The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 21, 2010 at 1:31 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Cities/ metropolitan areas dominate the US economy: 12% of land mass, but 2/3s of population and 75% of gross domestic product. But municipal governments remain small and a crazy quilt:
    QUOTE
    There are benefits associated with intense localism. Citizens feel a closer connection to their local officials (although does anyone really know the boundaries of their local library district?). And, in theory, individuals and firms can shop around for the government that most closely matches their preferred mix of efficiency, service and taxes.

    Yet the drawbacks of fragmented governance far outweigh the benefits.

    Fragmentation keeps government weak. With the landscape chopped into thousands of municipalities and special bodies, most local governments remain tiny, nearly amateur concerns, unequal to the widening challenges of global competition, suburbanization, revitalization and economic development.

    Many states are bedeviled by what David Rusk, the former mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., has called a crazy quilt of “little box governments and limited horizons.” In geographical terms, little boxes ensure that in almost every region scores of archaic boundaries artificially divide areas that otherwise represent single, interrelated social, economic and environmental communities. Such divisions complicate efforts to carry out cross-boundary visioning, plan cooperatively or coordinate decision-making across large areas.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: wsj_opinion wsj.com bruce_katz municipal_government cities governance

  • Must-read article.
    QUOTE
    The bigger issue is whether the country can afford the systemic damage being done by the ever-growing income inequality between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else, whether poor, middle class or even rich. That burden is inflicted not just on the debt but on the very idea of America — our Horatio Alger faith in social mobility over plutocracy, our belief that our brand of can-do capitalism brings about innovation and growth, and our fundamental sense of fairness. Incredibly, the top 1 percent of Americans now have tax rates a third lower than the same top percentile had in 1970.

    “How can hedge-fund managers who are pulling down billions sometimes pay a lower tax rate than do their secretaries?” ask the political scientists Jacob S. Hacker (of Yale) and Paul Pierson (University of California, Berkeley) in their deservedly lauded new book, “Winner-Take-All Politics.” If you want to cry real tears about the American dream — as opposed to the self-canonizing tears of John Boehner — read this book and weep. The authors’ answer to that question and others amounts to a devastating indictment of both parties.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: nyt frank_rich wealth economy

  • Interesting details on what helps us keep neuro-plasticity.
    QUOTE
    What the researchers discovered was that within each of our brains there exists a population of neural stem cells which are continually replenished and can differentiate into brain neurons. Simply stated, we are all experiencing brain stem cell therapy every moment of our lives.

    As one might expect, the process of neurogenesis is controlled by our DNA. A specific gene codes for the production of a protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays a key role in creating new neurons. Studies reveal decreased BDNF in Alzheimer’s patients, as well as in a variety of neurological conditions including epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Fortunately, many of the factors that influence our DNA to produce BDNF factors are under our direct control. The gene that turns on BDNF is activated by a variety of factors including physical exercise, caloric restriction, curcumin and the omega-3 fat, DHA.

    This is a powerful message. These factors are all within our grasp and represent choices we can make to turn on the gene for neurogenesis. Thus, we can treat ourselves to stem cell therapy by taking control of our gene expression.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: david_perlmutter neurogenesis neuroscience brain

  • Synopsis of Juliet Schor’s new book, Plenitude. Excerpt from pt. II:
    QUOTE
    Through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can be better off and more economically secure. Schor draws on recent developments in economic theory, social analysis, and ecological design to map out a path to a healthier environment and a higher quality of life.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: juliet_schor synopsis economy recession plenitude

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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