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Archive for the 'Other News' Category

The Moral Crusade Against Foodies

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Gluttony, Vanity or Art? In which way you have it, provocative.


Risk: The Story of America’s Greatest Idea

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Slate’s stud political correspondent, John Dickerson, presents this five-part series on risk. I enjoyed following this piece. You might also.

Why is the modern view of progress so impoverished?

Friday, January 1st, 2010

In the rich world the idea of progress has become impoverished. Through complacency and bitter experience, the scope of progress has narrowed. The popular view is that, although technology and GDP advance, morals and society are treading water or, depending on your choice of newspaper, sinking back into decadence and barbarism. On the left of politics these days, “progress” comes with a pair of ironic quotation marks attached; on the right, “progressive” is a term of abuse.

The Economist’s nuanced view of modern progress

Michael Pollan On Cooking As A Spectator Sport

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

The Food Network draws more viewers than any of the cable news channels, but Americans are actually cooking less than ever.

Michael Pollan’s Out of the Kitchen in The New York Times Magazine explores America’s obsession with cooking as a spectator sport — and why the rise of cooking shows has coincided with the rise of fast food and prepackaged meals.

As Pollan points out, the time it takes the average American to prepare dinner has dropped to less than half the amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Top Chef.

Truly terrifying data about the real state of the U.S. economy

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I have an unfortunate sense that the “green shoots” in the economy that everyone is talking about are nothing but dandelions. Sure, forcing $1 trillion of taxpayer money—in direct capital, guarantees, and diminished cost of borrowing—into the banking sector has permitted the major banks to claim solvency for the moment. Yet we should not forget that this solvency has come not through a much needed deleveraging of the banking sector but rather from a massive transfer of the obligations of private banks to the public, with the debt accruing to future generations. And overall loan quality at U.S. banks is still the worst in 25 years and deteriorating at the fastest pace ever.

It’s a terrible mistake to confuse the momentary solvency of the financial sector and the long-term health of our economy.

While we have addressed the credit collapse, we have not begun to tackle the far more daunting, and more significant, structural problems in the economy. Instead of focusing on the green shoots, let’s examine the macro data that will determine our national prosperity in the next generation. These data are terrifying.

Be scared by Spitzer

How David Beats Goliath

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

A Gladwellian tale worth reading

David Simon testifying about the future of Newspapers

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
David Simon testifying about the future of Newspapers

What the Hell Just Happened? A Look Back at the Last Eight Years

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As we move into the next era of American history, we need to reflect on the bizarre sequence of events we’ve experienced since 2000, and on how we – and not just George W. Bush – handled them.

More form Junod at Esquire

The SAT and Its Enemies: Fear and loathing in college admissions

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

One Saturday morning this month, a quarter million kids or more will slump their way into the fluorescent tomb of a high school classroom, slide into the seat of a flimsy polypropylene combo chair-desk, and then, with clammy palms dampening the shafts of perfectly sharpened number two pencils, they will take the SAT. They will carefully mark only one answer for each question, as instructed, and they will make sure to fill the entire circle darkly and completely. They will not make any stray marks on their answer sheet. If they erase, they will do so completely, because incomplete erasures may be scored as intended answers. They will not open their test book until the supervisor tells them to do so, and if they finish before time is called, they will not turn to any other section of the test. And over the next three hours they will determine the course of the rest of their lives.

At least that’s what a lot of them will think they’re doing. They’ll be wrong, of course–dozens of people have gone on to live happy and healthy lives after bombing the SAT–but they won’t know it because an oddly large number of powerful forces in American society have combined to elevate the SAT to unlikely heights of influence and to impute to it unimaginable powers. You’ll hear the SAT can wreck a person’s future, even if only temporarily, or salvage a new future from a misspent past. The SAT can enforce class hierarchies or break them open; it unfairly allocates society’s spoils and sorts the population into haves and have-nots, or it can unearth intellectual gifts that our nation’s atrocious high schools have managed to keep buried. It is a tool of understanding, a cynical hoax, a triumph of social science, a jackboot on the neck of the disadvantaged. But rarely is it just a test.

Read this brilliant history of the evolution of the SAT and how we view it

The End of White America?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Whether you describe it as the dawning of a post-racial age or just the end of white America, we’re approaching a profound demographic tipping point. According to an August 2008 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, those groups currently categorized as racial minorities-blacks and Hispanics, East Asians and South Asians-will account for a majority of the U.S. population by the year 2042. Among Americans under the age of 18, this shift is projected to take place in 2023, which means that every child born in the United States from here on out will belong to the first post-white generation.

A superb editorial from Harper’s