22 Feb 2016 Bay Bridge Steel Available for Artists – Free!

Artists — There are still hundreds of tons (yes, tons) of Bay Bridge steel available, for free, for projects intended for public spaces within California. Other than those guidelines, they are fairly flexible. The next application deadline is coming up...

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30 Jan 2016 Dept. of Primary Analysis

Donald Trump has, without doubt, wrongfooted the old guard and confounded the punditocracy, but these are still early days. It only seems as if the election should be around the corner because the current cycle started two months after the...

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10 Dec 2015 Pope Francis’ “unfathomable divine mystery”

have always appreciated the long view and unhurried pace of the Catholic Church. The time that the Inquisition condemned Galileo for teaching that the earth went around the sun, for instance, in 1633. Even in 1820, long after the Vatican...

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13 Feb 2015 Remembering Coach Schmitter

I've been thinking about Coach Charles Schmitter lately. He was a true man of the world - he spoke five languages fluently, traveled all seven continents, stayed married for five decades, and taught me a great deal about fencing and...

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15 Jan 2015 Dept. of Depressing Porcine Statistics

Since the late 1970s, pork consumption has increased nearly sevenfold in China. Half a billion pigs are birthed, raised in metal sheds, killed and eaten each year. The Chinese government subsidizes the industry to the tune of $47 per pig. Each...

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23 Dec 2014 Passing Thoughts and a Bandoneón

Reuters consistently beats out every other news outlet for intelligent, in-depth coverage of the Syria conflict. Why do the others, including the NYT and the BBC, give the topic such short shrift? Also - what gives with the BBC constantly...

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19 Nov 2014 Inside the Blue Dollar

My latest article for the Argentina Independent, on the inner workings of the underground market for US currency in Argentina. Huge thanks to Marc Rogers, at the Indy, for his editorial acumen, reportage, and incredible patience on the long journey from...

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10 Nov 2014 Voices: Why we should care about Syria

A beautiful piece on the intersection of war, empathy and memory, by my friend Kristin Deasy. (Special for USA TODAY. November 10, 2014) (Photo: Bulent Kilic, AFP/Getty Images) The other night I was lying stretched out on my apartment floor, trying to...

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30 Oct 2014 VOTE

To my American friends: There is an election next Tuesday, November 4th. Vote. I'll say it aloud: our political system is corrupt. Vote anyway. Though your ballot is outgunned by billionaires and their funded campaigns, vote. The candidates are disappointing, discussion of...

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13 Oct 2014 Coldest Place In The Universe

This one gets the nod for bending the rules of the universe, no small matter. In a cavern in Italy, an international team of researchers have created the coldest cubic meter in the universe, only a fraction of a degree above...

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08 Mar 2014 Ambassador Non Apropos

Fifteen former presidents of the American Foreign Service Association - not a bunch of wild-eyed radicals - have sent a letter to the US Senate opposing the appointment of Noah Mamet as Ambassador to Argentina, along with two other obviously...

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19 Feb 2014 On Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires

Past rulers of Castilia include Ferdinand, Isabella, and Alfonso the Wise. "I am off to Argentina to learn Spanish," I say. "Spanish is easy," they say, "you'll pick it up in no time. Have fun." Those people are wrong. Spanish hasa remarkably low...

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11 Feb 2014 Democracy Meets Tech in Experiment in Argentina

A fascinating experiment in technology-enabled participatory democracy is happening, right now, in Argentina. They are called the Partido de la Red, and the Argentina Independent did a quality, thoughtful interview (in English) with their founders. The basic idea is as follows: (1)...

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24 Jan 2014 News Flash from the Argentine Economy

And the bombshells keep dropping! The peso fell 11% against the US dollar yesterday, the single steepest daily devaluation since the 2002 financial crisis. In response, the government announced that they would relax currency controls implemented in late 2011 to stem...

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22 Jan 2014 More News from the Argentine Economy

For those who did not live here, the Argentine economic saga is as gripping as the run-up to the Super Bowl and World Cup combined, with much more happening on a daily basis. Another edge case milestone occurred recently (see...

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13 Dec 2013 Puerto Deseado

Puerto Deseado, where Darwin once walked. At 47S, the air is thin and cool, even in full sun. The town is at sea level - the sea is just outside my hotel window - but the air feels like the...

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01 Dec 2013 Why No One Sings In F#

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03 Oct 2013 The Most Intellectual Joke I Know

50 People On ‘The Most Intellectual Joke I Know’ Oct. 15, 2013, from an article in Thought Catalog by Chrissy Stockton Mine: “Descartes walks into a bar and the bartender asks him what he wants to drink. Descartes says ‘hmmm, I don’t...

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16 Aug 2013 The Living Wake Band with Keith Jackson

Last night, people from all over the country joined together for a Keith Jackson's Living Wake. It was a last jam and heartfelt sendoff for our friend. Terrapin Station graciously donated their fantastic show room for the night. No talking, we...

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05 Jun 2013 Why Congress Is Not Working, Part 2

This elegant graph documents party swings and shifts from 1788 to 2012. The darker the color, the further from the center. To add an extra frisson, this was created by Randall Munroe, the mastermind behind xkcd. Edward Tufte would approve....

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28 May 2013 Today’s Relevant Quotes

Today's relevant quotes are from Sun Tzu (c. 5th Century BCE): Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all that I can? Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before...

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23 May 2013 Reviving Extinct Species

The passenger pigeon was once the most numerous large bird in North America. Flocks a mile wide, and hundreds of miles long, filled the sky and blocked the sun as they passed overhead. Then Europeans happened. By 1907, teeming billions had...

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