December 23rd, 2010
03:10 PM GMT
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New York (CNN) – What does it take to get a conservative politician, liberal economist and billionaire businessman to agree? A crisis - and that is exactly what David Stockman, Jeffrey Sachs and Mort Zuckerman worry the U.S. will face as a result of the $858 billion tax package just passed by Congress.

"It is a racket what is going on in Washington. Here we had a deficit commission, we discussed these issues for months and all of the sudden the President and the Republicans get together and there’s another trillion dollars given away over 2 years. It’s really shocking stuff actually," says Sachs, a Columbia professor and special adviser to the United Nations.

"These debts essentially are a dagger pointed at the heart of the economy and sooner or later that dagger is going to strike so we now sort of justify this (tax package) in the short run because nobody thinks in the long run," adds real estate magnate Zuckerman.

We invited these three men to Time Warner Center to participate in a year-end discussion on the challenges facing the U.S. economy and, perhaps more importantly, the remedies that should be put in place.

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December 23rd, 2010
03:18 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – There is something plainly fascinating about Paul Butler's map of the world. The Facebook intern used data from the social networking site to create a map of people's friendships across the globe and to see how they related to geographical and political boundaries. After experimenting with different techniques, he ended up using arced, weighted lines to connect cities based on the volume of the Facebook friendships between them.

In Butler's words, the result is "a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships."

The lines also map out, to a large extent, Facebook's global penetration. One is struck by the fluorescent clusters in the United States and Europe, where Facebook is widely used; the clear contours of Indonesia, home of the most Facebook users in Asia; and the giant hole where China should be.

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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

 
 
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