Sandy inspires first Doctors Without Borders U.S. relief effort

Edith Honan:

NEW YORK, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Manhattan doctor Lucy Doyle has done stints with the global medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. But her latest assignment is a real eye-opener: New York City.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Doctors Without Borders has set up its first-ever medical clinic in the United States, and Doyle finds herself on the front line of disaster just miles from her day job.

“A lot of us have said it feels a lot like being in the field in a foreign country,” said Doyle, who specializes in internal medicine at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, now closed by Sandy’s damage.

Is apathy the new black death?

A Question on Quora:

I live in Spain and seriously, nearly all if not all the people I meet lack enthusiasm, are generally lethargic and display signs of an acute aversion towards work and effort in general, not to speak of suffering. On the other hand, everybody’s going to demonstrations and protesting and complaining about everything, but generally doing nothing in the long term because that means hard work. This is seriously wearing me down. I’ve met along the years amazingly talented people that just want to do nothing, and I wonder if it is possible at all for me to do everything always alone while drowning in this apathetic pool of mud.

Magic’s about understanding—and then manipulating—how viewers digest sensory information


In the last half decade, magic—normally deemed entertainment fit only for children and tourists in Las Vegas—has become shockingly respectable in the scientific world. Even I—not exactly renowned as a public speaker—have been invited to address conferences on neuroscience and perception. I asked a scientist friend (whose identity I must protect) why the sudden interest. He replied that those who fund science research find magicians “sexier than lab rats.”

I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment, and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician.

I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.

How Zara Grew Into the World’s Largest Fashion Retailer

Suzy Hansen:

Galicia, on the Atlantic coast of northern Spain, is the homeland of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, but is otherwise famous for being a place people try to leave. For much of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of gallegos, as they are called, emigrated to countries as far away as Argentina to escape Galicia’s rural poverty. Today, however, even as Spain teeters on the edge of economic catastrophe, the Galician city La Coruña has attracted notice as the hometown of Amancio Ortega Gaona, the world’s third-richest man — he displaced Warren Buffett this year on the Bloomberg billionaire index — and the founder of a wildly successful fashion company, Inditex, more commonly known by its oldest and biggest brand, Zara.

William Black on Geithner & Obama

Brad DeLong:

I wish people would stop asking me for insight into what Tim Geithner has been thinking since June 2009. I think I understand the President–you work 90 hours a week, 30 of which are ceremonial, 30 of which are coalition maintenance, and 30 of which are policy, of which macroeconomic and financial policy are only one of ten important issue areas. Thus if you are a president you spend three hours a week on macroeconomic and financial policy–about 30% of what we expect freshman taking “Principles of Economics” to spend. You can’t master any of the technical issues. You have to trust advisors.

But Geithner? The current theory is that he really did not understand and did not want to understand the difference between 1993 and 2009–that there is a big difference between a situation in which there is a threatened run from and one in which there is an active run to Treasuries, and a situation in which the clean-up of the financial mess is already well in hand and one in which it needs to be undertaken.