Archive for August, 2010

31
Aug
10

‎8.31.2010 … why do I feel the need to fix our cars and clean my house before I go on vacation?

random, RIP: Loved this Daniel Pink Spotlight on a unique individual. Rest in peace, Mr. Foster … I am sure you are leading the band now and forevermore.

I’ve got a soft spot for people who take on the status quo — of an industry, a sport, an art form — and then turn it upside down and inside out. Think Marcel Duchamp for art. Or Ray Kroc for restaurants. Or Bill Walsh for football.One such person passed away this weekend: William P. Foster, whose obituary runs in today’s New York Times. Foster was a consummate outsider — an African-American clarinetist who aspired to become a symphony conductor, only to realize that his race prevented him from attaining that position.So instead Foster decided to reinvent the marching band.

via What a fabled marching band can teach you about innovation | Daniel Pink.

colleges, green:

CU-Boulder is no longer the reigning king of environmentally friendly colleges and universities across the nation, at least according to Sierra Magazine.

After Sierra Magazine gave CU the top spot on the “Coolest Schools” list for being green last year, the Buffs fell to 13th out of 162 surveyed schools with an overall score of 81.9 points, according to Sierra. However the lower ranking is not due to decreased sustainability on campus, said Dave Newport, director of CU Boulder’s Environmental Center.

“All our process indicators are up, we are doing more than we were doing last year when we were first [in the nation],” Newport said.

This year, according to Sierra, the magazine put more scoring emphasis on energy supply than last year, which affected CU’s score. When it comes to energy supply, CU is dependent on the utility provider because the school does not have access to as many renewable resources, Newport said.

via CU slides to 13th “Coolest School” | CU Independent.

Great Recession:

A growing number of homeowners are choosing to pay down their mortgages at a faster rate–even if it means a substantial jump in their monthly payments.

Between January and June, 26% of homeowners who refinanced chose a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to data from CoreLogic, a provider of financial, property and consumer information. During all of 2009, 18.5% of borrowers who refinanced opted for a 15-year term.

What’s prompting the shift to shorter loans? Historically low interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages.

Homeowners are doing the math and realizing that rates have fallen enough so the increase in payment between a new 15-year mortgage and their current loan is no longer unbearable for their budgets, says Bob Walters, chief economist at online lender Quicken Loans.

via Paying Off the House in 15 Years – WSJ.com.

Great Recession:

Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort.

More than a fifth of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals are owned by governments and many are drowning in debt caused by rising health-care costs, a spike in uninsured patients, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and payments on construction bonds sold in fatter times. Because most public hospitals tend to be solo operations, they don’t enjoy the economies of scale, or more generous insurance contracts, which bolster revenue at many larger nonprofit and for-profit systems.

via Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals – WSJ.com.

Retail, bookstores: Guilty.

People browsing at the Lincoln Center store on Monday lamented the loss of one of the city’s largest and most prominent bookstores, a sprawling space with a cafe on the fourth floor and an enormous music selection. For devoted theatergoers, it was a reliable site for readings and events that focused on the performing arts. (Still on the fall schedule are appearances by Patti LuPone and Elaine Paige.)

But many of those same people conceded that they have not bought as many books there as they did in the past. Some said they were more likely to browse the shelves, then head home and make purchases online. Others said they prized the store most for its sunny cafe or its magazines and other nonbook items.

via At Bookstore, Even Those Not Buying Regret Its End – NYTimes.com.

random:

Lights are going on across the country as cities try to cut crime by flipping a switch.

Los Angeles this year added eight parks to its Summer Night Lights program, which now keeps the lights on until midnight at 24 parks in neighborhoods with high levels of gang-related crime, as part of a broader community-involvement effort.

Earlier this year, Joplin, Mo., reported a 47% drop in crime since 2007, when it started adding or replacing more than 1,000 lights throughout the city to reduce crime. And in other cities, like Fresno, Calif., plans to turn off street lights to cut carbon emissions and reduce costs have been thwarted by resistance from those with concerns about crime levels.

via Los Angeles Uses Light to Fight Crime – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, banking:

Since 2008, Friday night bank failures have become something of a certainty — almost as likely as death and taxes.But last Friday regulators didn’t seize a single bank. When was the last time that happened?Excluding holiday weekends, when the FDIC typically doesn’t seize banks, you have to go back to June 2009 for the last time regulators didn’t close a bank on Friday.Is this a positive sign? Not exactly. Bank failures remain ahead of last year’s pace — 118 to 84 — and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair expects it to remain that way. The weakening economic recovery hardly suggests fewer bank failures, either.On the positive side, as Colin Barr writes, it’s unlikely that this year’s total will top 1989’s when 534 banks failed.

via Tracking Bank Failures: Regulators Take a Weekend Off – Deal Journal – WSJ.

religion, culture:  OK, this one fascinated me.

