Monday, December 1, 2008

"My Music, MySpace, My Life"

Country/Pop's newest face, Taylor Swift, is blurring the lines between her public and private persona through the newest technologies. The NY Times writes an exposé here.

"Gay Marriage and a Moral Minority"

Charles Blow, a NY Times Op-Ed Columnist, just published a column that will surely spark some lively debates:
....the fact remains that a strikingly high percentage of blacks said they voted to ban same-sex marriage in California. Why? There was one very telling (and virtually ignored) statistic in CNN’s exit poll data that may shed some light: There were far more black women than black men, and a higher percentage of them said that they voted for the measure than the men.

(1) Blacks are much more likely than whites to attend church, according to a Gallup report, and black women are much more likely to attend church than black men. Anyone who has ever been to a black church can attest to the disparity in the pews. And black women’s church attendance may be increasing....

(2) This high rate of church attendance by blacks informs a very conservative moral view. While blacks vote overwhelmingly Democratic, an analysis of three years of national data from Gallup polls reveals that their views on moral issues are virtually indistinguishable from those of Republicans. Let’s just call them Afropublicrats.

(3) Marriage can be a sore subject for black women in general. According to 2007 Census Bureau data, black women are the least likely of all women to be married and the most likely to be divorced. Women who can’t find a man to marry might not be thrilled about the idea of men marrying each other...
Read the rest of the NY Times post here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Failing Home Economics"

Many people make irrational decisions when dealing with money and their budgets:
"A behavior called loss aversion tends to freeze consumers in place in one area even as spending in other areas remains unchecked. Mr. Brafman noted that many would-be travelers, rattled by the rise at the pump last summer, canceled their vacation plans while continuing to spend at home. Gas prices were up, on average, $2 a gallon, he said. 'It seems like a substantial amount, but for a 600 mile trip, that amounts to $80 in savings. This could have been easily recouped by cutting out one trip to a restaurant.'"
Also, people tend to view money in relative rather than absolute terms. Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, explains:

“Need” and “cost,” he pointed out, are deeply personal and wildly relative. “I have a student at M.I.T.,” Mr. Ariely continued, “a very smart guy, who just wrote me bemoaning the fact he’d lost all this money in the stock market.”

The student told Mr. Ariely he had wanted to buy a $4,000 mountain bike, and regretted not doing so before the stock slide. However, he had decided to buy the thing anyway.

“He had lost so much money already he was immunized against feeling the pinch of the purchase of the mountain bike,” Mr. Ariely said. “In other words, having lost $40,000 in one week, looking at spending $4,000 on a bike seemed like nothing.
Read the NY Times article here.

"What’s the Value of a Big Bonus?"

Dan Ariely, a NY Times Op-Ed contributor and Duke University Professor, recently published research revealing that large bonuses may be counterproductive.

People that have relatively smaller bonuses tend to preform as well as, or better than, people with the highest bonuses. Trials were taken across the world, including India and top level US business schools. Read his article in the NY Times here.

"Yes, We Will Have No Bananas"

This past summer Dan Koeppel from the NY Times wrote an Op-Ed piece on the artificial prices of bananas.
"...That bananas have long been the cheapest fruit at the grocery store is astonishing. They’re grown thousands of miles away, they must be transported in cooled containers and even then they survive no more than two weeks after they’re cut off the tree.

Apples, in contrast, are typically grown within a few hundred miles of the store and keep for months in a basket out in the garage. Yet apples traditionally have cost at least twice as much per pound as bananas.

Americans eat as many bananas as apples and oranges combined, which is especially amazing when you consider that not so long ago, bananas were virtually unknown here. They became a staple only after the men who in the late 19th century founded the United Fruit Company (today’s Chiquita) figured out how to get bananas to American tables quickly — by clearing rainforest in Latin America, building railroads and communication networks and inventing refrigeration techniques to control ripening.

