Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated in Motion Graphics, Brain Pickings: Happy Earth Day!
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
‘Artisanal’ Toast, The Salt : NPR:
The TIY Verdict
If you’re looking for a delicious treat — and a few extra calories — try pan-fried toast. To impress your friends, pull out the blowtorch. And when you’re stuck in a motel room and get a hankering for toast, the coffee maker should do the trick.
Or just wait for a toastery to open up in your neighborhood.
Worth sticking with one airline?, Atlanta Forward, frequent flyer miles:
Maybe, just maybe, more customers will make a rational decision about their next flight itinerary — not one distorted by a pathological obsession with miles, but based on ticket price and convenience. A veil is slowly being lifted from the traveling public, and at last, they’re seeing loyalty programs for what they really are: habit-forming schemes that impair your ability to make a clear-headed decision about travel and that almost always benefit the travel company more than you.
Cloud Photo Storage, Family Pictures, WSJ.com:
In my hunt for the best cloud photo option, five services stood out: Dropbox, Flickr, Shutterfly, SmugMug and the powerful yet clumsy combination of Google GOOGL +1.14% Drive and Google+. In the end, only Flickr managed to satisfy all my requirements, though SmugMug was a close second
Survivalist Seder, Passover, go bags: Loved this!
That all changed Monday night, when he decided to use the first night of Passover to talk openly about emergencies and evacuation and disaster “without delving into paranoia and fear.”
Aaron had been thinking for a while now that for Passover, which comes with its own stash of basement boxes—foods and dishes to be used only for eight days a year—we’re all forced to create what he calls “a mini household in a closet.” And the Passover story, at least as he thinks about it, is really all about leaving home quickly in an emergency, with only the stuff you can carry.
So Aaron sent out an email to our Seder guests simply asking “for everyone (kids included) to take some time this week packing a ‘bag’ of your necessities if you had to pack up and leave your home as our ancestors did. The only requirement is that it should be something that you could reasonably carry without having to ask someone else to do it for you.” It was our first ever Emergency Preparedness Seder. We will probably do it again next year (if we make it to next year).
George F. Kennan’s Diaries, Reviewed, New Republic: Worth your time …
He is a relic of the nineteenth century, a misfit in modern times. The achievements of science, medicine, and technology leave him cold; he sees only the defilement of nature wrought by the automobile, and the corruption of the spirit brought on by consumer society, whose blight he laments with numbing frequency. (“With all due effort to avoid exaggerated pessimism and over-dramatization,” he writes, in a typical passage, from 1978, “I can see no salvation for the U.S. either in its external relations nor in the development of its life internally.”) From urban decay to the decline of the schools, from the media’s crass commercialism to sexual libertinism, he sees all about him a decadent society—late Rome—offering grounds only for hopelessness.
Indy churches, share spirit — and their space:
Nesting, where a congregation welcomes another flock to share its home, isn’t new, but it’s a growing trend as churches face challenging demographic and financial changes. The sharing is sometimes between an established church with a dwindling membership and a newer church that can’t afford a building, although some established and healthy churches do it as an outreach, a Christian helping hand.
Ender’s Game Movie, Roger Ebert: I actually liked it. Worth a Redbox rental.
The movie version of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is way too kind, and the drama suffers greatly for it. The movie packs too much plot into 114 minutes and has serious pacing issues, and because its makers don’t have a eye for spectacular set pieces, it never looks as grand as it should. But the film’s biggest problem is a matter of tone and characterization: the characters constantly talk about how mean they can be, but their actions suggest otherwise.
Veriditas, labyrinths, history:
The labyrinth design used by Lauren Artress is a replica of the Eleven-circuit Medieval Labyrinth from Chartres Cathedral in France. This pattern, made of Beauce quarry stone and an unnamed black stone to delineate the path, was inlaid into the stone floor in 1201. For the last 250 years, however, it has been forgotten and covered with chairs until Artress led a small group of people into Chartres cathedral to remove the chairs to experience the meditative walk first hand.
After her experience in Chartres, she returned home to Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, painted the design on canvas and opened it to the public. In 1994 the indoor tapestry labyrinth — open during cathedral hours — was installed and in 1995 the outdoor terrazzo labyrinth — open 24 hours a day — was installed in the Melvin E. Swig Interfaith Meditation Garden. Literally millions of people have walked these labyrinths. In the summer of 2007, Grace Cathedral replaced the tapestry labyrinth with a beautiful new limestone and marble labyrinth in the floor of the cathedral.
After introducing the labyrinth through the International Transpersonal Association in Ireland in 1994 and to Switzerland, Germany in 1995, her work began to focus intensely in both Grace Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral. She has led workshops around the United States, Canada, the UK and Europe. In 1997 she began to train facilitators to present the labyrinth in their communities. Now, over 4000 people have been trained in this transformational work.
Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people’s backyards.
Go to our world wide labyrinth locator to find a labyrinth near you!
South Africa’s Pistorius trial, Justice, The Economist: So is this a trial of a society.
Campaigners highlight what they see as South Africa’s dangerous proliferation of firearms. The trial has brought to light several incidents when Mr Pistorius carelessly fired a gun in public, once in a crowded restaurant, another time out of his car’s sunroof after an argument with a policeman.
Some thus see him as a product of the country’s malignly macho gun culture. A string of South African men have recently shot family members after apparently mistaking them for intruders. But others point out that the number of guns in South Africa has fallen sharply since the end of apartheid in 1994 to 12.7 per 100 people, not least because stricter laws were enacted in 2000. In comparison, Americans on average own one gun per head of population. Britain has 6.7 per 100.
When Mr Pistorius declared in his testimony, “I shot out of fear,” he became the voice of many white South Africans. They tend to see themselves as living in the shadow of violent crime, retreating behind high walls, electric fences and steel doors. From there they can summon private security guards, who are twice as numerous as policemen, by pressing a panic button.
The trial has revived a long-running debate about other aspects of crime. South Africa’s murder rate is one of the highest in the world: 30.9 for every 100,000 people, compared with 4.7 in the United States. Yet the rate has fallen by half in the past 15 years. Rich whites, the most fearful among South Africans, are actually the least endangered. Most victims are poor and black.
Bubba Watson, $148 Tip at Waffle House, Bleacher Report: You rock, Bubba!
But that’s just “Bubba being Bubba,” according to USA Today. So it was hardly a surprise when Watson celebrated this year’s Masters victory win with a trip to Waffle House. He tweeted a selfie with his wife and some friends on that evening.
And it was even less surprising when Meg Mirshak of The Augusta Chronicle reported he was more than generous with the tip he left:
A waitress told a customer Tuesday morning that Watson left a $148 tip on the bill. When asked to confirm the amount, Knotts declined to say how big the tip was but said three employees split the money.
‘It was above and beyond what would have normally been shared,’ [manager Ken] Knotts said. ‘Bubba was just so gracious about everything.’
Steak n’ Shake franchise owner Preston Moss said Watson left a $24 tip on his milkshake bill.
Watson has become one of the most likable players in the game, and his dominance at Augusta means he’s one of the better players, too. Big things will be expected of Watson, and the golf world eagerly awaits to see if he can win another major outside of the Masters.
We are still awaiting a dynamic personality in golf in the post-Tiger-Woods-dominance era, and Watson is a colorful figure who is easy to root for. But we also partly cheer for him because, let’s be honest, we’re all a bit curious to see where Bubba might celebrate next.
Mt Everest Avalanche:
The avalanche struck around 06:45 local time (01:00GMT) in an area known as the “popcorn field”, just above Everest base camp at an elevation of 5,800m (19,000ft), an official told the BBC.
Miniversion of Wrigley, Freeport, chicagotribune.com: Love this one, too!
Little Cubs Field is a miniversion of Wrigley Field, including everything from the green scoreboard to the WGN press box and even a Harry Caray statue.
The park, about one-quarter the size of Wrigley, is used for youth baseball and other Freeport functions. Wrigley’s been around for a century. Little Cubs Field is starting its seventh season.
Little Cubs Field was Garkey’s brainchild. In 2002 he pitched to the local park district his dream as a place where kids could play ball, but it took a village to build it and continue improving on it, he said.
Shakespeare, Davidson College, Radio Play Live on WDAV, Davidson College:
“Performing Shakespeare,” a seminar regularly taught at Davidson College by Dana Professor of English Cynthia Lewis, has been reimagined for the airwaves.
The title of the course was changed to “Radio Shakespeare,” indicating that the class will be presenting the playwright’s work on the radio rather than on the stage.
Lewis’s students will perform a broadcast of The Merchant of Venice for a live audience at the college’s radio station, 89.9 FM WDAV, at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 26. This production of the Elizabethan classic harkens back to the heyday of radio drama, and occurs on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s baptism.
Bracketing the live broadcast on April 26, Lewis’s radio Shakespeareans also will present performances before studio audiences at WDAV on Friday, April 25 and Monday, April 28. WDAV engineers will record the three performances in the studio and compile the strongest elements from each into a single podcast, which will be available for download.
The “Radio Shakespeare” students also will present another, non-recorded staged reading of The Merchant of Venice at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 27, at “Pian del Pino,” the Italian Renaissance-style villa of Margaret Zimmermann and Price Zimmermann, a former academic dean at Davidson.
The public is invited to all four performances, but space is limited. Contact Radio Shakespeare with reservation or information requests.
Chicken Thigh Recipes, Bon Appétit: Favorite piece of chicken …
Chicken Thigh Recipes Slideshow