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The other things in life

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Shell Of A Town

Worst college town ever.

Hong Kong Still On Song

The rivalry between Shanghai and Hong Kong in matters financial and economic in the past few years has become quite intense. However, when it comes to food, I wanted to discover if Hong Kong still reigned supreme.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tech & Science

Looping The Loop

A new "theory of everything" is gaining ground.


Instead Of Bad Movies, Cinema Shows None

The owner gives workers a paid vacation and closes for two weeks to protest 'lousy material.'

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tech & Science

Moving Beyond String Theory

Strings are far from the only game in town. There are other, potentially equally promising approaches to unifying physics' two seemingly incompatible visions of the cosmos: general relativity and quantum mechanics.


Teens' T-Shirts Make Educators Squirm

Sexually suggestive T-shirts often fall into a gray area that requires officials to evaluate one shirt at a time.

The Race To Satisfy Caviar Craving

Caviar from farmed sturgeon used to be a tough sell. Now it's tough to fill the orders.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


The Hardest Word

The lesson here is clear: Prime ministers, presidents and other sundry statesmen beware. In democratic politics you get in trouble not for what you do but for what you say — particularly if it's true.


TV Dinners

The rise of food television.

More Than A Feeling

However laudable, why is art for the blind always just a tactile experience?


Other People's Deaths

Fourteen Final Lines

Monday, September 25, 2006


Phony Identification

Caller ID is dying.

Sex On The Brain

It's easy to see how funky numbers about an exotic language can turn into an urban legend. But it might surprise you to find apparently authoritative sources doing the same thing with basic facts about your own language use.

Give Me Five More Minutes

I had always imagined with horrow what it would be like to get the news that my son was killed in Iraq. Then it happened.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Dumbing Up

Few thirsts run deeper these days than the one for self-improvement, and few recent books have slaked it better than the ubiquitous bumble-bee-colored titles in the "For Dummies" series.


Saturday, September 23, 2006


In Japan, A Time Capsule Of Modern Design

Perhaps nowhere in Japan was the fascination with Western architecture more pronounced than in Fukuoka, a provincial capital in remote Kyushu province.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Tolerance: A Two-Way Street

"How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I'll kill you for it" is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Halting The Race To The Bottom

It is alarming that, in our age of information, the number of utterly uninformed voters is astonishingly high. We are witnessing a palpable decline in the public's appetite for nuance, complexity and critical thinking, which in turn has spawned a virulent secular dogmatism and an alarming devolution in both the substance and style of public discourse.


A Fundamental Way Newspaper Sites Need To Change

Newspaper need to stop the story-centric worldview.

Sex, Skin, Fireworks, Licked Fingers - It's A Quarter Pounder Ad In China

Beef is luxurious. Beef is healthy. And, yes, beef is sexy.

Life Is Better; It Isn't Better. Which Is It?

So here are the facts. Americans are far better off than they were a generation ago, but the last few years haven't been very good. It's time for both parties to move on to the harder question.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tech & Science

Bush's Climate-Controlled White House

The administration claims it wasn't trying to tell government scientists what to say about climate change, but e-mails obtained by Salon prove otherwise.


Tales Of The City: Dog On The Track

The Q train announcement was, actually, decipherable. That's not to say it was easy to comprehend. "This train is being delayed. There is a dog on the tracks."


The Road To Katherine

Personal Effects


Our Lady Of Paris

The Rope-Dance

The Status Seekers

Remember, Baby?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


A Sorry Situation

It's time to stop apologizing and start defending freedom of speech.

Tech & Science

In Science-Based Medicine, Where Does Luck Fit In?

Luck: Why are doctors and patients so reluctant to discuss a phenomenon that permeates medicine every day?



In February of 1939, having failed to establish myself as a screenwriter in Hollywood, I decided to hitchhike back to New York, where my future wife waited. It was a bland California mroning, pleasant and calm.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Lessons Of Suez

Fifty years ago, two western powers conspired to invade an Arab country — in defiance of international law and world opinion. Guess which side the United States was on.


Violence Changes Fortunes Of Storied Baghdad Street

In a city known across the Arab world for its love affair with books, such emotions reflect the decline of a vibrant community.


Some Kind Of Nut Brittle

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Far Across The DMZ

Last December, after 55 years, members of our South Korean family reunited with northern relatives for two hours via satellite. It was one of hundreds of such virtual reunions that the Red Cross has organized for families who have been separated since the 1953 armistice split the country in half.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


For Central Park Carriage Horse, Death Arrives Inelegantly

"For a million tourists, she was what they remember of Manhattan. Her picture is all over the world. And look at her now."

Apple Flavor The Language, Too

An apple is more than the seed of man's original sin. In American English, it's also a baseball, a basketball and a badly rolled bowling ball; a regular person, a fool and a sucker.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tech & Science

Writing May Be Oldest In Western Hemisphere

A stone slab bearing 3,000-year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere.


The Small Picture

Two local filmmakers backed into an audience and Hollywood Buzz via podcasting — and now they may not need Hollywood anymore.

Burned Out

Five twentysomething dudes with a rented RV invited The Stranger to send a writer to Burning Man with them. We Sent Our Worst Enemy™.

I Queue

Judging your friends by their Netflix lists.

