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Until now, passenger convenience has largely been ignored. After 9/11, a litany of sharp objects was banned from carry-ons. After Richard Reid tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneaker on a flight from Paris to Miami in Dec. 2001, travelers were told to remove their shoes for screening. And after British officials foiled a plot to blow up planes with liquid explosives in August 2006, liquids, gels and aerosols were banned, though later allowed as long as they were packed in tiny bottles and in plastic bags. And just when passengers think they know the routine, the Transportation Safety Administration adds a twist. Earlier this month, for example, it began screening certain powders in carry-on luggage. And screeners recently started asking passengers to place shoes directly on conveyor belts rather than in bins, giving officers a better view of shoes as they come through. It’s hard not to ask: Is all this necessary? Is it making us any safer? And will it ever get better? Based on interviews with a range of security experts, the answers increasingly seem to be no; not really; and not for a while. –“No Rest for the Airport Security Weary,” Michelle Higgins, The New York Times
Torture makes alleged terrorist forget possible crimes;
real estate that floats: panacea to bereft property speculators or just modern design?;
beware of falling coconuts; Head injuries: best while drunk
Schimmelpenninck: Made in Holland. A dented little tin taken down from the cluttered top shelf of the bookcase behind my attic desk, a bookcase that has become one of my default reliquaries, kind of like the mesh sieve in the kitchen drain that catches everything left from the wash-up of a family meal, except that the sieve then gets emptied into the kitchen trash while the sentimental refuse of living just accumulates. I picked it up in the spirit of ‘you have to start somewhere,’ but also with a certain confidence. I am, after all, the writing teacher who quotes to his students the line from Flaubert: “Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.” And I do believe it, interest being the discovery of connections that feel as if they are leading somewhere, marking a path. It is the product of attention. Look! Look closer! What do you see? Start with the eye and see what happens. Pray, as Lowell did, for the grace of accuracy. Schimmelpenninck. Well, the little tin is there to be looked at, but it would be nothing to me—sentimentally, associatively—if it weren’t for the sound and look of that word. A word that means absolutely nothing to me. –“Bits,” Sven Birkerts, Agni
Ego-surfing and its linguistic variants;
tourist excursion to polygamous communities–clothing still required;
note to Middle East: cupcakes are done!;
bailout bucks: irony for Republicans;
conformists kill society
On the eve of the 60th anniversary Oct. 1 of Communist rule that was supposed to create a classless utopia, China is instead gripped with a renewed sense of anger toward a new elite. The Mandarin phrase, “fen fu,” or to hate the rich, has been coined in recent months to capture the public’s bitter resentment. Three decades ago, then-leader Deng Xiaoping launched China’s economic miracle under the slogan, “to get rich is glorious.” He added a caveat, however: “Let some people get rich first.” They did — but not everyone else followed. China hasn’t recreated its old class system, and even in Mao Zedong’s day people resented abusers of power. Mr. Deng’s reforms enabled hundreds of millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. Yet today’s richer China is also a more divided China. It is split between poor rural areas and richer cities; between developed coastal regions and poorer inland areas; between the educated and the uneducated. And these growing gaps, widely believed to be at the root of social unrest, are only part of the problem. –“China’s Rich Youth Spark Bitter Divide,” Shai Oster, The Wall Street Journal
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”