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by Boston Globe Tweet
by Abigail Zuger, New York Times
After all, if your brain can make you miserable in your living room, think how much worse things are likely to be in a standard-issue hospital room, surrounded by noise, confusion, bad smells and highly unscenic views. You would think that a science so adept at scanning the brain could figure out how to soothe it with equal dexterity. Tweet
by Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker
Is free the future? Tweet
by Ross Douthat, New York Times
These irrepressible passions make a fascinating counterpoint to the complaint, advanced this month by two of the nation’s finest essayists, that modern relationships have been drained of danger and purged of eros. Tweet
by Lorrie Moore, New Yorker Tweet
by Jorge Luis Borges, New Yorker Tweet
by Carol Muske-Dukes, New Yorker Tweet
by Lisa Kocian, Boston Globe
While area schools constantly tweak their lists and debate what deserves a spot, a consensus is growing that students should be enticed to read, even if that leads them to books that haven’t yet stood the test of time. Tweet
by A. O. Scott, New York Times
And then there is Agnès Varda, the only female filmmaker associated with the Nouvelle Vague at its high-water mark and now, at 81, an artist of undiminished vigor, curiosity and intelligence. Tweet
by Salvatore Scibona, New York Times
Unlucky fishermen are all alike: We don’t know how to see. My friend Jud has outfished me in all but one or two of the hundred times we’ve gone to the ocean and bay beaches and kettle ponds on Cape Cod. By both study and exercise, he knows the culture of striped bass better than I know my own nose. But to call him “lucky” would begrudge him a talent that I have never seen in anyone else and that lives underneath skill or knowledge. Tweet
by David Gates, New York Times
The best Hemon’s characters can hope for is an occasional random intersection of private fictions. His readers may have no better hope in their real lives, but in Hemon’s stories they can observe the strange, lonely artistry of the individual imagination from a distance that seems like no distance at all Tweet
by Douglas Quenqua, New York Times
The kinship between gay men and straight women is familiar to the point of cliché (see: “Sex and the City,” “Will and Grace,” Kathy Griffin’s audience, etc.), but friendships between gay and straight men have barely registered on the pop culture radar, perhaps because they resist easy classification. For every sweeping statement one can make about such friendships, there is a real-life counter example to undermine the stereotypes. And as with all friendships, no two are exactly alike. Tweet
by Richard Dorment, Esquire
How hard is it to find a job these days? Esquire's guy applied for more than three hundred over several weeks — and ended up with eight interviews. Real jobs, real interviews, real pain in the... Tweet
by Peggy Orenstein, New York Times
The very technology with which we choose to communicate in a relationship has become a barometer of our willingness to reveal ourselves within it. Tweet
by Mike Steinberger, Slate Magazine
The fast-food chain's most surprising success. Tweet
by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
Now let's jump into the way-back machine and return to the beginning of this decade, when Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" grossed $128 million and won four Oscars, blowing the old paradigm of possibility for foreign-language movies to smithereens. A new era of globalized East-West cinema seemed to be here. Just nine years later, "Asian movies are dead in America and no one cares," says Grady Hendrix, co-director of Subway Cinema, which runs the NYAFF. "We're right back where we started."
by Jessa Crispin, The Smart Set
Finally, a consideration of love that doesn't end with marriage, routine, or cliche!
by Amanda Fortini, Salon
Passion has died, argues author Christina Nehring, taking domestic bliss with it. But is romance really in crisis?
by Mark McClusky, Wired
Using a flood of new tools and technologies, each of us now has the ability to easily collect granular information about our lives—what we eat, how much we sleep, when our mood changes.
by Mark Harris, New York
Forty years after Stonewall, the gay movement has never been more united. So why do older gay men and younger ones often seem so far apart?
by Lisa Unger, New York Times
I was once a streamlined business traveler. I was efficient, rarely checking a bag. I never had a hair out of place or a wrinkle in my blouse. I would breeze through security. Now, I look like a refugee fleeing a burning village, with all of my belongings on my back.
The reason: I travel with my 3-year-old daughter, Ocean. And my husband comes along for the ride, too.
by Laura Miller, Salon
A guide to a literary genre in which Buffy's spirit lives on, with young heroines battling demons -- and adulthood.
by Daniel Gross, Slate
It struck me that while Esperanto may be dead, the language of food may have replaced it as one that transcends borders and can be universally understood.
by Stephen O’Connor, New Yorker
The new girl sat at the computer in the corner playing Ziggurat, Panic!, and U-Turn. This was in the pine-panelled section of the Labyrinth, which is where the Minotaur had been hanging out lately, mainly because he didn’t remember ever having been there before, and he liked sleeping on the pool table.
The new girl was smaller than most of the others. Peanut-colored. Her shoulders shook. Her fingers twitched on the computer keys, making noises like munching rodents. Her eyes were filled with rhomboids of white, then blue, then red. Yellow. Then red again. Lots of red. And they were separated by two wrinkles that said to the Minotaur, Go away! I’m too busy for you!
by Julie Bruck, New Yorker
by Christian Wiman, New Yorker
by Andrew O’Hagan, London Review Of Books
This was the day General Motors came to the end of the road. I once asked a Sudanese politician to name the thing that in his eyes proved a nation was a nation. He didn’t hesitate: ‘The ability to make cars.’ Britain was a nation because it made Jaguars. Germany was a nation because of Volkswagen. America ran the world because of General Motors. Italy made Fiats and France made Peugeots, Japan made Toyotas, and even the Russians, struggling along the highway towards modernity, had the easily underestimated Lada. Was making cars once an indicator of national self-sufficiency? Is it still?
by Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
Salesmen have a trick. It's a well-known trick, but even though you know it's coming, it really works: They use your name over and over again in their spiel. Hearing your name operates as a sort of verbal aphrodisiac.
by Doug Glanville, New York Times
Despite living the dream of so many Americans and reaching its highest level, I have no doubt that he would be even prouder of what I am doing with my words. Words that I can leave for my son to read...one day.
by Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
No economic system ever remains unchanged, of course, and certainly not after a deep financial collapse and a broad global recession. But over the past few months, even though we've had an imperfect stimulus package, nationalized no banks and undergone no grand reinvention of capitalism, the sense of panic seems to be easing. Perhaps this is a mirage—or perhaps the measures taken by states around the world, chiefly the U.S. government, have restored normalcy. Every expert has a critique of specific policies, but over time we might see that faced with the decision to underreact or overreact, most governments chose the latter. That choice might produce new problems in due course—a topic for another essay—but it appears to have averted a systemic breakdown.
by Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic
As The Economist demonstrates, week in and week out—is that niche is sometimes the smartest way to take over the world.
by Ginia Bellafante, New York Times
Picoult’s message is at once cautionary and subverting. As much as her novels underscore the hazards of parental shortcomings, at a certain level they seem to exist to make a mockery of the cherished idea that we ought not to have any. To read them is to feel that hoisting a toddler into one of the Humvee strollers of the current age is like applying an exfoliant to a malignant tumor in the hope that it can be scrubbed away.
by Jessie Beauchaine, Village Voice
"Snowflake" babies, embryo "adoption," and being pre-born again.
by Heather Harris, Baltimore City Paper
Women write gay male romance novels for women.
by Laura M. Holson, New York Times
As the wedding season gets into full swing, many brides and bridegrooms are taking a decidedly down-home approach. Bring on the grilled steak, sweet potato fries and Rice Krispie treats (not to mention the checkered tablecloths). It’s enough to have the most sophisticated bride scrambling for her grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook.
by Tom Vanderbilt, Slate Magazine
How closing Broadway to cars could solve a century of traffic woes.
by Jane Shore, Slate Magazine
by Paul Saffo, San Francisco Chronicle
That snow you saw wasn't noise; it was the universe whispering it's secrets to you while you dozed in it's gentle glow.
by Patricia Cohen, New York Times
Capitalizing on popular titles has a long pedigree in the publishing industry. A well-turned phrase can give birth to dozens of offspring.
by Nicholas Wade, New York Times
The origins of life on Earth bristle with puzzle and paradox.
by Tim Gautreaux, New Yorker
by Rodney Jones, New Yorker
by Kevin Young, New Yorker
by M. Miller, Washington Post
In search of free stuff, I got more than I bargained for.
by Frances Kissling, Salon
President Obama wants supporters and opponents of choice to find "common ground." Can that really happen?
by Lisa Selin Davis, Time
Some 120,000 people work in Tysons Corner, Va., but only 17,000 live there. To transform this hotbed of suburban gridlock into a green, walkable city, a soon-to-be-adopted plan-as envisioned by our artist-calls for as much as tripling the current square footage by expanding upward, with the tallest buildings located next to four new train stations, which should be completed by 2013.
by Gene Weingarten, The Week
They can be eccentric, slow afoot, even grouchy. But dogs live out their final days with a humility and grace we all could learn from.
by Craig Fehrman, Salon
Casual-dining execs talk about innovation, evolution and, yes, a few failures; they parrot the rhetoric of "never letting a serious crisis go to waste." But, honestly, what can they change?
by Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Review of Books
Twenty years ago, just before the Tiananmen killings on June 3 and 4, 1989, Zhao was thrown out of office for sympathizing with the students; until his death in 2005 he spent almost sixteen years under house arrest. Born in 1919 and a member of the Communist Party since 1938, once he achieved great power he was a political loner, with only—a big only—Deng Xiaoping to back him. But when Deng decided to smash the Tiananmen demonstrations, he also smashed Zhao. When Zhao died in 2005, he was nearly forgotten; but the state was still put on high security alert.
by David Cole, The New York Review of Books
What explains the apparent trend toward legal recognition of same-sex marriage or civil unions? And how should we understand the sharp discrepancy between the law and the politics of same-sex marriage?
