Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:57 am
Check out this graph of America's "Growing Season" — it measures the number of continuous days and nights when it never gets below 32 degrees. You could call this our "frost-free" time of year. In many places, the frost-free season begins in the spring and ends somewhere in October.
As you can see, over the 20th century, it's been staying frost-free longer...and longer...and longer...
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:19 pm
Bill Clinton will add yet another chapter to his storied career tonight when the former president places in nomination the name of the current president, Barack Obama.
It will be the focal point of the evening and for some, perhaps, the most newsworthy moment of the entire convention. The old Clinton-Obama feud remains an endless source of political gossip, and the convention planners are happy to have the former president's supposedly unedited and unvetted remarks as a rare source of suspense. Maybe it will help the ratings.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:23 am
Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."
Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:17 am
100 years ago today, John Cage was born. In celebration of his birthday, we asked contemporary musicians across a wide range of genres and backgrounds — not only in classical music, but also pop, rock, metal, electronic and experimental — what they've taken from the late composer's musical and philosophical ideas.
Next week's election in the Netherlands could seal the fate of Amsterdam coffee shops that also sell pot to foreign tourists. Some parties favor, and others oppose, a plan to restrict the shops' business. Cafe owners are struggling to get their customers to the polls.
Christopher Hitchens, who died in December 2011 from complications related to esophageal cancer, was a columnist for <em>Vanity Fair</em>, and the author of <em>Hitch-22</em> and <em>God Is Not Great</em>.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:55 am
When a consummately articulate, boundlessly bold journalist stricken with stage 4 esophageal cancer reports from the front lines about facing what he calls, among other things, "hello darkness my old friend," you sit up and pay attention. Mortality, by virtue of its ultimate unavoidability, raises questions about the very meaning of life, making it as challenging a subject as any tackled by Christopher Hitchens in his brilliant career. It is, in fact, one of the subjects, right up there with love, and you can count on Hitchens to eschew weak-kneed sentimentality.