Archive for April 2011

#  It’s okay to not like things… →

April 30th, 2011 at 15:05 // In Worth Distraction 

Sound advice. And addictive. Literally watched it 20 times.

(via Waxy Links)

#  Charitable Arguing →

April 25th, 2011 at 15:51 // In Worth Knowing 

This is a fine point that I would have benefited from having read yesterday:

Taking a moment to hunt for an interpretation that makes an argument good — before you denounce it as a bad argument — is a nice heuristic that forestalls the tempting leap from “There exists an interpretation that makes this a bad argument, but it may not be what he had in mind,” to “This is a bad argument!” And as someone who has spent a significant fraction of his life engaged in serious (written) debates on all manner of topics, I have to say: I used to do it the first way, now I do it the second way, and there is no question about which attitude is superior.

#  Is Sugar Toxic? →

April 14th, 2011 at 19:07 // In Worth Considering 

My reaction, upon seeing this question as a headline in the New York Times Magazine, was dismissive doubt. People have called sugar “a poison” for years with scant evidence and weak arguments. Upon giving the article a thorough hearing though, I think that there’s certainly reasonable evidence to at least give the idea some thought. Consider:

If you want to cause insulin resistance in laboratory rats, says Gerald Reaven, the Stanford University diabetologist who did much of the pioneering work on the subject, feeding them diets that are mostly fructose is an easy way to do it. It’s a “very obvious, very dramatic” effect, Reaven says.

#  Bridges Sloping Down →

April 11th, 2011 at 15:59 // In Worth Distraction 

These anomalies caused by the algorithms Google uses to turn maps into pictures are surprisingly interesting and fun.

(via kottke)

EDIT (15 Dec 2013): Link changed from, as the artist’s site had changed.

#  Self-help, David Foster Wallace, and Life →

April 7th, 2011 at 19:03 // In Worth Reading 

Colin Marshall just killed it. God damned killed it. This little essay is all the things that I want essays to be. It’s that thing I’ve been droning on to myself about. God damn. I’m writing this with a mix of awe and jealousy. Seriously. Go read this thing.

#  Internal Ecology →

April 3rd, 2011 at 11:34 // In Worth Reading 

This piece from Carl Zimmer about how you’re body is like a lake is wide-ranging and massively informative (even if you already realize how many microbes live in and on you). Highly recommended.

(via The Browser)

#  The Plan in Libya →

April 2nd, 2011 at 13:49 // In Worth Knowing 

I’ve only been mildly attentive to the West’s plan in the intervention in Libya. It seems like even the attentive weren’t sure what the plan was. But David Brooks lays it out pretty clearly:

There are three plausible ways he might go, which inside the administration are sometimes known as the Three Ds. They are, in ascending order of likelihood: Defeat — the ragtag rebel army vanquishes his army on the battlefield; Departure — Qaddafi is persuaded to flee the country and move to a villa somewhere; and Defection — the people around Qaddafi decide there is no future hitching their wagon to his, and, as a result, the regime falls apart or is overthrown.

I’d heard about the defection of Musa Kusa, but I didn’t realize it had anything to do with wider strategy.

Also, if you missed it this piece from last weeks NYT Magazine is a good premier on the whys and hows of the rebel capital of Benghazi.