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The other things in life

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tech & Science

The End Of Ingenuity

Maybe Malthus was on to something, after all.


At The Optometrist's Office

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Don't Like Christmas? Get A Life

You may feel excluded by Christian symbolism, but you're in America. Work with it.

Knock It, Then Try It

I was relieved to hear that many bartenders — real bartenders, who make a living at this — occasionally invent cocktails that their customers would rather not try.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The Politics Of Pollution

Progress — or lack of it — in combating pollution speaks volumes about the effectiveness of government in Asia.


Mad As Hell

Lou Dobbs's populist crusade.

Recliners Vs. Uprights: Tighter Seating Puts Passengers At Odds

With airlines squeezing more seats onto planes and flights more crowded than ever, some nasty battles are brewing, pitting passengers who recline their seats against the squished travelers sitting behind them.

50 Shots Fired, And The Epxerts Offer A Theory

It is known in police parlance as "contagious shooting" — gunfire that spreads among officers who believe that they, or their colleagues, are facing a threat. It spreads like germs, like laughter, or fear. An office rfires, so his colleagues do, too.


A River In Egypt

Monday, November 27, 2006


Forging A Coffee Chain Just A Few Links Long

When Jonathan Rubinstein decided to ditch his career as a talent agent to open a coffee bar in Manhattan, his friends and advisers thought he was making a terrible mistake.

On The Move To Outrun Climate Change

In their separate ways, wild creatures, business executives and regional planners are responding to climate changes that are rapidly recalibrating their chances for survival, for profit and for effective delivery of public services.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tech & Science

Pop Go The Scientists

Science-made-simple might still be topping the book charts, but where does that leave the hard stuff?


A Freeway-Free Coastal Journey

Santa Barbara tourists who arrive by train earn discounts for ditching the car. The program, aimed at cutting air population, inspires some odd adventures in sightseeing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


On Traffic-Signal Boxes, Art That Stops Traffic

What began four years ago as a tiny, grass-roots experiment to beautify the unsightly boxes that control traffic signals around town has become an unexpectedly impressive public art collection, with head-turning installations cropping up constnatly to transform drab streetscapes into outdoor galleries.

Saving The Great Wall From Being Loved To Death

The wall's most inescapable problem is the burden caused by its growing popularity.

Friday, November 24, 2006


OK, Who's Got All The Teaspoons?

If this is a global phenomenon, then 600,000 tons of teaspoons are disappearing each year. So where have they all gone?


The Confidence Decoy

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Marking The Lambs

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Book Lovers Seek Lovers, Buttered Or Plain

In the strange alternate universe that is the personals column in the London Review of Books, a fetish for even the naughtiest dairy product is considered a perfectly reasonable basis for a relationship.

Goodbye, Mr. Altman

A great director, a poet, Robert Altman changed the landscape of filmmaking, and never stopped shooting. It's almost impossible to believe he's gone.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tech & Science

The Best Science Show On Television?

In a subtle and goofily educational way, the hosts of "Mythbusters" commit mayhem for science's sake.

A Free-For-All On Science And Religion

Some scientists at a recent conference called on their colleagues to be less timid in challenging teachings about nature based only on scripture and belief.


The Coastline Is Retreating. Should The Montauk Lighthouse Stand Its Ground?

When erosion threatens to send alighthouse toppling into the sea, people want to save it. But how? The way we answer that question involves more than engineering. It can become a statement about how we intend to live with our eroding coasts.

That's How The Light Gets In

To truly give thanks this week is to celebrate the world. But for all of our obsession with success and self-fulfillment, Americans don't celebrate very well.

Diddy's Little Helpers

Why hip-hop ghostwriting is an art now, and an actually respectable one.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Return Of The Press Barons

As a new breed of aspiring press moguls talk of buying big city dailies, there's more than just an industry at stake.

Art Of The Feud

At their best, literary feuds show something at stake beyond personal vanity. At their worst, feuders can become like so many gorillas, pounding on their chests and marking their territory in the literary jungle.

Another Way

A band of idealists in the mountains of North Carolina is trying to build a low-energy lifestyle. But must we all live like hippies in the woods to make a difference?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


The Meaning Of Work

For Chris Dansby, the search for a job is about more than a paycheck.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tech & Science

Thinking In Tongues

What can we learn from a babbling brain?


Black And White And Read — And Seen — All Over

Covering the people who covered the civil-rights movement.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tech & Science

Scientists Examine 'Dark Energy' Of Antigravity

A group of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that billionso f years before this mysterious antigravity overcame cosmic gravity and sent the glaaxies scooting apart like muscle cars departing a toolbooth, it was already present in space, affecting the evolution of the cosmos.


In Minnesota, The Mall Of America Is As Big As All Indoors

Since it opened in 1992, the Mall of America, in the Minneapolis suburbs, has been claiming to be the mall for the entire country. What's amazing is how well it lives up to its billing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tech & Science

Famous Patients And The Lessons They Teach

Despite the striking triumphs of the Odones and the cyclist Lance Armstrong, the best advice for those who visit the web sites of famous people to learn about diseases is still caveat emptor.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Al Jazeera's U.S. Face

Former ABC newsman Dave Marash is getting used to explaining his job.

Losing Its Young To An American Dream

Getting to the United States is a coming-of-age tradition for the men of this family, and for many others in Brazil.


School Districts With Officials But No Schools? New Jersey Has Them

Essentially, they exist in name only, yet have staffs to schedule board meetings, record the minutes and collect tax dollars to pay tuition and transportation costs for their students.

The Math Moron

I can barely add and subtract. Can I learn enough math in five moths to help my fifth-grader with her homework?

A Law That Says Man Can Have Only One 'Best Friend'

In Beijing, regulations limit households in eight districts to a single dog and forbid people from owning large dogs like golden retrievers and huskies.

The Trash Princess

Why Americans love to hate Paris Hilton.


My Almost-Daughter, My Nearly-Was Son

Night Train To Frankfurt

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Is America Too Racist For Barack? Too Sexist For Hillary?

The 2006 elections were for the technocrats and the operatives, pitting the Democratic tacticians against the Karl Rove machine. But the next election is already beginning to look quite different: 2008 may be one for the novelists.

Tech & Science

Ancient Crash, Epic Wave

Most astronomers doubt that any large comets or asteroids have crashed into the Earth in the last 10,000 years. But the self-described "band of misfits" that make up the two-year-old Holocene Impact Working Group say that astronomers simply have not known how or where to look for evidence of such impacts along the world's shorelines and in the deep ocean.

How Many Hits?

Every day, record company executives try to predict, by gut instinct, whether a pop song will sell a million. But could sophisticated software do the job instead, or even write a chart-topper?


Trial By Fryer

Some cooks think that because they throw a mean dinner party, they can run a restaurant. Until I tried to manage an overworked kitchen, an angry staff and an untested menu, I was one of them.

How Do You Measure People Skills?

The elusive landscape of social intelligence.

The Rise And Fall Of The "Bus Plunge" Story

What killed this former New York Times staple?

Monday, November 13, 2006


Looking Good

Our obsessio with physical appearance may not be so shallow, after all.

Falling-Down Funny

In an era of meta-ironic wordplay, why do sight gags still get the big laughs?

Old School

I'm supposed to be inspired by women my age who run marathons and go back to college, but I'm too tired to be young. It's too much work.

Why I'll Always Wave The Flag Of My Father

This flag isn't just decoration. It's a tribute to my dad, a proud American veteran and my hero.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tech & Science

Landing In Baghdad

At the world's most dangerious airport, it's best to get down quickly.


Don't Need The Sunshine...

The prices are lower, the locals friendlier and you'll have the tourist hotspots to yourself.

Street Food With Ambition In Berlin

New Yorkers have hot dog stands, Parisians have creperies, but street food in Berlin is all about imbisse — a word that encompasses everything from sidewalk stalls that sell currywurst (sliced sausage smothered with curry powder and ketchup) to holes in the wall that serve Turkish doner kebabs (thick pita sandwiches stuffed with shaved meat, salad and yogurt sauge).

