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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.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”