“Today’s cohabitation-causes-bad-parenting is the 2010s version of the single-mothers-and-welfare-cause-crime hype from the 1980s. Both are dressed in a stated concern for the well-being of poor people, but both speak to the non-poor, creating a stigmatizing social distance from the poor, undermining real efforts to improve their conditions and reinforcing the “common sense” belief that systemic poverty results from poor individuals’ intimate decisions.”—Philip Cohen, Family Inequality Blog
“Germans longed to be near the shit, but not in it. This, as it turns out, was an excellent description of their role in the current financial crisis.”—Michael Lewis investigates German attitudes toward money, excrement, and the country’s Nazi past, all of which help explain its peculiar new status as the one nation that can save Europe from financial Armageddon. http://vnty.fr/rrsQXA
“Rather than a case of abject failure,” Hunt and Lipo argue, “Rapa Nui is an unlikely story of success.” The islanders had migrated, perhaps accidentally, to a place with little water and “fundamentally unproductive” soil with “uniformly low” levels of phosphorus, an essential mineral for plant growth. To avoid the wind’s dehydrating effects, the newcomers circled their gardens with stone walls known as manavai. Today, the researchers discovered, abandoned manavai occupy about 6.4 square miles, a tenth of the island’s total surface.”—Was Jared Diamond right about the collapse of Easter Island?