March 6, 2014 Leave a comment
Loved this video of what languages sound like to foreigners. Once this young woman speaks in English, you realize just what she’s up to in all ther other languages and it’s pretty awesome.
Politics, parenting, science, education, and pretty much anything I find interesting
March 2, 2014 Leave a comment
I listened to a TED talk on the subject of the massive and positive environmental impact of re-introducing a top predator, i.e., the wolf in yellowstone. I was excited to watch and see some amazing visuals of how the landscape was transformed. Alas, all it was was a guy speaking. So disappointing. Thus, it was awesome to come across this video of how Yellowstone has been transformed by a trophic cascade. Awesome stuff and less than five minutes. Watch it. Really.
March 1, 2014 Leave a comment
Loved this essay from Pamela Druckerman. This is definitely my favorite bit:
There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
Honestly, that was one of the biggest revelations to me as a grown-up. Also, the realization, that some people never really do grow up (or at least fail to handle life with any semblance of mature confidence).
This is good, too:
There are no soul mates. Not in the traditional sense, at least. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”) In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time.
You will miss out on some near soul mates. This goes for friendships, too. There will be unforgettable people with whom you have shared an excellent evening or a few days. Now they live in Hong Kong, and you will never see them again. That’s just how life is.
The whole thing is quite good. Or at least strikes me so at the age of 42.
March 1, 2014 1 Comment
1) Saletan on the pro-choice case for infanticide. Or at least for making us wrestle more fully with the morality and philosophy of the issue.
2) Yes, Whole Foods is America’s temple to pseudoscience and making liberals, therefore, look bad.
3) Alec Baldwin (who, by the way, I love) on why he is saying goodbye to public life.
4) The Republican talent gap on political campaigns.
5) A collection of sad faces from silver medalists. Pretty irresistible.
6) Love this “how to take a shower with a gay athlete.”
7) Chipotle will soon be offering a vegan burrito based on shredded soy. If you’ve been following my occasional musing about meat, you know I’m excited about this. I optimistic that it will be tasty enough that I will, sometimes, replace it for my usual carnitas.
8) How to get fit in a few minutes a week. High-intensity interval training is awesome. But even more awesome if you don’t do it every day.
9) Ads in the science magazine Omni from the 1980′s. Loved these.
10) The real IRS scandal.
11) John Dickerson on the dangers of trying to “be real” for politicians. Great line:
The most wonderful version of this is the Nixon administration effort to humanize their boss. He met small groups of reporters for cocktails and tried to peddle amusing stories to make them think he was not such a cold fish. He didn’t succeed, because he was a cold fish.
12) Great Businessweek piece on the academic/athletic scandal at UNC. The part that always kills me about this is that just because there were some non-athletes in fake classes (who’s enrollment was disproportionately athletes) the UNC administration has the gall to insist this is not an athletics scandal. Sure, as a Duke grad and NC State employee, I’m supposed to hate UNC. I don’t. It’s a great university that usually reflects very well on our state. I hate to see them ruining that.
13) Ivy League schools very narrow view of increasing economic diversity.
14) I was vaguely aware that big stuff was happening in Venezuela. Nice piece in the Atlantic explains what’s really going on (was especially fascinated by the role of Cuba).
15) Teenager blows families $80,000 settlement because she blew the confidentiality agreement by posting about the settlement on facebook.
16) Love this– former Pizza Huts re-purposed (I can think of several in Cary and Raleigh).
February 28, 2014 Leave a comment
It’s kind of amazing all that’s being written by current Jeopardy champion, Arthur Chu, just because he jumps around the board a lot in search of daily doubles, instead of simply going category by category. It’s not like he’s the first player to do this. I’ve watched several of Chu’s games. Here’s why he wins: he knows more answers than his competitors and he’s faster on the buzzer. He could go category by category like most everybody else and he’d still be kicking butt and probably earning almost as much as money. Anyway, when the Post assigns somebody to write a story about Jeopardy, just perhaps, they should assign a reporter who actually knows how the game works– or has at least watched an episode. I suspect there’s many. Instead we get this idiocy:
Most unforgivably to many, Chu tries to squeeze in the most questions per round by pounding the bejesus out of his buzzer and interrupting Alex Trebek. This is Alex Trebek, North American icon (he’s Canadian), we’re talking about here.
No, no, no!! How did this get published?! Nobody interrupts Alex Trebek. If you hit the buzzer before he’s done reading the question, you are actually frozen out from having the opportunity to answer for a second or so. Half the battle to winning Jeopardy is timing. Lots of times all the contestants know the questions and the key is to buzz in first once Trebek is done readking and you are allowed to buzz. In fact, Chu is really good at this. It’s a big part of why he’s racking up his big wins. Anyway, I suppose it is only a style section blog post, ultimately (though it was on the front of Wasthingtonpost.com, which implies some sort of endorsement), but still it is just pathetic to get the story so wrong.
