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7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
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Saks Fifth Avenue
New July 2013

1,400 homeless in Hong Kong, double government estimate: study

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The number of homeless people in Hong Kong is likely to be double that of previous government estimates, a City University study has found. The university, with the help of three other community organisations, puts the figure at 1,414 – far higher than the government’s last citywide tally of 674 made more than 15 years ago. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Warmer temperatures can lead to warmer tempers, UN report to say

Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems

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Ukraine’s ‘Chocolate King’ could edge new-look Yulia for president

Petro Poroshenko, a 48-year-old billionaire, emerges as leadership favourite

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Disruptions: A Tax Break to Anchor Tech Growth in San Francisco

Some companies housed in specific low-income areas of San Francisco receive breaks on taxes if they perform tasks that help improve their neighborhoods.

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Death toll rises in Washington mudslide

Washington authorities: Confirmed dead rises to 18; number of missing drops to 30 in mudslide

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Prices show two-paced housing market

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More evidence of a two-paced housing market has been revealed in property price figures from the Land Registry, with prices in London up 14%.

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The detrimental effects of America’s class system from birth to death, illustrated in 18 charts.

The detrimental effects of America’s class system from birth to death, illustrated in 18 charts. Povertylicious.Read more…

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The 5 Stages of Bitcoin Grief

Earlier this week, the IRS announced plans to treat Bitcoin as property and not currency. That means Bitcoin will be subject to capital gains tax, a wrinkle that could derail the crypto-currency on its path to global domination. Why? Because as Kevin Roose explained when the ruling was handed down, if … More »

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Science alone can’t save us, says famous climate scientist (gulp)

