Nº. 1 of  51

Year of the Penguin

My desk job is more sedentary than your desk job.

Me, if I have a really good meal, al fresco, say, followed by an espresso and an eau de vie and someone offers me a cigarette? I’m going to have it. I love a cigarette. What a pleasure with, say, a grappa overlooking the harbor of Portofino on my 49th birthday. Damn, that was a good cigarette. But I have no intention of addicting myself again, because that will give me the lung cancer and emphysema that killed my dad. I’d sooner eat straight sugar than drink a regular Coke, but am I going to forgo duck confit and bacon so that I can eke out 90 years? Are you kidding me? Shoot me now.

I’m sorry, I just get so goddam sick of studies and data telling me how to live, reading about this or that new diet that’s going to take pounds off my body and add countless Sound of Music years to my life. My hunch is that people don’t actually want to live longer—I think people want to be happier, to be more at ease with who they are, to feel glad when they wake up rather than dreadful, to feel good at the end of the day instead of crummy. The South Beach diet is not going to do this for you. Show me the data on how to be happy and I’ll listen. That’s what people are after and they can’t get their fingers on it. It’s not in a damned diet book, that’s for sure. It’s more likely in a pot of minestrone simmering on the stove.

Michael Ruhlman (via ayjay)

wtfevolution:

The piglet squid would seem to suggest that evolution’s medications are working. Possibly a little too well.

wtfevolution:

The piglet squid would seem to suggest that evolution’s medications are working. Possibly a little too well.

wtfevolution:

Good evolutionary defense mechanisms: Running very fast. Hiding really well. Being full of poison. Having wicked spikes. 

Questionable evolutionary defense mechanisms: … whatever this is.

ayjay:


Best postage stamp that ever will be, obvsly.

ayjay:

Best postage stamp that ever will be, obvsly.

ayjay:

newyorker:

Teju Cole on the civilizing function of literature, and the disparity between Obama’s bookshelf and his use of targeted killings: 

How on earth did this happen to the reader in chief? What became of literature’s vaunted power to inspire empathy? Why was the candidate Obama, in word and in deed, so radically different from the President he became?

Continue reading: http://nyr.kr/WYUGMz
 
Photograph: Pete Souza/The White House/Getty.

It’s so strange to me that there is still anyone anywhere who think that there is any connection whatsoever between a given person’s reading preferences and his or her moral stature. There is no “civilizing function of literature”; people will only benefit morally from reading literature if they already have a strong moral formation. As Terry Eagleton wrote many years ago about the deeply cultured officers of the Third Reich, “When the Allied troops moved into the concentration camps … to arrest commandants who had whiled away their leisure hours with a volume of Goethe, it appeared that someone had some explaining to do.” Cole mentions this uncomfortable fact, but, reluctant to draw the obvious conclusion from it, remains puzzled that the President’s political and military decisions could somehow be at odds with what Cole imagines that a reader of Derek Walcott’s poetry would be likely to do. This is misbegotten in more ways than I can even list.

ayjay:

newyorker:

Teju Cole on the civilizing function of literature, and the disparity between Obama’s bookshelf and his use of targeted killings:

How on earth did this happen to the reader in chief? What became of literature’s vaunted power to inspire empathy? Why was the candidate Obama, in word and in deed, so radically different from the President he became?

Continue reading: http://nyr.kr/WYUGMz

 

Photograph: Pete Souza/The White House/Getty.

It’s so strange to me that there is still anyone anywhere who think that there is any connection whatsoever between a given person’s reading preferences and his or her moral stature. There is no “civilizing function of literature”; people will only benefit morally from reading literature if they already have a strong moral formation. As Terry Eagleton wrote many years ago about the deeply cultured officers of the Third Reich, “When the Allied troops moved into the concentration camps … to arrest commandants who had whiled away their leisure hours with a volume of Goethe, it appeared that someone had some explaining to do.” Cole mentions this uncomfortable fact, but, reluctant to draw the obvious conclusion from it, remains puzzled that the President’s political and military decisions could somehow be at odds with what Cole imagines that a reader of Derek Walcott’s poetry would be likely to do. This is misbegotten in more ways than I can even list.

In the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth. Un-helmeted cyclists are regarded as irresponsible, like people who smoke. Cities are aggressive in helmet promotion. But many European health experts have taken a very different view: Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.

On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles. That means more obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And — Catch-22 — a result is fewer ordinary cyclists on the road, which makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network. The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule.

“Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. He studied the issue with mathematical modeling, and concludes that the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1.

To Encourage Biking, Cities Forget About Helmets - NYTimes.com (via ayjay)

(via ayjay)

If you’ve been watching NBC in prime time the past few nights, you’ve probably noticed how, night in, night out, we’ve been wrecking the Olympics for you. All we can say is, our bad. At NBC we’re just not used to broadcasting things that people want to watch.

But all that’s about to change.

Tonight, for those of you who like watching the Olympics without having every moment drained of its entertainment value, we are launching a new premium service called NBCFree: the Olympics without any contributions from NBC whatsoever.

For only $29.95 you can watch the Olympics with no spoilers, no maudlin “personal narratives,” and no promos for NBC’s new fall shows like that egregious one with the doctor and the monkey we show like every five minutes. And for $39.95, no Ryan Seacrest.

A Message from NBC About Its Olympics Coverage : The New Yorker (via ayjay)

It’s like they have never aired a sporting event before. 

(via ayjay)

Homemade donuts for the church potluck (Taken with Instagram)

Homemade donuts for the church potluck (Taken with Instagram)

From Nathan Ripperger’s series “Things I’ve Said to My Children“…
via 22 Words

From Nathan Ripperger’s series “Things I’ve Said to My Children“…

via 22 Words

Johnna and Olivia (Taken with Instagram at Korzo)

Johnna and Olivia (Taken with Instagram at Korzo)

Nº. 1 of  51