Good idea

Reed Seifer, the graphic artist who devised the "optimism" project in art school, with a new-look MetroCard. (via NYT)

Reed Seifer, the graphic artist who devised the “optimism” project in art school. (via NYT)

Experts estimate that the number of Chinese millionaires (in $USD) will double by 2013. Meanwhile the global assets of the rich fell by more than 11% in 2008. [Shanghai Daily]

The word “optimism,” printed on the back of seven million MetroCards randomly distributed this autumn, is New York’s latest large-scale public art project. [NYT]

The European Commission has pledged $1 billion to Nigeria for development. Most of the money is going to the oil-rich Niger Delta, where rebels have been executing violent attacks in protest of the inequitable spread of the regions wealth. [BBC]

→ More than last month’s call for disarmament to solve this problem. [BBC]

Echoing calls from the Obama administration, House Democrats have introduced a bill that would prevent widespread chaos from floundering “too big to fail” banks. A Financial Services Oversight Council would monitor a bank’s “scope, scale, exposure, leverage, interconnectedness of financial activities,” and report to the President before taking dramatic action. [Merco Press]

Though Mohamed ElBaradei, the departing chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, deems sanctions as a “grievous violation of human rights” that “affect the weak” and “do not solve problems,” Iran’s got to get it together to avoid new ones. “The ball is in Iran’s court.” [WSJ]

Villagers from the Dominican coastal town Arroyo Barillo will continue their suit against Virginia-based energy company AES. In 2003 and 2004 AES allegedly dumped toxic waste coal ash from its Puerto Rico plant into Arroyo Barill. People in the region are suffering from respiratory problems and dramatic birth defects. [Latin American Press]

Increasing efforts to prop up a shattered housing market, the U.S. government is greatly extending its traditional support of real estate, including guaranteeing the mortgages of middle-class and even upper-class buyers against default. [NYT]

→ While the country’s problem mortgages hit a new high. [WaPo]

Peruvian police busted a ring that has been murdering for human fat, to sell to the European cosmetics industry. Since the days of the Spanish conquests the children of the Andes have been terrified by tales of the “Pishtaco,” strangers who kill South American Indians on lonely roads, sucking out their fat to make lotions and potions for the West. [Times Online]

Farewell, Oprah. 2011 will be the end of the show that began an empire. Read the transcript here. “It feels right in my bones.” Or watch the tears up close. [USA Today]



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