We live in an age of space-image abundance. Sure, NASA may not be able to continue running its existing missions, but, guys, we have more space photos and videos than we know what to do with.
Well, actually, we do know what to do with them: love them, unreservedly. In a fast-moving world, on a fast-moving Internet, space rises up above the snark, the cynicism, and the inanities. They are little oases of sincerity amid it all.
But how do you sell space in a headline?
Read more. [Image: NASA/Rebecca J. Rosen]
The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons has been traveling with Vice President Joseph Biden through Asia this week, and wrote yesterday how the vice president attempted to defuse a crisis between China and Japan in the East China Sea. But along the way, Clemons became part of the story himself. Assigned to be the “pool reporter” covering Biden today, Clemons unwittingly found himself inserted in the vice president’s conversation with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao. Here is Steve’s report in its entirety.
Read more. [Image: Andy Wong/Reuters]
Design is never neutral. It alters behavior and has life-and-death implications. For Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the MoMA’s department of architecture and design, this fact has been a fixation. She has initiated an impressive share of breakthrough exhibits and events focusing on the way visuals affect the world. Her latest is Design and Violence, an online forum devoted to exploring the darker side of the creative mind, using essays and discussion boards. Given MoMA’s mandate to acquire and exhibit objects of beauty with cultural significance, it’s a somewhat radical move.
Read more. [Photo courtesy of the designers]
Earlier this month, a 32-year-old husband and father fell 16 feet from a tree while hunting, broke his neck and was left paralyzed from the neck down—making him quadriplegic—and reliant on a ventilator to breathe. According to the Indy Star, while he was still in the intensive care unit, in the early phases of his injury, his family told his health care providers that they didn’t think that he would want to live as a quadriplegic. According to the story, the doctors discontinued his sedation, and he awoke enough to verify that he did not wish to live as a quadriplegic. The doctors discontinued life sustaining measures and he died about five hours later, surrounded by his family and friends.
At first glance, you may agree with the decision: An individual ought to have total autonomy over his body and future. Who better to make the decision than the patient himself? According to the article, his wife said, “The last thing he wanted was to be in a wheelchair” and “His quality of life would’ve been very poor.” It is not for me to question their decision—I was not there, I was not their physician, and I don’t know what process the healthcare providers followed. But this story brings a number of disturbing issues to light.
Read more. [Image: Marcel Oosterwijk/flickr]
We investigate with charts and a live exchange rate.
Yesterday, we ran a story about a rather astonishing fact that the Harvard Crimson uncovered: The most common grade at Harvard is an A.
To a lot of readers, this high-grades bonanza is a symptom of today’s “cult of self-esteem.” Kids these days—especially high-achieving kids who end up at elite colleges—are so conditioned to expect praise that they fall apart when they face failure. Harvard perpetuates the cult by patting its students on the head rather than truly challenging them. “Everyone gets a trophy,” Ryan Foster tweeted in response to the story. “Everyone is special!,” wrote Caspar Melville.
Not everyone was so quick to criticize Harvard.
Read more. [Image: Elise Amendola/AP Images]
BEIJING — On Wednesday, fresh off a visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Joe Biden spent five and a half hours in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping over a series of meetings and dinner. The marathon diplomacy capped a delicate effort by the vice president this week to tamp down Japan’s anger over provocative Chinese actions in the East China Sea while not coming down too hard on China.
Tensions have been growing in Asia among a number of key regional players—particularly Japan and China, which have been squaring off over competing sovereignty claims to five tiny, uninhabited islands that the Chinese call the Diaoyu and the Japanese call the Senkaku. Last week, China raised the blood pressure of Japan’s prime minister—and many a commercial airline pilot—by unilaterally imposing an Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, that overlaps with territory Japan and South Korea also claim.
Read more. [Image: Lintao Zhang/Reuters]
Between 1968, when Lyndon Johnson left the White House, and the end of the century, the nation elected only two Democratic presidents. Both were Southern populists who had been careful to differentiate themselves from Great Society and their liberal predecessors. That all changed in 2008, when Barack Obama defeated the party-establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, and then Republican John McCain with a campaign that pledged to end political and ideological polarization with pragmatic problem-solving—from a liberal point of departure.
Before 2008, Obama looked like a liberal of moderate temperament. He had the bad luck to take office at a time of financial and economic crises overshadowing everything else. He has said since that he underestimated at the time the depth of the crises. That no doubt led him, before growth and stability had been restored, to undertake in 2009 a remake of the entire health sector. Both his stimulus package and healthcare proposal were mainly designed by House Democratic leaders and the interest groups that supported his 2008 campaign. There was no serious attempt, in formulating either program, to draw Republicans into participation, as LBJ had done in 1965. Provisions allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines, and providing for meaningful tort reform, could have done that without forfeiting Democratic support. Trial lawyers would have objected but not jeopardized the bill’s passage.
Read more. [Image: Jason Reed/Reuters]
The pernicious, lifelong effects of concentrated wealth and concentrated poverty.
Prolific isn’t the same as great, but for a soul singer, it’s very difficult to achieve the latter without some of the former. More work makes it harder for history to forget you, and less likely for a valuable release to be considered an aberration.
Consider the “classic” singers of soul and funk. The Motown crew knew the importance of ubiquity: Marvin Gaye put out five studio albums, a movie soundtrack, and a collaboration with Diana Ross in the ‘70s; Stevie Wonder did eight records in that decade (two were double albums), and Diana Ross’s total exceeded Wonder’s. After breaking into the big time in 1967, Aretha Franklin released more than an album a year through the ‘70s. Al Green had 11 secular LPs from 1970 to 1977. James Brown and George Clinton put out albums like they were going out of style—long before they did, in fact, go out of style. Clinton needed more than one band so people didn’t get tired of his name.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]