Thursday, October 31, 2002
Consumers' Last Hurrah?
Let us contemplate and celebrate the true heroes of the U.S. and world economies: American consumers.
On Playing Hunches
Do I know something the pollsters don't know? Nope. Just a hunch generated by wishful thinking. The creative gridlock wouldn't be so bad for the country.
The solemnity of death and the grace of Midwestern humor are overshadowed tonight by the angry piety of populism.
Tech & Science
Dead But Awake: Is It Possible?
Despite mounting anecdotal evidence, conventional scientists still reject the notion that a person can remain conscious after being clinically deceased. Now a pair of researchers want to prove them wrong.
To The Liberal Arts, He Adds Computer Science
Tall and slender with a flowing beard, dressed in a gray sweater and jeans, Brian Kernighan works his audience with a fast patter and a ready smile. The challenge he has set for himself is to demystify computing for a classroom full of liberal arts undergraduates at Princeton.
Reel World Domination
If young film buffs choose Tarantino over Antonioni, are they culturally illiterate? Some of their elders, self-appointed guardians of the cinematic canon, think so.
Ferreting Out Weasels Where They Work
"You know you're in a weasel bubble when historians are making stuff up, and when movie studios are writing their own movie reviews, and ice-skating judges are fixing the Olympics, and priests are having a better sex life than you are."
Only A Thing
You could compare a certain kind of love affair to a car wreck.
Getting A Driver's License Is A Royal Pain In Britain
Think driving on the left side of the road is difficult? Try getting a British driver's license.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Tech & Science
Keeping Hope On Ice
The science of freezing a woman's eggs is still in its infancy.
The Ever-Expanding American Restaurant Tip
Part gift, part sales commission, and part salary, the tip is a peculiar artifact.
A Dorm For Dreamers
Rather than disregard the ambitions of its entrepreneurial students, the University of Maryland is encouraging them with the kind of amenities that earlier students could only dream about.
Big Eaters, Sure, But This Is Absurd
Spurred in part by Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest in Coney Island, eating contests have popped up across the country, from reindeer-sausage events in Alaska to conch fritter matches in Key West, Fla.
Writers Hone Words Of Praise For A Treasured Mentor
When contemporary American authors debate the age-old question of whether writing can be taught, the name of Nicholas Delbanco is apt to be mentioned.
Art Groups And Artists Find Angels: Universities
As artists and arts organizations find themselves facing yet another brutal decline in financial support, they are increasingly turning to a small but growing corps of universities that are quietly helping fill that gap.
David Lodge Thinks...
The British novelist of ideas takes on the literary implications of 'consciousness studies.'
Scientists Plan To Shake Hands Via Internet
In a technological first, the scientists will use pencil-like devices called phantoms to recreate the sense of touch across the Atlantic.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Senior Minister Jiang?
The Chinese are eager for a seamless, global confidence-building transfer of power.
In Russia - Old Habits Die Hard
As Moscow obsesses round hospital beds, the wider world is entitled to ask again: is Putin serious about turning his country to the West, and if so, can he deliver?
Axis Of Execution
While it is true that death will not bring the 10 victims back to life, and life in prison is, really, an awful punishment, I recommend, sir, that you merely stick to your guns — an unfortunate turn ofphrase, maybe, but one that sums up our entire position.
Saturated With Violence
We don't know what to do about all this violence. We don't know how to process it. We don't even know how to cover it. We sensationalize it, glamorize it, eroticize it.
Enjoying A Leftist Lunch
There's something almost insane about attempting to use a one-dimensional spectrum to describe something as complex as political philosophy.
Tech & Science
Is the death of the cassette as sweetly sad as the death, years ago, of the vinyl record?
Don't Blame Columbus For All The Indians' Ills
The general health of Native Americans had apparently been deteriorating for centuries before 1492.
A New View Of Our Universe: Only One Of Many
Some cosmologists now say the realm we call the observable universe could be only a small patch of a vast bubble or "pocket" in a much vaster ensemble bred endlessly in a chain of big bangs.
Network Tries To Foil Ad Skipping
Television networks, dreading a future in which digital devices hand viewers the power to skip commercials automatically, have responded by increasingly integrating ads into the programs themselves.
This Dad Demands Final Cut
I might be more sympathetic to the DGA's case if someone were willing to acknowledge the vast abandonment of artistic principles that occurs daily in the movie business.
The Newseum That Fits
The design of the new Newseum is a brash study of contrasts with the august architecture surrounding its prominent Pennsylvania Avenue address. It is almost all glass where its neighbors are almost all stone. It's transparent where they are opaque, light where they're heavy, breezily informal where they are attired for a decorous sit-down dinner.
On Your Day's To-Do List, Is Reading The Paper A Must?
How can newspaper be relevant on routine, personal issues — while simultaneously trying to explain terrorism, global warming and a faltering economy?
IHT - TWP = NYT
The Times and The Post, intensely competitive in every way, were always an odd couple. Yet the marriage worked, at least for readers. That is, until last Tuesday, when the Times started divorce proceedings.
A Writer Most At Home Out In The Open
Reed retains humor, style as he faces cancer.
Nobel By Association: Beautiful Mind, Non-Existent Prize
Is the Nobel Prize for Economics as real as the Loch Ness monster? A fascinating story of how, when the global public was looking the other way, strategy and snobbery brought a symbolic currency to life.
Coke Sign Goes Dark In The Heart Of Times Sq.
After 11 years of teasing parched New Yorkers, the animated Coca-Cola sign in Times Square is dark. Eventually it will be replaced by a more advanced-looking Coke display, the company said.
Monday, October 28, 2002
The Moderate Majority
Southeast Asia's progressive Islam can be a strong weapon against extremism.
Dodging The Bullet
Even in the wake of the sniper slayings, Democrats are shying away from gun control.
No House Slave Here
After a string of policy-debate losses that had some of us urging principled resignation — an interim state for Palestine, reengagement with North Korea, a containment approach to Iraq — I'm thinking that Powell may finally have won one by getting the president to work through the United Nations.
Tech & Science
Improvements In Bra Technology
A bra design can pose engineering challenges as formidable as those encountered in building a bridge or a skyscraper.
A Fibonacci Fountain
The year 1202 saw the publication of one of the most famous and influential books in mathematics.
The Luster Of Vienna's Treasures Endures
It's truly an embarrassment for an American to visit a city like this and experience public services so much better than anything we're accustomed to.
Needed: A Stirring National Anthem
I am not the first to advocate scrapping "The Star-Spangled Banner" as our national anthem. But seeing as how, despite calls for change, it is still the national anthem, there is work yet to be done.
Miss America's Stealth Virginity Campaign
With the coveted tiara firmly in her grasp, beauty queen Erika Harold quickly unveiled plans to promote her pet cause: Abstinence-only sex education.
When A Judge Is Forced To Play God
In a better world, no judge would have to pass judgment on a person who can't talk, feel, move or breathe on his own. No judge would have to decide whether a 14-month-old child, whose most constant companion has been a ventilator, should live or die.
A Heated Mc-Culture Clash
In a city that holds fast to tradition, McDonald's wants a spot in the historic main square.
The Ultimate Reality TV
Fox News is asking the United Nations for permission to send reporters and camera crews along if U.N. weapons inspectors return to Iraq.
A Writer's Tale Is Victorian; His Past, Gothic
Something terrible happened a long time ago to Michel Faber, the author of "The Crimson Petal and the White."
A TV House Divided
The future of television has finally arrived — really. Now begins the haggling over who gets control, and negotiations with the highest stakes are taking place inside AOL Time Warner.
The Angry Appeal Of Eminem Cuts Across Racial Lines
Not only is Eminem accepted as a supremely skillful practitioner of rap, many say he is the salvation of an art form that they say has been corrupted by a focus on Bentleys, yachts and Cristal Champagne.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Life, And Death, In An Abortion Culture
Abortion kills something. What is it?
Lessons From Japan About War's Aftermath
Does America's successful occupation of Japan after World War II provide a model for a constructive American role in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq? The short answer is no.
The Ninth Hawaiian Island
What could possibly lure so many people from a real tropical paradise to the conjured mirage of Las Vegas?
Saving Uncle Phil
Phil Cummins, quirky and beloved, happened to live in his parents' basement. The author only learned the truth years later, in a cache of old letters.
No surprise ending: Women just have to live with ambivalence about work and home.
Not Quite Right For Our Pages
The rejection letter in Ian McEwan's "Atonement" is a masterpiece of the form.
Fare Idea Returns To Haunt Airlines
By disseminating their Web fares so widely on Orbitz, the airlines have created another way to ratchet fares even lower when they can least afford it.
There's Sheer Wizardry In Us Muggles
Harry Potter may be fiction, but Rowling's depiction of Muggles is clearly a commentary on reality.
Capitol Hill's Alternative To The Mall
It doesn't have a food court, acres of parking or the usual lineup of chain stores, but a new mall has arrived on Capitol Hill.
Saturday, October 26, 2002
What Al Qaeda Learned In D.C.
There are good reasons why the sniper siege terrified Americans who were far from the line of fire, but they're not the reasons that have dominated the media babble.
The Writing Life
Winter can't come too soon for a writer who gets her inspiration from the ice beneath her feet.
Reinventing The Cooper-Hewitt
New director wants the museum to include the present with the past.
So Many Books, So Little Space
At some point, even ardent bibliophiles begin to view their beloved books as a burden.
Friday, October 25, 2002
Has China Become An Ally?
