Wealthy people are the most likely to give "spiteful gifts":

Interestingly, we found that 15% of Americans — roughly 38 million people — have deliberately bought a present knowing their recipient wouldn’t like it. Men are about four times more likely than women to intentionally gift a bad present, with 25% of men surveyed saying they’d done it in the past, versus about 6% of women. Of the generations, Gen Xers are most likely to knowingly give bad gifts, with 22% admitting they’ve done so. That’s only slightly higher than the rate for Gen Y (18%) but 11 times higher than the rate for boomers (2%). Those with money to burn — people earning $100,000 to $150,000 — are most likely to buy spiteful presents, with 28% saying they’d done so. That’s almost three times higher than those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 (11%) and almost five times higher than those earning between $25,000 and $50,000 (6%).

China wants to lead the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization

That is what it says. They do know a thing or two about it, though.

The Millennium Dome 20 years on… revisiting a very British fiasco

Couple of things, though: English, not British - why drag the rest of the island down with the Limeys?

The Oligarch Game: use coin-tosses to demonstrate "winner take all" and its power to warp perceptions:

Very quickly, the winners of the initial coin tosses wipe out the remaining players, and then each other, producing an outcome with a single winner with all the money. What's more interesting than the ability of small amounts of random chance to produce oligarchic outcomes is the psychological effect of playing the game: over the duration of the very short games, the winners arrive at a "feeling of righteous empowerment based on being successful" and players experience class divisions.

My precious ...


Maps of the lost streetcar and subway systems of North America


Michael Jang's American Portraits


Photographer documents the beautiful, eccentric apartments of New York's historic Chelsea Hote

Shot in Super 8 in Japan.


Photos: Shopping Malls in the 1980s


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.


Secrets of Lucretia painting closer to being revealed

Open Memory Box:

The biggest digitized collection of home movies from the GDR.

Barrio America by A.K. Sandoval-Strausz, reviewed.

As Barrio America explains, Latino migrantes found affordable, aging housing stock in the neighborhoods that working-class whites fled, like Dallas’ Oak Cliff and Chicago’s Little Village. Many migrantes had never driven before—in 1960, Mexico had only one automobile for every 45 residents—and they preferred compact walking-friendly urban enclaves over sprawling suburbs. They brought panaderias, then, pupuserias, to aging storefronts, and invested their labor and money into rehabilitating the cityscape.

Amazon will pay $0 in taxes on $11,000,000,000 in profit for 2018

Of course.

The George Soros Conspiracy Theory at the Heart of the Ukraine Scandal

Of course.

How Neoliberal Thinkers Spawned Monsters They Never Imagined:

Most critical engagement with neoliberalism focuses on economic policy – deregulation, privatization, regressive taxation, union busting and the extreme inequality and instability these generate. However, there is another aspect to neoliberalism, apparent both in its intellectual foundations and its actual roll-out, that mirrors these moves in the sphere of traditional morality. All the early schools of neoliberalism (Chicago, Austrian, Freiburg, Virginia) affirmed markets and the importance of states supporting without intervening in them.

But they also all affirmed the importance of traditional morality (centered in the patriarchal family and private property) and the importance of states supporting without intervening in it. They all supported expanding its reach from the private into the civic sphere and rolling back social justice previsions that conflict with it. Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets.


Venice’s flooding has become another tourist attraction.


A swell century: surfing Sydney's beaches from 1915 to 2019 – in pictures


Meet Alex Weir, the illustrator embodying Scottish identity through MS Paint

Nativism is driving the far-right surge in Europe – and it is here to stay:

Almost all countries have a rather fertile breeding ground for at least populist radical right politics, with pluralities (and sometimes even majorities) of the population thinking there are too many immigrants (nativism), that crime is punished too leniently (authoritarianism), and that political elites are corrupt (populism). Whether or not this translates into electoral success for far-right parties is, simply stated, a matter of supply and demand.

We surely live in interesting times, as the Chinese curse would have it.

