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María Moliner: Darned Socks and Wrote Dictionaries

But the figure who stands out in the period was María Moliner (1900–1981). A librarian under the  Second Republic, Moliner had established a  groundbreaking network of rural libraries in Spain in the 1930s, part of the Second Republic’s short  but intense period of educational reform. At the  time, only four million of the twenty-three million Spaniards had access to books and newspapers. By 1934, she had already opened 5,000 libraries, and had plans for 5,500 more in primary schools and small towns.

Unlike other left-wing intellectuals, María Moliner, a mother of four, did not run away from Franco. She and her family suffered for the decision. Her husband, a professor of physics and left-wing  activist, was suspended from his job for three  years. Moliner stayed on the government’s payroll but was demoted eighteen ranks. By 1946, she was  working way below her abilities, as head librarian at the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers.

The idea to write a dictionary was born in 1952, when Moliner’s son, who was living in Paris, sent her a copy of The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Conscious of the decline of the Real Academia’s dictionary under Franco, Moliner began taking notes to write a small Spanish dictionary similar to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. She understood the methodology. Thirty years earlier, while she was studying at the University of Zaragoza, Moliner had been part of a team working  on a dictionary of Aragonese. She thought she  could write it in two years. 

In 1966, after fifteen years of solitary work, Moliner finally published her landmark Diccionario de Uso del Español (Dictionary of Spanish Usage). It was an immediate success: since 1967, it has sold almost two hundred thousand copies. Gabriel García Márquez called it “the most complete, useful,  diligent and entertaining dictionary of the Castilian  language.”  Moliner based her corpus on the Academia’s  dictionary, augmented with what she gleaned from newspapers. The Academia had accepted words such as record, test, and film but it ignored technical  terms that were becoming common, including  cibernética, entropía (entropy), reactor, and transistor. Striving to be clear and up-to-date, Moliner included foreign words, colloquialisms, slang, and  acronyms that were part of common usage. Moliner also refused to treat ch and ll as separate letters (the Academia followed her example in  1994). 

When Moliner died in 1981, Gabriel García Márquez wrote her obituary. He said her dictionary was “twice as big as the Academia’s and, in my  opinion, twice as good.” Its only drawback, he declared, was the absence of profanities, “the words Spaniards have used the most since time immemorial.” In 1972, the great philologists Rafael Lapesa and Dámaso Alonso nominated Moliner for membership in the Real Academia and it was widely believed she would become Spain’s first female academician. The Academia instead chose the  philologist Emilio Alarcos Llorach, even though his  best work (Gramática de la lengua española) was  still twenty-two years in the making. Moliner’s biog-  rapher, Inmaculada de la Fuente, wrote, “Her work questioned the dictionary of the Real Academia. She was admired, but not valued.” 

On learning that her candidacy was rejected, María Moliner commented ironically, “What could I have said? I spent my life darning socks.” 

The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

Our global financial system is broken. Here’s a plan for fixing it | World Economic Forum

The result is what has been called secular stagnation, new normal, ugly deleveraging, balance sheet recession and Japanification. I call it “QE infinity”: a prolonged period of low growth and low interest rates, where policy-makers persist in implementing policies that won’t fix the problem. They won’t ever say they’re out of ammunition, but central bankers are starting to look like naked emperors. “Is monetary policy by itself going to create growth, employment? You seem to give a lot of responsibilities to the European Central Bank. Can monetary policy create growth by itself? The answer is no. Monetary policy can create the economic conditions for growth,” ECB President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament last year. Put differently, there is only so much monetary policy can do to re-start growth: it is an anaesthetic, not a cure. to the European Central Bank. Can monetary policy create growth by itself? The answer is no. Monetary policy can create the economic conditions for growth,” ECB President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament last year. Put differently, there is only so much monetary policy can do to re-start growth: it is an anaesthetic, not a cure.

Source: Our global financial system is broken. Here’s a plan for fixing it | World Economic Forum

Manhattan Retail Market | Retail Vacancies NYC

These days, hardly a week goes by without a new report about struggling retailers and rising vacancies in Manhattan.

Average retail asking rents fell year over year in seven of the borough’s 12 main retail submarkets in the first quarter of 2016, according to Cushman & Wakefield. And several prime shopping districts now have availability rates well over 20 percent, while stretches on Bleecker Street and Broadway have become notorious for their empty storefronts.

These signs of trouble are coinciding with record spending by retail investors and the rise of the retail condo.

Investors have shelled out $25 billion on Manhattan retail properties since the beginning of 2011, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. And in recent years, buyers have been more willing to dig deeper into their wallets and accept higher per-square-foot prices — forcing them to find tenants willing to pay high rents to justify their purchases.

Since 2000, RCA’s database counts 24 Manhattan retail condo sales that were priced at $10,000 per square foot or more. All of them closed after July 2011 and 17 closed in 2014 and 2015.

“I don’t want to say it’s a bubble but it’s been constantly bid up for six years,” Lee & Associates Managing Principal Peter Braus told The Real Deal.

Consolo added that retail condo sales prices have gone into the “stratosphere” in recent years.

“It is clear that there were numbers that were far too aggressive and the market just couldn’t keep up,” she said.

While real estate insiders are reluctant to call it a retail bubble, many acknowledge that a correction is imminent.

Michael Weiser, president of commercial brokerage GFI Realty Services, said the best indicator of whether Manhattan’s retail market is weakening is vacancy.

Availability rates — which measure the amount of retail space that is vacant or will become available — rose in all but one of Manhattan’s main retail submarkets between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, according to Cushman.

Among those neighborhoods, several stand out: On Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 49th streets, a staggering 31 percent of retail space was available for lease. Meanwhile, Soho clocked in with a 25 percent availability rate followed by Herald Square and the Meatpacking District (both at 22 percent), Times Square (20 percent) and Madison Avenue (17 percent).

Braus said that owners who paid a steep price for retail space are more reluctant to accept lower rents. “That’s one reason why you’re seeing a lot of vacancies in those neighborhoods,” he noted.As it happens, those six districts were also home to the bulk of the priciest Manhattan retail purchases in the last two and half years, accounting for 57 of the 73 sales priced at $100 million or more recorded by RCA since January 2014. (That excludes office properties with retail components.) They are also among the neighborhoods where asking rents saw the steepest rise over the past two years, the numbers from Cushman & Wakefield show.

Worth the time to read the entire article here:

Source: Manhattan Retail Market | Retail Vacancies NYC | Thor

Are You Ready for Some Hard Truths About the Birth of Our Nation? Brace Yourself | Alternet

Cutting edge historians are breaking new ground to help us understand the dogged persistence of white racism…

So much so that historian Gerald Horne poses a radical reinterpretation of the founding of the nation’s origins, in his trailblazing book, The Counter-Revolution of 1776. “Ironically, the founders of the republic have been hailed and lionized by left, right and center for—in effect—creating the first apartheid state,” he writes.

Citing previously ignored evidence, Horne argues convincingly that a combination of alarm over the growing abolition sentiment in Britain, well underway by the late 1700s, and the deep-rooted fear of potential British support for slave uprisings were major motivating forces behind the desire for “independence” in the first place.

Source: Are You Ready for Some Hard Truths About the Birth of Our Nation? Brace Yourself | Alternet

The Jewish-Polish Broker Who Saved America

Solomon arranges some of the most crucial loans of the war effort and, working in concert with Robert Morris – the Revolution’s chief banker – becomes central to the colonials’ eventual victory. When George Washington sees his one-in-a-million opportunity to trap and destroy Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, it is money that is wanting and Solomon comes through. Washington can’t move his army into siege position to capitalize on Cornwallis’s historic error because an army on the march must be fed. Robert Morris turns once again to Solomon the broker, who comes up with the vital $20,000 when the Treasury itself is empty. Within a day, the French and American armies, flush with the funds necessary, make their way to Yorktown and surround the city. Cornwallis is cut off from supply lines and promptly gives up.

Source: The Broker Who Saved America

Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Created for client Marjolein Jonker, Walden Studio’s abode is the first tiny house to be legally placed with a temporary permit by a municipality in the Netherlands. Despite its small…

Source: Luxurious tiny home lets owner live off-grid and rent-free | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Bear Stearns 2.0? UK’s Largest Property Fund Halts Redemptions, Fears “Vicious Circle” | Zero Hedge

Beginning of the end?

In the summer of 2007, two inconsequential Bear Stearns property-related funds were gated and then liquidated, exposing the reality of the US housing bubble and catalyzing the collapse of the financial system. While equity markets have rebounded exuberantly post-Brexit, suggesting all is well, British property-related assets have tumbled and, as The FT reports, Standard Life has been forced to stop retail investors selling out of one of the UK’s largest property funds for at least 28 days after rapid cash outflows were sparked by fears over falling real estate values. As one analyst warned,

Source: Bear Stearns 2.0? UK’s Largest Property Fund Halts Redemptions, Fears “Vicious Circle” | Zero Hedge

Nelson Mandela

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Nelson Mandela

Elizabeth Warren Opens Broad Attack Against Rent-Seeking Oligopolists Like Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart, Comcast | naked capitalism

In a market the size of America’s prices should be lower than in other industrialised economies. By and large, they are not. Though American companies now make a fifth of their profits abroad, their naughty secret is that their return-on-equity is 40% higher at home.

Source: Elizabeth Warren Opens Broad Attack Against Rent-Seeking Oligopolists Like Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart, Comcast | naked capitalism