American relations with China have improved in a way that few could have imagined when the Bush administration entered office and declared China a "strategic competitor." Now signs of serious cooperation are everywhere.
The Fear Factor
Be afraid—an Asian wave of horror at the movies is fast making its way around the world.
British self-regard on the subject of humour is hilarious.
Small Card, Big Spender
While we may have vague misgivings about what we'll do when the bills arrive, in the meantime we embrace every innovation that lets us shop as fast as we can.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
For Bush, Facts Are Malleable
Statements on subjects ranging from the economy to Iraq suggest that a president who won election underscoring Al Gore's knack for distortions and exaggerations has been guilty of a few himself.
Tech & Science
A Palmtop For The Prosecution
The rise of the organizer as a criminal tool has bred a new category of forensic scientist: the Palm reader.
Is This The Famous Original Grand Sichuan?
Here was an incipient riddle that still might be answered: Where are all the Grand Sichuan restaurants coming from, and are they connected?
Two Writers Under One Roof
There's something quite glorious and strangely romantic about the intimacy that two writers can bring to a marriage.
Titles Can Run Longer Than The Shows
What's in a name? Quite a bit if you're a TV show trying to find an audience.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
The Anti-Liberal Anti-War Case
The anti-warriors of the left would rather see Iraq continue as a slave state under Saddam Hussein. Well, it's a point of view. But you might have a hard time convincing the average Iraqi torture victim that it is a liberal one.
Tech & Science
How I Destroyed The New Economy
Dot-com visionary David Wetherell could do no wrong — until he started building a mansion on an ancient Indian burial ground.
The Language Of Exile
Wherever he writes, in whichever language, the writer of the Holocaust is a spiritual fugitive, asking for spiritual asylum, invariably in a foreign tongue.
Now That's What I Call Music
A chance of listen to every British number one for the past 50 years?
Age-Old Culinary Quesitons Still Stir A Fire
More than 300 people, mostly Southerners, some more knowledgeable than others, gathered on the campus of Ole Miss last weekend to praise barbecue, argue about barbecue and gorge on barbecue, which one overexcited speaker described as "the only truly American food."
Canadian Writer Wins A Revamped Booker Prize
Yann Martel, a Canadian writer, won the newly renamed Man Booker Prize tonight for his novel "Life of Pi," the magical fable of a young man shipwrecked in the company of a Bengal tiger.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
How The American Media Can Help South-East Asia
Given the reach and power of the US media to shape the perceptions, and by implication the decision, of Western policy-makers and investors, a little additional nuance in its reporting would be no bad thing.
There Really Is A Monster Under The Bed — Big Brother
In Texas, they like their barbecue hot, their oil sweet and their sex straight. Of course, only one of these preferences is set by law: sex.
So Long, Fellow Travelers
George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as "evil." Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism.
Tech & Science
The Universe Seems So Simple, Until You Have To Explain It
In the end, it wasn't the strange science fiction sounding ideas animating cosmology these days that defeated me, but the simple ones.
Using Technology To Add New Dimensions To The Nightly Call Home
Inspired by the dizzying array of portable devices on the market and a growing emphasis on home and family, frequent business travelers are taking the traditional nightly call home to new levels.
First Proof Of Jesus Found?
The first archaeological evidence of Jesus' existence has come to light, literally written in stone, according to one of the top world experts in deciphering ancient Near East inscriptions.
'Harry Potter' To Battle 'Lord Of The Rings,' Again
On the surface, it's deja vu. But there are significant differences this time as the films square off.
They Have The Money, Stupid
Older people hold 80 per cent of all wealth and 75 per cent of all stock portfolios. Yet 95 per cent of all promotional campaigns in Europe last year were targeted at the under-fifties.
Witness The Emancipation Of The Little Woman
Women are everywhere today. Well, they always were, but now they've invaded occupations where they were never expected. They are becoming, God help us all, just like men. Andy Rooney is just going to have to accept that.
TV Puts Its Mark On Sniper Story
For the TV networks and stations covering the sniper case, it's also a splendid opportunity to promote the stations and their coverage.
A Media Mouse That Roared
I look out on the media landscape of Los Angeles and I mourn not merely the passing of a great, gutsy newspaper but also the state of the media in the country's second-largest city.
Monday, October 21, 2002
Why, with both houses of Congress up for grabs, has the election seemingly been relegated to back-burner status? Is this campaign a bust — and are the media partially to blame?
The Loss Of A Safe Place
Suddenly Bali had become an alien and bitter place to die in.
They Want To Kill Us All
Forget the 'root causes'. The massacre in Bali was part of the continuing Islamofascist war against the West, adn those who ignore it are sleepwalking to national suicide.
Tech & Science
A Merger Taken AO-Ill
Financials, culture, ideology divide Time Warner and its new-media partner.
A Boon For Nonprofits With Software Needs
CompuMentor, a nonprofit organization founded by Daniel Ben-Horin, has created a software store for other nonprofit groups.
Life after "Seinfeld."
Clothing-optional swimmers get into trouble with the natives.
Dilbert's A Weasel And So Are You
The dot-com bubble was tough for cartoonist Scott Adams. But now that things suck again, it's boom time once more for disillusioned cubicle droids.
Egers' Trail Of Broken Hearts
The Bay Area goes gaga for the local boy who wrote 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.' And his aversion to publicity only feeds the frenzy.
The Gatekeeper For Literature Changes At New Yorker
For decades, the fiction editor of The New Yorker has controlled the velvet rope at the gateway to literary stardom, welcoming a fortunate few into the prestigious inner circle of short story writers and a career of lucrative book contracts.
The Poison Ivy Is Beautiful This Time Of Year
The Canadian Fall Foliage Festival began nearly 50 years ago, and if the event has not put Vermont out of the leaf business, it has become popular in a land of few trees.
Who Is The Sniper? Blogs Tell All
Conspiracy theories have long been an Internet staple. But a dearth of evidence about the sniper — and the phenomenal explosion of blogs — have brought online speculation to a screeching crescendo.
Giant Mystery Bird Spotted In Alaska
A giant winged creature, like something out of Jurassic Park, has reportedly been sighted several times in Southwest Alaska in recent weeks.
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Our Children Will Get Through This
It's important to remember that every child is unique, and each will quite naturally find his or her own ways of coping with overwhelming feelings.
We are always looking to make some sort of sense out of murder in order to keep it safely at bay. But what happens when there is no description, no place, nobody?
After the carnage in Bali, life will never be the same again for South-east Asians. They now hold front-row seats in an ever more menacing theatre of terror. Shrapnel has killed and maimed hundreds; the damage to morale and ailing economies is uncountable. The region, Singaporeans included, must stop being spectators and join the battle against terror, together.
A Latin Jolt To The New York Skyline
The redevelopment of Times Square has finally produced a building worth talking about: the new Westin Hotel on Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.
With Egg Roll, You Might Get Advertisement
At least one Chinese restaurant in Manhattan is sending out delivery orders in cartons adorned not with the traditional "Thank You, Enjoy," but with something a bit more jarring: an advertisement for Cingular Wireless.
The Remote Controllers
It is now standard Hollywood practice for executive producers to scurry into Web groups moments after an episode is shown on the East Coast.
Business Plans Without A Dot-Com
These days, young people are working with more traditional products, using, say, chocolate chips instead of microchips.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Despite a controversial history in Somalia and Vietnam, the idea of the United States as nation-builder is back in vogue.
A Grand Strategy
President George W. Bush's national security strategy could represent the most sweeping shift in U.S. grand strategy since the beginning of the Cold War. But its success depends on the willingness of the rest of the world to welcome U.S. power with open arms.
Tech & Science
Researchers Say Science Is Hurt By Secrecy Policy Set Up By The White House
The administration's policy of restricting the publication of federally financed research it deemed "sensitive but unclassified" threatened to "stifle scientific creativity and to weaken national security."
Saving The Planet Saves Money
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is good for the pocket.
A Lover Of Literary Puzzles
Umberto Eco is something of a practical joker. He is also Italy's best-known living novelist and, almost as famously, a philosopher who writes about matters ranging from "Peanuts" to Kant, and a semiotician who says he learned his excellent English by reading Marvel Comics and "Finnegans Wake."
Sniper Coverage: Is It Too Much?
While industry observers seem to agree that the story has not been overplayed, considering the intense public interest, some have questioned whether the content of some coverage, particularly on cable, is actually helping the sniper.
Booker Prize 'Winner' Named By Mistake
Organizers of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for literature were red-faced Thursday after they accidentally named one of the short-listed candidates as the winner.
Friday, October 18, 2002
The Logic Of Irrational Fear
The reaction to the sniper reveals a lot about Americans' perception of risk.
Even After 9/11, Media Bungled The Bali Blast
News coverage of the horrifying explosions in Bali last weekend shows that not much has changed in journalism since Sept. 11.
In these unsettling times, anxiety is becoming a way of life.
Digital Magic On Broadway
Little more than a decade after a helicopter first landed onstage in the musical "Miss Saigon," theatrical designers are stretching the boundaries of what is possible with a variety of new digital tools that allow them to coordinate and control dozens of independent elements from a keyboard.
The Red And The Brown
With his new magazine, Pat Buchanan links the old right to the new left.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
Saddam In A Landslide! Florida Ballots Not Yet Counted
Let this be a call to arms for the Bush 2004 campaign.
Tech & Science
Cancer Survival Rates 'Underestimated'
Survival rates for cancer have been seriously underestimated, discouraging doctors and depressing patients, a study suggests today.