by Malia Wollan, New York Times
The thousands of online childbirth videos, garrulous mommy chat rooms and endless pregnancy blogs are changing the dynamic between pregnant women and their attendant medical professionals.
by Tom Scocca, Underparenting
The safety seat is ruining American family life and the automotive experience.
by Louise Glück, Slate
by Jim Powell, The Threepenny Review
by John Tierney, New York Times
As new reports keep appearing — moping coyotes, rueful monkeys, tigers that cover their eyes in remorse, chimpanzees that second-guess their choices — the more I wonder if animals do indulge in a little paw-wringing.
by Jesse Smith, The Smart Set
Celebrating deception at the bird carving world championship.
by Brad Leithauser, Slate Magazine
Updike was the consummate stylist with a blogger mentality.
by Simon Winchester, New York Times
Richard Bernstein’s provocative and intriguing book examines the notion of the East as a sensual and sexual paradise.
by Pico Iyer, New York Times
In New York, a part of me was always somewhere else, thinking of what a simple life in Japan might be like. Now I’m there, I find that I almost never think of Rockefeller Center or Park Avenue at all.
by Stephen Joiner, Air & Space Smithsonian
One day in L.A., a helicopter changed television news forever.
by Algis Valiunas, The New Atlantis
What is madness, and how is a civilized liberal society to treat the mad among us?
by Steven Levy, Wired
AdWords analyzes every Google search to determine which advertisers get each of up to 11 "sponsored links" on every results page. It's the world's biggest, fastest auction, a never-ending, automated, self-service version of Tokyo's boisterous Tsukiji fish market, and it takes place, Hal Varian says, "every time you search." He never mentions how much revenue advertising brings in. But Google is a public company, so anyone can find the number: It was $21 billion last year.
by Carla Power, Time
Time was, buying Muslim meant avoiding pork and alcohol and getting your meat from a halal butcher, who slaughtered in accordance with Islamic principles. But the halal food market has exploded in the past decade and is now worth an estimated $632 billion annually, according to the Halal Journal, a Kuala Lumpur-based magazine. That's about 16% of the entire global food industry. Throw in the fast-growing Islam-friendly finance sector and the myriad other products and services — cosmetics, real estate, hotels, fashion, insurance — that comply with Islamic law and the teachings of the Koran, and the sector is worth well over $1 trillion a year.
by Lawrence M. Mead, The Claremont Institute
The ethos of modern economics is at war with the moral basis of capitalism.
by Tom Mueller, National Geographic
Bringing extinct species back to life is no longer considered science fiction. But is it a good idea?
by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
A delightful journey through the realm of invented languages and its cast of dreamers, weirdos and obsessives.
by Roger Scruton, Standpoint
Wine intoxicates; but we should distinguish intoxication from drunkenness.
by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times
So, 20 years later, what happened to that bold yearning for democracy? Why is China still frozen politically — the regime controls the press more tightly today than it did for much of the 1980s — even as China has transformed economically? Why are there so few protests today?
by Janet Maslin, New York Times
Michael Lewis’s “Home Game” is meant for the man who has everything — including a grudging attitude toward raising his own children. Affecting a curmudgeonly stance that owes something to Professor Henry Higgins, Mr. Lewis writes of how he deigned not just to let a woman into his life, but also three children.
by Tom Laskawy, Slate
Industrial agriculture shouldn't worry about the government. Mother Nature is a far more potent foe.
by William Grimes, New York Times
On a nondescript block in Williamsburg, not far from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a new bar and restaurant called Rye opened last week.
Try to find it.
by Harold McGee, New York Times
Have you ever placed a vanishingly thin morsel of rosy meat on your tongue and had it fill your mouth with deepest porkiness, or the aroma of tropical fruits, or caramel, or chocolate? Or all of the above?
by Cecilie Rohwedder, Wall Street Journal
Workers take pen in hand to register opinions of those who are always right.
by Louis Menand, The New Yorker
Should creative writing be taught?
by Isaac Chotiner, The New Republic
The many versions of Arianna Huffington, and their consequences.
by Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert, Newsweek
Why health advice on 'Oprah' could make you sick.
by Jacques Leslie, Mother Jones
Can the world survive China's headlong rush to emulate the American way of life?
by Jason Shinder, Slate
by Allison Arieff, New York Times
At a convention for shopping mall designers and developers, a glimpse of the future and, unfortunately, the past.
by Emily Brady, The Village Voice
Recession desperation produces a quaint throwback.
by Stephen Dunn, The New Yorker
by Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker
by Sherman Alexie, The New Yorker
by Jesse Smith, The Smart Set
Zoos were once full of compelling architecture. What happened?
by Alain de Botton, Boston Globe
If a proverbial alien landed on earth and tried to figure out what human beings did with their time simply on the evidence of the literature sections of a typical bookstore, he or she would come away thinking that we devote ourselves almost exclusively to leading complex relationships, squabbling with our parents, and occasionally murdering people. What is too often missing is what we really get up to outside of catching up on sleep, which is going to work at the office, store, or factory.