Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Saturday, February 28, 2021

rage against the rabbit
What with that unpleasant ear-tugging, I don’t blame rabbits for taking a stand against their exploitation by the magic industry.

But no, the above logo is not some sort of protest by the rabbit community. It is, in fact, the symbol for Rabbits Against Magic, a fledgling NYC rock band. I spied this clever-looking graphic in a subway car this week, and snapped a cameraphone photo of it; but that came out blurry, so I found this cleaner-looking substitute online. Glad I did.

Strictly for eyecandy purposes, you understand. From what I can judge of the band’s music, off of their home website and their inevitable MySpace page, I doubt they’re going to go anywhere. Plus, they’re in competition for that seemingly-original name, as “Rabbits Against Magic” is also a syndicated comic strip (not much better, quality-wise, than the band).

So my bet is that the band and/or the name goes under soon enough. But at least it’ll leave behind a good-looking artifact.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 06:06:55 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Pop Culture
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I don’t particularly care for “30 Rock” (too over-the-top farcical), but I did like the recent “Larry King” episode. Particularly the featured financial-crisis rants of character Tracy Jordan:

- “It will be the 1970s all over again. People will get mean, the streets won’t be safe, there’ll be graffiti everywhere and movies will only cost $3.”

- “What everyone needs to do is take a deep breath, calm down and prepare their bodies for the Thunderdome, because that is the new law.”

- “I would say the Disneyfication of New York is over. At midnight, your Lexus will turn into a pile of rats fighting over a human finger.”

In advising people to “freak the geek out” and pull their money out of banks, Tracy also notes that he’s hidden a ton of cash at various locations, including work.

Wow, this exactly parallels my predictions of how the Big Apple will fare as things start heading south socio-economically, especially the return of the ’70s hostility. It’s like I have a twin!

I really wish I could find videoclips of the above soundbites. Instead, all I’ve got is the Hulu link to the full ep. I’d particularly love to see that “freak the geek out” moment in a standalone.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 05:08:33 PM
Category: Business, Comedy, New Yorkin', TV
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The late crisis in American conservatism is finding a locus of blame in the White House — not at the current resident, but rather at the one who just left the Oval Office.

Specifically, the charge is that George W. Bush took from the Republican Party more than he gave back, with corrosive results. Thus the current conservative disowning of the W years. This brief assessment is telling:

While it was obvious that Bush failed to leave a model of governance for conservatives to follow, it was equally clear that there are competing visions for how Republicans can recover.

Because, as it happens, the same assessment was made of the Democrats in 2000, post-Bill Clinton:

The Clintons’ Democratic Party was great for the Clintons but disastrous for the Democratic Party: during the 1990s, they lost the House and the Senate and a ton of governorships and state legislatures, and eventually, with nothing else left to lose, they lost the presidency. Clinton’s heat left the party so parched for talent they had no successful governors to run for president and were forced to turn to a stiff hack weathervane senator in the hope they could so damage Bush they could drag their boy across the finishing line.

Are we starting to see a trend here? Quite possibly. I made note of this phenomenon two-and-a-half years ago, when the same dynamic took hold in New York with outgoing governor George Pataki and his State Republicans; New York is a credibly diverse-enough microcosm for the American body politic, so maybe the conclusions I came to then apply now:

So it was that both men had to build their political capital by simultaneously running under their party label while pulling away from its rank-and-file. That left personal success for a seeming standard-bearer at the top, but an ineffective shell of a party apparatus below.

On the darker side, this suggests the need to create something of a cult of personality to achieve ends. The primacy of the individual candidate over the old-style party machine has been fact for half a century, but do Pataki’s and Clinton’s examples highlight an uncomfortable outgrowth of that trend?

That both a Democrat and a Republican pulled the same trick suggests this mechanism has more to do with American political culture, than with a particular party’s orientation. Fascinating mechanics.

And now, with Bush employing the same slash-and-burn strategy on the Federal level, can we presume that Barack Obama similarly will be repudiated four/eight years from now? Is this the template for getting elected to the Presidency these days — use the party trappings, drain them for all they’re worth, and leave behind an empty, bankrupted husk? Furthermore, is this the only option the parties have to “gain” Executive branch power?

