Opinion: What’s Wrong With Banks, Bibi Breaks Israel, Sleep & Vaccines

March 20, 2023: A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, what’s wrong with the banks? Also, we ask whether Bibi will break Israel (10:39) and why men should get a good night’s sleep to ensure vaccines work properly (19:03).

What’s wrong with the banks

Rising interest rates have left banks exposed. Time to fix the system—again

Only ten days ago you might have thought that the banks had been fixed after the nightmare of the financial crisis in 2007-09. Now it is clear that they still have the power to cause a heart-stopping scare. A ferocious run at Silicon Valley Bank on March 9th saw $42bn in deposits flee in a day. svb was just one of three American lenders to collapse in the space of a week. Regulators worked frantically over the weekend to devise a rescue. Even so, customers are asking once again if their money is safe.

Will Bibi break Israel?

When Israel’s best and brightest are up in arms it is time to worry

This should have been Israel’s moment. As it approaches its 75th birthday in April the risk of a conventional war with neighbouring Arab states, for decades an existential danger, is at its lowest since 1948. The last Palestinian intifada, or uprising against occupation, ended 18 years ago. Israel’s tech-powered economy is more successful and globally relevant than ever. Last year gdp per person hit $55,000, making it richer than the eu.

To ensure vaccines work properly, men should get a good night’s sleep

The case for women is less clear

FILE -- A man in bed in New York, Nov. 10, 2004. Some hospitals are trying to allow patients to get more rest. Yale-New Haven Hospital has empowered nurses to change medication schedules to minimize sleep disruptions and to tick off other tasks before patients go to bed. (Rahav Segev/The New York Times)Credit: New York Times / Redux / eyevineFor further information please contact eyevinetel: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709e-mail: info@eyevine.comwww.eyevine.com

Vaccines get all the glory, but it is really the immune system that does the heavy lifting. Indeed, those with weak immune systems often benefit little from vaccines. Aware of this, researchers have long thought that people deprived of sleep also ought to benefit less from vaccines, as sleeping less is thought to reduce immune function. A new analysis reveals that this is clearly the case—though only in men.


Top New Museum Exhibits: ‘Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence’ At MFA Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – Thanks to the popularity of works like the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers and Lego sets to anime and emoji—Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has become one of the most famous and influential artists of all time.

Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence

March 26–July 16, 2023

A bright blue tidal wave crests on choppy waters with a mountainscape in the distance.
Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei) (detail), about 1830–31
Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper. William Sturgis Bigelow Collection.

Taking a new approach to this endlessly inventive and versatile Japanese artist, “Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence” explores his impact both during his lifetime and beyond. More than 100 woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books by Hokusai are on view alongside about 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers, creating juxtapositions that demonstrate his influence through time and space.

A woodblock print of three boats navigating rough waters with a mountain in the background.
Utagawa Hiroshige, The Sea off Satta in Suruga Province (Suruga Satta kaijō), from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fuji sanjūrokkei), 1858
Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper. William Sturgis Bigelow Collection.
Book cover for Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence›

The great painter, book illustrator, and print designer Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) has become the best known of all Japanese artists and one of…

Members are invited to a special exhibition preview March 22–25 before it opens to the public, and can enjoy members-only hours on Sunday mornings during the run of the show. Join today!

Culture/Politics: Harper’s Magazine – April 2023 Issue

Harper’s Magazine – April 2023 issue:

The Incredible Disappearing Doomsday

How the climate catastrophists learned to stop worrying and love the calm

The first signs that the mood was brightening among the corps of reporters called to cover one of the gravest threats humanity has ever faced appeared in the summer of 2021. “Climate change is not a pass/fail course,” Sarah Kaplan wrote in the Washington Post on August 9. 

In Search of Lost Time

The science of the perfect second

When I was a kid, in the touch-tone era in the Midwest, I often dialed, for no real reason, the “time lady”—an actress named Jane Barbe, it turns out—who would announce, with prim authority “at the tone,” the correct time to the second. I was, in those days, a bit obsessed with time. 

Travel: An Epic Road Trip Into Patagonia, Argentina

Curves Magazin (March 20, 2023) – An epic road trip through Patagonia in Southern Argentina.

Patagonia, semiarid scrub plateau that covers nearly all of the southern portion of mainland Argentina. With an area of about 260,000 square miles (673,000 square kilometres), it constitutes a vast area of steppe and desert that extends south from latitude 37° to 51° S.

It is bounded, approximately, by the Patagonian Andes to the west, the Colorado River to the north (except where the region extends north of the river into the Andean borderlands), the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Strait of Magellan to the south; the region south of the strait—Tierra del Fuego, which is divided between Argentina and Chile—also is often included in Patagonia.

Desert and semidesert cover the Patagonian tableland that extends from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. The general aspect of this tableland is one of vast steppelike (i.e., virtually treeless) plains, rising in terrace fashion from high coastal cliffs to the foot of the Andes; but the true aspect of the plains is by no means as simple as such a general description would imply. The land along the Negro River rises in a series of fairly level terraces from about 300 feet (90 metres) at the coast to about 1,300 feet at the junction of the Limay and Neuquén rivers and 3,000 feet at the base of the Andes. The tableland region rises to an altitude of 5,000 feet.

South of the Negro River, the plains are much more irregular. Volcanic eruptions occurred in this area until fairly recent times, and basaltic sheets covered the tableland east of Lakes Buenos Aires and Pueyrredón. Near the Chico and Santa Cruz rivers, the plains have spread to within about 50 miles (80 kilometres) of the coast and reach almost to the coast south of the Coig and Gallegos rivers. In places, basaltic massifs (mountain masses) are the salient features of the landscape.

Views: ‘Bohemia-History of an Idea, 1950–2000′(Prague)

Gabriel Orozco, Lime Game, 2001

Kunsthalle Praha, Prague, Czech Republic (March 20, 2023) – From post-war Paris and New York, through swinging London, to the free spirits of Tehran and Beijing. Kunsthalle Praha explores the idea of bohemia.

BOHEMIA: History of an Idea, 1950–2000
23/3—16/10 2023

Jules Kirschenbaum, Young Woman at a Window, 1953–1954. © Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York

Peter Hujar, David Lighting Up, Manhattan Night (I), 1985

Travel: The ‘Old Port’ Of Genoa, Northwest Italy

Massimo Nalli (March 19, 2023) – Genoa, Italian  Genova, ancient (Latin) Genua, city and Mediterranean seaport in northwestern Italy. It is the capital of Genova provincia and of Liguria regione and is the centre of the Italian Riviera.

Located about 75 miles (120 km) south of Milan on the Gulf of Genoa, the city occupies a narrow coastal plain and the western slopes of the Apennine Range. The city has a mild Mediterranean climate.

Shipbuilding is the major industry; other industries produce petroleum, textiles, iron and steel, locomotives, paper, sugar, cement, chemicals, fertilizers, and electrical, railway, and marine equipment. Genoa also is a major centre for finance and commerce. The port of Genoa leads all other Italian ports in volume of passengers and freight traffic and is the main source of city income. It handles imports chiefly of coal, crude oil, and grain and exports mainly of cotton and silk textiles, olive oil, and wine.

Previews: The New Yorker Magazine – March 27, 2023

A figure wearing  very large colorful sneakers poses against a green background.
Art by Sarula Bao

The New Yorker – March 27, 2023 issue:

Will the Ozempic Era Change How We Think About Being Fat and Being Thin?

Two abstract bodies one big and one skinny gravitate towards the top and bottom of the image. The top is yellow while...

A popular, growing class of drugs for obesity and diabetes could, in an ideal world, help us see that metabolism and appetite are biological facts, not moral choices.

How the Graphic Designer Milton Glaser Made America Cool Again

Colors radiating from the tip of a pen.

From the poster that turned Bob Dylan into an icon to the logo that helped revive a flagging city, he gave sharp outlines to the spirit of an age.

Views: Celtic Rainforests In Eryri, Snowdonia, Wales

National Trust (March 20, 2023) – In this episode of The Wild Life, a new series of nature films from the National Trust, presenter Jules Hudson heads to Eryri (Snowdonia) to learn about a tree planting project that will help to protect the landscape for the next hundred years and beyond.

Join Jules on his visit to Hafod Garregog – a Celtic rainforest and reclaimed seabed along Afon Glaslyn (River Glaslyn). National Trust rangers have planted native saplings here to store carbon, slow the flow of water and provide a boost for nature and wildlife. Jules discovers that local tree species such as willow, aspen and hornbeam are less susceptible to diseases and can adapt better to the climate.

These trees will also create homes for warblers, moths, bats and nearby otters, as well as encourage a diverse variety of plants to grow. You’ll also discover how the National Trust works with volunteers to plant trees and find out more about the charity’s wider ambition to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030.

News: Xi Jinping Meets With Putin, Credit Suisse Bank Purchased By UBS

March 20, 2023: Xi Jinping heads to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin. Plus: an Asia-Pacific round-up, a flick through today’s papers, Saddam Hussein’s tourist-attraction superyacht and jewellers preparing for King Charles’s coronation.

Front Page: The New York Times – March 20, 2023


Before Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the Fed Spotted Big Problems

The bank was using an incorrect model as it assessed its own risks amid rising interest rates, and spent much of 2022 under a supervisory review.

Lab Leak or Not? How Politics Shaped the Battle Over Covid’s Origin

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is known for its advanced research on bat coronaviruses.

A lab leak was once dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory. But the idea is gaining traction, even as evidence builds that the virus emerged from a market.

The Children of the Iraq War Have Grown Up, but Some Wounds Don’t Heal

Twenty years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, a veteran Times correspondent and photographer asked Iraqis about growing up in wartime, and about their hopes now.

Iraq, 20 Years Later: A Changed Washington and a Terrible Toll on America

The White House, Congress, the military and the intelligence agencies see the war as a lesson in failed policymaking, one deeply absorbed if not thoroughly learned.