Oh New York Times magazine, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- “Dialing Under the Influence,” about the Virgin Mobile service that allows people to block themselves from drunk-dialling certain numbers. Favorite line: The D.U.I. service was used 10,000 times over the past year, including 250 times by one customer in a single month. (“We think that man might have a problem,” Parkin says.)
- “Madness About a Method,” discussing science and its believability. Interesting bits include the premise that the current administration believes in many recent scientific advances/results, like those saying that, hey, Global Warming is real, but chooses not to admit to that belief because it’s politically inexpedient. I also like this article because it made me look up “phlogiston theory,” a theory I’d never heard of (apparently for good reason).
- “What’s the Big Idea,” an interview with Peter Watson, author of A History of Thought and Invention, From Fire to Freud. Sounds like an ambitious book, right? Well, Watson certainly believes he’s the man to do it. Favorite line: My wife says I am the know-it-all from hell. The interview really makes him sound like it. Least favorite line: The rise of the novel generally is a great turning in. But I don’t think it has given a lot of satisfaction to people. It has not achieved anything collective. It’s a lot of little personal turnings that lots of people love to connect with. But these are fugitive, evanescent truths. They don’t stay with you very long or help you do much. Wow, I don’t know if I could disagree more strongly.