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Being "always on" is being always off, to something.

Pre-Columbian geometric earthworks in the upper Purus: a complex society in western Amazonia
Topic: Science 8:01 am EST, Jan 21, 2010

David Grann:

In cleared-away areas of the upper Amazon basin, researchers, using satellite imagery, have recently pinpointed a vast network of monumental earthworks, including geometrically aligned roads and structures, constructed by a hitherto unknown civilization.

Martti Paerssinen, Denise Schaan, and Alceu Ranzi:

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. The combination of land cleared of its rainforest for grazing and satellite survey have revealed a sophisticated pre-Columbian monument-building society in the upper Amazon Basin on the east side of the Andes. This hitherto unknown people constructed earthworks of precise geometric plan connected by straight orthogonal roads. Introducing us to this new civilisation, the authors show that the 'geoglyph culture' stretches over a region more than 250km across, and exploits both the floodplains and the uplands. They also suggest that we have so far seen no more than a tenth of it.


The latest discovery proves that we are only at the outset of this archeological revolution--one that is exploding our perceptions about what the Amazon and the Americas looked like before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Charles C. Mann, author of 1491:

I felt alone and small, but in a way that was curiously like feeling exalted.

Martin Schwartz:

Science makes me feel stupid too. It's just that I've gotten used to it.

Have you read Grann's The Lost City of Z?

Pre-Columbian geometric earthworks in the upper Purus: a complex society in western Amazonia

You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now.
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:46 pm EST, Jan 17, 2010

We just keep thinking we can do it all -- be focused, frightened and frivolous. We can't. We don't have the money. We don't have the time.

How do you screen for a relentless mind-set?

Use it to find the photography you like using the simple idea that people whose work you like, probably like stuff you'll like.

Over time, YouTube says it plans to rely more heavily on personalization and ties between users to refine recommendations.

The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction. Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn't work. Alas, this one worked very well.

That's what offends me. You know exactly what you're doing.

First Person Tetris

When the default is private, you have to think about making something public. When the default is public, you become very aware of privacy. And thus, I would suspect, people are more conscious of privacy now than ever.

I expected Google Chrome to teleport maybe three, maximum five goats! What happens instead? About 3*10^6 goats get teleported! I won't be able to pay for teleportation of such huge amount of goats!

The one thing that Mr. Durant worries might spook a female guest is his most recent purchase: a three-foot-tall refrigerated meat locker that sits in a corner of his living room. That is where he keeps his organ meat and deer ribs.

Analysts must absorb information with the thoroughness of historians, organize it with the skill of librarians, and disseminate it with the zeal of a journalist. Sufficient knowledge will not come from slides with little more text than a comic strip.

The effects of a childhood goat trauma vary widely from person to person, depending on the severity of their trauma. Such problems as irrational fears, unexplained twitching, and insomnia could all have origin in a goat trauma. The Childhood Goat Tra... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Things I am not allowed to do any more
Topic: Technology 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010


Yelling "Fire in the hole!" whenever I make a checkin is not team building.

I will not refer to the head of corporate research as a "lamer," especially when he is in the same stairwell when I utter this.

David Owen:

If you and your spouse are dressed almost identically, or if you are carrying your passport in a thing around your neck, or if you are wearing any form of footwear or pants that you clearly purchased specifically to wear on airplanes, or if you make it obvious (by repeatedly turning around and talking to passengers in seats not adjacent to yours) that you are travelling with a group, the charge is fifty dollars.


At least Ballmer had the good sense to be ugly, which gave him an odd kind of dignity.

Roedy Green:

Your code should not look hopelessly unmaintainable, just be that way.
Otherwise it stands the risk of being rewritten or refactored.

Things I am not allowed to do any more

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University
Topic: Society 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010

Louis Menand:

Has American higher education become a dinosaur?

Why do professors all tend to think alike?

What makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects should be required?

Why do teachers and scholars find it so difficult to transcend the limits of their disciplines?

Why, in short, are problems that should be easy for universities to solve so intractable?

The answer is that the institutional structure and the educational philosophy of higher education have remained the same for one hundred years, while faculties and student bodies have radically changed and technology has drastically transformed the way people produce and disseminate knowledge. At a time when competition to get into and succeed in college has never been more intense, universities are providing a less-useful education. Sparking a long-overdue debate about the future of American education, The Marketplace of Ideas examines what professors and students -- and all the rest of us -- might be better off without, while assessing what it is worth saving in our traditional university institutions.

Mark C. Taylor:

Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning.


Bart, don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice.

Andrew Lahde:

The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University

The Known Universe
Topic: Science 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.


There are certain basic pleasures of the ancient world that one has to work very hard to come by today. We've cut ourselves off from things that even our grandfathers took for granted.


When most people hear "fingerprints", they immediately envision an inky mess all over their hands, which aside from being embarrassing, would also be extremely inconvenient ...

Verlyn Klinkenborg:

The turbulence intensifies. The overhead luggage racks begin to rattle. "This is nominal," I think, and I am amazed once again at how skillfully humans normalize the lives they find themselves living. It is really what explains the success of our species, our ability to absorb experience, to engulf it with our minds and accommodate it, in conditions infinitely more grievous than a bumpy flight.

Anne Frank:

As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more.

The Known Universe

Twenty Pieces of Music That Changed the World
Topic: Arts 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010

One of the most popular features on The Sunday Edition this past year and a half has been 20 Pieces of Music that Changed the World.

The Sunday Edition's very own musical guru, Robert Harris, took us on a cultural journey -- discussing the importance of music from Beethoven to Disco, and from Depression-era classics to rap.

Chad the Nanny:

Tonight, I'm gonna teach Ray about jazz.

Twenty Pieces of Music That Changed the World

The Ruse of the Creative Class
Topic: Business 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010

Alec MacGillis:

Cities that shelled out big bucks to learn Richard Florida's prescription for vibrant urbanism are now hearing they may be beyond help.

Previously (in 2008):

Atlanta is just as hosed as Munich, but Richard Florida has a new book.


In 2008 came Who's Your City, essentially a how-to book for choosing a place to live. Florida is candid about his business plan -- when he plugged his second book on The Charlie Rose Show, the host asked, "Don't you think we've milked this for about as much as we can, Richard?"

"I hope not, Charlie," Florida said. "I hope not."


The Voluntary Milking System (VMS) allows cows to decide when to be milked, and gives dairy farmers a more independent lifestyle, free from regular milkings.

A banker:

Revolutionize your heart out. We'll still have this country by the balls.

The Ruse of the Creative Class

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
Topic: Health and Wellness 7:19 am EST, Jan  5, 2010

Please, stop. Please.

Every time you commit one of these errors, a bottlenose dolphin scoffs in your general direction.

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

What Matters Now
Topic: Business 7:57 am EST, Dec 17, 2009

John Wood:

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Randy Palumbo:

The greenest thing you can do in your kitchen is not tear it up and put in a new one.

Gina Trapani:

Getting things done is not the same as making things happen.

Don't worry too much about getting things done.

Make things happen.

William C. Taylor:

Are you the most of anything?

Hugh MacLeod:

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Howard Mann:

We walk the streets with our heads down staring into 3-inch screens while the world whisks by doing the same. And yet we're convinced we are more connected to each other than ever before.

Arianna Huffington:

America needs to get some sleep.

Clay Johnson:

Imagine if we organized around meaningful data instead of vapid rhetoric.

What Matters Now

David After Dentist
Topic: Society 9:54 pm EST, Dec 16, 2009

David, after the dentist:

Is this real life?

Yes, David. Yes, it is.

David, after the dentist:

Is this going to be forever?

Yes, David. Yes, it is.

David Clark:

If the gathering, storage, and processing of information puts us all in the center of a digital panopticon, the failure to forget creates a panopticon crossbred with a time-travel machine. Don't forget about forgetting.

David Lynch:

So many things these days are made to look at later. Why not just have the experience and remember it?

David After Dentist

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