Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures (4)

#5: Slow cooker black bean ragout Apparently a ragout is a main-dish stew (related to the Italian ragu), usually cooked long and slow. Now you know! This is a basic bean dish, probably not that different from one you’d find in any veggie or vegan cookbook, and that’s exactly what I wanted for post-Thanksgiving. It […]

Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures (3)

#4: Butternut squash and caramelized onion galette This is one of the recipes that immediately hit me with a “Where has this been all my life?” kind of force. I love winter squash, lately I’m obsessed with caramelized onions, and anything that involves expanding my pastry dough repertoire is a fun challenge. I decided to […]

Mees 2: Was auto dominance inevitable?

One of the most interesting myths that Mees spends time debunking in this chapter is actually not that auto dominance was inevitable (since I didn’t believe that to begin with) but the idea that American public transit declined and died because of a conspiracy by the auto industry. His analysis is that the tram industry […]

The professional hazards of a linguist: Chomsky

One of the professional hazards of being a linguist is being asked what you think of Chomsky.* I never have a good answer because we didn’t actually study Chomsky in school. The linguistics department at Rice does what’s called ‘functional linguistics’, and Chomsky is ‘formal linguistics’. The names have to do with having different opinions […]

Goodbye, Stacey’s

I happened to read today that Stacey’s Bookstore in San Francisco is closing. Any bookstore closure is kind of sad, but this one has a particular sadness for me because that’s where I bought The Mindbody Prescription, which I used to get rid of my RSI totally. I bought the book in November 2005, on […]


It’s sort of unfortunate when people who may have a point undermine themselves with hyperbole, hand-wringing, and inaccuracy. I got pointed via BoingBoing to what should have been an interesting article about the people behind the sources of Facebook’s funding. I’m no particular fan of Facebook, especially because it just seems to get more and […]


The first e-book reader I’ve ever seen that I actually want. The content doesn’t sound very interesting (I prefer books to newspapers and magazines, so an e-book reader without a book supplier is less than exciting — and I want to be able to load my own stuff on, so no/minimal DRM and other nonsense) […]