What is the joy of writing?

Calvin Trillin:    Well it’s better than work for one thing.  I . . . At about every two or three years I make myself laugh.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes something just sneaks out before I can stop it and I laugh.  So if I . . .  I always figured if I got put in solitary confinement I would not be totally without resources.  I’d get a chuckle every couple of years.  My wife, when she heard me, would say, “I know that’s the silliest line in the piece that made you laugh.”   So there’s that kind of joy.  It’s satisfying.  I mean it’s satisfying to get something right.  I mean I think it’s the same feeling that somebody has in building a house or something; that it starts out looking like a mess and just a bunch of boards; and then a hole in the ground; and then eventually you get it so that . . .  You never get it quite perfect, but as close as you can get it if you have to make a living.

Although a writer never gets it quite perfect, the joy of laughter and discovery is enough to make a living.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
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