Harry Potter fans just know they love the record-breaking series of books. But everyone from academics to mythologists, classicists to historians, and literary critics to, well, geeks have a special “template” they perceive at the heart of the tale. From positing Albus Dumbledore as the infamous Richard III to taking us aloft the scaly back of St. George’s dragon, here are five of our top takes on what’s going on behind the scenes in the Harry Potter narratives.
How many ways are there to resolve the debt ceiling crisis? Negotiators meeting at the White House seem to hit one impasse after another, and frustration on both sides is mounting as an Aug. 2 deadline looms to avoid default on America’s debt obligations. Still, at least five options for handling the matter have been discussed in recent days and months. Other possible solutions may well emerge, but here’s the state of play on the options to date.
It hasn’t happened yet in the lower 48, Alaska, or Hawaii, but it’s bound to happen soon: major style guides lowercasing the word “Internet.” And on that day when the style desks of The New York Times and the Associated Press finally issue a press release about the need to start lowercasing Internet in all news articles, headlines, and blogs, we will know that America has finally woken up to web-based reality. We don’t capitalize words like Radio or Television or Motion Pictures anymore, do we? Once, of course, we did. Now, we know better. However, regarding the Internet, we are still behind the curve, behind the British, lost in capitalization land. The Guardian and the BBC websites got it right, long ago. We need to play catch up. Now. Here are four reasons to lowercase “Internet”:
Who thought that reading could be this much fun? Yes, this activity is still timeless, but e-readers (tablet-like devices used for reading electronic versions of books and periodicals) are taking the personal technology world by storm. Many e-readers have been put up for sale, but four companies have emerged to dominate this field. Keep reading to find out who comes out on top!
If angry messages on Twitter are any guide – and, honestly, when aren't they? – Netflix customers are acutely cheesed off at the company's decision to split its DVD and instant-streaming services. Up until now, you could have unlimited streaming plus one DVD out at a time for $10 a month. Under the new plan, the same package will cost you $16 a month. All said, it's still a pretty good deal. Remember what you used to pay for rentals at the video store? And if you're the type who only streams videos on Netflix, you can now get it for two bucks less. But let's suppose that Netflix has pushed you too far this time, driving you into the arms of a competitor. Which one should you choose? Here are five options.
Slowing down because of rising heat is the expected response in any summer heat wave. But in a week like this one, where high temperatures fanned across the country, sizzling toward 100 degrees F. from Texas to Boston, some things also go up. Here are four things to expect to rise along with our desire to stay indoors and beat the heat.
Getting married? Congratulations! Your future spouse will be your business partner as well as your life partner. Your credit, good name, and financial future will be tied to this person, who may not hold the same beliefs about money that you do. Talking about money is difficult for anyone, and it may seem like a romance-killer. But it is a good test of your relationship. An honest discussion about finances before the wedding can help avoid one of the biggest causes of stress after the wedding. Here are six ways to help you confide in each other and create a financial plan:
Former presidents, politicians, and the family of former first lady Betty Ford gathered today in Palm Springs, Calif., to celebrate her life. Mrs. Ford, who died Friday, is remembered for her honest demeanor and dedication to equal rights. Since her husband's presidency, Betty Ford has passed the mantle of first lady to six other women. Here are the contributions each made:
Many Americans across the US were feeling the heat Monday, but how hot is it? The National Weather Service issued heat-related advisories for residents in 17 states, forecasting temperatures close to 100 degrees F. in the central and southern plains, and the middle and lower Mississippi Valley. In some parts of those regions, it will feel as hot as 115 degrees. Conditions are expected to continue into Tuesday. So far, the heat wave at hand is nowhere near as severe as the worst recorded since 1980, when the National Climate Data Center began compiling such data. Here is a look at the five deadliest US heat waves/droughts since then.
The Obama administration has announced that it is suspending, and in some cases ending, millions of dollars in aid to the Pakistani military. The decision comes after substantial debate about whether that money is being used in the way that the US intended – a question raised in the wake of the American military raid that ended with Osama bin Laden's death.
Royal newlyweds William and Kate have a busy, business-first itinerary for their three-day visit to southern California, which begins Friday. If they had asked us, we’d have given them these 10 tips for how to savor the SoCal experience. For every obvious tourist gambit, we’ve thrown in some insider info about where to pan for the best Angeleno cultural gold.
Several civil-rights groups sued the state of Alabama Friday to block what some observers say is the toughest anti-illegal-immigration law to date. Among other things, it mandates that primary and secondary schools check residency status of students. Federal lawsuits have now been filed against the five states that have passed such laws during the past 15 months. The rulings that have come down, which have all been against the laws, have been appealed by the states' attorneys general in the hope that the Supreme Court will take up the issue. Here is the legal state of play for all five state laws:
When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's last space shuttle mission will launch Friday, July 8 on the Atlantis orbiter to deliver spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission will be the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. But over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles:
Car repair -- just like other aspects of car ownership -- is getting expensive. So car owners are getting creative in driving down car repair costs. One way is that they buy their own auto parts. That's no surprise for do-it-yourselfers. But even people who don't do their own maintenance are buying parts and taking them to their mechanic or repair shop for installation. The trend appears to be growing. An October 2010 survey by my company, AutoMD.com, found that 90 percent of car owners (who rely on mechanics) would buy their own auto parts and take them to the repair shop if they could save money. Here are four tips to do it the right way:
Surprise! It turns out America's problem with runaway budget deficits is solvable, after all. That, at least, is the opinion of some prominent think thanks that have been offering ready-made blueprints. As Republicans and Democrats seek to boost the limit on federal borrowing while reining in future deficits, here are six proposals, ranging from liberal to conservative, that grew out of a "solutions initiative" sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.