On March 3, 2014, at 6:09 a.m. EST, a NASA-funded sounding rocket launched straight into an aurora over Venetie, Alaska. The Ground-to-Rocket Electrodynamics – Electron Correlative Experiment (GREECE) sounding rocket mission, which launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Poker Flat, Alaska, will study classic curls in the aurora in the night sky. via Space.com

On March 3, 2014, at 6:09 a.m. EST, a NASA-funded sounding rocket launched straight into an aurora over Venetie, Alaska. The Ground-to-Rocket Electrodynamics – Electron Correlative Experiment (GREECE) sounding rocket mission, which launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Poker Flat, Alaska, will study classic curls in the aurora in the night sky. via Space.com

The U.S. Economy Adds More Jobs Even Though It Snowed A Lot

The U.S. Economy Adds More Jobs Even Though It Snowed A Lot
Joanna Rothkopf
March 7, 2014

Last month, the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs, yet the unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 6.7 percent. Are babies being born and reaching adulthood very, very quickly?

Well, no.

Before the February report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released on Friday, the consensus among Wall Street analysts was that employers were to have added 149,000 jobs, with the jobless rate remaining steady at 6.6%. Analysts blamed weather for a projected lag in hiring this winter—the impact of freezing weather and excessive snow can mean a drop in hiring if businesses close, or a decline in weather-dependent jobs, like construction. In January, existing home sales fell to the lowest level in 18 months, and consumers have spent more on heat, meaning lower discretionary spending.

But those initial predictions didn’t come true. Hiring grew in many of these questioned sectors: education and health care added 33,000 jobs, construction added 15,000 jobs, and restaurants and bars added 20,100 jobs.

The weather did have some impact, though: it cut the length of the average workweek, hitting its lowest level since January 2011, while 601,000 people could not get to work because of snow and ice.

Economists, pundits and senators took to Twitter with initial reactions to the report:

@AnnalynKurtz: We still have not gained back all the jobs lost in the recession. We lost 8.7 million jobs in the crisis. We’ve gained back 8 million.

@robportman: Especially troubling in today’s jobs report: the number of long-term unemployed Americans increased more than the number of jobs created.

@econjared: Feb jobs report, upside: a solid 175,000 jobs added & revisions for the prior two months up by a total of 25,000 bit.ly/1g5Du1k

@JustinWolfers: It’s just a steady-as-she-goes recovery. Not fast enough, but not easy to derail. Wish it were faster, but we are making inroads into unemp.

While the job growth is heartening, to be sure, total unemployment has basically remained the same. Among the major worker groups (adult men, adult women, teenagers, whites, blacks and Hispanics), the unemployment rates did not change, with the highest rate being in teenagers (21.4%) and blacks (12%).

The real change occurred in the number of long-term unemployed, those who are actively looking for employment but who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, which increased by 203,000 in February to over 3.8 million, accounting for 37% of unemployed Americans.

Still, we should be optimistic about the general direction of the economy. “As people come back and see jobs opening up, there should be a rebound in the labor force,” said Joe Carson, director of global economic research at AllianceBernstein in an interview with the New York Times. “The overall direction is a lower jobless rate and more job growth going forward.”

Turkish PM Threatens to Ban Facebook, YouTube, Freedom, Democracy…

I wrote this awhile ago, but since it’s actually happening, I thought I’d repost.

Turkish PM Threatens to Ban Facebook, YouTube, Freedom, Democracy…
Joanna Rothkopf
March 7, 2014

Late Thursday night, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan issued a threat to videos of slow lorises holding umbrellas, Beyonce, the ability to stalk old high school classmates, oh, and freedom of expression.

 In an interview with Turkish broadcaster ATV, Erdogan threatened to ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been used by political rivals to attack him: “We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook.” He added that the sites were being used for “all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage.”

Still, President Abdullah Gul called the proposed ban “out of the question.”

The immorality to which the Prime Minister referred concerns audio recordings exposing corruption and misconduct in his inner circle. One such phone conversation was leaked in which, allegedly, he and his son, Bilal, discuss how to conceal a large sum of money.

Another more recent recording, released on YouTube on Thursday, features Erdogan (again, allegedly) reprimanding a newspaper owner about an article, suggesting the journalists responsible be fired.

Erdogan claims the recordings have been fabricated, placing the blame on the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally who runs an influential Islamist network that Erdogan considers a threat to his authority.

The Prime Minister’s AK Party faces important local elections on March 30.

"Whether the prime minister is serious about banning Facebook and YouTube, or just posturing for political points before the elections, it is a troubling sign when the leader of a major country like Turkey suggests cutting off avenues of discussion and curtailing free expression, rather than dealing with legitimate issues. Turkey has taken major steps backwards in terms of democracy, especially in the last three months. Trying to cut itself off from the outside world by banning social media would be a terrible mistake,” Susan Corke, Director for Eurasia Programs at Freedom House said in an email.

Erdogan and his AK-dominated Turkish parliament have responded to the corruption investigation with measures that, frankly, aren’t doing much good for their almost non-existant reputation as a freedom-loving regime. Erdogan reassigned hundreds police officers and prosecutors to other duties. Last month, the parliament passed a new law allowing the country’s telecommunications authority to block content on websites if a citizen feels their privacy has been compromised.

Turkey ranks among the top 15 countries in the world for Facebook membership, with around 34 million active users—almost half the country’s population of 77 million. Meanwhile, Turkey already banned YouTube for more than two years until 2010, after users posted videos the government found rude to the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

To put it in perspective, if the United States banned sites for potentially insulting content, there would be no Internet.

This is a dolphin stampede.

omg

Stunning work by Tetsuka Niiyama/HINODE:

This is a CG movie that depicts saltation and growth of life in the sea using jewelry as the motif for illustrating the theme “Jewels of Sea.” It creates mystifying and attractive scenery by the ores resembling creatures of sea and its transforming refraction and reflection of light that are affected by the organic moves.

Thanks to the (always A+) Creator’s Project for sharing.

Walked into Still House for the first time this morning - still reeling.

Walked into Still House for the first time this morning - still reeling.

"

For centuries, leading thinkers …. have told us not to jump to firm conclusions about the unknown. Yet today we jump faster and more frequently to firm conclusions. We like to believe there is wisdom in our snap decisions, and sometimes there is. But true wisdom and judgment come from understanding our limitations when it comes to thinking about the future. This is why it is so important for us to think about the relevant time period of our decisions and then ask what is the maximum amount of time we can take within that period to observe and process information about possible outcomes. Asking questions about timing is crucial, even if we cannot arrive at an answer as specific as ’42.’

[ … ]

Thinking about the role of delay is a profound and fundamental part of being human. Questions about delay are existential: the amount of time we take to reflect on decisions will define who we are. Is our mission simply to be another animal, responding to whatever stimulations we encounter? Or are we here for something more?

Our ability to think about delay is a central part of the human condition. It is a gift, a tool we can use to examine our lives. Life might be a race against time, but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires pause. The converse of Socrates’s famous admonition is that the examined life just might be worth living.

"

WAIT: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF DELAY by Frank Partnoy

"And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar,” to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important."

Victor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique”

Thanks to Open Culture, you can watch some of the greatest examples of Cinéma Pur. Man Ray’s Le Retour à Raison is above, but you can also watch his Emak-Bakia, L’Etoile de Mer, and Les Mystères du Château de Dé here.