So take the film on its own titular terms. What does
Love Actually tell us about love, actually? Well, I think it tells us a number of things, most of them wrong and a few of them appalling. Now, anyone who goes to the cineplex with any regularity knows that the last decade has seen more than its share of bad romantic comedies. But Love Actually is exceptional in that it is not merely, like so many other entries in the genre, unromantic. Rather, it is emphatically, almost shockingly,
anti-romantic. Love Actually Is the Least Romantic Film of All Time
posted by davidjmcgee
on Dec 7, 2013 -
According to researchers who analyzed all 729 constitutions adopted between 1946 and 2006, the U.S. Constitution is rarely used as a model. What's more, "the American example is being rejected to an even greater extent by America's allies than by the global community at large"...
"There are about 30 countries, mostly in Latin America, that have adopted American-style systems. All of them, without exception, have succumbed to...constitutional crisis[es]—your full range of political violence, revolution, coup, and worse. But well short of war, you can end up in a state of "crisis governance," he writes. "President and house may merely indulge a taste for endless backbiting, mutual recrimination, and partisan deadlock. Worse yet, the contending powers may use the constitutional tools at their disposal to make life miserable for each other: The house will harass the executive, and the president will engage in unilateral action whenever he can get away with it." [Juan Linz] wrote that almost a decade and a half ago, long before anyone had heard of Barack Obama, let alone the Tea Party.
's Alex Seitz-Wald makes a case against the U.S. Constitution:
The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It
posted by zardoz
on Nov 5, 2013 -
What won the war? The weather helped. For while the Allies had access to all the Atlantic meteorology, the Axis couldn't easily predict what systems were rolling in from the West - and with the Battle of the Atlantic the one thing
that Churchill said kept him awake at night, knowing which way the wind blew certainly needed a weatherman. Or Britain would never be starved into submission.
The Weather War was complex and engaging, [more inside]
posted by Devonian
on May 17, 2013 -
reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Apr 26, 2013 -
Tainted: Why Gay Men Still Can't Donate Blood
- "Since 1983, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines have disqualified men who have ever had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood... Uneven application of exclusion to at-risk individuals suggests that risk aversion disproportionately impacts MSMs. For example, a non-MSM individual who has had sexual contact with a commercial sex worker or HIV-positive partner is deferred for only twelve months... The fact that the U.S. upholds a lifetime ban on MSM donation while Australian policy allows MSM individuals to donate a year or less after contact reveals a glaring discrepancy. Both ethics and science point to a flaw in FDA policy. That I could have had sex with 365 partners this year and be a perfectly fine candidate for donating blood, while the MSM next to me wouldn't qualify, betrays a faulty line of logic." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Nov 12, 2012 -
The League of Dangerous Mapmakers.
The byzantine trade of redistricting was long dominated by brainy eccentrics like Hofeller and his Democratic counterparts. But that began to change in the 1990s, when the availability of mapping software and block-by-block census data for the whole country opened up the field to a waiting world of political geeks. The democratization of redistricting is a lovely thing, perhaps. But as one redistricting veteran told me, “There’s an old saying: Give a child a hammer, and the world becomes a nail. Give the chairman of a state redistricting committee a powerful enough computer and block-level census data, so that he suddenly discovers he can draw really weird and aggressive districts—and he will.”
posted by Sebmojo
on Oct 7, 2012 -
In 2008, Nebraska decriminalized child abandonment. Within just weeks of the law passing, parents started dropping off their kids. But here's the rub: None of them were infants. Twenty-two of the children were over 13 years old. The Atlantic
explores why not wanting kids is totally normal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Sep 20, 2012 -
The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future
- After five years pursuing the social-local-mobile dream, we need a fresh paradigm for technology startups.
"This isn't about startup incubators or policy positions. It's not about "innovation in America" or which tech blog loves startups the most. This is about how Internet technology used to feel like it was really going to change so many things about our lives. Now it has and we're all too stunned to figure out what's next. So we watch Lana Del Ray turn circles in a thousand animated gifs."
posted by flex
on Apr 19, 2012 -
Three thousand years ago, snow fell on Greenland, creating what would become an iceberg in this century
. Centuries pass and snow piles up, until it is 60 to 70 meters thick and forms glacial ice
. As glaciers slowly flow into the ocean, the end of the glaciers calve, or break off
. In Greenland, some 40,000 medium to large
sized icebergs calve each year, making their way south. Of the 10,000 to 15,000 icebergs annually calved from glaciers in the Arctic
, on the average only 375 pass Newfoundland into the North Atlantic Ocean. On April 14, 1912, an iceberg was some 5,000 miles south of the Arctic Circle
when a boat ran into it, leaving a smear of red paint along the base of the berg
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 16, 2012 -
“Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that ‘The sun’ll come out tomorrow.’”
Just ahead of the Iowa Caucus
, New Jersey native turned University of Iowa Professor Stephen Bloom
has published a piece in The Atlantic
that has caused quite a stir in the heartland.
The piece, which is very critical of the Hawkeye State and her inhabitants, has a lot of Iowans on the defensive
, with one article calling Bloom the "Michelangelo of hick-punching."
Stephens has said the "feedback has been frightening," but he stands by his story.
Perhaps a 1971 Harper's piece on Iowa
captures the state with a bit more nuance.
posted by Lutoslawski
on Dec 13, 2011 -
Ta-nehisi Coates sparks months of debate with his contention that The Civil War Isn't Tragic
. "The Civil War is our revolution. It ended slavery, and birthed both modern America, and modern black America.
That can never be tragic to me." [more inside]
posted by Danila
on Aug 25, 2011 -
"With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches," [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] said. "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about... We can look at bad behavior and modify it.
" The Atlantic
's editor James Bennet discusses with Schmidt how lobbyists write America's laws, how America's research universities are the best in the world, how the Chinese are going all-out in investing in their infrastructure, how the US should have allowed automakers to fail, and ultimately Google's evolving role in an technologically-augmented society in this broad, interesting and scary interview
(~25 min Flash video) [via
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Oct 4, 2010 -