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Briefs

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

What did Jews tend to die of? The entry on morbidity in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Inside Apple

Adam Lashinsky

♦♦♦

Engagingly written albeit disappointingly somewhat thin, the useful angle here is how Apple differs from conventional wisdom.

Secrecy, even internally, is paramount; it helps alleviate internal politics and keep people focused. There is little internal promotion, taking seriously the Peter Principle. Unlike the rest of Silicon Valley, perks are minimal; working at Apple is the perk.

A product of its time (2012) and of the author’s lack of access, the book is marred at the end by pessimistic obsession with Apple’s viability post-Jobs, but is nonetheless ultimately worth reading because it does convey an impression of what Apple is like.

Monday, July 10th, 2017

All our spines. A compilation of what Houston-based chiropractor Dr Gregory Johnson calls his ring-dingers.

Friday, July 7th, 2017

In a large study of US military veterans, researchers “consistently found a significant association between PPI (proton pump inhibitor) use and increased risk of death”.

They don’t know why this happens but do know that “PPI treatment impairs lysosomal acidification and proteostasis and results in increased oxidative stress, dysfunction, telomere shortening and accelerated senescence of human endothelial cells.” [via The New York Times]

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Possibly the world’s most important story at the moment? American middle-class impoverishment, or as the author—himself afflicted—calls it, financial impotence.

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Max Edwards, a 16-year-old writing in The Guardian. What a dude. [Update 8 days later: the man is already gone.]

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

The conclusion of this peer-reviewed scientific article on sauna: “Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of SCD, CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality.”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

A fearsomely refreshing list of what the author has learned in her 40s. Enjoyable if you’ve reached the age, and I wonder if edifying for those yet to.

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Adam Garfinkle at The American Interest waxes catholic and sensible on the runaway American health care system — or, more accurately, disease repair system.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Good long solid chunky New York Times piece on the health hazards due to flame retardants in sofas.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Forced exercise is better for the brain than voluntary, and can help with Parkinson’s.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

“Gutted” by Steven Shapin in the London Review of Books is a wonderful tour of the boyn (“the burn”) which unfortunately is interesting and relevant to me.

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Fascinating, brief, accessible article on bone in nytimes/science. Wish nytimes.com had a donations box.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

index topics illness illness

Denver Met

My intent here is not only to participate in a conference but to suck up myriad Americana as a thirsty exile catapulted back in for a primer.

Yes

It’s a Somewhat Rauschenberg World

I don’t like this use of animals, like Damien Hirst’s. The artist could not have asked the goat for permission so should not have assumed it was granted.

Black Tracks the Presidents

The great virtue of Conrad Black’s Flight of the Eagle is its steady track across the entirety of the nation’s history, treating each president equally under its own law and order.

Homepage Design 2016

No matter the screen size, a web site should feel like itself, even if it doesn’t look it. So do “mobile first” second.

Yes

From iPhone 4S to 6S: An Appreciation

The increased size, something I was so hesitant about, feels fine to me now. And because it’s thinner it feels less obtrusive in my pocket.

Spectreview

With the villain’s quasi-sibling bond to the hero, 2015’s 007 movie deflates to an incestuous Möbius Strip.

In Gaza, Israel Should Own its Terrible Tactic

Although such excoriating labels as “collective punishment” and “state terrorism” aren’t entirely wrong regarding Israel’s application of the Dahieh Doctrine in Gaza, history does suggest that the method is effective in fighting a fundamentally defensive war.

Go Deny Yourself

This four-letter little word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.

Some Consumer Affairs

I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.

Yes

From Nokia N95 to iPhone 4S

Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Dry, Juicy, Linear, Luminous

The dancers in the ape-suits; how they move is an incredibly energetic output for us. Contrast their physical reaction when witnessing the monolith to that of the astronauts in the newly-minted 21st century.

The Mouse and the Cantilever

Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.

Friendship is for Weenies

It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust US President Obama.

Before the Setup

It’s 1983: Go for the Apple IIe with 64k that could be opened up as a hobbyist machine? Or the smaller, sleeker and newer IIc with double the memory but a closed case?

At Modi’in Mall

There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown: Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.

Yes

The Israel I Love, the Bad So Far

If the signage were a bit more effective, the staff’s diction and demeanor more professional, then we might have avoided this testy altercation.

Shanghai Europe

So, finally, we stopped yesterday; the Israeli assault on Gaza of late 2008/early 2009 is over. With it, Israel lost moral purity and made vital strategic gains.

Yes

Panning for MacBook Pro

Even if it did nothing, was just a prop in a futuristic movie, the MacBook Pro would be impressive; it’s like a sculpture of my previous computer, the MacBook, except it’s actually an improved computer!

