“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.