Sunday, August 27, 2006

AUGUST 27 NEW YORK TIMES

Today was a decent Times day. Not like the tremendous days we have seen in the past, but worth the $5. First, they did their college football preview. Oddly enough, my Illini were not mentioned at all. I guess that's what happens when your program falls to the point where a five win season would be a major achievement.

Second, the Times did a short piece on Grigory Perelman. He is the math guy who recently refused the (apparently) highest award that can be given in math. Not an "A," but rather, a Fields Medal. He won the Fields Medal for solving Poincaré’s Conjecture. You know that conjecture, right? I mean, I have been puttering around with it, but I was distracted by the crossword puzzle this week, and didn't get back to it in time. Anyway, Perelman's (apparent) position is an admirable one. He did not "solve" anything. He worked in the context of a bunch of people and says that he was the last person to write what a bunch of people were working on. Very interesting. And eccentric, which ensures even more publicity than taking whatever the Fields Medal is.

Third, there was a nice piece on the budding debate regarding cul de sacs. Some suburbs and people who live in them swear by cul de sacs. They say they are safe, they create a neighborhood feel. They are great. Other people say that they are difficult to navigate, mandate the use of cars for essentially all activities, and create an insular mindset. I think that both might be correct. They have those benefits. They have those problems. On balance, people need to decide how they want to live. Do you want to walk to the store, meet people on other blocks, and have the relative insecurity of through traffic? Cul de sacs are bad for you. Do you want to know a group of people who live around you, and have the relative security of restricted traffic flows? Get you a cul de sac. In any case, the article is one of the most even-handed discussions of cul de sacs I have ever seen.

Finally, George Vecsey argues in the sports section that the Mets should name their new ball park for Jackie Robinson. The rationale appears to be that the Mets are New York's National League team, and the Dodgers were one of New York's National League teams until they moved to Los Angeles. Robinson played for the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Also, the new Mets Stadium is supposed to have a facade similar to the Dodgers' old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Those two rationales (New York NL team, Ebbets Field facade) are not sufficient for the Mets to name their stadium Jackie Robinson Field. Jackie Robinson was a Dodger. The New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, Kansas City A's, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Pirates all could have signed Robinson. Only the Dodgers did, and only the Dodgers should have the right to name their stadium for him.

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