Architects and critics within and beyond China have treated these derivative designs with scorn, as shameless kitsch or simply trash. Others cite China’s larger knock-off culture, from handbags to housing, as evidence of the innovation gap between China and the United States. For a larger audience on the Internet, they are merely a punchline, another example of China’s endlessly entertaining wackiness.
In short, the majority of Chinese architectural imitation, oozing with historical romanticism, is not taken seriously.
But perhaps it ought to be.
See more. [Images: Bianca Bosker]
Zara stores cozy up to the most famous brands in the world to sing their luxury ambitions even as they profit off a brilliant, cheap, short supply chain that delivers similar fashion at a much lower price.
Supply chains sounds boring. But they’re the secret to Zara’s success. Rather than ship skirts and dresses from Chinese plants where they arrive in-store after the style has peaked, Inditex (the parent company) makes the bulk of its clothes in Spain and Morocco. A hemline suggestion goes from a customer’s lips to a sales rack at record speed. The company, now the largest fashion retailer on earth, has grown overall sales by about 50% in five years to $17.5 billion. Its employees have gone from 80,000 to 110,000 in that time, despite being headquartered in a depressed Spanish economy, and selling predominantly to a very sick European continent.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Heavy rains and high tides have brought some of the worst flooding to Venice, Italy in years. The “acqua alta”, or high water, is common this time of year and Sunday’s level of 149 centimeters (4 ft, 10 in) was below the 160 centimeters (5 ft, 2 in) recorded four years ago in the worst flooding in decades. The bad weather and torrential rainfall will continue through Tuesday, forecasters said. Collected here are images from Venice as it endures this recent acqua alta.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
Autumn is a season of frosty mornings, festivals, and of course, spectacular foliage. Around the north, people have begun to see their breath form misty clouds in the chilly morning air, leaves are reaching peak color, and animals are on the move. Collected here is a second group of images of this year’s autumn from around the northern hemisphere. Be sure to see Part I as well.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
“It is a bit like painting with history,” Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse says of her project “Ghosts of History.”
She got the idea a few years ago when she found some old negatives at a flea market in Amsterdam, where she lives. “I was very curious about these mysterious photos and wanted to find out who took them and where. So I started to walk around Amsterdam and made photos in the same spot where the old photos were made and combined them on the computer.”
See more. [Images: Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse, Unknown, Tom Timmermans]
On the future of Scotland as a independent nation including defence, Europe, NATO, nuclear weapons, and currency, for The Atlantic (October 19, 2012)
The autumnal equinox took place on September 22, marking the end of summer and the start of fall across the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is the season of harvests, festivals, migrations, winter preparations, and of course, spectacular foliage. Across the north, people are beginning to feel a crisp chill in the evening air, leaves are reaching peak color, apples and pumpkins are being gathered, and animals are on the move. Collected here are some early images from this year’s autumn — more will come later as the season unfolds.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters]
The big loser is Turkey.
Despite the horror stories you may have heard about over half of Greek and Spanish youths being out of work, the reality is a bit more complicated. The above chart courtesy of the OECD (via Alan Beattie of the Financial Times) gives us a more accurate picture of youth joblessness. Instead of counting everyone under 25 who isn’t working as unemployed, it only counts everyone under 25 who isn’t working and isn’t in schol or a training program as unemployed. Things are still bad, but not nearly as bad as the headlines suggest.
Economies need money. Without it, businesses and households stop. Just ask Spain. It’s further along in the “no money” race than most. Unemployment is 25 percent, credit is drying up, and the government is supposed to cut its deficit an almost unthinkable amount.
It’s a vicious circle. When there’s not enough money, the economy collapses. And when the economy collapses, nobody wants to take out loans. Which reduces the amount of money even further. That’s why falling European private loan growth is so concerning. Instead of borrowing more, people prefer to stuff whatever money they have under the mattress. Except nowadays we have a new name for mattresses. We call them “government bonds”. That’s why the yields on U.S., U.K. German and a host of sovereign bonds are at all-time lows.
Read more. [Image: Scotty Barber]