The banana barons also marketed their product in ways that had never occurred to farmers or grocers before, by offering discount coupons, writing jingles and placing bananas in schoolbooks and on picture postcards. They even hired doctors to convince mothers that bananas were good for children..."
Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mail Googles

Google Labs just came out with a new product that will save you from drunk emailing. This was written by a Google Engineer,
Sometimes I send messages I shouldn't send. Like the time I told that girl I had a crush on her over text message. Or the time I sent that late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together. Gmail can't always prevent you from sending messages you might later regret, but today we're launching a new Labs feature I wrote called Mail Goggles which may help.

When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email. And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math
problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?

By default, Mail Goggles is only active late night on the weekend as that is the time you're most likely to need it. Once enabled, you can adjust when it's active in the General settings.

Hopefully Mail Goggles will prevent many of you out there from sending messages you wish you hadn't. Like that late night memo -- I mean mission statement -- to the entire firm.
Read the original blog post here.

A Moving Skyscraper

"Each of the floors of the Dynamic Tower rotates independently, giving the building different shapes throughout the day. (Dynamic Architecture/ David Fisher)" Read the article here.

The Mindset in the Middle of the Storm

"The question must be asked: the world seems to be crumbling so what kind of person thinks he could actually fix it?" Read the answer here.

Tempelhof Airport in Berlin Closed on Thursday

Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, advocated for closing Tempelhof, because it was an unprofitable drain on the city’s budget.
“I wanted to see the last plane take off, but they won’t let me in,” said Gunther Münke, 68, who said that as a young boy he would stand with his brother on a nearby hillside, made famous from photographs of the airlift, where children gathered to catch the sweets dropped by friendly pilots. Mr. Münke said he later worked on the building’s heating system and felt a bond with the landmark. “It is something old, and you cannot just get rid of the old.”
Read the rest of the article here.

"An Open and Shut Marriage"

The New York Times has a column called "Modern Love," in which it discusses the changing dating and marriage landscape. Recently Colette DeDonato wrote about open marriages and the problems that come with polygamy. What happens if you have a crush on a person you are not married to? Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Out of a Job, and Realizing Change Is Good"

With the increasing banking crisis, more and more professionals on Wall Street are finding themselves jobless. Jenny Hourihan Bailin writes about her career change:

...The next day, relief poured over me because, after 26 years, I had actually wanted a change. Now I didn’t have to justify leaving an admirable career and a high-paying job. I was free to think about what my next chapter should be. Having been conservative with money, I was well prepared to withstand a long period of joblessness...

...I no longer had the same grueling work hours, and it was delicious to have time to myself. I resolved to enjoy the summer with my husband and our two girls: we went to the beach and studied Spanish in Guatemala. I took yoga and read “War and Peace.” There was no more corporate box at the U.S. Open, but we bought the cheap seats, went as a family for the first time, baked in the sun and had a great time...

...My outplacement counselor says that finding a job is a numbers game and that it will take time, as I am not a traditional candidate for many nonprofit jobs. The job won’t find me, and I have to make the case for how I could make a contribution. Renewed by rest, my confidence bolstered by the generosity of people I meet, I feel energized, eager to start a new career, and open to possibility...

Read the rest of the NY Times article here.

"'Stayin' Alive' has near-perfect rhythm to help jump-start heart"

Here are some of the highlights:
  • At 103 beats per minute, "Stayin' Alive" has the almost perfect rhythm
  • In small study, people doing CPR chest compressions listen to old disco song
  • Doctors, students maintain close to the ideal number of compressions
  • Doctor: "Another One Bites the Dust" has right beat, but wrong message
Watch the video here.

Did men and testosterone cause the current finanical crisis?

...But testosterone not only helps to build the male brain, it also plays a key role in activating it. In one experiment, researchers followed 17 male City traders and found that when they had high morning levels of testosterone they made greater profits for the rest of that day. They reasoned that this could be because higher testosterone increases the appetite for risk - a phenomenon that could be extremely dangerous in certain market conditions...

...The problem is that the market became too primal, too dominated by men and their baser instincts, too preoccupied with greed and too little with the consequences. But have I not implied that this is unalterable and that men are slaves to their impulses? Well, no. I did not suggest that culture and ethics are impotent, merely that they are rarely sufficient to eradicate the evolved differences between men and women. Take physical aggression. Although absolute levels of aggression vary from nation to nation, the difference between male and female aggression is pretty consistent (the ratio of men's to women's same-sex murders, for example, is remarkably constant at about 10-1)...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Spermicide Coke, stale chips research wins Ig Nobels"

The Ig Nobel Prize Awards came out this week. Here are a few description of the winners:
A researcher who figured out that Coke explodes sperm and scientists who discovered that people will happily eat stale chips if they crunch loudly enough won alternative "Ig Nobel" prizes Thursday.

