The transportation reporter for the New York Times, Scott Flegenheimer, outs himself. “Hey, one boss said to another after my ill-advised confession. Did you know our transportation reporter can’t ride a bike? He knew then, of course, and now you do, too. I cannot ride a bike." He is not alone. Adult bicycling lessons are offered everywhere.
The upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story is about the excavation of the Second Avenue Subway line below the East Side of Manhattan. It features some stunning photography and a video that explains how the work is done. [more inside]
Big Data On Campus (NYTimes) “We don’t want to turn into just eHarmony,” says Michael Zimmer, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he studies ethical dimensions of new technology. “I’m worried that we’re taking both the richness and the serendipitous aspect of courses and professors and majors — and all the things that are supposed to be university life — and instead translating it into 18 variables that spit out, ‘This is your best fit. So go over here.’ ”
What is the fair market value of an object that cannot be sold? When art dealer Ileana Sonnabend passed away in 2007 at the age of 92, she left her children an art collection estimated to be worth $1,000,000,000. Over a forty year career, Sonnabend, along with her first husband and business partner Leo Castelli, worked with many of contemporary art world's best known artists, including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg & Andy Warhol. One of the inherited paintings, Robert Rauschenberg's Canyon has become the center of a dispute between the Sonnabend's children and the I.R.S.
Thus began my descent into the world of acronyms...bewildered doctors, frustrated psychologists, and a three-ring circus of pharmaceutical adventures.
The dining room was jammed to the fleur-de-lis wallpaper with red-faced white guys in blue suits and harried looking waiters in penguin costumes. Not my crowd. I remember hearing a muffled “linguine Alfredo” and the clinking of glasses at another table, and then the film snaps. This, as I’ve come to think of it, was the moment my first life stopped, where the film broke and the reel spun around and around, flogging itself.Jokers Wild: Author Paul Vandevelder's contribution to the NYT(online)'s Anxiety series, featuring an illustration by Finnish artist Tommi Musturi.
The semicolon sat there in my literary utensil drawer like a cherry pitter, theoretically functional, but fussy and unloved and probably destined for the yard-sale table. Semicolons: A Love Story [NYT]
The New Elitists (NYT) - "...omnivores seem highly distinct and their tastes appear to be a matter of personal expression. Instead of liking things like opera because that’s what people of your class are supposed to like, the omnivore likes what he likes because it is an expression of a distinct self. Perhaps liking a range of things explains why elites are elite, and not the other way around. By contrast, those who have exclusive tastes today — middle-class and poorer Americans — are subject to disdain. If the world is open and you don’t take advantage of it, then you’re simply limited and closed-minded. Perhaps it’s these attributes that explain your incapacity to succeed." [more inside]
Thank you for killing my novel - A negative review in the NYT sparks a dialogue between an editor there and a fictional character from the book in question. [more inside]
Shelagh was here - an ordinary, magical life: The Toronto Star dedicated unprecedented coverage to the funeral of 55-year-old Shelagh Gordon – interviewing more than 100 of her friends and family – to show how a modest life can have a huge impact. "She didn’t have a great job, she wasn’t married and never had children, so she wasn’t successful in either the traditional male or female sense, Ms. Porter said. But people would keep telling stories about her kindness. 'She had a lot of magic in her life, and that’s reassuring... That you can live a full, interesting, ordinary life.'" The link includes an extensive interactive photograph of stories from those at Shelagh's funeral, and a video with clips from the memorial as well. Via the NYT: Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable. (previously: you are not special)
Central Park Elmo is not a fan of the Jews, to the extent that he was carried away for psychiatric assessment yesterday. Today the NYT has an interview with Adam Sandler, the man behind anti-Semitic Elmo.
"The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights." - Jimmy Carter [more inside]
With the 2012 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder starting tonight, it's a great time to see where the Heat and Thunder hit their shots
The FBI has orchestrated "14 out of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks [on U.S. soil] since 9/11" according to the NY Times' counting. As noted previously though, Mother Jones' investigative report found that "all [but three] of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings" and one third of terrorist defendants were actually led by an FBI agent provocateur, often outside contractors. A Rolling Stone blogger has now called out the FBI for "singling out ideological enemies [of the State]", including the FBI's recent Ohio bridge plot, while ignoring much more dangerous right wing groups, including white supremacists. [more inside]
Should we be reducing our salt intake? Maybe not.
The NYT published an article this week covering a new "digital divide" where poor children are spending more time "wasting time" online. [more inside]
Cartoonist and Essayist Tim Kreider on the soothing effect of dangerous situations. (NYT)
Al Jazeera is closing its Chinese bureau after the authorities have refused to renew its reporters' press credentials and visas [NYT]. The Chinese government's reasons for this aren't clear, but Al Jazeera's recent coverage of China's "black jails" has been less than flattering.
"He’s the ultimate pro. He’s on time, knows his lines, hits his mark with no drama. He makes the other actors want to rise to his professional level." He is "the coolest [expletive] on the planet". [SLNYT]
"Relationships are hard enough. But the rise of social media — where sharing private moments is encouraged, and provocative and confessional postings can help build a following — has created a new source of friction for couples: what is fair game for sharing with the world?" (NYT)
"Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. [...] The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation. Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down."
Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive ‘Stupid Games.' Does what it says on the box: plus, cute space ship graphics and exploding comments. [more inside]
I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter [SLNYT]
"Redshirting" is the practice of holding eligible children back from kindergarten, with supposed advantages for them academically. Though there are questions as to it's efficacy long term.
Android apps can secretly copy photos [SLNYT] "Android apps do not need permission to get a user's photos, and as long as an app has the right to go to the Internet, it can copy those photos to a remote server without any notice, according to developers and mobile security experts."
Stephanie Coontz: The M.R.S. and the Ph.D. "Is this really the fate facing educated heterosexual women: either no marriage at all or a marriage with more housework and less sex? Nonsense. That may have been the case in the past, but no longer. For a woman seeking a satisfying relationship as well as a secure economic future, there has never been a better time to be or become highly educated... The most important predictor of marital happiness for a woman is not how much she looks up to her husband but how sensitive he is to her emotional cues and how willing he is to share the housework and child-care. And those traits are often easier to find in a low-key guy than a powerhouse." [more inside]
"At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle. At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate." John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74
"They stuck me at P.S.A. 7 in the South Bronx," he said, referring to Police Service Area No. 7 in the department’s housing bureau. "They cover all the housing projects in that area." It was dangerous work, performing vertical patrols — marching up and down staircases — watching for drug deals, responding to violent fights and domestic brawls, and worse. Two years passed, and Officer Bolfo brought something else to work, along with his radio and his gun. A camera.
A Swarthmore College student-reporter's questioning of whether it is moral to go into banking sparks NYT columnist Nick Kristof to not only assert the affirmative, but to argue (in part) that in fact more well-educated, liberally-mined people should go into "conservative" industries like banking in order to reform it from the inside. In effect, Kristof suggests, socialist-leaning, educationally-empowered students should hunker down, swallow their disdain, and apply their ideals to change finance. Said student responds (in Slate): elite, ostensibly liberal-leaning students don't seem to be particularly discouraged from capitalism or going into banking in this climate, and probably never have been.
Feminism's Uneven Success: "Class and racial and ethnic differences among women have intensified over time. The higher earnings of college-educated mothers make it possible for them to purchase child care and help with housework (typically performed by low-wage women workers)... the number of low-skill immigrants living in a large city reduces the tradeoff between employment and fertility for women college graduates. Outsourcing of care responsibilities can have many positive effects, but it reduces the potential for cross-class gender coalitions. Emphasis on changes in women’s average or median earnings relative to men often conceals growing inequality among women." (via)
Graphic designer Amanda Cox (previously) talks about the crossroads of journalism, design, information, and illustration and how it all comes together in data visualizations for The New York Times.
Touch of Evil A NYT gallery of villainy featuring some of the best rouges of fiction.
Today's New York Times has an article about young Mormons finding a way to live their values while remaining socially "with it" -- by turning to hipster culture.
Yesterday, Politico reporter Kendra Marr was forced to resign her position after New York Times writer Susan Stellin alerted Marr's editors to similarities between her transportation policy story published Sept. 26 and Marr’s story published Oct. 10. An investigation by Politico into Marr's work found 7 instances of likely plagiarism. Marr, who was formerly a reporter for the OC Register, San Jose Mercury News and the Washington Post, had logged 409 stories (scroll down for list) with Politico during her time there. The outlet has issued a statement. Poynter has a thorough rundown, indicating that more of her articles may come under scrutiny. [more inside]
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
Autistic and Seeking a Place in the World. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Amy Harmon spent a year observing a young man with autism named Justin Canha, who took part in a new kind of “transition to adulthood” program for special education students at Montclair High School in NJ. The experimental program was intended to ready him for an independent life as an adult and integrate him into the community. [more inside]
Dog vs. Rattlesnake. Dog loses. But there is hope for other dogs. "At home, I lit candles in prayer, pleading to the universe that she would make it. I slept fitfully, realizing that this was her battle. I couldn’t will her to survive. Even so, I offered a psychic bargaining chip, promising her a trip to the ocean, which she had never seen, if she pulled through this." And, she did.
(Warning: spoiler) Tom Ridge is a little teapot.
Take a cognitively dissonant walk down memory lane with the NYT's 9/11 puzzle.
Take a cognitively dissonant walk down memory lane with the NYT's 9/11 puzzle.
SlutWalk Toronto (featured on the Blue) has come and gone and spawned imitators. Already though, some feminists are questioning it's efficacy and impact on both men and women.
This Sunday's New York Times Magazine interviews the creators of epic ASCII megagame Dwarf Fortress......and Metafilter credited as the "popular blog" which fueled public awareness of DF! [more inside]
Jane Scott, who wrote about rock and roll in The Cleveland Plain Dealer until her retirement at 83, has died. "It was the singular combination of Kleenex, peanut butter, a shower cap and earplugs that let Jane Scott thrive in her chosen field for nearly 40 years."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.
In 2008, T: Magazine released a 12-part video series called "T Takes," (Also on Youtube) which featured up and coming indie and mainstream actors in short (2 - 3 minute) improvisational roles. A 6-part sequel series Brooklyn '09 was released the following year -- an episodic love story that was not as celebrity oriented. [more inside]
Jonathan Franzen's essay, excerpted from his commencement speech at Kenyon College says, among other things "To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology... is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes ... with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self." [more inside]
Running seems to allow me, ideally, an expanded consciousness in which I can envision what I'm writing as a film or a dream. I rarely invent at the typewriter but recall what I've experienced. --Celebrated author Joyce Carol Oates on the connection between writing and running.
Chicken Vanishes, Heartbreak Ensues: A front-yard chicken in Brooklyn is stolen, and a neighborhood rallies. (SLNYT)