The Great Recession

Is “another Great Depression” out there “lurking over the horizon”? says Michael A. Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times. Certainly there are some “disquieting parallels” between today and the “global economic cataclysm of the 1930s,” at least “on the surface.” The “financial system is in disarray” and there are “enormous asset bubbles” popping. But there are “vast differences” that will probably hold this crisis to mere “recession.” Unemployment is low, for example, and the global economy is healthy. But the most important difference is that the government is now primed to step in and act, and has the powers to do so—even if many of them were rarely or “never used” until now.

Discarding gadgets greenly

The “boom in affordable consumer electronics” is great, says Jennifer Openshaw in MarketWatch, but it has a downside: the life cycles for our computers (now three years) and cell phones (two years) are “getting shorter and shorter.” But you “don’t have to—and shouldn’t—just throw those electronic products away.” E-waste contains toxic waste and also valuable materials that can be recovered. Stores like Staples, Best Buy, and Radio Shack take back some gadgets for recycling, and some manufacturers do, too—the EPA has a list. The Web sites for the Electronics Industry Alliance and Earth911 also have e-waste solutions. “It’s worth 15 minutes to check.”