Book of the Month

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A few old roots



After the chitchat about Washington, DC on Articleman's post, I was thinking about the time I rode Beach Drive with a young girl who was visiting MD (I just got in trouble for writing that BTW). About all I remember is that we rode up Linden Lane so I could show her the odd little buildings of the National Park Seminary, like the Pagoda pictured above.

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Klingons Attack



One of my pet peeves is people that don't shower before swimming in a public pool. Even in upper class neighborhood clubs and Ys, I always see Type A guys that rush in, yank on their jammers and rush out of the locker room to get a lane in the pool. No one is as clean as they'd like to imagine.

Nearly 100 ill after weekend swim meet at Naval Academy

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Too Big To Save

On Baseline Scenario, Simon Johnson has posted: Testimony submitted to the Congressional Oversight Panel, “Hearing on the TARP’s Impact on Financial Stability,” Friday, March 4, 2011.


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International Women's Day and Mardi Gras

The Vandellas and Martha

International Women's Day coincides with Mardi Gras this year.

Interesting juxtaposition.

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Free Transit and Slugging

In What Does Free Really Cost, I discussed the problems of free parking. A few weeks ago, in Should Transit Be Free?,  Mark Brown, who has been documenting his car-free lifestyle at Car-Free Baltimore, discusses the many advocates of free transit, and summarizes their arguments:

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World in Collision

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Lion in the Lobby



Tonight on WEAA FM, the Anthony McCarthy show profusely lauded Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., a civil rights leader who was born 100 years ago. I had never heard of him, but McCarthy and his guest said no one surpassed Mitchell's work for civil rights, and that he was not well known, even among African-Americans, because so much of his contribution was behind closed doors. [Read more]

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Right of Way


Larger photo here

Most news outlets carried the story of the car plowing through a Critical Mass bike event in Porto Alegre, Brasil. 15 were injured, eight severely. There are some very graphic videos posted on youtube if you search for Massa Critica Porto Alegre.

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Looking For Trouble

In Why Your Boss Is Wrong About You, an OpEd for the NY Times takes on the idea that unions discourage exceptional workers. It strikes a few chords with me:

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Safe or Free?



There were two parallel stories recently. In one, Lara Logan was assaulted by a crowd in Cairo.

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We Built This Country on Infrastructure



See more great art by Swedish artist Johan Thörnqvist at his website.

While we argue over who deserves to say what to whom, our country is falling apart. In the 2011 Infrastructurist Forum Part II, highly-educated policy wonks try to figure out how to get government to invest in infrastructure for the rest of us:
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Living in Interesting Times

I was walking to the station this morning, and heard a rush of steps in the old creekbed next to the road. I looked over expecting a beaver and saw a startled doe, which was looking back at me across the swale. "Hello, deer," I said, then realized how odd that sounded. I'll be glad when my wife rejoins me next week. I find myself talking to plants, the TV, the sink.

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Big Boy Tennis



In between the Wisconsin protest coverage, Pale Rider and A Fistful of Dollars, I watched the ATP Marseille final, in which world #4 Robin Söderling came back from losing a close first set tiebreak to defeat world #21 Marin Čilić 6-7 (8-10), 6-3, 6-3. I know sportswriters try to vary the terminology, but I was surprised to read this headline in the UK Mirror:

Robin Söderling too smart for Čilić
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The Sky is Falling

In this half hour interview, Dmitry Orlov once again compares the collapse of the Soviet Empire with what he sees happening to the American Empire. His proposal that we are near collapse may seem outrageous, but the reasons he gives are not easy to dismiss.

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Wozniacki Again #1, Wins in Dubai

Already set to reclaim the #1 world ranking from Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki easily won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship today, winning in the final 6-1, 6-3 over Svetlana Kuznetsova. [Read more]

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Fed Up With Decline

I started reading the Econbrowser blog because it's peak oil-aware founder JD Hamilton posted frequently on The Oil Drum. At some point, Hamilton brought in the very technical Menzie Chinn as co-blogger. Yesterday, in Analogy Watch: "Cairo has come to Wisconsin"? Chinn repudiated the claim Paul Ryan had made on MSNBC: [Read more]

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The High-Priced Spread



I thought oil was supposed to be fungible, so I was curious as to why a barrel of Brent could be selling in the low $100s while WTI was around $85/barrel. That sixteen dollar spread is some sort of record.

Fungible refers to a commodity that is easily exchanged or substituted for other units of the same commodity - like currency. Because of cut and color, diamonds are not exactly fungible with other diamonds, but wheat is generally wheat, and I thought light sweet oil was generally light sweet oil. But it isn't.
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High Fructose Fights Back

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Auto No-Show

I walk past the convention center every morning and evening, so I stopped to look at the Motor Trend Auto Show here in Baltimore yesterday. I visited the same auto show a few years ago, when Pontiac was still a brand. Back then I wanted to see the Prius, the Escape hybrid and the Smart Car; tonight I wanted to see the Volt, the Leaf, the Sonata Blue Drive hybrid and the Smart Car, which wasn't at the previous show.
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A La Commode



In architecture school, we students eventually realized that even though Architecture was based on timeless and universal truths, some of the professors were in opposing camps. The group that we first encountered seemed to like the principles of Robert Venturi, and his partners, and Charles Moore, and his partners, and the writings of Christopher Alexander. We were assigned to read Venturi's book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, and we built models of cheap grey chip board.
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