Many a visitor to the big city has had the same experience: tiny, sterile hotel rooms that make your bedroom at home look like a mansion.
If you had the choice to stay in cozy accommodations, why not pick somewhere that offers a one-of-a-kind experience? Enter the tiny house hotel.
Tiny houses have become the rage in home building in recent years. These compact abodes are economical, have all the necessary accoutrements and offer their owners a way to reduce their carbon footprint.
Now, that phenomenon has continued into lodging. Instead of staying in cramped hotel rooms with little to no character, try these tiny houses that have all the comforts of home.
Warwickshire Tiny Wood Houses, Warwickshire, England
Situated in central England on a working farm, these two dog-friendly homes–constructed of Douglas Fir and steel–are compact but maximize their use of space. One home has two floors, with a living room boasting a wood-burning fireplace.
A veranda provides a perfect place to BBQ in the summer. The second home has a hot tub on the ground floor and sleeping accommodations on the top floor. Both have central heat for those cold fall nights and are less than two miles from the nearest town, should you need to hit the local pub.
The Bayside Bungalow, Olympia, Washington
On the banks of the Puget Sound lies The Bayside Bungalow, a 160-square-foot home handcrafted by local, Brittany Yunker. Situated on a hill amidst fruit trees and Douglas Firs, the Bayside Bungalow boasts modern amenities, just on a smaller scale.
A small fridge, cooktop and french press coffee maker makes one think of home. As you nestle in the cozy sleeping loft and gaze at the night sky through the skylight, you’ll keep warm via the gas fireplace. Two fire pits near the property are perfect for roasting marshmallows on a cold night.
Caravan Tiny House Hotel, Portland, Oregon
The only tiny house hotel in the world can be found in Portland, Oregon, natch. Located in the artsy Alberta District in NE Portland, Caravan doesn’t just offer one house but six, ranging in size from 100 to 200 square feet. The bespoke abodes cater to adventurous travelers who are looking for a unique experience without the fuss of a normal hotel.
Each wooden home boasts stained glass and recycled artwork, electric heat, full kitchens and flush toilets. One home has a sloping wagon roof while another looks like a train caboose while another has an expansive shed roof. Guests of the complex share a BBQ, fire pit and hammock. This being Portland, you’re never far from the action. Take a walk three blocks and you’re in the heart of one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods.
Capital flight Illustration: Giulio Frigieri for the Observer (click here for a larger version of this graphic)
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis. The world’s super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.
James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has conducted groundbreaking new research for the Tax Justice Network campaign group – sifting through data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private sector analysts to construct an alarming picture that shows capital flooding out of countries across the world and disappearing into the cracks in the financial system.
Comedian Jimmy Carr became the public face of tax-dodging in the UK earlier this year when it emerged that he had made use of a Cayman Islands-based trust to slash his income tax bill.
But the kind of scheme Carr took part in is the tip of the iceberg, according to Henry’s report, entitled The Price of Offshore Revisited. Despite the professed determination of the G20 group of leading economies to tackle tax secrecy, investors in scores of countries – including the US and the UK – are still able to hide some or all of their assets from the taxman.
“This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of ‘source’ countries,” Henry says.
Using the BIS’s measure of “offshore deposits” – cash held outside the depositor’s home country – and scaling it up according to the proportion of their portfolio large investors usually hold in cash, he estimates that between $21tn (£13tn) and $32tn (£20tn) in financial assets has been hidden from the world’s tax authorities.
“These estimates reveal a staggering failure,” says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people.
“This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.”
In total, 10 million individuals around the world hold assets offshore, according to Henry’s analysis; but almost half of the minimum estimate of $21tn – $9.8tn – is owned by just 92,000 people. And that does not include the non-financial assets – art, yachts, mansions in Kensington – that many of the world’s movers and shakers like to use as homes for their immense riches.
“If we could figure out how to tax all this offshore wealth without killing the proverbial golden goose, or at least entice its owners to reinvest it back home, this sector of the global underground is easily large enough to make a significant contribution to tax justice, investment and paying the costs of global problems like climate change,” Henry says.
He corroborates his findings by using national accounts to assemble estimates of the cumulative capital flight from more than 130 low- to middle-income countries over almost 40 years, and the returns their wealthy owners are likely to have made from them.
In many cases, , the total worth of these assets far exceeds the value of the overseas debts of the countries they came from.
The struggles of the authorities in Egypt to recover the vast sums hidden abroad by Hosni Mubarak, his family and other cronies during his many years in power have provided a striking recent example of the fact that kleptocratic rulers can use their time to amass immense fortunes while many of their citizens are trapped in poverty.
The world’s poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have fought long and hard in recent years to receive debt forgiveness from the international community; but this research suggests that in many cases, if they had been able to draw their richest citizens into the tax net, they could have avoided being dragged into indebtedness in the first place. Oil-rich Nigeria has seen more than $300bn spirited away since 1970, for example, while Ivory Coast has lost $141bn.
Assuming that super-rich investors earn a relatively modest 3% a year on their $21tn, taxing that vast wall of money at 30% would generate a very useful $189bn a year – more than rich economies spend on aid to the rest of the world.
The sheer scale of the hidden assets held by the super-rich also suggests that standard measures of inequality, which tend to rely on surveys of household income or wealth in individual countries, radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor.
Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician of the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report, says both the very wealthy and the very poor tend to be excluded from mainstream calculations of inequality.
“People that are in charge of measuring inequality based on survey data know that the both ends of the distribution are underrepresented – or, even better, misrepresented,” he says.
“There is rarely a household from the top 1% earners that participates in the survey. On the other side, the poor people either don’t have addresses to be selected into the sample, or when selected they misquote their earnings – usually biasing them upwards.”
Inequality is widely seen as having increased sharply in many developed countries over the past decade or more – as described in a recent paper from the IMF, which showed marked increases in the so-called Gini coefficient, which economists use to measure how evenly income is shared across societies.
Globalisation has exposed low-skilled workers to competition from cheap economies such as China, while the surging profitability of the financial services industry – and the spread of the big bonus culture before the credit crunch – led to what economists have called a “racing away” at the top of the income scale.
However, Henry’s research suggests that this acknowledged jump in inequality is a dramatic underestimate. Stewart Lansley, author of the recent book The Cost of Inequality, says: “There is absolutely no doubt at all that the statistics on income and wealth at the top understate the problem.”
The surveys that are used to compile the Gini coefficient “simply don’t touch the super-rich,” he says. “You don’t pick up the multimillionaires and billionaires, and even if you do, you can’t pick it up properly.”
In fact, some experts believe the amount of assets being held offshore is so large that accounting for it fully would radically alter the balance of financial power between countries. The French economist Thomas Piketty, an expert on inequality who helps compile the World Top Incomes Database, says research by his colleagues has shown that “the wealth held in tax havens is probably sufficiently substantial to turn Europe into a very large net creditor with respect to the rest of the world.”
In other words, even a solution to the eurozone’s seemingly endless sovereign debt crisis might be within reach – if only Europe’s governments could get a grip on the wallets of their own wealthiest citizens.
Dans un hameau de Enneberg se trouve cette résidence du cabinet Pedevilla Architekten.
For $75,000 USD, tuscon-based world view enterprises can bring you 30 km (18.6 miles) above the earth’s surface in a capsule lifted via high-altitude balloon for a suborbital spaceflight. similar to virgin galactic’s ‘SpaceShipOne’, the ride by london-based transportation designers priestmangoode to offer spectacular views of the curvature of our plant for a fraction of the cost. with tickets becoming available in the next few months, and trips commencing in 2016, the ride will let customers navigate at maximum altitude for about two hours.
the high-altitude balloon will bring you 30 km (18.6 miles) above the earth’s surface in a capsule
similar to virgin galactic’s ‘SpaceShipOne’, the ride is designed to offer spectacular views of the curvature of the earth
‘the luxurious comfort and gentle glide of the vessel will spoil you for hours, while you sip your beverage of choice‘
with trips commencing in 2016, the ride will let customers navigate at maximum altitude for about two hours
the trip will cost customers approximately $75,000 USD
Sure, you could throw all of these things under the broad category of racism. But some of these disparities are often perpetuated by people who insist that they believe with all their hearts in racial equality.
IT SEEPS INTO JUST ABOUT EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE
There’s a term for what’s happening when, despite our best intentions and without our awareness, racial stereotypes and assumptions creep into our minds and affect our actions: implicit racial bias.
It seeps into just about every aspect of life, including areas like criminal justice that can have deadly consequences. Thirty years of neurology and cognitive psychology studies show that it influences the way we see and treat others, even when we’re absolutely determined to be, and believe we are being, fair and objective.
That’s why implicit racial bias has been called “the new diversity paradigm — one that recognizes the role that bias plays in the day-to-day functioning of all human beings.”
Here’s what you need to know about how it works.
What is implicit bias?
You can think of it generally as “thoughts about people you didn’t know you had.”
Two of the leading scholars in the field, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, capture it well in the title of a book they wrote about the concept. It’s called “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People“
YOU CAN THINK OF IT GENERALLY AS “THOUGHTS ABOUT PEOPLE YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU HAD”
What do these “blind spots” look like, and how do they shape behavior? Well, if you have a stereotype about Asian people that labels them as “foreign,” implicit bias means you might have trouble associating even Asian-American people with speaking fluent English or being American citizens. If you’ve picked up on cultural cues that women are homemakers, it means you might have a harder time connecting women to powerful roles in business despite your conscious belief in gender equality.
