Hippy and Dippy

Questions About Organic Produce and Sustainability – NYTimes.com: The explosive growth in the commercial cultivation of organic tomatoes here, for example, is putting stress on the water table. In some areas, wells have run dry this year, meaning that small subsistence farmers cannot grow crops. And the organic tomatoes end up in an energy-intensive global distribution chain that takes them as far as New York and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, producing significant emissions that contribute to global warming.


Q.P.R. 1, Swansea 1

Each week, British sportswriters report exactly what Q.P.R. will be seeking in the transfer window. Each week, the weekend result recasts the expectations.

It is noteworthy that 11 of paltry 17 goals scored by Rangers so far this season have been knocked in by players who were on the roster last season, led by seven from Heidar Helguson. On an unrelated note, the used copy of “The Sagas of the Icelanders” that I ordered a few weeks ago arrived yesterday.


  • Mackie earns QPR a point at Swansea: Jamie Mackie’s second-half equaliser earned QPR a deserved point at the Liberty Stadium. Danny Graham curled in a 14th-minute opener for Swansea following Wayne Routledge’s cross, but Mackie pounced to haul Rangers level after a mistake by Leon Britton. Mackie’s goal – his second in as many matches – saved his team from a fourth consecutive defeat as they stumble towards the January transfer window, when signing a centre-back will be manager Neil Warnock’s top priority.
  • QPR boss Neil Warnock frustrated after Swansea draw – QPR – Kilburn Times: “Jamie Mackie was able to grab an equaliser at the Liberty Stadium to give his side a vital point. “I’m disappointed that we haven’t got three points,” Warnock told Sky Sports. “We got the stuffing knocked out of us…”
  • BBC Sport – Swansea 1-1 QPR: With the sides hovering precariously above the relegation zone, both went for the win. The draw ensured that QPR, who next travel to Arsenal, ended a sequence of three defeats. But it meant that the Swans have now won just once in their last eight games.
  • Footballer Joey Barton plays a game while girlfriend is in labour but makes it in time for the birth | Mail Online: He’s known for his bad boy behaviour but even Joey Barton’s fans were shocked when he opted to play in a game while his girlfriend went into labour. The 29-year-old footballer chose to take part in Queens Park Rangers game against Swansea City yesterday despite Georgia McNeil checking into hospital on Boxing Day evening. However, following QPR’s 1-1 draw with the Welsh team, Barton made his way to London’s Portland Hospital in time to see his son Cassius born.
  • Warnock’s goodwill tested – Premier League – Football – The Independent: Swansea’s crisp passing game controlled the first half, but QPR showed plenty of gumption to wrest back the momentum. Saying that, before Swansea broke through in the 14th minute, Rangers might have scored themselves when Mackie came close to deceiving Michel Vorm with a looping header. The message from Warnock was clear: disrupt the Swansea tippy-tappy and work from there. To this end Joey Barton was born, while Adel Taarabt had one of his good days. But in Leon Britton Swansea possess a little marvel. The diminutive midfielder knows the quality his side possesses on the flanks and Wayne Routledge justified this faith with the low cross which led to Graham’s sixth goal of the season. The problem is he used his left arm to control it, which was a shame as the finish was exemplary. No doubt he was given too much time, but his swivel and curling shot into the far corner were on the superlative side of commendable.
  • Swansea City 1-1 QPR | Premier League match report | Football | The Guardian: Queens Park Rangers were the better team when these two were in the Championship last season, Swansea City are better now, but the enigma that is Adel Taarabt turned back the clock on Tuesday to earn a draw for the club he is anxious to leave. Neil Warnock, who is prepared to sell the Moroccan maverick to the highest bidder when the transfer window opens, restored him to the starting lineup for the first time since the end of October. He was rewarded with an influential performance which enabled QPR to wrest the initiative away from the Swans after they had taken an early lead.

Money, Money, Money

  • The High Cost of Failing Artificial Hips – NYTimes.com: Recently, lawsuits and complaints against makers of all-metal replacement hips passed the 5,000 mark. Insurers are alerting patients that they plan to recover their expenses from any settlement money that patients receive. Medicare is also expected to try to recover its costs.
  • Miami Courts Free-Spending Brazilians – NYTimes.com: Brand-conscious Brazilians love to use their money — cash, above all — ranking first per capita in spending among the top 10 groups of foreign visitors to the United States, a list that includes the French, British and Germans. In all, 1.2 million Brazilians visited in 2010 and spent $5.9 billion, or $4,940 for each visitor. Only travelers from India and China outspent the Brazilians, but far fewer visit, and they are not among the top 10.
  • Egyptian Court Says ‘Virginity Tests’ Violated Women’s Rights – NYTimes.com: Egyptian state news media reported that military officials characterized the ruling as meaningless since “virginity tests” were already outside military procedures. The officials said a military court is investigating whether an unnamed army doctor might have conducted the tests.
  • In North Dakota, a Great Divide Over Oil Riches – NYTimes.com: No other county in the state has had a bigger jump in the number of households earning more than $100,000, which spiked to 21 percent from 6 percent during the last decade, according to an analysis of census data. But much like the crude below, the benefits have spread unevenly, often as a result of decisions made long ago.

