Books are notes from the field, bound and domesticated, life brought into narrow...– Joshua Ferris, writing against culling your book collection.
In which I grudgingly admit liking something...
I was lured in by the promise of Bill Simmons and Malcom Gladwell trading words about basketball, and stumbled on something very interesting brought up by Malcolm Gladwell: What we’re talking about is what are called capitalization rates, which refers to how efficiently any group makes use of its talent. So, for example, sub-Saharan Africa is radically undercapitalized when it comes to,...
Why Goldman could go short mortgages →
Felix Salmon is one of the best financial writers out there, and here’s a great example of him explaining why Goldman Sachs came out as a big winner in the mortgage meltdown by (possibly accidental) betting against the market. It’s a strange skill to combine technical breakdowns with lucid storytelling, but Felix Salmon has it.
At which point she shoved me off the bed.
GF: Tell me a bedtime story.
Me: Ok, let me think of one...
Me: There once was a lovely lady, who had three very lovely girls-
GF: Wait, is this the Brady Bunch?
Me: The youngest one had curls.
First two things I did after my thirteen-hour...
Pissed Brushed my teeth Tasting your McDonalds breakfast for 300+ miles is some strange kind of hell.
The new Iron Man 2 trailer →
looks like the same wink-to-the-camera fun of the first one.
The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th century England may sound odd, but...– Annette Savitch - a producer of the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” film adaptation - with the best bit of marketing-speak I’ve ever read. Variety has more.
The Muppets Christmas Carol is probably my favorite adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story, but Aqua Teen Hunger Force is my favorite crazy adaptation.
Assume there is a screening test for a certain cancer that is 95 percent...– John Allen Paulos, droppin’ some math in the NY Times about evidence-based medicine and the downsides of over-testing. The article has the full explanation of the numbers, and how his thought-experiment relates to the recent recommendation to not start regular mammograms until the age of 50...
Fred: The Movie” follows the character as he tries to track down Judy. Along the...– Brooks Barnes of the NY Times writing about an upcoming film adaptation of an awful web series. You don’t see it very often, but occasionally a writer for the NY Times will let their disdain leak into the writing and it’s a wonderful thing.
NYTimes discovers Lapham's Quarterly →
Glad to see that more people are discovering Lapham’s, a wonderful anecdote to the recency-obsessed internet. There’s also a great picture of Lewis Lapham’s office, which is even more booktacular than I imagined.
Wolfram|Alpha now shows steps to solve an equation →
Supposedly aimed at making Google obsolete in the far-future, their main accomplishment so far has been making math homework obsolete in the present.
Atomic testing began showing a darker face in the mid-1950s, when physicist...– Before the Storm by Rick Perlstein, page 231-232 paperback edition. One of the best aspects of Perlstein’s writing in Before the Storm is the way that he paints a picture of United States culture at the time, evoking horrors and concerns that we take for granted today. This is just one...
In a series of studies, Mr. [Henry] Molaison soon altered forever the...– The NY Times, reporting that scientists are about to map the brain of H.M., the clinical case that inspired the film Memento. H.M., now known as Henry Molaison, had brain surgery in the ’50s that accidentally removed the region needed to form new memories. Interestingly enough, the article...
3-Car Bronx Crash Kills Woman and Leaves Tom... →
Shortly afterwards, writers for The Onion jumped into their newly-invented time machine to produce the definitive parody… two weeks in the PAST.
Two Paths for the Novel, by Zadie Smith →
This, one of the essays collected in Changing my Mind, is still available on the New York Review of Books website. It examines and critiques differences between the books Netherland and The Remainder, the former an exemplar of lyrical realism and the latter something else entirely. Zadie firmly comes down on the side of the latter, even as she admits the difficulty capturing its enjoyable...
A Serious Man (2009) →
So I wrote something for Filmosophy again, this time trying to pin down the strange feeling I got watching A Serious Man. The whole exercise felt like giving a name to the unnameable, but I gave it a go.
Fun Riddle →
Imagine you have a piece of string long enough to stretch around the earth (40,074 km or 4,007,400,000 cm). Then you take an extra meter of string and add it to the string around the Earth. Now you spread this extra string around the Earth, supporting it somehow, so that the string forms a circle off the ground. How high off the ground would the string be? The answer and...
I am now upon a painful chapter. No doubt the parrot once belonged to Robinson...– Robert Louis Stevenson, writing about a bout of inadvertent plagiarism (aka. cryptomnesia) in Treasure Island that he realized years later. If you have time, the whole Wikipedia entry on cryptomnesia is worthwhile. It’s where I drew this quote from, and includes a number of other literary...