XWord Info soberly describes itself as containing "data about NYT puzzles dating back to November, 1993, covering the entire time that Will Shortz has been Puzzle Editor," understating the cornucopia of geeky goodness within. See any crossword over that time. Look up every appearance of a word with every clue ever used for it. See the most frequently used 500 words, and the most popular by length. [more inside]
With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
Thanksgiving at Dan and Jane's by Dave Eggers. [Lech, 6, under the table, pretends to be dead, in a coffin raised over the heads of hysterical mourners.]
People All Over The World, Ride The Word Train! The Word Train! This is a neato thingy on the NY Times front page where you can enter a word that describes your mood on election day and compare with others. Best thing is you can change your word every 30 minutes. Next best thing - changing your word every 30 minutes might get your Virginia-baked ham away from the television/Internet/porcelain throne/medicine cabinet/gun closet while the election roars on....
Aptly named hardcore deconstructionists Fucked Up are slated to play a free, 12-hour show in NYC on Tuesday, October 14th. The show will feature appearances from the likes of John Cale, Matt Sweeney, David Cross, Mobb Deep, Akon, Vivian Girls, U2's The Edge, and others.
Why aren't men and women becoming more alike? A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge. International Sexuality Description Project findings.
When is reading reading? Or, rather, when is it good for you? The New York Times looks at how the internet is changing the ways we think and how we learn.
On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble You’re probably guessing that because it involves “do no evil” Google, Fortune magazine’s “Best Company to Work For” the past two years, this is a heart-warming tale of a good company reversing a dumb decision. If only.
Party Like It’s 2008 [SLNYTOE] Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars. That’s why race keeps being portrayed as dooming Mr. Obama — surely Jeremiah Wright = Willie Horton! — no matter what the voters say to the contrary. [more inside]
How far away from work do you live? How much of your pay gets used up to get you to and from work, get you around town, and pay for where you live? As gas and food prices continue to rise, "affordability" has become a more critical notion for everyday Americans. The Center for Neighborhood Technology developed their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which aims to help better inform renters and owners about the relationship of transportation options to where one lives.
Slow news day: One properly used semicolon inspires paroxysms of joy in the NYT.
In all its 55 year history, MAD magazine has been known much more for media satire than political satire... anything political was often camouflaged as a movie or TV parody and generally less partisan than most. (How can you take their politics seriously when they offered Alfred E. Neuman for President?) Another thing about MAD is how rarely it goes outside its "Usual Cast of Idiots" for content. Well, things have changed, as the MAD editors used 10 Pulitzer Prize Winning Op/Ed Cartoonists to illustrate the incendiarilly-titled “Why George W. Bush Is in Favor of Global Warming”. The usually web-shy MAD even allowed the New York Times to put most of the piece online in a slideshow. [more inside]
What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores - You've all heard the ads, here's how those companies try to raise your credit scores. The credit industry hates it, because it works, at least for now.
War Torn: kickoff of the New York Times' penetrating new series investigating the violence that comes home when our soldiers do.
This Flash tool from the New York Times shows you how many times each candidate has named each of the other candidates, suggesting which candidates the others perceive as worthy of addressing. It's a very neat and efficient visualization tool. Guess who everyone can't stop mentioning?
Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
In the wake of Rupert Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal, several of the paper's top reporters have left for safer ground. Among them is Tara Parker-Pope, who joined the New York Times on October 3rd. Her blog, Well, currently accounts for three of the paper's top ten e-mailed stories: in addition to number 1, Five Easy Ways to Go Organic, she has number 5, Shhh...My Child Is Sleeping (in My Bed, Um, With Me), and number 8, Drug-Resistant Staph: What You Need to Know. Touché Rupert.
"I called [Stephen] Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to 'shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.'”
Susie Bright comments on the recent NYT piece about Israeli Nazi-themed porn. Andrea Dworkin wrote about this genre almost 20 years ago. There's a new film on the topic, which is what inspired the NY Times article.
