“The honest truth is that no one will ever know exactly what happened. There’s no doubt the steering column failed and the big question was whether it failed in the accident or did it cause the accident? It had fatigue cracks and would have failed at some point. There is no question that its design was very poor. However, all the evidence suggests the car did not go off the track as a result of steering column failure.”—Adrian Newey on Ayrton Senna’s death
That fair-trade cup of coffee we savour may not only fail to ease the lot of poor farmers, it may actually help to impoverish them, according to a study out recently from Germany’s University of Hohenheim. The study, which followed hundreds of Nicaraguan coffee farmers over a decade, concluded that farmers producing for the fair-trade market “are more often found below the absolute poverty line than conventional producers. “Over a period of 10 years, our analysis shows that organic and organic-fair trade farmers have become poorer relative to conventional producers.”
“According to the list makers at Forbes, I am the 50th most powerful person in the world — not as powerful as the Pope (No. 5) but more powerful than the president of the United Arab Emirates (56). Vanity Fair, another arbiter of what matters, ranked me the 26th most influential person in the country. The New York Observer, narrowing the universe to New York, put me 15th on its latest “Power 150,” a list that stretches from Michael Bloomberg to Lady Gaga. New York magazine asked Woody Allen to name the single most important person in our city; he named — aw, shucks — me. The world conspires to convince me of my significance. A respected Hollywood screenwriter has purchased an option on my “life rights” (a Faustian-sounding transaction, yes?) so that someone can portray me in a movie. When I did a radio call-in show a while back, a media reporter considered it an event of such urgency that he live-blogged the entire hour. Whatever I do, or don’t do, seems to be an event. Recently my sleepless wife sent out a midnight Twitter post — “Insomnia. Who else is awake?” — but she inadvertently sent it on my Twitter account rather than her own, prompting a global Twitter forum on my state of mind. You may ask yourself, as I often do: What the hell? I run a newspaper. I haven’t cured a disease, governed a country, built a business, discovered a galaxy or written a series of books about wizards or vampires. What makes me so important? But these days even asking the question marks you as out of touch, the kind of naïf who thinks Bill Gates’s value to the human race increased when he moved from algorithms to poor children. It’s a media world, kids, and media begins with Me.”—Bill Keller [Now, that’s what I call understatement.]
The Lost Sound Orchestra is the ASTRA project orchestra. It is a unique orchestra made by reconstructed ancient instrument coming from the ASTRA research activities. It is the first ensemble in the world composed of only reconstructed instruments of the past. Listening to it is like jumping into the past, in a sound world completely new to our ears.
David Foster Wallace, the most gifted and original American novelist of his generation, took his own life in 2008. His widow, the artist Karen Green, talks of the struggle to deal her loss and her decision to publish his unfinished work, “The Pale King”.
This collection presents a complete run of the exams presented by the Harvard Law School to its students from 1871 to 1998, minus 1995/1996 . The Exams are part of the Red Set Collection held by Historical and Special Collections.
The paper puts forward a small but novel idea of how we can cut down the incidence of bribery. There are different kinds of bribes and what this paper is concerned with are bribes that people often have to give to get what they are legally entitled to. I shall call these harassment bribes. Suppose an income tax refund is held back from a taxpayer till he pays some cash to the officer. Suppose government allots subsidized land to a person but when the person goes to get her paperwork done and receive documents for this land, she is asked to pay a hefty bribe. These are all illustrations of harassment bribes. Harassment bribery is widespread in India and it plays a large role in breeding inefficiency and has a corrosive effect on civil society. The central message of this paper is that we should declare the act of giving a bribe in all such cases as legitimate activity. In other words the giver of a harassment bribe should have full immunity from any punitive action by the state. It is argued that this will cause a sharp decline in the incidence of bribery. The reasoning is that once the law is altered in this manner, after the act of bribery is committed, the interests of the bribe giver and the bribe taker will be at divergence. The bribe giver will be willing to cooperate in getting the bribe taker caught. Knowing that this will happen, the bribe taker will be deterred from taking a bribe.