Friday, July 22, 2011

Must Go Read Dragon Book Now

I am immersed in the new George R.R. Martin book (a thousand pages and more... not sure when I'll finish it), but here are some nonfantasy stories I've recently read, seen or heard that are worth checking out.

The Atlantic sums up how air conditioning affected what the U.S. became in the 2oth century. And hey, did you know the first residential air conditioner was in Minnesota?

Why Americans can't afford to eat healthy food (David Sirota in Salon).

Using the South Bronx as an example, a blogger explains how schools and teachers are not the cause of decline.

An update on the Stanford prison experiment, which ends with a quote from one of the "prisoners" who had been demeaned and, in effect, tortured. He's now a teacher in the Oakland public schools: "...if you believe society has assigned you a role, do you then assume the characteristics of that role? [The kids I teach now] don't have to go through experiments to witness horrible things. But what frustrates my colleagues and me is that we are creating great opportunities for these kids, we offer great support for them, why are they not taking advantage of it? Why are they dropping out of school? Why are they coming to school unprepared? I think a big reason is what the prison study shows—they fall into the role their society has made for them."

A lovely rumination on the current state of typos (New York Times).

From Salon, a look at the rush to get probiotic foods onto our plates, despite a dearth of research showing they improve health.

Did you know that new mothers in China are supposed to spend the first 30 days of their child's life indoors, wearing pajamas? Sounds too good to be true, and it is, from what I could tell in this NPR story. They also can't drink water, bathe or shower, eat fruit and a host of other foods whose exclusion makes no sense at all, and have to wear heavy wool socks and slippers so they won't catch "a chill" no matter what time of year it is. Oogie! It's called "sitting the month" and wealthy women are paying as much as $500 a day to sit their month in specialized care centers where they are waited on every minute. Double oogie for that.

And finally, if you need an upper after all of that, this video might help. It shows how a simple invention is improving the lives of many people and saving energy at the same time:

1 comment:

Carmella said...

We all love this video about bottle lights. Thanks for the upper!