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The other things in life

Monday, July 31, 2006


Professionalization Of War Is Ghettoization Of War

The U.S. military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been and it never will be.


Chamber Plots

What prompts people to place books in the loo? Are the books we keep there a reflection of our deepest selves?

The Last Witness

Lillian Gertrud Asplund was 5 1/2 years old when her family booked third-class passage and went aboard a ship called the RMS Titanic in Southampton, England, returning to America.

For Tom Hanks, Just Another Day At The Office

Tom Hanks isn't just a movie star. He has also been quietly building an extremely prolific filmmaking operation.


It Will Be Sweet

Saturday, July 29, 2006


We'll Jolly Well Say What We Want To

Against expectations, China's media are taking free speech seriously.

Tech & Science

Multiple Choice

It might seem strange for an economist to offer even these obvious opinions on military strategy, but economists have been armchair generals since the development in the 1940s of game theory by John Von Neumann, a mathematician, and Oskar Morgenstern, an economist.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tech & Science

Proof: Demonstration From All Angles

For Hobbes, Socrates, Mr Fraser, and the countless others, Pythagoras's theorem was far more than a means to compute the length ofhypotenuses. It shows something more — the idea of proof itself.


How The New York Times Makes Local Papers Dumber

That's only a slight exaggeration.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


What Can I Bring?

Everything short of the main course, it seems. Like it or not, potlucks have become a way of life.

The Taco Joint In Your Kitchen

The good news is that without too much effort you can, believe it or not, create an admirable taco at home.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


High Colonic

No matter how many books I publish, I can't kick my addiction to my other occupation, the scorned one that offers me succor and sanity: Proofreading.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tech & Science

Proportionate Response

Does one Israeli really equal 47 Americans?


The Day The Music Dies Will Be A Blessing

Loud and unnecessary music is everywhere.

Don't Supersize Me

Or: Why one discerning viewer refuses to part with his small but beloved television.


First Defeat (1939)

Monday, July 24, 2006


"I Make $1.45 A Week And I Love It"

On Amazon Mechnical Turk, thousands of people are happily being paid pennies to do mind-numbing work. Is it a boon for the bored or a virtual sweatshop?

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Fear Of Flying

As air-rage incidents ascend, Fear Of Flying takes on new meaning.

The Haunting

Though the wave has subsided somewhat, the aftereffects of the Asian ghost boom are still being felt.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tech & Science

Gavyn Davies Does The Maths

How a statistical formula won the war.


Soldiers' Words May test PBS Language Rules

What viewers will see and hear when the series is broadcast in September 2007 is an open question.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Touched For The Very First Time

I've waited 22 years to see Madonna live in concert. But would seeing the Material Girl, lithe and gyrating at 47, make me feel like an old fogy?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Give Me Swelter

Believe it or not, some people don't like air conditioning.

It's My Funeral And I'll Serve Ice Cream If I Want To

At a time when Americans hire coaches to guide their careers and retirements, tutors for their children, personal shoppers for their wardrobes, trainers for their abs, whisperers for their pets and — oh, yes — wedding planners for their nuptials, it makes sense that some funerals are also starting to benefit from the personal touch.

Is There Anything Left That We Can Eat?

With all the conflicting headlines, no wonder we can't decide what to buy.

Greenmarket At 30, Searching For Itself

From Borough Hall in the Bronx to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, the new Greenmarkets are disappointing some shoppers and stretching thin both staff and farmers.

How We Know

What do an algebra teacher, Toyota and a classical musician have in common?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tech & Science

Weird Science

Editors are too accustomed to being smart, and thus can't deal with the fact that they don't understand science. And because they're uncomfortable feeling confused, readers are left in the dark about a universe of research that eludes easy explanation.

Super Storms

Scientists are urgently trying to forecast the next killer hurricanes.


Vinyl-Sided Epiphany

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tech & Science

What Kind Of Genius Are You?

A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types — quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet.


They Called Me A Child Pornographer

I took some photos of my kids naked on a camping trip. A drugstore employee called the police — and my family's life became a living hell.

Goodbye, Mr Keating

To succeed as a Ph.D in English, you have to give up all of the things that attracted you to the subject in the first place.


Folie A Deux

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tech & Science

A Medical Crisis Of Conscience

Around the United States health workers and patients are clashing when providers balk at giving care that they feel violates their beliefs, sparking an intense, complex and often bitter debate over religious freedom vs. patients' rights.


Views From The Viaduct

I've been drawn back, captivated by the size of the thing, its presence in the way it hides the sky, divides the city and, of course, carries on its business.

Confident Crisis

Before rushing to conclude that Americans have simply gotten lonelier and more insular, why not consider another possibility? Perhaps, we've also gotten better at demarcating what constitutes truly intimate cmmuning — expecting more of our confidants, we have, ineffect, defined intimacy up.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


How Common Ground Of 9/11 Gave Way To Partisan Split

It was the moment that was supposed to change everything. But almost five years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, American politics has reverted to many of its old habits and patterns.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Three Feet Higher And Rising

Facing global warming in Maryland.


In Alaska, Strange Light And Ancient Ice

Alaska in summer is the Land of Everything Midnight Sun, from microbrews to marathons. Most uses of the phrase are lighthearted marketing gimmicks dreamed up to draw visitors to the state during the long daylight season. But the midnight sun glacier hikes like the one I experienced actually take hikers out into the wild during the late-night light.

On A Wink And A Prayer

They don't believe. And vicars often know they don't Yet more and more middle-class parents are going to church in order to get their children into church schools, where they think they will get a better education. The result is divided communities — so why is the church allowing it to happen?

Some Dark Thoughts On Happiness

More annd more psychologists and researchers believe they know what makes people happy. But the question is, does a New Yorker want to be happy?

Why We're Fatter

Five reasons you haven't thought of.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


But 'He's Been Making Omelets Since He Was 3...'

And other tales from teen cooking camps.

Riding The Train In Bombay

A New Yorker explains why he loves riding the rails in the Indian city, and why they're so vulnerable to attack.

The Ultimate Crossword Smackdown

Who writes better puzzles, humans or computers?

Flowering Of Cool New Gins

I blame James Bond. Everything started going downhill, cocktail-wise, when he insisted on vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred.

Music Matters Too Much To Be Made Easy

Today, the policy of inclusion makes no attempt to cultivate and elevate the public taste. On the contrary, it regards the taste of the public as something to flatter and celebrate.

Bargain Price For Spring Chickens

At the Park Avenue Cafe, they're doing the opposite of an early-bird special, which has long been a trick for luring older diners. They're lowering prices later in the evening, in a way that rewards — and is obviously meant to attract — younger diners. And they may be ruffling some feathers in the process.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tech & Science

Addressing The Public About Science And Religion

Science and religion have different assumptions, different rules of inference, and different definitions of truth or reality. The fence that surrounds science is the test by experiment. That fence is both the greatest strength and the most fundamental limitation of science, and it needs to be respected from both sides. Scientists may have opinions about religion, but they cannot honestly invoke the authority of science when they try to apply the logic of science on the other side of the fence. Similarly, creationists and advocates of intelligent design should not pretend to be conducting a scientific argument.


The One Truth

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Is Wieght The New Race?

Do we demonise the obese purely on health grounds, or is it a gut reaction based on prejudice?

Monday, July 10, 2006


Fear As A Weapon

How the Bush administration got away with its abuses of power.

What's An Iraqi Life Worth?

In Iraq, lives differ in value — and so do deaths. In this disparity lies an important reason why the United States has botched this war.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


For Joey Hot Dog, A World On The Wane

To all the sock vendors, insurance executives, transit employees, exotic dancers, commuters, cabdrivers and chicken fryers who move through Queens Plaza each day, Joey Hot Dog is the mayor.

Your Film Is Banned. There's Not Enough Violence.

"I think this is the first time a film has been banned for not being violent enough."

Eat Drink Make Movie: Hollywood's Next Course

In the coming year, a wave of ambitious studio films will try to capitalize on American's growing appreciation of all things epicurean.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Tech & Science

The Big Sleep

There may be a link between the way memories are formed and the adverse effects of sleep deprivation.

Friday, July 7, 2006


Coming Soon

The box-office battle betwen Baltimore's independent movie theaters turns on imminent arrival of new national player.


Flower Power, Love-Ins — And Lies

Parents who have been trying to impress their children have resorted to exaggeration and outright lies over what they did during the flower power decade.

Thursday, July 6, 2006


Flush With Success, And Looking To Spend

It began, innocently enough, with plumbing issues.

A Roving Appetite

Taking Manhattan, savoring one street-food delicacy at a time.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


Fun With Gravity

A wooden roller coaster designer doesn't go for the cheap thrills of steel giants.

Authors Take A New Approach To Audio Books: Do It Yourself

Some authors are takking a pro-active role in developing audio versions of their books, recruiting talented friends to add a sense of show biz.

A Dissident's Holiday

Have you ever noticed a certain hesitant quality to the experssions of patriotism by progressives or left-wingers?


Over Drinks


Everyone On Earth Has Royal Roots

Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, experts say the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or another.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tech & Science

Physics Awaits New Options As Standard Model Idles

"Is there physics beyond the Standard Model?" Physicists presume that the answer is yes, that some more overarching theory should explain many mysteries. But lacking any loose ends to grab hold of, no discrepancies from the predictions wrung from the Standard Model, they have no experimental clues as to what the theory might be.


In Queens, It's The Glorious 4th, And 6th, And 16th, And 25th...

Independence Day is celebrated once a year in most of America. In Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the nation, where an estimated 44 percent of the 2.2 million residents are foreign born, it is celebrated again and again and again.

Train To The Roof Of The World

China's new 1,200-mile railway crosses some of the harshest terrain on the planet. Plug in your oxygen supply. All aboard the Tibet express.


The Phone Call

Monday, July 3, 2006

Tech & Science

Deja Vu, Again And Again

The accepted scientific definition of deja vu, put forth in 1983 by a Seattle-based psychiatist named Vernon Neppe, is "any subjectively inappropriate impression of familiarity of the present experience with an undefined past." Beyond the definition, however, the scientific understanding of this "inappropriate familiarity" remains murky.

Sunday, July 2, 2006


The Lonely American Just Got A Bit Lonelier

There is a new installment in the anals of loneliness. Americans are not only lacking in bolwing partners, now they're lacking in people to tell their deepest, darkest secrets.


Scrambled Eggs

The Master Cutter's Wife

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Tech & Science

Creative Destruction In The Library

Free access to research is proving more expensive than hoped. But it is spreading, nevertheless.


Dining Amid The Din

Why are so many modern restaurants so noisy?

Yearning To Put Papers Back In Local Hands

Increasingly, businesspeople and civic leaders are showing interest in owning their local papers again.

Flooded And Forgotten

Louisiana is still devastated, and its people — black and white, rich and poor — feel like the rest of the country doesn't care.


Can China create its own Hollywood?

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