Other winners included physicists who found out that anything that can tangle, will tangle and a team of biologists who ascertained that dog fleas jump farther than cat fleas.

The Ig Nobels honor real research, but are meant as a funny alternative to next week's deadly serious Nobel prizes for medicine, chemistry, physics, economics, literature and peace...

Read about more Ig Nobel winners here.

Does a mathematical formula for beauty exist?

Computer scientists have created a "Beautification Engine," which uses math to find a theoretically more attractive version of a person's face. Here are some of the results:
Studies have shown that there is surprising agreement about what makes a face attractive. Symmetry is at the core, along with youthfulness; clarity or smoothness of skin; and vivid color, say, in the eyes and hair. There is little dissent among people of different cultures, ethnicities, races, ages and gender.
See more photos and read the NY Times article here.

"Right Thing to Wear at the Wrong End of a Gun"

"Jackets at the Mexico City outlet of Miguel Caballero, a Colombian retailer who specializes in bulletproof clothing. The company’s customers include politicians, royalty and movie stars."
Read the article here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

US Teenage Birthrates

As of 1998, the US had the highest teenage birth rate and abortion rate in the developing world.

But it did not have the highest rate of teenager having sex. Why are so many teenagers getting pregnant in the US compared to other developing countries?

Read the answer here.

"Gut Instinct’s Surprising Role in Math"

Researchers at John Hopkins University found that people who have a good sense of approximation (how many jelly beans in the bar, how many calories in your grocery basket), tend to be better at formal math. The NY Times covered this phenomenon here. If you would like to take the John Hopkins test to see your ability in approximation math, click here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Damn it feels good to be a banker

And another version from Fuqua:

"Questions for a Superhuman Mom: The complicated business of judging Sarah Palin"

Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick, from, discuss the contradictions within the "conservative feminist" label for Sarah Palin:
...OK, so who are we to judge the reproductive choices of Sarah Palin or those of her children? How dare anyone presume to opine about her work/life balance? Is that question itself the correct feminist response—along with another query: Would men ever be judged so harshly?

Publicly, that's why the judges themselves are being judged. On Jezebel they are angry at female opprobrium. Elsewhere, working women are berated for passing judgment on another working woman. Barack Obama has already said that drawing conclusions about Palin because of her daughter Bristol's pregnancy is out of bounds. We agree. Any feminist who takes the position that 17 is old enough to abort a baby cannot also take the position that the 17-year-old's mother is somehow responsible for her pregnancy.

...The Sarah Palin candidacy could have been a moment for women to celebrate, in glass-ceiling terms if not policy advances. But it never should have stood for the notion that the only way a woman is going to make it to the White House is if she's the best mom in America first...
Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Girl Power at School, but Not at the Office"

"New female college graduates, raised in a post-feminist culture, can have a hard time adjusting to a work place where gender bias still exists."

Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reporter shot in in a war zone... and continues reporting!!

"While on-air, a reporter is grazed by a bullet and goes on to say the shot was fired from the Russian-controlled area."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is my favorite Web site working today?

When a website crashes, the site risks losing revenue and return visitors. The NY Times covered a new type of website to see if the crash is just on your computer or for everyone:
...Mr. Payne created, as in, “Down for everyone, or just me?” It lets visitors type in a Web address and see whether a site is generally inaccessible or whether the problem is with their own connection.

...About a month ago, a sudden surge of visitors to Mr. Payne’s site began asking about the normally impervious Amazon. That site was ultimately down for several hours over two business days, and Amazon, by some estimates, lost more than a million dollars an hour in sales.
Read the article here.

