In the wonderfully researched book History of the Wife, Marilyn Yalom writes that sexual relations in medieval Europe, for instance, were not only mandatory after betrothal, but also only for procreative purposes.

"Sexual relations were considered a debitum conjugale — a solemn duty that each spouse owed the other,…

» 10/18/14 5:08pm Saturday 5:08pm

I don't think that applies to everyone. Certainly, the kinds of people who attract more media attention are probably going to want obviously super-expensive brands, so there will be some reporting bias. However, there are plenty of wealthy people out there who appreciate subtlety. » 10/18/14 6:41am Saturday 6:41am

Not really; in the centre of major European cities, car usage is relatively low among the poor. Public transport is cheap (often with discounts for low-income groups), parking is expensive, and so on.

Of course it's a bit different in the outer suburbs, where the tram & bus routes thin out, there isn't a grocery store… » 10/16/14 4:26pm Thursday 4:26pm

I wrote to Volvo begging for a chance to buy the Concept Estate or something like it, and they sent me a similar form letter about how it was just a concept.

There are subtle hints towards the P1800ES. It really is a fine-looking car, and very easy to square with modern demands for fuel efficiency, crash safety,… » 10/16/14 1:37pm Thursday 1:37pm

Some drivers learned (or were taught) to stop, to let emergency vehicles past. Unfortunately, some drivers are not very intelligent, so they remember the "Flashing blue lights? I've got to stop!" bit of the lesson, without really understanding why.

I have seen somebody stop their car in the middle of a chicane on an… » 10/15/14 3:49pm Wednesday 3:49pm

A rough rule of thumb is that people drive more sensibly in Northern countries than in Southern. It's a gradient. In my time in Belgium I saw regular examples of stupid, dangerous driving (and I was part of it; I wrote off a van on the R0) but it was still better than southern Europe.

And when you reach the southern… » 10/15/14 1:34pm Wednesday 1:34pm

Six-speed diesel? Meh. Practically every mid-market vehicle over here has a six-speed diesel option and it's usually the most popular. The only exceptions are way out at the fringes, like Ferraris etc. Two of my last three cars in the UK have been six-speed diesels (the third was a halo car which didn't even have a… » 10/14/14 7:40pm Tuesday 7:40pm

Only if you look at the raw numbers and take nothing else into account. If you eliminate the motorcycle fatalities that are either under the influence of alcohol or have clear evidence the motorcycle was traveling in excess of 10mph above the posted speed limit (these combined cover nearly two thirds of all…

» 10/14/14 2:52pm Tuesday 2:52pm

Looks like the wheel is designed to respond relatively well to torsion in one direction - acceleration. But if you brake, those elegant curvy strips will want to crumple rather than transmitting the force directly to the rim. At best, that will feel... unnerving under braking. At worst, something snaps when you brake… » 10/13/14 3:37pm 10/13/14 3:37pm

But what is it about Kickstarter that's such a lightning rod for incompetence? Is it because it encourages people with no capacity for business to take the money of strangers knowing that there will be virtually no recourse in the event of a complete and total fuck-up?

» 10/09/14 7:53pm 10/09/14 7:53pm