Adam Minter's Junkyard Planet, new this week from Bloombury Press, is available from all sorts of places:
In addition, Minter is appearing tonight, November 13th, at 6 p.m. at the New School.
It's a book one might call “a lifetime in the making.” For the last dozen years, Adam Minter has lived in Shanghai, writing about the global scrap industry, the fortunes it created, the lives and environments it's ruined and how its fortunes paralleled those of the pre- and post-crash global economy. The result is Junkyard Planet, [...]
July 26th brought news items reporting two separate incidents of curious holiday gastronomy. First, tourists in the Paracel Islands posted pictures of a meal of Tridacna gigas—endangered giant clams. At the same time, vacationers in Greece snapped photos of themselves hoisting an extraordinarily rare "hexapus," only the second ever recorded, just before killing it and frying it in a nearby pub. Yet only one of these stories was largely used as evidence to feed an expansive and growing set of opinions about an entire nationality and culture.
Of all China's frighteningly fast advances, international travel is, in light of history, maybe its most stunning. Two decades [...]
In March, I put together the fourth annual March Madne$$: The School Tuitions Of The NCAA Bracket. A popular piece, I watched as numerous sites reposted the work wholesale and sold ads against it.
That's when I tried something new in the ongoing efforts of writers to get paid on the Internet. Instead of angry emails or cease and desist notes, I just sent invoices to site editors and managers.
To my surprise, one paid me.
The NRA has responded to the Mike Bloomberg-backed Mayors Against Illegal Guns by casting doubts on whether or not the "curious" man in the group's latest pro-background checks ad is who he says he is—or AN ACTOR. Despite MAIG's insistence that he's a real West Virginia gun owner, one blog has offered $500 for anyone who can prove he is (or isn't).
One of the NRA's key questions is how a real gun owner would have such terrible "trigger discipline," meaning, placing a finger on the trigger at any time before the exact second a shot is to be taken. "The NRA recommends Mayor Bloomberg use some [...]
Last weekend, when North Korea's United States Strike Plan was revealed, one city's inclusion had everyone baffled. The list included Washington D.C., Hawaii, Los Angeles and… Austin, Texas.
"No one seems to have any clue about how that last one made it on," Slate wrote. The genius foreign policy analysts at Townhall opined that "The literal answer, and literal target, is South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co.'s Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) manufacturing facility." Less serious reasoning has blamed South By Southwest.
Nope! The real reason Kim Jung-un is targeting Austin for destruction is hipsters. Because of their acts of aggression against North Korea.
"Believe it or not, what's missing from the current shout-fest over guns and gun control is the voice of gun owners." —Dan Baum, author of Gun Guys.
"The dark haired one looks like my bitch ex-wife, who I HATE! I can't wait to shoot her face off for taking my shit." —John Davis, gun guy and fan of the "Bleeding 'The Ex' Zombie Life-Sized Tactical Mannequin Target."
It is once again time for the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament. The eventual champions will get to bask in the national spotlight until the next cruise-ship disaster/shark attack/episode of "Girls"/baseball season/ happens. And sure, winning a basketball title is worth bragging about; but we all know the real champion is the institution of higher education that can charge the most tuition and still have enough students to keep its rejection letter printer warm. It's The Awl's annual NCAA bracket by tuition, using the college information resource Peterson's.* (Where available, in-state tuition was used.)
A spot about a father suffering from Alzheimer's is the most popular of a new series of ads that has young people on China's social networks talking—or better put, it has them talking about crying. "Every time I see it I cry," writes one Weibo user. Hers is a typical reaction. Filial piety might seem a laughable topic for a public-service campaign in the west, but in China, it's the basis for a campaign aimed to guilt kids into thinking about the elderly. Making China's youth cry is not enough, though; China needs the new generation to act on that guilt, to buy into the Confucian ideal [...]
"Often, [liberal Democrats] say the most godawful things about gun people and there have been many times in my life where I've felt like a closeted gay man, just kind of chuckling along while people around me, who I loved, said awful things, kind of about me." —Talking about his new book Gun Guys, sexy gun-owning gun guy Dan Baum approximates the bigotry faced in America by gun-guy Democrats to that of gay men.
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn and call his state senator to complain about expensive new slurry pit legislation, spend all day with his ag lobby board strategizing about more laws against private raw milk sales, take that state senator out for steak and wine at dinner, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board at the school he wants to eliminate with a voucher program." So God made a farmer.
Of all it has embraced, the booming artisanal movement has so far passed over one largely extinct 19th-century practice: opium smoking in the old manner.
But in a book out last year, one collector of antique opium-smoking paraphernalia documents how his fascination with a lost era's artifacts led to an attempt to recreate and live in a lost era of chandu, resulting in an opium addiction of "the traditional manner" that reached a peak of thirty pipes a day. I spoke with author Steven Martin about his book, Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction, his Opium Museum project, and the cultural legacy of [...]
This morning, the NRA demanded that Congress place "armed police officers in every school," to create a "shield emergency response" around schools. "If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sport stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible," NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre said, in a very long and strange speech. (A PDF of the prepared remarks is here.) The NRA's solution? "Properly trained armed good guys."
Gun bans "perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban—or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people—will protect us where 20,000 others have failed," LaPierre said. This is [...]
One of the links passed around Twitter by China watchers yesterday was a photo gallery of "little warriors playing the game 'Defend the Diaoyu Islands.'" (The Islands being the disputed territory that sparked the nation's recent anti-Japan protests.) Armed with plastic assault rifles and (adorable!) berets, the children completed boot camp-like obstacle courses such as shimmying under razor wire (kidding; just string) while gripping tiny Chinese flags in their mouths (not kidding).
It's been two-and-a-half years since we first wrote about the Red Dawn reboot after coming across an early script. Then, the film's original 2010 release date was postponed; in the interim, the army invading America was [...]
"Cock wire Mike Sui!" yelled one of the young men in the crowd. "Cock wire Sui is awesome!" The kimono robe and mirrored sunglasses, like some kind of last-minute frat-boy Halloween costume, that Mike Sui was wearing when he leapt onto the stage, had been shed, and Sui now prowled the stage in cargo shorts and a Nike t-shirt.
Before April, a slim few, if any, in this Shanghai crowd would have known Sui's name. And before April, NetEase, one of China's largest Internet companies, certainly would not have asked Sui to emcee its stage at China Joy, the nation's largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition. But now it was [...]
In 2009, 17-year-old Liu Pan was working at the Yiuwah Stationary Factory, in Dongguan, China, operating an antiquated machine that crushed paper. Yiuwah manufactured goods for companies like Disney and Coca-Cola. When Liu Pan was killed by the machine he operated, China Labor Watch released a report about his death. David Barboza, the Shanghai-based Times correspondent, ran with the Liu Pan report, noting that the teen had been hired illegally at 15. Disney was quickly on its heels, facing a PR nightmare.
But Disney caught a huge break. A 25-year-old man, Sun Danyong, who had been questioned about a lost iPhone prototype at the factory where he [...]
A padded envelope filled with human feces is a Rorschach test, representing either: a state in democratic revolt against the overreaches of a berserker Republican legislature and governor; a Petri dish for the pushback against corporate ownership of government; or the last doomed charge of organized labor bashing its soft skull against the stone walls of a new era of "it's working" conservative austerity.
Wisconsin has become a place where arguments begin with John Adams' "Facts are stubborn things" and then follow with "The Bible tells us…" It's also a place where a leader who disbands collective bargaining is [...]
As the investigation into what happened on February 26 continues, it appears increasingly more likely that Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, was the one exercising his rights under Florida's Stand Your Ground law. On CNN, Martin's mom declared as much, saying, "My son was exercising his stand your ground rule.” Except, of course, 17-year-old Martin did not possess the single crucial element for standing one's ground in the United States: A gun. Florida law restricts concealed handguns to those 21 and older. Instead the teen had a bag of Skittles.
This will happen again, probably soon, but not because of race relations or hoodies; because of guns and a [...]
Today begins NCAA basketball's "March Madness." The tournament's eventual champions will get to bask in the national spotlight until the next cruise-ship disaster/naked Congressman/shark attack/GOP primary/baseball season/chain-restaurant review by a flyover-state newspaper happens. And sure, winning a basketball title is worth bragging about. But we all know the real champion is the institution of higher education that can charge the most tuition and still have enough would-be students to be able to send out rejection letters every year. For a second year, here's the NCAA bracket by tuition, using the college information resource Peterson's. (Where available, in-state tuition was used.) Who will be the champs this [...]
Act of Valor cleared $24.7 million this weekend. Along the way to the movie's release, it's become an accepted bit of truth that the film is meant to boost Navy recruitment. But while that may once have been the filmmakers' intention (and the Navy's), the final product works as a piece of propaganda in an entirely different way. Another piece of the film's promotion has been to portray Act of Valor as running against the grain of Hollywood: the first pro-military film of its kind since Vietnam. That is even less true.