Archive for June 2009
Ross Douthat’s been on the editorial page of the New York Times for a few months, and while none of his columns have been out-of-the-park exceptional, most are rather good. Yesterday’s example:
When it comes to divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births, Americans with graduate degrees are still living in the 1950s. It’s the rest of the country that marries impulsively, divorces frequently, and bears a rising percentage of its children outside marriage. Indeed, if you’re looking for modern-day Percy Shelleys or Mary Wollstonecrafts (to pluck a pair of Nehring’s romantic risk-takers), you’re more likely to find them in Middle America than among the environmental lawyers and documentary filmmakers who populate Tsing Loh’s depressing social world.
He’s exactly what I thought he could be — a Brooksian conservative who’s not afraid to venture deep into the personal, religious, and moral weeds that Brooks himself mostly avoids.
This is interesting:
Greenland’s [increasingly independence-minded] government, using US Geological Survey data among others, says that the mean estimates for its oil reserves is about 50 billion barrels. That number is a bit abstract, so I did some math: The island has about 56,000 people, and if things go as they appear to be going, it will be an independent country some time in the next couple of decades. That means each Greenlander will own about 900,000 barrels of oil.
That is more per capita than any oil-rich country you’ve heard of. But, it’s largely unverified — no oil has been found in Greenland — and is less than a fifth of the total reserves of Saudi Arabi. If these estimates are accurate, Greenland would be between Russia and Libya, a few spots down from Kuwait, in total reserves.
You’ve probably seen some of these photos elsewhere. Others are doubtless Photoshopped or just staged for amusement. But it doesn’t stop this site from being worth a little of your time.
Perhaps hyperbolically, PC World points to a possible sign it has:
A tectonic shift has taken place for the digital age: ad rates for popular shows like The Simpsons and CSI are higher online than they are on prime-time TV. If a company wants to run ads alongside an episode of The Simpsons on Hulu or TV.com it will cost the advertiser about $60 per thousand viewers, according to Bloomberg. On prime-time TV that same ad will cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per thousand viewers.
The LA Times has an interesting Flash thing (game seems too generous): devise a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance California’s famously troubled budget. For some reason I can’t seem to devise a solution that no one would be upset about…
(via Mr. Arment)
I doubt if I will ever tire of satellite pictures of Earth on the Big Picture. Your mileage may vary.
It’s been too long since I read The Onion:
“Once you let go of the need to express your thoughts to your family, you suddenly feel much lighter,” Wilmot said. “You just float along blissfully, finally liberated from the burden of having any presence at all. It’s sort of like getting to return to the womb. Which is way more enjoyable than trying to explain to a tableful of Celine Dion fans why you can’t stand her.”
I’m pretty sure I’ll find fault with any such list that fails to include the word “marshmallow,” but Robert Beard’s is an interesting list.
(I think I also have to object to all words — especially French imports — with silent letters.)
And because I haven’t done it in over a year, any nominations?
It’s probably not perfect, but Bud Caddell’s Venn diagram (which you’re probably seen by now) is something I’ve been indirectly seeking for at least five years.
(via, among many others, Notes to Self)
The New York Times ran a story last week to warm a teetotalers heart:
No study, these critics say, has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death — only that the two often go together. It may be that moderate drinking is just something healthy people tend to do, not something that makes people healthy.
What’s most interesting about “minicows” which are apparently experiencing a “miniboom” because they’re more efficient in a feed to commercial-cut analysis, is that they’re not some new scientific breakthrough, but old technology. The “miniature” breeds that some farmers love are just the regular cows from 100 years ago.
“Feed prices were relatively cheap, and grazing lands were accessible,” Lemenager said. “The plan was to get more meat per animal. But it went way too far. The animals got too big and eat so much.”
(via Human Nature)
William Saletan, as always, makes an interesting point: why, if we’re relatively sure it’s free of the smoke and health risks of cigarettes, are the US, Australia, and and Hong Kong banning nicotine vaporizers? His answer:
We tolerated smoking until science proved it was harmful to nonsmokers. As momentum grew, the war on smoking became cultural, with disapproval and ostracism of anyone who lit up. Electronic cigarettes have removed the war’s scientific basis, but our cultural revulsion persists. Therefore, so does our prohibition and condemnation.
The Dieline has some interesting photos of old Crayola crayon packaging. I think the prominent marking of them as “school crayons” is notable.
An interesting theory: the reason ineffectual folk cures spread is that their ineffectiveness raises their visibility. So that’s why all those people take Emergen-C and Airborne…
(via Idea of the Day)
Made manifest in the number of ways we can get on and off roads that don’t slow down.
I earlier said that William Saletan is “the most serious liberal writing about [the] difficult issues” of pre-birth life. I stand by that and direct your attention to this poetically structured piece about what the murder of an abortion provider means. If you’re too lazy, here are the meatiest lines:
If a doctor in Kansas were butchering hundreds of old or disabled people, and legal authorities failed to intervene, I doubt most members of the National Right to Life Committee would stand by waiting for “educational and legislative activities” to stop him. Somebody would use force.