Thursday, July 31, 2003
Are We Safer Now?
The war on Saddam has made the U.S. less secure, say foreign-policy experts.
America Is A Religion
US leaders now see themselves as priests of a divine mission to rid the world of its demons.
Tech & Science
Nanotech: It's Not Easy Being Green
Researchers and activists go to loggerheads over the science of small.
I'll Have Three Big Macs, Two Large Fries And A Lawyer
So, the misguided folks eager to cast the purveyors of fast food and snack food as the moral and legal equivalents of Big Tobacco seem to be gathering steam. Or is it just hot air?
Type Casting: Geek 'Star Wars' Is Full Of Characters
Simon Jansen is the computer-age equivalent of the guy who builds a reproduction of the Taj Mahal out of toothpicks, or "The Last Supper" from wedges of cheese.
To: Mom And Dad Re: Homesickness
Digital technology has blazed a trail to summer camp, and with it have come misgivings.
The Politics Of Oxymoron
For behind the claim that the modern world consists of "civilizations" (plural), and not just "civilization" (singular), a lot of linguistic mischief is afoot.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
The Classified Truth
Even the censored version of the 9/11 report makes it clear the U.S. focused on the wrong nation.
Breaking The Chinese Menu Code
To outsiders, authentic Chinese restaurants are like some maddening puzzle, equal parts tantalizing and frustrating. You know you want more than beef with broccoli, but how do you order that wonderful-looking stuff that guy is eating at the next table? And what the heck is it? Now along comes Carl Chu to the rescue.
Cultural property disputes are reshaping the art world — but how?
The Problem With FX
Now that the bar on special effects has been raised so high, is it impossible to clear?
Fifteen Ways To Leave Your Lover
Following an Islamic court decision last week that allowed a Malaysian man to serve a divorce on his wife by text message, we review some of the strangest — and cruellest — ways to get shot of that special someone
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
In The Political Arena, The Gladiators Are Now Engaged In Total War
American political life has always required a tolerance for mud and expediency. But over the last generation, the level of combat in this endless battle has escalated to the point where the extreme has become the routine.
What Democrats can learn from Tony Blair's speech to Congress.
Tech & Science
A Bad Trip Down Memory Lane
Though the term "false memory" is slippery and inadequate, there is now little doubt that the phenomenon exists.
Just Say Om
Scientists study it. Doctors recommend it. Millions of Americans — many of whom don't even own crystals — practice it every day. Why? Because meditation works.
Bob Hope, Master Of One-Liners And Friend To G.I.'s, Dies At 100
There was nothing Bob Hope loved more than an audience, and audiences responded in kind, particularly soldiers facing combat who desperately needed a laugh.
City Lights Alter Rhythm Of Life On Long Island Sound
Scientists say that night on the Sound no longer exists because the sky has been deeply altered by the advent of artificial light.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Thanks For The Mammaries
Feminists want women to control their bodies — except their breasts.
Tech & Science
As Clock Ticks For Hubble, Some Plead For A Reprieve
On Thursday, astronomers will crowd into a hotel ballroom in Washington to discuss when and how NASA should put down one of its and astronomy's most spectacular successes, the Hubble Space Telescope.
Bob Hope, Legendary Entertainer, Dies At 100
Bob Hope, ski-nosed master of the one-liner and favorite comedian of servicemen and presidents alike, has died, less than two months after turning 100.
It's Not R Town
Some small-town theaters choose to live without 'restricted' films.
Dont' Wanna Grow Up Cuz Puberty Isn't Funny
No matter how many laughs a television show can squeeze from an impish boy, cracking wise and bugging out his eyes at various oppressors, a sudden end to the laughter looms. The comedy often stops when puberty starts.
To look at her, you wouldn't know this 22-year-old has no home. Or that she's a writer, with a devoted Internet following.
Feminism, The Body, And The Machine
Without exception, the feminist letters accuse me of exploiting my wife, and they do not scruple to allow the most insulting implications of their indictment to fall upon my wife. They fail entirely to see that my essay does not give any support to their accusation — or if they see it, they do not care.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Democrats In Search Of A Hero
As the Democrats struggle to find a credible challenger to President Bush in next year's election, they also risk losing America's largest state: Governor Gray Davis of California will face a "recall" vote in which he may be up against one of Hollywood's most popular figures: Arnold Schwarzenegger, alias, the "Terminator".
