A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: November, 2013

Read — 2013/11/28

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Violinist Shows His Thanks with Holiday Dinners“, by Steven Brown (Houston Chronicle).
  2. Germany Wants Snowden Testimony“, by Harriet Torry & Paul Sonne (Wall Street Journal). German politicians make overtures to Snowden, hoping to learn about NSA spying programs.
  3. How to Live with Spying“, by Holman Jenkins (Wall Street Journal). An article arguing that government snooping of digital traffic isn’t such a big deal, or at least won’t change the way we operate.
  4. Online Health Law Sign-Up Is Delayed for Small Business“, by Robert Pear (NY Times). The ability for small businesses to purchase health insurance via the federal marketplace is delayed one year.
  5. For Fervent Fans of the Dutch Masters, ‘It’s a Dream Come True’“, by Randy Kennedy (NY Times). Vermeers from around the world gather on America’s east coast.
  6. Four Young Designer Duos to Watch“, by Evianna Hartman (NY Times). Passavant and Lee, Trager Delaney, Smith & Smith, Uniform Wares.
  7. This Week’s Movies: Nov. 27, 2013“, by Vijai Singh (NY Times). Summarized film reviews of “Frozen”, “Black Nativity”, and “Oldboy”.

Read — 2013/11/26

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. ‘Why Care about the N.S.A.?’“, by Brian Knappenberger (NY Times). Unclear whether the short film delivers 5m45s of useful facts, but the titular question is worth at least that much thought.
  2. Render unto Caesar, but Who Backs Bitcoin?“, by Andrew Ross Sorkin (NY Times). Tempering the Bitcoin bubble.
  3. Troubled Skies over Troubled Waters“, by T.P. & T.B. (The Economist). China’s recent announcement of a new Air Defense Identification Zone and its reaction in Japan, Korea, and the U.S.

Read — 2013/11/24

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Accord Reached with Iran to Halt Nuclear Program“, by Michael R. Gordon (NY Times). Am I the only one dubious about the accord when I read the line “the two sides would essentially agree to disagree on how the proliferation treaty should be interpreted, while Tehran continued to enrich”.
  2. Don’t Dare Call the Health Care Law ‘Redistribution’“, by John Harwood (NY Times). Fact: It’s redistribution. But so is every real-world government policy and tax. So the Affordable Care Act is in good company.
  3. Deals at Climate Meeting Advance Global Effort“, by David Jolly (NY Times). A “moribund Kyoto Protocol”, “climate justice”, and pesky middle initials. And note the sanguine conclusion: “treaty members remain far from any serious, concerted action to cut emissions”.
  4. Beyond 3-D Printers’ Magic, Possible Legal Wrangling“, by Phyllis Korkki (NY Times). The woes of file-sharing take on a new dimension.
  5. A Growing Chill between South Korea and Japan Creates Problems for the U.S.“, by Martin Fackler & Choe Sang-Hun (NY Times). An almost made-for-TV drama featuring the forefathers of South Korean president Park Geun-hye (father Park Chung-hee) and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (grandfather Nobusuke Kishi). China should see this divisive drama as an obvious opportunity to expand its power in the region.
  6. For Chess, a Would-Be White Knight“, by Matt Richtel (NY Times). Nice headline writing with white knight, but the article reminds me heavily of Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 4 (“The Arrangements“), in which a well-off client asks the firm to help promote jai alai in America.
  7. A Bitcoin Puzzle: Heads, It’s Excitement. Tails, It’s Anxiety“, by Jeff Sommer (NY Times). Ah, Uncle Milt — like von Neumann and DNA, you saw this one coming from a mile away.
  8. Are Kids Too Coddled“, by Frank Bruni (NY Times). The “impolitic” and “gratuitous” comment by Education Secretary Arne Duncan very easily could have gotten him fired in a parallel universe (or in this universe, for that matter) — modern politics is blind to the element of truth. While I’m not sure the Common Core is the ultimate answer, I agree that students need to be given an honest appraisal of their ability, the competition out there in the world — and caring and dedicated instructors with the training and resources to help students overcome and succeed.

Read — 2013/11/23

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Urbanites Flee China’s Smog for Blue Skies“, by Edward Wong (NY Times). China’s less-known reverse migration, from urban to rural.
  2. Tension and Flaws before Health Website Crash“, by Eric Lipton, Ian Austen, & Sharon LeFraniere (NY Times). The site functioned less than 50% of the time in October 2013. “The online exchange was crippled…because of a huge gap between the [Obama] administration’s grand hopes and the practicalities of building a website that could function on opening day” — October 1, a deadline government official insisted was “not negotiable”. Other disturbing signs: “Some CGI software engineers ultimately walked out, saying it was impossible to produce good work under such conditions… ‘Cut corners, make date'”.
  3. Twitter Toughening Its Security to Thwart Government Snoops“, by Nicole Perlroth & Vindu Goel (NY Times). In response to public demand following revelation of government storage and decrypting of internet traffic, many internet companies are implementing protocols with forward secrecy. The article notes that the increased security comes at the cost of “slow[er] website and browser performance” — about 150 milliseconds for an initial US connection to Twitter, for example.
  4. Norwegian, 22, Takes World Chess Title“, by Dylan Loeb McClain (NY Times). Magnus Carlsen defeated World Championship titleholder Viswanathan Anand, 3-0-7, in a best-of-twelve series. The victory comes with approximately $1.5 million for M Carlsen. Quotable: “You should play to the end”, says Carlsen. Also, British GQ speculates this could be the match that will help men mature.
  5. The Death of President Kennedy” (NY Times). Headlines and excerpts from the NY Times paper, November 23-26, 1963. The Nov 23 headline “Sister Sees Dallas Telecast” introduced me to John F. Kennedy’s sister Rosemary.
  6. The Delicate Art of Pushing Back“, by Elizabeth Bernstein (Wall Street Journal). Definition: boundary is “knowing what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for”. When asserting boundaries, Bernstein’s suggestions include: (1) Assume positive intent. (2) Start with a positive. (3) Focus on want, not behavior. (4) Be concise. (5) Control emotions.

(Should Have) Read

An assorted collection of articles from the recent (and perhaps not-so-recent) past (read — excuse the pun — I finally cleaned out my inbox):

  1. Vogue Fashion Fund: Where No Designer Is Left Behind“, by Eric Wilson (NY Times).
  2. Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies“, by Reed Abelson & Katie Thomas (NY Times).
  3. The Power of Patience“, by Jennifer Roberts (Harvard Magazine).
  4. Marc Jacobs Packing His Louis Vuitoon Bags after 16 Years“, by Eric Wilson (NY Times).
  5. In Surprise, Fed Decides to Maintain Pace of Stimulus“, by Binyamin Appelbaum (NY Times).
  6. Summers Pulls Name from Consideration for Fed Chief“, by Annie Lowrey & Binyamin Appelbaum (NY Times).
  7. Where Has HPCs Math Gone?“, by Gary Johnson (HPC Wire).
  8. How a Single Picture Can Make You Famous in China“, by Thorsten Pattberg (Big Think). Young gentlemen need not apply.
  9. The Gates of Harvard Yard” (Harvard Magazine).
  10. For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall“, by Jason DeParle (NY Times).
  11. The Joy of Dirt” (The Economist).
  12. What Does the Way You Walk Say about You?“, by Cindi May (Scientific American).
  13. How Bernanke Pulled the Fed His Way“, by Jon Hilsenrath (Wall Street Journal).

Read — 2013/11/19

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Toy Story“, by Bill Keller (NY Times). Innovation, immigration, and future generations of young Americans.
  2. Princeton University Considers Use of Foreign Meningitis Vaccine“, by Vivian Yee (NY Times). Heard on (another) college campus: “You may have gotten into Princeton, but at least I can still kiss my boyfriend.”
  3. Developing a Fax Machine to Copy Life on Mars“, by Andrew Pollack (NY Times).
  4. Pressure Builds to Finish Volcker Rule on Wall Street Oversight“, by Peter Eavis & Ben Protess (NY Times).
  5. Suzanne Bianchi, 61, Who Analyzed Family Time, Dies“, by Paul Vitello (NY Times).
  6. The Shame of American Health Care“, by the Editorial Board (NY Times).
  7. Experts Reshape Treatment Guide for Cholesterol“, by Gina Kolata (NY Times).
  8. China to Ease Longtime Policy of One-Child Limit“, by Chris Buckley (NY Times).