Friday, May 4, 2007

Amazon History

Via the latest Wilson Quarterly, a mention of an interesting piece in Conservation magazine. In it Fred Pearce wonders how much of the Amazon rainforest is virgin. Today's Amazon explorers are finding evidence that pre-European civilizations had done some serious forest clearing of their own. Euro diseases probably led to the collapse of those civilizations, and, in the hundreds of years since, the forest has re-grown. But what percentage of today's forest is virgin?

Surely in the Amazon, the greatest rainforest on the planet, virginity can be discovered—nature red in tooth and claw? That's what everyone thought until an American oil prospector named Kenneth Lee first climbed aboard a beach buggy and bounced across the grassy lowlands of Baures in the Bolivian Amazon in the early 1980s. After a while, Lee began to wonder why he was bouncing so much in the grass.

On closer inspection, the landscape appeared to be corrugated. It was composed of a remarkably symmetrical series ofridges and trenches stretching as far as the eye could see. From time to time, he came across higher ridges that looked like roads, and wider depressions that seemed as if they might once have been canals. (Subscription required)

Transmitting Your iPod

A useful article comparing the many FM transmitters available for your iPod. Looks to me like this guy, and this one over here, are your best options. And, by best options, I mean that they seem to transmit clean audio to your FM radio. Most transmitters deliver disappointing signals.

Father Of American Wine?

Who deserves this title? Maybe Thomas Jefferson. (Again, via Wilson Quarterly)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Incident At Mid-State Office

The end of an era at The Onion? Was this the H-Dog's final column?

His offering from November 1998 will always be dear to me: "
Human-Resources B-----s Be Makin' Me Take Vacation Days." An absurdly devoted worker, the H-Dog is introduced to the concept of vacation days--and that he must take them or lose them. In response to the HR rep who delivered this news, our H-Dog responds:

...I just laughs at tha fool. "You payin' me to chill?" I says. "Man, that's some straight-up wack s--t, sucka."

The full Herbert Kornfeld archive