In the history of the world, every culture in every location at every point in time has developed some supernatural belief system. And when a human behavior is so universal, scientists often argue that it must be an evolutionary adaptation along the lines of standing upright. That is, something so helpful that the people who had it thrived, and the people who didn’t slowly died out until we were all left with the trait. But what could be the evolutionary advantage of believing in God?

Bering is one of the academics who are trying to figure that out. In the years since his mother’s death, Bering has done experiments in his lab at Queens University, Belfast, in an attempt to understand how belief in the supernatural might have conferred some advantage and made us into the species we are today.

For Bering, and some of his friends, the answer to that question has everything to do with what he discovered in his lab — the way the kids and adults stopped cheating as soon as they thought a supernatural being might be watching them. Through the lens of evolution then, a belief in God serves a very important purpose: Religious belief set us on the path to modern life by stopping cheaters and promoting the social good.

Dominic Johnson is a professor at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and another one of the leaders in this field. And to Johnson, before you can understand the role religion and the supernatural might have played in making us the people we are today, you really have to appreciate just how improbable our modern lives are.

Today we live in a world where perfect strangers are incredibly nice to each other on a regular basis. All day long, strangers open doors for each other, repair each other’s bodies and cars and washing machines. They swap money for food and food for money.  In short: they cooperate.

This cooperation makes all kinds of things possible, of course. Because we can cooperate, we can build sophisticated machines and create whole cities — communities that require huge amounts of coordination. We can do things that no individual or small group could do.

The question is: How did we get to be so cooperative? For academics like Johnson, this is a profound puzzle.

“Explaining cooperation is a huge cottage industry,” Johnson says. “It dominates the pages of top journals in science and economics and psychology. You would think that it was very simple, but in fact from a scientific academic point of view, it just often doesn’t make sense.”

via Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous? : NPR.

30
Aug
10

‎8.30.2010 … busy, busy … cars in shop … lots to do!

gLee, tv:  Enjoy!

YouTube – “Glee” in the 2010 Emmy Opening Skit.

NASA, the future: So there is still hope for our program.

This is the big program, the one that pushes boundaries. The GCDP is designed to “develop novel aerospace capabilities that have more technical risk yet higher potential payoff” than the sort of tech being developed for NASA’s mainstream missions. The program is even focused on “developing radically new approaches to NASA’s future space missions and the nation’s significant aerospace” needs.

NASA’s asking for input from NASA centers, university sources, federal-funded R&D centers, “private or public companies” or even government research labs.

via NASA Finds Cash to Fund Fast, Clever, Unusual Tech For Future Space, Air Missions | Fast Company.

google, marketing:  Love the  use of the british style booth!

Instead of a boring old ad campaign of TV commercials, YouTube videos, billboards, and what have you, Google decided to do something a little bit more fun. The company is constructing several old-style British phone booths that will be using the new Google Voice feature–all for free. The phone booths, modeled on a 1957 vintage example, will be installed in high-traffic areas, like college campuses.

via Google Plans Adorable, Green, and (Most Importantly) Free Google Voice Phone Booths | Fast Company.

places, Davidson, green: Perfect place for a nature preserve.

A public site visit and planning workshop are scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m., at the site of a planned town nature preserve off Jetton Street, behind Davidson Day School.  Tuesday’s meeting is aimed at helping to identify trails and a kayak/canoe launch site on Lake Davidson.

The 8-acre nature preserve was first proposed to meet open space requirements years ago during planning for the so-called Northeast Quadrant, off I-77 Exit 30. Tuesday’s site visit comes as the result of a formal agreement between Davidson Day School, which owns the land, and the town, according to Parks & Recreation director Steve Fraher.

via Site visit Tues. to plan Lake Davidson nature preserve | DavidsonNews.net.

places, Charlotte, education, sports, people: Go Big Mike!

Michael Jordan and the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats will announce a $250,000 donation Monday to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system to help fund middle-school athletics programs this academic year.

Jordan, an NBA legend who made a fortune with his basketball skills and marketing savvy, bought the Charlotte Bobcats this spring. At the time, he talked of the importance of making the franchise an active contributor within the Charlotte community.

via Michael Jordan lends schools a hand – CharlotteObserver.com.

religion:  Say a prayer for our youth.

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of “Almost Christian,” a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.

She says this “imposter” faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.

via Author: More teens becoming ‘fake’ Christians – CNN.com.

language, culture, quotes:  I really like this quote, and the whole article is interesting.

“Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.”

via Does Your Language Shape How You Think? – NYTimes.com.

