The View From Your Window Contest

Nov 22 2014 @ 12:00pm


You have until noon on Tuesday to guess it. City and/or state first, then country. Please put the location in the subject heading, along with any description within the email. If no one guesses the exact location, proximity counts. Be sure to email entries to Winner gets a free The View From Your Window book or two free gift subscriptions to the Dish. Have at it.

Last week’s results are here. You can browse a gallery of all our previous contests here.

When Literary Fame Comes Late

Nov 22 2014 @ 11:10am

In a conversation about the novelist John Williams – most famous as the recently rediscovered author of Stoner – Charles J. Shields and William Giraldi compare his posthumous reputation with that of Herman Melville, riffing on why his writing resonates now:

Charles J. Shields: The literary parallel that comes to my mind is what happened to Melville. He died in such deep obscurity that more than one New York newspaper began his obituary with a sentence like, “The current reading generation will not be familiar with the name Herman Melville, but there was a time when the writer’s work was on everyone’s lips.” The Melville Revival didn’t occur until 45 years after his death. Williams didn’t die unknown of course in 1994, but he saw nothing during his lifetime like the attention that’s been given to his novels recently. And I bring up the Melville-Williams connection for another reason, too. You mention “the architecture of an expert craftsman.” As an experiment, I broke one of Melville’s shorter chapters in Moby-Dick into free verse — it read and sounded gorgeous. Williams was that sort of craftsman, too. … What’s your opinion about why Williams is being carried into the pantheon dead instead of living?

William Giraldi: Our need for beauty and wisdom is such that we will find it: sooner or later, one way or another, beauty and wisdom will have out.

Read On

The Little Stories Of YouTube

Nov 22 2014 @ 10:22am


Mark Slutsky describes his absorbing website, Sad YouTube, as being comprised of “[m]oments of melancholy, sadness and saudade from the lives of strangers, gleaned from the unfairly maligned ocean of YouTube comments.” In an interview, he expands on why he started the site and what might be its deeper meaning:

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A Poem For Saturday

Nov 22 2014 @ 9:34am

Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

Last week I introduced Sharon Olds at a benefit for Red Hen Press in Pasadena. At Knopf in 1983, I was her editor for The Dead and the Living, her second book of poems, winner of both the Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the National Book Critics’ Circle award. On the plane to LA two days before the event, I reread a number of her splendid books, all devotedly published by Knopf. Stag’s Leap, from 2012, her compelling collection centered around the end of her marriage—part elegy, part dirge, part paean to all it was—was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and Britain’s T.S.Eliot Prize. We’ll post several poems from that book this weekend and in the days ahead, including a poem especially apt for Thanksgiving.

“The Last Hour” by Sharon Olds:

Suddenly, the last hour
before he took me to the airport, he stood up,
bumping the table, and took a step
toward me, and like a figure in an early
science fiction movie he leaned
forward and down, and opened an arm,
knocking my breast, and he tried to take some
hold of me, I stood and we stumbled,
and then we stood, around our core, his
hoarse cry of awe, at the center,
at the end, of our life. Quickly, then,
the worst was over, I could comfort him,
holding his heart in place from the back
and smoothing it from the front, his own
life continuing, and what had
bound him, around his heart—and bound him
to me—now lying on and around us,
sea-water, rust, light, shards,
the little eternal curls of eros
beaten straight out.

(From Stag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds, copyright © 2012 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.)

A New Hearing Hack

Nov 22 2014 @ 8:46am

Phantom Terrains is an experimental tool that makes Wi-Fi audible by streaming digital signals to a listener’s hearing aids:

Each Wi-Fi element – such as router names, data rates and encryption modes – are assigned their own tones, which are sent to a phone and picked up using his hearing aids. The foreground and background layer of sound are built up through the strength of the signal, direction, name and security level on these networks. For instance, distant signals sound like click and pops, while stronger networks play a looped song.

