Briefly a maverick again, Sen. John McCain wants to require that cable companies offer their channels to consumers on an à la carte basis. It’s nice to see a Republican recognizing that a healthy respect for the free market is not the same thing as mindless deference to the business model of entrenched firms. Unfortunately, though à la carte sounds like common sense to many people, it’s unlikely to be a good idea. Everyone hates their cable company, and à la carte is a way to vent that rage in a way that would hurt cable companies’ profits. But it would do so in a way that would leave most consumers worse off, and generate meaningful savings for only a small minority.
It was a long winter for many of us, so the return to warm weather makes upcoming plans for barbecues and picnics sound all the sweeter. Those outdoor activities, of course, come with an itchy, harsh reality: mosquitoes and ticks, as well as the nasty illnesses they spread. How should you protect yourself? Your well-meaning, chemical-fearing friends may push their 100% All-Natural-Chemical-Free-EPA-Approved! insect repellent on you. These balms sound so safe and appealingly natural, and they may have a fresh scent of lemongrass and peppermint. But do they work? Here’s what you need to know.
A man sitting alone at his kitchen table pauses before eating his breakfast. He looks at the empty room before him. “Meet me in front of Strand Books at 2,” he says aloud, then takes a bite out of his bagel sandwich. It is not a condition of the mind that has this man speaking to a person who isn’t there. It is a text message. This is the opening scene of Google’s first concept video for Glass—a mobile device that you wear on your head like glasses. The words the man had spoken appear before him in the device’s lens. As he eats, he sees the message float away to his friend.
The most recent Time cover story calls the generation of young adults known as millennials “lazy, entitled narcissists.” Writer Joel Stein points out, “The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that's now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982.” How do you measure narcissism?
Tom Zawistowski lived the classic Tea Party origin story. He started a business. He raised a family. Then came 2009 and the Obama presidency, and he discovered politics from the couch of his Portage County, Ohio, home.
In the weeks leading up to Friday’s release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, I suffered from many of the same symptoms that the institutionalized Nick Carraway exhibits in the film: nervousness, irritability, insomnia—perhaps even a heightened propensity for drink. My anxiety level rose incrementally with each departmental meeting and office discussion that focused on the film. As my colleagues giggled with glee at their Gatsby video game, I cowered self-consciously in my cubicle. What was this stupid green light they were going on about, and why was that poor rower forever being borne back into the past?!
This Saturday at 8:00 p.m., BBC America will air the finale of Doctor Who Season 7 Part 2. The Who producing team is definitely selling the episode, tantalizingly titled “The Name of the Doctor,” on the strength of its stunning plot revelations. Star Matt Smith says it’s a “complete game changer.” Showrunner Steven Moffat promises “surprises and questions that have never been revealed in the history of Who, including the Doctor’s greatest secret.”* But while we and a whole galaxy of Who-lovers are scrutinizing the hints, spinning out crazy theories, and counting the seconds until Saturday, a handful of lucky fans already know—thanks to a surprising screw-up by the BBC’s mail-order service.