Architect Jeanne Gang's new tower, Aqua, stands in the center of Chicago with an attention-grabbing facade that appears to undulate like a wave reaching for the sky rather than the shore. It's a nice surprise to find that the critics have largely avoided drawing overly simplified parallels between the curvy construction and 44-year-old Gang's gender, conspicuous in a field where women are few and far between. Aqua, in fact, is the tallest skyscraper designed by a woman -- and a fairly young one at that.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews stands on the National Mall the day before Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, Jan. 19, 2009.(Flickr/Adam Fagen)
After President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last week, Chris Matthews had an epiphany about the president: "I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It's interesting; he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour."
As soon as word began to spread last week that a vicious earthquake had destroyed much of Haiti, Facebook and Twitter lit up with altruistic updates. People encouraged those in their networks to leave clothing donations at local drop-spots, donate $10 with a simple text message, and make sure that Haiti did not "become another Katrina."
As the new decade dawns, plenty of institutions -- from gyms to retailers to churches -- will be trying to capitalize on the resolution spirit. The advertising copy promises: Now's the time to join, to run, to buy. Our usually frenetic pace slows, and we're all but bullied into reflection. We take a look at our waistlines and credit-card debt, and promise ourselves that this year, no seriously, this year will be different.
The United for Peace and Justice Anti-War protest in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2005. (Flickr/Danny Hammontree)
As this decade comes to an end, so do my 20s. For me and many of my generation, the past ten years have marked a series of experiments -- sometimes misguided -- in living ethically. The question was (and is): What does an ethical life look like in an era of terrorism, reality television, vast wealth disparity, and the Internet?