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The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked “highly confidential,” that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an online newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document had been made public. — “U.S. Accidentally Releases List of Nuclear Sites,” William J. Broad, The New York Times
Swine flu still on the march; Indian train conductor asleep at controls; “Members of Congress have called the leaders of [Obama's] auto task force to complain about the closing of a single Chrysler dealer.” (via)
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., the third-largest U.S. life insurer by 2008 sales, has bought gold for the first time the company’s 152-year history to hedge against further asset declines. “Gold just seems to make sense; it’s a store of value,” Chief Executive Officer Edward Zore said in an interview following his comments at a conference hosted by Standard & Poor’s in Brooklyn. “In the Depression, gold did very, very well.– “Northwestern Mutual Makes First Gold Buy in 152 Years,” Andrew Frye, Bloomberg
“Gold officially exited the Early Adopter stage of market development and entered the Early Majority stage”; private sector jobs down by 532,000; regulations are destroying British pub life, but beer sales up 5.6 percent this year (donuts up 4.3 percent) (via); Starbucks pays $10 million to be the official coffee of Morning Joe (via)
The death of the author– a fatality acted out in critical theory more than in poetry– supposedly was yet another moment of such cleavages in the history of reading, writing & attention. Conceptual poetry both notices these recurring break points, not to mention the uglier reality that the earlier modes never actually go away– intellectually, the anti-modernists are still afraid to look down as they venture across that gap in the mountains– and tries to both replicate that moment yet again & step outside the paradigm at the same time. But it’s not possible to do both simultaneously: “glorious failure,” Conceptualism’s antidote for the “adorable detail,” is in fact just another mode of detailing & glorious as a category is all about mastery. — “Wednesday, June 03, 2009,” Ron Silliman, Silliman’s Blog
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.”