandia’ sign in the store’s front window where it presumably remains to this day.

Maybe they didn’t appreciate being the butt of the joke for the past six years — or are they right that the show is actually causing gentrification? The management of the volunteer-run, donation-supported, non-profit feminist bookstore ‘In Other Words’ seems to have reached their breaking point, saying the “show has had a net negative effect on our neighborhood and the city of Portland as a whole… Portlandia is fueling mass displacement in Portland. Fred and Carrie are on billboards and realtors have gleefully begun using Portlandia’s popularity and insipid humor… to make displacing the communities that made Portland a great place in the first place something twee and whimsical for the incoming technocrat hordes.” (Watch Feminist Bookstore’s Intern, running time: 3:12, and or this clip whose title we cannot spell out, running time: 3:33)

Listen to This

BBC Business Daily’s Elements series is ending and we were very sad to hear that, but they just ran out of chemical elements to profile. The series followed elements across the periodic table and their roles from chemistry labs to the global economy. In the last-ever episode of the series, Justin Rowlatt look at the “obscure ones” — the rarest elements of the periodic table. He talks to minor metals merchant Anthony Lipmann, who explains how he made a fortune tracking down a stockpile of thallium, a toxic element sufficient to kill scores of people, and sold it to Japanese camera manufacturers. The series closes off with entering a different realm of scientific discovery entirely as cosmologist Martin Rees explains why 85% of the matter in the universe is not made up of chemical elements at all, but instead of dark matter (runtime 20:48).

You’re not disrupting jack[redacted]: Joe Weisenthal was back with Tracy Alloway this week on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast. Weisenthal and Alloway interview science and technology professor Lee Vinsel, who says glibly using buzzwords like “disruption” and “innovation” is harmful. Vinsel instead stresses that we need to recalibrate our focus more on "maintaining" the infrastructure and technology that sustains everyday life (runtime 27:58)

Something That Made Us Think

Climate change affects more than our closets, agricultural produce, and children’s’ future, according to a piece by Bloomberg’s Eric Roston based on a University of California Berkeley paper. Climate change already retards economic growth by 0.25% annually, a figure that may grow to 0.28% in the future. Roston argues that heat and violence are linked, with Twitter users reportedly using more profanity in their posts when based in warmer temperatures, which he attributes to a significant difference in users’ happiness scores. The difference in scores “during 60F to 70F weather and 80F to 90F weather was similar to the difference in people’s moods on Sundays vs. Mondays,” he writes, adding that higher temperatures could even lead to higher rates of criminal behavior and children’s math grades allegedly drop as the temperature rises.


The pillar of modern medicine is beginning to lose potency: Alexander Fleming, credited in 1928 with creating penicillin, the first antibiotic, said “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant,” while accepting his 1945 Nobel Prize. In only the fourth ever high-level meeting for a health issue, all 193 member states signed a declaration last week to combat the proliferation of antibiotic resistance. An estimated 700k people die each year due to drug-resistant infections. “The emergence of bacterial resistance is outpacing the world’s capacity for antibiotic discovery,” Director General for the World Health Organization Margaret Chan said. “The world is heading to a post-antibiotic era in which common infections, especially those caused by gram-negative bacteria, will once again kill,” reports The Guardian. Signatories of the UN declaration committed to encouraging innovation in antibiotic development, increasing public awareness of the threat and developing surveillance and regulatory systems on the use and sales of antimicrobial medicine for humans and animals. Only three other health issues have been the subject of general assembly high-level meetings: HIV/Aids, non-communicable diseases and Ebola.

A roller coaster’s centripetal force could pass your kidney stone, according to James Hamblin’s article for The Atlantic. Urological surgeon David Wartinger, professor emeritus at Michigan State, noticed a correlation of people passing small kidney stones after visiting Disney theme parks. “So Wartinger compiled people’s stories, and he realized that the common factor was having ridden Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,” writes Hamblin. Wartinger took it upon himself to pursue the experiment, using a 3-D model of the kidney, stones and urine, he told the writer. Based on 60 roller coaster rides: “The stones passed 63.89 percent of the time while the kidneys were in the back of the car. When they were in the front, the passage rate was only 16.67 percent,” writes Hamlin. Hence: moderate-intensity” roller coasters could help with passing small kidney stones.


How Microsoft is changing the future of cloud computing and online services: In 2012 Doug Burger, a computer chip researcher at Microsoft, pitched an idea titled Project Catapult to then CEO Steve Ballmer. Burger believed the tech world would soon need new architecture to run the tech giants, including both software and hardware. At the core of his idea are the Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA). Though companies like Intel continue to improve CPUs, these chips can’t keep up with advances in software, in large part because of the new wave in artificial intelligence, writes Cade Metz for Wired. It’s too expensive to create specialized, purpose-built chips for every new problem. FPGAs bridge the gap. They let engineers build chips that are faster and less energy-hungry than an assembly-line, general-purpose CPU, but customizable so they handle the new problems of ever-shifting technologies and business models. Microsoft’s services are so large, and they use so many FPGAs, that they’re shifting the worldwide chip market. The FPGAs come from a company called Altera, and Intel executive VP Diane Bryant says Microsoft is why Intel acquired Altera last summer—a deal worth USD 16.7 bn, the largest acquisition in the history of the largest chipmaker on Earth. By 2020, she says, a third of all servers inside all the major cloud computing companies will include FPGAs.

Happy Birthday, Google: Yes Google has long been accused of acting as a gatekeeper of information — like manipulating autocomplete results in favor of Hillary Clinton, which Google denied — but the tech giant’s birthday reminds us it’s been almost two decades since we’ve had easier access to so much information. Google Doodle celebrated the company’s 18th birthday last Tuesday, September 27th, but it looks like they don’t really know when exactly the company was born, given the celebration on different days every year, Telegraph Reporters write. Google has celebrated its birthday every year with a Doodle since 2002, the article says. Bonus: You’ll find a timeline of the history of Google Doodle. Fun fact: The most popular Doodle was a playable guitar in celebration of Les Paul’s birthday in 2011 where 40 mn tracks were created by US users in 48 hours.

The Week’s Most-Clicked Stories

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise in the past week were:

  • Ahmed Ezz on the case for why the economy isn’t half as bad as we think. (Al Masry Al Youm)
  • Finance Ministry’s answers to frequently asked questions on the VAT (Finance Ministry, pdf)
  • The racism in the Dunkin Donut Egypt ad is the rule, not the exception (Enterprise)
  • (tie) Map of Cairo from c. 1593, first published in Cologne (Image)
  • (tie) Monastery of Saint Simon’s Cave Church (Atlas Obscura)
  • How should we read investor letters? (The New Yorker)

On Your Way Out

Stanley Fischer says you should study economics. Who’s Fischer and why should you care? For starters, he’s the vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve. In a speech at the convocation for the Howard University’s department of economics, Fischer said studying economics brings many rewards: “First, an economics degree provides many possible career paths. The discipline’s logical, structured approach to problem solving is valued in many settings … Economics majors typically receive salaries that represent a good return on their educational investment. Second … economics offers a means of engaging in many of society’s most pressing issues… A degree in economics will help you understand and participate in these policy debates, putting you in a good position to change the world for the better.” Fischer gives examples by talking about two specific contemporary issues affecting advanced economies now; the decline in labour force participation rate and concerns over economic mobility. He is also concerned about the economics profession’s lack of diversity, saying “our profession currently is not very diverse, but it needs to be… research conducted by economists as well as other social scientists suggests that a diversity of perspectives and ideas lead to better decisions and increased productivity.”

The New Yorker’s longtime copy-editor Andrew Boynton uses his strong command for language (and common sense) in an attempt to rephrase and interpret Trump’s often nonsensical answers at the presidential debate earlier this week. Working from a transcript, Boyton’s comments make the presidential candidate sound significantly more intelligible.

Proteins in skin samples from 4,200-year-old ‘Egyptian Dark Age’ mummies have provided evidence of the activation and inflammation of the immune system, as well as the presence of tumors, according to studies at Macquarie University in Australia, reported. This method of isolating proteins is significant as it is able to detect inflammation and tumors that “are undetectable by other methods, such as DNA analysis,” said researcher Jana Jones, adding that the study “provides a historical context for medical conditions that are found in the modern world such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.” The method, however, has one drawback, as materials extracted from the mummies may have been contaminated by sample collectors.

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