How Not To Stop The Next 9/11
Congress' pointless plan for preventing terrorism.
Message To Beijing
The only thing more dangerous than democracy in Hong Kong is a continuation of its autocratic government.
Vroom! With A View
As you drive around L.A., ever wonder why someone would choose to live by the freeway?
The New Nun
A 32-year-old woman is letting go of what she calls the "image of success for a Medford girl" — marriage, big house, adorable kids, and a part-time law practice. Her reason: Because God has something else in mind.
Now Taking The Field: Bold Stadium Designs
New sports stadiums have generally been staid and faux-historical. So will fans embrace an architectural trip to left field?
Prime Numbers: What Science And Crime Have In Common
If Caesar had only known that his desire to emulate Alexander — his spectacular conquest of Gaul, his renowned oratory, his elegant military histories, his provident reform of the calendar — stemmed from an unconscious drive to bed more women, would he not have wept all the more?
Los Angeles' Lost River
For 120 years, the freshwater mecca served as L.A.'s hub and main water source, so people more or less paid attention to the river's health. But they were also sucking it dry.
'Sesame Street' For Grown-Ups Teachers Life Skills
Literacy advocates hope it will reach a few of the estimated 90 million grown-ups who, though solid on their ABCs and 1-2-3s, could use a little help with W-2s and GEDs.
Saturday, July 26, 2003
When Security Becomes Apartheid
To stop suicide bombers, Israel is erecting a 26-foot-high barrier to wall off the occupied territories. But the wall is causing daily hardship — and annoying President Bush.
Playbooks For The War Of The Sexes
Maxim's spoof on stripping offers insight into how the other half reads.
The Secret Of The Black Paintings
Who painted Goya's most celebrated work? According to a provocative new study, it may not have been Goya.
Chinatown: Eat, Drink And Speak Cantonese
When I order food in Cantonese in Chinatown as a non-Asian, it is as if a door swings open and I'm invited into the house to meet the family.
America Yawns At Foreign Fiction
Writers, publishers and cultural critics have long lamented the difficulty of interesting American readers in translated literature, and now some say the market for these books is smaller than it has been in generations.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
'Blogs' Shake The Political Discourse
Whether this is a useful addition to the political process is subject to question. But the most fervent blog proponents have been talking like apostles. Blogs, they predict, are harbingers of a new, interactive culture that will change the way democracy works, turning voters into active participants rather than passive consumers, limiting the traditional media's role as gatekeeper, and giving the rank-and-file voter unparalleled influence.
Take It From An Iowan: You Can Never Have Too Much Of A Good Thing
For all the differences between Washingtonians and Iowans, there is but a single, fundamental distinction that matters to me. And it has everything to do with corn.
For Young German Writers, All Is Ich
World War II and the Holocaust are no longer the dominant themes in these existential tales by the young writers. Instead, they are writing about the role of the artist after the fall of the wall, the life of the immigrant and, obsessively it seems, about the elusive nature of happiness.
Hidden In Every Brain There Lurks A Poet
Dissecting creativity is 'the last frontier of the last frontier.'
For The 15th Time, Look It Up
'The Chicago Manual of Style' enters the 21st century.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
The Cuban Missile Tape Crisis
Just how helpful are the White House recordings?
At War For Freedom
The former Director of the CIA says that America should make no apology for its robust response in the "war on terrorism". And if that makes other states nervous, so much the better .
Tech & Science
The New Science Of Dyslexia
Why some children struggle so much with reading used to be a mystery. Now researchers know what's wrong — and what to do about it.
Yips, The Curse Of Golfers, Are Put To The Test
Yips are the sudden jerks, clenches, twitches or spasms that can send an easy two-foot putt right off the green.
The Lost City Of Venice
For centuries, St. Mark's Square has been slowly slipping closer to Atlantis. Here's how a massive system of floodgates could turn the tide.
