Category Archives: The New Yorker

David Sedaris is Brilliant

Jul 13, 2011 10:05 AM

“In the beginning, I was put off by the harshness of German. Someone would order a piece of cake and it sounded as if it were an actual order, like ‘Cut the cake and lie face down in the ditch between the cobbler and the little girl.’ I’m guessing this comes from having watched too many Second World War movies.”

DoD tolerates human trafficking and foreign national abuse on US bases

Jun 20, 2011 9:57 AM

I’m reading Sarah Stillwell’s article in the June 6th issue of the New Yorker. She spent months interviewing foreign workers on American military bases abroad.

The Pentagon issues logistics contracts to big companies like Halliburton and Fluor that subcontract to smaller foreign companies. These companies then contract with recruiting firms in poor countries in Africa and South Asia, selling these jobs as cushy, high-paying gigs in the Middle east, accepting bribes above $4000 for them.

The workers are then flown to American military bases where they are paid wages as low as $275 a month and housed in shipping containers. Their legal status is not covered by American Law, regulation, or requirements, and the Pentagon doesn’t monitor the final arrangements that they work under.

Ultimately, these foreign workers are lied to and paid a fraction of what the American taxpayer pays for their services, in addition to the human rights abuses they endure.

Is this what we’re fighting for? Gates is a good man, but the American military behemoth has grown far beyond his control.

Up your work rate and quality will come

May 16, 2011 1:59 PM

“A genius is a genius, Simonton maintains, because he can put together such a staggering number of insights, ideas, theories, random observations, and unexpected connections that he almost inevitably ends up with something great. ‘Quality,’ Simonton writes, is ‘a probabilistic function of quantity’”

Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker.