January 8, 2014 |
Got some dirty money to launder? Well, Rhode Island scientists say they've devised a method of washing human grease, microbes and motor oil from the world's banknotes using supercritical fluid. Each year, the world's governments shred roughly 150,000 tons of cold hard cash due to wear and tear, as well as the buildup of human grease, or sebum, which collects on the bills as they are handed from one person to another. As the sebum reacts with oxygen in the air, the bills begin to turn yellow, making them more likely to be retired by central banks and destroyed.
December 6, 2009 |
Note: This is the first of a two-part column on the current state of contemporary detective fiction. This month: series characters as viewed by their creators. In an essay for the Wall Street Journal last spring, Alexander McCall Smith explains the curious relationship readers have with characters created by other people and the expectations that build up for authors as a result. He describes one encounter with a reader highly critical of a plot turn in one of his Isabel Dalhousie novels, to the point where McCall Smith muses, after the fact, "that was me put in my place.
March 26, 1992 |
The Bush Administration on Wednesday rejected suggestions that it should meet with author Salman Rushdie and portrayed his visit to Washington this week as an effort at book promotion rather than as a campaign for freedom of expression. "There's no reason for any special relationship with Rushdie," White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater told reporters. "I mean, he's an author. He's here. He's doing interviews and book tours and things authors do.
November 16, 1990 |
Bret Easton Ellis said the first "rumblings" he heard that Simon & Schuster might not release his new novel began last Friday. By Wednesday, Simon & Schuster Chairman Richard E. Snyder had released a statement saying that "American Psycho" was "not a book that Simon & Schuster was going to publish." The book had been under fire in the media because of its lurid depiction of violence against women. Ellis, 26, said he was flabbergasted. "I literally couldn't believe it," he said.
March 8, 2011 |
Sleep deprivation just isn't a good idea for most people. Besides the increase in accidents and poor work and school performance due to the fatigue, a new study shows sleep loss can also lead to skewed thinking and bad decisions. This must be why students who pull an all-nighter studying for an exam often believe they did great on the test -- that is, until the grade comes in. Researchers found that a night of sleep deprivation boosts production of brain regions that assess positive outcomes and minimizes the parts of the brain that analyzes negative outcomes.
December 10, 1990 |
The room is No. 206, Hemingway's room. The wallpaper has been changed. So have the furniture, the plumbing, the lights, the lock--everything changed and modernized many times. Everything but the mystique. About twice a month on the average, year in and year out, devotees of the enduring writer and epic character are drawn to Sun Valley Lodge to book his old room and undertake a subtle, personal and sometimes moving journey of rediscovery of a man whose memory lives on here and in nearby Ketchum.
November 5, 2013 |
Clinical depression is now the second-leading cause of global disability, according to new research, with the highest rates of incidence affecting working-age adults and women more than men. In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, researchers found that depressive disorders were second only to lower respiratory infections when it came to inflicting the most years of disability on people throughout the world. Rates of depression were highest in Afghanistan and lowest in Japan, while the condition ranked as the top cause of disability in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia.
December 30, 2012 |
What is it about pirates that fascinates us so much? It is not just the swords and swashbuckling (although I have three young sons who would disagree with that statement), since pirates have reappeared in so many guises over the years. In the decades after World War II, the label was attached to rebellious disc jockeys broadcasting rock 'n' roll off the U.S. coast. At the dawn of the present century, it has been attributed to teenage nerds creating websites in their bedrooms to make free music downloads and software available to the masses.
April 1, 2012 |
My assignment: Read almost 300 literary biographies in more than 800 pages, all of English-language authors, beginning in the 17th century and ending in the present day. "That's like reading a reference book!" said a shocked friend. Yes, but no: Every entry in "Lives of the Novelists" is written by just one person, British critic John Sutherland, so the book has an internal continuity that makes it read like history, not an encyclopedia. And Sutherland's writing is just plain delightful.
February 9, 2012 |
By the time Charles Dickens' career hit its stride, his serialized stories drove readers to distraction in their eagerness for the next monthly installment. In 1841, Americans crowded the docks in New York waiting for ships arriving from England to find out the fate of Little Nell in "The Old Curiosity Shop. " (It was, sadly, not good news.) Dickens 200 t h birthday was celebrated around the world on Tuesday; it included a breathtaking reading by Ralph Fiennes, who stars in an upcoming film version of "Great Expectations," and a wreath-laying on his grave in Westminster Abbey in London by Prince Charles.