Archive

Date

March 20th, 2014

A Silver Anniversary for the World Wide Web

    Exactly 25 years ago, the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee conceptually “invented” the World Wide Web — and set in motion a process that would rapidly make the online world an essential part of our daily lives.

    By 1995, 14 percent of Americans were surfing the Web. The level today: 87 percent. And among young adults, the Pew Research Center notes, the Internet has reached “near saturation.”

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Cry a River over California’s Drought

    As a Californian, I have not gotten too much sympathy from friends and family about our rotten weather this winter. Yes, I said rotten weather. It’s been incredibly pleasant— except for a few times when the temperature crept up to 90 — but we’ve hardly had any rain.

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Feinstein vs. the CIA: A Moment of Truth

    It was a truly historic moment on Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA's continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our Constitutional division of power. By blatantly concealing what Feinstein condemned as "the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed," the spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency's outrages have finally aroused the senator's umbrage.

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Florida special election means little, or much

    Welcome to the first Republican victory of 2014, which should make Democrats very, very worried.

    In a race to fill the House seat of the late Republican Bill Young, David Jolly, a Washington lobbyist and former Congressional staffer, beat Alex Sink, the state's former treasurer, who also lost a close race for governor to Rick Scott in 2010.

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Hasn't science done enough harm to humanity?

    Every night before bed, I ask God to protect us from scientists.

    Apparently I haven't been praying hard enough, as I awoke the other morning to this headline: "Scientists revive giant 30,000-year-old virus from Siberian permafrost."

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Lunch on the Barricades

    Let's consider school lunches.

    Always an important topic. But to be honest, it's only coming up right now thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan, who took a strong, principled stand against school lunches in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. ("What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.")

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The Corporate Land of Oz

    In L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the “wizard’ turns out to be a phony — just an old guy sitting behind a curtain, using his booming voice to spew nonsense in a vain effort to fool people.

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The Rigged Housing Market

    An upscale housing development in Wilton, Connecticut (all of Wilton is upscale) is having no trouble selling its 20 units for $800,000 each. On average, homes in that town now fetch more than $1 million a piece.

    And real estate experts only rank the region that includes Wilton at No. 33 on their list of the nation’s hottest markets. Clearly, the recession is over. Well, at least for the top 1 percent.

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The SAT Isn't Perfect, But Serves Its Purpose

    Helicopter parents, start your engines.

    They're revising the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) again, and you know what that means. More weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. More complaints about the unfairness of life and of American society. More free-floating status anxiety projected onto adolescent children already uneasy about leaving the parental nest. Or eager to escape it.

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The Unhealthy Meat Market

    Where does our food come from? Often the answer is Tyson Foods, America's meat factory.

    Tyson, one of the nation's 100 biggest companies, slaughters 135,000 head of cattle a week, along with 391,000 hogs and an astonishing 41 million chickens. Nearly all Americans regularly eat Tyson meat - at home, at McDonald's, at a cafeteria, at a nursing home.

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