If anything, it suggests a complex interplay between ideology, party politics, and electoral mandate. Maybe a whole new balance of power on the national tier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/28/2009 03:56:12 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Politics
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Friday, February 27, 2021

Back in September, I pointed out what I thought was the overlooked subtext behind Brooklynite Kimber VanRy’s brush with the law over his beer-drinking on his apartment building’s stoop:

RIGHT WAY - Be a white professional-class male, flashing a Blackberry and drinking a pricey import or craft brewski (like that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale VanRy was tippling when he received his summons).

WRONG WAY - Be a black or Hispanic working-class male, with or without cellphone, and hosting a bodega-bought tallboy of cheap beer or malt liquor.

With the right way, you’re just casually hanging out. With the wrong way, you’re loitering and attracting trouble. It’s plain to see.

That’s pretty much the gentrification code of conduct. I’m surprised the local cops didn’t get the memo.

But now, after the case’s dismissal and pending another public-tippling challenge by VanRy, I see that the New York Times gets the context:

Much is left to the judgment of individual police officers, and that can put us squarely in the realm of the arbitrary. Neighbors drinking beer on their front steps get these “quality of life” summonses, but not people sipping wine at New York Philharmonic concerts in Central Park or knocking back frozen daiquiris at summer movie screenings in Bryant Park.

Again, it’s all in the color and quality of the hooch and hoochers…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/27/2009 01:54:42 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society, True Crime
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Maybe celebrity felons like Martha Stewart and Leona Helmsley can afford thousand-dollar sessions on the do’s and don’ts of an impending stretch in the slammer. For the rest of us (well, you — not me), there’s Dr. Prison and American Prison Consultants, both lower-cost quasi-legal counseling services founded by enterprising white-collar ex-cons:

Lesson No. 1: Stay with your own race. Don’t use the phone of a person of another race. Don’t play cards with people of another race.

Other lessons: Don’t join a gang. Don’t divulge too much information about yourself and don’t lie — it’s a sign of disrespect. Don’t snitch. Don’t become overly chummy with anyone because no one is your friend. Learn how to anticipate riots and avoid being raped; owing anyone money or a favor makes one vulnerable.

“We deal with anybody who has fears,” [Dr. Prison counselor Tom] Miller says. “We also try to prepare people for the family situations they’ll encounter. You want to be mindful of your finances. Most spouses won’t be there when you get out. People always say, ‘Oh no, she’s going to stick with me.’ We tell them, ‘No, she won’t. So you want to protect your money now.’”

All sound advice, although probably nothing that you couldn’t glean from watching a few hours’ worth of “Oz” episodes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/27/2009 12:04:26 PM
Category: Creative, True Crime
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It seems counterintuitive to combat traffic congestion by closing off a major thoroughfare to all car traffic. But that’s what Mayor Bloomberg has in mind for Broadway, part of an ambitious plan to make the street a pedestrian free-range zone:

The massive makeover calls for shutting seven blocks of Broadway between 47th and 42nd Sts. in Times Square and 33rd to 35th Sts. in Herald Square.

“Our goal is simply to give midtown faster streets that are also, very importantly, safer,” said Bloomberg at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square…

Bloomberg estimates the street closing will make Sixth Ave. traffic flow 37% faster and Seventh Ave. traffic move 17% quicker by ending the bottlenecks where they meet Broadway.

This is all based on the Great White Way’s odd placement in Manhattan’s street grid, and how that affects traffic flow. Broadway juts diagonally from downtown up through Midtown and the Upper West Side, before finally straightening out to a north-south direction at 79th Street. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it definitely is a disruption on an otherwise fairly checkerboard-like road network. Personally, as a walk-everywhere pedestrian, even I tend to get screwed up by Broadway’s angular positioning — am I now between Madison and 5th, or 6th and 7th? (Yeah, I suppose I could memorize that, but who’s got the spare brainpower?).

The City’s already taken babysteps in this direction: The lounge-about esplanades carved out of Broadway last year. The Mayor obviously saw enough positive things from that to take the concept to the next level.

We’ll see if this actually comes off. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to surrender a few square miles to footprints instead of skidmarks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/27/2009 11:07:17 AM
Category: New Yorkin'
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Thursday, February 26, 2021

If the behavior of Congressional Republicans over the past few weeks has struck you as being little more than knee-jerk negativism, you’re not alone:

Despite two consecutive election thrashings, and despite Obama’s high approval ratings and their own low standing, Republicans have wagered that the return to the majority is paved by unwavering opposition to further spending, an audacious bet that won’t pay out for another 21 months.

If Republicans are right, the economy will remain in tatters and voters will recognize in 2010 that the recovery was delayed by profligate Democrats and their president.

If the GOP is wrong, however, and the economy begins to show signs of life, the resistance will be easily framed as reflexive obstructionism, the last gasp of an intellectually bankrupt party…

“They just seem to be sitting back and waiting for the Democrats to come up with the plan so they can look for something to shoot at,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who is locked in a battle with his home state governor, Mark Sanford, over money for unemployment insurance. “They’re making a calculated decision to just say ‘no.’”

It is the job of the opposition party to apply the brakes on a partisan agenda wherever it can, so good job by the Republicans there. And fiscal conservatism is where they should rightly shine. But indeed, mere reactionary responses, instead of an actual solid alternative plan, is troubling; it makes them come off as nothing but Grand Old Party-Poopers.

If this gambit doesn’t come off, the GOP will really be in its own crisis by 2011. In fact, it might just lead to a permanent split, with the ultraconservative wing striking out on its own with a third-party organization — the ultimate of ironies, when you consider that the Republicans supposedly have been the more focused, homogeneous ideological grouping over the past thirty-odd years.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/26/2009 04:27:08 PM
Category: Politics
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Head up to the Belmont section of the Bronx for a nic-hit without the burn: The electronic cigar/cigarette:

“We’re the ones who brought them to the forefront, baby,” [cigar-store owner Paul] DiSilvio said with a grin. With starter kits that sell from $99 to $149, he added: “We can’t keep them on the shelves. It’s the next big thing.”

With most models, a stainless-steel case is designed to resemble a cigarette or cigar. Inside are cartridges filled with water and varying levels of nicotine — a highly addictive substance that can affect heart rate and blood pressure. A rechargeable battery powers puffs of water vapor out one end, which glows red with each drag. Refills cost $19 for five cartridges, about the equivalent of 200 cigarettes.

All in all, I think I’d prefer the old-time candy cigarettes

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/26/2009 04:03:29 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Tech
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Our primate cousins have been much in the news lately, mainly thanks to Travis the Chimp’s wild rampage through Connecticut (not to mention the inspirational fallout for the New York Post).

Throughout this coverage, rule-of-thumb quips have been dropped by experts about how much stronger ape is than man — usually five times more and up. Turns out that those pros should know better:

But the “five times” figure was refuted 20 years after [biologist John] Bauman’s experiments. In 1943, Glen Finch of the Yale primate laboratory rigged an apparatus to test the arm strength of eight captive chimpanzees. An adult male chimp, he found, pulled about the same weight as an adult man. Once he’d corrected the measurement for their smaller body sizes, chimpanzees did turn out to be stronger than humans—but not by a factor of five or anything close to it.

Repeated tests in the 1960s confirmed this basic picture. A chimpanzee had, pound for pound, as much as twice the strength of a human when it came to pulling weights. The apes beat us in leg strength, too, despite our reliance on our legs for locomotion. A 2006 study found that bonobos can jump one-third higher than top-level human athletes, and bonobo legs generate as much force as humans nearly two times heavier.

So it turns out that “kicking monkey ass” is not as daunting a prospect as is commonly supposed. Somebody crank up the pay-per-view machine!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/26/2009 02:53:48 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Science
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It makes sense: During this economic crisis, the monthly household bill for broadband Internet access can seem like an unnecessary luxury. The surviving dial-up ISPs are pouncing on that notion by doubling-down on their marketing efforts to convince strapped consumers to revert to narrowband, because even a slow connection still “takes you to the same Internet”.

But how realistic is it to expect people to downgrade?

“It’s a smart move, in my opinion, for them to focus on the value message,” says Doug Williams, an analyst at Forrester Research.

He is skeptical, however, that dial-up services will attract many broadband users, pointing to a survey of U.S. consumers in which only 4% said they would downgrade their service and 2% said they would cancel it altogether.

Fact is, a step down in speed will appeal only to a very narrow slice of online users: Those who already don’t “live” on it, and access the Web a small handful of times a week to infrequently check email and such. Those folks probably got broadband only because they started experiencing peer pressure to do so — a regular flood of emailed hi-res pictures of their grandchildren, etc. They’re not going to miss the advantages of broadband because they never fully experienced them to begin with.

For the rest of us? Broadband makes all the high-capacity Web media that we experience possible. If anything, I expect the cable TV portions of the average household media-services bill to take a hit, precisely because more and more mainstream consumers are figuring out that they can get their television programming online for free.

In addition, there is a third way between household broadband and dial-up: Wireless-phone Web access. It’s not ideal, but if the broadband bill is so daunting, a bundled substitute could be the all-you-can-eat data plans that mobile phone providers are offering up. When you match them with true Web-enabled handsets like the iPhone, you’re really not downgrading by much.

And speaking of phones: Keep in mind that the base cost of an Earthlink or NetZero account doesn’t factor in the additional cost of maintaining a landline telephone in order to actually use dial-up. Granted, more households still have a landline than not, but a good chunk don’t — they’ve migrated to wireless-only phones for the entire house. Add it all up, and that ten bucks a month for slow Internet actually doubles — putting it almost in line with the average broadband bill of around $30. The savings shrink, for questionable return value.

So as logical as it may seem to see a resurgence in dial-up, I think the providers are indulging in a good bit of wishful thinking. At best, they’ll see a flattening of their market erosion; at worst, their existing low-end customers will start cutting the cord, and ironical to this strategy, the dial-up companies will finally go under thanks to the recession.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/26/2009 02:09:43 PM
Category: Internet, Society, TV
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Wednesday, February 25, 2021

As The Police once observed, when the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around — and then you exploit the new openings by delivering new mass-market accessible products and channels:

It turns out that in a bad economy old ideas die faster, while socially driven technologies actually catch on more quickly. Movie theaters experienced a boom around the time of the Great Depression, [corporate technology anthropologist Genevieve] Bell says. And radios went from a hobby for geeky boys to mainstream acceptance, as families gathered in living rooms to hear the latest escapist programming. “Radio went from 10% of homes to 70% of homes in a five-year period when no one in America had any money,” Bell says.

It’s hard to figure which now-nascent device/medium is primed to burst during these lean times. The Internet isn’t quite ubiquitous yet, but it might as well be. Telephones have also spread to practically every corner of the globe now, mainly thanks the explosion of wireless infrastructure (consider that before the ’90s, when telecom rollout was keyed to landline networks, it took almost a full century for practically all U.S. households, rich through poor, to be telephone-equipped; that pace accelerated thousands-fold once the wires were cut). Is mobile Web the Next Big Thing for universal consumption? Probably not, but we’ll see.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/25/2009 04:49:50 PM
Category: Business, History, Media, Society, Tech
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the skinny
Way back in the 8-bit day, the biggest health risk from compulsive videogaming was the carpal-tunnel scourge of Space Invaders wrist.

Nearly thirty years later, the physical trauma from console controller-clutching has skin-crawled down to the sweaty palms, and been dermatologically dubbed “PlayStation palmar hidradenitis”.

I’m not sure what the physiological progression is from here: Are we looking at bloodstream disorders next, from overexposure to Wii-ing?

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/25/2009 09:57:21 AM
Category: Science, Society, Videogames
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Tuesday, February 24, 2021

I got a happy surprise today when 10/10 Optics called and told me that my new glasses were ready for pickup, days earlier than I expected.

So I hustled over to get them. Maybe I was excited about gracing my face with this l.a. Eyeworks black-grey frame (inexplicably named “Shorty”). Or maybe I was anxious to start seeing a little more crystal-clearly than I had been through my years-old lenses.

Or, more likely, I was looking forward to getting myself another shot of Jack Daniels to seal the transaction, as is the unique habit at this particular optician.

I actually had to request my goodbye hit of liquor this time out, after the final fitting. But they complied cheerfully enough. Luckily it was another bone-chilling day out, which justified the tippling well enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/24/2009 10:39:53 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin'
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Consider this the shedding of toxic assets right down to the individual level: American Express is paying their deadbeat members to turn in their plastic and walk away.

Now, in an effort to get rid of more of their high risk customers, Amex is offering a $300 gift card to some cardholders as an incentive to pay off their revolving account balances by the end of April.

