(RTTNews) - Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Thursday, partly offsetting the sell-off seen in the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to show a significant rebound, while the Dow has pulled back near the unchanged line. Currently, the Dow is posting a modest gain, up 12.85 points or 0.1 percent at 26,532.80.
IT HAS THE largest windows in space. Six reclining seats. And blue edges that passengers can grab hold of as they float weightlessly more than 100km (62 miles) above Earth. If that is not rarefied enough, imagine if one of the fellow passengers were Jeff Bezos, gazing down onto a planet that is spanned by his digital conglomerate, Amazon, and of which he is the richest inhabitant. When the time comes for Mr Bezos’s private venture, Blue Origin, to send paying tourists into space, its proprietor will almost certainly be among them. “I suspect that he will be—and is, indeed, eager to be—one of the first private citizens to blast himself into space,” writes Walter Isaacson, a biographer, in an introduction to the collected writings of Mr Bezos. Already you shudder to think of Mr Bezos’s peals of laughter ringing through the heavens. It is easy to assume that for the 56-year-old man who has (and sells) everything, space tourism is the ultimate vanity project. He launches rockets from his ranch in West Texas. He has a rippling physique. His bald head resembles that of his idol, Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek”. He is fulfilling a childhood dream.
PITY THE world’s chartmakers. For years, normal economic fluctuations will be dwarfed by the extraordinary gyrations of 2020, such as the third-quarter GDP figures that are now rolling in. These data are informative—measures of output today are in part a reflection of governments’ success or failure in controlling the spread of covid-19. Yet they can easily mislead, and should be treated with care. This year’s GDP figures pose a number of interpretative challenges. In America and Japan, for instance, statisticians present GDP growth compared with the previous quarter as an annualised rate, indicating how much an economy would shrink or expand if its performance in the relevant quarter were sustained for an entire year. As economies have swung into and out of lockdowns the practice has yielded numbers that are astonishing and misleading in equal parts. Real GDP in America shrank at a reported annualised pace of 31% in the second quarter, seeming to suggest that covid-19 swallowed nearly a third of America’s economic output. In fact, production in the second quarter was 9% below that in the first—still staggering, but quite a lot less dramatic. Simple mathematics adds to confusion. On October 29th
EVERY TUESDAY for most of 1979-80, the Blitz wine bar in Covent Garden was host to an influential club-night. London was then a run-down city. The Blitz was a seedy spot. What made it remarkable were the Blitz Kids, the extravagantly dressed Tuesday-night regulars. A teenage Boy George worked in the cloakroom. The door policy was strict. To get in, said Steve Strange, who ran the club-night, you had to look “like a walking piece of art”. Mick Jagger was once refused entry. This all seemed shallow and transient. The make-up, the get-ups and the evident disdain for people who were not walking pieces of art were marks of unseriousness. Yet the Blitz Kids, a mix of art students and urchins, would go on to shape popular culture, according to “Sweet Dreams: The Story of the New Romantics”, a new book by Dylan Jones. This brings us to another hangout for oddballs, fantasists and drop-outs: bitcoin. To most people it seems at best a fad, at worst a con-job. But it refuses to disappear. And its price in dollars is up by around 150% since March. It is hard to have a sensible conversation