black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.


On Tuesday, The International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, becomes The International New York Times.

But weep not: This is not the first name change for what was popularly known in its early years as the “Paris Herald,” and if the genealogy of a newspaper is reflected in its name (the original parent, The New York Herald, at one point the most profitable and popular paper in all the United States, ended its days as The New York World Journal Tribune), the DNA of a great paper is defined by evolution of the complex and intimate interplay of reader and editor, owner and technology.

And that is best discovered in the figurative basement of the paper, in those stacks of brown, brittle copies of old newspapers that trace the ever-changing interests, dramas, world views and pleasures — all that we call ‘news.’”

A fabulous look back: Turning the Page | NYT

Stories longer than 2,000 words down 86% at the LAT since 2003, 50% at WaPo, etc.

The Wall Street Journal, which pioneered the longform narrative in American newspapers, published 35 percent fewer stories over 2,000 words last year from a decade ago, 468 from 721.

When it comes to stories longer than 3,000 words, the three papers showed even sharper declines. The WSJ’s total is down 70 percent to 25 stories, from 87 a decade ago, and theLA Times down fully 90 percent to 34 from 368.

We start using something before we understand whether it’s safe. We begin to discover it’s not safe. Industry obscures the science and viciously battles off regulation for as long as possible, forecasting economic doom. Lots of people get sick and die while they do so. Finally some regulations are put in place. The costs of complying turn out to be lower than anyone predicted. The benefits turn out to be much greater than anyone predicted. The pollutant turns out to be more harmful than originally thought. Despite all of the above, industry continues battling efforts to further reduce the pollutant, while claiming credit for the benefits of reducing it as much as they were forced to.

Over and over and over, this story plays out. Yet with each new pollution fight, it’s as though we’ve never had all the previous ones. (See: chlorofluorocarbons, mercury, smog, phthalates, etc.)

Iceland may have a population of only 320,000, but as a showcase for radical democratic reform it is undoubtedly the country to watch in 2013. In April it will hold parliamentary elections, and a entirely new party is hoping to make an impact. Reykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr – formerly a stand-up comedian – has confirmed that he will stand for Bright Future, a new party that has grown out of the Best party, which stormed to victory in the municipal elections in 2010. Its comical campaign video – to the tune of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best – promised a polar bear for Reykjavik zoo and free towels in all public swimming pools, and attracted many protest votes in the wake of Iceland’s financial crash. But since taking power the party has taken difficult decisions and won plaudits for its “new politics”, which includes deciding policy through online debates and communicating with residents via Facebook.

Now several members have formed Bright Future and hope they can revive an interest in national politics in a similar way. On his own Facebook page Gnarr recently wrote: “I think Iceland could be the perfect laboratory for the future of democracy, direct democracy, participatory budgeting and other ideas.” Or, as he promised in 2010, he may just want to ensure “a drug free parliament by 2020”. 

World News in 2013: the stories to watch for | Guardian

"I am not an expert on Asperger’s syndrome. But I am an expert on me, and I have Asperger’s."

Editor’s note: Michael Ryan is an assignment producer who works on the homepage.

And attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And a bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Having all three disorders together is not unusual, my doctor says.

Like you, I get angry sometimes. And, like you, I would never think of channeling that emotion into violence. There is no direct connection between violence and autism. None. I don’t break things. I don’t hit my dogs. I keep a small Tupperware container in the house to catch insects so I can transport them safely outside before my cats or wife see them. I don’t disparage hunters, but I could never kill another creature. I just don’t have it in me. For the most part, I am just like you, just a bit quirky. All right, a lot quirky.

I am pedantic. I usually have no expression on my face or in my speech. I cannot look you in the eye. (I’ve learned to look people in the mouth or nose.) I cannot have a conversation of more than a few words with you, but I can lecture you ad nauseam on U.S. atomic bomb tests, the Cleveland Browns, beagles, Japanese society.

When you speak to me and I look away intently, I am parsing your words and running through scenarios based on your request or statement in an effort to understand you. Please bear with me.”

You should probably read this: I Have Asperger’s; I Am Just Like You

©2011 Kateoplis