It is difficult to the point of impossibility for the average reader under the age of forty to imagine a time when high-quality arts criticism could be found in most big-city newspapers.
The FASB and IASB have been exactly that, cleaning up rules on stock options and pensions, for example, against hostility from special interests.
And dead markets partly reflect the paralysis of banks which will not sell assets for fear of booking losses, yet are reluctant to buy all those supposed bargains.
Charlie McCreevy, a European commissioner, warned the IASB that it did "not live in a political vacuum" but "in the real word" and that Europe could yet develop different rules.
The IASB says it does not want to act without overall planning, but the pressure to fold when it completes its reconstruction of rules later this year is strong.
Yet it is precisely these non-celebrity influentials who, according to the two-step-flow theory, are supposed to drive social epidemics by influencing their friends and colleagues directly.
For a social epidemic to occur, however, each person so affected must then influence his or her own acquaintances, who must in turn influence theirs, and so on; and just how many others pay attention to each of these people has little to do with the initial influential.
If people in the network just two degrees removed from the initial influential prove resistant, for example, the cascade of change won't propagate very far or affect many people.
Building on the basic truth about interpersonal influence, the researchers studied the dynamics of social influence by conducting thousands of computer simulations of populations, manipulating a number of variables relating to people's ability to influence others and their tendency to be influenced.
They found that the principal requirement for what we call "global cascades" — the widespread propagation of influence through networks — is the presence not of a few influentials but, rather, of a critical mass of easily influenced people.
These gave banks more freedom to use models to value illiquid assets and more flexibility in recognizing losses on long-term assets in their income statement.
The details may be unknowable, but the independence of standard-setters, essential to the proper functioning of capital markets, is being compromised.
In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell argues that "social epidemics" are driven in large part by the acting of a tiny minority of special individuals, often called influentials, who are unusually informed, persuasive, or well connected.
In their recent work, however, some researchers have come up with the finding that influentials have far less impact on social epidemics than is generally supposed.
In a move that has intellectual-property lawyers abuzz, the U.S. court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it would use a particular case to conduct a broad review of business-method patents.
The researchers' argument stems from a simple observation about social influence: With the exception of a few celebrities like Oprah Winfrey — whose outsize presence is primarily a function of media, not interpersonal, influence — even the most influential members of a population simply don't interact with that many others.
Curbs on business-method claims would be a dramatic about-face, because it was the Federal Circuit itself that introduced such patents with its 1998 decision in the so-called State Street Bank case, approving a patent on a way of pooling mutual-fund assets.
That ruling produced an explosion in business-method patent filings, initially by emerging internet companies trying to stake out exclusive rights to specific types of online transactions.
The Federal circuit issued an unusual order stating that the case would be heard by all 12 of the court's judges, rather than a typical panel of three, and that one issue it wants to evaluate is whether it should "reconsider" its State Street Bank ruling.
The Federal Circuit's action comes in the wake of a series of recent decisions by the Supreme Court that has narrowed the scope of protections for patent holders.
In 2005, IBM noted in a court filing that it had been issued more than 300 business-method patents despite the fact that it questioned the legal basis for granting them.
During his lifetime, though, he was also one of England's foremost classical-music critics, a stylist so widely admired that his Autobiography (1947) became a best-seller.
"So few authors have brains enough or literary gift enough to keep their own end up in journalism," Newman wrote, "that I am tempted to define 'journalism' as 'a term of contempt applied by writers who are not read to writers who are'."
Now the nation's top patent court appears completely ready to scale back on business-method patents, which have been controversial ever since they were first authorized 10 years ago.
Having endured a painful period of unsustainability in his own life made it clear to him that sustainability-oriented values must be expressed through everyday action and choice.
He'd been through the dot-com boom and burst and, desperate for a job, signed on with a Boulder agency.
I had so much anxiety that I would wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the ceiling.
"It was a really bad move because that's not my passion," says Ning, whose dilemma about the job translated, predictably, into a lack of sales.
The new vaccine, which is different from the annual flu vaccine, is available ahead of expectations.
But in late September 2009, officials reported there was significant flu activity in almost every state and that virtually all the samples tested are the new swine flu, also known as (A) H1N1, not seasonal flu.