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The other things in life

Friday, September 30, 2005

Tech & Science

That Famous Equation And You

A hundred years ago this month, the final equation of Einstein's short article gave the world E=mc2.


Conan On The Couch

Conan O'Brien talks constantly about how no one cares about his show because it's on too late. But in four years, when he takes over for Jay Leno, he'll no longer have that excuse. Does comedy's crown prince need a whole new shtick?

What Part Of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand!

Infiltrator goes to a teen abstinence educators' conference — and gets laid!

You Do What You Eat

Forget tougher punishments and hiring more police. The solution to crime and violence is on your plate. Here's how healthy food can reduce aggressive behavior.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tech & Science

Mind The Gaps

The critics are missing the beauty of this new theory. Because the really great thing about intelligent design is that it takes all the awkward uncertainty out of science.


Clouds, Silver Linings And A Mall In The Sky

It began as a concept with, at best, a checkered history: a mall in the city. This one was to look different, with quartz and granite and an irregular shape, and be different, with very expensive restaurants instead of a food court.

Defying Terror, Filmgoers Attend A Festival In Baghdad

In what was perhaps as much an act of defiance as a leisurely way of spending an afternoon, more than 300 Iraqis walked into a theater this past Saturday, and without metal detectors or security guards, sat down and watched a movie.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My Stroller, My Savior

I always sneered at stroller-obsessed yuppies. Then I discovered a double-decker dream machine that changed my life.

The Great Wheel

Literature and the national memory.


The Photographer's Eye, The Photographer's Heart

Jim had left her about midnigth, and the rest of Katherine's night had been mostly sleepless. So first thing that morning, knowing what must be done, Katherine went straight outside, a gnarled steak knife from the kitchen in hand, and began scratching at her table.

Human Love

Melbourne Beach, 1965

Cheap Seats

The Cracked Jar Called Can It Be Taught?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The Utopian Nightmare

This year, economists, politicians, and rock stars in rich countries have pleaded for debt relief and aid for the world's poorest countries. It certainly sounds like the right thing to do. But utopian dreams of alleviating poverty overlook some hard facts. By promising so much, rich-world activists prolong the true nightmare of poverty.

Tech & Science

Return Of The Time Lord

Steven Hawking on disability, why women can't read maps, and thinking in 11 dimensions.


A New Russian Leaves The Old In The Dust

With stunning speed in the last few years, the developers have torn down scores of buildings in the city center, ripping the soul out of much of this stolid, quirky city.

Their Back Pages

Just what is the business for a young writer to be up to?

Evaluate Motivations Before Changing Jobs

An improving job market means more opportunities to change jobs. It is a fortunate position to be in, of course, but it also makes for some tough decisions — whether you like your current job or not.

Which Of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? (Not So Fast)

Despite the often adamant advice, scientists say they really do not know whether dietary changes will make a difference.

At The Vatican, Exceptions Make The Rule

Although this is a difficult point for many Anglo-Saxons to grasp, when the Vatican makes statements like "no gays in the priesthood," it doesn't actually mean "no gays in the priesthood." It means, "As a general rule, this is not a good idea, but we all know there will be exceptioins."

Bye, Bye, Broadsheet

britain is witnessing what may be the last big newspaper war — and it's about size, not circulation.



Monday, September 26, 2005


More Than A Leather Seat

The pampered set wants first class and beyond. Your own suite, a seven-course meal — pick the right flier.

A Bit Too Much Mickey

Businessmen decry overdevelopment in Hong Kong.

Metrosexual Matrimony

When modern men prepare to wed, many wax, tan and help plan. Here come the "groomzillas."

Sunday, September 25, 2005


The Corrections

Corrections in books are rare. But the conclusion this implies — that books rarely contain errors — is itself incorrect.

Showering Together

Halfway through our move from Philadelphia to Austin, we stopped the van in Tennessee so Regina could have a baby shower.

After Life

For a woman left behind after her husband's death, life can become a labyrinth of questions.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


50 Years On, 'Lolita' Still Has Power To Unnerve

"Lolita" is unlike most controlversial books in that its edge has not dulled over time. Nabokov's masterpiece is, if anything, more disturbing than it used to be.

Friday, September 23, 2005


China's Press Crackdown

The broadening of economic reforms in China has been met with greater restrictions on journalists.


The Assassin

One world championship. Three gold slams. 33 national championships. 36 straight victories. One 82-year-old woman.