A Museum of Neoliberalism is opening in London

The Museum's inspiration was "the official and sycophantic 'Margaret Thatcher Centre and Library'" -- Cullen and Grindon want to rival it with an anti-Thatcher museum that rebuts the idiotic slogan, "There is no alternative."

Misha Glenny and Callum Lang · How to Buy Drugs:

Reminded me of a story I saw just the other day: there are now stickers around in Copenhagen, advertising ecstasy and cocaine. There is a user name on an encrypted service (not WhatsApp) you can contact. All payments in Bitcoins. Discreet delivery.

Eat Like The Ancient Babylonians: Researchers Cook Up Nearly 4,000-Year-Old Recipes:

Are they good?

Yes, they are, I would say — some of them. Which is interestingly a conclusion that is different from our French colleague. He privately acknowledged that he didn't really like much of the food that he was cooking — which might have something to do with his cultural background. Or the fact that our recipes are a little bit different and have moved on a little bit [thanks to a greater knowledge of Babylonian ingredients]. That is, I guess, an open question. [The food is] not as foreign as you might imagine. And there are some basic elements that we share with this kind of cooking. And there are certain aspects of the human palate which are not going to change, which biologically we remain the same.

How Humans Migrated Across The Globe Over 200,000 Years: An Animated Look:

Coverage of the refugee crisis peaked in 2015. By the end of the year, note researchers at the University of Bergen, “this was one of the hottest topics, not only for politicians, but for participants in the public debate,” including far-right xenophobes given megaphones. Whatever their intent, Daniel Trilling argues at The Guardian, the explosion of refugee stories had the effect of framing “these newly arrived people as others, people from ‘over there,’ who had little to do with Europe itself and were strangers.”

Such a characterization ignores the crucial context of Europe’s presence in nearly every part of the world over the past several centuries. And it frames mass migration as extraordinary, not the norm. The crisis aspect is real, the result of dangerously accelerated movement of capital and climate change. But mass movements of people seeking better conditions, safety, opportunity, etc. may be the oldest and most common feature of human history, as the Science Insider video shows above.


Photographer Pat Martin: ‘Mom was not an easy subject’


'Beijing Silvermine': Thomas Sauvin's archive of discarded photos


See Tony Bennett Paintings of Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder


Photographer Arnhel de Serra turns the lens back on today’s selfie-stick culture


Lovely Bones: The transfixing skeletons and dreamlike nudes of Belgian painter Paul Delvaux


Picturing Manhattan's Shortest Buildings From the Ground Floor

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future:

Many historians consider this mathematical approach to history to be problematic. They tend to believe that lessons can be drawn from the past, but only in a very limited way – the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland might shed light on current tensions there, for example. These days, few historians search for general laws that apply across centuries and societies, or that can be used to predict the future in any meaningful way. That was the goal of the scientific historians of the 19th century, many of whom were inspired by social Darwinism, and it is an approach now regarded as deeply flawed, as well as fatally connected to narratives of empire.

As an erstwhile historian moi meme I tend to agree. History is not cyclic but moves forward at great speed, and with human agency in the mix ... But interesting that people from fields afar now swoop down on history and try to discover the hidden laws that governs it. Engels might have loved it, but I think that we, in general, got past that point?

Inventing a God:

It would become an accepted fact that the indigenous people of Mexico believed Hernando Cortés to be a god, arriving in their land in the year 1519 to satisfy an ancient prophecy. It was understood that Moctezuma (also known as Montezuma II), at heart a coward, trembled in his sandals and quickly despaired of victory. He immediately asked to turn his kingdom over to the divine newcomers, and naturally, the Spaniards happily acquiesced. Eventually, this story was repeated so many times, in so many reputable sources, that the whole world came to believe it.

But, it turns out, this is not exactly what happened after all.


Behold Félix Nadar's Pioneering Photographs of the Paris Catacombs


Giovanni Hänninen documents the people of Tambacounda through 200 portraits


Toki Pona


Benjamin Sack’s impossible cityscapes

Nobody picnics like the French


Delve into this unseen archive of Roger daSilva’s photographs of 1950s Senegal


A Photographer's Ode to Everyday Soviet Architecture

America Will Keep Losing Its Middle Class as Long as "The Free Market" Dominates the Economic Debate:

The decades of free-market propaganda we’ve been exposed to are basically an exercise in distracting the public from the meaningful choices that are now made behind closed doors. The two big political parties that outwardly represent symbolic issues like gun rights and school prayer spend the bulk of their time and political energy on complex industrial and regulatory questions.

Because there is no alternative, you know ...

Decades of free-market orthodoxy have taken a toll on democracy:

The credibility of neoliberalism’s faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity is on life-support these days. And well it should be. The simultaneous waning of confidence in neoliberalism and in democracy is no coincidence or mere correlation. Neoliberalism has undermined democracy for 40 years.

‘It’s an absolutely corrupt system’: How EU farm subsidies are abused by oligarchs and populists:

Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65bn (£50bn) in farm subsidies intended to support farmers around the continent and keep rural communities alive. But across Hungary and much of central and eastern Europe, the bulk goes to a connected and powerful few. The prime minister of the Czech Republic collected tens of millions of dollars in subsidies just last year. Subsidies have underwritten Mafia-style land grabs in Slovakia and Bulgaria.


Keebs | Art by John Lee | Los Angeles / John Lee's tranquil illustrations will keep you company on a quiet night


Ronghui Chen photographs the young people of China's forgotten “Freezing Lands”

Is Gotham City Based on New York - Batman's Setting Is How Outsiders View New York

That a tough town can be a place where joy outweighs suffering is what Gotham misses about the city it’s based on. Batman’s Gotham is the city as observed from white flight cul-de-sacs; Spider-Man’s New York is my New York—harsh at times, sure but collectivist minded and essentially kind, a Gotham that deserves a friendly neighborhood hero, not a violent plutocrat. Plus, we already tried letting a billionaire save us.

Gender equality dates back to the Vikings


The Dark Side of the 'Angel’s Share'.

Weird ...

Attack on Bayonne Mosque, Suspect was admirer of Eric Zemmour, and a former candidate for the Front National.:

The English speaking media offers little coverage of Zemmour, who for a long-time was best known as the author of the “declinist” door-stopper, Le Suicide français (2014). It begins with the phrase, La France est l’homme malade de L’europe (France is the sick man of Europe). For those unwilling to fork out for its 538 pages the message is simple, and summarised by admirers and defenders. The book’s main thesis is that nation-states have declined in power and, above all that France has lost its historic leading role. The facade of the Nation is intact, but it has become a Museum, an historic Monument, without a living heart. This “Potemkin Republic” has been hollowed out in the wake of May 68, the Marxist revolutionaries, feminists and post-Christians who have brought about the triumph of liberal globalist capitalism. They are the harbingers of individualism and national self-loathing.

A dangerous and odious position, embraced by the Generation Identiraire, and seeping ever so slowly into the rhetorics of supposedly mainline rightwing parties all over Europe.

How America's hatred of poor people ties back to Puritan work ethic:

There is a profound suspicion of anyone who is poor, and a consequent raising to the highest priority imposing incredibly humiliating, harsh conditions on access to welfare benefits on the assumption you’re some kind of grifter, or you’re trying to cheat the system. There is no appreciation for the existence of structural poverty, poverty that is not the fault of your own but because the economy maybe is in recession or, in a notorious Irish case, the potato crop fails.

I belive there is a strong Calvinist element here - perhaps also heavily influencing the negative view of Irish Catholics, the lazy bums that they are.

The Oil Mystery Undermining An Aramco IPO:

None of us who have been watching the melodrama of the Saudi Aramco IPO will be surprised if the IPO gets rescheduled and then canceled once again. To put it plainly, investors don’t seem to trust Saudi Aramco’s representations about its reserves and so must be discounting the publicly available numbers. That is what is likely spooking the Saudi government which keeps hoping against hope to get the $100 billion it wants from the IPO.

Therefore, I don’t recommend holding your breath waiting for the kingdom to submit to an independent audit of oil reserves that will clear up the matter anytime soon.