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The other things in life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Lost In Translation

The challenges of training GIs to avoid insulting — and shooting — Iraqi civilians.

How Globalization Is Creating A New European Underclass

In the West, gradual de-industrialization has created a new underclass of the unproductive and intellectually deprayed. The spiritual cousin of the American phenomenon of "white trash," these strangers in their own land have become a serious threat to democracy.

Tech & Science

A New Dawn?

The world is having a green moment. From the Sun to the Economist, Al Gore to Arnold Schwarzenegger, yesterday's Stern report to celebrities in electric cars, we appear to have reached a global tipping point in eco-awareness. But is the carbon-guzzling west really prepared to change its behaviour? And has our eiphany come too late?


The Modern World Killed Off The Nap

A tribute to the soft pleasures of dozing, backed up by hard science.

The Church Of The Non-Believers

A band of intellectual brothers is mounting a crusade against belief in God. Are they winning converts, or merely preaching to the choir?

Game Master

Will Wright changed the concept of video games with the Sims. Can he do it again with Spore?

How The Web Prevents Rape

All that internet porn reduces sex crimes. Really.

Ghosts In The Machines

We are gathered here at the final end of what Bradbury called the October Country: a state of mind as much as it is a time. All the harvests are in, the frost is on the ground, there's mist in the crisp night air and it's time to tell ghost stories.

Trolling For Treats, Trunk To Trunk

In suburban and exurban communities across the country, trunk-or-treating is the latest twist on the quintessentially American ritual of door-to-door candy-collecting, bringing Halloween from the uncertain streets to the safety of church and school parking lots, turning the backs of minivans and sport utility vehicles into the new front porch.

Monday, October 30, 2006


In Early Newspapers, Only 'Mr Silky Milky' Would Be Impartial

Early American newspaper publishers scoffed at the idea that they should hide their political prejudices under a cloak of objectivity.


History As Written By A "SimCity" Freak

Gifted amateurs defeated London's cholera epidemic in the 1850s, says culture/tech visionary Steven Johnson, and today a similar bottom-up approach to knowledge can improve neighborhoods, reform cities, even thwart terror.

Ready To Be Dads, But They're Going To Need Help

For a bab of their own, David and Chad will have to draw on science, the law, their families — and most of all, each other.

How To Be Funny

Why are comedians such good liars? How hard do they work on their jokes? And how important is... timing?

Sunday, October 29, 2006



Would the United States be better off with only one time zone?

Finally, A Life Resumed

After 22 years in Dannemora, Sing Sing, Attica, Great meadow, Elmira and the Downstate Correctional Facility at fishkill, Alan Newton came home to the Bronx one unremarkable day last July, his age doubled, his life renewed. As had been proven incontrovertibly, he did not commit the crimes that made the prisons of New York State his home for more than two decades.

On The Rio Grande, The World's A Stage

In a community with less than 1,000 residents, good will is what it is all about.

Learning To Love The Ban

In Italy — where laws are often enforced with a large degree of latitude and where red lights are ignored if they are deemed inconvenient — there is nearly 100 percent compliance with the antismoking statutes.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Reality TV Programs Show A Different Iraq

In a host of new shows, unity wins out over background differences.

Tech & Science

All Creatures Great And Small

How homosexuality, widespread in the animal kingdom, may have evolved.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Good News Day

I still don't know if this is permanent. But I do know that for one day I got to speak normally. And this is one of the happiest days of my life.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tech & Science

Marketing And Mind Control

How the emotional parts of our brains can be manipulated.


Breakfast Is Served, Never Mind The Hour

It's growing dark, and there's a hungry person on the sofa. He's got the look: "Come up with something interesting for dinner."

These Dark October Mornings

I barely notice the morning darkness in the country, where we really do rise with the roosters, who rise with the sun, and everything seems just the way it's supposed to be, only a little later by the clock. But in the city, where life moves at an inorganic pace, the effect is powerful.

Dinner, With Dawn As A Chaser

It was 4:30 in the morning, and customers were clamoring for the kimchi hot dogs, kalbi burgers and other Korean-accented bits that Sam talbot, the cart jockey, was dishing out on the Lower East Side.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tech & Science

Knowing The Universe In Detail (Except For That Pesky 96 Percent Of It)

We now know enough to say that the universe is precisely "preposterous," in the words of Sean Carroll. Michael turner likes to say, "We know much, but we understand litt.e'


If You Don't Buy This Newspaper...

We'll shoot your democracy.

At Long Last, A Neglected Language Is Put On A Pedestal

The Museum of the Portuguese Language dedicated to the proposition that Protuguese speakers and their language can benefit from a bit of self-affirmation and self-advertisement.

Monday, October 23, 2006


How I Came To Love The Veil

I used to look at veiled women as quiet, oppressed creatures — until I was captured by the Taliban.


And The Winner is?

The culture of prize-giving has gone mad. It has replaced the art of criticism in determining cultural value and shaping public taste. We enjoy the glamour of a Booker or an Oscar night, but we lose something too in this orgy of awards.

