Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Two economists have come together to research the question of whether or not countries are smart enough to put economists in charge of everything. Their surprising conclusion: Nope, not really! There are hardly any economist prime ministers and surprisingly not that many economist central bankers, at least if we’re talking PhD economists and not “guys who took an Econ class once.”
At Ezra Klein’s WonkBlog, Brad Plumer summarizes the study and asks, “why aren’t more countries run by economists?” Here’s why: Because everyone hates economists. Economists are the worst. They’re usually very convinced of their own genius, though. And they act like because they use math, their “science” is more sciencey than sociology or whatever, but it is still mostly just a bunch of made-up stuff. If a bunch of economists had been running the world prior to the 2008 financial crisis the 2008 financial crisis would not have been averted because almost no one predicted it.
But the most important reason there aren’t a ton of economist prime ministers is that economists disdain politics. Economists tend to get a great deal of pleasure out of loudly attacking very popular policies (higher minimum wage! tax code giveaways to the upper-middle-class!) and they generally talk about normal people as little mindless “economic units” or something awful and dehumanizing like that. Economists don’t want to “campaign” and convince people to vote for them, they just want to be appointed to positions of power by people who actually did shake a bunch of hands and tell people what they wanted to hear. An economist doesn’t want to be an elected official who answers to voters, because that sucks.
Conveniently, the researchers did not bother to answer the question of whether countries that put economists in charge of stuff actually have better economic outcomes. But the economist in charge of Europe’s central bank is currently purposefully imposing disastrous austerity on a bunch of countries that did not elect him, so really if you want to know why we don’t let economists run stuff look at Spain’s youth unemployment rate.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.