this week i

co-wrote how many people have nongroup insurance.  consider it a baseline for the non-employer private health insurance market, before the affordable care act took effect.

moved most of the download.file calls over to hannes' download.cache function instead.  simply: if a file has already been downloaded, do not download it again.

find myself in an ancient land.


(1) the nsa's everything

yardley convinced newcomb carlton, the president of western union, to grant the black chamber secret access on a daily basis to the private messages passing over his wires - the internet of the day

like going through and stumbling and finding somebody's diary and reading it

(2) present tense brazil

the fastest urbanization of any country in recent times

of rio's 6.3 million people, 1.4 million live in the favelas

(3) turkmenistan, kazakhstan, uzbekistan, kyrgyzstan, and tajikistan

"we are not celebrating - we are mourning our independence"

china has broken the economic connections that traditionally tied central asia to russia

although he was stopped from entering the city until after the stacks of dead bodies had been cleared away

"the greatest natural fortress in the world"

(4) the war that shaped the century

the european continent was at peace on the morning of sunday, 28 june 1914, when archduke franz ferdinand, the austrian heir to the throne, and his wife, sophie chotek, arrived at sarajevo railway station.  thirty-seven days later, it was at war

without this conflict it is difficult to imagine the october revolution of 1917, the rise of stalinism, the ascendancy of italian facism, the nazi seizure of power or the holocaust

the calamity from which all other calamities sprang

to continentialise the conflict

(5) the birth of endocrinology

a stab in the heart makes better cinema

no wonder it took so long for them to be noticed

purified extract of sheep and calf adrenal glands..could cause narrowing of the arteries and a rise in blood pressure

it even revivified the heart of a dog that had been dead for five minutes, though the effect was disappointingly temporary

(6) depression in the silly media

a very personal statement about what it was like to be someone who continuously experienced life as not worth living

when i told one of her critics that i had often written about that sort of state and asked if i too should have shut up, or not been published, they replied that it was different because 'you write well'

because of her anorexia - which she partly blames on her mother wanting her to eat buttered toast and marmalade for breakfast - she didn't have a period until she was 19, and she was still a virgin, apparently (i can't manage to finish the sentence without that 'apparently'), into her thirties