The Me-Moir: Publishing's Vanity Project
I am in My Summer of Memoirs. The story you are reading, ostensibly an exploration of storytelling genres, is really all about me. And about what it's like to be me.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Who's Unpatriotic Now?
By cooking intelligence to promote a war that wasn't urgent, the administration has squandered our military strength.
Tech & Science
The Power Of The Moon
The tides are as predictable as night and day, and they're powerful, too. Now there's a way of using their kinetic energy to produce electricity.
Cash. Fame. Pressure. And Garlic.
"The Restaurant," despite its manipulations, opens a window that even professional food writers rarely get to look through. It makes clear, whether consciously or unconsciously, the unholy alliance of creativity, money and public relations that dominates New York's restaurant economy.
Monday, July 21, 2003
France And Us
The French helped us win our Revolution. A few years later we were at war with Napoleon's navy. The two countries have been falling in and out of love eve rsince. Why?
After Blair Fiasco, Times Considers Ombudded Journalism
The icy opposition to hiring an ombudsman at the New York Times appears to be melting.
What's In A Name? In This Case, Fancy Sandwiches
"Trading on one's family name is not derogatory anymore, at least not in my view."
There's No Tiptoeing Past Shoe Policy
Until recently, the Transportation Security Administration has been tight-lipped about its apparent shoe fetish, but on July 10, the agency finally clarified its policy.
View From A Headlock
"Let me see it for a minute." Let me see it: you saw a basketball or a pack of baseball cards or a plastic water gun by taking it into your hands, and what happened after that was in doubt. Ownership depended mostly on not letting anyone see anything. If you let a kid see a bottle of Yoo-hoo for a minute, he'd drink what was left of it.
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Why Liberals Are No Fun
How can Democrats be so ineffectual in the media in which they would seem to have a home-court cultural advantage?
The Writing Life
Liars and novelists have this in common: They need to sustain the lie.
'Survivor' gave Colleen Haskell fame she didn't enjoy, fans she'd rather avoid and a movie career she didn't want. So she escaped to an ordinary life and an ordinary job... making a reality TV show.
How Much Did Your Seat Cost?
Now the purchase of a theater ticket has come to resemble the purchase of an airline ticket. For complete control — the ability to choose your seat and the date you sit there — you will probably pay top dollar. In most other cases, you can make a deal.
Over 90, And Still On The Road
For many people my age, just getting out for something as simple as an ice cream cone can make a big difference in your quality of life. If we can't get there in our own cars or afford to hire a driver, we need better public transportation or the help of younger people who don't mind the company of someone who's been around the block a couple of times.
3-D Rides Back To Save The Day
Always frantic to revive the sense of magic that greeted the first motion pictures, Hollywood is taking yet another chance on one of the movies' most enduring challenges: 3-D.
Saturday, July 19, 2003
10 Things We Can Do To Perpetuate Homelessness
To many people, the world today is upside down. Look at the problem of homelessness, for example. We are the rishest and most powerful nation in the world, and yet there are still thousands and thousands of people who sleep on our streets each night.
Options Abound For Text Chat Services On Macs
Withour data lives split up in many locations, and often our only access a machine with a Web browser, .Mac has become a more compelling option for frequent travelers — even ifyou're traveling among home, office and coffee shop.
Trust Me, I'm British
Whatever Downing Street's view, the BBC has become a valued news source for liberal America.
The Economist Takes The High Road To Global Success
One of the hottest-selling magazines in America doesn't publish celebrity covers or photos of scantily clad young woemn, doesn't traffic in gossip or diet tips and doesn't cater to a niche audience obsessed with cars, coins, cooking or collectibles. Moreover, it doesn't call itself a magaine, and it isn't published in America.
Friday, July 18, 2003
Falling Hook, Line And Sinker
With the Disney/Pixar animation movie such a hit at cinemas, adults and children alike have been flocking to aquariums to buy a clown fish.
They Should Know Better
Humanities scholars spend lots of time reading, so why can't they write?
Barbie, Starbucks And Freedom
If Public Enemy, which has the resources to fight egregious copyright claims, doesn't make music like it used to because it's just too much trouble, think of how many other people there must be who are holding their tongues — because to say anything new and interesting would simply cost too much.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Seeking Nirvana In A Dusty Bookshelf
They may look sleepy, but many used-book stores are thriving.
