Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

This & That

Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting piece in the latest New Yorker about social media and activism, and fellow Tumblrite modernandmaterialthings wrote an even better summation and response. Also, this piece from the New York Review of Books is a sobering reminder of the oppression that young intellectuals face in totalitarian regimes.  It provides a startling counterpoint to Gladwell’s central thesis — that there is nothing inherently threatening in social networking; so many of.. Read More

History’s Mysteries

The New York Review of Books has an excellent essay discussing a bit of history that we’ve been quick to forget: that Muslims are hardly the first religious group to be seen as a radical threat to some kind of innately Protestant “Americanism”.  The New York Review of Books also gets a gold star for being perhaps the only site on the entire Internet where reading the comments is further enriching and actually.. Read More

American Self-Deception

Two good posts (both short) about America’s particular resistance to sensible regulations: this one, from Grist, discusses plastic bag use; this excellent piece, from Mother Jones, looks at the differing approaches between the US and Europe when it comes to regulatory policy.  The European version, I must say, seems to have a lot more logic behind it.

Money Matters

Maybe it’s our persistent idealism of the American Dream, but when we think of the richest people in America today, there are three names that come up most often: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Oprah.  These are reassuring reminders that hard work can bring great success (no matter what color you are!), and that great success can breed remarkable philanthropy.  After all, Buffett and Gates are the two wealthiest men in the country,.. Read More

Sleeping In

Just a quick piece from Miller-McCune highlighting one of the many stupidities of contemporary education: high school start times.  Basically, high schools have, over the last two decades, started earlier and earlier, so that millions of teenagers across America now start their school day at 7 AM.  Conversely, every study ever done on the subject demonstrates that grades, attendance, and focus all increase amongst students if the day starts at 8 or, heaven.. Read More

Friday Night Fun

Yes, I’m blogging on a Friday night.  Feel free to judge me for it. I leave you to your weekend with a nice bit of environmental contrarianism that’s really progressive pragmatism.  “Off the grid” is, indeed, a fallacy today, and dangerous in that it only serves to enable our national delusion that each man can truly be his own island.  Those who try to go off the grid might seem to have nobler.. Read More


A couple promising stories from the front lines of educational reform: Miller-McCune offers this story from the academy — a top-down effort from UCLA to effect change amongst lower-income elementary students. This fascinating TEDtalk takes the opposite tack — the speaker, Charles Leadbetter, spends his time amongst the informal educational programs that exist in international slums, and hopes to apply some lessons to formal education in a bottom-up approach. What both stories have.. Read More

Bits & Pieces

Another great post over at Rortybomb, about the fundamental anti-consumer problems with overdraft charges. This story is full of ???????????????????????????????????? insights that seem glaringly obvious, Custom but, given the last sixty years of policy, apparently aren’t.  Studies show that a long commute is the factor most deleterious to happiness, but people persistently underestimate the effect of a lengthy drive to and from work on their state of mind (similarly, people have a tendency.. Read More