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The other things in life

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Who Needs This When The Classics Are Already Bursting With Sex?

Forget naked flesh and heart-throb tenors — the real eroticism is in the music.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Thirty Years At 300 Millimeters

Perhaps the most recognizable photograph of the fall of Saigon is not exactly what it seems.


Deep In The Swamp, An 'Extinct' Woodpecker Lives

The ivory-billed woodpecker, a magnificent bird long given up for extinct, has been sighted in the cypress and tupelo swamp oft he Cache River National Wildlife Refuge here in Arkansas, scientists announced Thursday.

Al Gore Gets Down

Why Gore's TV network won't change much.

Baby Madness

How one young woman's delusions cost her years of freedom.


Incoming Cloud Forces Bush Into Safe Bunker

President George Bush was bundled into an underground bunker, Dick Cheney was evacuated to an "undisclosed location" and heavily armed secret servicemen took up defensive positions when a fast-moving cloud scudded towards the White House, it was reported yesterday.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


"We Are Playing God, Kicking People Back"

The gates were thronged with desperate, pleading people. The ambassador was locked in his office, ripping up secret documents. Meanwhile no one knew exactly how many rescue helicopters were coming... Tomorrow marks 30 years since the scrambled, humiliating evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon that marked the end of the Vietnam war.


Dim Sum Under Assault, And Devotees Say 'Hands Off'

A report by the Hong Kong government suggesting that eating many kinds of dim sum regularly may be bad for your health is threatening to overshadow whatever else might be worrying the people of this city.

A Short History Of The Chinese Restaurant

From stir-fried buffalo to Matzoh Foo Young.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tech & Science

Turn Me On, Dead Man

Anecdotal thinking comes naturally; science requires training.

Where Satellites Go When They Die

To a higher plane.


Film Taboo Is Smashed, To General Shrugging

A deepening revulsion toward the pornographic view is evident not only in the hysterial engendered by Janet Jackson's antics at the Super Bowl and other such incidents, but in a new breed of European art films that might be called anti-erotic sex films.

The New Human

How the stories we tell will shape our future — for better or worse.


Mind-Reading Machine Knows What You See

It is possible to read someone's mind by remotely measuring their brain activity, researchers have shown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Climate Of Denial

One morning in Kyoto, we won a round in the battle against global warming. Then special interests and pseudoscience snatched the truth away. What happened?

Filibuster On The Cross

Why the Christian right would be nuts to eliminate the filibuster.


We'll Map Manhattan

I propose to create, with the help of the Book Review's readers, a literary map of Manhattan — not of its authors' haunts but those of their characters, a map of the literary stars' homes.


Where I'm Likely To Find It

Few Shall Answer

Monday, April 25, 2005


Land Of The Dead

On April 26 1986, the No 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power station blew apart. Facing nuclear disaster on an unprecendented scale, Soviet authorities tried to contain the situation by sending thousands of ill-equipped men into a radioactive maelstrom.

A Hundred Cellphones Bloom, And Chinese Take To The Streets

The thousands of people who poured onto the streets of China this month for the anti-Japanese protests that shook Asia were bound by nationalist anger but also by a more mundane fact: they are China's cellphone and computer generation.


For New York's Bagel Shops, Passover Week Is No Festival

If it is hard to be a Jew on Christmas, it may be even tougher to run a bagel shop at Passover.

How To Get Out Alive

From huiicanes to 9/11: What the science of evacuation revelas about how humans behave in the worst of times.

Art On The Move

Computers have become integral to expression. Change and energy are tools. In this kinetic landscape, artists, museums and collectors all scramble to adjust.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Watching TV Makes You Smarter

For decades, we've worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the "masses" want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But as that "24" episode suggest, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less.

Will 'The Simpsons' Ever Age?

Matt Groening says 350 episodes are merely the halfway point.

How To Be Your Own Publisher

Self-publishing companies have been growing rapidly in recent years, displacing old-style vanity presses and competing with the number of titles produced by traditional houses.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


China's Biggest Gamble

Can it have capitalism without democracy? A prediction.


Look Who's In The School Kitchen, Dishing Out Advice

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has begun a school-meals project that has captured the imagination of a country growing fatter and unhealthier.

Casting Off Cookies?

