November 2010


Read the stories of early space exploration from the original NASA transcripts.

Brilliant idea and execution. (Via Jeremy Keith.)

Nov. 30, 2010 NASA space

Animated Films for Grown-Ups

Preach it, Mr. Baldwin, preach it.

Nov. 29, 2010 animation movies

The James Franco Project

Sam Anderson:

James Franco will not stop bouncing around.

Nice profile. He was great in 127 Hours.

Nov. 23, 2010 jamesfranco movies profiles

Steve, Don’t Eat It!

I’ll never complain about cafeteria food again.

Nov. 23, 2010 food

Miami Heat Lose Again, Fall to 8-6

A bad loss at home to the Pacers. Eat it, Van Gundy.

Scott Raab’s next dispatch should be good.

Nov. 22, 2010 basketball sports

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Matt Richtel, for the New York Times:

On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer?

The problem: Most people don’t like being challenged in an area of non-interest, even if the struggle and new perspectives are good for them. That’s why Vishal can spend eight hours, almost entirely uninterrupted, editing videos, but can’t be bothered to write a short economics essay.

Someone has to moderate. The rule in my house on school nights was homework first. It had to be done before I could watch TV or play a computer game, and someone could kick me off the PC if he or she needed the machine. The result: my siblings and I got good grades and still had plenty of time for fun. But giving kids unlimited access to distractions—regardless of the medium—has always been a bad idea. They won’t learn self-moderation unless someone teaches them, and they’ll never see that what gratifies in the short term so often has little value in the end.

Nov. 21, 2010 education


I’ve got the heat blasting as I try to warm myself. Before the sun set, the day was crisp but not too cold; afterward, I shivered often. Or maybe it was shuddering. I could have used a stiff drink, and not just to keep warm.

Illinois soundly beat Northwestern today behind a mind-boggling 519 rushing yards, including 330 (!) from Mikel LeShoure alone. NU could not stop the run, from the very start, and the Illini never stopped running—they threw 14 times for just 40 yards. Everyone knew what was coming, but it made no difference. Pathetic.

Dan Persa, out for the season, was sorely missed. His replacement, redshirt freshman Evan Watkins, played about as well as I’d hoped. He made the inevitable miscues, and his nerves got to him at times, but it could have been worse. The defense cost the ‘Cats the game, not Watkins.

I had seen the pictures of the Wrigley Field makeover, but only when you see the field in person do you really feel the weirdness. Wrigley hadn’t hosted football in 40 years, and seeing a big white rectangle wedged inside the diamond felt so very wrong. In my bleacher seat behind the east end zone, I sat stunned for a while. The goal post jutting out of the wall twenty feet to my left and the ushers dressed in Cubs garb made my brain misfire even more.

The setup grows on you, though. Wrigley’s still Wrigley. A couple of obnoxious girls seated behind me complained about the lack of a video screen—“How am I supposed to see what’s happening?” they said while the players stood so close they’d respond if you called their names—but Wrigley doesn’t need one. It demands your attention like few other parks; give it, and you won’t miss a thing. It’s a shame that many people choose to experience the world through screens when the magnificence of the real is right in front of them.

A few miscellaneous notes:

Nov. 20, 2010 football northwestern slicedlife sports

Wrigleyville Classic

Northwestern hosts Illinois tomorrow in the first football game at Wrigley since 1970.

I’ll be there, of course. NU at my favorite ballpark in the world? No way I’d miss it.

Nov. 19, 2010 football northwestern sports


Jonathan Harris:

One photo a day, beginning on my 30th birthday.

He’s been at it for more than a year now. The photos are always stunning, but the writing is even better.

Update: And, of course, he shuttered the project just a few days after this was posted. Go forth to the archive!

Nov. 8, 2010 photography storytelling