This is being widely circulated right now, but it's well worth reading: Malcolm Gladwell on SUVs.
In a thirty-five-m.p.h. crash test, for instance, the driver of a Cadillac Escalade--the G.M. counterpart to the Lincoln Navigator--has a sixteen-per-cent chance of a life-threatening head injury, a twenty-per-cent chance of a life-threatening chest injury, and a thirty-five-per-cent chance of a leg injury. The same numbers in a Ford Windstar minivan--a vehicle engineered from the ground up, as opposed to simply being bolted onto a pickup-truck frame--are, respectively, two per cent, four per cent, and one per cent.
I'm working my way through Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (amazon.com) now, and I'm sure the short stories will be good, but isn't it time for a novel to follow-up Infinite Jest (amazon.com)?
If you come by, look for me as icathing.
How else to respond to this but cringe, over and over again?
Fox Broadcasting Co. has picked up nine episodes of a makeover show with a twist: the 18 female contestants in "The Swan" will get plastic surgery as part of their transformations, but the finalists won't be able to see their new and improved faces until after they've participated in the finale, a two-hour beauty pageant.
Mike Darnell, Fox's executive vp alternative series and specials, stressed that in addition to going under the knife, the contestants will be put through rigorous emotional and physical reconditioning sessions as part of a three-month effort to transform "ugly ducklings" into "swans."
He said the drama of the show would be heightened by the women going through the "reveals" of showing off their new looks to the cameras and to their families before they can see it for themselves. The contestants will be winnowed to a final 10 by a panel of judges who will survey two women in each episode and decide which one of them has achieved "swan" status and will move on to the "Ultimate Swan Pageant," Darnell said.
Into the cuckoo's nest: a fascinating article about a psychology experiment 30 years ago where completely healthy people were committed because they expressed one 'psychotic' symptom (hearing a thud). When repeated recently, the healthy patient was proscribed unnecessary medication.
In no cases, it seems, was the subterfuge detected. Make of this what you will.