Hate Is A Useless Emotion
Experts confirm what many victims feel: Forgiveness can have the power to heal.
The Washington Post's grand plans to give it away.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Tour Of Duty Or Deplorable Deployment?
This is a hideous mistake. There are no short-timers' calendars, no end of this assignment to look forward to. Nothing you can promise the folks back home. Or yourself, for that matter.
It's Hong Kong V China: Who'll Crack?
Six years after the handover to China, Hong Kong's residents are so angry at the collapse of their once vibrant economy and property market that they are prepared to challenge the might of Beijing.
Tech & Science
The New Sex Scorecard
It's safe to talk about sex differences again.
He Knows The Flow Must Go On
For a collector and businessman, nothing that modern technology offers these days can replace the magic of writing with a fountain pen.
New Tarantino Film To Be Released In 2 Parts
Miramax Films will take the unusual and potentially risky move of releasing "Kill Bill," the much-anticipated Quentin Tarantino martial arts action-adventure film, as two movies, the first to open in the fall.
For years he worked with down-and-outs, drug addicts and burglars. Now Ian Duhig has been shortlisted for one of Britain's most prestigious poetry prizes.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Should Howard Dean Be A Little Afraid Of The Internet?
By encouraging so much spontaneous organization, Dean has — knowingly or unknowingly — ceded a lot of control to these unofficial groups. It's a gamble that may pay off, but it's still a gamble.
Black Thursday For Bush
If President Bush is not reelected, we may look back on last Thursday, July 10, 2003, as the day the shadow of defeat first crossed his political horizon.
The Bright Stuff
We are, in fact, the moral backbone of the nation: brights take their civic duties seriously precisely because they don't trust God to save humanity from its follies.
Tech & Science
Early Voices: The Leap To Language
New research is eroding the idea that the origins of language are hopelesly lost in the mists of time. New clues have started to emerge from archaeology, genetics and human behvaioral ecology, and even linguists have grudgingly begun to join in the discussion before other specialists eat their lunch.
Sound, Fury And Cellphone Users
Feelings of rage and seething are not uncommon when it comes to cellphones, where the "against" line up passionately against the "for."
Question For 'David' At 500: Is He Ready For Makeover?
There is no shortage of passion in the arguments brandished by Ms. Parronchi and Ms. Falletti and their respective supporters, arguments in which science and experience have been marshaled for partisan purposes.
The Devil Highway's Number Is Finally Up
After 77 years, U.S. 666 will soon be renamed and, some locals say, maybe even reborn.
Monday, July 14, 2003
20 Lies About The War
Falsehoods ranging from exaggeration to plain untruth were used to make the case for war. More lies are being used in the aftermath.
Harry Potter And The Internet Pirates
JC, a 36-year-old Harry Potter fanin Kansas City, Mo., decided he was too old to go chasing after the fifth book in the pouplar series when it came out last month. Instead, he downloaded the book.
Sunday, July 13, 2003
The American Vacation Does A Disappearing Act
Employee fear and guilt, an 'overwork ethic' and recession keep workers from taking time off.
Using Their Bean
The men behind the Rowan Atkinson comedy "Johnny English" don't need U.S. audiences to help make their film a hit. It already is.
Ground Zero Or Bust
In post-9/11 New York, it's not those tried 20th-century battles about pornography and blasphemy that draw blood. The new culture wars often spring from 9/11 itself, starting with the future, aesthetic and otherwise, of ground zero.
Saturday, July 12, 2003
Parental Guidance Required
No governmental programs or police intervention can substitute for loving parental supervision.
Atlantic Turns To The Pacific
Los Angeles' bright galaxy of stars is about to increase by three.
2 Fast 4 Safety?
Our speed limits don't necessarily make us all safer, just more regulated.
Friday, July 11, 2003
Bush's Bad Science
Uncertainty is no reason for the U.S. to dodge its responsibility to act on global climate change.
Big Brother Gets A Brain
The Pentagon's plan for tracking everything that moves.
