Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Wandering

Shining light on obscure news stories trickling by under the recent headlines, on a wet Wednesday morning:

Jonah Goldberg Reviews Avatar: He reviews it from an intriguing angle: Avatar And The Faith Instinct:
"[W]hat I find interesting about the film is how what is 'to the most people' is so unapologetically religious."
Criminals "Living In Fear": Crime is plummeting on the Isle of Man ever since the opening of Europe's first completely non-smoking prison:
One former prisoner, who spent six months there, said the smoking ban had cons 'crawling up the walls' in desperation for a nicotine fix.
... "As soon as word got round that it wasn't a joke and that all smoking was banned, even in the exercise yard, a lot of people I know started having second thoughts about committing crimes.
"It was something they genuinely feared. Not prison itself, but the idea of being forced to give up smoking.
"Some of my mates have simply given up crime, whether it be stealing cars, shoplifting to order or burglary, as a direct result of the smoking ban."
Belgian Tragedy: Sad, sad story... can't imagine the pain the family must be going through right now. Belgian media site 7sur7 reports that an 81-year old woman from Stekene struggles to stay alive after having been attacked by her son's doberman Monday night. Police say that the elderly woman was seemingly bitten a hundred times. The mother lives with her son, who owns three dobermans. At least one of them had attacked her, biting her scores of times. There will be an inquiry to determine whether any of the other dogs also attacked her. A doctor has been assigned to establish the exact number of dogbites the victim endured. It is expected that she will have to have her left arm amputated due to her injuries.
[Roughly translated from French article]

Book Scouting: Yesterday I heard co-author Daniel Senor in a fascinating interview on Dennis Prager's radio show about the recent new book Start-Up Nation: The Story Of Israel's Economic Miracle. As the interview was underway I soon realized I had very little knowledge about Israel's economic history, so I found the talk (and many subsequent interviews that can be seen at both the book's and the publisher's website) about the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Israel "not just a country but a comprehensive state of mind", to be very interesting indeed. Looking forward to reading the book:

Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion-dollar question: How is it that Israel—a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources—produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom?

Drawing on examples from the country’s foremost inventors and investors, geopolitical experts Dan Senor and Saul Singer describe how Israel’s adversity-driven culture fosters a unique combination of innovative and entrepreneurial intensity.

... Whereas Americans emphasize decorum and exhaustive preparation, Israelis put chutzpah first. “When an Israeli entrepreneur has a business idea, he will start it that week,” one analyst put it.
Eagle Spotting: Our intrepid parks correspondant recently benefited from splendid timing as his trail-walking explorations coincided with him arriving upon the scene of a 20-minute nature show: an eagle feasting on a salmon snatched from an ice-cold mountain river.

Our parks correspondant offered us minutes of gory video footage of the dining experience, but I prefer to share the more G-rated conclusion, as the majestic eagle exits stage right:

1 comment:

truepeers said...

Eagle eyes.

I was recently interviewing an elderly lady and asking how much her parents had passed on Yiddish to their children growing up in 1920s Vancouver. Not too much was the answer; but some of it was passed down inevitably. "Some of those "Jewish" words are so good at capturing things and there's no word like them in English, like "chutzpah""