Brother, can you spare a dime

The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state relief programs has not kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks. But it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that many Americans and the economy are hurtling toward.

The $1,200 checks are long gone, at least for those who needed them most, with little imminent prospect for a second round. The lending program that helped millions of small businesses keep workers on the payroll will wind down if Congress does not extend it. Eviction moratoriums that are keeping people in their homes are expiring in many cities.

And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that have allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July…

RTFA. Every spare economist can make a buck, right now, forecasting a quick revival of our economy. Some don’t.

Thank you to Barry Ritholtz‘ for the link to the 538 post…and the late Jay Gorney for being a helluva musician and composer.

Finally, updated my music on the XR


Click to run

First track played outdoors, this spring, “Sama Amie” by WOCK. They’re Senegalese and true favorites of mine. This was track 01 of their Western debut album and adopted as background music for the Paris-Dakar Rally Race. Makes this old heart roar.

Yes, the Japanese writing means this is my MR ROBOT hat. Ignore the boring controversy over translation. I accept the simplest, materialist, acknowledgement of evolution…anti-Cartesian intent. “I am, therefore I think!”

Playing musical instruments accelerates brain development

❝ Learning to play an instrument boosts a child’s creativity, but new research shows it may also help grow the brain itself.

At a time when many elementary schools have cut or reduced their music programs, neuroscientists at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that music instruction may be important for brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that process sound, language and speech.

❝ For five years, USC neuroscientists followed nearly three dozen children from low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles to see how children’s behavior and brains changed over time. One group of children learned to play the violin or other instruments starting at age 6 or 7, while a second group played soccer. A third didn’t participate in any specific afterschool programs.

When the scientists compared the groups two years into the study, they found that the budding musicians had more developed auditory pathways, which connect the ear to the brain…

A more-developed auditory system can accelerate a child’s brain development beyond musical ability. “This system is also engaged in general sound processing that is fundamental to language development, reading skills and successful communication,” Habibi says.

He and his team plan to explore whether music instruction could accelerate development of language, reading and other abilities in young children.

Praiseworthy.

In addition, a study in Mexico determined that “Experiencing music at an early age can contribute to better brain development, optimizing the creation and establishment of neural networks, and stimulating the existing brain tracts,”

I’ll second that emotion. I’ve long felt that direct involvement in music as a performer made significant difference to my childhood and overall learning. Just saying.