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Last week, I sounded off in response to a new climate change report released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The New York Times called the report a “sharper, clearer, and more accessible” explanation of climate change “than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date.” To me, and many others, it read like a rehash of the dynasty of reports we’ve already read about the scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is real. I found few traces of urgency, but rather an appeal that lets most people and fossil fuel companies off the hook by assuming that the problem is that scientists simply haven’t articulated their case clearly enough. In other words, it’s the kind of document the artist Basquiat would’ve slapped a fat “SAMO©” on. Those scientists deserve the chance to respond. I reached out to one of the authors of the report, Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, the wife of an evangelical Christian minister and one scientist who’s been particularly effective in communicating climate change fuckery (that would be my word, not hers) beyond the science-geekspeak. In our conversation, I learned, among other things, why the AAAS committee chose that particular focus for the report (hint: it used science!). Here are some snippets: Q. So, I had my rant last week about the “What We Know” report. Go ahead and blast back at me. A. I understand the frustration. It’s like, how many times do we have to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on this issue? We’ve known that humans can alter climate through burning coal and gas and oil for nearly 200 years. But if you look at the past four years of public opinion in the U.S., the belief that the seriousness of this has been exaggerated is at an all time high, since Gallup first started taking its poll back in 1998. So of course it’s frustrating when we see that scientific knowledge is going in one direction and public opinion is going in the opposite direction. Q. But is another report on the scientific consensus surrounding climate change really going to change that? A. The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, led by Ed Maibach, examined which message made the biggest difference in changing people’s opinion on climate change. What they were looking at was a single statement of fact. If you could tell people one fact, would that fact make a difference? The fact that made the biggest difference was that almost all scientists agree that humans are the primary cause of climate change. So that was the main message of this report, which I think the AAAS is most ideally suited to say because it represents so many scientists. Q. The facts don’t seem to be enough to budge certain members of Congress, though. A. I think that we would all agree that Congress is not the same as the average person. What makes Congress move on something is not necessarily the same as what would move the average person. I would be willing to bet that many of the people in Congress who publicly say that climate change isn’t real, privately know that it is. This was not a report for Congress, it is a report for people. Q. So scientists all agree, but I argued in my post last week that, unless people feel it immediately in their community — especially communities insulated by wealth and privilege — it doesn’t make any difference. A. That is exactly why I do the work that I do. My entire research program is focused on trying to figure out what the impacts of climate change are in the places that we live. What does it mean for me if I live in Texas or Boston or California, or if I live in Africa? There has been a perception that climate change is a distant issue in both time and place. That’s why the AAAS report is just one piece of the puzzle. There are many reasons why we have difficulty understanding climate change, and why we have difficulty feeling like it’s a concern. Part of it is that we feel it’s a distant issue. Part of it is feeling there isn’t scientific agreement on it. This second point is what the AAAS report was aimed at dispelling. Q. Adapting to a changing climate will require us to invest a lot of money in communities of color and low-income. When redistribution of wealth along racial and class lines is brought up, does that deter action? A. I think that the fundamental issue with climate change is that it’s a tragedy of the commons. It requires people to work together to achieve goals that anyone’s individual efforts will not be enough. So yeah, to many people that may suggest that the money and the well being and the status and profits they have so carefully accrued throughout their lives might need to be used to help other people. That’s a tough issue. For many people I don’t think that is a core value, but that is what climate change requires — for us all to work together for the solution because the problem is too big for any one of us to solve individually. Q. I’m sure some Americans think that sounds too much like commie-talk. A. [laughs] I’m sure for some that [that is true], but — and this is where it goes far beyond the science — but this is where we have to look into our hearts, and really look to our own values. For me, the values in my heart come from my faith. The Christian faith is very clear that we are to love others as Christ loved us. And so that’s where my own motivation comes from. This is why it’s such a difficult issue because it’s not just about facts, it’s about values and what’s in our hearts. It requires us to take a long hard look at what values are important to us, the things that we love and we care about. Q. People’s actions don’t align with their professed faith on a lot of issues. How do we address this with climate change? A. So a big part of the resistance to climate change is that if we acknowledge it then we have to do something about it. And many people are not happy with the solutions that have been proposed. When you talk about climate change you hear words like “taxation” and “restrictions” and “limitations” To many people, those are fighting words. If you look at the history of the United States, why did the American Revolution happen? It happened because of taxation and government control. Climate change is such a complicated issue because it doesn’t just involve facts, it involves reconciling this issue and its solutions with values that are very deeply held for many people today. We’re not talking about changing the chemicals in spray cans. We’re talking about changing the entire foundation of our society. Our society is founded on the premise of cheap and easily available fossil fuels that do not take into account the external costs of using those fossil fuels. Q. Yet the AAAS report focused on pronouncing the one fact of scientist consensus, above all. A. I’ve given talks before entitled “The Facts Are Not Enough” [laughs]. So many of us scientists kinda labor under the illusion that if we just gave people enough facts that would be enough. But I think we all know that, looking at our personal lives, we could have all the facts, but we just do things because that’s what we feel is true, even if the facts don’t support that. So I don’t think facts are enough to change everything, but as scientists, that’s all we can give. It’s up to us to provide the facts and then it’s up to the people to make up their minds about that. Q. But when scientists go beyond just the facts — people like Michael Mann, James Hansen, or virtually any environmental justice advocate — they get shut out or shut down. A. As scientists representing a scientific society, our responsibility is to give the facts, and an assessment of the risks as well. This is an important new aspect of the AAAS report. It’s very similar to the [Association of American Physicians]: We want medical doctors to give us the diagnosis, and give us a risk assessment, but not preach at us, right? However, clearly we scientists are all humans and we have opinions and values and concerns and emotions just like any other human being. I don’t think, as scientists, that we should try and pretend that we are passionless robotic entities. If we care about this issue, then we should let people know! I do believe, though, that we should be clear when we are speaking as a scientist, as an authority, and when we are speaking as a concerned human being, and most of the scientists I know are careful to make that distinction.Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics

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U.S. incomes rise in February while inflation remains low

US consumer incomes and spending gained for the second straight month in February, while inflation pressure remained subdued, the Commerce Department reported Friday. In a suggestion that the frigid winter storms that battered the country in December-February did not completely repress economic…

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If we want people to drive less, we have to end sexism

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At Atlantic Cities, Ann Friedman has a stellar post about how gender inequality affects public transit ridership. Most transit riders are low-income, she writes, and guess who earns less than men? (BINGO.) Research backs her up: A 2013 study by the AASHTO found 114 women ride public transportation for every 100 guys. “Women overall are more dependent on transit than men, for low-income households in particular,” says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, an urban planning professor at UCLA. “If there is one car, it’s most often the man who drives the car.” And yet women are disproportionately the victims of harassment on public transit. Friedman cites a 2007 survey of NYC subway riders that says of those who witnessed sexual assault or harassment, 93 percent said the victim was a woman. In the simple act of trying to get home from work, ladies have to worry about strangers’ indecent exposure, groping, and even rape — and on top of that, the bus driver might not care (or, worse, might be the aggressor). Reporting the crimes is tricky; as the NYT points out, some cultures don’t trust the police enough to get them involved. As just one example of way too many, L.A. resident Julie Asperger told LAist she’s gotten so much sexual harassment on the Metro, she avoids it at all costs: Riding the bus is like a war zone … Men will sit next to me when I [wear] skirts and dresses. Men sitting next to me will start caressing the side of my leg. I have had men reach and touch the inside of my thigh. If city lovers and environmentalists want more people to ride public transportation, we’ve gotta do something to make it seem as safe for women as driving. Loukaitou-Sideris again: “A number of [women] perceive the private automobile as the safest mode of transportation, so they will save money to try to buy an automobile,” she says, “or restrict their activity to certain times of day to not have to take public transit at night.” Not only does that have implications for the climate, but it’s just plain depressing. When you consider fatalities, taking the bus or train is way safer than driving. Let’s make those safer spaces for women too.Filed under: Cities, Living

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Oil workers and Jewish grandmas driving American metropolitan growth

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Looking for the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States? Follow the fracking – or, alternatively, search for the top-rated golf club brunches on Yelp. The most recent U.S. census data, measuring urban growth between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, showed that oil boomtowns and Southern retirement communities now get to sit at the popular table. The irony here, of course, is that there were never more unlikely candidates for said table than The Villages, Fla., or Fargo, N.D. This list paints a pretty bizarre picture of America’s future, but at least it’s interesting. A couple of cities on this list – Austin, for example – actually seem like fun places to live for young people, but what’s most striking is that with the exception of The Villages, all of the top spots are filled by oil towns. That’s no coincidence. Last July, the New York Times published a study examining social mobility in metro areas across the United States. The places of greatest economic opportunity, according to the results, were concentrated in oil-rich regions: North Dakota, eastern Montana, western Texas. Here’s a list of the top 10 fastest-growing metro areas, with the most likely reasons for their growth: 1. The Villages, Fla. – 5.2 percent Awkwardly named The Villages is literally just a retirement community in the dead center of Florida, about an hour northwest of Orlando. No one under the age of 65 is moving there. 2 & 3. Odessa and Midland, Texas – tied at 3.3 percent Odessa and Midland, about 20 miles apart, lie on the oil-rich Permian Basin in western Texas, which is expected to produce 1.41 million barrels this month. Both towns have experienced housing shortages in recent years due to an oil boom in the region. 4 & 5. Fargo and Bismarck, N.D. – tied at 3.1 percent Fargo and Bismarck have both seen unprecedented growth due to workers flocking to high-paying jobs on the Bakken shale. This influx — and its attendant problems, including high real-estate prices, increased crime rates, and a really tough dating scene – have been well-documented. 6. Casper, Wyo. – 2.9 percent Casper, nicknamed The Oil City, is bringing recent high school grads to work in the region’s oil fields in droves. A city full of 18-year-olds with tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income? Pretty sick, brah! 7. Myrtle Beach, S.C. – 2.7 percent It turns out everyone you’ve ever met wearing a Myrtle Beach sweatshirt is finally making their sartorially expressed dreams a reality and moving to Myrtle Beach. There is no other explanation. 8. Austin, Texas – 2.6 percent Have you ever been to Austin? There is pretty much nowhere within the city limits that you can’t get a delicious taco. That’s just part of the reason that 110 people move to Austin each day – the city’s economy expanded by 5.9 percent last year, more than twice the growth rate for the national economy. 9. Daphne, Ala. – 2.6 percent Fairhope, in the Daphne metro area on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, was founded as an experimental utopian society by a group of rare Iowan socialists, and continues to pride itself on being a weird little resort town. Fairhope’s current mayor started out as the city’s horticulturist, and the town is committed to being bike- and pedestrian-friendly. This one doesn’t sound so bad, y’all. 10. Cape Coral, Fla. – 2.5 percent In 2012, Forbes named Cape Coral among its 25 top places to retire in the U.S. It seems that the publication’s target audience took that recommendation to heart.Filed under: Cities, Climate & Energy, Living

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America’s worst food deserts: Map-lovers edition

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Pablo PecoraKhongoryn Els-Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Both a literal and food desert.Food deserts are officially defined as low-income neighborhoods far away (a mile or more) from grocery stores. But distance, as the crow flies, isn’t that relevant, since only a few mutants and drone pilots navigate their cities that way. What actually matters is the time it takes to walk to the grocery store. The website Walk Score has the data to account for the hills and railroads and warehouses that separate you from food, and it has used that information to rank U.S. cities by food access. Compare the difference between New York, where 72 percent of people live just five minutes away from a grocery store … Click for the interactive map.… and Tuscon, where only 6 percent of the population has such easy access: Click for the interactive map.Seattle is somewhere in between: Click for interactive map.City planners already use the Walk Score data to find their food deserts. (For more on why food deserts exist, and how people are addressing the problem, check this out.) You can play with the interactive maps for the top- and bottom-ranked cities here. If your city isn’t there, you can always zoom right in on your house (and prove that you live in a pizza desert) at Walk Score’s main site. Here’s the complete ranking of big U.S. cities by percentage of residents within a five-minute walk to food access: New York 72 percent San Francisco 59 percent Philadelphia 57 percent Miami 49 percent Oakland 49 percent Boston 45 percent Washington, D.C. 41 percent Chicago 41 percent Baltimore 41 percent Long Beach 41 percent Los Angeles 36 percent Seattle 31 percent Portland 29 percent Milwaukee 29 percent Minneapolis 29 percent Cleveland 25 percent San Diego 21 percent Detroit 19 percent San Jose 17 percent Denver 17 percent Fresno 17 percent Houston 15 percent Sacramento 15 percent Atlanta 15 percent Columbus 14 percent Dallas 13 percent Bakersfield 13 percent Memphis 11 percent Austin 10 percent Las Vegas 10 percent Phoenix 9 percent San Antonio 9 percent Nashville-Davidson 9 percent Louisville-Jefferson 9 percent Jacksonville 8 percent Fort Worth 8 percent El Paso 8 percent Arlington 8 percent Virginia Beach 7 percent Omaha 7 percent Tulsa 7 percent Albuquerque 7 percent Charlotte 6 percent Tucson 6 percent Kansas City 6 percent Mesa 6 percent Colorado Springs 6 percent Raleigh 6 percent Oklahoma City 5 percent Indianapolis 5 percent Wichita 5 percent Filed under: Article, Food

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Why is New York’s Citi Bike losing tons of money?

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New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. It’s only been 10 months since the Citi Bike program started, and already the “most visible bikesharing program in the world” is in trouble. Not just the can’t-get-out-of-first-gear kind of trouble – we’re talking losing-millions-of-dollars-very-rapidly kind of trouble. On top of all that, their general manager just quit. With over 6 million trips taken and more than 400,000 memberships and passes sold, everything seemed like it was going so well. What happened? Trouble started with software glitches in the Citi Bike map and $10 million in flood damage from Hurricane Sandy. Alta Bicycle Share, the Portland-based company that operates Citi Bike program, hasn’t been so great at maintaining and repairing vandalized docking stations and damaged bikes. Redistribution of bicycles to high-demand areas during rush hour has also been a sore spot. Morning commuters complain about being “dock-blocked” while trying to find available bikes through the Citi Bike app. Frustrated riders tweeted complaints about certain docking stations being empty for days on end and lamented Citi Bike gridlock. Want to get a Citi Bike in the Bronx? Fuggetaboutit. And like other bikesharing programs across the country, Citi Bike isn’t attracting low-income or minority riders. So far, Citi Bike’s finances depend on day-pass purchases meant to appeal to tourists, which have dropped significantly over the past few months. Unusually harsh weather played a part: Turns out when the city gets buried under one of the snowiest winters in 10 years, not many people want to take a joy ride to Coney Island. Bike stat wonks and data engineers made a lot of fancy graphs and charts to prove it. So will Citi Bike find itself gone in a New York minute? Even though 91 percent of New Yorkers polled by Transportation Alternatives think Citi Bike should expand through federal dollars, the program (unlike other bikesharing programs in the U.S.) was actually designed to operate without public money. So while Mayor de Blasio has no plans to bail them out, he might agree to let the company raise fees for annual memberships. The WSJ also points out that cozying up to other potential sponsors for revenue has proven difficult, what with the large Citi Bank logo emblazoned on every blue bike in town. New Yorkers aren’t alone in their bikeshare troubles: Some programs in other cities aren’t doing so hot, either. But if Citi Bikes can fix itself and come out stronger, it’ll go a long way toward proving that if a bikeshare can make it here, it can make it anywhere.Filed under: Cities, Living

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Bren-Books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction<

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Chocolate Artisan Truffles by Just Chocolate

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New July 2013