US INCOME\nThe upper crust gets thicker \nMuch has been written about the top 1% in the US — a group that saw its average income rise steeply from 1979 to 2011, reaching a high of US$2 million (in 2011 dollars) in 2007. This group is often contrasted with the other 99% of the population, whose average income seems to have stagnated during that same period. \nBut that is not entirely true, according to a Brookings study. There is a layer just under the top 1% that fared comparatively well. That is the upper middle class.\nTo go by a chart published by Brookings (reproduced above), the average income of this group, which represents about 19% of the US population, rose to just under US$200,000 in 2011 from approximately US$130,000 in 1979. By contrast, the bottom 40% of the population went from approximately US$25,000 to US$35,000.\nGALLERIES \nArtful financing? \n \nShould art galleries give back only 30% of their sales to artists, instead of the traditional 50%? That’s what cultural researcher Magnus Resch has suggested — and in so doing, he’s created a Twitterstorm in the art world, reports The Art Newspaper.\nAccording to Resch, the art world operates on an outdated business model. He conducted a survey of 8,000 art galleries in the US, UK and Germany and found that 30% are in debt. It’s time for a change, he says.\nArtist William Powhida calls Resch’s 70/30 proposal “awful.” And Sylvain Levy, a collector of Chinese contemporary art in Paris, says the idea is “possibly aimed at creating controversy and thus generating sales.”\nSCIENCE \nDisappearing act \nWatch out, Harry Potter: science might soon take the place of magic. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have come out with a super-thin invisibility cloak that makes small objects “disappear,” reports Le Monde, based on an article in the journal Science.\nThe cloak, only 80 nanometres thick, uses layers of gold and magnesium fluoride to play precisely with light refraction, thereby creating the impression that the underlying object has disappeared.\nFor the time being, the objects being disguised are ultra small, so the cloak won’t be ready for human use anytime soon. Still, the discovery represents a “giant leap,” according to Sébastien Guenneau, a researcher at France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique, who works in the invisibility field. “I call the cloak the ‘golden fleece.’ ”\nFOREIGN INVESTMENT\nPassage to India \n \nIn the first six months of this year, India was the leading destination for foreign investment, taking in a total of US$31 billion — US$3 billion more than China and US$4 billion more than the US, according to reports in Sputniknews.com and the Financial Times.\nTo explain the influx in foreign investment, economists point to the influence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “Made in India” program that he launched last year.