Saturday, January 15, 2011

An ex-Weather Underground radical on the Tucson shootings and political violence

By Mark Rudd
Washington Post

In 1970, when I was 22 years old - the same age as Jared Loughner - I was a founder of the Weather Underground, an offshoot of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society. That spring, a small contingent of the Weathermen, as we were known, planned to plant three pipe bombs at a noncommissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix, N.J. Our intention was to remind our fellow Americans that our country was dropping napalm and other explosives on Vietnam, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. I wasn't among the bombmakers, but I knew what was in the offing, and to my eternal shame, I didn't try to stop it.

Faith on the Hill

The Religious Composition of the 112th Congress
ANALYSIS January 5, 2011
PEW Research Center

Many analysts described the November 2010 midterm elections as a sea change, with Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate. But this political overhaul appears to have had little effect on the religious composition of Congress, which is similar to the religious makeup of the previous Congress and of the nation, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Did Your Horoscope Predict This?

New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Astrologers, not surprisingly, say they knew this would happen.
Enlarge This Image

But that didn’t stop a furious response among horoscope fans on Friday, as news shot around cyberspace — and, no doubt, outer space — that the world’s zodiac signs might somehow be out of whack, a development with potentially life-changing impact on professional and personal relationships, pickup lines in singles’ bars and, presumably, the day-to-day schedule of the former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Is this what airliners could look like in 2025?

NASA recently awarded contracts to three teams to study concepts for more-efficient airliners that could enter service by 2025. Now, they have artist conceptions of what these aircraft might look like.

The designs come from teams led, respectively, by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Cheaper Textbooks: 2nd Edition

New York Times

With the start of a new semester comes another giant textbook bill.

But instead of heading straight to the campus bookstore, where the books often have the highest price tags, students can now tap a long list of Web sites that aim to make comparative shopping easier. There are so many options, however, that the whole process can begin to feel like the semester’s first major research project.

Mass Killings Aren't the Real Gun Problem

Wall Street Journal

Mass killings make for lurid news coverage—and human tragedy—but they aren't the real problem when it comes to gun violence. We can't hope to stop utterly unique crimes, and crimes that unfold in bizarre ways are rarely repeated. Sensible gun-control policies have to respond to the kinds of crime that occur relatively frequently, in familiar patterns of behavior. The more narrowly we try to tailor policies to atypical crimes like mass shootings, the less likely they are to save lives.

Stepping Into the Sole of Luxury

From Oxford brogues to Derby loafers, English shoemakers still lead the way in bespoke footwear
Wall Street Journal

Tony Gaziano loves shoes. Which is a good thing, since he has spent his entire career making them—first, in the Northampton, England, workshops of Edward Green, before moving on to learn the art of handmade shoes at neighbors George Cleverley & Co., and finally setting up his own bespoke and made-to-measure shoe business in Kettering, with his partner Dean Girling.

Tree of Failure

New York Times

President Obama gave a wonderful speech in Tucson on Wednesday night. He didn’t try to explain the rampage that occurred there. Instead, he used the occasion as a national Sabbath — as a chance to step out of the torrent of events and reflect. He did it with an uplifting spirit. He not only expressed the country’s sense of loss but also celebrated the lives of the victims and the possibility for renewal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free Phone Calls

By David Pogue
New York Times

Look, you might have a problem with advertising. But face it: Ads pay for your free TV, free radio and free Web sites.

So I’ve always found it weird that ads can’t pay for free phone calls.

Preventing Heat From Sneaking Out of the House

By BOB TEDESCHI\New York Times

LITTLE known fact: your house breathes.

A typical home is supposed to exhale about 33 percent of its air every hour, sparing your lungs from mold, dust and other tiny invaders.

My house doesn’t breathe. It hyperventilates. [Graphic]

The Housing Slump Has Salem On a Witch Hunt Again

Buyers Worried About Bad Vibes From Foreclosed Homes Seek a Cleansing

SALEM, Mass.—There's a certain look and feel to a foreclosed home, and 31 Arbella St. has it: fraying carpet, missing appliances, foam insulation poking through cracked walls. [Slide Show]

Spread of Deadly Virus Tied to Forest Decline

New York Times

Around 2004, large numbers of aspens in the West began dying off, and with no immediately identifiable cause, scientists dubbed the phenomenon “sudden aspen decline.” Ultimately the die-back was pinned on a severe 2002 drought and heat wave that left aspens vulnerable to pests, cankers and fungi.

Now, a new study suggests that the decline of the West’s aspens is not just marring the landscape, but also helping to spread a strain of hantavirus fatal to humans.

10 foods that can help you sleep better tonight

Indianapolis Star

If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, take a look at your diet.

Eating certain foods a few hours before bed, can help bring sleep better and improve its quality.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is Marriage?

Girgis, Sherif, George, Robert and Anderson, Ryan T., What is Marriage?. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 245-287, Winter 2010. Available at SSRN:

In the article, we argue that as a moral reality, marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together, and renewed by acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction. We further argue that there are decisive principled as well as prudential reasons for the state to enshrine this understanding of marriage in its positive law, and to resist the call to recognize as marriages the sexual unions of same-sex partners.

Besides making this positive argument for our position and raising several objections to the view that same-sex unions should be recognized, we address what we consider the strongest philosophical objections to our view of the nature of marriage, as well as more pragmatic concerns about the point or consequences of implementing it as a policy.

Internet 2010 in numbers

Royal Pingdom

What happened with the Internet in 2010?
How many websites were added? How many emails were sent? How many Internet users were there? This post will answer all of those questions and many, many more. If it’s stats you want, you’ve come to the right place.
We used a wide variety of sources from around the Web to put this post together. You can find the full list of source references at the bottom of the post if you’re interested. We here at Pingdom also did some additional calculations to get you even more numbers to chew on.
Prepare for a good kind of information overload. 

How the Microplane Grater Escaped the Garage

New York Times

“YOU mean it’s only going to be used in the kitchen?”

Eek! A Male!

Treating all men as potential predators doesn't make our kids safer.
Wall Street Journal

Last week, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Timothy Murray, noticed smoke coming out of a minivan in his hometown of Worcester. He raced over and pulled out two small children, moments before the van's tire exploded into flames. At which point, according to the AP account, the kids' grandmother, who had been driving, nearly punched our hero in the face.


Mr. Murray said she told him she thought he might be a kidnapper.

When hackers' talents are used to help

New tools ease the work of emergency managers.
By Pete Spotts
Christian Science Monitor

Craig Fugate, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, had a potentially lifesaving item on his wish list: a tool people in a disaster-hit area could use to tell friends and relatives that they are OK without swamping cellphone-service capacity needed for emergency crews.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For College Students, Praise May Trump Sex and Money

Movement to make everyone a winner created 'damaging' sense of entitlement, research suggests.
By Maureen Salamon

TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- After a lifetime of being told that they're "winners" who are "special," today's young people crave these boosts to their self-esteem more than sex, drinking, money or food, new research suggests.

Swine flu survivors developed super flu antibodies

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - A study of antibodies from people infected with H1N1 swine flu adds proof that scientists are closing in on a "universal" flu shot that could neutralize many types of flu strains, including H1N1 swine flu and H5N1 bird flu, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

Crossed-eyed opossum becomes German media star


A cross-eyed opossum called Heidi, who is being housed in Leipzig Zoo, has become a media sensation in Germany.

Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch public database of complaints

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post

The federal government is poised for the first time to make public thousands of complaints it receives each year about safety problems with various products, from power tools to piggy banks.

Arizona's Sheriff Dupnik and the 'vitriol' debate: Do words matter that much?

Yes, they do. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is being criticized for his comments linking Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others to antigovernment vitriol. But he's right: The words we use carry great power to shape how we respond to others.
By Deborah Tannen
Christian Science Monitor

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was eloquent in linking Saturday’s devastating shooting to “the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government.” Some will applaud his articulating an obvious pathology of our times. Others will attribute the shooting to an individual’s unbalanced mind, and dismiss the notion that language – “just words” – could motivate such action. Years ago I experienced directly the power of talk to shape how people respond to others – with animosity and belligerence, or with compassion and a sense of connection.

Your BlackBerry or Your Wife

When the Whole Family Is Staring at Screens, Time to Try a Tech Detox
Wall Street Journal

When you're out to dinner, does your BlackBerry occupy a seat at the table? Does your spouse ever check email before saying "good morning" to the kids? Does your son sleep with his laptop?

It may be time for a technology cleanse.

The Politicized Mind

New York Times

Before he allegedly went off on his shooting rampage in Tucson, Jared Loughner listed some of his favorite books on his YouTube page. These included: “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Through the Looking Glass” and “The Communist Manifesto.” Many of these books share a common theme: individuals trying to control their own thoughts and government or some other force trying to take that control away.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maker of Foot Measurer Tries to Stop Other Shoe From Dropping—On It

Iconic Brannock Device Hangs On By Its Toes Against Foreign-Made Rivals
Wall Street Journal

LIVERPOOL, N.Y.—Many have tried, but no one has ever come up with a more elegantly simple way to measure the human foot than Charles Brannock, inventor of that ubiquitous metal gadget found in shoe stores and known, fittingly, as the Brannock device.

Giffords shooting: What the Civil War can teach us about political restraint

The past year in US politics has been full of more alienation and polarization than at any time since 1861, all of it now capped off in the Arizona shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. As in 1861, today's divide has opened up over a single deep question. But this fundamental collision of values doesn't mean violence is inevitable.
By Allen C. Guelzo
Christian Science Monitor

Gettysburg, Pa.

One hundred and fifty years ago, American passions over politics blew off the lids we usually keep in place on our political debates and turned a war of words into a war of arms. By its end, the US Civil War had taken the lives of 620,000 Americans – the population equivalent of 6 million today. And despite the emancipation of more than 3 million slaves, the war ended up replacing slavery with a century's worth of racist Jim Crow laws.

BBB Lists Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Arlington, VA - The Better Business Bureau today released a list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2010. Job hunters and those struggling to make money and get out of debt were common targets of fraudsters, hackers and deceptive businesses in this tough economy.

Is Law School a Losing Game?

New York Times

IF there is ever a class in how to remain calm while trapped beneath $250,000 in loans, Michael Wallerstein ought to teach it.

National Clandestine Laboratory Register

U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Pick 5 for the Environment

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Pick 5 International!Being an environmentalist means different things in different places, but it begins by taking the simple steps where you live. By choosing five or more of these actions and sharing your stories, you are joining thousands of others who are doing the same. Together we can make the biggest difference. Get started today!

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