A Message From Roger
Standing on Clearwater's Pier 60, a little boy put a note in a bottle: "To whoever finds this, please write me a letter and let me know." Nineteen years went by. Roger, we got your note.
The Anti-Pleasure Principle
The "food police" and the pseudoscience of self-denial.
Bush Gets An Eyeful On African Safari
Elephants put on R-rated performance for first family.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Tech & Science
To Kill An Avatar
Norrath, the online world created by Sony, has more residents than Miami and a bigger GNP than Bulgaria. Who will make its laws?
'Bling-Bling' In The Oxford Dictionary? That's Phat
The popular hip-hop phrase has a shot at being included in the paes of the highly respected tome.
A Wine Award That Seems Easy To Come By
For wine drinkers around the country, finding a restaurant with a Wine Spectator award has become a reassuring sign. It has come to mean that the restaurant's wine list, wine service and wine storage have been held up to the discerning light of one of some of hte nation's most well-respected wine critics, and that it has triumphed. Or has it?
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
A Nation Of Scared Sheep
Why don't Americans care that Bush may have lied to them about Iraq? The answer lies deep in our reptilian brains.
Iran Twins Die Trying To Live Separate Lives
They wanted to see each other face to face, they said, and to pursue independent lives. And so Ladan and Laleh Bijani, 29-year-old Iranian twins who were born joined at the head, asked doctors to go ahead with a risky operation to separate them. Neither survived.
Singular poet who stood as a witness to spiritual values in an age that rejected them.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
In Blair We Trust
One of the saddest results of our war in Iraq is that it may finish off Tony Blair before Saddam Hussein.
Tech & Science
Search For Life Out There Gains Respect, Bit By Bit
Years after Congress ordered NASA to pull the plug on a survey looking for alien radio signals from the stars, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, as it is known to aficionados, seems to have gradually achieved a modicum of respect in the halls of Washington.
How Language Stunts Creativity
As the brain dies, new artistry is born.
Gertrude Stein Rocks
Should great poems be seen and not heard?
Sequels Are Fish Food
Much-hypted retreads, lacking individuality, are in the box-office tank, gobbled up by the clever "Finding Nemo" and other inventive films.
Opposites Attract? Not In Real Life
As a new report demonstrates with the no-nonsense zing of the phrase "I do," humans often seek in a spouse the sort of person they know best: themselves.
Same Old Story: Awful Or Odd
Once upon a time, elderly people in children's books were either evil or eccentric, and not much has changed.
Subway Cars' Last Stop: Under Sea, Not Ground
An old New York City subway car was pushed into the ocean Thursday off Cape May, N.J. A total of 50 cars were added to an artificial reef.
He And She: What's The Real Difference?
According to a team of computer scientists, we give away our gender in our writing style.
Textbook Writing 101
Most professors think you need a grat idea for a textbook to put your stamp on the discipline — a sparkling, cutting-edge theme. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Monday, July 7, 2003
Hong Kong To Delay Anti-Subversion Bill
Though the residents cannot elect their chief executive, or even a majority of their lawmakers, they had forced the government to back down simply by marching through the streets.
Harry Potter And The Childish Adult
What is the secret of the explosive and worldwide success of the Harry Potter books? Why do they satisfy children and — a much harder question — why do so many adults read them?
Capturing The Cultural Revolution
A photographer who documented the cultural revolution in China is for the first time making public his remarkable visual testimony of that violet era.
In Search Of The Perfect Cup, The Old Coffee Pot Is PassÈ
Not long ago, coffee fanatics were thrilled to be within walking distance of fresh cappuccino. But soon that did not cut it.
Sunday, July 6, 2003
A Genealogy Of Anti-Americanism
A genuine dialogue between America and Europe will become possible only when Europeans start the long and arduous process of freeing themselves from the grip of anti-Americanism.
Big-City Hall Marks
Conceived in the Eisenhower era, the Los Angeles Music Center, Washington's Kennedy Center and New York's Lincoln Center — are forced to face some modern realities.
Is Less More? Broadway's Naked Truths
There's currently a bumper corp of flesh on Broadway, both subtly achieved and blatantly revealed.
