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It’s hard to talk about the dangers of cell-phone radiation without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. This is especially true in the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place, and where our lives have been so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that to suggest it might be a problem—maybe, eventually, a very big public-health problem—is like saying our shoes might be killing us. Except our shoes don’t send microwaves directly into our brains. And cell phones do—a fact that has increasingly alarmed the rest of the world. Consider, for instance, the following headlines that have appeared in highly reputable international newspapers and journals over the past few years. From summer 2006, in the Hamburg Morgenpost: Are we telephoning ourselves to death? That fall, in the Danish journal Dagens Medicin: Mobile phones affect the brain’s metabolism. December 2007, from Agence France-Presse: Israeli study says regular mobile use increases tumour risk. January 2008, in London’s Independent: Mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep. September 2008, in Australia’s The Age: Scientists warn of mobile phone cancer risk. –“Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health,” Christopher Ketcham,” GQ
Also by Christopher Ketcham, in Harper’s Magazine: “They Shoot Buffalo, Don’t They: Hazing America’s last wild herd,” (free) and “Meet the New Boss: Man vs. Machine in Brooklyn Politics” (subs)
I don’t want to have a salty, transgressive mini-adult around. The joke is not that great. My parents raised me with rules and standards, which I gradually learned to break over time. I can remember my mother remonstrating with me, probably in the middle-school years, for my overreliance on “holy crap.” It was no doubt a relief to my father when I devolved into full foul-mouthed teenagerhood and he could go back to saying “dog-fucking son of a bitch” during Eagles games or whenever. But he didn’t try to speed up the process. So it was guilty and mortified laughter that I was stifling, ineffectively. No one will mimic you more cruelly and accurately than your own child. “Daddy made a mistake!” is his favorite gag line of all. Daddy made a mistake! It’s not funny. It’s funny. Fuck! I mean, drat. –“Underparenting: Words!” by Tom Scocca, The Awl
Americans simply must have free news free all the time without ever paying anything for it ever;
it’s true–ask Harper’s web editor, Paul Ford: “sometimes people say YOU ARE THE STUPIDEST WEBSITE IN STUPIDTOWN BECAUSE I WANT EVERYTHING FREE RIGHT NOW!”;
of course, no one should ever ask for the most important development in the history of human technology for free;
that would be wrong;
and good God, agreement with George Packer?
That’s really wrong.
The Court has given lobbyists, already much too powerful, a nuclear weapon. Some lawyers have predicted that corporations will not take full advantage of it: they will want to keep their money for their business. But that would still permit carefully targeted threats. What legislator tempted to vote for health care reform or Obama’s banking reorganization would be indifferent to the prospect that his reelection campaign could be swamped in a tsunami of expensive negative advertising? How many corporations fearful of environmental or product liability litigation would pass up the chance to tip the balance in a state judicial election? On the most generous understanding the decision displays the five justices’ instinctive favoritism of corporate interests. But some commentators, including The New York Times, have suggested a darker interpretation. The five justices may have assumed that allowing corporations to spend freely against candidates would favor Republicans; perhaps they overruled long-established laws and precedents out of partisan zeal. If so, their decision would stand beside the Court’s 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore as an unprincipled political act with terrible consequences for the nation. –“The ‘Devastating’ Decision,” Ronald Dworkin, The New York Review of Books
Ranking the country’s seven worst political ads begs the question: are any of them good?
Or should Obama just ask everyone: how’m I doing??
If the labor market is “reawakening”, the answer must be bad, but better
The Super Bowl, if moderately artsy film directors took over the whole shebang
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.”