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The other things in life

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tech & Science

The Park Hypothesis

Intelligent alien civilizations do exist, but they have not colonized the galaxy because they don't want to.


Paradox Of The Perfect Girl

While overachieving girls are knocking on the front doors of America's best colleges, admission officers are letting their slacker brothers slip in the back door.


The Dead Are Not

Tuesday, May 30, 2006



Americans' fitful appetite for British pop.

Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children's Diets

These food wars go beyond good senses and good science. THey're misguided and red herrings, based more in conjecture and politics than on solid research-based solutions.



The Perfect Man

Design-your-own boyfriends lack that certain something. Until they don't.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Save These Books!

What's your favorite out-of-print cookbooks? We asked chefs, restaurant owners, writers, scholars, publishers and just plain foodies. Here's what they said.

Full House

Three is the new two. And in some towns — especially affluent ones — four or more is the new three. Educated moms who once managed budgets and schedules at work are now doing the same in their homes teeming with kids.

Why Cigs? Why Not Beef?

The difference in our approach to dangerous products speaks to a greater cultural divide between us and nos amis across the Atlantic.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Playing For Fun And Profit

Developed eight years ago by two Microsoft stars who quit to become entrepreneurs, Cranium blends elements of Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit with word puzzles, sculpting, humming and charades.

The Magic Bus

What began as a three-hour trip to Charlottesville was transformed by the Explainer, the Soother, the Yuppie and the Omigods into an odyssey worthy of Homer.


Don Quixote's Spear

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Great Pyramid As Cuckoo Clock? It Might Not Be Crazy

They have been called mystical, awe-inspiring, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But it is safe to say that in the 45 centuries the great pyramids of Giza have cast their formidable shadow over the desert, they have never before been described as a cuckoo clock. But that is what Jean-Pierre Houdin said as he lifted his tall lanky body up the steps into the pyramid of Cheops.

Friday, May 26, 2006


A Seattle School Where Extra Kindness Is Part Of The Curriculum

Hutch School, not far from downtown Seattle, is perhaps the best school that parents hope a child never attends. There is one criterion for admission: someone in a student's family is receiving a bone-marrow transplant for a life-threatening type of leukemia, lymphoma or other blood-related disease.

Dirty Old Women

Teenage boys havve always lusted after attractive teachers, but what happens when the teachers lust after the boys?

Chain Reaction: Do Bookstores Have A Future?

The battle is as much about culture as it is about cash.

The Death Of Fun

With booze bans, noise crackdowns, excessive permit fees, and suburban-style sensibilities, San Francisco officials are threatening to kill the party spirit.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Keep 'America' In Michigan Schools

Censoring the word "America" from our own schools is something Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden would never have thought possible. Michigan has done it without a whimper.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Life In The Fast-Food Lane

A few weks ago I embarked on a gluttonous odyssey, with a changing cast of co-conspirators, across this fast-food nation, from New York to California, sea to greasy sea. The goal was to size up and single out the best fast food from familiar national chains, relatively unfamiliar regional chains and tiny local chains I had never encountered.

Repeat After Me: Aaarrgghh!

I ate almost all of my 42 fast-food meals in the car, and I got almost all of that food by using the restaurants' drive-through windows. Which means that I spoke my orders into those invisible microphones in the middle of big, glowing, illustrated menus. Or, rather, shouted my order. Or, in truth, screeched at the top of my lungs.

A Writer Is Born

For a Midwestern 11-year-old, a drive to New York si the trip of all trips. Even better: Going home and telling about it.


A Love Song

The Missing Always Leave Something Behind

Goldi-Lox And The Lost Souls

Hidden Agenda

Drake's Psalmistry

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Lost In Translation

The Brits often assume that Germans have no sense of humour. In truth, it's a language problem. The peculiarities of German stentence construction simply rule out the lazy set-ups that British comics rely on.


God The Novelist

Monday, May 22, 2006


This Is A Saudi Textbook. (After The Intolerance Was Removed.)

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system.

Tech & Science

How Einstein Struggled With His Grand Theory - And The Maths

Unseen papers on sale for $1.5m show scientific genius's failures together with his lighter side.


My Son, The Stranger

The sweet boy I raised is gone, replaced by a sullen, scornful teenager. It may be a phase, but it's breaking my heart.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


When It Comes To Suffering For Your Art, Don't Duck

Documentary filmmakers have it tough.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Fat, 40 And Fired

"So I get twice the husband, half the income and at the end of the year we'll both have to work in Woolworths?" "Bascially." "If we do this, will you be less of an arsehole?"

Friday, May 19, 2006


The New Disaster Movie

How the events of September 11 renewed Hollywood's appetite for destruction.

Goodbye Already: The Art Of The Television Finale

All shows come to an end, but not every end is worth a showing.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Not Easy Being Green

Once upon a time, the eco-friendly practice of reusing wine bottles was common place. So why has it fallen by the wayside?


Jane and Michael Stern talk about 30 years of scouring America for the best chili dogs and fried clams — and the food they had to throw overboard.

How Sprawl Got A Bad Name

Worries about sprawl have become so vivid not because conditions are really as bad as the critics suggest, but precisely because conditions are so good.

The World's Game

This month 32 nations will compete for the World Cup of soccer, the "beautiful game" that unites and divides countries around the globe.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Well, Shall We Go?

Absurd Gesture

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tech & Science

Impressive New Tricks Of Light, All Within The Laws Of Physics

To make light go backward, hold up a mirror. Light bounces off the mirror and goes back. Robert W. Boyd, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester, however, did not choose this easy, straightforward technique.


What Are Independent Bookstores Really Good For?