The Starbucks Aesthetic

The chain is increasingly positioning itself as a purveyor of premium-blend culture.

And In The End

I had a dream, andi it had nothing to do with civil rights. I wanted to work at a record store.


Salt Lick

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The Chinese Go After Corruption, Corruptly

In an economic boom glided with excess and profiteering, official corruption is so widespread, and incerasingly so brazen, that it is almost taken for granted.


Walk With Me

Parents don't remember their own agonizing struggle to learn to walk — pulling up on furniture, trying to balance on unsteady legs, those first tentative steps that seem to defy the more natural act of crawling, and then trumumph, the wonderment that af aster way to get around has been found. But I learned how hard it was to walk when I nearly lost the ability to.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Googling My Mother

Writing a biography in the digital age.

Entrees Reach $40, And, Sorry, The Sides Are Extra

A new dish is appearing on menus across the nation. Restaurateurs say they have little choice other than offer it, though it horrifies many customers. That item is the $40 entree.

Market Value

Wal-Mart's looking to expand its presence in China, one tray of carved pig's head at a time.

West 12th Street, By The Numbers

A walking tour of one of Greenwich Village's corridors, from the Hudson River to Fifth Avenue.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tech & Science

No Test Tubes? Debate On Virtual Science Classes

A dispute with potentially far-reaching consequences has flared over how far the internet can go in displaying the brick-and-mortar laboratory.

Out Of Africa — But From Which Tribe?

DNA tests of blacks promise ancestry answers, but report adds to critics' doubts.


Reading, Writing, And Righteousness

That teacher who made the news for coming out to his second-grade class? My son is in that class.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Beyond Skimpy Skirts, A Rare Debate On identity

After decades of selling dreams to foreigners, Dubai has begun debating the limits of multiculturalism.


Faith-Based Sizing

Designers are introducing new supertiny sizes. Are American women getting smaller, or is the fashion industry messing with our minds?


Human Species 'May Split In Two'

Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Comedy To The Rescue

Want to know what's going on in politics? Forget the news. Comedians are filling the gap where serious debate used to be.


The San Francisco Paradox

When good cities have bad architecture.


April 26, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman: A Celebration

Arthur Miller

A Visit With Castro

Like a lot of other people's feelings toward Cuba, mine have been mixed in the past decades.


Dare To Be Stupid

In defense, praise, and unrelenting awe of the increasingly vital Weird Al.

Real Estate: Not Your Father's Retirement

Boomers are redefiing the 'golden years' by buying into communities that feature Pilates over shuffleboard, moving back downtown — or even staying put.

Why Everyone You Know Thinks The Same As You

Homophily may help explain some of the bitter partisanship of our times — when your friends are drawn exclusively from one half of the electorate, it is not surprising that you will find the views of the other half inexplicable.


Stairway To Heaven


You Were Born With Your Future Facial Expressions

Facial expressions appear to be at least partially inherited, according to a study of blind people and their relatives.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Hillary Is Us

Feminists want to see in Hillary Rodham Clinton what they want to see in themselves. With expectations so high, can the potential presidential candidate do anything but let women down?


One More Daring Step

From performing on New York's subway trains to dancing topless in white paint and a mohawk, it's been quite a journey to Boston Ballet for Tai Jimenez.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


Bending The Elbow In Bangkok

A night-life tour turns up sleek clubs, hip vibes and a terrace view that can be appreciated even with a fuzzy head.

Pigeon Wars

For much of the 20th century, controlling pigeons primarily means killing them. But, as we have become less tolerant of the birds, we have also, somehow, grown more concerned about their well-being.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


An Accidental Canadian Finds Her Environmental Footing

One afternoon 33 years ago, Elizabeth May was picked up outside her dorm at Smith College for what she thought was a weeklong study break. She never returned.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tech & Science

When A World Is Born

The discovery of new planets has forced a rethink of how they formed.


Meet. Mate. Multiply.

From singleton to family of three in less than two years.

Last Orgasm In Hollywood

Movie sex, dirty and clean, through the ages.

Oh, For The Flesh

Single and fortyish, I'm learning what it means to be attractive but older.

Weapon Of Self-Destruction

When scientists at MIT developed e-mail in 1961, they said it was a giant step for mankind. They didn't realize it was a weapon that could destroy the lives of many people.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The Case Of The Missing Logo

Forget labels. The fashion elite turn to 'stealth wealth.'

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Researchers See A Downside As Keyboards Replace Pens In Schools

The computer keyboard helped kill shorthand, and now it's threatening to finish off longhand.

In Marine's Death, Clues To A Son's Life

Mother finds answers in effort to understand sergeant killed in Iraq.

Seduced By Snacks? No, Not You

According to Professor Brian Wansink's research, people make over 200 food decisions a day — and are outwitted at every turn.

Thailand Tourists: 'Coup? What Couop?'

Coup? What coup? That seems to be the attitude among travelers and travel professionals as the recent political turmoil in Thailand appears to have had little or no effect on tourism there.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tech & Science

The Last Word On Last Breath

The question of who has final say over whether CPR should be attempted on a gravely ill patient — the doctor, the patient or hte patient's representative — is live and unsettled in law and medicine.


Hustle And Grow

Big publishers discover that entrepreneurial street-lit authors have written the book on reaching an untapped market.


The Photograph

Monday, October 9, 2006


Pay For Good Behavior?

The transformation of a culture is slow, arduous work, requiring material support as well as moral and intellectual renewal.

Tech & Science

It Came From Outer Space

Do we leave the responsibility of heading off species killer asteroids to FEMA? Or is the B612 Foundation a safer solution?


Make It Weird

Feel like the fiction you've been reading has been missing something — aliens perhaps, or the occasional occult incursion of rabbits? A new literary movement, based in Northampton, has just the thing for you.

Forget The L.A. Times; How About A National Tribune?

The Los Angeles Times is a collection of mostly superb journalists who on many days put out the best newspaper in America. But what is the point of publishing a national-quality newspaper if it can't be obtained in Thousand Oaks, let alone Washington or New York?

The Blue And Gray And Black

In some parts of the country, the Civil War is still being fought. And perhaps nowhere are the aftershocks and viewpoints as evident as in Richmond, where a new museum is attempting to tell the history of the war from three angles. That would be: the Union, the African American and the Confederate.



Sunday, October 8, 2006

Tech & Science

Oh, For The Simple Days Of The Big Bang

Maybe physicists in another universe are coming close to an answer.


The Long Zoom

There is probably no one alive who has a comparable track record of combining arcane scientific theories and compulsively addictive entertainment. But even Will Wright hasn't tried to simulate an entire universe before.

Friday, October 6, 2006


New Indonesia Calamity, A Mud Bath, Is Man-Made

It started as a natural gas well. It has become geysers of mud and water, and in a country plagued by earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis another calamity in the making, though this one is largely man-made.

Tech & Science

The Amateur's Revenge

Posing as a physicist — and getting away with it.


The Bloomberg Lesson

How a fledging news organization got big while others shrank.

Eight Rooms, Well, Nine, But That's Their Secret

Although hard data is not available, architects report an increase over the last five years in the number of clients installing concealed rooms.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

R.W. Apple Jr

The GLobal Gourmand

After half a century of assiduous eating in restaurans around the wrold, first avocationally and more recently professionally, I have become accoustomed to certain questions: "What's your favorite restaurant?" "What will you order for your last meal on earth?" "Which is best — French cuisine? Italian? Chinese?" All unanswerable, of course. Now comes a more modest proposition: Name 10 restaurants abroad that would be worth borading a plane to visit, even in these fraught days.

Singapore: A Repressed City-State? Not In Its Kitchens

Singapore already has gastronomic attractions aplenty. Start with its unmatchd street food — chili crabs and chicken rice, laksa and satay and fish head curry — served in hundreds of hawkers' stalls. No need to stop there, however; in the last decade and especially the last four or five years, elegant restaurants serving inventive cuisine have sprung up all over town.

Asian Journey: A Trip To The Heart Of Dim Sum

Hong Kong, which has about 10,000 places to eat, probably more per capita than any other city, is utterly obsessed with dim sum, and no place else comes close to offering dim sum of equal excellence and variety.

The Other Down Under

"For generations," said Nigel Elder, a former paratrooper in the British Army who now tends the vines at Martinborough Vineyard," we exported our best produce. We didn't taste it, so we didn't know how good it was." Well, that's not true anymore.


No Bluff

Maybe North Korea's decision to test a nuclear bomb makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Is Anyone Else Out There?

Determining whether humans are alone in the universe certainly is of profound significance. This is the case whether we are thinking of the possible existence on other planets of intelligent life or the simplest kind of microbes.

Packing It In

A great Northwest pasttime — backpacking — is getting a little too gray.

Design Opportunities, Everywhere You Look

I'm always paying attention to deisgn when I go places. I can't help but look at each hotel, each aircraft interior, each terminal, with a cirtical eye.


Space Needle

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


Briding A Racial Rift That Isn't Black And White

For centuries, the South has been defined by the color line and the struggle for accommodation between blacks and whites. But the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Hispanic immigrants over the past decade is quietly changing the dynamics of race relations in many Southern towns.

Tech & Science

Fly Away Home

The 4,000-mile round trip made by millions of monarchs holds a central mystery that Dr Taylor and a network of entomologists are tying to solve.


The Score

How childbirth went industrial.



Monday, October 2, 2006


Shop Class As Soulcraft

Perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has fallen out of favor: manual competence, and the stance it entails toward the built, material world.

Sunday, October 1, 2006


Row, Row, Row The Boat

Four years after a gruesome sculling accident on the Charles, John Yasaitis is back to finish what he started at the famous regatta.

Last Words

The good news is that progress has been made; no one any longer thinks that one language is better than another. But the bad news is that many languages are dying anyway.

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