Archive for April 2009

#  Energy in America →

April 29th, 2009 at 14:00 // In Worth Seeing 

NPR has built a fantastic set of maps about how energy is produced and distributed across the United States.

Something I learned: the Hoover Dam, which I naively assumed to be the biggest hydroelectric producer, is pretty average. The real heavyweights are in Washington.

(via BBG)

#  The Relative Sins of Different Meats →

April 28th, 2009 at 19:36 // In Worth Knowing 

Someone finally asked the Green Lantern the question I’d been meaning to since Slate started the column:

Green Lantern, you’re always telling us how bad meat is for the environment. I’m willing to throw some more zucchini kebabs on my barbecue this summer, but are all meats equally awful? Or are there some that I can grill with a little less guilt?

The answer’s pretty much in line with what had been my assumption: the bigger the animal, the less efficient the meat.

Also, this chart (pointed to by this post) provided a less thorough answer.

#  In An Apatow World →

April 28th, 2009 at 18:35 // In Worth Distraction 

A CollegeHumor song about the loser+hottie relationship dynamics that exist within Judd Apetow-related movies.

I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

(via Vulture)

#  Birds and the Flu →

April 27th, 2009 at 19:16 // In Worth Knowing 

I know I know. Pigs! Flu! Pandemic! Mexico! Death! But this was news to me:

Birds are known to carry every single one of the 144 varieties of influenza virus, as defined by the shape of their surface proteins (ranging from the H1N1 strain to H16N9). For this reason, most scientists believe that all forms of the virus originated in birds and every flu is on some level a kind of bird flu.

UPDATE: This seems relevant, if not contradictory, to the above: Swine Flu Genes From Pigs Only. I suppose it’s partly a question of how generously you define “originated.”

#  The Five States of Texas →

April 24th, 2009 at 9:25 // In Worth Considering 

With it’s governor having mentioned secession, Nate Silver poses a more interesting scenario: what if Texas made itself into five states, as is its legal right? (A fact I hadn’t known.) I was rather surprised by the result.

#  Homemade Pantry Staples →

April 23rd, 2009 at 16:49 // In Worth Knowing 

While I think this

…so I attached no value to time.

is probably a mistake, I found Jennifer Reese’s exploration of the cost-effectiveness of making some basic foods at home quite interesting.

#  Why Are Browser Icons Round and Blue? →

April 23rd, 2009 at 10:39 // In Worth Considering 

As an IE hater, I’m a fan of the globe metaphor theory.

(via Gems Sty)

#  A Consideration of Suicide →

April 22nd, 2009 at 21:16 // In Worth Reading 

Via the Lone Gunman, a perfect example of what internet-length philosophy should look like. I wish I’d written this.

#  Earth Day 2009 →

April 22nd, 2009 at 20:38 // In Worth Seeing 

There are too many cool photos in this Big Picture set not to share it. (Also, that sentence seems incorrect, but all the alternatives felt worse.)

#  Tyler Perry →

April 21st, 2009 at 19:56 // In Worth Knowing 

I’ve never seen anything Tyler Perry’s done — I keep meaning to but not doing it — but what little I’ve seen leaves me desperately curious about what his goals are. When linking to an annoyingly superficial article I begrudgingly read — if you won’t let me see your whole article on a single page, I’ll generally not read it — MOLT said this:

Tyler Perry is simply reflecting the thinking of a lot of uneducated, working-class African-Americans.” Anecdotally, I know that sentence to be untrue, I work with plenty of educated African-Americans who love Perry, but ever since we moved to Atlanta, the center of his “empire,” I’ve been fascinated by him. His show “House of Payne” comes on 2-3 times a day here on a local affiliate and it is amazingly bad. It is quite literally the TV equivalent of a train wreck and I can’t look away. The man is a genius. He filmed 100 episodes of the show in a year, doing almost 3 a week so that he could get into syndication faster and make the real money. The cast was showing up to the set and seeing their dialogue for the first time on the day they were filming. And believe me, you can tell. Horrible acting, dreadful writing (not, mind you, horrible actors or writers, but people being asked to do the impossible) - you would think it was farce if it didn’t take itself so seriously. The man is making money hand over fist and seems to be a gaming the system to perfection.

(Can you tell I’m trying to clean out my really old tabs?)

#  Perks and Peril’s of the Writer’s Life →

April 21st, 2009 at 19:40 // In Worth Considering 

Noted for posterity: not all — perhaps even few — writers always enjoy the act of writing.

(via kottke)

#  We Didn’t Start the Flame War →

April 19th, 2009 at 14:17 // In Worth Distraction 

Profane and brilliant.

(via Mr. Sullivan)

#  Sexism and Sex Selection →

April 16th, 2009 at 14:15 // In Worth Knowing 

In discussing the results and ramifications of China’s “one-child” policy, William Saletan revealed a fact I’d not known:

The government is very aware of the problem and has openly expressed concerns about the consequences of large numbers of excess men for societal stability and security. As early as 2000 the government launched a range of policies to specifically counter the sex imbalance, the “care for girls” campaign. This includes changes in laws in areas such as inheritance by females, as well as an educational campaign to promote gender equality. These measures have had some success, with reports of lower sex ratios at birth in targeted localities.

The result appears to have been a drop in the imbalance from 124 boys per 100 girls to 119.

#  Photos of Coffins →

April 15th, 2009 at 17:44 // In Worth Seeing 

Today’s Big Picture series is something that’s been banned for 18 years. And while it’s certainly somber, I’m not sure I understand what all the hubbub was about.

#  DeepLeap →

April 15th, 2009 at 14:54 // In Worth Distraction 

I’ve been meaning to post John Resig’s still-being-developed jQuery-powered game for a while. He’s recently made some improvements, so now seems like a good time. Scrabble fans and Javascript nerds, eat your heart out.

#  Pie Chart Problems →

April 14th, 2009 at 13:12 // In Worth Knowing 

They ask us compare angles, but we tend to underestimate acute angles, overestimate obtuse angles, and take horizontally bisected angles as much larger than their vertical counterparts.

The piece’s thesis: that data visualization cannot save you, is certainly one worth taking to heart.

(via Idea of the Day)

#  What Real Estate Listings Mean →

April 13th, 2009 at 19:07 // In Worth Distraction 

While it’s hardly complete, there’s no doubt that Marco’s list of the real meaning of the advertisement’s desciption can be an aid to any apartment hunter anywhere.

#  Thoreau the Arsonist →

April 13th, 2009 at 17:57 // In Worth Reading 

I was surprised to learn that Henry David Thoreau was a pencilmaker, but this is the real meat:

On April 30, 1844, Thoreau started a blaze in the Concord Woods, scorching a 300-acre swath of earth between Fair Haven Bay and Concord. The fire was an accident, but the destruction of valuable woodland, the loss of firewood and lumber, and the narrowly avoided catastrophe that almost befell Concord itself angered the local residents and nearly ruined Thoreau’s reputation. For years afterward, Thoreau could hardly walk the streets of his hometown without hearing the epithet “woods burner.”

The portrait Pipkin paints, of an adrift and struggling writer in his mid-twenties, is an angle on Thoreau I’d never seen before.