Welcome Aboard

In-flight announcements are nto entirely truthful. What might an honest one sound like?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Mao Is Their Canvas

Every year for 57 years, a huge portrait of the leader is freshened up in Tiananmen Square. For the artists, it's been a lifetime of obscurity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The Quiet American

It's a magazine that runs 10,000-word articles on African states and the pension system, has almost no pictures and is published in black and white. So how does the New Yorker sell more than a million copies a week?

Even Dating Is Perilous In Polarized Baghdad

Rising tension between Snnis, Shiites nealry puts end to mixed relationships.

What To Expect When You're Expecting Dinner

I don't actually say these words.

Tea's Got A Brand New Bag

The tea bag, a clever enough idea at first, went terribly awry somewhere along the way, at least in the view of people who love to savor their tea. Now it is in the process of large-scale reinvention, and some of those who currently shun it with almost ostentatious disdain are very likely to be won over.



Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Empires With Expiration Dates

Empires drive history. But the empires of the past 100 years were short lived, none surviving to see the dawn of the new century. Today, there are no empires, at least not offiically. But that could soon change if the United States — or even China — embraces its imperial destiny. How can they avoid the fate of those who came before them?

Tech & Science

Mind Games

What neuroeconomics tells us about money and the brain.


In Elite Chess World, A Grandmaster's Flash

A pawn, then another. A knight, then another.


We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state — doctors can only make a sufferer's last days as painless as possible. But is that really the truth? Across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking... a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tech & Science

The Man Who Saved Geometry

Crying 'Death to Triangles!' a generation of mathematicians tried to eliminate geometry in favor of algebra. Were it not for Donald Coxeter, they might have succeeded.


The Subtle Changes Since 9/11

For Va. neighbors, lingering fears and a new worldview underlie everyday life.

In China, Delicately Testing The Taboo On Talking About Sex

Popularity of radio advice proram highlights youths' hunger for guidance.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


You Want To Take A What?

If you said 'bath,' you'd be in the minority at some upscale hotels, where tubs are giving way to luxury showers. Blame the ick factor.

Fewer Bags Overhead! But More Staring At The Carousel

In the month since a foiled jet-bombing plot in Britain set off another round of rule changes, Americans once again have proved to be hte ultimate Flexible Flyers.

At $9.95 A Page, You Expected Poetry?

A grade-conscious student these days seems to need a custom job, and to judge from the number of services on the internet, there must be virtual mills somewhere employing armies of diligent scholars who grind away so that credit-card-equipped undergrads can enjoy more carefree time together.

Saturday, September 9, 2006


Mocking Bush Is My Patriotic Duty

Let our allies and our enemies alike know that there's a whole swath of Americans desperate to distance themselves from Bush's foreign policies. And that just Republicans running for reelection.

Friday, September 8, 2006


Front Page For Sale

So hidebound and dimwitted are U.S. newspapers that it's predictable that their idea of breaking all the rules is something U.S. newspapers were doing a century ago.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006


How We Dummies Succeed

Why do Americans do so badly on international educational comparisons and yet support an advanced economy?


The 30-Year-Old Virgins

It was once a badge of honor. But to the surprising number of adult women today who have not had sex, virginity is nothing but a curse.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Tech & Science

Testing Limits, 220 Miles Above Earth

Peggy Whitson lived on the International Space Station for six months in 2002. She is now preparing for her second tour in space.


The New Naysayers

In the midst of religious revival, three scholars argue that atheism is smarter.

Corcodile Hunter, Audience Charmer

Steve Irwin spent much of his life not just tempting fate but petting it, riding its back and swinging it by the tail. I the end, fate snapped back.

Building A Hate For Learning

Homework inhibits learning, strains families and stunts social development.


Black Ice

Sunday, September 3, 2006


The World According To China

It is a truism that the Security Council can function only insofar as the United States lets it. The adage may soon be applied to China as well.


Anchors Awry

Nowadays, it's hard to tell our local newscasters apart.

New York Newbie

No other city awes newcomers with an equally intoxicating mixture of indifference and titillation, and no other city has elevated the mere act of arriving to the status of literary and cinematic cliche.

A Christian Shrine In A Muslim Land

Casual readers of Greek mythology are often surprised to learn that if you want to visit what is left of Troy, you have to travel to Turkey. And those familiar with Christianity might also be surprised to learn that millions of people believe that in her final years the Virgin Mary also found her home in Turkey, a couple of hundred miles south of Troy, near the ancient city of Ephesus.

InCities Across The United States, It's Raining Concert Halls

The stories behind these buildings show the wide array of hopes that a community invests in a new performing space, even at a time when many fret that classical music is becoming less relevant.


Hacienda Del Sol

Saturday, September 2, 2006


Kinky Friedman - Singer, Writer, Governor?

A joke-spinning candidate with serious consequences.


The Lost Action Hero

Strong, stoic, feared: Alas, Hollywood doesn't make 'em like it used to.

Fantasy Or Fact - Japan's Children Play Safe

Anxious parents flock to a risk-free indoor playground amid fears of rising crime.

Friday, September 1, 2006


Where's Mao? Chinese Revise History Books

Nearly overnight the country's most prosperous schools have shelved the Marxist template that had dominated standard history texts since the 1950s.


Remembrance Of Downtown Past

A Times reporter remembers a time when, in the shadow of the Twin Towers, art, creativity and open space flourished.

Expensive Care

How to run up a $17,000 hospital tab without actually being sick.

Lost, Again, In Seattle

Can I just get a proper bus map?


Little Sister The Sky Is Falling

Stories from a California girl.

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