A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: May, 2015

Read — 2015/05/30

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Who killed Alberto Nisman?” (BBC News). A Jewish-Argentinian prosecutor investigating the 1994 Amia bombing is found dead in his bathroom after formally accusing government officials for covering up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing.
  2. Biracial beauty queen challenges Japan’s self-image“, by Martin Fackler (NY Times). Ariana Miyamoto — born to a Japanese woman and an African-American Navy man — puts one very pretty face on Japan’s still very prevalent identity issues.

Science — 2015/05/29

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. New human ancestor discovered near fossil of ‘Lucy’“, by Ewen Callway (Nature).
  2. Big-toothed prehistoric human lived alongside ‘Lucy’“, by Jennifer Viegas (Discovery News).
  3. Toward better control of genome editing“, by Valda Vinson (Science). Researchers achieve increased specificity in Cas9 DNA cleavage via pharmacological activation.

Read — 2015/05/29

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. F.C.C. chief seeks broadband plan to aid the poor“, by Rebecca R. Ruiz (NY Times). To foster economic well-being, reliable access to broadband internet is more important than access to phone service — and also more susceptible to abuse.
  2. Goodbye F.A.O. Schwarz: toy lovers prepare for store’s closing“, by James Barron (NY Times). A fixture, a façade, a feeling draw to a close.

Read — 2015/05/27

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Tech rivalries impede digital medical record sharing“, by Robert Pear (NY Times). Health information technology offers promise, but incentives need to be aligned.

    Many doctors and hospitals have begun using electronic medical records, but providers with different systems are often unable to share data in electronic form.

  2. Corrupting the Chinese language“, by Murong Xuecun (NY Times). A writer laments the Communist’s reduction and militarization of his language.

    It’s not only government proclamations that clank with harsh cadences and revolutionary fervor, but also literary and scholarly works, and most disturbing, private speech.

  3. Fifa corruption inquiries: officials arrested in Zurich” (BBC News). The U.S. and Switzerland arrested seven officials on separate corruption cases; seven others were indicted by the U.S.

Read — 2015/05/26

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. What David Cameron wants from Europe“, by J.P. (The Economist). Researched speculation on what concessions Britain’s prime minister is likely to ask of the European Union.
  2. For Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara, a fearsome fairy godmother“, by Sarah Lyall (NY Times). Students say that voice coach Florence Birdwell’s “tough-love approach [has] proved invaluable in New York” — for those that can stomach it.

Read — 2015/05/25

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. John F. Nash Jr., math genius defined by a ‘Beautiful Mind’, dies at 86“, by Erica Goode (NY Times).
  2. In busy Silicon Valley, protein powder is in demand“, by Brian X. Chen (NY Times). Why are people attracted to powdered meal replacements? To allow them to be more productive? (Is time that scarce?) Out of laziness? Or something else?

And in case you didn’t realize — the 2015 French Open is underway!

Science — 2015/05/24

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Systematic humanization of yeast genes reveals conserved functions and genetic modularity“, by A.H. Kachroo et al. (Science). A study replaces yeast genes with their human orthologs — and finds that, in about half the genes studied, the replacement genes were functional.
  2. New film traces Cary Fowler’s quest to build the doomsday seed vault“, by Virginia Gewin (ScienceInsider).

Read — 2015/05/24

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Senate to try again after bill on N.S.A. collection of phone records is blocked“, by Jennifer Steinhauer (NY Times). The bill — opposed by many Republican senators who felt the bill was too tough as well as some senators, notably Rand Paul, who felt that the bill was not tough enough — would have limited the federal government’s ability to bulk-collect phone records.
  2. What’s behind big science frauds?“, by Adam Marcus & Ivan Oransky (NY Times). The short answer: the publish-or-perish culture of modern academia, and the media hype surrounding shocking results.
  3. The soft succession” (The Economist). Lee Jae-yong (Jay) transitions into more powerful leadership roles at Samsung. Good to read that Samsung is experimenting with next-generation batteries, medical equipment, and biotech drugs. Not so good to read that Mr. Lee is intimately associated with the Samsung Galaxy S6.
  4. Dressing 9 to 5 — what the most stylish women wear to work: top model agent Ashleah Gonzales“, by Liana Satenstein (Vogue).

Read — 2015/05/22

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Making computer science more inviting: a look at what works“, by Claire Cain Miller (NY Times). Kudos to the National Center for Women & Information Technology for initiating a revolution of computer-science education that will benefit all students in the field. Lessons from University of Washington’s progress to attract more women to the field:
    1. Interest students in the field early, e.g., in high school or earlier, by working with secondary schools.
    2. Make introductory courses accessible (content, focus, small-group sessions, deliberately chosen teaching assistants).
    3. Build a sense of community. (As the article notes, one of the most effective methods to encourage students to continue in the field is for the teaching staff to (surprise!) explicitly encourage students to continue in the field.)
  2. On Taylor Swifts ‘1989’ tour, the underdog emerges as cool kid“, by Jon Caramanica (NY Times).
  3. Empty nesters reclaim the kids’ rooms“, by Katy McLaughlin (Wall Street Journal).
  4. Kissing cousins…and sisters and brothers“, by Laura Secorun Palet (OZY).
  5. All Eyes (and iPhones) on Cara Delevingne“, by Elisa Lipsky-Karasz (Wall Street Journal). The embedded film “Reincarnation” by Karl Lagerfeld is amusing, particularly the “see see” kid in the background and the closing exchange. Also captures well the comment of Ms. Delevingne as “occasionally crazy, always fun and absolutely authentic”.
  6. Model breastfeeds on cover of ‘Elle’ Australia“, by Jessica Durando (USA Today). Says model Nicole Trunfio,

    There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than motherhood. The last thing I want to do is be controversial, so please take this for what it is, let us #normalizebreastfeeding there is nothing worse than a mother that is judged for feeding her hungry child in public.

Read — 2015/05/20

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Minimum wage: L.A. City Council approves increase to $15 by 2020“, by Peter Jamison & David Zahniser (LA Times). Kind of a big deal.
  2. World’s longest and highest glass-bottom bridge to open in China” (CNN). Breaking the glass ceiling is OK, but don’t break the glass floor.
  3. EWG’s sunscreen guide” (EWG).
  4. How I learned to love writing with emojis“, by Joanna Stern (Wall Street Journal). Or, “How I learned to stop worrying and 💟 💣”.