I wanted to get my last post (“The city, she loves me”) out before I started on the Weekend Reading, but a lot of things delayed me from starting either of them until late. (That part is a lie, I was just really lazy over the long weekend.) Here’s this week’s inaccurately titled Weekend Reading, including links from the days I procrastinated all the way back to last Saturday. Most of these seem to be just interesting rather than serious links.
Best of the Week – Politics: Why Bush Hasn’t Been Impeached
I hate to choose this as my best of the week because, though I fully support the movement, I’m starting to really dislike the Bush-whacking crowd for the same reasons I dislike fundamentalists – too many pointless complaints flying around. (Stop complaining and quietly do something about it, I say.) However, this was the best political essay I’ve read in a very long time. It presents a very clear explanation without resorting to hate speech or pointless accusation, and had several excellent points.
Fun/Caffeine: The Caffeine Database
This is a really cool interactive chart that lets you calculate your caffeine intake. There is a gigantic list of caffeinated beverages and foods to choose from that will add up to your intake in mg, along with a message. My caffeine intake today is “Climbing the Walls” (a short coffee at Starbucks, two cups of brewed coffee, and a cup of imported black tea).
Interesting: The Mystery of the Daytime Idle: Why Aren’t You Working? (San Francisco Chronicle via SF Gate)
I have ALWAYS wondered about this. No matter what day of the week it is, there are always loads of people walking around the city during the day. Don’t they have to work? In this article, a San Francisco writer goes out to the streets during the day to ask people why they’re working. The responses were very interesting.
Business/Economics: Who Will Win in the 21st Century? (Business Week)
The annual World Competitiveness Yearbook still lists the U.S. as #1 overall, but other countries are quickly gaining on them. (Behind the U.S. are the usual suspects – Asian tigers and Northern Europe.) Also mentioned in this article is the “Happiness Factor”, which adds greater depth to the results. South American countries may not be economically aggressive, but they’re happier. Many European countries – plus Canada (whoo!) – are among the happiest.
Blogging: 27 Lessons Learned on the Way to 3000 Visits a Day and 2200 RSS Subscribers
A blog called “Pick the Brain” presents twenty-seven tips for bloggers. Some very practical tips here about content, traffic, and feedback.
Education: Study Finds College-Prep Courses in High School Leave Many Students Lagging (New York Times)
Laughable if it wasn’t sad: apparently, only a little over 25% of high school students that take a full college-prep curriculum are being properly prepared for college, and nearly 20% are not prepared at all. The problem is content, not course selection. It reminds me of another article by educational columnist Jay Mathews in the Washington Post: “In Many Classrooms, ‘Honors’ in Name Only”. Some schools attach the title “Honors” to a course on students’ transcripts just to make them sound more impressive to colleges, despite the course being of regular – or worse – quality.
Image: Al Gore’s American Life – Photo Essays (TIME Magazine)
This is a direct link to an image that I found circulating around everywhere today… it’s Al Gore’s desk. It’s messy, and quite cool (I love cluttered desks).
Health/Intelligence: High IQ Link to Being Vegetarian (BBC)
A study has found that vegetarians average five more IQ points than non-vegetarians. It makes sense to me in a lot of ways… vegetarians need to plan their diet to get the right amount of protein, greater health awareness is linked to intelligence, etc. Coincidentally, I’m a vegetarian, but it has more to do with personal preference than anything ideological.
Psychology: Field Guide to the Loner: The Real Insiders (Psychology Today)
I wrote something, months ago, about the very same subject – it might become my next post (or at least a future one) when I can tweak it to sound less… angsty. The idea in this article is that most loners quite enjoy their solitude, and are just as happy being alone as extroverts are being with other people. I think this is very important for extroverts to understand. Don’t pity the loners and assume that we’re antisocial or friendless; we just enjoy being alone.
Interesting: Einstein: His Life and His Universe (New York Times)
The New York Times published this first chapter of an Albert Einstein biography, and it looks very promising. (Lots of talk about Einstein lately – TIME recently published an article about him, too.) This chapter is a basic introduction to his personal life and some of his ideas, physics-related and not.
Education: No Child Left Behind, the Football Version
If NCLB were applied to football. I think this should put things in perspective for its supporters.
That’s it for this week!