24
Oct
10

‎10.24.2010 … truly priceless weekend … now home on the redeye …

invention,  culture:

Picking humanity’s 100 greatest gadgets is no easy task. If we were starting from the beginning of humanity itself, the list would actually be a lot easier to compile: the wheel, the lever, the telescope, the syringe, movable type — the roster practically writes itself. But we’re masochists and decided to limit the list to the 100 most influential personal gadgets created since 1923 — the year TIME started publishing.

via How We Chose the All-TIME 100 Gadgets – ALL-TIME 100 Gadgets – TIME.

USA, culture: great article…

A few years later, when I got to America on a college scholarship, I realized that the real American Dream was somewhat different from Dallas. I visited college friends in their hometowns and was struck by the spacious suburban houses and the gleaming appliances — even when their parents had simple, modest jobs. The modern American Dream, for me, was this general prosperity and well-being for the average person. European civilization had produced the great cathedrals of the world. America had the two-car garage. And this middle-class contentment created a country of optimists. Compared with the fatalism and socialist lethargy that was pervasive in India those days, Americans had a sunny attitude toward life that was utterly refreshing.

But when I travel from America to India these days, as I did recently, it’s as if the world has been turned upside down. Indians are brimming with hope and faith in the future. After centuries of stagnation, their economy is on the move, fueling animal spirits and ambition. The whole country feels as if it has been unlocked. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the mood is sour. Americans are glum, dispirited and angry. The middle class, in particular, feels under assault. In a Newsweek poll in September, 63% of Americans said they did not think they would be able to maintain their current standard of living. Perhaps most troubling, Americans are strikingly fatalistic about their prospects. The can-do country is convinced that it can’t.

via Fareed Zakaria on How to Restore the American Dream – TIME.

nature v. nurture:  jack loves artificial red dye … and I loved it during pregnancy (jelly belly red cherry jelly beans, cherry popsicles) … enough said.

What makes us the way we are? Why are some people predisposed to be anxious, overweight or asthmatic? How is it that some of us are prone to heart attacks, diabetes or high blood pressure?

There’s a list of conventional answers to these questions. We are the way we are because it’s in our genes: the DNA we inherited at conception. We turn out the way we do because of our childhood experiences: how we were treated and what we took in, especially during those crucial first three years. Or our health and well-being stem from the lifestyle choices we make as adults: what kind of diet we consume, how much exercise we get.(See 5 pregnancy myths debunked.)

But there’s another powerful source of influence you may not have considered: your life as a fetus. The kind and quantity of nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother’s health, stress level and state of mind while she was pregnant with you — all these factors shaped you as a baby and a child and continue to affect you to this day.

This is the provocative contention of a field known as fetal origins, whose pioneers assert that the nine months of gestation constitute the most consequential period of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of the brain and the functioning of organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas. The conditions we encounter in utero, they claim, shape our susceptibility to disease, our appetite and metabolism, our intelligence and temperament. In the literature on the subject, which has exploded over the past 10 years, you can find references to the fetal origins of cancer, cardiovascular disease, allergies, asthma, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, mental illness — even of conditions associated with old age like arthritis, osteoporosis and cognitive decline.

via Fetal Origins: How the First Nine Months Shape Your Life – TIME.

college life, culture: just makes me sad …

Police have arrested three men suspected of creating a drug lab in a freshmen dormitory at prestigious Georgetown University in Washington.

D.C. Police spokesman Officer Hugh Carew says investigators found a DMT lab where chemicals could create a hallucinogenic drug. DMT stands for dimethyltryptamine. Officials thought it was a methamphetamine lab earlier Saturday.

Emergency crews responded about 6:15 a.m. after a strange odor was reported. About 400 students were evacuated from Harbin Hall. Seven people were exposed to noxious chemicals, including three students.

via Suspected drug lab found in Georgetown Univ. dorm  | ajc.com.

bookshelf, children’s/YA literature,new blog:  She writes a compelling blog post for this book.

Judging entirely from the cover art, I picked up Plain Kate expecting a charming light British fantasy. That’s what the cover suggested to me — the girl on the cover looks like someone who is having a gently meandering adventure, the sort one could have on the way home from school, even. I expected to enjoy it, but I had no hint that there’d be anything memorable about it.

via bookshelves of doom: Plain Kate — Erin Bow.

college life, kids, Harry Potter, children’s/YA literature:  This does not surprise me one bit!

Like freshman everywhere, Xander Manshel and his Middlebury College classmates found themselves in their first year of college pondering some of life’s biggest mysteries—like how to play Quidditch if you can’t, like Harry Potter, fly?The solution: race around in capes and goggles with broomsticks between your legs, while shooting balls through mounted hula hoops. Their version of the game, first played in 2005, was modeled on matches described in J.K. Rowling’s novels.”Quidditch was this bridge between the fantasy world of the books and the more concrete world of college,” says Mr. Manshel, who has graduated and now teaches English. “For us [playing] was a way to have both.”The Quidditch World Cup will be played in New York in November. NYU student Sarah Landis is hoping her new team will have a home advantage.But now Harry has grown-up—and so has the sport. There are tournaments, new rules and special brooms for competitive play. The “Quidditch World Cup” is moving this year to the Big Apple from Middlebury’s idyllic campus. More than 60 college and high school teams have registered to compete Nov. 13 and 14—up from 20 last year—at a park in Manhattan.

via Harry Potter’s Game Grows Up – WSJ.com.

random, Halloween, culture, holidays: I am kinda partial to the Old Spice guy!

Octomom outfits are so 2009. This year, there’s plenty of pop-culture news worth mining for Halloween-costume glory. TIME takes a look at the getups that are sure to win any costume contest

via Old Spice Guy – The 20 Best (Topical) Halloween Costumes for 2010 – TIME


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