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September 2010
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March 2016

Looking Long At The Short

I finally saw the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' brilliant book, The Big Short. The book was infuriating but also energizing. For a series of reasons, the film felt exhausting. That's not to say it's a bad movie. But it left me longing for a richer exploration of the underlying issues that link money and crowd-think, a blurry whir for which most of us lack the tools (or patience) to process. Whether I'm looking at the debates between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, or the pathetic dog fights called the Republican Presidential campaigns, they seem to all offer salves that... Read more →

Two extremes – how the rich and poor spend Chinese New Year

Qing Shan Ding, University of Huddersfield One of the biggest annual celebrations around the world is upon us. February 8 marks the start of the Lunar New Year in China. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, akin to Christmas in the West. An important time of family reunions and catching up with old friends, it is also a huge consumer holiday, as people usher in the year of the monkey. Spending during this season in 2014 on shopping and dining was around 610 billion yuan – about US$100 billion. This... Read more →

The Value of Placebos

You can train your body into thinking it’s had medicine - From Mosaic Science, Jo Marchant asks if we can harness the mind to reduce side-effects and slash drug costs. Marette Flies was 11 when her immune system turned against her. A cheerful student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she had curly brown hair and a pale, moon-shaped face, and she loved playing trumpet in her high-school band. But in 1983, she was diagnosed with lupus, a condition in which the immune system destroys the body’s healthy tissues. It ran rampant, attacking her body on multiple fronts. She was given steroids to... Read more →