If you don't like the superstores, it is easy enough to expand your viewing horizons through other means.


Cinderella School

Three Shards

Monday, May 15, 2006


Searching For A Sense Of Meaning In Gifts

Recognizing that recipients are often unhappy with gifts, givers are increasingly enclosing receipts with gifts to allow for exchanges. All this is causing economists, psychologists and philosophers to scratch their heads.

What Happened To The Fotune Michael Jackson Made?

The arc of Mr. Jackson's career, and his management of his business and financial affairs, tracks some of the timeworn truisms about the realities of the entertainment industry and those who inhabit its upper tiers: a child star unwittingly beholden to others who control his bank account; a more mature adult who is savvy about packaging and marketing himself but who grows increasingly undisciplined about his spending; and, finally, a reclusive caricature locked inside a financial and emotional fantasyland of his own making.

Mother Of All Surrogates

She is leaving us, as sure as day turns to night, and nothing on earth will keep her here, not all the money — or love, for that matter — in the world.

Politicians, Economists, Teachers... Why Are They So Desperate To Make Us Happy?

Freud may have been a little cynical when he suggested that his objective was to "convert neurotic misery into ordinary unhappiness." But he understood that true happiness was an ideal that we pursue but rarely achieve.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Flat-Pack Accounting

Forget about the Gates Foundation. The world's biggest charity owns IKEA — and is devoted to interior design.

Mark Twain's Hawaii

Twain spent four months in the islands in 1866, when he was 31 and workingg on becoming famous. His 25 letters from the Sandwich Islands, writtenon assignment for The Sacramento Union, are still fresh and rudely funny after almost a century and a half — a foretaste of genius and the best travel writing about Hawaii I have ever read.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Don't Write The Obituary Yet: 5 Reasons Why magazines Are Here To Stay

Magazines are here to stay, and here are five reasons why.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tech & Science

The Higher Cost Of Breathing

An environmental effort to protect the earth's ozone layer could mean disruptions for the nation's millions of asthma patients.

Oochy Woochy Coochy Coo: Women Can Read Men Like Books

A group of scientists has discovered that women are attracted to men who are fond of children. In years gone by, that announcement might have qualified for one of the late Senator William Proxmire's Golden Fleece awards for pointless scientific research — except that what this particular group of scientists has shown is that women can tell who is and is not fond of children just by looking at their faces.


Meal Once Removed

How Washington's restaurants deal with carryout.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Far-Flung Kitchens Send News

Stand facing the average newsstand lately and it's hard not to think American food magazines are speeding downhill in a Rachael Ray sled, with Paula Deen pushing.

A Nation Of Buffetts: At Least There's One Business Where The United States Is Still Better Than China.

The United States continue to enjoy its status as the world's hedge-fund manager, allocating capital on behalf of hard-working laborers around the globe.

The Land Time Forgot

If the newsweeklies seem musty and pointless, it's because they've retreated from their jobs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Tuesday, May 9, 2006


Saving Seoul

Pollution is ruining the quality of life in much of urban Asia. But Seoul's transformation into a greener city proves the tide can still be turned.


Adina, Astrid, Chipewee, Jasmine

Monday, May 8, 2006


How To Sell Books By Really Trying

Bookselling, it's said in the publishing industry, is a matter of "hand selling."

Tokyo Bars With Standing Room Only

In Tokyo, where cafe floor space is at a premium, some bars are abolishing tables and chairs altogether and stacking customers vertically along a bar.

More Scandals, Please, We're British

With three political scandals to choose from — one involving criminal justice, one involving health care spending, and the third involving raunchy illicit sex in the upper echelons of government — which would most Britons rather read about?

Sunday, May 7, 2006



The wheels of history have a tendency to roll back over the same ground. For the past 33 years, American social conservatives have been on an unyielding campaign against abortion. But recently, as teh conservative tide has continued to swell, this campaign has taken on a broader scope. Its true beginning point may not be Roe but Griswold v Connecticut, the 1965 case that had the effect of legalizing contraception.


In The Middle End

Friday, May 5, 2006


A Study In Size

Three years ago, San Franciso launched an experiment with a new ind of school. It worked. So why isn't the district pursuing it?

Honey, I Shrunk The District

Shiny condos and a flashy marketing campaign haven't solved the District's epic population problem.

Building Brands: How Architects Market Themselves

What makes an architect into a brand? Part of the recognition of a brand depends on what people who study such things call its "personality."

Thursday, May 4, 2006


Teaching Political Theory In Beijing

Tsinghua trains much of China's political elite, and I might be able to make a difference by teaching that elite. The political future of China is wide open, and I'll be well placed to observe the changes when they happen.


Why Students Are Turning To Philosophy

Why — at a time when job prospects are so important — teenagers are turning to Plato, Kant and Hume.

The Mushroom Huntes: It's A Long Route From Forest Floor To Chez Panisse Tabletop

On a bustling Saturday afternoon at Chez Panisse, a platoon of pastry artists, interns and prep cooks move around one another with precisiion and grace. But these five words momentarily freeze the action; everyone in the kitchen knows that the brothers consistently deliver the plumpest, tastiest porcinis on the West Coast. Today they're four hours late.


Why Women Don't Relax

Men fish, play golf, watch football, play computer games. Women shop. But don't confuse that with having fun — men may spend their free time relaxing, but for women it's just another form of work.

Writers Bid On eBay To Create New Book

Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Writers, Quit Whining

Spare us the self-involved moaning over the agonies of your art. Writing is no harder than anything else, and the complainers should can it.


Once In A Lifetime


Monday, May 1, 2006


The Way We Eat: Olde School

The thoroughly modern chef Heston Blumenthal gets a Tudor tutorial.

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