Daily Office:
Tuesday, 12 October 2010


¶ Although we’re terrified of a Republican takeover of Congress, we try not to show it, even to ourselves, because fear is so bad for morale. We do our best and hope for the best. You’d think that politicians, clever boys that they are, would figure out a way to making doing the best and hoping for the best sound like a satisfying and doable social goal — but perhaps they’re not so clever, after all. And we’re left with the problem of an electorate disappointed by deflated hopes — the subject of an interesting essay by Drake Bennett at the Globe.  (via 3 Quarks Daily)


¶ With the death of Joan Sutherland, the trio of Space Age voices has deserted Planet Earth.Like Birgit Nilsson and Luciano Pavarotti, Sutherland possessed a voice of superhuman power and accuracy, and reminded opera fans what it’s like to live in an era of exciting voices. As she was the first to say, however, Joan Sutherland was half of a team, and she is survived by the other half, her husband, Richard Bonynge, a man whose influence on his wife’s career brought Svengali to many minds. (NYT)


¶ Two good stories about business technology in today’s Times: Wayne Arnold’s report on the obstacles to cloud computing in Asia — China’s government requires Chinese servers, but the bandwidth isn’t up to the task — and Ashlee Vance’s story about Michael Simon, an entrepreneur who went to Hungary in 1992, after b school, and turned himself into a “mogul.”


¶ Remember being told, when you were little, that deaf people can see better, and vice versa? It turns out to be objectively correct: the brain compensates for sensory deprivation by intensifying certain existing powers — the ones that would be especially useful to the deprived individual. (Wired Science)


¶ A story you gotta love: Speakeasy hounds are sniffing out Mad Men‘s plot twists but doing real-world research. When the American Cancer Society called on Sterling Cooper, in the last episode (this is pretend, mind you), did that herald a return of “Connie” Hilton, the real-life hotelier who appears in the show’s third season, and (also in real-life) a patron of the ACS?


¶ At Real Clear World, Claude Rakisits, of Australia’s Deakin University, calls for a Marshall Plan for Pakistan. A nice idea, but hardly viable without first abolishing Pakistan’s feudal power structure first. The plea is primarily useful as a reading on how inadequate the national and international response to the summer floods has been.


¶ Ms NOLA tipped us off to a Tom-Sawyer event that’s going to hosted by the Philippine bloggers who run Literary Stew and Coffeespoons, in the second week in November (7-13): read a book published by the New York Review of Books (nyrb) and blog about it.


¶ David Brooks writes about “demosclerosis” (Jonathan Rauch’s coinage), the paralyzing effect of pension commitments. While we’re not entirely opposed to public-sector unions, the wrong-headedness of public-sector pensions is obvious. (We believe that pensions generally must be funded by payroll deductions — now, that is, rather than later.) (NYT)

Have A Look

¶ Terry Teachout’s “Not Unlike,” an illustrated memoir about color television.

The cloudy future of the Yerkes Observatory. (Wired Science)

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