Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

PSA: WorldCon with an Economist

The first item on Charlie Stross’s World Science Fiction Convention schedule:

Thursday August 6th, 5pm (Location: P-511CF)
Title: In Conversation: Paul Krugman and Charles Stross
Description: 90 minutes of Charles Stross discussing SF, economics, and other topics with Paul Krugman. [link in original]

Those who might wonder why Krugman would be an appropriate guest at Anticipation (this year’s WorldCon, being held in Montreal starting six yearsdays [h/t Loyal Reader] after we move back to NJ*) are referred to this paper [PDF], which I previously discussed at Tom’s place.

*Which is why Shira doesn’t want to do the eight panels on which she was scheduled.

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Canadian Independence Day Daytime Movie Lineup

  1. Candian Bacon (certainly Michael Moore’s best work of fiction), starring John Candy
  2. So I Married an Axe Murderer / Mike Meyers
  3. Airplane! / Leslie Nielsen
  4. Chain Reaction / Keanu
  5. Bright Lights, Big City / Michael J. Fox (who has no Elvis in him, but does good work)

I think they’re trying to convince everyone to be outside.

More Canadian Content here, via my Loyal Reader.

UPDATE: The NYT honours the day. Highlight from Malcolm Gladwell:

In history class, in seventh grade (or as we like to say in Canada, grade seven) we learned the story of the American Revolution…Turns out you were all a bunch of ungrateful tax cheats. And you weren’t very nice to the Loyalists. What I miss most about Canada is getting the truth about the United States.

He’s got a point there, except about the Loyalists. And that the “tax cheats” were really fighting the East India Company (think Wal-Mart with a British accent).

Also, we had Stevie Wonder last night and you didn’t. The bad news is it was the night before a National Holiday in a relatively large city and a free concert. So most of couldn’t get within five blocks of it.

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Examining The Damage to the NYC-area Economy

Being a seven-hour drive away, I don’t have as much direct knowledge of the NYC economy as I did a year or so ago. So I have to rely on Different Metrics.

Here is one DrektheUninteresting (see #6) (of Scatterplot and Total Drek fame) will love, when he resurfaces.

For those who want a contemporary view of how bad things have gotten in the U.S. economy in general and NYC, just check out the result of this eBay auction.

The winning bid was $10,250. The last time this item was auctioned, a mere six months ago (though in Los Angeles), it went for $12,000.

And a mere three years ago, the item was sold, in NYC, to two separate bidders (it being relatively non-rival), for $20,000 each.

Forget housing prices. If you want a metric to judge the decline of the NYC-area economy, just consider the decline in bidding even as the value of the underlying has gone up.

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The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd

There is a brilliant moment in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Giles explains to Willow that his problem with computers is “their smell.”

She replies, roughly, “But they have no smell.”

“Exactly. And smell is one of the most important senses there is.”

Apparently, with a hat tip to The New Yorker’s Book Bench, others have decided that it’s not the scent of the book so much as the scent with the book that should matter.

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I’ve Got the Under on S/h/e/a/ C/i/t/i/ Taxpayer Field

So the brilliant NFL has “solved” the Yom Kippur problem, moving the starting time for the Jets-Titans game to 1:00p.m.

Which means that, with luck, the game ends around 4:00—probably closer to 4:15.*

It appears that sundown on 27 September 2009—from which time one is expected to fast for 24 hours, so any eating better be done well before that—is going to be just about 6:45pm (assuming EDT).

I’ve driven around the Meadowlands around the time of football games before (mostly by accident; not something anyone wants to do). No one who has done so would agree with Representative Anthony Weiner:

“This commonsense solution is a win for everyone involved,” Weiner said, praising the league’s decision. “The NFL can maximize the greatest audience while Jewish New York Jets fans can support their team and respect their religion.”

In comments, please estimate where a car of fans with midlevel seats, who pack up at the final whistle of a non-Overtime game and are heading East, will be at 6:45p.m. My admittedly-optimistic assumption is the in the title of this post.**

*For analysis, I am going to assume that the game is close and interesting. Perhaps the NFL does not make that assumption?

**Feel free to assume driving up to the GWB and taking the Triborough Bridge: maximum tolls and possibly minimum traffic.

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PSA: A Good Reason to Watch the NYSE Closing Bell Today

One of my favorite charities, StreetwisePartners, is ringing the closing bell.

For those who aren’t loyal watchers of business news channels, you can watch the event live via this link.

Those who live or work in or near one of the city’s where the program is offered (currently, NYC; Jersey City, NJ; and Washington, DC) could find much worse uses of their time. Those in other Major Metropolitan areas, feel free to contact them about starting a branch Where You Are.

Their Press Release, in toto, is below the fold.

StreetWise Partners rings the closing bell to announce upcoming
Christie’s Auction House benefit for low-income career seekers

NEW YORK, April 13, 2009 – RBC Capital Markets and StreetWise Partners today announced they are launching an auction in New York City to raise funds to advance job-seekers in the economy. The non-profit organization, StreetWise Partners, links volunteer business professionals with low-income adults to achieve good jobs and life-long employability. The 2nd annual auction will be held on April 20, 2009 at Christie’s Auction House in New York’s Rockefeller Center. In advance of the event and to raise awareness about StreetWise Partners’ unconventional solutions for moving the economy forward, a variety of executives and StreetWise Partners volunteers from firms such as RBC Capital Markets, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bloomberg, The Bank Street Group, Pfizer, and General Electric, along with low-income program mentees, will join StreetWise Partners to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange today, Monday, April 13, 2009 at 3:59 p.m.

Tying in with the theme of the event, Unleashing Talent to Accelerate Economic Change, StreetWise Partners will auction off donated time, meet and greets, and exclusive business leadership coaching with C-suite executives, academics, media personalities, and others, while also offering getaway experiences. In addition, the event will offer opportunities for attendees to volunteer mentor or donate suits and computers to job-seekers. The event will be emceed by honorary guests Betsy Stark, business correspondent for ABC News, and Robert C. Lieber, New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.

The live auction will feature one-of-a-kind experiences and items, including a private tour of the MSNBC studios and the chance to meet with the anchors of Fast Money; MBA and career counseling from executives; New York Giants Youth Football experience; VIP golf package at the RBC Canadian Open; expedition to the Galapagos Islands; exclusive Big Apple helicopter tour experience; tickets to an evening with management consultant guru and author of Good to Great, Jim Collins; lunch with Clay Christensen – renowned Harvard Business Professor and author and much more.

Funds raised from this event will support critical StreetWise Partners career venture training and mentoring programs, hosted at leading partner organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Corporate Executive Board, which provide adults struggling in the job-market with high-impact employability mentoring, access to critical job search networks, and advanced employment opportunities.

More than 500 executives from the business and philanthropic communities are expected to attend this year’s event. For more information, please contact Emilee Ballaro at emilee@streetwisepartners.org or 212.253.6965.

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