Saturday, April 26, 2014

I WAS asking myself the same question: Why is Kim Jong-un always surrounded by people taking notes?

Friday, April 25, 2014

A FASCINATING LOOK at the Guastavinos' architectural heritage, still visible in New York City.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

TODAY'S READ: The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VIAGRA-LACED ICE CREAM? Anyway, congratulations to whoever chose the picture…

A FEW HEADS WILL EXPLODE: Four Great Myths of the McCarthy Era.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Earth Day is a chance to take stock: What is the state of the world’s environment? Our knee-jerk reaction is that it’s getting worse. But that is not only mostly incorrect, it also prevents us from using Earth Day to help do the most good to make the environment even better.

Many think the biggest global environment problem is global warming. After all, the issue gets the lion’s share of headlines and accounts for much of the hell-in-a-hand-basket environmental news we come across. But by any reasonable measure, this is entirely wrong. The most important is in fact indoor air pollution.

One-third of the world’s people — 2.9 billion — cook and keep warm burning twigs and dung, which give off deadly fumes. This leads to strokes, heart disease and cancer, and disproportionately affects women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that it killed 4.3 million people in 2012. Add the smaller death count from outdoor pollution, and air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide.

Compare these numbers to global warming. As the new report from the UN Climate Panel concludes, “At present the worldwide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors.” Air pollution doesn’t garner the headlines afforded to global warming because it’s not nearly as sexy. It’s old-fashioned, boring, and doesn’t raise anywhere near as much money as climate change.

Global warming is a real problem, but its threat is much, much lower.

Keep reading.

BARCELONA'S disused subway stations: a pictorial essay. Forget the politicized tone (do people really have to politicize everything?): the post is fantastic anyway.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BRACE YOURSELVES: China Property Collapse Has Begun.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NO, France Did Not Make It Illegal To Answer Work Emails After 6 P.M.

YOU BET: “Alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates and sweets - The secrets of a long life?

However, some of the examples given of people who quit those habits at a very advanced age and then suddenly died doesn't mean that those habits were protecting them from dying, mind you. They were of a very advanced age and —excuse the bluntness— their time had come anyway,. But the article's underlying thesis is still valid: that those things are not as bad as told (plus drinking might even be doing you good, if at moderate dosage).

In any case, booze, cigs and chocolate perhaps don't increase your life, but they certainly make it more pleasant. Even if they shortened it a bit… what's the point of living longer if you can't have fun?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

JON LOVETT'S piece on 'the culture of shut up' is a must-read:
I don’t want those voices to drown out the diverse and compelling voices that now have a better chance of making it in front of us than ever before—even as we still have a ways to go. And what I think we have to do, then, to protect this new wonderful thing of ‘a good idea can come from anyone anywhere’—is we need to stop telling each other to shut up. We need to get comfortable with the reality that no one is going to shut up. You aren’t going to shut up. I’m not going to shut up. The idiots aren’t going to shut up.

We need to learn to live with the noise and tolerate the noise even when the noise is stupid, even when the noise is offensive, even when the noise is at times dangerous. Because no matter how noble the intent, it’s a demand for conformity that encourages people on all sides of a debate to police each other instead of argue and convince each other. And, ultimately, the cycle of attack and apology, of disagreement and boycott, will leave us with fewer and fewer people talking more and more about less and less.
Read the rest.

EXODUS: The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs.

FANTASTIC: 30,000 Historic Photos of NYC Added to Online Archive.

The gallery in full is here.

UGH: Critical crypto bug in OpenSSL opens two-thirds of the Web to eavesdropping; Exploits allow attackers to obtain private keys used to decrypt sensitive data.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

AT THE ECONOMIST, a great review of Michael Lewis' latest book, Flash Boys.

FASCINATING: During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union.

GREAT PICTURES: What Richmond Looked Like After Confederate Troops Set it on Fire.

Monday, April 07, 2014

WHAT MUSIC does to our brains.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

THE ECONOMIST explains why homeopathy is nonsense.

Friday, April 04, 2014

SMART GUY: Long Island Teen Gets is Accepted into All Eight Ivy League Schools.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

IF A PRO-LIFE POLITICIAN turned out to be running an abortion clinic it would get much more media attention than this: The Unbelievable Story Of How An Anti-Gun Politician Ended Up Arrested For Alleged International Arms Dealing.

HOPE THE I.R.S. doesn't read this or that'll give them an idea: “Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents”.