WHEAT V. RICE PEOPLE: Americans and Europeans stand out from the rest of the world for our sense of ourselves as individuals. We like to think of ourselves as unique, autonomous, self-motivated, self-made.
Because rice paddies need standing water, a community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.
Not wheat farmers – wheat needs only rainfall and requires substantially less coordination and cooperation. And historically, Europeans have been wheat farmers and Asians have grown rice.
LEAFING OF NEW YORK: over the last 50 or 75 or 100 years, the more developed parts of the nation’s densest big city have grown greener.
Manhattan, East Side: the Queensboro Bridge from East 59th Street. Older photo, 1912.
RUNNING OUT OF CHOCOLATE: Last year, the world ate 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.
Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region.
A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either.
The International Cocoa Organization estimates it has wiped out between 30% and 40% of global coca production.
CHINA’S BORDEAUX OBSESSION: Chinese investors now own almost 100 chateaus out of the 7,400 wine estates in the Bordeaux region. Shipments of Bordeaux wines to mainland China, their largest export market by volume and value.
Arlington, VA: 56% Metro Renters & 44% Laptops and Lattes. We’re affluent, well-educated singles or partner couples, who hold professions in business, finance, legal, computer, or entertainment. Young, mobile, or still in school, we live along or with a roommate in rented apartments. Long hours and hard work don’t deter us. Most of our income goes to rent, fashions, and latest technology. We live close to our jobs, so we can either walk or take a cab. We practice yoga, go skiing, and attend Pilates.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY: Asians, particularly Chinese, are concentrated here. Nearly half are foreign born and 1/3 don’t speak English. Long commutes are the way of life. Spending is careful; we’re not brand loyal and use coupons when we can. Dancing, casino gambling, eating out at our favorite restaurants consume our leisure time.
Income distribution in Arlington, VA. (ESRI)
West & East Germany: Those in West Germany have greater disposable income, lower rates of unemployment, more young people, more foreigners, and more trash. East Germans have more childcare, bigger farms, and higher flu vaccination rates.
German statistical office. Visualization: Gene Thorp, WAPO.
SELFIE MAKEOVER APP: If you haven’t been hitting the gym lately, Photox can add six-pack abs ($3.96), give you skinny legs ($3.96) or bulk-up your arms ($2.97). If it’s a dermatologist you desire, the app can also minimize wrinkles ($2.97), lighten skin ($3.96) and remove acne (99 cents). Photox is connects people with a team of experienced photo editors who can alter images as quickly and naturally as possible.
Developed by a No. Virginia professional, Photox allows users to submit photos for an editing makeover. (Courtesy of Photox)
DIGITAL INFIDELITY: Facebook users in relationships frequently use the site to keep in touch with “back-burners” — exes or platonic friends they know they could connect with romantically, should their current relationships go south.
Men have back-burners at roughly twice the rate of women.
On average, respondents in relationships said they had romantic or sexual conversations with two people (!) besides their current partner.
POWER SUIT: Want to project power? Your clothes have to fit you. To be a power dresser, it has to look like you command the clothes, not that the clothes are commanding or wearing you.
The 1980s was the reign of the floppy bow tie and the suit. And that was the look most women wore in their 20s and 30s when they started in the workplace.
By the ’90s, women began to hang up their broad-shouldered jackets to favor the softer, more luxurious fabrics used by designers like Donna Karan.
The movie Working Girl, which prominently featured the beloved power suit. (NPR)
GOOD JOB MOST IMPORTANT IN A HUSBAND: What ever-married women want in a spouse, more than anything else, is someone with a good job. 78% of women said steady employment was important to them in a partner, more than the 70% who wanted someone with similar ideas about raising children, or the 38% who cared about sharing moral or religious views.
There are no gender differences between the spousal personality traits that helped a woman’s career and the ones that helped a man’s. In both cases, having a conscientious partner is the only trait that had any measurable correlation. What allows someone to lean in is a conscientious partner. It’s something both sexes should think about in their careers.