David Pogue on the Power of Simplicity Complete with musical opening.
onoes! teenz on teh pr0n webs! It's been a year since I posted about Stickam, and in that time, one would be naïve to think that a community of unmoderated videos broadcast live from the private and semi-anonymous bedrooms of the world would not result in epic lulz (nsfw). To no one's surprise, disgruntled Stickam ex-VP Alex Becker says Stickam shares office space, staff, and equipment with live pornographic video providers -- this via NYT tech writer Brad Stone. Cue the "think of the CHILDRUNZ!" moral panic. But popular websites being related to or backed up by prurient interest are nothing new: Wikipeda predecessor Bomis was once accused of having "softore porn" in its "Babes" section, and of course everyone knows porn drives technology. What do you think the internet is for? But if you use Stickam and this bothers you, the burgeoning field of live embeddable Flash-based webcam video streaming is rife with alternatives: uStream.tv, Justin.tv, BlogTV, Mogulus, and Operator11, just to name some -- but there'll be naked girls on those too. I guarantee it.
"I just like to have the hottest of the hottest. Whatever's hot at the time" In the spring of 2007, Lauren Greenfield conducted interviews with Los Angeles teenagers on the subject of money and how it affects their lives. The link is a 15-minute selection of those interviews.
Marvin Schneider, New York City's Official Clock Master is responsible for keeping the giant public clocks of the five boroughs running smoothly; the beautiful photo essay with an accompanying interview is not to be missed for fans of giant gears & sprockets.
Are NBA referees racially biased when calling fouls? In a paper [PDF] released yesterday, economists Wolfers and Price claim that an all-white team would win two extra games over an 82-game season.
Facing Life With a Lethal Gene. Say you're in your early twenties. For years you've seen members of your family twist and turn invouluntarily and developing dementia due to your family history of Huntington's Disease. Even if you have the gene for the disease, the symptoms are unlikely to hit until you're 50. Would you want to find out if you're going to share the same fate as your relatives, or live life out as much as you can unaware if you're going to suffer from it too? Another touching human interest story from the NY Times which has had a bunch of these recently.
Same Old Dogs, Same Old Tricks. In a rare act of bipartisan cooperation, the House of Representatives passed a group of bills strengthening the FOIA (HR 1309), streamlining access to Presidential Libraries (HR 1255), and expanding safeguards for whistleblowers (still in process, HR 985), with those that were passed having a veto-proof margin. The White House sharply criticized these acts of transparency as unconstitutional, a threat on the established separation of Powers, and as a threat to national security [pdf]. All of which heralds back to an earlier time, that looks vaguely familiar...
If you have a *.edu email address, you can now access the normally for-fee New York Times TimesSelect service for free, which gets you access to archived articles and special content.
The Must-Do List. The NY Times lists the administration policies that congress must reverse if it intends to undo the damage done to America by the Bush Administration.
The New York Times on Being Black and Indie You're an African American, but you prefer Bloc Party to 50 Cent. Fear not, young "blipster," you're no longer the only black guy at the indie rock show! [via]
The right approach in dealing with childhood obesity? Several states in the US are handing out body mass "report cards" to better inform parents on the issue of childhood obeseity. Is this an effective tactic or will it lead to an increase in weight problems in the future?
Blacked out text in your newspaper. The White House has attempted to heavily censor parts of a proposed op-ed about Iran. So tomorrow, the NYT will run the op-ed with black redaction marks, and provide a list of non-classified sources for the exact material the administration claims is sensitive.
was there just a second ago... Cop Watch LA, a police watchdog group, posted the video on YouTube, said organizer Joaquin Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos said the video was shot by a neighbor of Cardenas with a cell phone camera. The neighbor gave it to Cardenas' family, who then gave it to Cop Watch, according to Cienfuegos.
The Plank started it, using a NY Times piece on MyDD.com founder Jerome Armstrong's recent settlement with the SEC to impune Daily Kos's integrety with accusations of graft and extortion, revealing a secret liberal-blog mailing list. Kos counterattacks. TNR expands their assault. David Brooks piles on. Kos's allies respond. TNR retracts (somewhat), and brings up another skeleton in Jerome's closet. Finally, the adults weigh in.
Newsfilter. Surveillenve of everything you do online: "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement." Offline: "I'm John Doe, and if I had told you before today that the F.B.I. was requesting library records, I could have gone to jail." Previously, here. On your phone? We've already discussed that, too.
[nytimesfilter] Why is the New York Times obsessed with doom metal? For a newspaper that gives perfunctory (at best) coverage to non-classical, non-top-40 music, the publication of two articles about one marginal subgenre of indie rock seems incredibly conspiratorial.