Fruits and veggies become the main course on 'Sesame Street'.

Yesterday's Papers

Is Rupert Murdoch right to predict the end of newspapers as we now know them?

Friday, April 22, 2005


U.S. To Earth: Drop Dead

'Nature's wisdom' is on display at a world's fair in Japan. But Bush's America is not keen on nature, wants to run the world, and hates fairs.


Book Smart

Could cyberspace be the novel's best friend? Litblogs take off — and grow up.

On Broadway, Ads Now Get To Play Cameo Roles

Product placement and endorsement deals have long been staples in television shows, movies and radio programs and even, more recently, on video games. Now, advertisers, casting about for new ways to attract increasingly distracted consumers, have turned their attention to the theater world.

Automated Storyteller

There is an acknowledged double standard in how we view a prolific genre writer and a fruitful literary author.

Rediscovering Brasserie Balzar

I loved our waiter. I loved our dinner. I loved Balzar once again.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


By Playing At 'Rage,' China Dramatizes Its Rise

Left aside in the weekend's atmospherics in the effort to dispel them was the question of whether China has done a better job teaching history than its neighbor.


As Cash Flows In, India Goes Out To Eat

As India has opened its doors to foreign trade, millions of its people have found themselves with more lucrative jobs, less free time and greater exposure to foreign influences. In the process, what they eat and the way they eat have changed.

The End Of Oil Is Closer Than You Think

Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye.

Learning The Thai Sex Trade

Thailand generates fantasies, both for tourists in search of sex and for aid workers peddling lurid tales of trafficking. The tsunami created more false horror stories. What are the facts of the trade?

Surrender In The Battle Of Poetry Web Sites

This week the poetry world is atwitter over the closing down of an internet site that for the last year dedicated itself to exposing what it calls fraud among the small circle of poetry contests that frequently offer publishing contracts as prizes.

Is That A Poem?

The case for E.E. Cummings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


God And The Fight Against AIDS

Do evangelical Christian groups have a role to play in fighting the AIDS epidemic? Maybe they do, but at the moment they are engaged in an unseemly battle with secular AIDS organizations over US government contracts that could derail what little progress there has been in combating the epidemic.


United By A Love For Literature

The Litblog Co-Op is a joint effort by bloggers to 'shine a light' on some lesser-known fiction treasures.

Leave It To The Wine Guy

One of the many great things about wine is that it's a pleasure most enjoyed when it's shared. The better the wine, the greater the pleasure of both drinking it and sharing it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Japan Emerges As America's Deputy Sheriff In The Pacific

After 60 years largely spent keeping its head down, Japan appears destined to supplant Australia as Washington's "deputy sheriff" in the Asia-Pacific region and become a pillar of America's 21st-century security architecture.


How Did Michael Esiner Make Disney Profitable?

Not with cartoons.

For Business Travelers, Fees And Taxes Everywhere

While the industry's creative billing is aimed at anyone who hits the road, business travelers — and their employers — are disproportionate victims.



Monday, April 18, 2005


War Or Peace

Neither doomed to violence nor peaceful by nature, we are shaped by the civilizations we create. Modern society spends a good deal of time, effort, and scientific resource on finding better ways to wage war. What if we directed just a fraction of that energy toward finding a better way to wage peace?

Tech & Science

Where The Waters Are Rising

A close-up look at the low-lying Maldives, where global warming hits the seawall.


The CSI Effect

On TV, it's all slam-dunk evidence and quick convictions. Now juries expect the same thing — and that's a big problem.

My Living Will

I would like someone to turn off the TV.

Can We Make Boys And Girls Alike?

In the end, gender won't disappear, but the careers of some bright young men probably will.


ATM Feng Shui

The deep thought behind mini-bank placement.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


The Unregulated Offensive

Imagine that the interpretation of the Constitution was frozen in 1937. Imagine a country in which Social Security, job-safety laws and environmental protections were unconstitutional. Imagine judges longing for that. Imagine one of them as the next Supreme Court nominee.


Question Celebrity

Why does Hollywood advertise so ferociously to itself?

There's Nothing Deep About Depression

Why do we continue to believe that clinical depression brings with it artistic insight and literary greatness?


The rules that the church still imposes that affect most law-abiding people tend to govern sexuality and gender; they seem difficult to many Catholics because they focus on the matter of how we love and whom we love.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Trading Places

The United States may well remain the political and military leader for decades to come. It is likely also to remain the world's richest and most productive national economy for a long time (though the European Union as a whole is both larger and more productive). But the U.S. economy is no longer the single dominant economy.


A Champ In The City Of Coffees

The United States has never produced a barista deemed to be the planet's best, and for those Americans who have been following the run-up to the World Barista Championship — an admittedly small but passionate bunch — the question is whether Phuong Tran can beat the Scandinavians, who have dominated the annual competition since it began five years ago.

The Changing Complexion Of U Street

On historic black broadway, a tanning salon sets up shop.

Is Snow White?

And other questions about apperance and reality.



Friday, April 15, 2005


A Stick To Beat Cuba

US bullying of the UN human rights group must stop.


A Bevy Of Teeny Beauties, Minds Set On Being Queens

In a country where vanity is, well, everything, and Venezuelans readily admit wanting to look more beautiful, the race to become the fairest of them all starts young. And it begins at glamour factories like Herman's, in business 34 years, or at the finishing programs offered by Venezuela's numerous beauty pageants.

Do Art Critics Still Matter?

Today's frenetic art world pushes criticism to the sidelines — and many critics are not helping matters.


Librarians Fuming Over Intel Magazine Bounty

A day after Intel said it would offer $10,000 for a copy of a magazine in which Moore's Law was first announced, a University of Illinois engineering library noticed that one of its two copies had disappeared.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Strawberries And Dreams

Certain fruits like pears and lemons are much the same as they were 50 or 100 years ago, but California strawberries have been radically transformed by industrial agriculture.

The Internet DJ

MP3 blogs are growing in popularity, attracting thousnads of users daily. But while bloggers see their relationshiop with the industry as one of cooperation, it is a legally grey area.

Finding Their Religion

Young people are seeking faith in nontraditional ways.

Clever Canines

Did domestication make dogs smarter?

Trivial Pursuit

What classic board game, created in 1979, is on the decline?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The Calm Before The Storm?

The more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it.

Addicted To The Courts

Being addicted to such an institution is understandable; but it is also dangerous — and not only because the voting patterns are so fragile.

In Yuan We Trust

Our lenders are trying to strike a delicate balance: they'd like the dollar's predicament to seem dire enough to make us change, but not so dire as to spark panic. So be afraid. Just don't be very afraid.

Tech & Science

Look Out For Giant Triangles In Space

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) could be taking the wrong approach. Instead of listening for alien radio broadcasts, a better strategy may be to look for giant structures placed in orbit around nearby stars by alien civilisations.


Twinkies, 75 Years And Counting

C'mon, admit it. You eat Twinkies. You love 'em.


Petrified Light

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Space, The Final Frontier On The Inside Of A Jetliner

Both Boeing and Airbus are now paying a lot more attention to the coash cabins.

The Child Who Would Not Speak A Word

Selective mutism, experts say, probably represents one end of a spectrum of social anxieties that includes everything from a fear of eating in public to stage fright and agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces.


Bush Playlist Puzzles Pundits

Even the patriots on the Bush iPod are troubled souls.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tech & Science

Why Einstein May Have Got It Wrong

A century after Albert Einstein published his most famous ideas, physicsts will today commemorate the occasion by trying to demolish one of them.


The Parachute Artist

Have Tony Wheeler's guidebooks travelled too far?

A Culture Of Death, Not Life

Mortality — the more graphic, the merrier — is the biggest thing going in America.

Catholics In U.S. Keep Faith, But Live With Contradictions

American Catholics have come to accept that being Catholic means living with inconsistency. The roughly 65 million Catholics in the United States no longer have as distinctive an identity as they did a generation ago, and as they assimilated more thoroughly into American society, their views on social and moral issues came to mirror those of other Americans.


The Orlov-Sokolovs

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Hard Labor

Susan Ali was determined to give birth to a severely handicapped baby. Her husband was determined to stop her.

Cold Feat

When you live and run in Boston, training for the Marathon takes stamina, heart, and a whole lot of Vaseline.

Our Ratings, Ourselves

In Houston, a couple of thousand paid volunteers will soon start wearing Portable People Meters. Along with other advances in measuring what we watch and listen to, they may (in addition to transforming what we watch and listen to) finally answer the question: Does advertising really work?

Saturday, April 9, 2005


What Rupert Wrought

In the mid-seventies, Murdoch recognized New York as the bargain of the century. Now it's his city, we only live here.

'Apprentice' Sponsors Are The Real Losers

Those millions of dollars spent on product integration haven't necessarily helped the companies — or the candidates.

Washington's Worst Career Moves

Five men. Five promising futures. Five fuckups.



Thursday, April 7, 2005


China's Divided Catholics Unite, If Just To Mourn

China's 12 million Catholics are mourning the death of John Paul II, but his passing is also a reminder of an unfinished legacy: the division of Chinese Catholics from the rest of the church, and from each other.


Online Shopping Makes New York A Cardboard Jungle

Whether they hate shopping with kids in tow, dislike maneuvering a cart through narrow aisles or just prefer shopping for sodas at 2 a.m., New Yorkers now log on.

The Scientist Is Gone, But Not His Book Tour

It is a problem that might have puzzled the great physicist RIchard P. Feynman himself: how to conduct an author tour when the author is, well, not exactly available.

10,000 Years Of Nostalgia

Life gets better, but people feel worse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005


In Louvre, New Room With View Of 'Mona Lisa'

After slumming it in a far-off corner of the museum for the past four years, the "Mona Lisa" moved back this week to the 19th-century Salle des Etats, which has been elegantly refurbished and redesigned to ease the ritual of paying homage to the lady with the mystic smile.

The Novelist, Writ Large

Saul Bellow as a literary giant who embraced the stories of the street.

What To Do In Shanghai...

When you can't buy fake stuff.


The Lace World


How I Lost My Job In Radio

With the passing of Pope John Paul II, we now enter the period known as the "interregnum," the time between the death of a Pope and the election of his successor. And that brings to mind a little story I thought I'd share with a few friends about my last day in radio.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005


Schiavo Case Tests America

It is common to mock at American attempts to export Jeffersonian democracy, but after these two weeks the mocking should stop.

Tech & Science

It Orbits A Star, But Does It Qualify For Planethood?

At issue is a reddish object that appears to be orbiting GQ Lup, a very young star about 450 light-years from here in constellation Lupus.


Keeping Up With Pontiff Wasn't An Easy Assignment

Pope John Paul's traveling press entourage was the most international (and for many years the largest) in the world. That meant that the questions were asked in five or six languages, and often answered that way by the multilingual pope. That could be a problem for English-only reporters on a tight deadline. You never knew if the answer given in Spanish, French, German or Polish was going to be the real news, or one of the English answers you were able to understand.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Tech & Science

Capturing The Unicorn

Hwo two mathematicians came to the aid of the Met.


In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot

Whatever its exact dimensions, the wave of interest from overseas has cast a decidedly lopsided shadow over the map of Manhattan real estate.


Mallam Sile

Sunday, April 3, 2005


A Lobster's Last Rites

At 22 pounds, Bubba tickled our appetites and consciences.

Soap Opera

TV viewers know the grammar of marketing so well that product placement becomes the entertainment.

Saturday, April 2, 2005


Watching The Detective

Sherlock Holmes lives on — in fan societies, annotated versions, and new adventures.

Born To Be A Foreigner In Her Motherland

Chung Hyang Gung is a "Zainichi," a child of Japanese and Korean ancestry who is considered an outsider in Japan and on the Korean peninsula.

The Man Who Shot Sin City

How Robert Rodriguez, the one-man digital army behind El Mariachi and Spy Kids, brought an "unfilmable" cult comic to the big screen.

Paint By Numbers

It's high art meets high finance. It's social security for starving artists. How a tech whiz kid launched the first museum-quality pension fund.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Tech & Science

Not Intelligent, And Surely Not Science

Intelligent-design theory is not science. The proof is in the pudding.

Proof And Beauty

Just what does it mean to prove something?


Abandoning The News

The future course of the news, including the basic assumptions about how we consume news and information and make decisions in a democratic society are being altered by technology-savvy young people no longer wedded to traditional news outlets or even accessing news in traditional ways.

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