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Clarence Thomas on Dishwashers: "What a Device!"

Your Gaggler missed this story earlier this week, and she\'s sorry she did. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to a group of high school essay winners here in Washington a few days ago—a pretty big deal, the New York Times notes, because Thomas is the justice who rarely talks, on the bench or off. Standing behind a glowing hot pink lectern, Thomas hinted he was feeling a little burned out. \"I tend to be morose sometimes,\" he admitted. \"That\'s the one thing about this job. You get...

Starr Gazing: Bora, Bora, Bora

I fell in love with Bora the very first time we dined together, back in the spring of 1994. We were in a posh Laguna Beach restaurant and Bora, decked out in his dress sweats, was telling me--without apparent resentment or regret--that not a single person in this fancy joint recognized him or even had a clue who he was.He proved to be very wrong. Quickly word spread through the kitchen that Bora Milutinovic was in the house. Soon a group of busboys and dishwashers had congregated close by and...

GOING GLOBAL

Nestled deep in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong's gritty factory district, China's leading cell-phone manufacturer is plotting to conquer the world. Hatched in 1992 to make pagers in its namesake coastal city, Ningbo Bird sold more handsets on the mainland last year--nearly 11 million--than Nokia or Motorola. But that was then, and now Wang Jianping, director of Bird International Ltd., has fixed his gaze three to five years down the road--on markets like Vietnam, India and Africa. "China could reach...

A New Kind Of Poverty

Winter flits in and out of New York City in the late fall, hitching a ride on the wind that whips the Hudson River. One cold morning not long ago, just as day was breaking, six men began to shift beneath their blankets under a stone arch up a rise from the water. In the shadow of the newest castle-in-the-air skyscraper midwifed by the Baron Trump, they gathered their possessions. An hour later they had vanished, an urban mirage.There's a new kind of homelessness in the city, and a new kind of...

Empty Title

The legend of the lone inventor is at least as old as Leonardo da Vinci with his flying machines and Thomas Edison with his light bulb and cinema. Even in a globalized world of regulatory bureaus and instant mergers, the individual vision survives. Inventors persist because bureaucracies create their own weaknesses. Technology is inherently unstable. It cannot be fully fixed, rationalized and regulated without choking off its own vitality. An invention that is fully planned is not "invented" at...

For Rent: Cheap Summer Homes

Forget to make summer reservations? Not to worry. A glut of vacation rentals stretches from San Diego to Shelter Island. The supply of rentals is up almost 20 percent in two years, according to the Vacation Rental Managers Association.Why the glut? Thank the soft economy, procrastinating vacationers and everyone who bought vacation homes recently and now wants some rental income. On the Outer Banks of North Carolina, for example, about 3,000 new homes have been sold in two years. In the...

Cool Eye, Cool Tales

When you ask George Pelecanos what he likes about writing scripts for "The Wire," the highly praised HBO crime drama, he talks about studying film in college and how the chance to write scripts for an actual show was just too good to turn down--never mind that he has an increasingly hot career as a crime novelist. Then he mentions the word "access," and for the first time his voice takes on real excitement. But he's not talking about access to stars or producers. "You know when you're driving...

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