Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises

New York Times

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Back in 2007, when the government here announced its plan for “the world’s first zero-carbon city” on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, many Westerners dismissed it as a gimmick — a faddish follow-up to neighboring Dubai’s half-mile-high tower in the desert and archipelago of man-made islands in the shape of palm trees. Slide Show Interactive Graphic

Best Weapon Against Honor Killers: Shame

The custom of dueling ended only when it became a matter of public dishonor. How the same approach can help the brutalized women of Pakistan.
Wall Street Journal

Honor has a lot to answer for. Consider the thousand or so women in Pakistan who are murdered each year by relatives in the name of family honor. These murders are not endorsed by the state of Pakistan. They are illegal. Nor do they have the sanction of Islam. Any number of Islamic scholars, mullahs and ayatollahs have declared honor killings to be contrary to their religion.

The Farm of the Future: Harvesting the Sky

Wall Street Journal

[Interactive Graphic]

Also See:
The Farm of the Future: Harvesting the Sky

Stephen Colbert Opening Statement

The Genius of the Tinkerer

The secret to innovation is combining odds and ends, writes Steven Johnson.
Wall Street Journal

In the year following the 2004 tsunami, the Indonesian city of Meulaboh received eight neonatal incubators from international relief organizations. Several years later, when an MIT fellow named Timothy Prestero visited the local hospital, all eight were out of order, the victim of power surges and tropical humidity, along with the hospital staff's inability to read the English repair manual.

Games Official Angers India With Hygiene Comment

New York Times

NEW DELHI — Had the statement come from a non-Indian, especially a Westerner, it probably would have been angrily repudiated as an affront to Indian dignity. But the offending words came from a top Indian official trying to deflect criticism for the bureaucratic failings and lax preparations threatening the coming Commonwealth Games.

Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries

New York Times

It’s been a busy week for vegetables.

The baby-carrot industry tried to reposition its product as junk food, starting a $25 million advertising campaign whose defining characteristics include heavy metal music, a phone app and a young man in a grocery cart dodging baby-carrot bullets fired by a woman in tight jeans.

Doctrinal divide confronts Mormons on immigration

By Jeremiah Stettler
The Salt Lake Tribune

Here in Utah, the push toward tougher immigration laws has become increasingly tangled in Mormon doctrine as divided Latter-day Saints defend their politics by pointing to conflicting interpretations of what Jesus would do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Raise Boys Who Read

Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes.
Wall Street Journal

When I was a young boy, America's elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can't read.

A Wave of Addiction and Crime, with the Medicine Cabinet to Blame

New York Times

BOSTON — Police departments have collected thousands of handguns through buy-back programs in communities throughout the country. Now they want the contents of your medicine cabinet.

A Quirky Car Company, Serving Quirky Customers

New York Times

LONDON — For a certain kind of company, recessions may be beside the point.

In the office of Toby Silverton, 52, the owner of the British luxury carmaker Bristol, hangs a photograph of a smiling female customer standing next to her 30-year-old Bristol 603 car. Mr. Silverton recounts how she bought the car from him second hand about four years ago without knowing that its previous owner was Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2. Slide Show

Shweeb Monorail Technology

From the Web Site:
 In 2008 Google Inc. initiated Project 10^100 as a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. People from around the world submitted over 150,000 ideas that they wanted to bring to life. "Drive innovation in public transportation" was one of the five winning ideas, voted on by the public. Google Inc. subsequently searched the globe and selected Shweeb as the organisation with the most forward looking transportation vision and with the relevant expertise to implement such an idea. In September 2010 Google Inc. announced an investment of USD1m in SHL to assist with transit research and development.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Our Radar: Copenhagen’s Cargo Bikes

Copenhagen Cargo Bikes from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Paris Offers Water With Bubbles, but No Bottles

New York Times

PARIS — In the latest in a series of unusual efforts to make Paris green, the city is now offering residents free sparkling water to try to wean Parisians not from red wine, but from overconsumption of plastic bottles.

National Take Back Initiative

By: Jess | September 23, 2010 | Category: Health
GovGab: Your U. S. Government Blog

You know how it is. Kid #1 has a cough and a runny nose, so you pick up some cough medicine. Then Kid #2 gets a headache, so you pick up a children's strength pain killer. Then your sinuses start acting up so you pick up a decongestant. 