What Is This, A Wine List Or A Stickup?
Wine prices — especially California wine prices — have skyrocketed over the last decade, and not just in restaurants.
90 Years Of New Poems
Poetry magazine — which has published new works by more than 4,000 poets, from Yeats to Billy Collins — is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month.
Films With War Themes Are Victims Of Bad Timing
A cataclysmic event can change the fate of a movie. One example is "The Quiet American," which following Sept. 11, 2001, morphed from hot Oscar prospect to problem child.
Books For The Asking
In the same way that the home computer gave users the ability to create documents that looked good, even if they didn't necessarily read well, print-on-demand services now enable people to publish a book with ease, regardless of whether anyone else would want to read it.
The Blessed Version
While directors and film studios have wrangled for decades over final cut, the advent of cheap and easy video editing technology may just wrest control from both parties and place it firmly in the hands of consumers.
'The Rollercoaster Champion Of The World'
As a child, Richard Rodriguez was afraid of rollercoasters.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Tech & Science
In just eight years he has made Amazon the world's leading online sales operation — it's even showing a profit. No wonder Jeff Bezos, emperor of e-commerce, is so pleased with himself.
The Congo Sound
How a record store in Paris became a center of African music.
Ambrose Told The Stories From History That We Needed To Hear
These days, much of the American press is more often than necessary a school for scandal. Hence, the begrudging quality of so many of the obituaries for historian Stephen Ambrose, who died this week at 66.
Finishing Each Other's Sentences, And Seminars
In the brothers bausch, a fraternity of two writers.
Bless Butter, Cream And Simple French Fare
French cooking pays homage to the cook, not the food.
Uncertain Times: Impulse Buyers Replace Ticket Subscribers
The season subscription plan, which for generations has balanced the books of symphonies, nonprofit theaters and opera and ballet companies, seems to be losing favor with audiences around the country as single-ticket sales increase in popularity.
Dutch Designs For Cities Built On Ideas And What-If's
For a small country, the Netherlands packs a wallop on the architectural scene worldwide.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Politics And TV Can Mix
Faulty surveys are one reason for lack of coverage.
Tech & Science
How Science Solves Crimes
From ballistics to DNA, forensic scientists are revolutionizing police work—on TV and in reality. And just in time.
On Scientific Fakery And The Systems To Catch It
In some ways, the pivotal figure in the research misconduct case at Bell Labs was not Dr. J. Hendrik Schˆn, the scientist fired last month for fabricating and manipulating data, but Dr. Bertram Batlogg, the man who hired him in 1998.
It's A Particular L.A. Kind Of Pilgrimage
Angelenos are making the trek to North Hollywood to satisfy their cravings for granite.
Monday, October 14, 2002
Tech & Science
Help, I Need Somebody
The laptop maker saved the money on producing a manual, and I saved the money calling a helpline. I didn't solve the problem, but I know it wasn't total idiocy on my part.
The Homeless Blogger
Kevin Barbieux sleeps in abandoned buildings or shelters — and writes a daily journal that has made him an Internet celebrity.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
The Scope Of Shared Tragedy
Simple tools, complex crimes.
If The Economy Mattered
Suppose, for a moment, that Iraq and the war on terrorism were not occupying the headlines and competing with the everyday economic issues for the attention of voters. What would the campaign debate look like?
Tech & Science
Oil And Water: Why Prizes And Science Don't Mix
Trying to decide who instead of just what deserves recognition opens the door to the same kind of speculation and subjectivity that surrounds Britain's contentious Booker Prize for the year's best novel.
Up All Night In New York
The premise was simple enough: New York prides itself for being "the city that never sleeps," and having spent much of our lives here, my wife, Joan, and I decided we would finally prove it ourselves.
The Mystery In Box D366
Sir Timothy Clifford was sure he'd discovered a Michelangelo in a museum storage room. The hard part was making everyone else believe it.
The Myth Of '18 To 34'
Since the day an ad exec came up with the notion of the targeted demographic, advertisers' fetishizing of this audience block has transformed our culture. But the business premise behind it is bunk.
Men Behaving Badly
Sexual-harassment law is well intentioned, but it's intellectually incoherent. Nothing illustrates this better than strange new cases involving men victimizing men.
Your Call. Everybody's Business.
Let us proudly tell the world (and the people riding with us in the elevator): "Yes, I have a cellphone. Yes, my wife wants me to bring home a quart of milk. And, yes, we secretly like to dress up like Santa and Mrs. Claus."
For Love — And Money
In this world, "selling out" is the ultimate insult. The trick has always been to become popular, but not too popular.
The Drift To Thrift
We've all grown used to living with the threat of redundancy, failing pensions and mortgage rip-offs. But the no-frills economy has had one positive effect. It's put prudence back on the map. Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by cheap chic, and canny shoppers now expect their pound to go further.
