If you’ve had the pleasure of purchasing an appliance within the last 10 years you’re probably aware that things are not as simple as they once used to be. While technology has made many things in our lives easier, choosing the best refrigerator among hundreds of similar models isn’t one of them. Family size and lifestyle are only a few of the factors that influence a purchase. That said, armed with the right information and knowing what questions to ask can ease the process of finding the best refrigerator:
Technological innovations lay at the heart of many of last year's biggest stories -- from citizen-recorded videos that fanned the flames of the Arab Spring to the social-media organized Occupy movement. So what new technologies – and unexpected uses of them – will change social habits and relationships this year? Here are four 2012 technology trends that are sure to play a role:
In this special section, we look at the year’s biggest stories, and seven staff correspondents reflect on events in hot spots from Latin America to the Libyan front.
Young adult fiction, as we have heard and heard and heard, has become the fastest-growing segment of the publishing industry, roping in readers of all ages. The books on this list are not necessarily the bestselling books of the year. They are simply good books. Most, at base, are simply highly satisfying realistic novels that describes the world as seen through the eyes of persons who happen to be somewhere between the ages of 12 and 18. – By Amy Benfer, for The Barnes & Noble Review
Women played some significant roles this past year, from making peace to crafting economic policy in the midst of a crisis. Here are seven who shaped 2011:
New Year’s Eve festivities are already under way in some parts of the world. Here’s a sampling of fun ways people can celebrate the dawn of 2012 – in the United States and beyond.
Contrary to popular belief, the Iowa caucuses are not a part of the state populated by Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis. Sorry, bad pun. (See Caucasus, a region of Eurasia.) But there is some confusion about what the Iowa caucuses are, exactly. So in a few easy steps, let us explain what will happen in the Hawkeye State the evening of Jan. 3 – the first presidential nominating contest of the season.
It’s been nice, 2011, but as we move into the new year, many consumers are no doubt wondering what 2012 has in store for them, particularly when it comes to their wallets. Is a double-dip recession in the cards? Will it be easier to get a mortgage? Is a checking account switch in order? What will interest rates be like in the new year? Here are my Top 6 predictions for consumers in 2012:
Oh, the promise of a new year! So many fresh starts and remarkable discoveries lie ahead – including the many that will be made between the pages of a book. For those eager for a preview, here’s a sampling of some of the more promising of the early 2012 titles.
As state manipulators of the media go, few can compare to North Korea, which this week is mourning the death of Kim Jong-il. But even with all the careful orchestration of the ceremonies, the North Korean media still found it necessary to doctor an official photograph of the funeral procession. Just as governments are finding it easier to use technology to manipulate images, so too is the public finding it easier to spot such digital trickery. Here are six noteworthy attempts by governments to shape media coverage through image manipulation.
There’s nothing like a presidential campaign cycle to bring out big political gaffes – at times injecting doubt about candidates, but also offering some much-needed comic relief and glimpses of humanity. 2011 had some doozies, and some of the most memorable actually weren’t on the campaign trail. GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who said the “shot heard round the world” was fired in New Hampshire (correct answer: Massachusetts), nailed the politicians’ dilemma perfectly: "People can make mistakes, and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can't." Here are five of the biggest political “uh-ohs” of 2011:
Vladimir Putin's "managed democracy" offers few opportunities for new leaders to emerge, build their own independent political base, and legitimately vie for power. That closed and controlled system is now teetering after tens of thousands of Russians marched in the streets of Russian cities in December to reject Mr. Putin's penchant for bureaucratic manipulation, media control, and vote-rigging. Fresh leaders are emerging without the Kremlin's approval and finding their voices. The following are seven to watch in coming months.
Iran has caused a stir with its threat this week to close down the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions were imposed on Iranian oil exports. Here’s why this small body of water generates so much world attention.
The US troop surge in 2007 helped quiet Iraq's bloody civil war. But it failed to deliver on what US officials and officers said was crucial for Iraq's future at the time: sectarian reconciliation. Rather than forging a new national identity out of the horrors of Iraq's war, Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds sullenly retreated to their own sectarian corners, and the country's political parties remain vehicles for ethnic or sectarian interests. The next year is probably going to be the most crucial for determining the future of Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003, as Iraq's various political factions compete for power and influence without foreign troops getting in the way. Here are a few of the major players.
North Korea's outlook has earned it the title of the 'hermit kingdom.' The country is both cut off from the wider world and intensely focused on its neighbors.
With more than 13 million Americans out of work and wage increases so modest they’re failing to keep up with inflation, voters have put the economy and jobs at the top of their checklist of presidential issues. The Republican candidates all share the same broad approach: Spur private-sector confidence and job creation through permanent tax cuts, reduced federal deficits, and lighter regulatory burdens on businesses. In the same vein, they generally call for efforts to boost trade, encourage domestic oil and gas production, and limit the power of organized labor. But who has the best economic plan?
More than two dozen Christmas toys on sale this year have too much lead, contain dangerous plastic additives, or pose choking or hearing hazards, according to a recent report from consumer group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (see my blog post on it). But often, the dangers aren’t discovered until after the presents are bought and opened. So how can parents ensure that their children’s new Christmas toys are safe? Here are five ways to stay informed.
It’s common practice, as the year draws to a close, to reflect on the past twelve months – to think back on what you did, how you spent your time, and who you spent it with. My years, more than anything, are shaped by books so when I look back I’m thinking about what I read. The same goes for thinking about the year to come: When I make my New Year’s resolutions, it’s pretty much just a long list of books that I want to get my hands on. And so, in looking forward to 2012, here are some things that I’ve already gotten my hands on; it would be wise of you to do the same. If what I’m reading (and loving) is any indication, 2012 is going to be a strange and wonderful year.
If you're going over the river and through the woods for a holiday trip to relatives, long drives (or plane trips) can make kids a little squirmy once the novelty of that new toy has worn off. Here are five books that are sure to keep them turning pages until you get there. (Just make sure to check out the age ranges listed so you're getting a book that's age-appropriate.)
A loose young woman in Nazi-era Berlin. A titanic failure of courage on the Titanic. A Supreme Court justice with a thing for hot blondes. An American president's scandalous love child. Book authors answered questions about these earthy topics and many more – from sandwiches to Shakespeare – during Monitor interviews with me this year. Here's a baker's dozen of the memorable things that these authors had to say. Click on the links to read the full interviews.