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On Pandas

The life of the giant panda deserves close study. This animal is active from approximately 8:30 to 10:00 AM, during which time it consumes 100 kg of its favorite food, red bamboo. The rest of the day is spent sleeping and in quiet contemplation.

Its indolent habits have earned the giant panda ( along with the red panda, its sidekick ) international fame and a handsome wildlife preserve …


Letter From Sichuan

After the world's most comfortable trans-Pacific flight, happy adventures in Beijing, and a taxi cab ride from the Chengdu airport that brought me closer to God, we've arrived in Sichuan and the outlook is good. Goodbye to ferocious Siberian winds blowing down every avenue, but goodbye as well to Western-style toilets. Hello to fantastic and amazing Sichuan cooking.

In case you've never…


Leaving for China

It's a pitch-black Thursday morning, and I'm up waiting for a car to take me to the airport. I have everything in my pack, my tickets are in order, and I'm as boring to read about as any long-distance traveler sitting on his suitcase. But excited out of my head - more news from China, later, and wish me luck…


I Will Go To China

I'm going to China on Thursday, and apparently not a minute too soon.

I am a cheapskate and a control freak who feels lost at sea if he can't speak the language, perhaps not the best travel companion if you are headed to central China. But my boss ( who is Taiwanese ) went this spring to see the Three Gorges, and told me…


Vermont Beavers Gone Wild

A coworker wrote in tonight to warn us that the local beavers have gone on a rampage - they are apparently on the move around her lakefront camp (Vermont-speak for a summer cottage), looking for a new home, and scarfing down every tree in sight. A couple of smaller trees have already fallen on her campsite, and the creatures are just getting warmed up. This is alarming stuff - I know that loc…



My favorite bit of grafitti, ever, spotted years ago on a railway bridge in Poland:

Speak English or fuck out!


A Horrible Election Night

It is the most depressing of nights here, in Vermont. Against all odds, the Democratic candidate for governor is trailing badly, which probably means farewell to civil unions in this state. According to the unusual Vermont constitution, if no candidate gets at least half the vote for governor, there will be a smackdown in the legislature, which is dominated by Republicans. Before tonight, the …


Watching the NYC Marathon (2002)

I was supposed to run this Sunday New York City marathon, but I didn't do it. Something happened to my knee the very last week - I had grown used to feeling some soreness there after long runs ( OK, to not being able to walk after long runs ), but this time it stayed sore, and two days before the marathon I couldn't even complete a short four miles. The outside of my left knee felt tighter…


Anil on the Microcontent Client

Anil has a interesting article in his Magazine about a notional piece of software he calls a 'microcontent client'. It sounds something like a personal search engine I have been thinking about -- it also has some overlap with what

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

Every Damn Thing

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