29
Aug
10

8.29.2010 … Great Teague family weekend in Asheville … Grove Park Inn for sleep and dinner, breakfast and lunch — all very good … Corner Kitchen for dinner – a great foodie and cultural experience … Parkway drive and then Pisgah Inn for breakfast … Happy birthday, Laura!

The President, The Media, politics:

All presidents take vacations, and all are criticized for it. It’s never the right place, the right time. Ronald Reagan went to the ranch, George W. Bush to Crawford, both got knocked. Bill Clinton even poll-tested a vacation site and still was criticized. But Martha’s Vineyard—elite, upscale—can’t have done President Obama any good, especially following the first lady’s foray in Spain. The general feeling this week was summed up by David Letterman: “He’ll have plenty of time for vacations when his one term is up. Plenty of time.”

via We Just Don’t Understand – WSJ.com.

random, LOL: caught my attention … I guess I am gullible.

No.

Aug. 27 is the date of a purportedly rare celestial phenomenon, the “double moons” event where Mars is supposed to loom as large as a second moon in the Earth’s night sky. Not only would this be a spectacle, the gravitational effect supposedly portend a host of environmental disasters that will End. Life. As We Know It.

The problem? Both parts of this are completely bogus. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Mars remains some 195 million miles from us, far too far away to appear as much more than its typical pinpoint of light in the night sky, much less to provoke any cataclysm on Earth. This isn’t even the closest the two planets have been — in 2003, Mars and Earth were separated by just 34.6 million miles. Life here continued unabated.

If your friend e-mails you this “helpful” heads up of impending doom, e-mail them back the definition of the word “gullible.”

via Mark Malkoff: Comedian Undergoes 5-Day ‘Online Cleanse’ in His Bathroom – TIME NewsFeed.

words, history, digital era, endo of an era:  This makes me very sad.  WE had an OED that my mom got from the BOMC.  It came in a boxed two-volume set with a little drawer at the top for a magnifying glass.  OK, I am a nerd.

It’s been in print for over a century, but in future the Oxford English Dictionary – the authoritative guide to the English language – may only be available online.

Oxford University Press, the publisher, said Sunday that burgeoning demand for the dictionary’s online version has far outpaced demand for the printed versions.

By the time the lexicographers behind the dictionary finish revising and updating the latest edition – a gargantuan task that will take many more years – publishers are doubtful there will still be a market for the printed form.

via Zounds! Print Oxford English Dictionary to End? – CBS News.

random, divorce:

Mr. Sheresky, 82, left the firm in a huff last month, claiming that his former partners reneged on a longstanding commitment to take care of him financially in the twilight of his career. Mr. Aronson, 61, and Mr. Mayefsky, 57, denied that such a vow existed, and dissolved the partnership, forming a new one with Pamela M. Sloan, who joined the original firm in 2007.

Mr. Sheresky responded strongly Friday by filing a $26 million lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging breach of contract and fraud.

In the legal world, partnerships come and go like so many discovery motions. But the dispute that led to Mr. Sheresky’s name being removed from the firm’s letterhead and new Web site raises a common question for the city’s prominent firms: how to handle a senior partner who is transitioning toward retirement? It also serves as a reminder that business agreements should always be put in writing, and that greed — or accusations of greed — can ruin any relationship.

via Divorce Law Firm in New York in Split of Its Own – NYTimes.com.

green, cities, urban living:

Flanner of Brooklyn Grange. “And we’re growing 50, 60, 70 different varieties of vegetables.”Flanner and four friends are running a commercial farm, seven stories off the ground, surrounded by a to-die-for view of the New York City skyline. The soil, a million pounds of it, had to be raised a sack at a time by crane.

via Field of Greens: The Growth in Farmers Markets – CBS Sunday Morning – CBS News.

The President, politics, Hurricane Katrina:  It was shameful, but ultimately the problem was local.

Calling the federal response to Hurricane Katrina “a shameful breakdown in government,” President Barack Obama said Sunday as rebuilding continues, officials are looking ahead to avoid a repeat when future disasters strike.

Speaking at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, Obama said construction of a fortified levee system to protect the city is underway and will be finished by next year, “We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season,” he said.

“There is no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed,” the president said, speaking to a crowd that included current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation.

“We all remember it keenly — water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; and bodies lying in the streets of a great American city,” Obama said. “It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe; a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone.”

via Marking Katrina anniversary, Obama praises New Orleans’ resilience – CNN.com.

places, Asheville, food:

Grove Park Inn for sleep and dinner, breakfast and lunch — all very good …

Corner Kitchen for dinner – a great foodie and cultural experience … I had pecan crusted trout … very good.

Blue Ridge Parkway drive and then Pisgah Inn for breakfast.

places, Atlanta, food:  Last week I went to Mary Mac’s … I had not been there in a while … it just made me smile.


