Monday, September 3, 2012

It's a long weekend, so ...

... so you get a double dose of reading list!

  • In this weekend's Los Angeles Times: New high-tech airships are rising in Southern California. It turns out that, this time, they are blimps and zeppelins, which are back in fashion:
    in recent years, the affordability of airships as well as developments in high-definition cameras, high-powered sensors and other unmanned technologies have turned these oddball aircraft from curiosities of a bygone era to must-have items for today's military.


    Pasternak's Montebello firm makes airships used for surveillance, advertising and transport. Lockheed Martin Corp. designs and builds airships for commercial use at its secretive Skunk Works facility in Palmdale. Northrop Grumman Corp. does design work for airships around the Southland but is building them in Florida.

  • The wonderful Oakland Urban Paths website catalogs walks around the Oakland hills, with pictures and maps galore, as well as lots of fun descriptions:
    Then it was time for some serious stair climbing. While the stairs we’d climbed near the railroad trail were concrete, the stairs off Thornhill are mostly wood. In part because the hillside is steeper in places, and the wooden stairs can more easily match that.
  • If prices is no object, what sort of party can you throw at Las Vegas superclub Marquee? GQ magazine decides to find out: The Best Night $500,000 Can Buy
    It's one of a thousand different ways the management invisibly kept the club fires stoked, the energy level impossibly high. Like how, as we drank more and more and it got later and later, three o'clock and then four, they began emptying the outer reaches of the club—the pool deck, the Library—and pulled everyone in toward the dance floor. So that from our high-priced bottle-service real estate we still had the valuable sensation that we were at a place where the party, like the music (or the Ecstasy), would never, ever end, where more and more girls could be fed in from still more flights out of Kansas City and Sacramento and you could start to think that the you who has a job back in Pittsburgh or Irvine doesn't exist
  • The Jonah Lehrer story continues to unwind; Slate publishes a study (that was actually commissioned by Wired) by Charles Seite about Lehrer's work as a blogger for Wired: Misdeeds at An investigation reveals evidence of plagiarism, dodgy quotes, and factual inaccuracies.
    I'm a journalism professor and science journalist, and though I've written for Wired once or twice (and I happen to know and like Wired's editor, Chris Anderson), I was a relatively neutral, outside party who could check Lehrer's blog for journalistic malfeasance. So asked me to take a look.
  • The Kindle Post offers a short course in Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction, with suggestions for each sub-genre: Hard-boiled 101
    They are usually American loners, much like the old gunslingers of the Wild West. They have a code of honor and justice that may not be strictly legal, but it is moral. They may be threatened or beaten, but they won’t give up a case or betray a client.

    They are individuals who often face a corrupt political or criminal organization, but they prevail because they are true to themselves and their code.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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