Mount Vernon, travel, DC, history, historic preservation: Mount Vernon is one of my favorite places … what does it take to make a 18th century garden historically accurate?As she surveys the fruit orchard, boxwood parterres and flower borders, a couple of gardeners plant clumps of golden-flowered calendulas near the grapevine trellises. They are putting the final touches on a fundamental reworking of Washington’s pleasure garden. Begun last August and now virtually complete, the new garden re-creates what experts believe is a far closer representation of the one Washington knew in the late 18th century.
Gone is the tall boxwood edging, along with the crescent flower beds at the apex of the garden. The paths are wider, the garden beds fewer but much larger. Bands of decorative plants wrap around what is essentially a vegetable garden — the area devoted to veggies has grown fivefold and occupies a quarter of the space. Even though the “high garden” was the landscape jewel of the estate, Washington “wasn’t about to let something beautiful take away from something that was necessary,” said Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture.
bookstores, eBooks, technology: Maybe the two will work together … there is a certain pleasure in walking around a bookstore.
250 independent bookstores around the country now sell Google eBooks on their websites. However, it takes some tech savvy and effort to educate customers about these new resources.
random, missing persons, hiking the Appalachian Trail: There is no such thing as disappearing for a few days for personal reasons. Blessings to the family for the safe reurn of Mr. Hill.
A Matthews man missing since early last week in Washington, D.C., was found early today in Asheville, D.C. Metro police said this morning.
Lt. Ralph Neal, watch commander for the 2nd District, told the Observer that his department got a lead that Matthew Hill, 26, who was last seen Tuesday morning, was safe and had been found in Asheville.
“He apparently didn’t let anyone know where he was at,” Neal said. “We asked the police in Asheville to make contact with him there.
“He just left on his own — for personal reasons. I guess he just wanted to get away.”
American auto industry, subcompacts, Great Recession, Recovery?: I want a subcompact hybrid for my next car .
After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-
By refocusing on small cars and de-emphasizing the gas-guzzlers that had long sustained the industry, General Motors and Ford in particular are preserving jobs and positioning themselves to prosper. Their efforts are already paying off in the marketplace. Ford’s tiny Fiesta is the best-selling subcompact in the United States this year, and G.M.’s Chevrolet Cruze outsold every other compact car in America last month except the segment-leading Honda Civic.
Nearly one in four vehicles sold in the United States in April was a compact or subcompact car, compared with one in eight a decade ago. Of the small cars sold in April, about 27 percent were American models, compared with 20 percent a year earlier. Data on sales in May will be released on Wednesday.
middle east uprisings, natural human rights, philosophy: A lot to think about here …
Revolutions are based upon complaints. These complaints can arise from practical concerns, like having food at an affordable price, or from more theoretical or social concerns, such as being able to publicly speak one’s mind. Both are grounded in an understanding of what people ought to be able to enjoy as citizens of a country. This expectation of fundamental entitlements is what we talk about when we talk about human rights. But whether or not every person on earth has certain rights just by virtue of being a person alive on the planet — a concept I will refer to here as natural human rights — is a question of some controversy. In these times, when new questions of rights, complaints and subsequent conflicts seem to arise anew each week, it’s worth knowing where we stand on the matter.
The way we think about the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa is also conditioned by the way we understand human rights. If natural human rights exist, then the autocrats in charge that suppress them are wrong and they should either create a constitutional monarchy or a democratic republic. If natural human rights do not exist, then the whole process is one of political negotiation that on the one hand involves peaceful protests and on the other involves bloody civil war. Our entire understanding of these events requires us to take sides. But how can we do this?
YouTube, media, education: So now they have a school on how to create a viral video … please explain how you make money for this?
Vanessa Wilson was back in class last week for the first time since law school. Only this time, she said, she wasn’t bored.
Ms. Wilson, 27, was one of the winners of a recent talent search sponsored by YouTube. Her prize was a boot camp at Google’s Manhattan offices, where some of YouTube’s most successful stars led sessions on how to create a viral video, build an audience and bolster a brand.
Some of the tips that, with luck, might one day lead to a six-figure income? Don’t upload videos on Friday afternoons. Send e-mails to at least a dozen key bloggers and ask them to post a link. Surprise your audience. Don’t forget: there is key light, front light, flood light. And never, ever put the word sex in a title or tag. It could cost you some of the advertising revenue that YouTube shares with its content creators.
The boot camp is part of YouTube’s campaign to find its own original high-quality video content. Facing fierce competition from Web video services like Hulu, iTunes and Netflix, YouTube is looking to increase the range of content and improve the quality of its channels as it continues to try to make more money, even after doubling revenue, according to Google’s last quarterly report.
random, health, pests: I am definitely a mosquito magnet!
Some folks seem to be magnets for mosquitoes, while others rarely get bitten. What makes the little buggers single you out and not the guy or gal you’re standing next to at the Memorial Day backyard barbecue?
The two most important reasons a mosquito is attracted to you have to do with sight and smell, says Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida in Vero Beach. Lab studies suggest that 20 percent of people are high attractor types, he says.
Mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision, explains Day. People dressed in dark colors — black, navy blue, red — stand out and movement is another cue.
Once the mosquito keys in on a promising visual target, she (and it’s always “she” — only the ladies bite) then picks up on smell. The main attractor is your rate of carbon dioxide production with every exhale you take.
technology, health, alternative medicine, electronic pain relief, TENS: Not to get to personal, but my broken humerus is not healing and the pain is increasing … today I was given this to device, a TENS, and I hope it works!
Nerve pain can become a chronic and frequent nightmare for many people. Although there are medications to take, some people would rather opt for a non-drug treatment. Electronic pain relief options can be used to a varying degree of relief. These systems interrupt the pain signals reaching the brain.TENS UnitThe transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, also known as TENS, uses small battery operated devices to block pain signals. Electrodes are placed on the skin where the pain is originating. High-frequency electrical pulses are then sent to nerve fibers and pain signals are then prevented from reaching the brain. When no pain signal reaches the brain, then no pain is felt. Accompanying the unit will also be the self-adhering electrodes that can be reused, towelettes to clean the skin and gel to help with any irritation if you have sensitive skin.
Wikipedia, college, education: Very fascinating use of technology and online resources in an educational environment.
A Virginia Tech graduate student hit save on her overview of the state workers’ compensation commission one spring day, but before her professor could take a look at it, someone else began deleting entire sections, calling them trivial and promotional.
It wasn’t a teaching assistant on a power trip — it was a Wikipedia editor known only as “Mean as custard.”
“I had worked on it for almost an entire day,” said Amy Pearson, a public administration master’s student. “It was kind of shocking.”
This school year, dozens of professors from across the country gave students an unexpected assignment: Write Wikipedia entries about public policy issues.
The Wikimedia Foundation, which supports the Web site, organized the project in an effort to bulk up the decade-old online encyclopedia’s coverage of topics ranging from the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to Sudanese refugees in Egypt. Such issues have been treated on the site in much less depth than TV shows, celebrity biographies and other elements of pop culture.
Many students involved in the project have received humbling lessons about open-source writing as their work was revised, attacked or deleted by anonymous critics with unknown credentials.
In the fall, Rochelle A. Davis, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, told undergraduates in her culture and politics course to create a Wikipedia page about a community they belonged to, then use that research to develop a thesis for an academic paper.
“Collectively, they were the best papers I’ve ever read at Georgetown,” Davis said. She said students benefited from vetting their ideas with a wider community — a practice that could help academics at all levels. “This is where we are going,” she said. “I think that’s a good thing.”