Frank Swain, who was inspired to create the project after receiving a diagnosis of hearing loss, describes what it’s like to use the platform:

Read On

The View From Your Window

Nov 22 2014 @ 8:11am

Photo Nov 12, 5 31 46 PM

Roanoke, Virginia, 5.31 pm

It’s Not Easy Seeing Green

Nov 22 2014 @ 7:32am

Chris Mooney reviews research suggesting that “we tend to focus far too much on outward symbols (like Prius driving) in judging whether people are energy conscious. As a result, these powerful symbols bias us into overrating certain kinds of seemingly green behavior, and underrating other behaviors that may be quite green, but don’t seem that way to us at first glance”:

[R]esearchers showed as much with a pretty unforgettable research design. In one of the experiments reported in their paper, they asked Swiss research subjects to evaluate the energy consciousness of two drivers, one of whom drives a Prius, and one of whom drives an SUV. But the Prius driver drives his more fuel efficient car 28,700 km per year, and the SUV driver only drives his less fuel-efficient car 11,400 km per year, as follows:

If you carefully do the math, you’ll see that at least as the scenario is described here, there is only one possible conclusion: the Prius driver uses significantly more fuel per year. Yet overwhelmingly, when given this information, people rate the Prius driver as more energy conscious — a phenomenon that recurred across several different experimental designs. “It is something on the order of 80 or 90 percent of people who are going for the wrong answer” in one of the designs, says study author Michael Siegrist. “So it is a very large effect.”

The Dish Mug Is Here!

Nov 21 2014 @ 9:30pm


[Re-posted from yesterday]

A reader recently wrote:

I haven’t bought a t-shirt because that’s not so much my thing. I eagerly await a coffee mug though. A mug with a beagle on it would make my mornings brighter.

We looked and labored over a dozen different mug options and chose what we think is the perfect one:


This navy-colored coffee mug is very high quality, holds a generous 15oz, and, during our caffeine-addled test phase, it proved very durable. So the sturdy mug should last a long time in any Dishhead’s kitchen or office (and yes, it’s microwave and dishwasher safe – we tested that too). As a serious coffee-addict, I love it.

The Dish mug can be yours for $15 plus shipping and handling. Just click here and follow the simple prompts to order yours today. We only have a limited number of mugs for sale, so get yours before someone else does. And send us a photo when it arrives; you might see it on the blog.

Update from a reader:

Hubby has been told that it better be going in my stocking this year. Thank you!


Love them – will give as gifts! Hope you have the web address on there so friends who don’t know you will check out the Dish.

Sharing Is Staring

Nov 21 2014 @ 8:35pm

Priya Kumar explores the pros and cons of sharing baby photos on social media:

It’s tempting to suggest that parents shouldn’t post baby pictures online, but this ignores the very real benefits they experience from doing so. Sharing pictures online helped the mothers I toastinterviewed feel connected with family and friends, which is especially important for parents whose friends and family don’t live nearby. They received social support and validation, which is helpful when dealing with loss of sleep and the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a tiny human being. For those who cherished their experience of motherhood, sharing pictures online created a record of those memories. Also, family and friends constantly ask to see more baby pictures, so parents may feel some pressure to share them online.

At the same time, mothers recognized that by sharing pictures online, they were making decisions on behalf of their children that couldn’t be easily reversed. Eventually, their children would grow up and develop opinions about what they wanted their parents to share and not share online. Rather than seek to control their children’s digital footprints, parents can engage in what we call privacy stewardship. This means that parents should consider what types of information they feel are and are not appropriate to share about their children online and then communicate their preferences to family and friends.

(Photo by Betsy Bodenner)

A Woman’s Place In The House

Nov 21 2014 @ 8:00pm

Marcotte spotlights the gender breakdown in Congress:

As reported by both Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post and Rachel Maddow this week, Republicans announced the chairmanships for next year’s House committees. Twenty out of 21 of the spots are going to men. The only woman is Rep. Candice Miller, who will be heading the Committee on House Administration.

Compare this with the list of chairmanships for the Democratic-controlled Senate in 2013, where women chaired six out of 20 committees, including really big ones like the Senate Budget Committee.

Read On