Today is Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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Deliver us from our ‘misteakes’

Deliver us from our ‘misteakes’

The most alarming news of the month, if you ask me, is that Robo Brain, a “super-intelligent” robotic brain, is about to be turned loose on the world. Shades of the classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey and Hal, the malevolent computer! But why not, you say? Given the follies our own brains lead...
Reality check in the ‘Magic Methow’

Reality check in the ‘Magic Methow’

So here we are, disoriented, astounded and bereaved. You’d think that having hundreds of homes incinerated in the Carlton Complex’s 250,000-acre firestorm would be quite enough heartbreak. But no. Following hard upon that came a man-made blaze that burned additional homes in the Rising Eagle Road conflagration. Terrific winds followed, triggering more power outages, closing...
Kudos to the Twisp Town Council 

Kudos to the Twisp Town Council 

For nearly three years, wearing my reporter’s hat for methowgrist.com, I’ve observed the deliberations of the Twisp Town Council. It’s been an unexpected pleasure. Let me explain: An appalling portion of my professional life has been spent covering elected officials, from local school boards to the United States Congress. When it comes to how our...
Julia Child was right — fear of fat is fatuous

Julia Child was right — fear of fat is fatuous

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” — Julia Child It seems the celebrated chef Julia Child, who taught Americans French cooking, has been vindicated. An unabashed champion of butter and other fats, Child died two days before her 92nd birthday in 2004. “Fat gives things flavor,” she said. She was cheerfully contemptuous of diet food:...
Of mice and books and trigger warnings

Of mice and books and trigger warnings

Here’s the latest good-news flash: mice actually like running on treadmills. Left to their own devices, wild mice wandering around the neighborhood of an outdoor garden in the Netherlands showed brain scientists who recorded their antics over a period of years that they just like to hop on treadmills and run, for no apparent reason...
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

Naco, Ariz. — The steel-paneled border fence — rising 20 feet above ground, buried 6 feet below — that winds across the Arizona desert past this tiny border town triggers a disheartening sense of déjà vu.   The sight of it took me back to West Berlin on a June day in 1963. President John F. Kennedy made his historic “Ich...
Stolen by a keystroke

Stolen by a keystroke

Your refrigerator can send spam emails. Ford Motor Co. knows if you have committed a crime while driving your car. Someone far away can slam on your brakes while you’re traveling at highway speeds, jerk your steering wheel and shut down your engine. Your e-book can read you, telling the author how fast you’re reading,...
All aboard for the global train wreck

All aboard for the global train wreck

May 29, 2013 BY SOLVEIG TORVIK It blew right by you, didn’t it? The biggest news of the month, I mean. Arguably the biggest news in millions of years. But you surely can’t be held responsible for missing it. It was gone from the news cycle in the blink of an eye. Really, it was...
Secrets of the world’s best education system

Secrets of the world’s best education system

March 27, 2013 BY SOLVEIG TORVIK The news of Methow Valley School Superintendent Mark Wenzel’s departure invites us to think about our schools, and not just here in the valley. Wenzel came to the job as a non-traditional candidate with a self-described “passion for learning.” To its credit, the school board took a chance on...
Nightmareliner

Nightmareliner

Feb. 20, 2013 BY SOLVEIG TORVIK “The Dreamliner was supposed to become famous for its revolutionary design. Instead, it’s become an object lesson in how not to build an airplane.”  – James Surowiecki, The New Yorker Hate government regulation? Love outsourcing jobs? Boeing’s Dreamliner is the airplane for you. This aircraft’s the hottest thing in...