February 27, 2014 1 Comment
Maybe I need to create a new blog category “pizza.” Anyway, loved this Planet Money post on the economics of ordering pizza. Through a systematic examination, they determined what I long ago figured out anecodtally. The bigger size is almost always a better deal. In fact, I’ve been known to do more than a few pi r squared calculations in my head when ordering pizza. Planet Money:
(If you click on the graph, it’s interactive)
The math of why bigger pizzas are such a good deal is simple: A pizza is a circle, and the area of a circle increases with the square of the radius.So, for example, a 16-inch pizza is actually four times as big as an 8-inch pizza.
And when you look at thousands of pizza prices from around the U.S., you see that you almost always get a much, much better deal when you buy a bigger pizza.
As I told my friend who sent me the link, the best part is that not only do you save money, but more pizza = more pizza.
February 25, 2014 1 Comment
Okay, so this is just super awesome. I’m really going to have to work “supergeil” into my conversations. Learn more here.
Oh, and since you probably don’t know German, this is an ad for a German grocery store chain. Oh, it’s also interesting to see which English words have been adopted wholesale into German. E.g., “super-easy” ”super-lifestyle” etc.
February 16, 2014 Leave a comment
Like, I said, lots of quick hits to catch up on. Here’s more.
1) We really need good local reporters to inform the public on things like the horrible chemical spill in West Virginia and the under-reported (nationally, fine job locally) coal ash spill in NC. Here’s a great Fresh Air interview with a Charleston, WV reporter.
2) Yes, we do have modern debtors prisons.
3) Really enjoyed this George Clooney story. After Batman, he realized that the key is the script.
4) Would you lie for me? Probably.
5) I didn’t realize it is so controversial to not just go down the category in Jeopardy. It is.
6) Police officers shoot way too many dogs when they don’t need to. Would it hurt to have a little training? We do it for postal carriers.
7) You’re not doing your kid any favors by doing all their homework for them and making sure they never fail. Personally, I feel like David’s F in English last quarter of 7th grade has helped him perform much better in 8th grade due to his own motivation.
8) Fox News really has a thing for blonde females. Nice visual.
9) Educated people marrying each other (like my marriage, and probably yours) is responsible for increasing inequality by 25%.
10) Kevin Drum on publication bias. The fact that all the null results are never published really is a problem. I’ll confess that I’ve got some published articles that I’m not all that confident of the robustness of the findings. But p<.05 damnit.
11) Testosterone decreases naturally with age. And there’s no scientifically-established “normal” level at each age. Sounds like a great opportunity to convince tens of thousands of men they’ve got “low T” and sell billions in pharmaceuticals. Welcome to modern medicine.
February 15, 2014 Leave a comment
1) Okay, I know not everybody here is going to be interested in figure skating, but I love watching it and have really been wondering if we’ve been reaching the limits of human physical ability on the ice. Loved this Deadspin piece that examines exactly that question while taking a fascinating look at the history of the sport.
2) CT scans cause cancer. This is not news. We’ve known this. Great Op-Ed in the NYT looking at the trade-offs and how we think about medical imaging.
3) How racism explains the traffic nightmare in Atlanta’s recent snowmageddon.
4) On how to improve pedestrian safety. Jaywalking tickets are not the answer. I jaywalk practically every day at work when I cross the street for lunch.
6) In case you were confused on the matter, Amanda Knox is innocent.
7) Cryptography breakthrough could lead to software that cannot be hacked.
8) On being naked around other men. Always thought the idea that women should have modesty/privacy around other women, but men should not around other men, was absurd. I avoided the issue until I started using the gym at graduate school at Ohio State. Now I’m pretty damn used to it. Still, I appreciated those private shower stalls at Texas Tech.
9) What’s inside a chicken McNugget.
11) Not to wade into the Woody Allen child molestation thing, but I found this really interesting.
There’s more, since I never got to them last week, but I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.
February 14, 2014 Leave a comment
I would probably eat pizza pretty much every day if I could. As it is, I probably eat it 4-5 times per week. My oldest son would happily have it for every meal but breakfast. He’s quite proud of his personal run (twice achieved) of pizza for dinner seven straight nights. Pizza gets a bad wrap as unhealthy. It’s admittedly not a chicken breast salad, but you could do a lot worse. Anyway, loved this Atlantic post on American pizza consumption by the numbers. Here’s the graph of pizza consumption by age:
I guess you could just say I never stopped consuming pizza like a teenager. Finally, I know I’ve mentioned the Greene family picky eating before. Perhaps the worst part is Evan’s complete aversion to pizza. Not only will he not eat it, he hates to be around it. If there’s one thing I could change about Evan’s picky eating, it would be pizza. (He’s 8, I’ve got a few years). If we had success there, that would make two whole non-dessert meals the whole Greene family can eat. If you are wondering on the first, I’ll mention that I celebrated my recent 42nd birthday at IHOP.
And, yes, I will be having pizza for lunch soon.