Sunday, November 12, 2006

Topics of Interest: Week ending Nov. 12

Here I go again, posting another long list of stories I found interesting over the past week. There's not much rhyme or reason to the selections, other than I liked them. Some of them make me think about potential plot points or characters in my writing, others just seek to explain the world around us.

Workplace jargon 'isolates staff'
Needless jargon in the workplace is baffling employees and widening the divide between management and staff, a survey suggests.

A Hollywood ending?
The BBC's Los Angeles correspondent David Willis has been on sabbatical, trying to forge a career as an actor in Hollywood. In this, his final diary entry for the BBC News website, he reflects on the path his journey has taken him.

Grieving Web users find space to mourn
Chicago Tribune
Car crashes, homicides and suicides are top causes of death for people ages 15 to 24, and for a logged-on generation that relies on the Internet for everything from dating to school research, online tributes are as natural as a roadside memorial.

Kirstie Alley Dons Bikini on 'Oprah'
Chicago Tribune
Kirstie Alley -- who was once the "Fat Actress" -- donned a bikini to show off her new shape on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," fulfilling a pledge she made about a year ago. ... "We can decide to change anything -- at any age," Alley said.

Preservationists in Chicago Fear Losing Ground to Condos
New York Times
Fiercely proud of both its architecture and its distinct neighborhoods, Chicago is losing entire tracts of older buildings. Many areas bordering downtown where immigrant communities flourished a century ago have experienced a rush of residential development, leading local preservationists like Mr. Fine to worry that before long, the only architecture left in this inner ring of neighborhoods will be condominiums.

A Series Changes Horses, and the Ride Gets Bumpy
New York Times
Something is wrong with "Gilmore Girls." Early reports had this cherished tragicomedy series faring just fine on the new CW network without its despotic creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and her husband and co-captain, Daniel Palladino. Those reports were false. The couple left their own show last spring after disputes with Warner Brothers over contracts, money, timing, something. And without them the show is not faring well. It's faring weirdly.

Too Close for Comfort
New York Times
It has only been in the last century that Americans have put all their emotional eggs in the basket of coupled love. Because of this change, many of us have found joys in marriage our great-great-grandparents never did. But we have also neglected our other relationships, placing too many burdens on a fragile institution and making social life poorer in the process.

It's Hinglish, innit?
Hinglish - a hybrid of English and south Asian languages, used both in Asia and the UK - now has its own dictionary. Is it really a pukka way to speak?

Where did the idea to sell poppies come from?
The red poppy worn around the world in remembrance of battlefield deaths has nothing to do with the blood shed in the brutal clashes of World War I. Instead it symbolises the wild flowers that were the first plants to grow in the churned-up soil of soldiers' graves in Belgium and northern France.

Duckworth keeps it in perspective
`Losing a campaign is no fun, but it's not like losing a limb.'
Chicago Tribune
On Sunday Tammy Duckworth will celebrate "Alive Day." That's what she calls the anniversary of the day a rocket-propelled grenade tore through the helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq--an attack that destroyed her legs and shattered her right arm, but spared her life.

Marines Get the News From an Iraqi Host: Rumsfeld's Out. 'Who's Rumsfeld?'
New York Times
If history is any guide, many of the young men who endure the severest hardships and assume the greatest risks in the war in Iraq will become interested in politics and politicians later, when they are older and look back on their combat tours. But not yet. Marine infantry units have traditionally been nonpolitical, to the point of stubbornly embracing a peculiar detachment from policy currents at home. It is a pillar of the corps' martial culture: those with the most at stake are among the least involved in the decisions that send them where they go.

Fewer grooms for Kashmiri women
Seventeen years of insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir have left a distinct mark not only on the region's politics, but also on its social and cultural fabric.

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