November 01, 2007
Texas, environmental haven.
The Survival Of The Fattest
March 19, 2007
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think By Brian Wansink (Bantam, 276 pp., $25) The idea of "the survival of the fittest" is one of the most powerful organizing principles in all of science. That simple idea, stated by Herbert Spencer on the basis of Charles Darwin's work and later endorsed by Darwin himself, captures the theory of evolution, the process of natural selection, and a host of associated notions. And yet the phrase can produce confusion.
Less Than Zero
April 15, 2004
There are a million stories in the naked city, but there appears to be only one story in Washington, D.C. Have you ever read a book set in the capital that was not related to government? Whereas any romantic entanglement, murderous scheme, or cloying period piece may be set in New York City, a plot set in Washington is by and large one of official intrigue, albeit involving a pretty girl. When was the last time you read a romance set in the cafes of Dupont Circle, with no conspiracy in the background? Washington exists as a literary setting solely to establish a stock scene: politics.
February 25, 2002
DOWN ON THE FARM: Embarrassed by reports of wealthy individuals collecting millions in crop subsidies from the government, some farm-state senators are trying to limit payments to $275,000 per farmer per year. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley--who, along with North Dakota's Byron Dorgan, is sponsoring the cap--has argued that "[c]apping farm payments will restore integrity to farm programs." Actually, no: The entire idea of the government singling out people in a certain line of work for preferential treatment violates any notion of market logic or even common sense.
Hostility in America
August 25, 1997
Wilson reviews Crime is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America in 1997.
A Man of Good Intentions
July 29, 1996
Profound disappointment creased the usually impassive face of Warren Christopher the night of May 29. The secretary of state and his staff on the seventh floor of the State Department were hearing about the election returns from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, a committed foe of trading the Golan Heights for peace with Hafez al-Assad's Syria, had defeated Shimon Peres, Israeli architect of the land-for-peace enterprise. Christopher had invested more than three years of effort, as well as presidential, national and personal prestige in trying to broker such a deal.
July 09, 1977
Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?
Why We Need Medicare
December 26, 1964
Today there are 15 million Americans over 65; by 1970 there will be 17 million. They need more doctoring than the majority of us; they are more prone to suffer from degenerative diseases affecting the heart, lungs, digestive tract and arteries. Treatment of those diseases tends to be prolonged and expensive. An average American couple over the age of 65 typically spends $312 a year on medical expenses other than hospitalization; and in any year the typical elderly individual has a 13-percent chance of being hospitalized.