Saturday, October 12, 2002
Anywhere But Here
Once it embodied Asia's spirit of can-do capitalism. Now Hong Kong is mired in economic and social gloom. Many in the middle class now believe the only way is out.
Campuses Awash In Junk Foods
At the high school where I teach, the day begins with the sound of semi trucks offloading tons of junk food for the daily consumption of our students.
A Short History Of A Small Island
New Yorkers, celebrate! Governors Island is ours again and to be put to our purposes.
Single Girls: Sex But Still No Respect
Two new books suggest that despite compelling images of the single woman in contemporary culture, single women are still perceived as a special-interest group.
The so-called slackers are complaining (again) about the economy. This time they have reason to whine.
Friday, October 11, 2002
Sudden Death Of The Arts & Letters Daily
Thus with a few lines of legalese came the death of a blog beloved by highbrows and by anyone, really, who appreciates incisive articles on a variety of cutting-edge topics from Freud to french fries, from evolution to Elvis.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
False Choices On Gun Safety
With more than 500,000 gun-related crimes each year, America cannot focus exclusively on punishing people once they commit gun-related crimes. It must also attempt to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands in the first place.
Fighting Terrorism With Democracy
Civilization is now threatened not just by rogue states like Hitler's Germany or Milosevic's Serbia but by people who are not exactly enemy combatants and not exactly criminals.
Tech & Science
Ports Have To Go With The Flow
Our docks need new technology, not Luddites.
A Nobel That Bridges Economics And Psychology
Two Americans have won this year's Nobel award in economics for trying to explain idiosyncrasies in people's ways of making decisions, research that has helped incorporate insights from psychology into the discipline of economics.
Guerrilla Warfare, Waged With Code
"They are computer scientists who have principled causes. They are developing technologies not for commercial purposes, but for political purposes."
Goodbye To A Friend
Sad news comes to us today from Austin, Texas. Longtime PC Magazine contributor and friend Jim Seymour passed away suddenly yesterday.
Where Every Loin Is Girded For War
What America needs now is a good sex scandal. The strain of sustained sobriety in the midst of sabre-rattling is wearing everybody down.
How Friends wins advertising friends.
Author Could Use Some Magic In Summoning Book 5
With another delay in publishing, J.K. Rowling is on the defensive with fans.
Wired, But Drawing The Line
It is often those who occupy themselves most intensively with technology who have put the most thought into its role in defining who they are.
Forum Asks, Who Owns A Dance?
When works from earlier eras were revived, how much of the original were dancers performing and audiences watching?
Art: What's Original Anyway?
An upcoming art exhibit teases the bounds of legality by incorporating copyright-protected images, sounds and words. Organizers timed it to coincide with a landmark Supreme Court copyright case.
Rethinking The Think Tanks
How industry-funded "experts" twist the environmental debate.
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Does The United States Start Wars?
Would an American invasion of Iraq be unprecedented?
The Reassuring Routine Of 'No-News' Briefings
Why hold a media briefing at all when there's so little to report? And why bother reporting it as if something is happening?
A Just War?
Many of the country's leading ethicists oppose a strike on Iraq. But a look at the centuries-old theory of just war suggests that military action may be in fact be morally necessary.
Tech & Science
Sex And Death
The awful existential significance of cellular suicide.
Japanese Masters Get Closer To The Toilet Nirvana
Japan's toilet wars started in February, when Matsushita engineers here unveiled a toilet seat equipped with electrodes that send a mild electric charge through the user's buttocks, yielding a digital measurement of body-fat ratio.
South Korea's Real Rage For Virtual Games
The burgeoning broadband gaming industry in South Korea, critics say, is creating millions of zombified addicts.
The 9-11 Lottery Coincidence
Analysis shows such coincidences aren't so unusual.
Something About 'SpongeBob' Whispers 'Gay' To Many Men
He lives in a pineapple under the sea, in a town called Bikini Bottom. His best friend is an exuberant pink starfish named Patrick. His name is SpongeBob SquarePants, the absorbent yellow star of the most highly rated kids show on TV.
Still In The Greasy-Spoon Era
We should thank heaven for Starbucks, Coffee Republic, Pret a Manger and Cafe Nero.
Tina KOs Remnick
Whose New Yorker would you rather read?
The New Standards
If a shopper buys organic lettuce from California and organic tomatoes from Virginia, are they both equally organic?
Breakfast As The New Cure-All
Mollie Katzen, author of the hippie classic "Moosewood Cookbook," has a new book: "Mollie Katzen's Sunlight CafÈ," a collection of breakfast recipes.
The Truth About My Dinner Party
For an avid home cook, the idea of traveling to the suburbs to shop sounded like sleeping with the enemy.
LTA Says No SEX On Roads
The Singapore Land Transport Authority has decided against the issue of SEX licence plates for cars.
