"2. Airman Thompson possesses outstanding talent in writing. He has imagination, good use of English, and can express his thoughts in a manner that makes interesting reading 3. However, in spite of frequent counseling with explanation of the reasons for the conservative policy on an AF base newspaper, Airman Thompson has consistently written controversial material and leans so strongly to critical editorializing that it was necessary to require that all his writing be thoroughly edited before release." - A memo regarding Airman Second-Class Hunter S. Thompson's reporting for the base newspaper. [more inside]
Are Some Languages “Faster” Than Others? from Slate's Lexicon Valley podcast series. Transcript included!
What makes a candidate Presidential? A series of articles on what qualities make a good American President by Slate's John Dickerson
A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
'At 123,000 square feet, the new Main Library may very well be the largest single floor public library in the nation.'
The McAllen, TX Public Library won a 'Best-Of-Category' award in Interior Design for its new layout. It's in an abandoned Wal-Mart. [more inside]
Obama’s stimulus has been an astonishing, and unrecognized, success, details Michael Grunwald in Slate. [more inside]
As foretold by the prophets of Atlantis, before its destruction, a mortal (Dave Weigel of Slate) has come to reveal the true story of Prog Rock. [more inside]
Time, CNN Suspend Zakaria After He Admits "Terrible Mistake" [slate.com] "The columnist was caught passing off large chunks of a New Yorker essay as his own."
Bored of Gmail? Why don't you try Outlook?
The Perfection of the Paper Clip - It was invented in 1899. It hasn’t been improved upon since. [more inside]
When McSweeney's posted "Suggested Buzzfeed Articles," Buzzfeed replied, "Challenge Accepted." Behold: 84 Things That Aren't On An Everything Bagel. And many, many more. [more inside]
Your Breasts Are Trying To Kill You: Slate reviews Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence WIlliams (an edited excerpt from the book re: breast milk in The Guardian - includes breastfeeding photo). NPR interview with Williams (41 min. audio and text highlights); a brief interview with Williams in The Star and a long interview in Maclean's. A recent piece by Williams in Slate: A new set of reports shows that federal policy on chemicals testing neglects breast health. Subject found via a post on IBTP discussing the ban, and then partial retraction of that ban, on allowing breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks to swim topless at a Seattle public pool - includes topless photo. Some may consider the photos noted NSFW.
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
Borrowing a name from another product, Microsoft today announced it's first ever hardware products running a mainstream version of Windows, and the first designed for Windows 8: The Microsoft Surface, in ARM and Intel flaovours. Hands on. Video highlighting the stand and covers.
Sneaking Into Pantone HQ: "While the Pantone meetings are traditionally secret, I was invited to the Summer 2013 meeting on the condition that I not reveal the colorists’ identities." (An older, brief interview on Pantone forecasts.) For Summer 2013: forecast overview - palette descriptions - palette colors. (via good.is: ...the Ethics of Color Forecasting)
Tom Vanderbilt on walking in America, in four parts: The Crisis in American Walking, Sidewalk Science, What's Your Walk Score?, and Learning to Walk. (Previously on jaywalking and on cities for people.)
"Vitamin R goes straight to the head. Ruby will teach you to express your ideas through a computer. You will be writing stories for a machine. The language will become a tool for you to better connect your mind to the world." Slate compiles the mystery of _why. (Previously).
#JonathanFranzenHates: "Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose… it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters… it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium." [Via: Slate.com] More [Via: The Guardian]
Chipotle is Apple. "The burrito chain is revolutionizing food. Why doesn't it get more respect?"
They are off by 20 years and a set of genitals in my case... Follow the link in the text to find out if Google has done any better with you.
"And you could darn our clothes, and make pockets for us. None of us has any pockets.’ " ~ J.M. Barrie
"I cannot even decide whether [my face] is handsome or ugly. I think it is ugly because I have been told so."
Slate's Negotiation Academy: a series of podcasts that teach you how to haggle with (among others) jerks & liars, the opposite sex, real estate agents and kids.
"We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil." ~C.A.R. Hoare, quoted by Donald Knuth
Save the Scrollbar! [slate.com] Why are Apple, Google, and Facebook eradicating a linchpin of user interface design?
Fitocracy is a social game that harnesses the power of feedback loops to promote fitness. [more inside]
Jason Zinoman, author of the newly-published Shock Value, a study of horror films from the late 1960s/early 1970s, presents a four-part essay in which he diagnoses the ills of the modern horror film and presents a few solutions. (1 2 3 4) [more inside]
Slate: The Longform.org Guide to the Porn Industry "From the inspiration for Boogie Nights to the twisted psyche of a professional porn reviewer, five great reads about the business of smut." [more inside]
A visitor to the Rotten Tomatoes site can check out the data for individual Hollywood careers—that's how Tabarrok came up with the Shyamalan graph—but there's no easy way for users to measure industrywide trends or to compare different actors and directors side-by-side. To that end, Rotten Tomatoes kindly let Slate analyze the scores in its enormous database and create an interactive tool so our readers might do the same.
“I have to admit, I admired her style,” . . . “the most awesome robbery ever.” . . . “twisted, intellectually bright, dysfunctional individuals who outsmarted themselves” . . . "from threats to farce to violence" . . . "He smelled really good." . . . Slate and Longform.org team up to being you the tales of five remarkable bank heists.
British food-writer and Sichuan cuisine expert Fuchsia Dunlop introduces cheese to a group of chefs from Shaoxing, China,"the Chinese headquarters of 'stinking and fermented' delicacies" for the first time. How does the Stilton fare against stinky tofu?
Why is the Planet Fitness chain of health clubs trying to alienate people who love to work out? [Via Slate.com] "Maybe you've seen the one where a greased up Schwarzenegger-type swaggers through the gym repeating the mantra, "I pick things up and put them down." Or the one where another "lunk"—that's what Planet Fitness calls these sorts of people—struggles to tie his shoes. A third shows a screaming gym buffoon as he fills out a membership application, flexing and making sound effects as if he's maxing out on the squat rack. "Not his planet, yours," reads the tag line."
Lester Bangs, the late, great early-rock critic, once said he dreamed of having a basement with every album ever released in it. That's a fantasy shared by many music fans—and, mutatis mutandis, film buffs as well. We all know the Internet has made available a lot of things that were previously hard to get. Recently, though, there are indications of something even more enticing, almost paradisiacal, something that might have made Bangs put down the cough syrup and sit up straight: that almost everything is available.
Why are we [U.S.A.] so good at developing athletes and so lousy at developing writers? excerpted from sportswriter Bill James's book Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom. Via: [slate.com]
Animation Hotline is a series of daily animations where Dustin Grella uses messages left on his voice mail for content. If you feel so inspired, call. Other animation projects from Grella's personal site... [more inside]
The Green Lantern: Illuminating answers to environmental questions. Slate.com's Environmentally Focused blog which asks important questions such as: Should I buy milk in glass, plastic, or cardboard containers? Should I get a solar water heater? Or solar electric panels? Is grass-fed beef better for the environment? Are fake flowers better for the planet than fresh ones? and more. Archives: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.
In December 2010 Slate posted an interview with Iraq War veteran and conscientious objector Josh Steiber [more inside]
Slate says putting more than one space between sentences is "totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong." Microsoft's Bill Hall agrees. LaTex does not. The American Psychological Association used to agree but has changed its mind. The exhaustive Wikipedia article on sentence spacing has a predictably prickly discussion page.
How to make a decent cup of tea. by Christopher Hitchens. Single Link Slate Post. But it's all true, dammit.
Philosophical Sweep: to understand the fiction of David Foster Wallace, it helps to have a little Wittgenstein.
With the unveiling of the BlackBerry Playbook, a 7" iPad competitor solidly aimed at business, are the tablet wars heating up?
National Smile Week is celebrated in the second week of August, but it's not too late to start smiling. Perhaps you can get some inspiration from this gallery. My favorite, so far I think, is number 21 (NSFWish).
Marcel is a friendly young shell with pink sneakers A very cute stop-motion short by filmmaker Dean Fleischer-Camp. Via The Daily Wh.at
How do black people use Twitter? Why is Twitter more popular with black people? (The Root asks, "Really?") What were black people talking about on Twitter last night? [more inside]
Not Sarah Palin's Friends. Slate's script kiddies snag Sarah Palin's Facebook comments stream before its edited by Team Palin. Not a hack, per se, because it was publicly available on Facebook for minutes at a time, but interesting. The deletions amount to a real-time look at how much effort and care Palin puts into protecting her public image. It's not just the number of posts that are screened out that gives some indication of how seriously Palin's team is monitoring things.
Why did Chuck Norris destroy the periodic table? ... because he only believes in the element of Suprise!
Blogging the Periodic Table: Wild, weird, wonderful stories about the elements that make up our universe. All month at slate, Sam Kean has been blogging about the periodic table, in conjunction with his new book, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements. Elements covered so far include: Antimony: It might have killed mozart. Hydrogen: Where it all started. Selenium: Is It To Blame for Custer's Defeat at Little Bighorn? Vanadium: Sperm, beware. Copernicium: How elements get their names. Nitrogen and Phosphorus: The Future of Toilet Design Hangs in the Balance. Lithium: Why It Makes Such Great Batteries. Rare Earths: They're Neither Rare nor Earths. But They Could Save the Planet. Ytterby: The Tiny Swedish Island That Gave the Periodic Table Four Different Elements. Strontium: Element Tourists, Sodium Partiers, and Other Periodic Table Eccentrics. Gallium: It Proved That Dmitri Mendeleev, Father of the Periodic Table, Wasn't a Crackpot. The Noble Gases: What a Bunch of Snobs. Promethium: Uranium Stole Its Fire. Thorium: The Nuclear Fuel of the Future? Palladium: The Cold Fusion Fanatics Can't Get Enough of the Stuff. Cobalt: It Makes the Dirtiest of Dirty Bombs. Hafnium: Building the Doomsday Device of Tomorrow. Radium: Cures Gout! (Warning: Also Causes Cancer.). Aluminum: It Used To Be More Precious Than Gold.