"Costly Cancer Drug Offers Hope, but Also a Dilemma"

Avastin is one of the most expensive drugs on the cancer market today. It can cost up to $100, 000 per year and despite its price, its popularity has increased. But is the drug worth its cost? Recent clinical reports show that Avastin might not increase life expectancy as much as the FDA thought, if it even helps at all. Read more about the drug here.

"A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job"

Ron Lieber of the NY Times wrote a great article about financial advice for young people. Don't know what a W4 tax form is? Need to find out some options for health insurance for your first job? Is it too early to start a retirement 401(k) plan? Find out here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Life After Harvard, What Next?

The NY Times created a photo/audioshow about how students at Harvard are primarily going into finance and consulting jobs after graduation, and how too few are going into public service. Duke University has a similar trend. Check out the show here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Wolf whistle works, woman strips"

According to a Reuters news article:
Road workers in a small New Zealand town got their wish granted when a woman stripped saying she was fed up with their wolf-whistles.

The Israeli tourist was about to use an ATM in the main street of Kerikeri, in the far north of the country, when the men whistled, the New Zealand Press Association reported.

She calmly stripped off, used the cash machine, before getting dressed and walking away...

She has some impressive balls/ovaries. Check out the rest of the Reuters story here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Find the Typo in Your Appplication"

Daniel Stern of the NYT wrote a funny expose on typos in the college application forms. Here is an excerpt:
Take, for example, Question 6 on the University of Pennsylvania supplement accessed through the Common Application Web site: “As the Admissions staff reads your folder, it is always gratifying for us to be able to match an application with tthe face of someone who we may have met during the year. To this end, please attach a recent photograph.”

One of my students chose to answer Penn’s essay question about risk-taking by copyediting the text in red font and writing:

Dear Admissions Committee,

…I want you to know that I do not hold it against your fine university that such silly typos found their way into the final application sent out to applicants worldwide. It happens. You’re only human. And so am I. So to balance things off, please simply bump up my Writing score on the SAT a mere 50 points. We’ll call it even.

He did not get in. But Penn has since corrected the “tthe” — though the “who/whom” problem remains.

Hamilton College emphasizes the importance of writing skills, but its Common Application online supplement stumbles in asking for a graded writing sample: “Describe the assigment in the space below and attached a photocopy of the oringinal.” A few lines down: “The Admission Committee's policy is to select the tetsting options that will serve you best...”

Read the entire article here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

We has ur kitteh. Send ransum.

See the rest of the pictures here.


Funny story involving the Army, Jiffy-Pop, Radar, and a UFO. Read the blog entry here. (Courtesy of AS)

The New Batman Trailer looks like the Old Batman Trailer

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

So similar.

(Update: There is a rumor that the 1989 trailer is fan-made to look like the new one. Any thoughts?)

Tony vs. Paul

"Awesome stop motion fight. Just turn off your brain and enjoy." - College Humor

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rev. Jeremiah Wright's newest comments

Here is a new clip from the Obama-Wright saga:
Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.
Seriously? This pastor married Sen. Obama and his wife, and he baptized their children! Read the rest of the article here.

Guantánamo drives prisoners insane, lawyers say

A new article came out about the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners. Check out this story Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was once a driver for Osama bin Laden. He is supposed to be working on his defense for his trial next month:
...But his lawyers say he cannot. They say Hamdan, already the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, has essentially been driven insane by solitary confinement in a tiny cell where he spends at least 22 hours a day, goes to the bathroom and eats all his meals. His defense team says he is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of Guantánamo "boil his mind..."
...Conditions are more isolating than many death rows and maximum-security prisons in the United States, said Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who is an expert on U.S. prison conditions...
Read the rest of the International Herald Tribune article here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Boy or Girl? The Answer May Depend on Mom’s Eating Habits

According to the NY Times, how much a new mother eats at the time of conception may influence the sex of her child:
...The report, from researchers at Oxford and the University of Exeter in England, is said to be the first evidence that a child’s sex is associated with a mother’s diet. Although sex is genetically determined by whether sperm from the father supplies an X or Y chromosome, it appears that a mother’s body can favor the successful development of a male or female embryo.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, shows a link between higher energy intake around the time of conception and the birth of sons. The difference is not huge, but it may be enough to help explain the falling birthrate of boys in industrialized countries, including the United States and Britain...
Read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

John Tierny writes about the Monty Hall Problem:

Here’s how Monty’s deal works, in the math problem, anyway. (On the real show it was a bit messier.) He shows you three closed doors, with a car behind one and a goat behind each of the others. If you open the one with the car, you win it. You start by picking a door, but before it’s opened Monty will always open another door to reveal a goat. Then he’ll let you open either remaining door.

Suppose you start by picking Door 1, and Monty opens Door 3 to reveal a goat. Now what should you do? Stick with Door 1 or switch to Door 2?

Before I tell you the answer, I have a request. No matter how convinced you are of my idiocy, do not immediately fire off an angry letter. In 1991, when some mathematicians got publicly tripped up by this problem, I investigated it by playing the game with Monty Hall himself at his home in Beverly Hills, but even that evidence wasn’t enough to prevent a deluge of letters demanding a correction.

Before you write, at least try a few rounds of the game, which you can do by playing an online version of the game. Play enough rounds and the best strategy will become clear: You should switch doors.

He says that this problem also arises in other types of experiments. We have a remarkable ability to rationalize our choices even when they do not improve our "happiness". Read the article here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Betting to Improve the Odds

Leading corporations are now using prediction markets to asses whether their new ides will succeed or fail. These prediciton markets use virtual currency to predict whether a new product will succeed in the market. The prizes are usually modest, cash or an ipod, if the investors "win". Learn more about the technique here.

Has Hillary Clinton's Campaign caused the fourth wave of feminism?

The New Yorker seems to think so. Find out the details here.

Tina Fey on SNL: "Bitch is the New Black"

Tina Fey on Hilary Clinton: "She is [a bitch]. And so am I. Bitches get stuff done. That's why Catholic Schools use nuns instead of priests... At the end of the year you hated those bitches, but you knew the capital of Vermont."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ski Dubai

Here are some images from a self-contained ski slope in the UAE:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Emotions that trigger financial risk

A brain-scan study from Northwester University professor Camelia Kuhnen found a link between financial risk and sex.
When young men were shown erotic pictures, they were more likely to make a larger financial gamble than if they were shown a picture of something scary, such a snake, or something neutral, such as a stapler, university researchers reported.
No wonder so many attractive women work in Vegas Casinos. Read the rest of the Huffington Post article here. (Thanks Haoming for the find.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Greece vs. the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The NY Times featured two views about the Greece/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) argument. In one article, the authors note that Fyrom walked out of the NATO summit on Thursday because of increasing tensions with Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia". You can view this editorial here.

The Times also featured a rebuttal, explaining that Greece has been flexible with Macedonia over the past few years, but has hit a few stumbling blocks including when:
...Authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or Fyrom, portray Greek Macedonia as “occupied” territory, refusing to remove such claims from textbooks, speeches, articles, documents and maps of “Greater Macedonia,” which includes parts of northern Greece...
Read the rebuttal here.

How to Figure Out When Therapy Is Over

How do you know when it is time to break-up with your therapist? Now that therapy has become an expensive form of chatting, the NY Times gives some hints about how to end the relationship. Learn them here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

70 Year Old Man Joins 1st Grade

Need a midday pick-me-up? Check out this video about a 70 year old man who goes back to first grade to fulfill a life-long desire to learn how to read. It's only two minutes long.

Watch the video here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Lost Decade

(Click picture for larger image.)

Here is a disheartening report in the WSJ:
Over the past 200 years, the stock market's steady upward march occasionally has been disrupted for long stretches, most recently during the Great Depression and the inflation-plagued 1970s. The current market turmoil suggests that we may be in another lost decade.

The stock market is trading right where it was nine years ago. Stocks, long touted as the best investment for the long term, have been one of the worst investments over the nine-year period, trounced even by lowly Treasury bonds. (!)
Read the rest of the article here.

Explaining Religion... Biologically

Scientists at the European particle-physics labratory (CERN) in Geneva are spending $3.1 million dollars "on the search for God-himself -- or, rather, for the biological reasons why so many people believe in God, gods and religion in general. 'Explaining Religion', as the project is known, is the largest-ever scientific study of the subject" Read the rest of the Economist article here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why are jeans blue?

"Denim is unique in it's singular connection with one colour. the warp yarn is traditionally dyed with the blue pigment obtained from indigo dye. Until the introduction of synthetic dyes, at the end of the 19th century, indigo was the most significant natural dye known to mankind,linked with practical (sic) fabrics and work clothing. the durability of indigo as a colour and it's darkness of tone made it a good choice, when frequent washing was not possible. In 1870 BASF in Germany, originally suppliers of natural indigo had started the search for a synthetic substitute, in 1894 the process was perfected." -

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Elephant Paints Self Portrait

(Thanks Julia for the find!)

East and West Part Ways in Test of Facial Expressions

The NY Times covered a study that found that "Westerners focused on the central figure’s expression, while the Japanese took everyone into account." Here is another except of the article:
....The differences may speak to deeply ingrained cultural traits, the authors write, suggesting that Westerners may “see emotions as individual feelings, while Japanese see them as inseparable from the feelings of the group"...

...Still, the study fits squarely in a longstanding body of research into differences between Eastern and Western perceptions of the world around us.

Researchers studying paintings from the 16th through 20th centuries, for example, have found that in Western portraits, the subject took up a larger portion of the picture and was painted in a way to make the subject stand out, the study said. In Eastern portraits, the subjects tended to be smaller and to blend into the background...

Read the rest of the article here.

Red Sox beat Dodgers before 115,300 fans

"An announced crowd of 115,300 fans gathered at Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the Red Sox defeat the Dodgers 7-4 in an exhibition game. It was the largest crowd to ever watch a baseball game." -- USA Today. Read the article here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Brutally Honest: "Have You Gained Weight?"

This is a great article about how Germans interact differently than Americans. (Hint: the proper answer to the title of this blog is, "yes" if you have gained weight.) Here is another excerpt:
Personal invitations of all kinds are to be taken at face value. "We're having a party, please do come," means "We're having a party, please do come," and not "We feel rude not inviting you in front of these other people, but surely you'll have the grace not to show up." Similarly, "Come over to my house and we'll have tea," means that you should start planning a date and time for that pleasant event. It is not to be confused with the Anglo-American "We should get together sometime," which means "I hope I never see you again."

Yes means yes and no means no. If you ask whether you can share someone's table (or borrow a pen, or get a ride) and that person says yes, that's the end of it. Even if the person does not smile or tell you to go right ahead, you do not have to ask again. Germans will be perplexed when you insist: "Are you sure? I won't be bothering you, will I? I'll just take this little corner and be done in a minute." For heavens sakes, they said yes already, and it's not like you're asking them to donate a kidney. Just sit down...
Read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

No such thing as a sweet tooth

Scientists have found that the appeal of surgary foods is entirely unconnected with taste buds.
Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina claim that the human brain "senses" that such foods are high in calories and "reward" people by releasing hormones that make them feel happier...
Read the article here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Someone just lost their job

The Pentagon announced that the U.S. mistakenly shipped electrical fuses for nuclear missile warheads to Taiwan. Read the article here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Many women at elite colleges set career path to motherhood"

This NY Times article is nearly three years old, but many women in elite colleges are still planning to end their careers when they start having children. Here is an excerpt:
Cynthia Liu is precisely the kind of high achiever Yale wants: smart (1510 SAT), disciplined (4.0 grade point average), competitive (finalist in Texas oratory competition), musical (pianist), athletic (runner) and altruistic (hospital volunteer). And at the start of her sophomore year at Yale, Ms. Liu is full of ambition, planning to go to law school.

So will she join the long tradition of famous Ivy League graduates? Not likely. By the time she is 30, this accomplished 19-year-old expects to be a stay-at-home mom.

"My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other."

..."It really does raise this question for all of us and for the country: when we work so hard to open academics and other opportunities for women, what kind of return do we expect to get for that?" said Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of undergraduate admissions at Harvard, who served as dean for coeducation in the late 1970's and early 1980's...
Read the rest of the article here.

Iraq, $5,000 Per Second?