The Rise And Fall Of Kate Moss

The skeletal model's coke-fueled plunge from grace has exposed some ugly truths about the fashion industry — not least its world-class hypocrisy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tech & Science

One Find, Two Astronomers: An Ethical Brawl

A little clicking can bring you a shocking amount of information about what your colleagues and rivals are up to.


Craving Hyphenated Chinese

Over the past decade, as large communities of people from India, Peru, Korea, Trinidad and Guyana have formed here, New York ahs had to expand its ideas about what Chinese food can be.

Egg Drop Soup Is Comfort In A Pot

"My mom always does it the traditional way. I always do it the easy way." And so begins a cooking lesson in my kitchen for egg drop soup, given by my visiting mother-in-law.

Salad, Compose Thyself

Could it be a conspiracy? Who (or what) is preventing Angelenos from being allowed to enjoy the lunch that better suits us than anything in the world? That lunch would be a salade composee.

It's Dark, It's Autumn — Let's Eat!

How do the times of day, month or year affect eating? Actually, more than you might think.

The Case Of The Servant With The Fur Collar

Why was she wearing fur? That was one of the first questions experts asked when they began studying a 17th-century portrait of a woman who had the unmistakably stolid face of a servant but was decked out in a sumptuous fur collar.

What Is Old Age For?

Old age is humanity's greatest invention, and on an even deeper level, it invented us.

This Doll Has An Accessory Barbie Lacks: A Prayer Mat

In the last year or so, Barbie dolls have all but disappeared fromt he shelves of many toy stores in the Middle East. In their place, there is Fulla, a dark-eyed doll with, as her creator puts it, "Muslim values."


For The Busy Faithful, The Greatest Story Ever Told — In 100 Minutes

They may be the words of the Lord. But there are simply too many of them for the modern attention span. That, at least, was the reasoning behind the launch yesterday of a more "user-friendly" edition of the great work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Incompetence, Not Racism

If you told me that George W. Bush is a dummy, I would argue with you but understand why you thought so: all those idiotic statements. But if you told me, as shome have been implying, that Bush is a racist or that he doesn't care about black people, I would not only say that you're wrong but add, "Not the George Bush I know."

Bush's Hard Fall

His career was based on creating low expectations and then meeting them, but Katrina brought a cold blast of reality.

Deep Flaws, And Little Justice, In China's Court System

Miscarriages of justice that have come to light this year suggest that China is struggling with a fundamental question of jurisprudence. Do officials serve the law, or do laws serve the officials?


Where Did Our Waists Go?

The catwalks are suddenly full of 'traditional' womanly shapes, complete with nipped-in waists. In real world, women are losing their curves and looking more like men. What's gong on?


Bus Stop

Watching a homeless woman struggle onto the bus, her hair arranged into grimy tufts of cotton. Watching you sitting there showing your momentary sickness at her cracked and yellow fingers that grab the steel bar as she tries to hoist her worn out frame; up one step at a time.

These Beautiful Territories

Doing What I Can For The Minotaur Mind

Boyfriend Blues At 55

The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tech & Science

Challenged By Creationists, Museums Answer Back

Efforts are under way or planned around the country as science museums and other institutions struggle to contend with challenges to the theory of evolution that they say are growing common and sometimes aggressive.

Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore

Could cursing, a universal form of expression, be a peephole into the architecture of the brain?


For Sale: Roadside Fixture With Wary But Loyal Patrons

Say what you like about the Little Chef roadside restaurants — their haphazard service, their eggs swimming in grease, the ceaseless sizzling of their kitchens' grills. For the British motorist, Little Chef holds a unique appeal.

Monday, September 19, 2005


For Chinese Media Baron, Party Line Is A Tightrope

Liu Changle's conflicting roles — as a beneficiary of party rule and a sponsor of journalism that undermines it — highlight a critical question about China's future: Will the country's new elite act as an obstacle to democratic reform or an advocate of it?

Tech & Science

Nature's Design Workshop

Engineers turn to biology for inspiration.


Yoga, Y'all

While I had had my privileged moment of transcendence in India, this is where they found theirs — on a one-hour lunch break with Julie McCoy.

For Crying Out Loud

There will be no flowers. No food. No songs. It's his funeral, for God's sake.

Can Mickey Find His Mojo?

Disney is trying to kick its animation division back to life by (finally) embracing the computer.

Manga For Girls

Among the best-selling shojo are stories that involve cross-dressing boys and characters who magically change sex, brother-sister romances and teenage girls falling in love with 10-year-old boys. Then there's a whole subgenre known as shonen ai, or boy's love, which usually features romances between two impossibly pretty young men.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

Before there was Boston, there was Dorchester.

In Praise Of The Novel

On Cervantes, Kafka, and the saving grace of literature.

Who Made Nancy Drew?

Melanie Rehak investigatges the origins of the world-famous girl sleuth and discovers two remarkable, revolutionary women.

You've Got Literature

Who could have known that the most innovative postmodernist prose of our age would be spam?

War Of The Words

Few in publishing inspire more fear than the head buyer of Waterstone's. Which is bad news for lowers of literature — or even old-fashioned browsers.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Bush's Second Second Inaugural Address

The president tries to start this term all over again in New Orleans.

Still Eating Our Lunch

Math and science are the keys to innovation and power in today's world, and American parents had better understand that the people who are eating their kids' lunch in math are not resting on their laurels.


The Scientist's Pursuit Of Happiness

Free socieites provide the conditions for happiness.

The Battle For Babylon

More artists, gallerists, and curators are taking matters into their own hands.


Thrillo f the still: How an image from Wong Kar-wai's art-house hit keeps you gazing.

Forget Star Chef; Think Professional Eater

After years of staring into a rack of mounting food orders and the faces of impatient waiters, Anthony Bourdain has left the cooking line entirely.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tech & Science

Dead Man's Float

Why are bodies in the water always facedown?

Do The Right Thing

Cognitive science's search for a common morality.


Creating An Appealing Cookbook Requires Passion, Patience — And Lots Of Testing

Once upon a time, a cookbook could launch a career and a good idea was enough to get our book into the hands of bestsellers. Today, unless your name is Jamie Oliver or Rachael Ray, you will have to work hard just to pique publishers' interest.

Only Until Further Notice

In New Orleans, a city defined by its culinary culture, restaurateurs vow to rebuild.

No Heat Doesn't Mean No Sweat

Although the raw food dictates no animal products and no heat, we're not talking salad here. Raw foodists have much grander ambitions.

The Slurpee At 40

Has it grown up?

A Two-Day Tour Of Tokyo, Stretching $500 Worth Of Yen

Tokyo can actually be less expensive than some major European cities (and even cheaper than New York) — if you know where to go and what to avoid.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Singapore And Katrina

The discipline that the cold war imposed on America seems to have faded.


So Many Presidents, So Few Presidential Suites

While everyday New Yorkers are worrying about everyday gridlock, those schooled in hotel diplomacy are worrying about limousine gridlock and security types with sleeves they talk into.

How Emmy Works

Ever wonder why your favorite shows never get nominated but "The West Wing" always does? Here's why.

March Of The Conservatives: Penguin FIlm As Political Fodder

Conservative groups have turned the stirring depiction of the mating ordeals of emperor penguins in "March of the Penguins" into an unexpected battle anthem in the culture wars.

Don't Worry, Be Healthy

Fear is more likely to get you than the avian flu.

Realistic Idealists

Teenagers are embracing social activism with the zeal of missionaries and the executive skills of seasoned philanthropists.


Once Removed

From The Wave, The Shortcut

An Oddness

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I'm A Hopeaholic. There's Nothing George Bush Can Do About It

We have imposed our disastrous president on the world — but America's finest quality is already turning the tide at home.


Artists On The Run, Their Art Left Behind

New Orleans' displaced community of artists have been left to wonder about the condition of their homes, their studios and their art.

When Happy And Birthday Don't Mix

Someday, says his mother, he will understand why his birthday is more subdued than most. Unbridled happiness is not automatic, not now and perhaps not for a long while, when it comes to those who entered the world on Sept. 11, 2001.

Beyond Comforting The Afflicted

On the wall of a new exhibition called "A Knock at the Door..." is a politically charged, eye-catching work: an American flag shaped as a straitjacket. Although the concept sounds as ham-fisted as its title - "(un)Patriot(ic) Act" - the sculpture by Lisa Charde has a simple eloquence. It is also the perfect symbol of the important issues the exhibition considers, and of the scary cultural flap surrounding its opening.

Back To School At 52

Anthropology professor Cathy Small went undercover to find out why her students kept sleeping in her class. She learned some very strange lessons.

Why People Hate Fat Americans

This obsession with obese Americans is about more than body fat.

Nutty Professors

Candidates' disabilities should not prevent them from getting hired. But, at the same time, we are all affected by our experiences.

What Are We Waiting For?

They just helped, for whatever reason, and I am certain those artists might be shocked to hear it. It's a beautiful coincidence, nothing more.