Tuesday, October 8, 2002
Ripple Effect Of Dockworkers' Strike Could Turn Into Tsunami
Globalization makes a world of difference in port labor disputes.
Too Close For Comfort
The scariest thing is we're going to get used to this.
Tech & Science
Jealous? Maybe It's Genetic. Maybe Not.
Two new papers question evidence, assembled by evolutionary psychologists, for the notion that jealousy evolved differently in men and in women.
Biology Vs. The Blank Slate
Evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker deconstructs the great myths about how the mind works.
Follow The Yellow Page Road
How an old-economy business is bailing out the new-economy telecoms.
An Iraqi Man Of Letters
We in the West tend to have a two-dimensional image of the man we're about to go to war with. So I roamed Iraq looking for that third dimension.
Cable Conquered, What's Next For 'The Sopranos'?
Especially tantalizing to its producers is the fact that "The Sopranos" is now attracting broadcast network-size ratings even though only a third of the nation's television audience subscribes to HBO, the pay-cable channel that reaches 30 million homes.
Can J-School Be Saved?
Professional advice for Columbia University.
Monday, October 7, 2002
The Power Paradox
History teaches that holding a monopoly on might—as the United States now does—is likely to provoke a backlash.
Tech & Science
Online relationships aren't virtual, and they aren't revolutionary. Shakespeare knew it, and so does my son.
Hollywood Gets The Big Picture With DVDs
The DVD is changing more than Hollywood's bottom line. It is influencing what kinds of movies get made and when they are offered for sale and rental.
Obscure Show With Small Products
Trade shows do not get much more obscure than Sensors Expo and Conference. The semiannual gathering assembles scores of little companies — or little-known divisions of large ones like General Electric — that make devices to measure heat, pressures, speed, voltage, acceleration and scores of other conditions that are vital to machines and people.
Miss America — More Than A Beauty Queen?
Until organizers decide what the title represents, the public will go on thinking it means very little.
May You Never Know Your Place
My son believes New York is his town, and the world is his oyster cracker. Is he entitled to feel entitled?
Oh, Ottawa? Oh, Yes.
Canada's surprising capital.
Naughty Victorians Find New Takers
Unlike previous flirtations with the period, which emphasized the stereotype of Victorians as a stuffy lot, today's crop of books, museum shows and runway fashions reflect the latest scholarship about the era.
Sunday, October 6, 2002
The Day After Saddam
Five Iraqis who are preparing to rebuild their homeland.
The Diffcult Balance Between Liberty And Security
Unfortunately, based on the justices' past rulings, it may be a mistake to rely on the Supreme Court to restore some sense of balance.
Tech & Science
Girls Need To Learn To Run Like Boys
It's an age-old taunt, but sports medicine experts have discovered that if female athletes are trained to run, jump and pivot like males, they can prevent serious knee injuries.
Rise Of The Home Office
A space dedicated to work has become as important as any room in the house.
Jazzy Language For Complicated Times
Against a background of political tensions, Quincy Troupe gives his first reading as the state's poet laureate.
The De Facto Capital
They got it right the first time. New York was the capital of the nation at its birth.
How Do You Say Fushion In Paris? Unlike Anywhere Else
The French always manage to do it their way, and when it comes to the growing trend of fusion fare in Paris restaurants, the chefs are calling the shots.
A Collage In Which Life = Death = Art
Ray Johnson made no distinction at all between art and life, or in his case, between art and death.
Saturday, October 5, 2002
Is this the ugliest building in New York?
Seeking Campus Dialogue, Not Diatribe
Amid tensions on campuses, a group that includes leading academics, spiritual leaders and students has created a new organization they hope will dampen the ill will and tone down the angry rhetoric of supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians by acknowledging the legitimacy of both sides and by emphasizing a common humanity.
Friday, October 4, 2002
The President's Real Goal In Iraq
This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman.
The Sky's The Limit
Rebuilding downtown New York shouldn't mean blotting out the sun.
The Wrong Truck
Drivers of delivery vehicles brave stares and police stops as the hunt for a killer gears up.
Forbes ASAP, Magazine Of New Market, Shuts Down
In what has become a familiar story, a magazine formed to cover the rise of the digital economy has been done in by its decline.
Weblogs And THe Mass Amateurization Of Publishing
This destruction of value is what makes weblogs so important. We want a world where global publishing is effortless. We want a world where you don't have to ask for help or permission to write out loud.
Thursday, October 3, 2002
"Tiny Steps... Almost Real"
Will Democrats today take two steps forward or two steps back?
Tech & Science
Going To The Top For Help
Tech moguls still get calls from friends and family members who are having problems with their home computers.
Lunching In New York
Half my lunch partners are doing the perp walk or "exploring new opportunities", ie, getting fired.
