scan_paperStuck on an airplane this morning, I had a chance to read today’s New York Times almost from cover to cover. (Ink on paper is a pretty good technology, no? — Ed.) Five stories, most of them small and easily overlooked, made me think, smile, or wince.

1. Person of the day. When retailer H&M couldn’t sell certain pieces of clothing, it mutilated the perfectly good garments and tossed them into a dumpster. Graduate student Cynthia Magnus found out, was appalled, and suggested to the company that this practice was wasteful. When her pleas went unanswered, she alerted the Times — and, lo and behold, H&M announced yesterday that it would donate unworn clothing to charity.

2. Obvious idea of the day. Maybe it makes more long-term sense to spend taxpayer dollars on schools and universities than on prisons and wars. The unlikely tag team of Schwarzenegger and Kristof make the case.

3. Dubious idea of the day. Instant coffee laced with skin-enhancing collagen?

4. Good hire of the day. The great Bill Moggridge is going to head the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum. Awesome choice.

5. Letter of the day. On Sunday, the Times’s David Carr wrote a long article about the countless virtues and inevitable staying power of Twitter. In today’s Letters section, Boomer Pinches (Love the name! -Ed.) of Northampton, Mass., offers his response: “I very much enjoyed the first 140 characters of David Carr’s article, ‘Why Twitter Will Endure.'”

9 Responses to “5 goodies from The Times”

  1. Cooper-Hewitt hiring Moggridge is a great move – will be anxious to see how it works out with the politics of the NYC art scene etc…

  2. Jeri says:

    While I was excited to read the “Obvious idea of the day”, I was dismayed to find a sad corollary to the story regarding K-12 impact: “cuts would also result in larger class sizes, canceled summer school and no new textbooks”

  3. Jeff Gaus says:

    I don’t know that increased spending on schools is necessarily the answer, in and of itself. The answer is more INTELLIGENT spending and accountability for results. The model is the Washington DC schools under the direction of Michelle Rhee.

    I’d love to know on a national level what percentage of school budgets go to pension obligations and how this compares to norms for the private sector. The NEA and other teachers unions have hijacked our educational system — it is no wonder they fight so hard to avoid attempts at accountability.

  4. AngelaAtHP says:

    I enjoyed your post while sipping my — non-collagen enhanced — coffee.

  5. Kirkistan says:

    Your comment about doing poorly in law school (TED, July 2009) reminded me of a similar experience in engineering school ( I’m a great fan of your work, subscribe to your blog and look forward to reading “Drive.”

  6. Jeri says:

    @JeffGaus – Bravo for work of Michelle Rhee. With a daughter in the TFA corp (which is where Michelle’s teaching career started) I do agree that heightened spending isn’t the answer but across the board cuts aren’t either. The problems with our public education system are many. We certainly don’t need more “rubber rooms” to address the problem either:

  7. George says:

    #5 – Hahahaha. That’s too funny.
    I think Twitter will be gone in about 2 years. Why? Because it will be replaced by something even better. Just as blogs have pretty much replaced web sites. Everything is changing faster and faster, and 3 years is a generation in Internet time.

  8. 90% of all consumer goods end up in the trash within 6 months of being put in a store. Do people really think that every item in every store gets bought? Most of it is destroyed (to prevent dumpsters being raided and the goods from being re-sold) and disposed of.

    Check out The Story of Stuff. (

  9. Paul Cornies says:

    I, too, read the David Carr article about the staying power of Twitter. He quotes Steven Johnson, “Twitter is looking more and more like plumbing, and plumbing is eternal.”

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