Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: the new york times

The Barkley Marathon

In 2014 Stefania and I are going to participate to the Barkley marathon, that has been elegantly described by a recent article published on the New York Times. But do not tell her: she still doesn’t know.

On Friday night, in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee, 28 men and 7 women will lie in tents half asleep in anticipation of hearing a conch shell being blown at Big Cove Campground in Frozen Head State Park. When they hear the call, which will arrive sometime between 11 p.m. that night and 11 a.m. Saturday, they will know they are 60 minutes from the start of an ordeal once referred to as a “satanic running adventure.” Enlarge This Image Geoffrey S. Baker Runners in 2012 heading up an incline called Rat Jaw. Runners are required to complete a bizarre entry form with questions like, “What is the most important vegetable group?” It is a 100-mile footrace that some say is actually 130 miles or more, through unmarked trails that have names like Meth Lab Hill, Bad Thing and Leonard’s Buttslide and that are choked with prickly saw briers. Temperatures often range from freezing to blistering on the same day, and there is a cumulative elevation gain of more than 60,000 feet, or the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest twice from sea level. A 60-hour time limit forces competitors to run, climb and bushwhack for three days with little or no sleep. They endure taunts from the race director, who deliberately keeps the competition’s entry procedure a mystery. It is a race in which there are no comfort stations, and runners cannot use a GPS device or a cellphone. Read the rest on the New York Times

We needed beer

Lifesaving social instincts didn’t readily lend themselves to exploration, artistic expression, romance, inventiveness and experimentation — the other human drives that make for a vibrant civilization. To free up those, we needed something that would suppress the rigid social codes that kept our clans safe and alive. We needed something that, on occasion, would let us break free from our biological herd imperative — or at least let us suppress our angst when we did. We needed beer. Luckily, from time to time, our ancestors, like other animals, would run across fermented fruit or grain and sample it. How this accidental discovery evolved into the first keg party, of course, is still unknown. But evolve it did, perhaps as early as 10,000 years ago. … Conversations around the campfire, no doubt, took on a new dimension: the painfully shy, their angst suddenly quelled, could now speak their minds. But the alcohol would have had more far-ranging effects, too, reducing the strong herd instincts to maintain a rigid social structure. In time, humans became more expansive in their thinking, as well as more collaborative and creative. A night of modest tippling may have ushered in these feelings of freedom — though, the morning after, instincts to conform and submit would have kicked back in to restore the social order.

Read the entire article on The New York Times.

For sale

I am very sorry to hear that New York Times Co. (NYT) is formally exploring a sale of the Boston Globe, its only remaining business outside the core New York Times media brand. Boston Globe is a quality newspaper, and the main provider of stunning pictures that I regularly admire on the Big Picture section of the website. I hope that won’t change with the future ownership.

Jobs, energy, and taxation

A useful info-graphic from the NYT commenting on the topics touched upon by President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address of his second term.