New Wave, Old Problem
The early 60s was a brief heyday for British cinema. So where did it all go wrong?
Brainiacs Heat Up Screen At CineMath
Go figure — the nerds are having their revenge, as mathematics becomes pop culture's hottest new trend.
Ask The Pilot
By popular demand: The full, unexpurgated story of what happens when dry ice is mixed with blue toilet acid at 33,000 feet.
N.J. Poet Laureate Defends His 9/11 Work
"I will not apologize and I will not resign."
CNN News Gettin' Jiggy With Da Jive Talkin'
"This is CNN Headline News, the dopest news network."
Old Boys' Club Meets Its Match
Trifling with a woman's self-perception is never a good idea. But mocking a literary woman is truly unwise, as evidenced by 3,200 pages and nearly 12 pounds of anthology of Irish women's writing that has just been published here and in Ireland.
Brides Pay Princely Sum To Be Cinderellas
Opulent weddings are nothing new for the well-to-do. But in recent years, more people of modest means have been springing for ever more lavish ceremonies.
Scientific American Meets Vanity Fair In New Glossy
Seed, the newest entrant into the science magazine market, might best be described as anti-ant-farm.
Why Is It So Hard To Get A Cab In This Town?
A longtime taxi driver tells all.
Deflating Self-Esteem's Role In Society's Ills
Recently, some psychologists have begun debunking the notion that a poor self-image is the malady behind most of society's complaints ó and bolstering self-esteem its cure.
The Obsolescence Of The American Intellectual
In sum — God forgive me — I often looked down on intellectuals, even though I at times enjoyed their company.
RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music
"It's criminal," RIAA president Hilary Rosen said. "Anyone at any time can simply turn on a radio and hear a copyrighted song. Making matters worse, these radio stations often play the best, catchiest song off the album over and over until people get sick of it. Where is the incentive for people to go out and buy the album?"
Wednesday, October 2, 2002
A Vote That Counts
Imagine casting a vote for a party you like rather than voting for the lesser of two evils. Imagine one of every 11 people doing the same.
White House Economic Policies Are Bankrupt
Although the economy was slowing even before President Bush took office, he has made the situation much worse than it had to be. What could have been a mild and brief recession has instead turned into a prolonged downturn likely to last more than two years.
Can Hillary Upgrade?
The arena is full of powerful men in touch with their powerless inner women. And yet, surrounded by famous men puddling under pressure, American girls are still doubtful about the prospects of a woman becoming president.
What Does Life Teach Us About Love?
With experience, I have learnt more about give and take.
A Great Restaurant's Secret Ingredient
Here's a hint: It's nowhere on the menu.
Tales Of The Walking Wounded
For Ava Chin, writing about being a child of divorce and compiling others' feelings was cathartic and revealing.
Classical Music: Why Bother?
A composer and Harvard professor wonders whether his craft has been left behind by a world with no patience for Great Art.
Extinction Of Blondes Vastly Overreported
The World Health Organization says there is no such study — and that most journalists didn't call to check.
American Grapevines Set Cooks Buzzing
After long indifference, native grapes are being slowly rediscovered by chefs, who appreciate their emphatically fruity flavors.
A Literary Review At Bellevue? Believe It
Bellevue may be the only municipal hospital in the country to have a literary review. It has attracted well-known writers despite not paying its contributors.
Drummond & Son
Drummond opened the shop every morning at seven so he and his boy could eat breakfast while the first drop-offs were coming in.
Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Dealing With W
Bad as Japan's policy has been, it's possible that the United States will do even worse.
Tech & Science
Internet Draws The Prying Eyes Of The Voyeur
For a voyeur whose behavior qualifies as a paraphilia, the Internet is the equivalent of a drug to an addict.
Seeking Deeper Meaning In The Babbling Of Babies
If the baby babbles mainly on the right, the researchers say, it means that babbling is a form of language.
Radio Killed The Radio Star
Consolidation has resulted in 10,000 layoffs, the demise of a beloved trade magazine, and a decline in programming quality. But industry execs are fat and happy.
Thailand Like A Local
In this country rich with exotic traditions, you can't see it all. But with a resident as a tour guide, one visitor got a closer view.
Digital Artworks That Play Against Expectations
With more than 16,000 members, Rhizome is among the most popular virtual communities devoted to the digital arts.
Hotels Are Doing Business On A Last-Name Basis
It has long been common for corporate travelers at luxury hotels to be addressed by name when they call the front desk, the concierge or valet parking. But now many elite hotels are doing such "guest recognition" programs one better, by instructing employees to greet guests by name in hallways, in elevators, even in the gyms.
How to take your Emmy Award aboard an aircraft.
Panning For Gore
With friends like the New Republic...
One Man, One Big Identity Crisis
Should the media refer to Iraqi president as 'Saddam' or 'Hussein'?