Stop Yesterday

Is the goal of Israel’s current assault on Gaza to discourage Hamas from firing rockets or to render them incapable of doing so? These are two quite different projects.

Short-circuiting Place-based Longing

If there’s one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere.

A Crawl Across Crawley, Part 1

Irit, the Jam and I walk from Brighton to Gatwick Airport.

Clash of the Midgets

I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled and dominated, reverberating with this old geezer’s most naff yap.

Yes

Israel’s Greatest Victory Since Osirak?

If Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was part of a masterplan to staunch the damage done by the victory of the Six Day War in 1967, then today we see another step in its unfolding.

The Small Adventures, Part 2

There in the empty restaurant by the water at Dieppe I had toast with foie gras, a carafe of red wine, a huge plate of mussels and chips, and finally a crème brûlée. Somehow, though I’ve eaten in restaurants hundreds of times, I felt grown up.

Yes

The Small Adventures

Late for the 11pm train to Milan, we enquired frantically among the taxis for one who’d accept the two dogs and take us to Termini Station so I could begin our journey to Britain.

Tony Blair and the Four-State Solution

Ariel Sharon’s disengagement policy reflected an understanding that ownership of the Palestinian issue is shared with Egypt and Jordan. If Tony Blair were to acquire this view, perhaps he really could help facilitate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Restoration and Return

There she was, sitting outside the apartment block! How did she do it? Dogs—or at least Jam—must have some sort of navigational sense we don’t understand.

Curs to Fate

Yesterday I lost Jam in Villa Borghese, the central park here in Rome, some five miles from Talenti, the neighborhood where we’re staying. She has not turned up since.

Yes

Jam and Bread, Jam and Bread!

My dog Jam has spent over a third of her time here in Italy as her fixtures have fallen away—first Maddie, then me. But now I’m back!

Yes

This Trip’s Last Day

I went to Astor Place Haircutters. I crossed Manhattan Bridge on foot. I walked west along Canal St, seeking a bamboo steamer.

I, Thou and Pastor Bob

At the Calvary Church here in Fort Lauderdale the Biblical locations feel so far away that they can be abstracted and spiritualized. There is religious energy here.

Yes

The Big and Easy

The American stage is grand, as are the achievements and ambitions, but daily life seems lamed by a compulsive denaturing.

A Drop in Time

The camera hit the ground lens first, bashing it in so that it would no longer wind in and out, and couldn’t switch on. Without it, my perception of an important personal era was degraded.

A Ride to Gatwick Airport

Airports. They’re so charged, so symbolic, and so empty once you’re at one; I dream of them so often.

Only the Rustle in the Trees

Grief, loss — these are the great teachers surely. What one has will pass.

A Cabaret, Old Chum

It’s a last bastion of civility, being allowed to drink at Penn Station, Brian mused ruefully as we carried our beers to his train home to Great Neck.

Fatahland and Hamastan

Now Israel has a dog in a real Palestinian fight: the nationalists rather than the Islamists.

Yes

Stars, Stripes & Superlatives

Here in Los Angeles I am bombarded with superlatives. Daniel’s record collection. The Bikram Yoga College of India world headquarters. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. All mixed in with the most ravaging mediocrity.

Shite on Brighton

“Like many provincial towns,” the Private Eye reviewer stabs, “Brighton, as depicted in this hacked-together tribute, defines itself more by what it isn’t than by what it is. It’s not London, for one thing.”

Daily Yin

For my first test of the day as day, I open the back door and step outside to the little patio to see the sky and feel the air. I realize not everybody does this, so if people tell me I’m a miserable bastard then perhaps this little habit will correct their impression.

Mind the Dream

Dreaming about our passed companions as if they are alive requires tricks to the dreaming mind to overcome what it believes and knows to be true.

The Dharma Tits

Buddhism is the philosophy and psychology closest to Cognitive Therapy and vice versa.

Yes

Still Got the Jam

Jam was one of Maddie’s nine puppies, the one who remained after the others were all taken. That was always my plan, to keep the runt.

Such a Tramp

Maddie, who died 18 months ago today, was a mangy mutt and stank, but she was also among the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen and for me the longest, richest, widest, deepest streak of feeling lucky.

So You Noticed

I have had something very flattering: a request. Juan Carlos has asked me for comments on Casino Royale.

Reminds Me of Tel Aviv

You get to a stage in life where you are already formed by the past. Thoughts and dilemmas about place are either central questions or a distraction from real issues.

Fly the Blag

Ryanair has brought wretchedness to the skies. Rather than existing on a privileged plane, you stew in a poisoned atmosphere.

