New Sounds

I recently managed to accidentally wipe out all the music I had stored digitally. This is not the first time I would have done something like this, but it is the first time that it has been a net positive.

To rebuild my music library, I went through my contact address book, and thought of an album that certain friends or family made me think of. I tracked those down in the online music service I use, and saved those.

This has made anytime I listen to music online or at a computer, a much richer experience. I get so much more than just some background tunes. The albums rekindle memories of good times and bad, surfaces faces from across the world, and reminds me of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Rock on.

1300 Years of Islamic History in 3 Minutes

Thanks Barry


Black market snacks

A map of San Francisco drawn by Harrison Godwin in 1927 to help tourists cruise around. The Bold Italic notes, “The streets are essentially the same,” as are the hordes of tourists puttering around the city! Hi-res version on

Germs at work! With just one sick person at the office, “it could be just 2 to 4 hours before the contagion has spread to 40 to 60 percent of frequently handled surfaces, as well as your coworkers.” (CityLab)

Independent Scots?!?
Blow up the borders! Crash the currency!
Krugman: Don’t be nuts!

Inside Capitol Hill’s black market for snacks (POLITICO)

Dozens of junior staff who spoke with POLITICO described an elaborate barter system based on local products. Pepsi is swapped for M&M’s, and Coca-Cola for Craisins. Unpaid interns are rewarded with treats for fetching lawmaker signatures. Sharing a cellphone charger with another office might net a bag of chips or candy. The most dedicated snackers have compiled comprehensive lists of who has what — a Capitol Hill snack bible of sorts.

A Yazidi girl tells of being held captive and sexually abused on a daily basis by ISIS fighters. (Telegraph)

The woman said her captors had initially confiscated her mobile and those of all the other women, but had then changed strategy, returning the phones so that the women and girls could recount to the outside world the full horror of what was happening to them.

New Twitter Use: Vacation Views With Micah

People use Twitter for many things, but I think I have a new spin on it that could bring me some money.

In addition to just ogling at the stunning landscapes that my man Micah Grimes is tweeting from his Grand Tetons-Jackson Hole-Colorado vacation, I am thinking about printing them out and making inspirational posters.

Also, I think my parents are trekking around out there too. But they are rebels and never let me know what they are doing.

To figure out which whales were which

Draghi “pulled out the long bow, notched the biggest monetary arrow he was allowed, gave a mighty pull and let fly…” (Allen Mattich)

A former hedge fund manager and now college application wizard is guaranteeing prospective students that they’ll get into the Ivy League college of their choice if they give him money. (BW)

After signing an agreement in May 2012, the family wired Ma $700,000 over the next five months—before the boy had even applied to college. The contract set out incentives that would pay Ma as much as $1.1 million if the son got into the No. 1 school in U.S. News’ 2012 rankings.

British authorities have begun investigating the recent disappearance of two Britons who were researching the working conditions of foreign laborers building stadiums for the 2020 World Cup to be held in Qatar. (Al Riyadh)

Researchers believe that California blue whales have recovered in numbers and the population has returned to sustainable levels. (BBC)

Matryoshka doll

Let’s talk about margins,” by @craigmod

A book with proper margins says a number of things. It says, we care about the page. It says, we care about the words. We care so much that we’re going to ensure the words and the page fall into harmony. We’re not going to squish the text to save money. Oh, no, we will not not rush and tuck words too far into the gutter.

A book with proper margins says, We respect you, Dear Reader, and also you, Dear Author, and you, too, Dear Book.

Why are Russians dying in numbers, and at ages, and of causes never seen in any other country that is not, by any standard definition, at war?

In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality. By the mid-1990s, the average St. Petersburg man lived for seven fewer years than he did at the end of the Communist period; in Moscow, the dip was even greater, with death coming nearly eight years sooner.

ISIS massacred hundreds of Iraqi military recruits in June. Ali Hussein Kadhim survived. This is his improbable story.

The militants, with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, separated the men by sect. The Sunnis were allowed to repent for their service to the government. The Shiites were marked for death, and lined up in groups.

Mr. Kadhim was No. 4 in his line.

As the firing squad shot the first man, blood spurted onto Mr. Kadhim’s face. He remembered seeing a video camera in the hands of another militant.

“I saw my daughter in my mind, saying, ‘Father, father,’ ” he said.

He felt a bullet pass by his head, and fell forward into the freshly dug trench.

“I just pretended to be shot,” he said.

‘How enviable a quiet death… ‘

Despite what appears to be a set of alarming trends, the value of a bachelor’s degree for the average graduate has held near its all-time high of about $300,000 for more than a decade. (Liberty Street Economics)

An NFL Player Got A Tattoo On His Face To Keep Himself From Ever Getting A Normal Job. (@BI_Sports)

St. Louis Rams rookie defense lineman Ethan Westbrooks made the final 53-man roster on Saturday, beating out Michael Sam for one of the team’s final spots.

Westbrooks has a remarkable story of his own. In 2011 he was working at a Toys “R” Us and playing for Sacramento City College. Three years later, he’s in the NFL. According to Westbrooks, an unlikely motivational tool — a face tattoo — is part of the reason for his success.

Westbrooks told ESPN’s Nick Wagoner that he got a tattoo below his eye in 2011 because he never wanted to get a normal job again. Making it in the NFL would be the only way to prevent him from becoming “a guy that has a tattoo on his face looking for another job.”

Too much stuff. Don’t even click. Horrible trap. But, seriously, check it out. (Bloomberg)

A North Carolina death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence on Tuesday was once held up by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as an example of someone who deserved to die. (Ed Mazza)

Justice Harry A. Blackmun issued a dissenting opinion arguing that capital punishment is cruel and unusual, and therefore unconstitutional.

Scalia answered back with an opinion of his own:

“For example, the case of an 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat,” Scalia wrote in Callins v. Collins. “How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!”

Zonas de Empleo y Desarrollo Económico (ZEDE)

Russia and China have begun the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries.

The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world’s largest fuel network. Both Putin and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli have called the project the world’s largest construction project, as investment from both countries will be more than $70 billion.

Increasingly it appears that China will defer to Russia when it comes to cementing bilateral commodity deals, especially if it means further distancing both sides from what has emerged as a natural foe to both aspirational nations: the United States. (Zerohedge)

Chinese authorities in the restive western region of Xinjiang have begun offering large cash incentives for interracial marriages in the latest attempt to quell growing unrest among the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic group that inhabit the region. (FT)

The coast of Honduras could be the site of a radical experiment: one in which foreign 
investors bankroll a quasi-sovereign city. Backers say it will lift the region out of poverty — but residents are anything but convinced. (FP)

“This is the most dangerous thing I’ve read in my life,” says one woman, holding up a well-worn photocopy of the ZEDEs legislation. “The whole law is a deception.”

Putin Ends the Interregnum (Lilia Shevtsova)

The war with Ukraine has thus become an existential problem for the current Russian political regime. It can’t afford a defeat.

We face a new reality in which neither Cold War schemes nor post-Cold War settlement approaches appear to work.

‘There are no freak waves in the world’

Negro woman, almost blind, near Beaufort, South Carolina<br />
Photographer<br />
Marion Post Wolcott<br />
Created<br />
December 1938<br />
Location<br />
Beaufort, Beaufort, South Carolina
Negro woman, almost blind, near Beaufort, South Carolina (Marion Post Wolcott; December 1938; Beaufort, Beaufort, South Carolina)

From 1935 and 1945, the Farm Security Administration commissioned photographers to document the scenes of the U.S. Great Depression and the period of emergence from it. Yale University posted 170,000 images from this effort online, explorable by county.

The indoor ocean where the Navy tests its ships. (Smithsonian)

216 state-of-the-art electronically-controlled wave boards has made this the most sophisticated scientific wave-testing basin of its size in the world. … The hinged wave boards, each with its own motor synced up to software, can precisely recreate eight ocean conditions (from flat calm to typhoonlike) across all seven seas, pushing the water and moving up and down like giant piano keys whose scales and chords are waves.

The worst drivers in America are from Massachusetts. The Bay State accounts for three of the bottom four cities in the rankings.

Scientists find ‘wonder-herb’ in the Himalayas (Times Of India)

Indian scientists claim to have found a “wonder herb” named “Rhodiola” in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. They say that the herb can regulate the immune system, help adapt to the mountain environment and even protect from radioactivity.