Interesting Articles: Oct 17th-24th 2005

If you're going to only read one article from this post this week, read this one:
* Meet the Life Hackers (New York Times). The science of interruptions: on the prevalence of interruptions in the modern work force and methods to improve how interruptions are provided to people. The long article, residing at the intersection of culture, psychology, and technology, is a worthwhile read. Just a teaser: one result of the scientific experiments is more screen real estate is better. And there are a number of more surprising tidbits on how to manage screen real estate more effectively in the article.

* As Young Adults Drink to Win, Marketers Join In (New York Times). Beer Pong. Again, you know it's an old meme when it shows up in a major newspaper.
* Those Boys Are Back, as Timely as Ever (New York Times). On the timeliness and continuing humor value of South Park. I agree with most of the article and still remember how great the episodes on The Passion of the Christ and The Lord of the Rings were. But most non-commentary episodes really do fall flat to me.

* Finding the best eats off the beaten track (Mercury News) (BugMeNot). A neat profile of a prominent and devoted chowhound. Incidentally, her ranking of ramen places is quite good from what I know, and these places all really show that ramen can be orders of magnitude better than the dried supermarket stuff.
* Organic Choice: Pesticides vanish from body after change in diet (Science News). Striking stuff: even a simple diet change to organic foods can have an immediate and significant impact on the amount of pesticides found in one's body. If you can't read that link, at least read the abstract of the source article Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children's Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides (Environmental Health Perspectives). (The abstract and article itself are available as links off that page.)

* Balls of Fire: Bees carefully cook invaders to death (Science News). What an interesting defense mechanism. The fifth paragraph (insects aside) really struck me as something out of an action movie.
* Fast-food customers get a rude calorie surprise (USA Today). The article describes two quite different studies about food consumption; the title only applies to the first one. They are nothing surprising but are still simple and cute experiments.

* The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal (New York Times). A long article on the Miller case. Frankly, way more than I wanted to know about the case but still thought provoking in parts for the meta-commentary in the piece (that is, given that Miller worked for the Times, discussions on how the New York Times covered the case and how decisions about how they should cover it were made). Formed a good contrast to a discussion I heard on the radio (audio available) the same day that brought a different angle on how the Times dealt with the situation. But really in the end I would rather not have read any of this now -- if I was smart I'd have waited until the whole situation was over and then read a cohesive narrative.

TV Show Plug: Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars is one of the most intelligent, sophisticated and addictive series currently on television. I'd hate to simply call it a detective show because I feel like that sells short everything it does so well. I've been obsessed with this (UPN) show since late 2004; I got turned onto it from this NPR fall 2004 television show discussion. (It's the first show they review.) It took me a few months before I actually managed to catch an episode but after that it was all over -- I started to make sure I was around whenever it aired and have been watching it religiously ever since.

If you like the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer television series, you'll like Veronica Mars. It's basically Buffy as a detective. The similarities are astounding. Like Buffy, Veronica is an intelligent high-school female. She's independent. She's not in the in-crowd but has her own small gang of friends. She's being raised by a single-parent. Still like Buffy, each episode has a particular story arc and yet there is a season long major difficulty that needs to be solved; progress is also made toward this major goal each episode. Yet, like Buffy, it's not the plot and problems to solve that make these such good shows but rather the relationships between the characters and how they evolve over time play a significant role. The only differences are: (a) Buffy slays vampires and demons (with the occasional help of magic) while Veronica catches criminals (with the help of detective, forensic, and social engineering skills), and (b) the writing, while good, lacks the lyrical offbeat quality started by Joss Whedon with Buffy that served as a distinguishing feature of that show.

In short, Veronica Mars is an awesome show. You should start watching this season (episode four just aired) before the season arc advances too far (and you feel like you've missed a lot).

TV Show Plug: 30 Days

A friend recently turned me onto the TV show 30 Days (warning: web page launches with sound). 30 Days is a series produced by the same guy that made Super Size Me, the movie about eating McDonald's constantly for a month, and follows an analogous premise. In each one-hour (counting commercials) episode, the camera focuses on one person that is forced for a month to do something unusual or something most of us haven't experienced: the first episode features the producer and his girlfriend trying to work for and live off of minimum wage; the second focused on one guy's attempt to get in shape quickly by exercising a ton, taking lots of vitamins, and using steroids; and so on. The television series has the same handy voice-over as the movie as well as the cut scenes consisting of original, distinctive, and relevant visual art that gave the movie much of its charm. Six episodes were produced for the network FX last summer and the show was recently renewed so more episodes are on the way. I've actually only seen about of half them but the ones I've seen make the show worthwhile enough to plug.

Interesting Articles: Oct 10th-16th 2005

* In a Grueling Desert Race, a Winner, but Not a Driver (New York Times). About the DARPA Grand Challenge. I'm impressed that some vehicles finished this year (unlike last year), with Stanford as the winner. The article (and multimedia associated with it) also has some stunning pictures of the Nevada desserts, and pictures of the vehicles too.
* I, Roommate: The Robot Housekeeper Arrives (New York Times). From two-thirds the way down the first page to halfway down the second, the author provides a thoughtful discussion on how she started anthropomorphizing the robot.
* Behind Artificial Intelligence, a Squadron of Bright Real People (New York Times). :)

Science & Medicine:
* Will Any Organ Do? (New York Times). A good discussion of the medical ethics issues involved with using "marginal" organs.
* Treated for Illness, Then Lost in Labyrinth of Bills (New York Times). Medical paperwork horror stories. Look at the sidebar. I'm glad I haven't had to deal with this.
* TV in bedrooms linked to lower test scores (Stanford Report). Causal or not? Think about it.

Gender Roles:
* First Comes the Baby Carriage (New York Times). I hadn't realized the prevalence of artificially inseminated single mothers was on the rise. While the whole article isn't worth reading, it does raise some interesting questions.
* Big Girls Don't Cry (New York Times). Is this an issue of repressing a feature of one group (women), or a legitimate need for businesses? Read the whole article; it's good.

* White's 'Memorandum' (New York Times). An opinion column with very good advice. I'm trying to get a copy of E. B. White's Memorandum but having a heck of time figuring out what book it has been republished in.

Clement Street Festival (Richmond District, SF)

On Sunday October 9th 2005, I spent the early part of the afternoon at the Clement Street Festival in the (inner / east) Richmond district of San Francisco. The fair itself was less than thrilling; similar to the San Bruno Avenue festival, it had a single musical stage, a passably-sized selection of vendors (many of which I saw already at the North Berkeley festival), the same identical very sad looking petting/riding zoo, and the same assortment of kids stuff (inflatable castles, slides, climbing wall, etc.). While I didn't expect much, I had gone hoping for a little more. In particular, the web page claimed:

For the 2005 Festival we will be featuring this diverse cuisine with a "Taste of Clement Street". A number of restaurants within the Festival site will be offering a variety of samples that represent their particular type of food.

But this didn't exist. I didn't see a single food sample or food vendor.

All that being said, all was not lost. I still had a good time because the Richmond district is such a fantastic place with its wide diversity of cultures. I had thought Geary Street was the focus of the district, with a few blocks of Balboa also being intriguing. Little did I know one block over from Geary was Clement, another street as lively and varying as Geary and in fact with probably a greater density of restaurants and shops.

Wandering around Clement was great. It has at least as wide a selection of cuisines as Berkeley, ranging from Irish and Polish to Indonesia, Japanese, Burmese, and, of course, Chinese. (The area is sometimes called new chinatown.) The area of Clement Street between 6th and 8th has many Chinese bakeries and take-out Dim Sum places. Before heading home, I stopped by some of these and picked up some bakery items (sesame balls and a few different moon cakes, and a steamed black bean bun to eat right then). Lunch itself, however, since I couldn't find any of the samples, was at Burma Superstar, a restaurant I'd previously heard positive reviews of. I had a pork and potato curry over rice that came with satisfying chunks of meat and potatoes. The dish was heavy but not rich (like, say, Indian dishes), much like a decent brisket with a little Indian curry mixed in. Nothing that special, but I saw many diners with other tempting dishes and, after reading other reviews of this place online, I definitely want to go back. Along with lunch I had a refreshing slightly alcoholic drink that tasted of lemon and ginger (but didn't go well with the entree at all).

The whole trip confirmed my previous inclination that if I was going to live in San Francisco, the Richmond district would probably be my preferred place. Sadly, it's not close to BART or many highways.

Getting there from Berkeley was a bit of a pain; westbound bay bridge traffic was slow -- it took me an hour to arrive. Returning was easier, with a nice adventure along the way: During the whole fair, we'd occasionally hear the sound barrier broken as the blue angels practiced overhead. (Usually I wasn't able to spot them.) But, on the way home, I heard them once again, then saw the shadow of a plan literally drive down the street toward me and past me! The wingspan of the shadow was almost four lanes.

After crossing the bay bridge (eastbound, to home), I noticed the westbound traffic was at a standstill. No movement. Suddenly I felt better about the slow traffic I had to wade through when I drove west earlier.

Incidentally, the fair was actually organized by the same people that organize the San Bruno Avenue one and the North Berkeley Spice of Life one. Attending, one can see the similarities, but the contrast between the sheer quantity of booths and performers at the Spice of Life versus the other two was staggering. I guess there are simply more people selling hand-made items and trinkets in Berkeley, and more people attending the fair to sell to, and more people that want to perform...

Hayward Greek Festival

Midafternoon on Saturday October 8th 2005 I realized I didn't have any leftovers in the fridge nor did I have a recipe I was anxious to cook. Hence, around dinnertime I headed out to yet another Greek festival, this one in Hayward. Quite similar to other Greek festivals, upon entering I received a brochure much like the ones I received at past festivals (e.g., the history of the church, Greek words, a few recipes, many pages of ads from sponsors, map of the festival) along with a schedule of events. Looking around, they also had the small assortment of vendors that frequent these festivals, selling Greek and religious books, Greek clothing (including t-shirts with humorous messages about being Greek), pottery, and jewelry. One distinguishing factor compared to other festivals was the location: rather than a church, it was located in the local community center. Exhibits and the various food areas (desserts, dining room, grill, presentation room) were scattered around. They did offer the usual church tours and the like -the church was across the street I believe- but I guess it wasn't large enough for the festival itself.

Soon after I arrived at around 6:20pm and slightly hungry I heard an announcement for a baklava cooking demonstration. According to my schedule this should have started a little while ago but I was happy to learn it had been delayed. I took it as a message and attended. (It's also a sign because no other festival have had such demonstrations.)

The demonstration, by a mother and her daughter (later forties and early twenties I'd guess, was very colloquial and friendly. The mother had been a stay at home mom and apparently had many chances to try various baklava recipes and tweaks upon them and had many opinions as a result. It looked surprisingly easy to make and I'd like to try it, but the minimum size load one can probably make would be several dozen so I'd need many volunteers to eat them.

Post-demonstration I was famished so rather than looking around at more vendors and the dancing, I headed straight to the dining room. But the line was quite long, so I snuck off to get some souvlaki at the grill to tide me over, looked around a bit, and only then got in the (by then) shorter line.

For food, it had pretty much the traditional Greek festival menu. This time I opted for
* an aforementioned skewer of pork souvlaki (pretty good, with a little zest from the lemon and oregano (?))
* keftedes: Grecian style meatballs, very good (one of the better items I've had at a Greek festival), quite large and tender and with a complex tomato sauce. (Complex means something good was added to it, but I couldn't identify the flavor. :) )
* pilaf: well done. Like most pilaf, probably with a bit more butter than my health would prefer, but that's just part of what makes it good.
* green beans with tomato sauce. I had this at a previous festival and was unenthusiastic then. This time I was more unenthusiastic. Both had a boring tomato sauce, but this time the beans were overcooked.

For dessert I had a melomacarona, a cookie made from orange rind and soaked in honey and is about the size and shape of a C-cell battery. It was pretty good though screamed that it should be dipped into something (tea/coffee/milk). Then I had a second dessert -I wouldn't be surprised if all these food festivals are making me gain weight- a karidopita. This I hadn't seen at any previous festivals; billed as a walnut torte with a bit of honey poured over it, it was very tasty and moist, reminding me of a (sweetened walnut-flavored) carrot cake.

They had one stage devoted to music and dancing: while I was there they only played traditional Greek music and, compared to when other festivals played traditional music, had the largest crowd of dancers. They had occasional interludes with choreographed costumed dancers performing. These were fun for a few moments but the dances that I saw myself were pretty dull. (After a minute one gets the idea and realizes they'll just do those same moves over and over again.)

All considered, not a bad way of spending the early part of an evening.

North Berkeley Spice of Life Festival

The North Berkeley Spice of Life Festival occurred on Sunday, October 2nd 2005, and I was there. It was fantastic: one of the best street fairs I've ever been to!

It wasn't simply the fact that it was amazingly convenient to me. After all, it was located along Shattuck in the gourmet ghetto about three blocks from my house.

It wasn't simply the number of booths selling cookery, artwork, food products, clothing, and more. While the number itself was impressive -the booths lined two sides of the street for six blocks-, many booths also had cool content. Some booths that struck me were:
* A booth selling soap (that was actually supposed to be used) carved to look like sushi. And "hand soap," actually carved to look like a hand.
* One booth containing laser-etched 3-d glass cubes containing images of many different objects, including spheres, crystal growths, geodesics, and more mundane things like animals.
* One booth selling funky art that resembled the graffiti and murals one finds on building walls. (Sadly, I now forget the medium the art was done in.)
* One booth with stunning photographs of Vietnam. I think the photographer might've been involved in the war there (judging by his age), but I never heard explicit confirmation of this fact. In any case, he went back and took some large and beautiful pictures.
* A surprisingly popular booth selling fake wood flooring. Ah, Berkeleyans (don't want to use real non-sustainable wood).
* The Berkeley Path Wanderers, a group of people dedicated to mapping all the hidden walkways in Berkeley (and there are many) and maintaining them, was seeking new members and selling walking maps.
* The Academy for Psychic Studies. While many booths selling artwork I see at many fairs, this one I only spotted at this festival in Berkeley.
* An advocate for a small pedestrian mall in the gourmet ghetto. I'm all for it, given that right now the space is mostly unused asphalt.

It wasn't the food vendors, for there weren't very many and they weren't special. (I ate a chicken thai satay stick with rice, some roasted corn, and a few grilled oysters, all from different booths.) Rather, it was the drink vendors. Every local bar/pub/microbrewery (Triple Rock, Bison, Jupiter) had an area. And there was a wine tasting garden. And the local wine shop recently opened its store on Vine Street (hehe) and was open for browsing. The shop is in a funky refurbished building and almost doesn't look like a retail store. But inside one finds a moderate (not overwhelming) number of wines (five dozen or so), each with an individual frequently entertaining card describing it, its history, and what foods it would go well with. I bought two inexpensive Italian whites (that I haven't yet drank) that sounded similar to other wines I know I like. The store has a fun attitude, with quotes on the wall like, "Conserve Water. Drink Wine."

They did have a minor petting zoo for kids. It looked a little better than San Bruno Avenue festival but was still fairly sad, with six ponies in a parking lot and a few bales of hay.

Of course, the traditional modest (Thursday) gourmet ghetto farmers market people were there for this weekend festival too.

Blacks Oaks, one of our local independent bookstores (and one of my favorites), had readings and signings, nearly one an hour. Mind you, these were small time authors and were very sparsely attended, but it's the style that matters.

Now if this was all that was worth mentioning, it might merely be a slightly above average town festival.

But there was more. For one, there was a cooking stage with demonstrations throughout the day, with chefs from local good restaurants. I stood and watched two. One I watched was by the chef at Liaison (the neighborhood french restaurant); he cooked a roasted butternut squash soup. I got the recipe and actually made it several months later and it was fantastic! (Warm, tasty, and filling; a nice fall/winter soup.) Something I'd be happy to have been served at a restaurant.

And that's not all. The music at the Spice of Life festival was unparalleled compared to other festivals. They had three official stages of music. And more than that, they had two more unofficial stages: one at the Cheeseboard with its usual jazz duo, and one at a yoga booth with a performer with a sitar. I mostly hung around the jazz stage, and the performers there were generally great. The best was actually the Berkeley Jazz school. (I've heard them multiple times and they're always good.) Then came along a brazilian jazz quintet, and then a vocal group (that I didn't get as into). Much of the day when I wasn't wandering around the festival I could be found by this stage, listening and sitting in the sun and reading a book ("The Innovator's Dilemma") for a class. What a nice time, and I must've gotten through a good hundred pages.

[Most of this was written much after the festival.]

Armenian Food and Dance Festival

In the early afternoon on Saturday, October 1st 2005 I stopped by the Armenian Food and Dance Festival in Oakland for a look around and some lunch. (Sorry, no link -- this festival has no web page. It was hosted by the St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church, if that helps.) Organization-wise it was not unlike all these past church-sponsored Greek festivals.

I arrived at the Bazaar (for that is what it called itself) at around 1pm while it was still getting started. (I believe they planned to have a night of dancing and close at midnight, the latest of any festival I've attended.) After glancing at the four vendors, one of which was the Armenian Rugs Society, "dedicated to the identification, preservation and dissemination of knowledge of Armenian rugs," I followed my nose to the food.

The menu included the usual kebabs, chicken, pilaf, and stuffed grape leaves, and a few more unusual items. I went for the two items I don't think I've seen before (or at least not recently): one, Koofta, "meatballs" stuffed with meat (and spices, butter, and parsley); two, a cheese beoreg , a pastry filled with Jack cheese. When I ordered, following a couple and a family that went for the usual items, the woman helping fill the plates said, "Ah, someone who knows what the hardest items to cook are." :)

The koofta was excellent. The meatballs, about three inches in diameter, really did taste like (and were) meat stuffed with meat -- the texture of the outing filling was distinctly different than the ground meat inside. And the spices were great! Looking the recipe up online, it appears the shell is produced separately and gets its consistency from mixing meat with bulgur, plus it being on the outside when the meatball is boiled.

The cheese beoreg, much like the Greek equivalent (both being filled folded flakey many-layered pastries), was also good. I'm always worried about ordering cheese-stuff items (like quesadillas) because cooks frequently overdo it on the cheese (in my opinion) and make the dish overwhelming. But this dish had just the right amount of cheese -a fairly thin sliver- inside.

While eating I settled down outside to listen to some musicians and crowd-watch. (They also had a stage inside but that wasn't being used yet; they were still setting up the dance floor.) The crowd here was older than most other festivals; I was only one of a few people below forty. The music, played by a few old guys, was very good. The two main instruments -I had to look up the names afterward- were a qanun (basically an Armenian lap-played harp) and an oud (a Middle Eastern lute).

I also tried a beer they had that I hadn't seen before: Kilikia (light). It was light like a Pilsner but tasted really hoppy and even bitter. I think it was skunked. I couldn't drink much: I had to pour it away. Later I checked and found that my taste buds weren't off; the beer is panned there. Well, either that or a lot of reviewers got skunked beer.

After relaxing a bit, I remembered that I wouldn't be having dinner for another eight hours (until after I finished playing BANG 12, an evening puzzling scavenger hunt). So, I figured I should eat more. (Yes, this was just a rationalization. Really what it comes down to is that there was more food I wanted to try.) Hence, I went to the table outside with many other items, all vegetarian.

The odd feature of this table was that it wasn't mentioned on any official literature from the Bazaar about food. Nor was the table even on the festival map. And the festival wasn't very big; it's not like they could have forgotten about it! I wonder if this was a last-minute vendor that is actually competing with the culinary items of the festival itself?

In any case, I got some more food:
* Mock keyma. Bulgur (parched cracked wheat) mixed with green onions, red onions, green peppers, and spices. Tasty. Mock because there was no meat involved. I'd like to cook this sometime; seems like it would be easy.
* Imam bayildi. Eggplant stuffed with a tomato, onion, and pepper mixture. Decent but a bit oily.

Before I left, I glanced at the very large deli take-out section. (Most festivals, if they have one, have a very small one.) This one was impressive and had many items whose names and appearances I didn't recognize. Sadly, I passed on everything since I didn't feel comfortable leaving food in my car for eight hours.

How Berkeley Can You Be? and Middle Eastern Food Festival

I attended the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade and Festival on Sunday, September 25th 2005. These pictures and the accompanying commentary tell pretty much the whole story of the parade. The festival itself, held in downtown Berkeley at the ending location of the parade, was decent. Quite a wide selection of vendors, a stage with bands playing a wide selection of different music types, and a good half a dozen food booths, mostly of the type one sees at every festival. (There was a Jamaican booth too, but the line was too long, and a booth of people giving away Brown Cow yogurt!) All in all, the vendors and the kookiness, a fairly Berkeley experience. As for food, impatient, I snuck away and had lunch at the new Tibetan restaurant in the downtown Berkeley. But, following my policy of not writing about Berkeley restaurants (because otherwise I'd never stop writing), I won't say more about it.

After working some of the afternoon, in the evening I headed out again to the Middle Eastern Food Festival in San Francisco (craigslist announcement: link will expire). Held in a church, there were only three vendors selling items (jewelry, foodstuffs, and books) all mostly in Arabic. The center of the festival quite obviously was the event room containing many tables, a band, a wood-paneled dance floor, and a long set of tables with food. The whole thing reminded me a lot of wedding receptions (and the like). The crowd was predominately middle-eastern; I heard a lot of Arabic being spoken. All the singers sang in Arabic. All the food signs (and the books) were all in Arabic. They said a prayer at the end of the festival in Arabic. Only after the prayer was over did they realize that there were some non-Arabic speakers there and then explained what they just did.

When I arrived at 7:30pm, a hour and a half before the festival closed on its last day, they had cut the price in half (or more) on all their food items to help get rid of them. (At the SF Greek Festival I went to the week before they did this too, but not until well after I had finished eating.) The food at this festival was actually quite similar to those at Greek festivals: this had kebabs while the Greeks' have souvlaki; they both had some form for a spinach pie; they both had "Greek" salad; they both had some stewy green bean dish (they called theirs fasoulia but it looks the same); and so on. They had a few items Greek festival don't have like falafel, tabouleh, humus, kibbe (rice and meat mixture), and mujadara (a lentil, wheat, and onion mixture). And the desserts, with the exception of both having baklava, were entirely different.

Personally, I had some lamb kebabs (fairly decent) with pita (definitely good quality pita bread) and a spinach pie. Unlike Greek spinach pies, this was made of a thicker bread than phyllo, but had a similar taste. As for dessert, I tried one but don't remember it much, nor the name of it. In fact, I wrote down the transliterated names they gave for half the dessert menu (the poster with the transliteration of the names for the other half the dessert menu had fallen down) and none of them gave relevant results on Google. So either the transliterations were non-standard or the desserts are really exotic!

Interesting Articles: Oct 3rd-9th 2005

* On Television, Brands Go From Props to Stars (New York Times). A mildly interesting article (with a very interesting -for us data junkies- sidebar) on paid placement in television shows.

* To More Inmates, Life Term Means Dying Behind Bars (New York Times). A surprising (to me anyways) and harrowing tale of how the concept of life imprisonment has changed over the years. There is also a follow-on piece, Jailed for Life After Crimes as Teenagers.
* Want Social Condemnation With Your Justice? Tune In Judge Judy (New York Times). Cute and apt -I've watched the show- commentary on Judge Judy.
* The Tort Wars, at a Turning Point (New York Times). On tort cases involving asbestos and silica dust. While I know this article focuses on a few bad doctors and lawyers, the real question is which profession does this tarnish the reputation of the most?

I recently got distracted browsing some papers at some of the latest Psychology & Economics conferences and workshops. Here are some cute tidbits; read the abstracts at least:
* Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers' Voting on Women's Issues (PDF)
* Strategic Release of Information on Friday: Evidence from Earnings Announcements (PDF)
* All that Glitters: The Effect of Attention and News on the Buying Behavior of Individual and Institutional Investors.
* Searching for a Mate: Theory and Experimental Evidence. (They use speed dating as the experiment!)
* Man's Best Wingman: Which type of dog really attracts the most women? (New York Magazine). Despite its non-scientific nature, hesitatingly filed under Psychology.

* Serious Riders, Your Bicycle Seat May Affect Your Love Life (New York Times). Some bicycle seats were always thought to reduce sperm count, but it seems the problem is both more prevalent and more dangerous than previously thought.
* How hot was it? (Science News; may not be available to everyone). About polymers that change color irrevocably due to temperature changes, and the uses these can have in food safety.

* Thousands show up to see snow on Fillmore Street (San Francisco Chronicle). Funky: a ski and snowboard jumping competition in San Francisco! Check out the video and the pictures. (I couldn't make it in person.)
* A Fast Track to Toilet Training for Those at the Crawling Stage (New York Times). In retrospect I'm not surprised that you can potty train such young babies, but it is an idea I never previously heard of.

Interesting Articles: Sep 26th-Oct 2nd 2005

* In Heeding Health Warnings, Memory Can Be Tricky (New York Times). A psychology article on why the statement-true-false paradigm is poor for teaching people, and especially bad in the context of medicine. Contains a few interesting comments about age-related effects.

* Which of These Foods Will Stop Cancer? (Not So Fast) (New York Times). On the mistaken believes that low-fat diets, high fiber diets, and diets high in antioxidants (like those from fruits and vegetables) help prevent cancer.
* The Kindest Cuts Are Underwater (Science News). On how to keep produce fresh longer.
* Dieting? Don't Give Up Protein (Science News). A discussion on the benefits and importance of keeping protein in one's diet when cutting carbs.