Monthly Archives: May 2004

Goin’ to Europe

For the next two weeks, I’m going to be an ugly American tourist in Europe. Not the type that is angry because the Venetians can’t give me directions to the nearest McDonald’s in English — just the type that isn’t … Continue reading

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Are men chauvinist pigs?

I’m starting research for a new book about marriage and family. I’ll be writing here about my research, so you’ll start to see a lot more posts on marriage. In fact, I’ve created an entire new category, “marriage,” to distinguish … Continue reading

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My brother, the artist

This is a sculpture my stepbrother, Mark Hedden, gave to us about five years ago. Ever since we were children, Mark has always been creating things, from the World’s Longest Lego Car he built in our bedroom when I was … Continue reading

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Charity begins with “me”

How does a “charitable” organization start? A few years ago, I used to write newsletters for apartment complexes. All the apartment managers told me that I should really join the local apartment association, a non-profit organization apparently devoted to the … Continue reading

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Is opera dying?

Yesterday I saw perhaps the best performance I’ve ever witnessed in an opera: Sumi Jo’s Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. The audience gave her a massive ovation after each aria, and lept to their feet at the end of … Continue reading

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Should NPR trash its fundraisers?

John Shirley’s on a rant about public broadcasting fundraisers: Anyway, there has to be a better way for NPR and KQED and the like to raise money than BADGERING people, and adopting that chummy, we’re all pals tone, hectoring, ever-so-pleasantly … Continue reading

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Computer-graded essays

Slashdot pointed me to this New York Times article about computerized grading of student essays. Apparently, every high school junior in the state of Indiana is now required to take an essay test that is graded by a computer. With … Continue reading

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The Wal-Martization of wine?

I don’t know a whole lot about wine, but I do drink a whole lot of it. Now one of the world’s biggest wine producers is looking to get a whole lot bigger. It’s already a bit startling to head … Continue reading

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A potpourri of links

I don’t feel much like writing today, but here are some interesting links I found: Eye-contact detector Gwynneth Paltrow names her new baby “Apple” What “Squiggy” is up to these days Don’t blame Rummy, blame Bush Enjoy!

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If you can read this, who showed you how?

A friend of mine sent me a tactful e-mail the other day offering some basic design critique about this site. She pointed out that someone with impaired vision might have difficulty reading the menu items in the site’s sidebar because … Continue reading

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A moment for the surreal

I was doing a routine morning flyby of CNN when this juxtaposition caught my eye. Now, I prefer not to watch video of beheadings, but when the apparent victim is this perky, I’m frankly intrigued. CNN’s coverage of the beheading … Continue reading

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Is copying bad for you?

Cory Doctorow is up in arms about MPAA VP Fritz Attaway’s assertion that it is “against consumers’ interests to permit devices that make backup copies.” Meanwhile, over at Educated Guesswork, they’re arguing that limiting consumers’ rights can be in their … Continue reading

Posted in General, Technology | 9 Comments

A new way to distribute books?

The news a couple weeks ago about the release of Sony’s new ebook reader has aroused only a touch of speculation. Instead of focusing, like I did, on how the technology will transform publishing (if it has any effect at … Continue reading

Posted in General, Technology | 5 Comments

Bush promotes new U.S. export to Middle East

U.S. President George Bush appeared on Arab television yesterday to announce an exciting new American product. “It’s important for the people of Iraq to know that in a democracy, everything is not perfect, that mistakes are made,” the President noted, … Continue reading

Posted in General, Satire | 2 Comments

PDAs immortalized

As soon as you think you’ve seen everything, you find this. It’s the PDA section of the Computer Museum. It’s not as exhaustive as the previously mentioned Boom Box Museum, but it’s a great example of how quickly “cool” becomes … Continue reading

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The (insert epithet here) of TiVo

“TiVo will change your life.” That’s the pitch delivered by TiVo zealots at water coolers everywhere, and it’s hard to argue with. Never watch commercials, never miss your favorite shows. And it’s true — you won’t miss them. What they … Continue reading

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Prisoners’ TV habits

It’s only common sense that it’s easier to maintain control over prisoners by giving them perks for good behavior rather than punishment for bad behavior. That’s why a story like this one, about the flat-screen TV program in an Oregon … Continue reading

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Couldn’t have said it better myself

Best satire yet on U.S. atrocities in Iraq (via Boing Boing). This is just spot on. It makes me want to cry.

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