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Art Bubble Bursts?

Well, it looks like the art bubble has gone kaput, at least according to this Bloomberg report that begins by detailing the hoped-for only-80 percent haircut expected by one Niels Kantor on a $100,000 abstract canvas by Hugh Scott-Douglas shown below.

Kantor opines: “I feel like it can go to zero.” Well put.

Tulips anyone?

The Troops are Fast Getting Fatter

The Pentagon grudgingly revealed to the Military Times that the nation’s armed forces are not immune to the obesity epidemic that has been sweeping the nation in recent years, the charts below illustrating a trend that, hopefully will not (well, can’t) continue.

It is no coincidence that recently discovered documents from the 1960s that also showed up in the news yesterday indicate the sugar industry paid for research that would depict fat as the bad actor in the nation’s big health concern at the time – heart disease.

This thinking has become so ingrained in the American psyche – fat makes you fat and, therefore, it is bad – that it will be difficult to undo before the country collapses under its own weight. The latest evidence of just how difficult is found in the first article above:

“This is about the national security of the United States,” said retired Army Lt.  Gen.  John  Bednarek, who was the highest ranking American general in Iraq in 2014. “It’s a long term trend and we cannot turn a blind eye. The bottom line is that our commanders and senior enlisted leaders have to take a look at what we are serving, whether it’s in the [dining facility] or aboard a ship in the mess. Are we providing healthy choices? Are we providing fruits and vegetable options up front? As opposed to the first thing they see in the morning is the grill with a 22-grams-of-fat sausage patty?”

Climate Change, Spinal Tap, Pi, etc.

Contained in this supremely fascinating, quite humorous, and, sadly, pretty disturbing long-term perspective on today’s climate change predicament is this little segment that includes a reference to everyone’s favorite Rob Reiner offering from 1984.

Yes, as in the movie, the miniature Stonehenge looks more like the symbol Pi which happened to be the least of the concerns for band members who noted:

David St. Hubbins: I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem *may* have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being *crushed* by a *dwarf*. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.

Ian Faith: I really think you’re just making much too big a thing out of it.

Derek Smalls: Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea.

Brooks on Rose on Trump

When NY Times columnist David Brooks last appeared on Charlie Rose he said he had to get outside the New York – Washington bubble in order to understand the appeal of Republican Nominee for President, Donald Trump. In this return visit, he shares what he’s learned.

Lots of interesting stuff here – Hillbilly Elegy, “word-people” and those who aren’t, Trump’s extremely strong “short-burst” sentences, etc.

Debt, Without the Degree

There should be a great deal of sympathy (and, yes, someone in the gubment should actually do something) for those who failed at their attempt at higher education and are now saddled with the debt sans the degree (that would help then pay back said debt).

In this story at Bloomberg, the default data is tallied and – Surprise! – dropouts are defaulting at alarming rates.

Yeah,  college is nice, but it’s not for everybody, and this is very much a case of giving someone too much rope with which to hang themselves.

Many years ago, when dropouts would walk away with a few thousand dollars in student load debt, it wasn’t such a big deal, but the numbers are much, much bigger today. Most 20-year old dropouts (surely there are quite a few exceptions) shouldn’t have to wear the debt of their failed college experiment like a ball and chain in perpetuity.

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