Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 1.58.40 PM

Intimations of Mortality

Plato, Montaigne, Pascal—those were the major figures in the philosophical pantheon of my student days. But concurrently, in my literature classes, I came to be moved by poems such as John Donne’s defiant sonnet “Death Be Not Proud,” which concludes on the paradoxically triumphant note that, for the dead, death shall be no more, that death shall die. I was later even more moved—no doubt because of the association with…

20130807-123044.jpg

Why I Like Papers, Please

At a certain point, the transit papers will get so complex that you will, inevitably, start making a lot of mistakes. This can become a serious problem as every incorrectly reviewed passport will deduct more and more cash from your pay at the end of the day. With your family’s lives on the line and the job getting tougher and tougher, the game asks you — like actually asks you,…

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 12.27.39 PM

Mars Curiosity rover sings ‘Happy Birthday,’ dares Earth to collect royalties

  One year ago today, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on the surface of Mars and began studying the planet. The rover may be lonely out there on its first birthday, but it won’t go entirely without celebration: NASA has repurposed Curiosity’s soil analysis system to play the tune of “Happy Birthday to You” out loud for all of Mars to hear. Though the analysis system doesn’t include a loudspeaker, it does…

America is raising a generation of interns – The Week

After hearing these numbers, I began to understand why Jessica felt lucky. Maybe she is fortunate to be earning $4.35 an hour at her ivory-tower job while she works nights and weekends as a waitress. Maybe a 10-month paid internship followed by graduate school and then perhaps another internship is the new lucky, particularly at a time when so many young people can’t find work at all. Still, I wondered:…

That Was Fast: Hollywood Already Browbeat The Republicans Into Retracting Report On Copyright Reform

So, late Friday, we reported on how the Republican Study Committee (the conservative caucus of House Republicans) had put out a surprisingly awesome report about copyright reform. You can read that post to see the details. The report had been fully vetted and reviewed by the RSC before it was released. However, as soon as it was published, the MPAA and RIAA apparently went ballistic and hit the phones hard,…

FDR with dog and Annie clone.
9

FDR in Annie

I’ve accepted the role of FDR in the upcoming Stage Right! Production of Annie. Auditions for the little ‘uns are Friday afternoon. My 10yo daughter and her tweeny friends are sticking out their chins and grinning and singing “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” or whatever the lyrics are. Here’s an interesting historical photo of Roosevelt holding a dog on his…

For campaigns’ traveling press corps, social media has changed way game is played

“Once we got to the Internet/cable-news cycle, really in 2004, there was no capacity to control” the message, said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “I leave it to others to judge if the power has gone from us to the reporters. I don’t know that, and it probably depends on the day, but among the community of reporters, the difference between the A-Number One political reporter and the…

Screen Shot 2012-10-12 at 1.52.39 PM
1

Obama vs. Romney D&D Smack-Down at NYC Gallery

This week, if you head to the Allegra LaViola Gallery in New York City to see Fiend in the Void, a solo exhibition of works on paper and sculpture by Casey Jex Smith, you’ll get a chance to see a Dungeons & Dragons clash of the titans between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The winner decides how the artist will cast his real-world vote in the real-world, 2012 presidential election.…

images
2

Winky Winky Drudge Report

The Drudge Report today features an amusing array of images — Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, and Russian President Vladimir Putin — all of them winking. Clearly the nonverbal message is that all these people — who are unpopular with the conservative populist base to which Matt Drudge caters — are working together. The cruciform design, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the top — is another striking touch.

Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics

Are we moving toward an era where Americans will speak discernibly red versus blue accents? It’s hard to say. Social identities are complex, and can be defined along a number of different dimensions like class, race, or ethnicity. Not everyone feels that politics are a part of their core identity. But I suspect that political ideology may become an anchor for accents to the extent that large social groups collectively…