It’s winter, and just as ever summer brings out kooks claiming that a hot spell in Colorado is the result of global warming, so too does winter bring out the kooks claiming that record cold temperatures and snowfall in New England means global warming is bunk. In both cases people are confusing weather and climate. So, as an Official S&R Public Service Announcement™, here’s the definitions of weather and climate, as well as a number of easy to understand examples of each. Continue reading
A business ought to make a profit if it’s properly capitalized and wisely run. If it is neither, it fails. Today, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, joining the Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, in the red-ink tank.
With assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million, the Strib, as it’s commonly known, certainly qualifies as undercapitalized. (Yes, we know: Declines in print advertising revenues had a great deal to do with this.) Wisely run? Less than two years ago, then-owner McClatchy Co. sold the Strib to a private equity group, Avista Capital Partners of New York, for $530 million.
So what does a gaggle of “seasoned professionals” — whose Web site says its “Global Partnership Strategy of focus, collaboration and expertise in business and investing—will enable us to do more than just make ‘good buys’ in today’s market … and supports management and enhances operational performance, creating real value” — know about newspapering?
by JS O’Brien
Sunday, January 18 will be the 97th anniversary of the day Robert Falcon Scott’s British Terra Nova Expedition arrived at the South Pole in 1912. As many may know, there was a race to the Pole with the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen — a race the British lost. They also lost their lives, with the weakened, last three members of the five-man team to reach the Pole slowly dying of dehydration, starvation, and gangrene only 11 miles from the safety of One Ton Depot, where supplies, medical attention, and a relief party awaited them.
At the time, the story of the party’s demise made headlines larger than those for the sinking of the Titanic, because the elements of the story, interpreted in an ever-so-slightly-post-Edwardian way, made for a tragic tale in the heroic literary tradition. In many ways, those elements still do, but with a twist that is both modern and at least as ancient as Sophocles.
Terra Nova is an utterly marvelous but rarely performed play about the Scott Expedition written by Ted Tally, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Silence of the Lambs. Tally wrote Terra Nova as a graduate project at Yale, and it went on to win the Obie Award for best Off-Broadway play — a nearly unheard of accomplishment for a first-time effort. The play is currently being produced in Longmont, Colorado through January 24, and this trailer provides some insights into the history, production, and script. Continue reading
by Jeff Huber
In a parting gesture, young Mr. Bush gave us the opportunity to laugh him off the world stage, perhaps the only fitting way to celebrate the end of his tragic reign of pratfalls.On January 12, Shuckin’ and jivin’ and smirkin’ and quirkin’, Bush gave his farewell press conference.Part sulk, part self-affirmation, part psychotic outburst, his antics before the White House press corps were high farce that could have been penned by Moliere or Aristophanes.
The only mistake he made with Hurricane Katrina was not landing Air Force One in New Orleans or Baton Rouge.He’s thought “long and hard” about that one, and when asked what has be done about Katrina’s aftermath three and a half years after the fact, he replied, “Well, more people need to get in their houses.”
I love plants; in fact, i prefer the company of plants to that of people and i consider our green companions the higher life form. So when i saw Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet (Oliver Morton) staring at me from a shelf in the bookstore, i caved. I didn’t even need the jacket blurbs making statements like, “A book that may reorder the way you think about the world…” (The Economist). I was after the advertised “…complete biography of the earth through the lens of this mundane and most important of processes [photosynthesis].” My expectations were high. Mr. Morton exceeded them with massive amounts of historical and scientific information rendered in rich prose.
The image is striking. A fat, sweaty and uncomfortable-looking white man is squatting on the back of a large black man. The white man is holding a dry canvas bag over the head of the black man and looking sadly and nervously at the camera.
The Truth Commission was unlike any trial the world had ever seen. In exchange for complete disclosure about all past crimes, both known and unknown, claimants would be given complete absolution. In the case of this one sweaty white man, his victim had asked that he demonstrate how he had tortured him.
Waterboarding has become famous. Place a thick, heavy and wet fabric over your victim’s head, and then hold them stationary. It causes no lasting physical damage, but gives a very real sense of drowning. Anyone who has ever had a similar experience knows it is terrifying. Continue reading