Did you hear about the polar bear that swam 426 miles? The polar bear and yearling cub swam from near Barrow, Alaska, across the Beaufort Sea to the coast in Canada. The bear was equipped with GPS and a temperature sensor. Investigators say the bear lost 100 lbs in the ordeal. The cub did not survive. Apparently there were no ice floes for the bear to crawl onto.

Tropical cyclone Yasi, a Category 5 storm, has slammed into the coast of Australia in Queensland.

Those wacky libertarians.

Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time, by The Economist.

Robert J. Samuelson at the Wilson Quarterly offers a compelling analysis of the Great Recession.

As for greed and dishonesty, their role in the crisis is exaggerated. Of course, greed was widespread on Wall Street and elsewhere. It always is. There was also much mistaken analysis about the worth of mortgages and the complex securities derived from them. But being wrong is not the same as being dishonest, and being greedy is not the same as being criminal. In general, banks and investment banks weren’t universally offloading mortgage securities known to be overvalued. Some of this happened; testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission shows that some banks knew (or should have known) about the poor quality of mortgages. But many big financial institutions kept huge volumes of these securities. They, too, were duped—or duped themselves. That’s why there was a crisis. Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, and Wachovia, among others, belonged to this group. –Robert J. Samuelson, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2011.

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