Thanks, Europe!

Obama Wins Most Demand for Debt of U.S. Presidents Since Before First Bush – Bloomberg: The Treasury Department attracted $3.04 for each dollar of the $2.135 trillion in notes and bonds sold, the most since the government began releasing the data in 1992 during the George H. W. Bush administration. The U.S. drew an all-time high bid-to- cover ratio of 9.07 for $30 billion of four-week bills it auctioned on Dec. 20 even though they pay zero percent interest. While Standard & Poor’s stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating on Aug. 5, Treasuries due in 10 years or more returned 25.6 percent this year. The spreading sovereign debt crisis in Europe and slower global growth are driving investors to the safety of U.S. assets, helping to contain borrowing costs and making it cheaper as a percentage of gross domestic product to finance deficits than when the nation last had budget surpluses.

It Is Good to Be the King

Economic Downturn Took a Detour at Capitol Hill – NYTimes.com: Largely insulated from the country’s economic downturn since 2008, members of Congress — many of them among the “1 percenters” denounced by Occupy Wall Street protesters — have gotten much richer even as most of the country has become much poorer in the last six years, according to an analysis by The New York Times based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group.

The Game of Getting Out of the Way

Crowd dynamics: The wisdom of crowds | The Economist: Where the cognitive approach falls down is in the most packed environments. “At low densities, behaviour is cognitive and strategic,” says Mr Moussaid. “At high density, it’s about mass movement and physical pressures.” At a certain point crowds can shift from a controlled flow to a stop-and-go pattern, as people are forced to shorten their stride length and occasionally halt to avoid collisions. This kind of movement can develop into something much more frightening, known as crowd turbulence, when people can no longer keep a space between themselves and others. The physical forces that are imparted from one body to another when that happens are both chaotic and powerful: if someone falls over, others will be unable to avoid them.

I know you did not ask me, but: On a crowded New York City sidewalk, never make eye contact with the approaching pedestrians closest to you. Always look past them to those who are two or three people in the distance. You will not invite collisions; the approaching people will instinctively avoid walking into an unseeing barrier, but will hesitate, if only for an instant, if he or she can check your eyes for clues on which way you will pass. This delay gobs up traffic.

In addition, looking ahead of you also allows you to see obstacles sooner, allowing you to develop and adjust a strategy for getting where you want to go.

(Also, if you must check your cellphone, step to the side!)

Christmas Drinking Game

True toll of a Christmas tipple: How excess plays havoc with your mind and body | Mail Online: When that first drink reaches your stomach, the alcohol enters your bloodstream, where it makes a beeline straight for your brain’s pleasure centres. After just one drink, alcohol boosts the levels of four key brain chemicals — dopamine, serotonin, naturally occurring opioids and gamma-aminobutyric acid.

  1. Click the above link.
  2. Take a drink for each time the word alcohol appears in the article.
  3. Last one to throw up wins.

Hey, That Is Right

Isn’t ‘Seven Years of War’ a Distortion? | Cato @ Liberty: Since President Obama announced his plan to address the nation on Iraq, the news media and pundits have been buzzing about the “Iraq War” — the lives lost and the money spent over the past seven years.   Seven?  Wouldn’t it be more accurate to note that the Iraq War has been closer to 20 years?  After all, combat operations have been pretty continuous.

Idea of the Year

LPT For Bathroom Readers: Put new product manuals in the shitter. : LifeProTips: submitted 3 days ago by TophatMcMonocle
Then read them little by little. Within a day, or several days, you’ll understand the new item’s functions without having to have dedicated an afternoon for study.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers — United States, 1999–2008: In 2007, nearly 100 persons per day died of drug overdoses in the United States (1). The death rate of 11.8 per 100,000 population in 2007 was roughly three times the rate in 1991. Prescription drugs have accounted for most of the increase in those death rates since 1999 (2). In 2009, 1.2 million emergency department (ED) visits (an increase of 98.4% since 2004) were related to misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals, compared with 1.0 million ED visits related to use of illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine.