Good Week for:
1. Being a dumb enophile, after Steven Levitt from Freakonomics reported on his blog that two studies (one that he performed and one more recent from the American Association of Wine Economists) demonstrated that people who are not wine experts had a very hard time differentiating expensive from cheap wine (when blinded). Levitt recommends that no one should become a wine expert, so that you can save money yet still enjoy it. The mind is so powerful and thus can be such a nuisance.
2. Any enophile, after scientists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem found that animals fed red wine along with beef had much lower levels of fat-derived toxins in their blood than animals fed beef alone. This may explain the French paradox- the low rate of heart-disease among wine-drinking French despite a high-fat diet.
3. The Great White Shark, as Greg Norman entered the final round of the British Open with a 2 stroke lead. Why is this so remarkable? First, Norman would be the older person ever to win a major golf championship (previous record 46 years of age). Second, Norma has not even been on the radar in the world of golf for years. His last tour victory was in 1997. I hope Norman keeps this lead (he's lost 7 of 8 majors in which he held the lead entering the final round). Also, see my blog post on Norman from April.
Bad Week for:
1. Doing laundry, after a women in Maine discovered an 8 foot python mixed up with her load of clothes in her washing machine. It was successfully removed by an animal control expert.
2. Antartic inhabitants, after hundreds of baby penguins washed up dead on the shores of Rio de Janeiro. The reasons for why this is occuring is unknown. Some theorize that overfishing has forced penguins to swim futher from shore and get caught up in strong currents that carry them away, while others blame polution as many are found drenched in petroleum. I still think that the whole process that the Emperor Penguins engage in to mate and raise their young is one of the most amazing things in nature.
3. Fidel's concept of socialism, when Raul Castro said "Socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income." The new leader of Cuba has been loosening Fidel's iron grip, granting Cubans some new rights and privielges, such as the ability to buy consumer goods such as cellular phones, DVD players, and washing machines. Also, restrictions on foreign travel have been relaxed and farmers can decide for themselves what to plant. Now, it remains to be see how these people will be able to earn higher incomes in order to afford these "luxuries" (things we have taken for granted). The infrastructure to support entrepreneurship and capitalism still doesn't really exist. Thus, as access to the internet and international TV increases, there may be a social revolt, and young "capitalists" may flee the country for better economic opportunities.