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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.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”