Do you think Iraq has cost us $5,000 per second? Find out here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Europe, Women Finding More Seats at the Table

Norway passed a law five years ago requiring companies to fill 40 percent of corporate board seats with women by 2008. Now that it is 208, how do you think this changed Norwegian companies? Find out here at the NY Times.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sexual Blackmail and a Green Card

A US immigration agents demands sex from a foreigner in exchange for a green card. Is this a new type of sexual black mail? Read the NY Times report here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vote Julia Chou!

Photo from

Julia Chou is running for VP of Academic Affairs at Duke University. Check out her website here.

Vegetable Orchestra

A concert with instruments made entirely out of veggies. Seriously. (Thanks Alden!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cell phone check-in at airports

Now you can use your cell phone to check in at airports instead of a paper boarding pass. Check out the details here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

When Girls Will Be Boys

What happens if someone enters into a woman's college, but she decides to change her gender? Rey explained his experience at Barnard in the NY Times. Check out the article here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Does the universe need to have a cause?

The $1.6 million Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given to Michael Heller, 72, a priest, cosmologist, and philosopher.
...He has argued against a “God of the gaps” strategy for relating science and religion, a view that uses God to explain what science cannot.

Professor Heller said he believed, for example, that the religious objection to teaching evolution “is one of the greatest misunderstandings” because it “introduces a contradiction or opposition between God and chance.”

In a telephone interview, Professor Heller explained his affinity for the two fields: “I always wanted to do the most important things, and what can be more important than science and religion? Science gives us knowledge, and religion gives us meaning. Both are prerequisites of the decent existence.”

Read the NY Times article here.

An argument against universal health care

What if you had breast cancer and you badly needed treatment but your doctor refused you because the universal health care did not cover it? What if you could pay for the treatment out of pocket and the doctor still refused you? Read Debbie Hirst's story about Britain’s National Health Service here.

Celebrities are solutions to non-profit woes

Celebrities are reaching out beyond Hollywood and lend their fame to areas in need. Celebrities like Bono, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Clooney and, Natalie Portman have transformed the non-profit industry.
In 2004, Natalie Portman, then a 22-year-old fresh from college, went to Capitol Hill to talk to Congress on behalf of the Foundation for International Community Assistance, or Finca, a microfinance organization for which she served as “ambassador.” She found herself wondering what she was doing there, but her colleagues assured her: “We got the meetings because of you.”

For lawmakers, Natalie Portman was not simply a young woman — she was the beautiful Padmé from “Star Wars.” “And I was like, ‘That seems totally nuts to me,’ ” Portman told me recently. It’s the way it works, I guess. I’m not particularly proud that in our country I can get a meeting with a representative more easily than the head of a nonprofit can...”
Read the rest of the NY Times story here.

New Law: Go into public service and your debts are forgiven

A new law recently went into effect that forgives any remaining balance from federal student loan debt for people who work in public service for 10 years. Check out the WSJ article here.

Mild Tempered Cat

Courtesy of the "Merchant of Cute".

Duck & Puppy

"It's cute divided by zero." -- Arjun Sharma

Awareness Test

Check out the awareness test at (It's a rather famous psych test)

Stem Cells save a boy's life

When Dallas Hextell was 8 months old, he was unable to walk or talk. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His parents sought help from Duke University medial center where doctors preformed an experimental treatment on Dallas using his own stem cells from his umbilical cord, which his parents had saved at birth.

Five days later, Dallas uttered his first word. Now he can walk and talk like his peers. Watch the life-changing video here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

1 in 100 American adults are in jail

More startling facts of the day:

- One in nine (!) black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are in jail
- One in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but one in 100 black women are

Read the rest of the NY Times article here.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Man wins 1 million and hugs Bobby Orr

Darwin Head of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan won $1 million in Vancouver at the Canucks and the Avalanche. He shot 15 pucks -- the exact amount he needed -- out of 20 into an empty net from the far blue line in 24 seconds!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Predictably Irrational

We often think that it is in our best interest to keep all all options open -- but is this always true? Dan Ariely, one of the nation's leading behavioral economists, studies this exact problem. Sometimes saying no means you can say yes more often, but how to you know when to say "no"? Read the article here.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .