A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: March, 2013

Read — 2013/03/26

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Q. and A.: A Decisive Moment on Gay Marriage“, by Adam Liptak (NY Times). An accessible summary of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case contesting the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 to be argued before the Supreme Court today.
  2. Now in Defense of Gay Marriage, Bill Clinton“, by Peter Baker (NY Times). How Bill Clinton went from signing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to publicly supporting same-sex marriage in 2013.
  3. Companies Get Strict on Health of Workers“, by Katie Thomas (NY Times). The carrot and the stick, as applied to company health care. But do such workplace wellness programs help change behavior or just reinforce it?
  4. Massachusetts Plan Starts Small for Big Upgrade to Rail System“, by Katharine Q. Seelye (NY Times).
  5. He Has Millions and a New Job at Yahoo. Soon, He’ll Be 18.“, by Brian Stelter (NY Times). An article on Nick D’Aloisio, a British high-school student who developed an algorithm that summarizes long texts.
  6. Voices in the Wilderness“, by C.S.-M. (The Economist). Young Chinese authors are increasingly taking their literature to the web.
  7. The Theology of Self-Destruction“, by B.C. (The Economist). Contemplating the incentives and impact of religious suicide.

Read — 2013/03/23

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Tight Deadlines and Lagging Funds Bedevil Obama Health Care Law“, by Robert Pear (NY Times). The message that the Affordable Care Act offers “health insurance that fits your budget” is seen as “highly motivational, but not as believable”. Part of the problem is a bickering Congress and an uninformed public.
  2. Ready to Fight Gay Marriage at Court Door“, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg (NY Times).
  3. Wintry Weather and U.S. Team Throw Blanket over Costa Rica“, by Sam Borden (NY Times). The U.S. men’s national team wins 1-0 over Costa Rica. Visit for full 2014 World Cup Qualifying coverage.

Read — 2013/03/22

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting“, by Edward Wong (NY Times).
  2. Universe as an Infant: Fatter than Expected and Kind of Lumpy“, by Dennis Overbye (NY Times). If someone said this about your baby, you’d probably slap them. The headline writer better hope that God’s backhand is a gentle one…
  3. A Strange Computer Promises Great Speed“, by Quentin Hardy (NY Times). Quantum computers offer to make computing “millions of times faster”.
  4. A Modest Proposal“, by Suzy Menkes (NY Times). Demure is the new vogue.

Read — 2013/03/21

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Cell Therapy Shows Promise for Acute Type of Leukemia“, by Denise Grady (NY Times). An experimental cell-therapy shows great promise in the battle against cancer.
  2. The Face of Future Health Care“, by Reed Abelson (NY Times). The future may be holistic centrally coordinated care, “medical homes”, and extensive use of electronic records and information technology.
  3. Young Opponents of Gay Marriage Undaunted by Battle Ahead“, by Ashley Parker (NY Times). Same-sex marriage: an issue about equal rights or sexual complementarity?
  4. Current Laws May Offer Little Shield against Drones, Senators Are Told“, by Matthew L. Wald (NY Times).
  5. New Reasons to Change Light Bulbs“, by David Pogue (NY Times). LED bulbs last 25,000 light hours (about 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs) and convert 60% of electricity into light (compared to 5-10% for incandescent bulbs). An intriguing article, less-than-brilliant puns notwithstanding.
  6. Boys’ Club: Spring’s New Haricut“, by Bee-Shyuan Chang (NY Times). Short hair? “[I]t’s for everybody.”

Happy (Old Style) birthday J.S. Bach!

Read — 2013/03/20

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. A Model for Reducing Emissions“, by Eduardo Porter (NY Times). Rising energy prices and market-driven technological innovation, rather than regulation and public concern, are hailed as the true heroes of America’s nearly 13% reduction of CO2 emissions since 2007.
  2. Justices Permit Resale of Copyrighted Imports“, by Adam Liptak (NY Times). The Supreme Court rules that the first-sale doctrine applies to imported copyrighted material, citing troubling consequences if it were not. International-student-edition textbooks now (legally) welcome.
  3. On Gay Unions, a Pragmatist before He Was a Pope“, by Simon Romero & Emily Schmall (NY Times).
  4. Inviting Tropical Fruits to Stick Around“, by Cathy Barrow (NY Times). Preservation ideas for the mangoes and pineapples now in season, with recipes for spiced mango chutney with chiles and tropical pineapple sauce.
  5. Terror in Tokyo: The Overview“, by Nicholas D> Kristof (NY Times, 21 Mar 1995).

Happy birthday to Ovid and Charles William Eliot!

Read — 2013/03/18

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. In China, New Premier Says He Seeks a Just Society“, by Andrew Jacobs (NY Times).
  2. Domestic Drones Stir Imaginations, and Concerns“, by Matthew L. Wald (NY Times).
  3. A Field with Everything Except an Obvious Favorite“, by Zach Schonbrun (NY Times). The NY Times also has the NCAA Men’s bracket.
  4. Drugs for Early-Stage Alzheimer’s“, by the Editorial Board (NY Times). The editors post their views on the FDA’s proposal to make the approval process for new Alzheimer’s treatments easier. See also the article “F.D.A. Plans Looser Rules on Approving Alzheimer’s Drugs“, by Gina Kolata (14 Mar 2013).
  5. A Man Has Played Q*Bert for over 80 Hours to Break a 30-Year World Record“, by Luke Plunkett ( Pursuant to a comment in the “Discussion” section, the article is even wilder if you interchange all instances of the words “hours” and “years”.

Read — 2013/03/12

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. U.S. Demands China Block Cyberattacks and Agree to Rules“, by Mark Landler and David E. Sanger (NY Times). Not to let recent denials of cyberattacks by China’s foreign minister go unanswered, the U.S. issues its “first public confrontation” against the perceived aggression.
  2. Judge Blocks New York City’s Limits on Big Sugary Drinks“, by Michael M. Grynbaum (NY Times). Judge issues acerbic invalidation of “arbitrary and capricious” limits.
  3. A Laboratory Grows Young Scientists“, by Ethan Hauser (NY Times). Exploring the work of three finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.
  4. Solving the Puzzles of Mimicry in Nature“, by Sean B. Carroll (NY Times).
  5. Those Who Nailed It“, by Cathy Horyn (NY Times). A whirlwind summary of the Fall 2013 fashion season.
  6. Truman Acts to Save Nations from Red Rule“, by Felix Belair, Jr. (NY Times, 12 Mar 1947). Related, how to use a university commencement address to save the world, short, long, and unabridged.

Read — 2013/03/09

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. New Sanctions on North Korea Pass in Unified U.N. Vote“, by Rick Gladstone and David E. Sanger (NY Times).
  2. It’s about the Work, Not the Office“, by Jennifer Glass (NY Times).
  3. To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms“, by Ethan Bronner (NY Times).
  4. Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years“, by Justin Gillis (NY Times). A paper published in Science today reconstructs temperature patters for the past 11,300 years and finds that “[c]urrent global temperatures of the past decade…are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history”. The full article is available via Science Magazine’s website.
  5. Hunger Causes Petrograd Riots” (NY Times, 9, 11 March 1917).

Read — 2013/03/07

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Endangered or Not, but at Least No Longer Waiting“, by Michael Wines (NY Times). Humans aren’t the only ones who are forced to wait inordinately long for Washington to make up its mind.
  2. Clothes Worthy of their Label“, by Cathy Horyn (NY Times). A plea to avoid the abuse of branding, an appeal to focus on the clothes and not the labels. In short, a cri de coeur for designers to commit to the quality and creative expression of well-defined values: “You knew it was Hermès, because Hermès is supposed to be about good taste, and here was the modern expression of it.”
  3. Baby WERQ: Kiernan Shipka” (Tom & Lorenzo, 25 Jan 2013). For you Mad Men fans out there; I stumbled across this just now. Not sure if the final line is entirely accurate, but priceless nevertheless.

Read — 2013/03/06

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Chávez Dies, Leaving Sharp Devisions in Venezuela“, by William Neuman (NY Times).
  2. The Country that Stopped Reading“, by David Toscana (NY Times).
  3. The Professors’ Big Stage“, by Thomas L. Friedman (NY Times).
  4. Flash of Red Leaves United Speechless“, by Sam Borden (NY Times).
  5. Big League BBQ Arrives“, by Pete Wells (NY Times).
  6. Decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case” (NY Times, 7 Mar 1857).