Archive for May 2009
It’s daunting and distressing to look in the face of all the waste of the way we’re living.
I hate the very idea of such an essay, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this one.
(I know I didn’t find this myself, but I can’t remember where I got it from)
Of Commencement Speechs
It’s that time of year.
- One sentence commencement speeches. (Scroll up to see the speech Frank Warren gave at St. Mary’s.) (via Neatorama)
- Obama’s ASU commencement, the best I’ve encountered this year. (Parts 2 & 3; Text)
- Perhaps stealing a theme from the President, Timothy Noah thinks commencement speakers are generally too accomplished.
Farhed Manjoo accurately captures the latest “Google killer”:
As it kept coming up empty, Wolfram Alpha came to seem less like HAL 9000 and more like a chatbot. It’s been trained to respond to some kinds of queries, but any variations leave it stammering. It’s a savant, smart about a few things but profoundly ignorant about large swaths of human knowledge.
If you manage to input a query that’s it’s well-suited to answer, the results can be deeply interesting — a seach for “weather” and my zip code gave data I’d never seen anywhere — but it’s a very limited tool.
A great short story:
A man, unexcited by his own possessions and increasingly confused as to why he collected all these things in the first place, decides to hire someone else to live amidst his books and clothes, DVDs and framed photographs, so that he can learn how another person might more intelligently put it to use.
Ross Douthat, who to little derision or attention has started having his column published in the New York Times, has a good summary of Obama’s apparent plan for “winning” America’s culture war:
Engage on abortion, punt on gay rights.
And just to say, if the first two weeks are any indication, Douthat’s going to be a great compliment to Brooks. The two most conservative columnists at the paper are very probably the best.
That seems a little surprising. How many searches do I get if I add loading the first result? It seems likely that there’s more green information in a newspaper, but only if you’re interested in all they’re delivering to you. Which I guess in the primary argument for the web in the first place.
America’s marriage-like legal rights for gay couples are an unfortunate patchwork, but America’s legal definitions of the transgendered can feel a bit like falling down a rabbit hole:
“Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”
(via The Awl)