Herewith several articles that I’ve read lately for which I’m not going to write individual posts.
Bruce Schneier has railed for years against security theater, ostensible security measures that have little real effect, but are performed to be seen as doing something — airline security being the most wretched example. Patrick Smith wrote a good piece on airport security follies at the NYT airline blog. We should all be protesting loudly at this nonsense, but no-one does because of the fear of ending up on a no-fly list.
Also in the NYT, Harold McGee wrote a particularly interesting article on the hidden ingredient in cooking, heat.
That’s the basic challenge: We’re often aiming a fire hose of heat at targets that can only absorb a slow trickle, and that will be ruined if they absorb a drop too much. … No matter how efficient an appliance is, the cook can help simply by covering pots and pans with their lids.
Once a liquid starts to boil and is turning to steam throughout the pot — the bubbles of a boil are bubbles of water vapor — nearly all the energy from the burner is going into steam production. The temperature of the water itself remains steady at the boiling point, no matter how high the flame is underneath it. So turn the burner down. A gentle boil is just as hot as a furious one.
In fact it’s easy to save loads of time and energy and potential discomfort with grains, dry beans and lentils, and even pasta. But it requires a little thinking ahead. It turns out that the most time-consuming part of the process is not the movement of boiling heat to the center of each small bean or noodle, which takes only a few minutes, but the movement of moisture, which can take hours. Grains and dry legumes therefore cook much faster if they have been soaked. However heretical it may sound to soak dried pasta, doing so can cut its cooking time by two-thirds — and eliminates the problem of dry noodles getting stuck to each other as they slide into the pot.
Krugman has a problem with what Obama believes about the relationship between politics and economics. … The bottom line (says Krugman): Politics drives economics, and not the other way round.
Obama presents himself as post-partisan, but partisan politics are needed. …- So why on earth would Obama think that “tearing down” the Conservative Movement and “lifting this country up” are opposites? They’re the same! And we need the kind of politics that treats them that way. When the Swift Boat guys smeared Kerry, Kerry should have “torn them down.”
Obama wants to “reach out,” but that strategy has already been tried. Obama says he wants to “reach out” to Republicans. But Reid and Pelosi “reached out” to Republicans, and that strategy was a miserable failure.
[Read the rest at corrente.]
I like Obama and I’ll certainly throw my full support behind him, should he win the nomination, but Edwards’ unabashed confrontationalism is more to my liking.
Our military spending ($623 billion) is horrendous: more than the rest of the world put together ($500 billion) and ten times as much as the second biggest spender, China. All the leading candidates, both Republican and Democratic, favor expanding the military.