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Drug cartels smuggle illegal gold from Colombia, Peru to Miami | Miami Herald
The insatiable demand for gold — for smartphone components, jewelry and coins — is fueling an environmentally ruinous mining boom in the rainforest in Peru and Colombia. The metal is exported to Miami. Latin American drug bosses have infiltrated the industry, using it to launder profits.
society  america 
16 hours ago by corrales
Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories - The New York Times
A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive.
kottke  nytimes  pencils  america  americana  photography 
22 hours ago by dcrall
A visit to an American factory that’s been producing pencils since 1889
What a marvelous little photo essay by Christopher Payne and Sam Anderson about General Pencil, one of the last remaining pencil factories in America.
kottke  art  manufacturing  america  americana  photography  pencils 
22 hours ago by dcrall
Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local • The Guardian
Aliza Aufrichtig, Lois Beckett, Jan Diehm and Jamiles Lartey:
<p>Half of America's gun homicides in 2015 were clustered in just 127 cities and towns, according to a new geographic analysis by the Guardian, even though they contain less than a quarter of the nation’s population.

Even within those cities, violence is further concentrated in the tiny neighborhood areas that saw two or more gun homicide incidents in a single year.

<img src="" width="100%" />

Four and a half million Americans live in areas of these cities with the highest numbers of gun homicide, which are marked by intense poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. Geographically, these neighborhood areas are small: a total of about 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, which, laid side by side, would fit into an area just 42 miles wide by 42 miles long.

The problem they face is devastating. Though these neighborhood areas contain just 1.5% of the country’s population, they saw 26% of America’s total gun homicides.

Gun control advocates say it is unacceptable that Americans overall are "25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries". People who live in these neighborhood areas face an average gun homicide rate about 400 times higher than the rate across those high-income countries.</p>

Amazing piece of data journalism, digging down to the neighbourhood level: gun murder is a more common act where poverty, lack of education and racial segregation are high.
maps  crime  race  guns  america 
yesterday by charlesarthur
Opinion | Two Lessons of the Urban Crime Decline - The New York Times
“But it is also worth reflecting on how much the level of violence has fallen in this country over the past 25 years and how widespread the benefits of that decline have been. From the 1970s through the early part of the 1990s, the murder rate in some cities in the United States rose to levels seen only in the most violent, war-torn nations of the developing world. In the years since, violent crime has decreased in almost every city, in many cases by more than 75 percent.

“Start with the lives saved. Though homicide is not a common cause of death for most of the United States population, for African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34 it is the leading cause, which means that any change in the homicide rate has a disproportionate impact on them. The sociologist Michael Friedson and I calculated what the life expectancy would be today for blacks and whites had the homicide rate never shifted from its level in 1991. We found that the national decline in the homicide rate since then has increased the life expectancy of black men by roughly nine months.”
ViolentCrime  Violence  America 
yesterday by cbearden
Voices for equality SHOW UP in This is the I respect and admire. 4th Street Br…
MLKDay2018  america  SanFrancisco  from twitter_favs
yesterday by wahoo5
Highest GOP Satisfaction With U.S. Direction Since 2007
Current GOP sentiment about the direction of the U.S. is a major turnaround for a party that suffered depressed levels of satisfaction earlier in the year after a number of legislative setbacks and various challenges to Trump's White House in its first year. After bottoming out at 38% in October, the party's rank and file became gradually more satisfied with the nation's trajectory in the final quarter of 2017. Independents, too, have become more satisfied since October, after hitting a 2017 low of 20% that month. Currently, 31% of independents report satisfaction with the way things are going for the country.
trump  america  politics 
yesterday by JohnDrake
Why My Experience of the Excellent Black Imagination Exhibit Might Be Different From Yours - Slog - The Stranger
"The US is visually white but sonically black. We have for the eyes, the face of Marilyn Monroe, but for the ears, the voice of Billie Holiday. And so it is in sound that American blackness has its greatest and most immediate power."
art  music  race  racism  history  america  quote 
2 days ago by Felicity
Americans are pack rats. Swedes have the solution: ‘Death cleaning.’ - The Washington Post |
While Japanese item-control diva Marie Kondo gave us strict instructions to keep only things that spark joy, Magnusson’s book is straightforward and unsentimental (with a bit of humor). The main message from this mother of five is: Take responsibility for your items and don’t leave them as a burden for family and friends. It’s not fair. Magnusson says you can keep things that evoke good memories; there are no hard-and-fast rules such as folding your remaining T-shirts to stand uprigh...
minimalism  housekeeping  packrat  america  sweden 
2 days ago by kme
Jackson Lears · What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking: #Russiagate · LRB 4 January 2018
"The chatter surrounding the hack would never have acquired such urgency were it not for the accompanying assumption: Russia is a uniquely dangerous adversary, with which we should avoid all contact. Without that belief, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Russians in September 2016 would become routine discussions between a senator and foreign officials. Flynn’s post-election conversations with the Russian ambassador would appear unremarkable. Trump’s cronies’ attempts to do business in Russia would become merely sleazy. Donald Trump Jr’s meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya would be transformed from a melodrama of shady intrigue to a comedy of errors – with the candidate’s son expecting to receive information to use against Clinton but discovering Veselnitskaya only wanted to talk about repealing sanctions and restarting the flow of Russian orphans to the United States. And Putin himself would become just another autocrat, with whom democracies could engage without endorsing."
russia  america  politics  trump  hacking  hype  rumour  democrats  republicans 
2 days ago by Nachimir

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