The effects aren’t always negative: if you have a positive attitude about your alma mater, implicit bias could mean you feel more at ease around someone who you know also graduated from there than you do around people who went to other schools.
But there are a couple of things make implicit bias especially fascinating and potentially insidious:
First, since our thoughts often determine our actions, implicit bias can lead to discriminatory behaviors (more on those below). Second, it is impossible to detect without taking a test. In other words, you can’t sit down and do introspection about your biases, and you can’t just decide not to let them affect your attitudes and actions. Implicit bias lives deep in your subconscious, and it is largely separate from the biases you know you have.
How does implicit racial bias affect the way we think about race?
Studies have shown that people have implicit biases that favor Germans over Turks (in Germany), Japanese over Koreans (in Japan), men over women (when it comes to career-related stereotypes), youth over elderly, and straight people over gay people.
So, it’s no surprise race is a prime area for implicit bias, and if you live in America, you can probably make an educated guess about some of the ways it tends to play out: among other things, there’s a widespread preference for light skinned over dark skinned and white over black.
How is this related to regular old racism?
But it can also affect the minds of people who would say — honestly — that they are horrified by these types of attitudes. That’s because the implicit associations we hold often don’t align with our declared beliefs.
THE IMPLICIT ASSOCIATIONS WE HOLD OFTEN DON’T ALIGN WITH OUR DECLARED BELIEFS
As Cynthia Lee, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law, has explained, “the social science research demonstrates that one does not have to be a racist with a capital R, or one who intentionally discriminates on the basis of race, to harbor implicit racial biases.”
In all areas touched by implicit bias, including race, we tend to hold biases that favor the group that we belong to (what researchers call our “ingroup”). But research has shown that we can also hold implicit biases against our ingroup. So yes, white Americans generally have implicit biases against other races, but racial minorities can hold implicit biases against themselves, too. These results are rarely reflective of conscious attitudes.
How do you figure out whether you have implicit racial bias?
To evaluate implicit bias, scientists mostly use tests that measure reaction time and rely on the idea that if we closely associate two concepts in our minds, they’ll be easy for us to sort together. And if we don’t associate them, they’ll be harder, and take more time, to sort together.
The most popular of these tests is the Implicit Association Test, or IAT. Anthony Greenwald and his colleagues invented it in the mid-1990s. An organization called Project Implicit, maintained by Greenwald, Mahzarin Banjai, and Brian Nosek, allows people to take it online. The test is basically a video game that you play on a computer, the object of which is to sort categories of pictures and words.
Here’s an example of how it measures implicit racial bias: in the black-white race attitude test, test takers are asked to sort pictures of white and black people’s faces, and positive and negative words, by pressing one of two keys on the keyboard. It turns out that most people are able to do this more quickly when the white faces and positive words are assigned to the same key (black faces and negative words are assigned to the other key), compared with when white faces and negative words are assigned to the same key (and black faces and positive words are assigned to the other key). The difference in the time it takes a user to respond in different situations is the measure of implicit bias. Try a test yourself at Project Implicit.
“[M]Y HANDS WERE LITERALLY FROZEN WHEN I HAD TO ASSOCIATE BLACK WITH GOOD”
Here’s how Banaji explained the way taking the IAT feels, in a 2013 interview with the Boston Globe:
“So when I took the test … it was stunning for me to discover that my hands were literally frozen when I had to associate black with good. It’s like I couldn’t find the key on the keyboard, and doing the other version, the white-good, black-bad version was trivial. So the first thought that I had was: ‘Something’s wrong with this test.’ Three seconds later, it sunk in that this test was telling me something so important that it would require a re-evaluation of my mind, not of the test.”
How do the implicit racial biases the IAT reveals play out in reality?
Implicit racial bias can shape our beliefs and assumptions, color the way we treat other people, and even help decide what “feels true” for us when it comes to larger social and political issues.
Banaji explained that in one version of the IAT, researchers took famous Asian Americans such as Connie Chung and Michael Chang and Kristi Yamaguchi and picked white foreigners such as Hugh Grant, Katarina Witt, and Gerard Depardieu, and asked test takers to connect them to American symbols and foreign symbols. They found it was easier to associate Hugh Grant with American symbols than Connie Chung. “That shows how deeply the category ‘American’ is white” in many people’s minds, she said.