Up, Up And Away
Apparently for many women, exposing four inches of bare belly is easier to accept than the last inch of leg.
It's Hard, Being A Chinese DJ
Welcome to the resourceful world of the Chinese DJ.
Saturday, July 5, 2003
Throngs Return For Mall Fourth
A dazzling fireworks show sprayed light across the Washington sky last night, viewed by throngs of visitors on the Mall who celebrated Independence Day against a backdrop of American troops under fire abroad and vigilance against terrorism at home.
Let's really get the government out of our bedrooms.
Tech & Science
Trying To Clear The Static On Using Electronics Aloft
Is it safe to use cell-phones, pagers and such in flight? Maybe yes — but we aren't sure yet.
Where Have All The Lisas Gone?
Why did I recently receive birth announcements from three couples who had never met, who lived as distant from one another as Maine, Minnesota and California, yet who had all named their sons Leo?
In The Face Of Death
They had already found Jeremy Gross guilty of a brutal murder. How did 12 pro-death-penalty jurors come to spare his life?
Barry White, Disco-Era Crooner, Dies At 58
Barry White, whose deep voice and lushly orchestrated songs added up to soundtracks for seduction, died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 58.
The deepest and most inexhaustible of western games, chess, has exerted a peculiar fascination for artists.
Friday, July 4, 2003
The Powerful Pull Of Freedom
It's not just material abundance that lures immigrants to the U.S. It's also the opportunity to be the architect of one's own life.
French Student Visitors Get The Cold Shoulder
First it was French wines. Then French fries. Now it's French exchange students who are getting the cold shoulder from American families still smarting over France's opposition to the war in Iraq.
Tech & Science
Wrinkle Cream For Old Movies
Modern technology can make classic films look even better than new. But is that really a good idea?
Similar Solar System Found Only 90 Light Years Away
A team of British, Australian and American astronomers announced yesterday that they had found a hint of home 90 light years away in the constellation Puppis.
The suburbs they are a-changin', but for some the ice cream man still cometh, with a familiar ring of nostalgia.
A Novelist's Mental Architecture
One of the exquisite pleasures of writing a novel is creating a home for the characters — and therefore for yourself, too, as their invisible but bossy guest.
Coffee Snobs Unite
How Americans' bad taste in coffee is putting Juan Valdez out of business.
Thursday, July 3, 2003
Blogland's Man Of The People
The Web has found its candidate for president, and his name is Howard Dean.
Let Their People Come
The Founders understood the importance of free immigration.
How To Learn To Love Sodomy
This just in: GOP atremble, love & sex rejoice, revolution imminent. Can you feel it?
Film's Not Dead, Damn It!
Interviews with some of today's leading cinematographers — the real magic-makers of the movies — suggest that George Lucas' overhyped "digital revolution" is mostly marketing buzz.
Stars And Stripes Forever: Smithsonian Preserves That Flag
A three-year effort to preserve the 190-year-old flag, which inspired what became the national anthem, is nearing completion.
Remembering Hepburn, Floppy Pants And All
To me, how she lived was pretty classy, and it should put all the pety, catty, would-be diminishers around us in their place.
The Green-Eyed Monster
Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.
Wednesday, July 2, 2003
The Yangtze swallows the past.
Who Lost The WMD?
As the weapons hunt intensifies, so does the finger pointing. A preview of the coming battle.
At Bedtime, Is A Book All You Want?
The success of several new books shows that erotic writing is becoming bolder and more mainstream, but sex works best in the mind, not on the page.
Salads That Declare Their Independence
Meat is not only the centerpiece of most barbecues, but also the simplest part. Intensely flavorful to begin with, it is easily made more so with rubs, sauces and smoke. It's the salads that can be tricky.
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Tech & Science
Monkey See, Monkey Speak: Facial Expressions As A Guide To Speech
Humans, even infants who cannot yet speak, pick up visual cues from the movement of the lips and other parts of the face to help understand what it is they are hearing. Now there is evidence that this ability may go back a long way.
The Mystery Of Itch, The Joy Of Scratch
An itch demands a scratch, but science has barely begun to scratch the surface of why an itch itches, and how to make it stop.