We started with an order of Mudbugs. These are big, plump crawfish tails battered lightly in cornmeal then fried golden. Then each of had a 4-vegetable plate.  I had friend green tomatoes, tomato pie, black-eyed peans and turnips … all very good … and of course cornbread mini muffins and yeast rolls.

events:  Happy birthday, Laura, Linda and Tom!

random, NC: interesting …

The Alexander County community famed for its lunker emeralds has yielded a 64-carat gem that experts say is North America’s largest cut emerald.

via N.C. farm yields record emerald – CharlotteObserver.com.

28
Aug
10

‎8.28.2010 …. Living is easy at the Grove Park Inn …

27
Aug
10

8.27.2010 … the et cracked tooth raises its ugly head … hopefully resolved by mid afternoon … the off to the cool of the mtns.

blogging holiday … clips will return in a few days!

26
Aug
10

8.26.2010 … In Atlanta for a celebration of the life of a most favorite “kith uncle”. Rest in peace, Uncle Sam … Good luck President Ross in your new endeavor, Davidson’s loss will be the State of NC and its University System’s gain …. And happy 13th to my most special godson.

kith/kin, RIP, Atlanta: In Atlanta for a celebration of the life of a most favorite “kith uncle”. Rest in peace, Uncle Sam.

Samuel Inman Obituary: View Samuel Inman’s Obituary by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Davidson, these times they are a changin’: Good luck President Ross in your new endeavor, Davidson’s loss will be the State of NC and its University System’s gain.

Ross had no prior experience in higher education when tapped to lead Davidson three years ago. But he caught on quickly, said Robert Dunham, a Davidson trustee from Chapel Hill.

“He had such an array of experiences. He had a great deal of respect,” Dunham said. “But he acknowledged that he’d be learning on the fly. And he did very well.”

An elite private college, Davidson enrolls about 1,700 students. UNC, in contrast, is a sprawling system of about 215,000 students.

Susan McAvoy, president of the board of directors of Davidson’s alumni association, doesn’t expect Ross to stumble.

“He’ll be amazing,” she said. “When you have his methodical mind, it doesn’t matter how big (a problem) is because you break it into manageable pieces.”

via Davidson president to lead UNC – CharlotteObserver.com.

kith/kin, Michael: And happy 13th to my most special godson.

25
Aug
10

8.25.2010 … lots of errands!! … welcome, welcome, liv and sedi … Charlotte schools are back in session …

e-readers:

People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

via A Look at the Reading Habits of E-Reader Owners – WSJ.com.

the law, local news, Charlotte:  Why? Why would a detective plagiarize and throw away notes?

A Mecklenburg judge ruled Tuesday that Demeatrius Montgomery should not face the death penalty because a detective’s misconduct has tainted the trial in the killings of two Charlotte police officers.

But Superior Court Judge Forrest Bridges allowed the trial to continue, rejecting a request by Montgomery’s attorneys to dismiss the murder charges entirely.

Bridges called the case a “moving target.” He said former police Detective Arvin Fant’s admission that he threw away and plagiarized notes has “placed a cloud of suspicion over these proceedings.”

via No death penalty in police slayings – CharlotteObserver.com.

education, NC, Great Recession:  I would prefer not to need the funds, but would rather get the funds than not.

The states named to receive sums from $75 million to $700 million each were Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Florida.

via Ten Winners Selected to Receive ‘Race to the Top’ Education Funds – WSJ.com.

the brain, technology, iPhone: I am definitely fatigued!

Sure, smart phones and mobile devices help pass the time whenever you have a tedious task to do: standing in line; waiting for the train; working out at the gym. But is the constant barrage of information overloading your brain?

The New York Times reports that researchers have concluded that the constant distraction today’s electronic devices provide, could be fatiguing your brain.

via Is Your iPhone Killing Your Creativity? – TIME NewsFeed.

Apps:  I use a few more … but many I just try and leave … hey most are free.

When I recently received my new iPhone 4, I took great delight in organizing my apps into folders, finding new apps in the app store, and seeing how beautiful various apps looked on the new screen. Then I used it for a couple of days and realized, not counting pre-loaded Apple software, I use exactly five apps: The New York Times, Dropbox, Pandora, MenuPages, and Skype. Why am I wasting time collecting and organizing all these apps? We’re in an app bubble.

via The Great App Bubble | Fast Company.

health, diet: Go H2O!

CONSUME more water and you will become much healthier, goes an old wives’ tale. Drink a glass of water before meals and you will eat less, goes another. Such prescriptions seem sensible, but they have little rigorous science to back them up.

Until now, that is.

via Obesity: Drink till you drop | The Economist.




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