Wandering Eye: The economic effects of climate change, inside the world of spies, and more

We're excited about the opening of Amanda Burnham's "RFP" at EMP Collective this weekend and seeing how the exhibit changes over the course of the next month as visitors collaborate with the artist to modify the cityscape of her work. You can get a sense of the massive scope and intellectual depth of Burnham's project from BmoreArt, where Dwayne Butcher talked to Burnham, who says the ideal city is "one where unplanned interactions can happen (and do happen) regularly, because it contains a heterogeneous mix of structures and facilities that are valued and used by a broad mix of people." (Baynard Woods)

 

The Midwest is facing a hot future, and it may put the hurt on its economy, according to a new report by the Risky Business Project, a think tank that examines economic impacts of climate change and is co-chaired by former Big Apple mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. The report draws on science to predict that by the end of this century, Chicagoans will have to endure more days with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees than the average Texan does today, and that crop yields for key agricultural commodities such as corn and soybeans will fall by 11 to 69 percent. Energy demand will go up, straining delivery systems' capacity and prompting higher costs not only for residents but for manufacturers. While northern parts of the Midwest may benefit economically in some respects, overall the prospects look uncomfortably challenging to the nation's breadbasket and bastion of manufacturing. (Van Smith)

 

The FBI charged a Russian dude, Evengy Buryakov, on Monday with being a spy—on Wall Street, no less—and that's pretty funny. But if you're into the inside nitty-gritty about how spies actually work, check out this post on 20Committee. John Schindler is a U.S. spy who blogs about this stuff regularly, and with apparent expertise. He says the Russians got sloppy—they allowed Buryakov, who did not have diplomatic immunity (an "illegal" in Russia spy-speak), to meet with spies working under cover of the Russian consulate with diplomatic immunity ("legals," in short): "During the Cold War, the KGB was careful not to 'cross the streams' between their Legal and Illegal networks in the West much, if at all: associating with a Legal, who may be under surveillance, is a good way for an Illegal to wind up on the radar of the local security service." He goes on from there, explaining the recent history of Russian espionage and imploring you to take this more seriously than the mainstream press is doing. Looking back, of course, it could be said that Russia experts in the U.S. have oversold the threat for many decades. Then again, all the hard work involves looking forward. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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