Toni Morrison's Beloved named best American novel of the last 25 years. Critic A.O. Scott writes an accompanying article. Some people do not agree. Like this person or this one. The judges. (Bugmenot login: I used veganporn/veganporn.)
Sexual Predators on the Internet: Today we heard testimony about sexual exploitation of children on the Internet during a Congressional hearing. Tonight a Homeland Security official is held for soliciting for a child on Internet.
Commentary Magazine's Gabriel Schoenfeld suggests that the New York Times has violated the Espionage Act of 1917. Slate's Jack Shafer remarks that the case is not too far-fetched, while noting that Scott Johnson of The Weekly Standard seems to have anticipated the Commentary article. via
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a Mass. newspaper which shares a computer system with the Boston Globe (both of whom are owned by the New York Times), has inadvertently released close to 240,000 Globe and T&G subscriber credit card and bank routing records. The records, accidently printed by employees on two separate occasions, were apparently placed into the recycling bin at the T&R, which then used that paper to bundle the Sunday edition prior to distribution.
The War on Franklin (Orig. from the NYTimes). It's only fitting as we approach the tercentennial of the birth of the First American, Benjamin Franklin, that there is an ongoing debate as to whether we should "sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety" and if we deserve either. To be sure, Franklin is likely the seminal Colonial American, who's philosophy, inventions, self-determination, self-improvement, entrepeneurship, and witicisms underpin most elements of modern American society, politics, and culture, as well as having edited our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. But Franklin the man was also self-involved, a neglectful spouse and parent, and (likely) a serial philanderer, as well as having never held elected office. (History erases many of the sins of the Foundering Fathers). Surely increasing criticism of both the man and his relavency is soon to follow. Perhaps we can all strive to emulate Franklin's greatest skill - the art of compromise.
Locked in a Timeless Embrace: A third possibility. First documented gay couple (manicurists to the King) or just a case of conjoined twins? Same-sex closeness in historical Egypt.
The author Rodney Whitaker is dead, taking along with him Trevanian, Nicholas Seare, Benat Le Cagot, and several of his other pen names. Under the name Trevanian he wrote The Eiger Sanction (1972) (which became a Clint Eastwood movie of the same name), Shibumi (1979), The Loo Sanction (1973), The Summer of Katya (1983), The Main (1976), Incident at Twenty-Mile (1998), and others. In real life, Whitaker was the Chairman of the Radio, Television, and Film Department at the University of Texas. He was believe to be 74 years old, and died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
2005 - The Year in Ideas. From Accredited Bliss to Zombie Dogs, the NY Times runs through the year's scientific, cultural, and academic developments.
Conservative Blogs Rock! NEW YORK In an argument sure to be challenged in certain sectors of the blogosphere, a story in The New York Times magazine coming up this Sunday declares that conservative blogs continue to best liberal blogs in political and electoral influence.
Is Maureen Dowd necessary? Asks Katie Rolph (Slate). I'm not sure... but from a big article in the NY Times Magazine section last Sunday, to a spread in New York Magazine this week, all to support her new book release, she sure as hell seems to be everywhere these days. Rolph sums up Dowd pretty nicely, though:
... Dowd is extremely fond of clever stereotyping. But this strategy is better-suited to satirizing a real person (say, President Bush) than it is to offering insights into the already cartoonish "war" between the sexes. In Are Men Necessary? she gravitates toward quotes like this: "Deep down all men want the same thing: a virgin in a gingham dress," or "if there's one thing men fear it's a woman who uses her critical faculties..."Her shallow insights are sometimes amusing in the context of 250 word op-ed, but a whole book, press junket and PR tour? The woman who suggests that oedipal conflict is at the root of current US foreign policy speaks out on feminism and culture, and we're supposed to care? Strangely enough, I do. I must be hypnotized by the red hair.
"But nine seasons on, South Park is a bona fide cultural phenomenon that has risen above its own raunch to become an up-to-the-minute social commentary on some of the most controversial issues of the day." A NY Times piece on SP as a significant cultural signpost.
NY Times will be going pay-only for access to columns by Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, and Maureen Dowd. On the 19th of Sept! And I assume the others like Herbert and Frank will drop behind the iron curtain as well. These are obviously some of the most blogged about and emailed content on the NYT site. Do you think it will be worth $49.95 year (it does come with 100 archive articles, which is admittedly pretty sweet)? Do you think that bloggers will stop linking to those columnists? Is this the end of free?