The Demise Of Camembert

Monday, September 12, 2005


The Other America

An enduring shame: Katrina reminded us, but the problem is not new. Why a rising tide of people live in poverty, who they are — and what we can do about it.

Tech & Science

Don't Dumb Me Down

We laughed, we cried, we learned about statistics...


Synchronizing The Present And Past In A Timeless Place

The care of the clocks at Versailles offers a glimpse of the enormous energy and cost France puts into preserving its cultural identity.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Flicked Aside By The Universe

9/11, the tsunami and Katrina have permanently altered our sense of scale.

The Bitter Lessons Of Four Years

Standing among the wreckage of two national disasters, it is no longer possible to deny the plain truth: Bush and his administration are unfit to wield power.

Tech & Science

When Is A Headache Not A Headache

"They tell me it's a rare condition. Of course," he added with a chuckle, "they also say it's frequently overlooked. So, who really knows how rare it is."


One Bullet Away

New kinds of memoirs are emerging from the Iraq war, some by self-professed cowards and madmen. Often a slacker outlook replaces deeper musings common to the genre.

Dangerous Characters

The novel registers historical change profoundly but not swiftly, for the simple reason that it usually takes several years to conceive, write, revise and publish a book. In terms of literary history, it's only now that the period before 9/11 is drawing to a close.

Move Over, Doc, The Guests Can't See The Baby

Just a generation after fathers had to beg or even sue for the right to be present, the door to the delivery room has swung wide open. Even the most traditional hospitals now allow multiple guests during labor, transforming birth from a private affair into one that requires a guest list.

The Adventures Of Fanboy

Television writer by day, comic book author by night.

Another Anniversay

I admit it's a little bit sad not to have pictures, not to have had a cake, not to have had loved ones there. But what are pictures compared with people's lives? Or what everybody else had to go through? Nothing. Those things are insignificant.

Dear New York City...

You gave me a sense of humor because you are so absurd.

In New Orleans, A Menu Of Options

These days, last call comes at 6 p.m. at Molly's at the Market, a bar in the French Quarter across the street from the French Market Place and several hundred yards from the Mississippi River.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The Aristobureaucrats

We now know the solution has failed.

Reporters Gone Wild

TV anchors grapple with their sources, the spin wars,a nd each other. A highlight reel.

How Reliable Is Brown's Resume?

A Time investigation reveals discrepancies int he FEMA chief's official biographies.


When I Was A Playboy Bunny In New Orleans

I married a cop of easy virtue, posed nude in Hef's magazine, drank all night at Lucky Pierre's, and appeared in the worst movie ever made. It was Big and it was Easy, and now it's gone.

What's So Extreme About Extreme Sports?

It isn't really the danger factor that marks out extreme sports. Many are less dangerous than traditional sports.

Private Aid To Italian Art Costs An Arm And A Leg

Italians are so blase about the art all around them that it apparently takes hacking a leg off Michelangelo's "David" or rubbing jesus out of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" to get their attention — and maybe their money.


Master of Madison Avenue's domain.

Friday, September 9, 2005


Rail Line To Tibet Is A Marvel, But China Is Mum

China plans a railroad line to Tibet that will operate at altitudes higher than many small planes can fly.

Thursday, September 8, 2005


A Chinese University Removes A Topic From THe Closet

The Fudan University class, Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies, is the first of its kind ever offered to Chinese undergraduates, and Ms. Sun briefly wondered why it was so well attened, before providing her own answer.

Breakfast On The Rise

Don't skip breakfast! That's what the nutrition experts have been telling us for years, and it seems we've finally gotten the message. At the drive-through, at the coffee bar, in the supermarket — breakfast is big business.

You Are Here, But Where Is Your Appetite?

Faced with an increasingly competitive marketplace and ever-savvier diners, the owners of many new restaurants have taken pains to maximize the number of appealing seats.

A Loss Of Face Value

In the networks' heyday, many a small-screen persona loomed large. Today there's little currency in character; it's plot that counts.

There's No Place Like Home

The historical problems with emergency housing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005


Osama And Katrina

If the Bush-Cheney team seemed to be the right guys to deal with Osama, they seem exactly the wrong guys to deal with Katrina — and all the rot and misplaced priorities it's exposed here at home.

Tech & Science

Coming To Grips With A Grim Count

If other recent disasters are a guide, it will likely be months b efore there is a credible number capturing the human toll.


