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« YA Fiction | Main | Digital Culture »

September 16, 2004


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* John Massengale has written two wonderful postings -- one on starchitects and one on Munich -- that summarize about half of what anyone really needs to know about architecture and urbanism.

* David Sucher -- whose immortal Three Rules summarize the other half of what anyone really needs to know about architecture and urbanism -- links to an on-the-money Douglas Kelbaugh piece, "Seven Fallacies in Architecture Culture."

* I'd be curious to hear how you respond to this new Daniel Libeskind building in London. How do you rate its context-sensitivity? And how about the context-sensitivity of Archigram's latest, in Graz?

* Design Observer's Michael Bierut (and his commenters) share some interesting thoughts and observations about architectural renderings.

* Good lord, something I thought would never happen: big media (namely Time magazine) pays some hard-hitting attention to the Mexican border. Word is now officially out:

It's fair to estimate, based on a TIME investigation, that the number of illegal aliens flooding into the U.S. this year will total 3 million—enough to fill 22,000 Boeing 737-700 airliners, or 60 flights every day for a year. It will be the largest wave since 2001 and roughly triple the number of immigrants who will come to the U.S. by legal means. (No one knows how many illegals are living in the U.S., but estimates run as high as 15 million.)

* Vdare gets it together and now has a blog. Peter Brimelow comments on the Time magazine cover story.

* I enjoyed Forager's taxonomy of movie remakes.

* Carpal-tunnel syndrome, guaranteed.

* JVC's Jeff wonders why it suddenly seems like New Jersey is everywhere.

* Terry Richardson is the badboy fashion photographer parents fear their daughters will meet. Though god know I wouldn't have turned down an invitation to the opening of Richardson's latest show ... (That second link is most definitely NSFW.)

* Steve Sailer wonders which Hispanics exactly should benefit from affirmative action.

* Here's a graphic that makes vivid some of the bad Bush news. As the headline says: "Under Bush, Federal Spending Increases at Fastest Rate in 30 Years." That's from a rightwing organization, by the way.

* Thanks and congrats to Will, Deb, and Craig, who have brought out another issue of their first-rate Ex Libris Reviews. Reviewed authors this time around include Elizabeth George, Colin Dexter, Eusebius, and Nick Sagan.

* Walter Olson explains how we arrived at rule-by-lawyers-and-lawsuits. Some perspective:

The share of America’s GNP that is devoted to litigation has tripled over 50 years. We spend two to three times more on it, in terms of percentage of GNP, as the other industrial democracies. The figure for how much is spent annually on liability insurance in the U.S. –- a relatively easy thing to measure –- is now $721 per citizen, which comes to over $2,800 per year for a family of four ... In recent years, litigation has evolved into a kind of substitute for politics.

* I love carrying around my pocketsized Kodak digicam, but I rarely manage to make much use of our tape-based videocam. It's just too big and clumsy for a convenience-is-all, snap-happy amateur like me. So I'm eager to buy a small, low-priced, card-based, combo video-still digicam. I'm not sure this new Pentax is quite ready for primetime -- it seems like a product for early adopters only. But it also seems like a groovy step forward.

* Virginia Postrel asks: what are we paying for these days? Things? Or experiences?

* Thanks to Colby Cosh, who pointed out Evan Kirchhoff's hilarious posting about the Dan Rather forged-memo fiasco. Evan's sober evaluation:

I apologize for the digression into specialized computer terminology here, but: this is ultra-super-thwackingly obviously a Microsoft Word file, for christ's sake, are you people at CBS frigging insane?

* Gerald Vanderleun brings a lot of brains and insider knowledge to his posting about the Rather mess.

* Razib suspects that the magic number might be 150.

* Tyler Cowen writes about how little energy our ancestors had, and then compares Borges and Neruda.

* And they say being Miss Universe is easy. They don't know! Your attention slips for just one second and ... Omigod! It's all over the internet. (NSFW.)



posted by Michael at September 16, 2004


The Libeskind building in London makes me queasy. Literally. It's interesting that in his own description of it Libeskind calls it a collection of shards. Shards are the end product of destruction, not creation. How conscious he is of what he is doing or how much he is driven to destroy I do not know. But that this anti-architect has been given the commission to raise something inspiring at ground zero is beyond insane.

Posted by: ricpic on September 17, 2004 06:39 AM

Re: the illegal immigration issue.

It's become increasingly clear to me that unless some real sanctions are applied in the illegal immigrant problem, there's no hope of dealing with it at all and we might as well just save the money on the Border patrol, etc. At the moment, whats the worst that can happen to an illegal? Deportation? Leaving them free to have another run at the border? If anybody is at all serious about this problem (and perhaps nobody is, I grant you) the consequences of illegal immigration must be made serious enough to have a deterrent effect. I.e., getting caught illegally in the U.S. should get you say, five years digging ditches in a labor camp, with no opportunity to send money home to the relatives. I understand how terribly draconian that would be, but anything less, and particularly anything like amnesty programs, will simply amp up the flow, by making the risk even more miniscule.

Of course, there's always the alternative...which is the current policy of "official" band-aids and "unofficial" union of the U.S. and Mexico. Oh, I forgot: the union of the U.S. and Mexico...on Mexico's terms.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 17, 2004 09:49 AM

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