“They are trying to get ahead of the game and eliminate their losses,” says Steven Murphy of the Tower Group, an organization that tracks consumer credit card spending. Murphy says such incentives may just be the first step companies are taking to ward off the skyrocketing number of delinquencies before the bottom falls out on the credit card industry too.

Maybe this will mean a permanent reduction in the junk-mailing of all those annoying credit-card offers…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/24/2009 10:04:09 PM
Category: Business, Society
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While giving an overview on the ups and downs of online video repository Hulu, Fortune’s Jessi Hempel makes the following observation about another television network-owned site:

Consider TV.com. It is now the property of CBS (CBS, Fortune 500), the media juggernaut that passed on its opportunity to join with the other big networks in Hulu’s original launch. But when Hulu first partnered with TV.com, it was owned by CNET, and basically served as a TV fan site that hosted mostly user-generated content. That changed when CBS paid $1.8 billion for CNET last year. (TV.com? The golden URL alone was surely a major asset to CBS in the acquisition.)

Yes, it surely was. And in fact, when that billion-dollar deal went down, I argued that that “golden URL” was a primary driver for CBS bothering with CNET at all:

Yes, I’m characterizing this deal as essentially another dollars-for-domains transaction. Unlike other instances, though, this one actually makes sense. There’s no other way to establish the kind of mindshare that two dead-simple dot-com addresses [TV.com and news.com] bring. Having these two roads lead to CBS online properties will count big, with overall brand-building and online revenue generation via ads and other channels.

I still feel that way. I’ve noticed that CBS is promoting TV.com with primetime and late-night commercials, so they’re well on the road toward pumping up that online home. I haven’t detected a similar effort for news.com, which came along with the CNET purchase, but I expect it to be transformed from a tech-news focus to a redirect for CBSNews.com eventually.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/24/2009 09:24:51 PM
Category: Business, Internet, TV
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Monday, February 23, 2021

coaches on ice
When I decamped from Florida three years ago for New York, little did I suspect that Tampa Bay Lightning then-head coach John Tortorella eventually would follow the same path north.

Yes, Torts is the new bench boss for the New York Rangers. He has 21 games to instill a Camp Torture-ella environment among the Blueshirts, and thus hopefully reverse the slow-but-steady slide out of playoff contention they’ve been on for the past month. I have my doubts that a couple dozen games is enough time to get things moving in the right direction, but at least it’ll set the foundation for next season.

As for the now-deposed Tom Renney: I have no problem with canning the coach mid-stream, and for all the talk of player underachievement, I think the lack of organization and discipline among the coaching staff was really glaring over the past couple of weeks. It culminated with last night’s listless OT loss to the Leafs, when I noticed several botched shift changes and positional mis-matches. I kept the TV on long enough to watch Renney’s postgame press conference, and I could tell he knew that he was a goner, and deservedly so.

One last note: TSN saw fit to mention this consequence from Renney’s firing:

In an interesting sidenote, all four NHL teams that opened the NHL season in Europe have now fired their head coaches this season. In addition to Renney, other coaches to get the axe are the Penguins’ Michel Therrien, the Lightning’s Barry Melrose and the Senators’ Craig Hartsburg. Those teams were part of the NHL’s move to generate interest overseas by holding regular season games in Prague, Czech Republic and Stockholm, Sweden to kick off the 2008-09 campaign.

This is TSN engaging in veiled jingoism, implying that the league shouldn’t dilly-dally overseas or else bad things would eventually accrue. So that means that coaching staffs on next year’s European quartet of NHL teams — the Red Wings, Blues, Panthers, and Blackhawks — better watch their backs…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 10:47:16 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey, New Yorkin'
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Dubbed by one Congressional leader as “the most negative brand in America” — and almost certainly among the most-mocked — the Dubya-legacy “No Child Left Behind” Department of Education program is up for renaming.

And that means plenty of input from the World Wide Peanut Gallery, including:

One entry, alluding to the bank bailout program, suggests that it be called the Mental Asset Recovery Plan. Another proposal: the Act to Help Children Read Gooder… the Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act, the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act, the Teach to the Test Act and the Could We Start Again Please Act.

I love me a good rebranding that, please, thinks of the children…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 09:01:53 PM
Category: Comedy, Politics, Wordsmithing
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He’s not the first to point out the relationship between grandiose urban landscapes and oppressive governments, but Slate’s Matthew Polly turns a nice descriptive trick when summing up the beauty that is Russia’s St. Petersburg:

Nowhere is that more true than on Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare and most famous street. (Gogol again: “What splendors does this street not know!”) Driving down it was like a flashback to Architecture 101’s final exam. Hmm, let’s see: Neoclassical, Style Moderne, Baroque, Neoclassical, Neoclassical, Baroque.

Say this about absolute monarchies: While living under them is awful (tens if not hundreds of thousands died building St. Petersburg, their bodies laid into the foundation), they do leave behind magnificent cities. Democracies, while far more pleasant, leave behind places like Phoenix.

Maybe more apt a democratic example would be Florida’s St. Petersburg, which is not only the original St. Pete’s sister city, but was also my home for a good decade-and-a-half. Much like Phoenix or any other Sunbelt town, it’s fairly flattened out, and while it’s got its share of modest architectural charms, the stripmall remains the most distinguishing structural landmark.

But true, at least no one got killed while building the American version. Although, I could conjure up the old “God’s Waiting Room” nickname and assign the Gulf Coast city its own body count.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 08:18:04 PM
Category: Florida Livin', History, Political Theory, Society
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The stock market spent the day being unkind toward big-bank stocks, particularly that of Citi, which is the target of nationalization fears thanks to reports of an increase of Federal ownership to 40 percent.

Forty percent is certainly a big chunk of change, especially in a behemoth like Citigroup. But that doesn’t have to amount to full control, by the government or any other entity. Consider:

The standard corporate definition of subsidiary status is 50 percent and up of ownership stake by a single entity. But an even more germane standard is the consolidated tax return threshold, which is 80 percent ownership of a business by another single entity, i.e. a parent company.

Granted, these are unusual times, so the textbook definitions don’t need to apply. On the other hand, we are talking mainly about perceptional standards: Whatever it takes to convince investors that Uncle Sam isn’t in charge at the teller windows will work. So the White House just needs to declare that nationalization doesn’t take effect, as long as Federal ownership stake stays below 80 percent (and ideally, well below that magic number). Market confidence restored!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 07:13:09 PM
Category: Business, Politics
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Sunday, February 22, 2021

Thousands of years of historical sleuthing and theorizing over Atlantis seemed to be trumped last week by Google Ocean, which appeared to uncover underwater evidence of the lost continent:

The network of criss-cross lines is 620 miles off the coast of northwest Africa, near the Canary Islands on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

The perfect rectangle – which is around the size of Wales – was noticed on the search giant’s underwater exploration tool by an aeronautical engineer who claims it looks like an “aerial map” of a city.

But just when you thought that, once again, Googling could solve anything, this “discovery” turned out to be an optical-digital illusion:

Alas, Google quickly threw cold water on the report. A spokeswoman told the British Press Association that the lines are an artifact of the data collection process, caused by boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor.

Who knew search results were slippery when wet?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/22/2009 03:27:42 PM
Category: Internet, Science
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Being a creature of the non-crosstown subway habit, I go weeks without ever setting foot on the Upper West Side (the closest I get is Midtown West).

And should I ever set my foot on the sidewalks thereabouts, I’ll have to extra-carefully watch my step:

Manhattan saw an 88 percent spike in fines for unattended droppings last year, with Morningside Drive, Amsterdam Avenue, West End Avenue, Riverside Drive and Central Park West leading the complaints, Sanitation enforcement officers said.

“It’s a minefield over here,” said Max Moyet, 34, a dog walker who lives on Central Park West. “It upsets the hell out of me.”

Moyet says he takes pains to “stare down” people who do not clean up after their pooches, a practice that’s become a daily activity.

“It’s their self-absorbed, all-about-me attitude,” Moyet complained. “They’re like, ‘I’m too busy going to my Pilates class. I don’t have the time to keep the neighborhood clean.’”

Speculation is that the recent November hike in pooper-non-scooper fines from $50 to $250 will curtail the crappiness. Frankly, with all the money on display in the UWS, I can see the opposite happening: Flagrant disregard for the law, just to show off how they can afford to pay the penalty even in tough times.

And for all you non-New Yorkers seeking perspective on this: Yes, it’s a big deal when these pedestrian walkways are strewn with dogshit. Equivalent of heavily-trafficked roads and highways being perpetually pockmarked by potholes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/22/2009 01:22:57 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society, True Crime
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