“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
El Salvador is set to eclipse Honduras as the country with the highest homicide rate in the world. By the end of September 2015, there had been around 5000 murders in a country of just over 6 million.
The staggering death toll follows the breakdown of a truce between powerful, rival gangs and the government. El Salvador’s murder rate is now the highest it’s been since the end of the country’s brutal civil war. There is on average one murder an hour.
Police and military are now combatting the gangs head-on and gang members are being charged with a new crime — membership of a terrorist organization.
VICE News correspondent Danny Gold headed to El Salvador to investigate what many are now calling a war between gangs and police.
Computerized trading makes up an increasing portion of bond dealings.Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
In midtown Manhattan one recent morning, Ryan Sheftel and a handful of math whizzes at New York-based Global Trading Systems LLC were debating how to profit from rapid-fire changes in the world’s most-liquid market, U.S. Treasurys.
Their quandary: how to gain an edge on dozens of firms seeking out trading signals by buying and selling milliseconds ahead of rivals. Hours later, after one suggested tracking Treasury moves by simulating atoms colliding inside metal, a bid to predict how other traders would respond to market moves, they began tweaking their proprietary computer codes to react faster.
The discussion was only one sign that computerized trading strategies, or algorithms, are remaking the $12.7 trillion Treasury market, emulating earlier sea changes in stock and currency trading.
Firms using algorithms say they are expanding the flow of orders and making pricing smoother, but skeptics see signs the firms are intensifying tumult at market turning points because of their speed.
Regulators haven’t fully concluded what the growing presence of algorithmic trading means for the Treasury market, but data show they now account for an increasingly large proportion of volumes.
Anthony Perrotta, partner at researcher Tabb Group, estimates superfast, nonbank trading firms account for 60% of activity in the most active corners of electronic Treasury trading, up from 45% in 2012.
As a global community, we all want to end poverty. Mia Birdsong suggests a great place to start: Let’s honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. She asks us to look again at people in poverty: They may be broke — but they’re not broken.
In a desperate bid to seek a better life in Europe, thousands of refugees and migrants leave the shores of Libya and cross the perilous Mediterranean Sea every month. Over 2,000 people have died making the journey in 2015 alone.
The routes to and journey through Libya are also dangerous, however, and since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country has struggled to achieve and maintain stability. Porous desert borders, rival fighters, and weak governance have left much of Libya in complete chaos.
With militias controlling large swathes of land, their attentions have turned to the people that cross their territories. The fighters assert they are bringing order to the country as they detain the refugees, yet these people’s lives have become valuable commodities to the militias as they try to solidify their positions in the country.
VICE News secured exclusive access to a camp outside Tripoli, run by a militia that has seized hundreds of migrants. Food is scarce, dehydration and disease is rife, and control comes in the form of whips and warning shots. The militia claims to have the migrants’ interests at heart, but what emerges is a very different story.
To many sighted people, the prospect of going blind is terrifying. They think about what they would lose: independence, visual beauty, reading labels at Costco. Pretty awful, huh?
I can speak with some authority on this matter since I have retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has caused me to lose my sight slowly since birth. At first, it was simply night blindness; then my peripheral vision narrowed — more precisely, I have blind spots that are gradually getting larger. Recently, my condition began to affect my central vision, turning it blurry and distorted. My blind spots will get bigger, and my central vision will get blurrier until I see nearly nothing. Right now, I have blind spots that are fairly large — 20/250 vision in the left eye and 20/350 in the right. So yeah, I’m fairly blind.
My vision loss helped me hone my moral compass: be independent in a way that doesn’t endanger others
I won’t lie: it’s not a hot-stone massage with nubile young men feeding me peeled grapes. It’s not that bad, either. It’s life, and you learn how to deal with it. You don’t lose as much independence as you’d think as long as you use adaptive techniques. Visual beauty is only one form of beauty. And reading labels at Costco isn’t all that interesting.
I also have the complicating factor of bilateral profound deafness (partially mitigated by cochlear implants), as I have Usher Syndrome, which pairs hearing loss and vision loss. So my experiences aren’t typical for someone going blind, if there is such a thing as a typical experience in this case. Still, here are some of the things that happen when you lose your vision.
Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education
In September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.
Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.
COUNT WHAT COUNTS
A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.
Recognizing the importance of education, the prior Millennium Development Goals included a target of reaching universal primary schooling by 2015. Although developing countries did, in fact, substantially expand access to schooling over the past two decades, many have still not translated increased education into economic well-being. The reason is that too many countries focused on increasing the number of children attending school rather than on educational outcomes.
Police investigate incident near Arras, France, in which three US citizens – two of them soldiers – prevented attack by suspect reportedly armed with AK-47
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve praises the brave actions of two train passengers who reportedly helped overpower the gunman – link to video
A heavily armed gunman has opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris before being overpowered by three US citizens, two of whom were soldiers.
Two people were injured in the attack, including one of the Americans, who was admitted to hospital with serious injuries to his hand that needed surgery.
Barack Obama described the men as heroic following the attack on Friday.
A British passenger, Chris Norman, helped the Americans tie up the suspect, and French anti-terrorist police are now questioning him. He was arrested after the train made an emergency stop at Arras, near the French-Belgian border.
The suspect’s motive was not immediately known, but French prosecutors said counter-terrorism investigators were launching an inquiry. According to early briefings, the gunman, 26, was known to French intelligence services and was Moroccan or of Moroccan origin.
Belgian prosecutors said on Saturday they had formally opened an anti-terrorism investigation. “We have opened an inquiry as the suspect boarded the train in Brussels,” Eric van der Sypt, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said.
The shooting happened just before 6pm in the last carriage of the train, which was carrying 554 passengers. The man had several weapons in his luggage, including a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol and razor blades.
Two of the Americans were in the military, their travelling companion and childhood friend Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, said.
The one injured was named as air force serviceman Spencer Stone from Sacramento, California. The other was Alek Skarlatos, of Roseburg, Oregon.
“We heard a gunshot and we heard glass breaking behind us and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle,” Sadler said. The trio then saw a gunman entering the carriage with an automatic rifle, he added.
“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells: ‘Spencer, go!’ and Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”
I’m always surprised at how blasé some people can be about interrupting and talking over others. That is, until I catch myself doing it in conversations, too. It’s so hard to quell the impulse to interject, especially when you have a relatable story or a point you don’t want to miss making. Perhaps that’s why chronic interrupting is a trait shared by so many, including some of the nicest, most caring people I know. Likewise, I don’t consider myself a rude person by nature, yet I make the same conversation faux pas from time to time. Simply knowing how frustrating it is to be talked over isn’t enough to stop it from happening; otherwise, none of us would ever interrupt anyone else. So how do we learn not to breach such basic etiquette?
What’s Behind the Need to Interject
When someone interrupts us, we feel annoyed primarily, but also disrespected. Regardless of what we’re talking about or who does the dirty deed, being interrupted sends the message that our words carry less weight than the interrupters’. And that’s partly true, at least in the interrupters’ opinions. Think of the times you’ve stopped someone mid-sentence. You thought something was so crucial to the conversation that it had to be voiced immediately—that your point was more important, or so important that you didn’t want to risk it not being heard.
Some psychologists differentiate between types of interruption when analyzing conversation patterns. There’s competitive interruption, which is an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction. Cooperative interruption is when the comment is meant to add to the conversational flow—such as adding a related opinion or even making supportive statements—but still stops the original speaker from smoothly finishing his or her thought. The well-intentioned among us tend to cooperatively interrupt, but etiquette-wise, that’s not much better than the competitive kind. Both prevent the other people we’re conversing with from speaking their minds freely. Both make them feel that their feelings on the matter aren’t worth as much as ours.
Learn to Wait Your Turn
According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette, “interrupting is the most common and among the most irritating errors people make in conversation.” But just because many people do it doesn’t make it less of an etiquette no-no. It’s hard, but by no means impossible, to overcome such an ingrained impulse. Like any other bad habit, not interrupting others requires reworking how we look at the situation (conversation) and re-training ourselves within it.