Expanding the Creative Horizons of Your Printer

New York Times

In many homes these days, the printer sits ignored. It gets a little bit of exercise around tax time, perhaps. But as more people rely on their cellphones for maps or use high-resolution tablet screens to read articles, they print less. Slide Show

Google New

American Indians/Alaska Natives: Key Facts About Smoking Among American Indians and Alaska Natives

American Lung Association

Smoking among American Indians and Alaska Natives at 32.4 percent is the highest by far among any racial and ethnic group, making it a problem of epidemic proportions in that community.

The Forbes 400: The Richest People in America


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Outbreaks and Their Sources

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention: infection rates
New York Times


New York Time

A Director’s Many Battles to Make Her Movie

New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Sonia Nassery Cole knew that shooting a movie on location in Afghanistan could get her killed. The most vivid reminder came a few weeks before filming, she said, when militants located her leading actress and cut off both of her feet.

Paradise Paradox: Why Life in Hawaii Leads to Early Death

By Alice Park

Most of us think of Hawaii as the perfect escape from our stressed out and fast-paced lives. Island life, after all, seems so idyllic and relaxing.

The Met's Media Message

Wall Street Journal

On a balmy Labor Day evening, the Lincoln Center plaza was packed with people watching "Carmen" on a large screen in front of the Metropolitan Opera House. The 3,300 chairs set up on the plaza had all been claimed by late afternoon; hundreds more viewers brought their own chairs, bought cushions from a shop set up near the fountain, or stood. The crowd, a mix of young and old, die-hard fans and people who had just wandered by, seemed spellbound by Carmen (Elīna Garanča) and Don José (Roberto Alagna).

How to Keep Your Cool in Angry Times

Wall Street Journal

The caller was enraged long before Beverly Smith was asked to pick up the phone. He had already yelled at her boss for an hour.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live the Part

New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — Six-year-old Mehran Rafaat is like many girls her age. She likes to be the center of attention. She is often frustrated when things do not go her way. Like her three older sisters, she is eager to discover the world outside the family’s apartment in their middle-class neighborhood of Kabul. Slide Show

Children of al-Qaeda in Iraq pay for sins of their fathers

By Leila Fadel
Washington Post

IN BAQUBAH, IRAQ Zahraa is a rambunctious toddler. She still sucks on a pacifier, and her mother dresses her in pink. But according to the government, she does not exist.

How life turned out for 7 siblings adopted together

Twenty years ago, Glen and Yvonne Lutz saw a Seattle Times feature profiling seven siblings who wanted to be adopted together. The Lutzes jumped at the chance and created an instant family. Now, the kids are grown and the parents are downsizing.
By Nancy Bartley
Seattle Times

Houses tell stories of the lives they sheltered.

So it is with a home in north Ballard, where 20 years ago a childless couple adopted seven siblings, answering the kids' nearly impossible dream that they be kept together.

The Learning Machines

New York Times

[Interactive Graphic]

Rural America at a Glance, 2010 Edition

Lorin Kusmin and Thomas Hertz, editor
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-68) 6 pp, September 2010
Economic Research Service (ERS)
U. S. Department of Agriculture

Rural America At A Glance, 2010 Edition highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. The 2010 edition focuses on the U.S. rural economy, including employment trends, poverty, and demographics.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Cookies' Cause Bitter Backlash

Spate of Lawsuits Shows User Discomfort With Latest Innovations in Online-Tracking Technology
Wall Street Journal

Tools that track users' whereabouts on the Web are facing increased regulatory and public scrutiny and prompting a flurry of legal challenges.

Why do Americans get the Constitution so wrong?

There’s no excuse for misquoting and misunderstanding the US Constitution. But public figures ranging from Nancy Pelosi to Rush Limbaugh do it all the time.
By Lion Calandra
Christian Science Monitor

Today, more than the Fourth of July, honors America’s independence.

Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry

New York Times

Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.

Fibbing With Numbers

New York Times.

Charles Seife is steaming mad about all the ways that numbers are being twisted to erode our democracy. We’re used to being lied to with words (“I am not a crook”; “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”). But numbers? They’re supposed to be cold, hard and objective. Numbers don’t lie, and they brook no argument. They’re the best kind of facts we have.

Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs

New York Times

IMAGINE you are a venture capitalist. One day a man comes to you and says, “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”