I’ve done this before when I had a bunch of random US-UK tabs open in my browser window. In the spirit of the game, I will leave them in the random order they’re in, and not edit the order to group things on common topics, hopefully creating an interesting non-pattern.
- MIT student pranksters “rickrolled” the institution itself. I wonder if the Cambridge, US police were as health-and-safety conscious as the Cambridge, UK police?
- A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer. Ugh, the really ugly side of the American tendency to blend religion and politics even though they are supposed to have separation of church and state. (Ahem. Try that again, even though WE are supposed to have… what, have I forgotten the color of my passport? Sheesh.)
- Former president Jimmy Carter dares utter the word “racism” in the context of the vitriolic partisan politics eating at America right now. I’m not sure what I think, but it’s gotta be a possibility with some of the ahem more senior members of congress. My grandparents would say the most shocking things in a most innocent way at times, they really grew up in a different era. Although, come to think of it, Jimmy must be the same vintage as my grandparents, has he become enlightened?
- Fantastic commentary on hidden socialism in America… loved it, loved it. It exposed yet another one of the US/UK differences that I had not thought about before but find fascinatingly and utterly reversed: America has ‘socialist’ education, it is state supported by taxes and open to all, and University entry uses affirmative action to balance the scales. In the UK your performance in school (and likely your performance in and after University) is highly tied to your parents’ ability to send you to a posh private school to prepare you for your Oxbridge entrance exam. Yet Americans are against universal access to health care and constantly complaining about the NHS???
- People may criticize American sports stars for their behavior both on and off the field, but this was truly deplorable: a British rugby star first used a fake blood capsule to get off the pitch and then asked the doctor to cut his lip so it would really bleed… and the doctor did it! Cheating, anyone? Think the stakes are lower in British sport than in American?
- A jerk (congressman) yelled at the president during a televised speech on healthcare and then tried to argue he should not be rebuked for his disruption. Note: if you are a Maureen Dowd hater I’d encourage you to read this regardless, it’s quite even and not so shrill compared with some of what she’s written, and there are some interesting tidbits in there that I had not seen elsewhere. Of course, what he actually said was child’s play compared with a British politicians and their, ahem, vocal tendencies in the parliament (like the whole “living proof that a pig’s bladder on a stick can get elected to Parliament” comment, which apparently is now equally applicable in Congress in the US as well.)
- Finally, Thomas Friedman on how the US is the leading supplier of equipment for producing solar panels… but the equipment is all installed overseas, although not in Britain (for obvious reasons to do with the lack of sunshine, I’m sure!) Again, not a big Friedman fan but I am a HUGE fan of Advanced Materials, probably have an old grad school friend or two working there, and thus I’m not one of the people he addresses in the first sentence who have “probably” not heard of AM.
There we have it, bits and bobs for a crazy Thursday. I took my team to the pub tonight to introduce a few new recruits, and it turns out that if you count passports, birthplaces, long-time residence locations and birthplaces of parents, we are a mini-United Nations with all 6 inhabited continents represented, most more than once, and a remarkably complicated set of allegiances. This I love about my line of work. Although it just reinforces my relatively new prejudice that I get along best with people who have also been expats or closely allied with expats…