Good Vibrations

Sex in the twenty-first century is a performance sport: We are told we must "demand" orgasms; we are told we must demand lots of orgasms (for we are "multi-orgasmic"); we are told we must seize our own orgasms and offered an array of fancifully colored vibrators to stash in our bags lest any toilet break go unexploited. Men kinow this and they feel intimidated. Women know this and they feel inadequate. The bedroom, too often, has become a site of fear.

Monday, September 5, 2005


At Last, Reporters' Feelings Rise To The Surface

Journalism sems to have recovered its reason for being.

On The Air, On Their Own: Iraqi Women Find A Forum

With its slogan "The Voice of Iraqi Women," Radio Al Mahaba is an example of how, amid the cacophony of violence, the American experiment has prompted some Iraqis to try to build an open, democratic civil society.

Early Pangs Of Empty Nest Syndrome When The Children Leave Home For College

Since Sarah Ripp began pining over the prospect that her daughter, Emily, was going away to college, her husband has taken to calling her "the weeping willow."

Sunday, September 4, 2005


United States Of Shame

Stuff happens. And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.


The City That Will Be

Thirty years ago, in their book "3000 Years of Urban Growth," the historians Tertius Chandler and Gerald Fox calculated that of all the cities that had been flooded, burned, sacked, leveled by earthquek, buried in lava, or in some way or antoher destroyed worldwide between 1100 and 1800, only a few dozen had been permanently abandoned. Cities, in other words, tend to get rebuilt no matter what.

Literary Letters, Lost In Cyberspace

Today, a new challenge awaits literary biographers and cultural historians: e-mail. The problem isn't that writers and their editors are corresponding less, it's that they're corresponding infinitely more — but not always saving their e-mail messages.

Left Behind

She was only 9 when the woman who'd abandoned her at birth was murdered. Now she's finally ready to seek the truth about her mother's tortured life and brutal death.

The Shiver: What She Never Knew...

When you start to work in a profession, such as law, you don't know what you're doing. You hope someone will show you the way, or there will be a book with the title, "Do This." You stumble your way through, by intuition, by luck and by skill.

Giving Them What They Want

After three decades in the TV business, Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS and hte person most responsible for taking the network from last place to first in the ratings, has figured out a few things about what people want to see when they turn on their televisions.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Tech & Science

Sisters Under The Skin

The genome of the chimpanzee — mankind's closest living relative — has been sequenced. Comparing it with man's should help people understand themselves.


My Year of Hurricanes

The first minute after y ou wake up, and you remember all over again that you're broke and everything is gone and your poor old cat is dead; but there, too, is your wife's warm haunch, right where you left it, and there's the gaping baby between you.

Could Drinking Floodwater Save Your Life?

Yes—you could and you should.

Friday, September 2, 2005


Inside New Orleans

Sneaking past the police lines, we find a surreal scene where tourists are sleeping on bridges, restaurateurs are eating high on the hog, and looters lurk on every corner.


Lost And Found

Marc Jacobs is fashion's awkward, lonely outsider. Marc Jacobs is fashion's coolest, most influential designer. The paradoxical triumph of a lost city boy.

Where Was Delta?

The contrast between what American, Continental and Southwest did Sunday and what Delta did is startling. Airlines have to be safe, but they also have to be mindful of their obligation as public transportation. In this case, they were the lifeboat for many customers, and some of the lifeboats didn't show up.

Thursday, September 1, 2005


Ex-Critic: Hey! 'Rude' Diners Are Your Meal Ticket

Being the person who stood between the restaurant and the diner, I got to observe close-up both sides of these issues.

For Its Motorists, Only Parts Of Rome Prove To Be Eternal

"The massacre of the cobblestones," as one Roman official put it, is well under way, part of a city program to lay asphalt on streets that are used mostly by cars, buses and scooters.

Taking Popcorn Fare To Paradise

It's like moviegoing is new again when a producer shows free films in Fiji.

Forget The Med, Chuck Your Towel On A British Beach

Beat global warming, the crowds and the queues by holidaying at home.

The New College Mixer

Whether they know it or not, the 75 students moving this week into Alice Paul Hall, the sleek new dormitory alongside Parrish Lawn here at Swarthmore COllege, are being manipulated at neary every turn into devleoping a social life.

Mummies, Mugs, And Museum Shops

Bog body gifts raise questions about using the dead as marketing tools.


Y Chromosome May Not Be Doomed

The human Y chromosome — the DNA chunk that makes a man a man — has lost so many genes over evolutionary time that some scientists have suspected it might disappear in 10 million years. But a new study says it'll stick around.

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