Tony Kushner responds to some of the criticism of Lincoln.

Paul Frees, the actor who played Boris Badenov was in a ton of other things — who knew?

The Simons Foundation wrote about differential privacy.

After being at NIPS, which was held in a casino megaplex, Andrew Gelman’s post on casinos had more resonance.

My friend John is blogging about his time at the Abhayagiri monastery. It’s an interesting look in on this kind of monastic life.

For those who missed the news, a package for Indiana Jones arrived at UChicago, but the truth is someone less ARG-like than expected.



Congratulations to my fellow Beast Amitha Knight on being a co-winner of the 2012 PEN New Enlgand Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award!

Speaking of children’s books, some people who saw The Hunger Games movie are upset that Rue is black. Unsurprising but sad.

And speaking of friends, my friend Amber is slumming it in Antarctica and is writing some fascinating blog posts from down there.

Can Ellen Do More Push-Ups Than Michelle Obama? They both seem to be able to do more pushups than me. Time to hit the gym I think.

I’ve been eating this spicy peanut noodle salad for lunch this week and boy is it delicious.

A much belated report on my trip to Baja California in early November

We drove from San Diego to Calexico, passing through some of southeast California’s deserts. In Calexico we had a classy meal at a Foster’s Freeze and purchased Mexican car insurance (a necessity for Americans driving over there, although we were never asked to prove that we had it). Another quirk of the law is that you have to bring the title for the car with you, which seems a bit risky. Going through the border to Mexicali was no problem, although getting out of Mexicali and on to the highway was too difficult for me, so Jen took over at that point and we coasted down the highway (which was in pretty good condition, despite what tour books suggested) to San Felipe. The drive was mostly uneventful, except for the obligatory stop and car-check by incredibly bored Mexican military dudes who are being paid by the US to look for drugs. Or at least that’s what I assumed they were doing.

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two thoughts for one so dear

sūryaṃ cakṣurgachatu vātamātmā dyāṃ ca gachapṛthivīṃ ca dharmaṇā |
apo vā gacha yadi tatra te hitamoṣadhīṣu prati tiṣṭhā śarīraiḥ ||
(Rg Veda X.16.3)

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṃ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ |
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yam purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre ||
(Gita II.20)