Some interesting bits and pieces:
Sometimes, one wonders if cell phones are too prized, and if they are, what does that say about the person prizing the cell phone? Consider the recent news, wherein a teenager allegedly jumped into the subway tunnel to fetch a cell phone she had dropped, only to be subsequently crushed to death by an oncoming train. We seem to feel sorry for the family, but the reality is that perhaps people are getting too foolhardy? As the article noted, not too long ago, a man on the Metro North trains reached into the toilet for his cell phone, which accidentally fell in; and then his arm stuck, requiring the firefighters to bring in the jaws of life to get him out; and delaying Metro North for hours (people definitely loved that guy).
Nicholas D. Kristof has an interesting op-ed about improving education of the prospective workforce, highlighting the Asian example. He points out that the cheap, but well-educated workers of India; the Chinese population’s high GRE scores; etc. Innovations and higher standards in education in America may be due, but will Americans accept it? As much as I don’t want to wonder (since Kristof is knowledgeable of Asian issues, since he and his wife were the Times’ correspondents in Asia for awhile), sometimes such discussions about the Asian advances in educational standards make me feel squeemish, because they feel like a touch on the stereotype of Asians good at math and other academics.
Speaking of stereotypes, there’s the Alessandra Stanley review of the upcoming PBS documentary on the Medicis, Renaissance Italy’s rulers and promoters. She highlights that the documentary seems accurate, but makes odd references or descriptions, as if Lorenzo the Magnificent and the rest of the Medicis were comparable to the Sopranos. Apparently, the producers were aiming for a humorous style, not intending offense, but, again, I do wonder what stereotypes mean – Italians, after all, aren’t all mobsters and so not all powerful, political Italians aren’t “mafia” (I mean, these are the Medicis, the sponsors of artists and artisans and makers of popes; they made history, not to say that the mob don’t make history, but, come on – Renaissance Italy isn’t exactly comparable to prohibition era America with Al Capone et al; they didn’t even have an Eliot Ness or FBI). Not sure if I’ll end up watching the series, but it doesn’t sound too terrible.