Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday Links: Recession Solutions

BROOKLYN, New York -- Everyone is trying to cope with economic hardships. The Russian government is giving people free lumber. New Yorkers can no longer steal paper plates from their local Whole Foods. And Oprah just wants you to read The Secret and think positively to solve all of your financial, emotional, and medical problems.

Wall Street Journal: Let the forest be your stimulus.
Despite having the third-largest hard currency reserves in the world, Russia still can't spend its way out of economic oblivion. So instead, the government is letting ordinary citizens fell timber, prospect for gold and plant potatoes for free in hopes of stimulating the economy.

New York Times: Russia's defense minister is a "stool salesman." Russia's military has long been plagued by a bloated officer corps, but in its current economic dire straits, the country can hardly afford to gently show these officers the door. They just roughly kick them to the curb.

Architects' Journal: We will build Europe's largest ... er ... parking lot.
The Russia Tower was slated to become Europe's tallest building, but financial mismanagement has brought the project to a halt, and little has been built since the cornerstone was laid two years ago. So much for Norman "The Apologist" Foster's wet dream of a building.

Geography of Jobs: Americans are equally screwed everywhere. That's not entirely true, but almost no major cities have been free from job losses. This map comes from consulting firm TIP Strategies and displays the change in the number of jobs for the 100 largest metropolitan areas since 2004.

WNYC: Forget NYSC, I'm joining the YMCA. Like the two-dollar bill story reported earlier, WNYC is asking listeners to submit their own uncommon indicators of the recession. The result is a fascinating interactive map of New York City.

Newsweek: Oprah wants you to inject things into your vagina.
Oprah got thoroughly skewered by Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert in this Newsweek cover story, where they portrayed her as an uncritical, weak-minded ninny who unflinchingly endorses crackpots and cranks. The results are hilarious.

Toronto Star: Foreigners don't like hockey. Canada has been lauded for its open and fair immigration policies. Now if they could only get the new arrivals to take up hockey.

ESPN: I wanna be like Barry. If you want to get close to Obama, join in on some hoops. This borders a bit on a cult of personality, but luckily basketball is already very popular in the US, so we don't risk facing a situation like Russia, where niche sports like tennis, judo and skiing saw their popularity skyrocket simply because the president (Yeltsin in the first case, Putin in the latter two) played them.

Metropolis Magazine: Meet America's stupidest mayor.
We have leveled our own broadsides against illiterate Boston mayor Tom Menino; now he may be facing a challenge to his authoritarian rule.

Tor Project: Help stop the Iranian thugocracy. Speaking of authoritarian rule, the Iranian government has become quite adept at thwarting journalists and would be protesters from gaining access to the Internet to get information about the unrest out of the country. This piece of software prevents the authorities from easily tracking them and cutting off their access, or worse, finding out their identity and personally targeting them. It can also be quite useful to bloggers and journalists in any part of the world.

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