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Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days. So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place. So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more. –“Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid,” Jeremy Clarkson, TimesOnline (via)
A particularly good-hearted neighbor, Nancy Cardozo, approached and attempted to intervene.
“She doesn’t want a tree,” Cardozo noted.
“Sorry, I have the contract and I have a big payroll,” the man replied. “I have to put the tree there.”
The man’s tone remained remarkably amiable, even though Cardozo positioned herself in a way that might impede the work.
“You can have the tree moved later,” he offered.
“Wouldn’t it make more sense just to put it where we want it?” Cardozo inquired.
“No, this is what I have to do,” he said.
Washington Post‘s terrifying “Laws That Could Save Journalism” proposes breaking the Internet and allowing even more media consolidation to solve newspaper woes; Glenn Greenwald on Maureen Dowd’s plagiarism and the relationship between bloggers and traditional journalists; The Awl on Dowd
Microsoft is on its way to becoming a dominant brand in Africa, mainly through the deals made with various governments. “We are very conscious of the environment in which we do business, where our employees and customers live, we always try to empower those communities,” said Dr Diarra. “Africa is really the last frontier in not only developing technology that is specific to people’s needs, but eventually even developing new business models that will enable the emergence of local software industries, such as young people who have the skills to be able to write their own applications for their own community,” he said. –“The hi-tech battle for Africa,” Alka Marwaha, BBC World Service
Related: Does Bill Gates’s anti-hunger initiative actually perpetuate hunger? Subscribers can read the Harper’s June cover story, “Let Them Eat Cash: Can Bill Gates turn hunger into profit?” by Frederick Kaufman.
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature