this week i

prepped for my close-up.  some peer-reviewed journals nowadays require a photo..

glassy-eyed professional

saucy demon

..and classic hunched.

watched a pretty good movie and then ate a grasshopper taco with britt.

stole up to baltimore.

dressed for diwali.

watched some traditional dance.

met the new president.

ate at hamid karzai's brother's restaurant.

drank some too..

..with unusually good company.

slept in a house of poe.

no longer fear chinese capitalism.  not my favorite alarm clock.

rediscovered reckoning, the grateful dead.  a lot going on.


this week i

gave my public health data sources talk to some epi and biostat students at gwu.  one attendee thanked me for the "badass lecture" afterwards.

agree with sarah palin here - our popular journalism is garbage.  what's the headline?  that the co-founder of a company is sitting in a lawn chair outside one of their stores on the morning of a product release?  no seriously, gtfoot american media.

drove the poconos with my dad.  fifteen and a half hours on the road, for serious.

wonder if anyone else thinks that new york state looks like an elephant/triceratops with a stunted body.  most evident on their license plate.

woke up early for mountaintop windmills.

spent all day every day in the allegheny forests..

..and what america has carved out of them.

stayed out late for cheap n fancy dining.

would never tire of the wax museum prank if i were famous.

spotted a bait vending machine, for your more cosmopolitan, on-the-go redneck.

crossed a viaduct or two.

kept my balance on the boulder field, the edge of permafrost in the last ice age.

chuckled at cartalk's always-clever sign-off, "even though levitating yogis fall out of the air when they hear us say it, this is npr."

bought a soda with a $5, received three rutherfords back.  am outraged at the u.s. mint for replacing the susan b. anthony silver dollar.  we anthonies need to stick together.

pulled into nazareth to see the guitar factory.

can't beat mama nature, huh?

read about our schools..

the influence of schools and teachers is dwarfed by nonschool factors

schools in..heavily unionized states-massachusetts, connecticut, and new jersey-are at the top

..and the breakneck expansion of our robotic weaponry.

engineers have linked miniature quadrocopters (drones equipped with four sets of rotors for maximum maneuverability) into small networks that can deftly toss balls back and forth to each other without any human commands


this week i

loved the california honeydrops at rock and roll hotel.  always nice to get in on a good thing before it gets popular.

tried the mexican cultural institute for a classical string quartet.

reunited with the health policy angels..

polished off some nachos deep in suburban virginia..

..before seeing the honeydrops again.  worth two bus rides.

read some..

(1) the nhs reorganizes

it is quite possible to praise something even as you legislate it out of existence

the kaiser system could be reproduced in britain if only health spending were increased by 87 percent

(2) when the leviathan falls

the lesson for libya was that the west should not be dragged too far in and that it should anticipate chaos

the lack of foreigners allowed libyans to feel that the revolution was theirs, not an international production

(3) three jesuses walk into a psych ward

what would happen..if he made three men meet and live closely side by side over a period of time, each of whom believed himself to be the one and only jesus christ?

(4) drug deaths outnumber traffic deaths

we haven't figured out the safety belt yet

(5) mid-century sins in the suez

if eisenhower continued to deny israeli arms requests, ben-gurion told one american diplomat, the us would be 'guilty of the greatest crime in our history'.


this week i

flew toward sunset.

landed in the capital of the lone star state..

too far west to follow lynyrd skynrd's decree about love of southern governors

..though i can't say i blame them.

am alarmed by the work of their kin, intentionally crippling government offices and then attempting to drown them in the rhetoric of inefficiency.

saw jesus impersonators on the river.

wonder if dogs are god's best friend too.  probably.

browsed old school innovations in the agricultural museum.  a corn-shucker..

..and a pre-depression apple-peeler, both ripe for infomercialization.

visited the largest state capitol building..

with winding halls of power

..and a dome.  always a dome.

want to clarify that austin, like many american metro areas, is not a city.  notwithstanding the odd hypno-cow..

..and public service announcement sculpture, the place is near impossible to navigate without a car.  in cities, people live together.  suburban sprawl is where people intentionally live apart.  austin qualifies as the latter.  not a perfect measure, but population density is the best proxy to determine whether a city's a city.  in 2000, austin sadly ranked ninth just within the state.

admit the bumper sticker "don't dallas my austin" is worthwhile sentiment.

enjoyed the texas state history museum, of course mostly about football.  here's some school spirit..

..and there's the evolution of the helmet.

 watched friday night lights (the movie) and every amplified bone-crunch tackle.

drove to buda.

partied at the hill country conservancy fundraiser's exotic game ranch.  my first giraffe sighting in texan moonlight..

captured what marcel duchamp would've painted if nude descending a staircase instead featured a carrot in your mouth and friendly zoo animals.

entered the lodge, a playground of taxidermy.

had always wondered what a two-dimensional zebra would look like.

joined the bbq buffet line.

scarfed down some ribs.

learned a pulse-pounding way to separate fools from money.

waited for the dance floor to fill up.

marvel at the drunk things people do when they're stupid.

will let lyle lovett say the rest.

read some articles..

(1) brave new google

even after page and brin flipped on the light switch, most companies continued to wear blindfolds

google makes more from advertising than all the nation's newspapers combined

plaintiffs' lawyers seeking clients would bid as much as fifty dollars for a single click on the keyword "mesothelioma" - the rare form of cancer caused by asbestos

google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics

(2) the egyptian transition

half a revolution is not enough

(3) turkish rise

politically turkey has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous eighty

the emerging conflict in turkey is not over religion, but styles of power

(4) voter turnout in 2012

the fact is that current house republicans received 30,799,391 votes, compared with obama's 69,498,215 total

(5) greece and the euro

middle-class greeks..want the government to default, and the banks to accept losses for loans they shouldn't have made in the first place

the currency had a bank but no government and no laws except for allegedly binding fiscal rules that were immediately and very publicly broken by participating governments, with no consequences or sanction

argentina defaulted in 2002, froze the banks, declared its foreign debts void, and cut itself off from imf funding- and since then, it's been the fastest-growing economy in fast-growing south america