The Seventeen Magazine Project

“The Seventeen Magazine Project is an attempt to spend one month living according to the gospel of Seventeen Magazine.” It’s actually quite brilliant both on its face and because the precocious 18 year old behind the site is so obviously setting herself up for a book (and eventually movie) deal. Also, this, from the first post: “Full disclosure, I am probably far too self aware for this project to draw any sort of credible conclusion on the effects of teen magazines on teen girls. An initial ‘picture walk’ of this month’s issue seems to point to the idea that sarcasm/cynicism/self-awareness doesn’t exist in the sub-21 world. Nonetheless, I am excited to see where this takes me.”

Attached to Technology and Paying a Price

Another article about technology and disconnectedness, but this cautionary lesson is rife with examples that I can identify with, and I suspect many of my friends can as well. I’m using my laptop at home far less now, instead catching up on news and feeds and Twitter on my iPad, as well as using it for gaming, book reading, and to find recipes. I thought that switching to the iPad was a move in the right direction, a way to be more “present” and less in the thrall of technology. But that may not be the case.

Not everyone needs to go to college

This AP article is poorly written and confusing, but I support the sentiment, and have for years. Four year college is not the right path for everyone, and our society loses out on skilled tradespeople, pushes young people into needless debt, and generally devalues a good blue collar work ethic on favor of bachelors degrees that are not always prudent or useful.

Boston Crosswalk Buttons Don’t Do Anything! Except When They Do

Radio Boston deciphers the pedestrian crosswalk buttons in Boston and Cambridge, with mixed results. This was very frustrating to me last weekend when my parents were in town, as the behavior I was used to from North Cambridge did not apply in East Cambridge and in downtown Boston, and there didn’t seem to be any consistent pattern to the Boston signals, not to mention the Boston drivers who had little respect for pedestrians, and pedestrians who did not mind jumping in the way of moving cars. No doubt these various problems feed on each other in annoying and dangerous ways. For an example of the worst of all worlds, just try driving (or walking!) through Central Square.

A Revolution In School Lunches

Time Magazine profiles Revolution Foods, a for-profit attempting to improve the abysmal American school lunch program by using economies of scale to provide meals incorporating fresh, natural ingredients. Amazing to find out how little the government pays per subsidized lunch. The TV show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (no relation to the company) has also been eye-opening, in it’s own way.

The Rise of “Militainment”

A Financial Times article describes how video game technology has replaced or supplemented military training across all US service branches. The costs are lower, the training prospects better, the exercises far safer, but there is a hidden danger: when a gamer makes the transition from video game war to real war, how can he understand how the stakes, and the consequences, have changed?

How The Republican establishment and the Tea Party movement teamed up to bring down Obama’s health care plan

The nascent Tea Party movement continues to show its reach and influence, and the Republican Party is learning how to align itself with and harness the energy of the movement to push its agenda. Scott Brown’s defeat of lethargic Martha Coakley in Massachusetts was a strategic triumph that caught a distracted and stretched Democratic Party completely off guard. Either this defeat will wake up the Democrats and spur them to rally around some legislative reforms that appeal to the “working man” for a series of quick wins that restore the faith of the voters, or it will cause them to fragment even more and sustain sweeping losses in the midterms. I can’t say I’m optimistic about their chances, and it is disappointing that neglect of the economy has once again put the kibosh on badly needed health care reform, doubly unfortunate as unemployment stays historically high.

Walk Away From Your Mortgage!

A columnist in the New York Times Magazine argues that in our current economic climate, with rampant speculation, risk-taking, strategic bankruptcies, failures, and all sorts of other destabilizing and socially detrimental actions being undertaken by large corporations, homeowners have no “moral obligation” to stick with their underwater mortgages. Many people are choosing to walk away from their houses and mortgage payments, and I tend to agree that it is only fair for the little guy to play the same sort of games so popular among greedy hedge funds, investment bankers, and the rest of the people who have done so much to destroy our economy and hurt so many people.

Another Challenge for Ethical Eating – Plants Want to Live, Too

The Times argues for plant welfare. That’s my gut reaction whenever I hear talk about the awfulness of humans killing animals for food, clothing, or supplies. We have to eat something, and, animal cruelty concerns aside, animal protectionists never stop to explain why are animals more deserving of life than plants.