IT WAS EASIER TO ASSOCIATE HUGH GRANT WITH AMERICAN SYMBOLS THAN CONNIE CHUNG
She went on to explain what she said were the connotations of implicit bias when it comes to politics: “The reason I especially like that result is that in the first Obama election and since then, the issue has come up about these ‘birthers,’ and I think what we captured there was a little bit of a birther in all of us. I think this is where conscious attitudes matter. You and I say, ‘I consciously know Barack Obama was born in this country, and I believe this because the evidence is there.’ For some people who we might write off as the lunatic fringe, the association to be American is to be white. I can see for them that feels true.”
What are the main areas in which implicit racial bias affects our everyday lives?
Implicit biases are pervasive. Researchers say everyone possesses them, even people like judges, who have avowed commitments to impartiality.
And they don’t just stay tucked away in our unconscious until they’re revealed by a computer game. They determine how we behave. There is increasing evidence that implicit bias — including implicit racial bias, which the IAT measures — predicts behavior in the real world. This behavior, of course, harms the people who are members of groups that are the subjects of negative implicit bias.
For example, research has shown that it can affect healthcare: in one study, despite self-reporting very little explicit bias, two out of three clinicians were found to harbor implicit bias against blacks and Latinos. And it turns out that this affected the care that black patients got: the stronger the clinicians’ implicit bias against blacks relative to whites, the lower the black patients rated them on all four sub-scales of patient-centered care. It’s also been connected to racial discrimination in hiring, performance evaluations, housing discrimination, and even perceptions of neighborhood crime.
How does implicit bias affect criminal justice?
To understand the gaping racial disparities in criminal justice, it helps to understand implicit bias. As Vox’s German Lopez has explained:
Part of the problem is outright racism among some judges and cops, socioeconomic disparities that can drive more crime, and drug laws that disproportionately affect black Americans. But the other explanation is that cops, like everyone else, carry this implicit bias, which experts agree affects how they police people of different races. Since these are the people who carry out the initial steps of law enforcement, this bias might launch a cascading effect of racial disparities that starts with simple arrests and ends in prison or death.
These are a few ways implicit bias has been found to operate at every level of the criminal-justice system:
- Studies have shown that a person’s level of implicit racial bias predicts the amount of shooter bias — meaning, how much easier it is to shoot African Americans compared with white people in a video-game situation. And when researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and California State University at Northridge reviewed a decade of empirical evidence about cops and implicit bias in 2012, they found police officers seem to possess implicit bias that might make them more likely to shoot black suspects than white ones.
- Writing for the Yale Law Journal in 2013, L. Song Richardson and Phillip Atiba Goff demonstrated that the triage practices by which defense attorneys accept their cases can be informed by implicit racial bias and argued that the overwhelming case loads and time constraints create an environment in which implicit bias has an outsized influence on judgments.
- In a 2013 Law and Society Review article, Casey Reynolds examined how jurors unknowingly enter the courtroom with a set of inferences informed by implicit bias that can determine how they decide what constitutes “reasonable doubt.”
- In a 2013 article for Court Review, Kimberly Papillion addressed the idea that well-meaning judges can have neurophysiological responses that activate implicit racial biases, concluding that “Assuming that judges can simply try harder to be fair, take more time when making decision, or utilize their egalitarian value systems to eliminate bias in their decision-making process is naïve. The solutions should be tailored to the neurophysiologic reactions that infuse bias into the sentencing decisions.”
Can you get rid of implicit racial bias?
The good news is that there is some evidence that implicit biases, including implicit racial biases, are malleable.
THERE ARE STUDIES THAT DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU CAN AT LEAST PRODUCE SHIFTS
Several different approaches have shown promise for getting rid of implicit bias, generally, which all apply to implicit racial bias, too.
- Counter-stereotypic training: People can be trained, using visual or verbal cues, to develop new associations that contrast with the stereotypes they hold.
- Exposure to individuals who defy stereotypes: Being made aware of people who challenge the assumptions that fuel our biases — for example, male nurses, elderly athletes, or female scientists — has shown potential to decrease them.
- Intergroup contact: Simply having contact with the people about whom you have bias can reduce it. But researchers have found the contact typically has to involve individuals sharing equal status and common goals, a cooperative rather than competitive environment, and the presence of support from authority figures, laws, or customs.
- Education efforts aimed at raising awareness about implicit bias: the criminal-justice and health-care realms especially have embraced this approach.
- Taking the perspective of others: considering contrasting viewpoints and recognizing multiple perspectives can reduce automatic implicit bias.
- Mindfulness-meditation techniques: new research suggests that these can reduce implicit bias by short-circuiting negative associations.
While these methods are promising, implicit biases are really tough to shake. As Banaji told the Boston Globe, “I would say we should not be naïve about how easily we can change them. On the other hand, there are studies that demonstrate that you can at least produce shifts.”