The Upshot
  • The end of serendipity, as we know it.

    Leafing through the world's knowledge, alphabetically, will become am obsolete tradition. The oldest English-language general encyclopedia -- according to, of course, the Encyclopædia Britannica -- will abandon foolscap once and for all.

    "For 244 years, the thick volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica have stood on the shelves of homes, libraries, and businesses everywhere, a source of enlightenment as well as comfort to their owners and users around the world," reports its blog. "Today we've announced that we will discontinue the 32-volume printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica when our current inventory is gone." That inventory includes 4,000 in its warehouse -- about 8,000 sets have been sold at $1,395 a pop. (Seven million sets have been published in its storied history.)

    Digital afterlife

    While the move is acknowledged as "momentous," the blog also points out that the Britannica already has a digital presence. Also, those weighty

    Read More »from Encyclopaedia Britannica ends its print run
  • After what happened in Vancouver when the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup, who can blame Dick Cheney for canceling on his northern neighbors?

    The former vice president had planned to speak April 24 in Toronto. However, recovered memories of September protests convinced Cheney that "personal safety" was at stake in Canada, and both he and daughter Elizabeth will stay on the safer side of the border.

    "On the advice of security, they were worried that quite simply Canada is just not a friendly country to them," said Ryan Ruppert, the president of the promotions company that booked Cheney for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. "God forbid there was ever an emergency" he added, referring to Cheney's heart problems. Cheney, a former heavy smoker, relies on a battery-powered heart pump and has no pulse.

    Cheney's turnabout should satisfy the StopWar Coalition, which led the 2011 protests. "We hope to set an example that Cheney doesn't see Canada as a safe haven," co-chair Derrick O'Keefe

    Read More »from Dick Cheney avoids “dangerous” Canada
  • This Friday will mark the 44th anniversary of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, when an American platoon killed some 300 Vietnamese civilians, including children. And with the anniversary date rapidly approaching, the recent mass killing spree by an American soldier in Afghanistan has brought up several direct comparisons between the two incidents.

    "The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered," President Barack Obama said to reporters at the White House today. In his remarks, the president announced that he has ordered the Pentagon to "spare no effort" in its investigation of the incident, which resulted in the death of at least 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, three women and four men this past Sunday.

    Both events were horrific, but as we try to process the news coming out of Afghanistan, there are some distinct differences between the two.

    First, the responsible parties aren't quite the same. In My Lai, the

    Read More »from My Lai revisited? Obama says Afghanistan massacre is ‘not comparable’

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