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The Corporate Wives' Club

The list of rules goes on and you have to learn them if your husband is to get where he needs to get to, allowing you to get where you need to get to.

Modernity Or Tradition: Istanbul At A Crossroad Finds Its Own Way

That jumble of identities may be a cliche, but over the course of a late June weekend in Istanbul, it was a cliche the city never let me forget, not even for a minute.

Friday, November 10, 2006


For Cooks, The Joy Of Winning

When the oven mitts came off and the knives came out at the 16th annual Build a Better Burger contest in St. Helena, Calif., this fall, a 35-year-old sociology professor named Camilla Saulsbury was the first to draw blood. Unfortunately, it was her own.

Bare Down There Or Square

When Darpa created the internet, its engineers probably did not envision how the web would affect our most intimate grooming rituals.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Tech & Science

McDonald's Monopoly Contest Dangels Big Prize With Long Odds

Want to win the first-ever $5 million grand prize in the heavily promoted McDonald's Monopoly contest? Good luck. You're almost 300 times more likely to win the top prize in the multi-state Powerball lottery, according to published odds.


Yellow Fever

They got it bad, and that ain't good.



Wednesday, November 8, 2006


Fast-Food Notion

In search of a nugget of truth.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006


In California, Ecologists Retrace A Pioneer's Footsteps

The tidy parallels in time, place and purpose between the scientists of yesteryear and those of today are no accident. They are, rather, part of a major undertaking called the Grinnell Rusurvey Project.


Northern Lights Pale Next To Arctic Town's Parade Of Visiting Stars

Forget Hollywood. To see the stars, come to the capital of Nunavut.

Monday, November 6, 2006


Election Day

The worst form of cheating in American democracy today is intellectual dishonesty.

Tech & Science

The Sounds Of Spacetime

In the biggest events int he universe, massive black holes collide with a chrip and a ring. Physicists are finding ways to listen in.



The language upon which the lexicographers eavesdrop is larger, wilder and more amorphous; it is a great, swirling, expanding cloud of messaging and speech: newspapers, magazines, pamphlets; menus and business memos; internet news groups and chat-room conversations; and television and radio broadcasts.

I Want To Tell You A Story

I don't know why I do what I do. If I did know, I probably wouldn't feel the need to do it. All I can say, and I say it with utmost certainty, is that I have felt this need since my earliest adolescence. I'm talking about writing, in particular, writing aas a vehicle to tell stories, imaginary stories that have never taken place in what we call the real world.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Tech & Science

Twilight Of The Idols

Today's insights are not so much perceived from a mountain of jointly authored papers announcing results from large labs, and rapidly circulated through journals, conferences and the internet. So is the end of the traditional science biography in sight?

Saturday, November 4, 2006


In Malaysia, Take Many People And Ingredients, Mix, Enjoy

This was a gastronomical Eden, where popular pastimes include questing for the best fried noodles and where one of the free tourist magazines is named simply Food Paradise.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Tech & Science

The Critical Distinction Between Science And Religion

Attempts to understand religious experience by scientific means can never be satisfying to religion. They can satisfy only science.


Shifting Sands And A Slow Pace On The Georgia Coast

Walking along the boradwalks, just gazing at the salt marsh can be excitement enough.

Your Unfinished Basement Or Mine?

My relationship went sour. I needed many women. I lived in the right place.

Last Dance

Will Seattle voters put hardworking strippers out of work? A report from the front lines of the war on naked ladies, lap dances, and $5 cokes.

That '70s Show

'Saturday Night Live' in the post-Tina Fey, YouTube unknown.

Thursday, November 2, 2006


What Joy Is Missing

The latest edition of America's kitchen bible falls short.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006


Mind Over Matter

It wasn't the promise of saving lives that kept me attending an EMT class, but my will to witness the mystery of life in a bifurcated head.

Signs Of Love Are Written In A New Language

I am a quick study. It took me less than a decade to feel comfortable hugging a son-in-law in my driveway or a young lady friend on a sidewalk.


A Moment Ago

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