Approaching Infinite Justice

Immediately after 9/11, the burgeoning war on terror was named “Operation Infinite Justice”. Within days it was renamed “Operation Enduring Freedom”, but is the new name a mere cloaking of the first?

On the Seventh Day

The Mrs is skeptical of David Allen’s Getting Things Done self-management system because it eschews the rigors of time management in lieu of what feels right. But GTD is about informed feeling.

Don’t Panic!

An academic romp through Jewish American comedy starts out as a veritable rollercoaster ride, but grinds to halt with its obsession with one Bob Dylan.

Photographing a Handsome Old Man

I want to get people in my pics, but it’s tougher when you’re no longer a wide-eyed teenager, because people generally don’t like to think they are a spectacle.

The Beauty of Rain

Rain makes the rocks shine. It puts in motion things that are otherwise static. It illustrates gravity most prettily.

Ode to Salame

It’s supposed to be the arsehole of Tel Aviv, Salame Street, running east-west at its southern tip, but it always does me darn good.

I Love Laundry

How pleasing it is to have my own washing machine. If all isn’t right with the world, not even in my world, at least the laundry cycle is functioning.

Lovely Scenery, But Walks Getting Boring

Unless I drive somewhere new, it’s not much fun to just step out the door and wander. But driving to go for a walk seems a tad ridiculous.

For Love of Economy

It disturbs me to be driving a car that gets fewer kilometers to the shekel than did my previous.

Shinui and the Seven-Year Itch

How refreshing to see Asian faces out shopping in Tel Aviv, or Africans riding the bus to Ra’anana. With them Israel is given fresh wellsprings of culture.

Allah Help the Jackals

While it’s obvious that overplaying your power can result in a downfall, it’s less obvious that underplaying it also leads to trouble. America did this in the 1970s under Carter. Israel seems to have done it almost perennially.

Yes

For Tel Aviv, Better a Skylift Than a Subway

Rather than copycatting a transportation system from the 19th century, Israel could inject into its civic planning the same audacity and resourcefulness that it has historically brought to agriculture and defence.

Yes

Canada Obscura

There’s not a patch of water to be seen—the most liquid thing is the word “Coffee” on one of the low-slung strip-mall buildings. It’s a scene more artful than art itself.

Tour of Kitchen Duty

There was yelling and spray and I raced to keep up. One can enjoy, briefly, the company of men.

Shiny Bright Toadstool

In Israel’s case, burgernomics don’t add up because significant factors contribute to the 30%-odd surcharge on a Big Mac.

The Fresh Jewels of Spring Mound

Quality of life in Tel Aviv is fundamentally enhanced by two simple factors: trees are everywhere, and so are apartments.

Independence Park Up for Grabs?

To this day men of many ages walk these bushes, they delicately lurk these bushes, and stand in places odd to choose.

We Tri Harder

A land could be governed not only by the three separate arms of government, but by three sovereign states.

Yes

Tira Saunters

The one-lane road is empty; down below is the Sharon Plain, looking vast. Israel may be a small country but we’re still speaking here of land.

A Call to Thumbs

When you hitchhike it’s out of your hands, and that’s therapeutic. Paradoxically, you also see how much control you do have.

 

Briefs (cont’d)

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

The bastards finally did it: Sde Dov Airport, within walking distance from Tel Aviv, closes. You’d have thought that enough powers-that-be would have liked a nice little airfield within 5 minutes of town. Well, hopefully eventually they’ll build another one in the Med.

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

The superior man nerves himself to ceaseless activity.

Confucius

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Perfect. The CSS Mindset by frontend web developer Max Böck, and one of those things I should have written myself were I sapiens sapiens.

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Hunger as Art is a 15-minute film released May 2019 by Israeli philosopher Daniel Milo, whose upcoming book Good Enough promises to be seminal. Via Venkatesh Rao’s ongoing exploration of mediocrity, Mediocratopia.

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

The Beta for Strapi v3 is out, with such major internal changes that it might well have been Strapi 4. Strapi is the Node-based self-hosted content management system / API generator that I use (though not yet for this site). The migration is quite involved, but for the first time I can remember, a migration like this went off without a hitch and worked first time! I’m very pleased with my choice of Strapi, even wearing the t-shirt. Bravo the Parisians!

Interesting /r/webdev thread: Does real web dev exist? Like the stuff they write all those articles about?. The consensus seems to be that the further along the spectrum from web site to web app, the more testing and whatnot becomes worthwhile.

Nice frank piece by Monica Lent, a software engineer in Berlin, about mistakenly believing one is a senior developer.

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

When you’re with someone you put up with stuff that makes you lose respect for them. And that is love.

Erin Hannon in The Office

Friday, May 17th, 2019

China breaches US oil export sanctions against Iran, Debka reports. Oh dear.

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

The whole thing is available online, Venkatesh Rao’s masterful Nietzschian deconstruction of The Office.

Monday, May 13th, 2019

We must be facing this: David Gelertner on giving up Darwin. Like Smith’s invisible hand and even Newton’s laws of physics, these glorious, newly-algorithmic cosmologies — the precursors to our wonder-world of bitty digitalism — aren’t the full explanation.

A manifesto for the remaining sensible: “Tucker’s Right” by Michael Anton.

Friday, May 10th, 2019

First episode of Views on Vue that I’ve found worthwhile, on things people don’t like about Vue, including a discussion on language and translation.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

This detailed account of how The Guardian changed its tech stack provides an excellent peek into the workings of a large digital media outfit.

Friday, April 19th, 2019

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

“Clients that come to you only for implementation are going to be your worst clients.” Yes! “The Strategic Independent” by Tom Critchlow.

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

Venkatesh is a treasure, what with his “Jonathan Livingstone Corporation” on solving not for money but aliveness.

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

James Bond: 50 Years of Main Title Design at Art of the Title. It’s by Ben Radatz, a partner at MK12 and co-director of Quantum of Solace‘s.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Pika, a future without webpack. Looks good, back to sanity. While I’m greatly appreciative that the mass of work involved with compiling stuff gives us hot-loading on the client end and components on the dev end, hopefully the big process that makes that possible will be reduced.

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Mathieu Triay on his Marvin Visions, a reinterpretation of the 1969 font Marvin by Michael Chave.

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Waffle House Vistas, a photo essay.

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

SpaceIL’s live page, featuring the Beresheet mission to the moon. This video diagrams the mission.

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Some good clear thoughts on decision-making in this review by Agnes Callard of Steven Berlin Johnson’s book on the topic.

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Jonathan Hoefler explores something that typeface designers have long known but that researchers have only now corroborated: horizontal lines appear thicker than vertical ones.

Most in-depth article on hoarding I’ve yet seen.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Life’s a lot easier when the bin’s not full.

ASK

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.

The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)

Monday, December 31st, 2018

The Six Day War, Fifty Years On is a series of articles by Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank including authors such as Gabi Siboni and Moshe Ya’alon.

How great to see some persuasive pundit prophecy: At the Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Jordan-born translator Abe Haak argues that the Palestinian Authority’s collapse is coming and in the ensuing violent anarchy Palestinians will rush to safe haven with friends in family in Jordan — and soon enough Jordan will instead come to them.

A Jordanian return to the population centers of the West Bank may seem merely wishful thinking, though it does seem to me the most likely long-term scenario (though perhaps will remain so indefinitely). By holding Area C and being patient for two generations Israel will have widened its narrow waist to a more defensible size without having to swallow a couple of million hostile people; shame Israel and Jordan couldn’t have come to such an arrangement during the aftermath of the Six Day War.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Choudhury

My first reading of Bikram’s second book in light of Bikram’s sexual assault accusations and exile from the USA, this one is not only weaker than his first due to a more lecturing tone and structure, now it seems downright tawdry, given the clean living Bikram advocates that he himself allegedly was not living up to. Ah well.

Monday, December 17th, 2018

The nine totally must-read lessons of Brexit by Ivan Rogers, who was fired as Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union for stating some of these truths. Abject.

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Ashdod-based Aleph Farms is growing bovine steak within 3 weeks.

Harvard’s Belfer Center has produced an English translation of the Israel Defense Forces’ 2015 formal defence doctrine directed mainly against Hizbollah. This is the first such publication, which is worrying because pieces of paper now comprise at least some elements of the country’s deterrence.

Friday, December 14th, 2018

Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class

Bikram Choudhoury

A re-read due to renewing my practice of Bikram’s hot yoga, again I’m struck by how perfectly balanced is its jaunty tone of humor, optimism and inclusion; it’s evidently a product of what in retrospect now seem the buoyant optimistic 1970s.

 
 

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Newsroll

A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.

experiments in refactored perception

  • Multitemporality: 1

    Today I officially start my fellowship at the Berggruen Institute, working on my multitemporality project. At the moment the plan for the project is to write a book, but who knows. It might morph into a comic book or an interpretive dance, as I’ve been telling people who seem inclined to form oppressively burdensome presumptions […]
  • Meaning as Ambiguity

    I can’t even tell if I was wrong or not. Maybe you’ll have better luck: In June at Refactor Camp I gave a talk about voids (How To See Voids). The hook for my talk was a pretty picture of late afternoon conifers in the woods outside Truckee, California, and a mystery: why does the […]
  • Predictable Identities: 15 – Newcomblike, Part I

    An introduction to Newcomblike situations.