Archive for May, 2011

31
May
11

5.31.2011 … End of May … School is almost out!

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.

via George Washington’s Mount Vernon pleasure garden revamped for authenticity – The Washington Post.

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.

via QR Code Tools for Independent Bookstores – GalleyCat.

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.”

via D.C. police: Matthews man found alive in Asheville | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

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.

via American Compacts Gain Ground as High Gas Prices Change Tastes – NYTimes.com.

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?

via Are There Natural Human Rights? – NYTimes.com.

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.

via At YouTube Boot Camp, Future Stars Polish Their Acts – NYTimes.com.

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.

via The Body Odd – Why some people are mosquito magnets.

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.

via Electronic Pain Relief | eHow.com.

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.”

via Wikipedia goes to class – The Washington Post.

29
May
11

5.29-30.2011 … Happy Memorial Day Weekend … staycation for me …

Memorial Day, holidays, staycations, Atlanta, favorites:  Well, I am  having a Charlotte staycation which, by the way, is not on the list.  But oddly just about every other favorite US city is on it … Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Chicago …  I will have to make do with Charlotte.

A staycation here could include a visit to Oakland Cemetery followed by a cold beer on a rooftop patio, shopping on the Westside followed by cheap eats, chilling with Coca Cola, hanging in the Botanical Gardens, or (heaven forbid) working up a sweat on the Silver Comet Trail. Our local Atlantan’s staycation plans showed her that she could stay in Atlanta but feel like she was a million miles away… without spending a million dollars to get there!

via Six Great Cities, Six Great Staycations – weather.com.

Robert McDuffie, people, Macon GA, Westminster: Saw that the GA Music Hall of Fame is closing down.  On its website is this advertisement for an exhibit on Macon GA artists.  I think the violinist in the picture is Macon native Bobby McDuffie , Camille’s husband.  Small world.

Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

bookshelf, lists:  Well, I have heard of very few of these … the list came recommended to me.  I’ll give you my list tomorrow …. Books for the Beach.

essays, love:  I liked David Mark Simpson entry “What is Carved in Stone,”  a runner-up in the Modern Love college essay contest.  Enjoy!

Every day for the next two weeks, we scraped our way up the cliffs of our two-bar plateau. It may not have been the same as carving a petroglyph, but the three-hour journey required a kind of resoluteness. It was exhausting and dangerous. And it left ample time to ponder if the climb was worth making.

via Modern Love – What Is Carved in Stone – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, twitter, social network, addictions:  I fail the test … and my children will tell you that.  Maybe I will set myself free this summer …

Q: Do you ever feel the urge to pull out your smartphone while someone else is making a point in a conversation?

Q: Have you ever realized that you were texting or checking your e-mail while your child was telling you about her day at school?

Q: Have you ever felt that something hasn’t really happened until you post it on Facebook?

Q: Does a flashing red light on your BlackBerry make your heart flutter?

Q: Are you spending time with your spouse or significant other without talking to each other because you’re each immersed in a different device?

If you answered yes to at least a couple of these questions, you’re among the millions of Americans being overrun by technology.

via The Digital Diet: How to break free of your smartphone and other gadgets – The Washington Post.

food, vegetarian food, lists, kith/kin:  We have a family friend who is vegetarian so I always keep a box of veggie burgers on hand.  After several years, I have grown to like them myself.  Our favorite brand, Morningstar, is not even on the list.  What do they know? Taste Test: 10 Veggie Burgers for Grilling – KitchenDaily.

Davidson IB, Davidson, CMS,  magnet schools, education, Charlotte:  I still do not understand how CMS could shut down what is considered one of the best magnet schools in the country … amazing.

They bonded over shovels.

It was a Friday in March, a day off for students. Parents and kids from two middle schools, Davidson IB and J.M. Alexander, met on the Alexander campus. They were partners in an arranged marriage. Davidson was closing at the end of the school year. Alexander would take Davidson’s students and faculty. Nobody was thrilled about it.

Back in the fall, when the school board made the decision, the feelings were bare and raw. Davidson families blasted the board for killing off one of the best magnet schools in America. Alexander families got mad at the idea that their school didn’t measure up. Board member Rhonda Lennon said Davidson parents seemed unwilling to send their kids to school with poor black students. Davidson parents threatened to walk away from CMS.

Now, a few months afterward, everyone had calmed down. But the relationships still needed tending. The principals of both schools thought sprucing up the Alexander campus might be the way to spruce up the mood.

via Starting with a clean slate – together | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

news, for the love of money:  She buried him in the flower garden to collect his social security, and no one noticed for 15 years!!!

When police found the body of Ruth Huber Bostic last year in the living room of her southeast Raleigh home, her neighbors noted that they hadn’t seen her husband, David Ellis Bostic, in a while.

As in a decade or more.

via Flower bed hid man’s grave | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

commencement speeches, kith/kin, lists:  OK, they failed to mentioned my brothers’s speech at E. Rivers Elementary School … 2011’s Best Commencement Speeches – Galleries – The Daily Beast.

Picasso, muses, art:  Be honest, have you ever heard of an artist’s muse who was happy?

 

 

At Picasso’s death in 1973, an abstract sculpture of Marie-Therese holding a lantern was placed over his grave:

“Why do you think he wanted that sculpture on his grave?” Mason asked.

“I think he saw Marie-Therese as his real wife,’ Richardson said. “And she was the one person of all the women in his life who’d given him the most love, the most understanding.”

Fifty years after their first meeting, Marie-Therese took her own life.

For the muse, there was no living without the artist.

via Picasso and his mistress, his muse – CBS Sunday Morning – CBS News.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney:  Interesting analysis of Mitt and this “early” campaign speech.

THE principal themes of Mitt Romney’s speech here in Des Moines earlier this afternoon were that America’s economy remains a wreck because Barack Obama’s a rank amateur whose woeful inexperience, ignorance of the requirements of a robust economy, and faintly un-American taste for the public-policy fashions in Europe, has created a climate of economic uncertainty that has retarded recovery. Speaking before a small crowd beneath antique airplanes suspended in the atrium of the State of Iowa Historical Museum, an effortfully cheerful Mr Romney assayed an early version of a stump speech I imagine will become a staple of his campaign for the Republican nomination, once it “officially” begins some time next week in New Hampshire.

via Mitt Romney in Iowa: All-pro, all-American | The Economist.

Niagara Falls, travel bucket list:  Well, I love these articles… 36 hours in ______ … and Niagara Falls is on my list.  36 Hours in Niagara Falls – NYTimes.com.

28
May
11

‎5.28.2011 … I wonder how many people take the megabus to dc and then stay at the Willard …

travel, transportation, DC:  I am taking the megabus to and from dc … anybody tried it?  Then I will join John who is flying in on US Air 🙂 … and stay at the Willard … anybody stayed there?  Will make for an interesting rendezvous!

labyrinths, Charlotte, quotes:  I enjoyed my Labyrinth Walk #2 at Presbyterian Hospital while waiting for ET to wake from his liver biopsy on 5.26.  Anyone know the source of the quote, “yet also: Be still for healing most likely whispers”?

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“I knew something good could come out of such pain. The new labyrinth will provide a point of focus to help people collect their thoughts during the grieving process,” said Linda Matney, donor and founder of the Jack and Linda Matney Family Foundation.

Dating back to the 14th century, a labyrinth is a geometric, flat surface with winding, circuitous paths. A labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful course. Walking a labyrinth has been effective in reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and breathing rates, in addition to reducing chronic pain. Often people find peace, solace, release and a deep sense of joy as they reach the center of the labyrinth’s circuitous paths.

Designer, Tom Schultz, nationally recognized for his unique labyrinth designs, has patterned the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth after the 14th Century labyrinth at Chatres Cathedral in France.

The Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth is supported by ongoing financial gifts from the community. In addition to the Labyrinth endowment, fundraising efforts continue for phase II of the labyrinth, projected to include a memorial prayer wall.

“My impetus in creating the labyrinth was to give patient’s families and caregivers the opportunity to focus on a spiritual connection, prayer or whatever could bring peace to each person.”

via New Presbyterian Hospital Labyrinth Puts Caregivers on Path to Peace.

Facebook, twitter, privacy:  Facebook is not my friend … Facebook is not my friend …

 

Attention, humanity: We seem to be suffering from an acute case of stupidity.

There’s a viral misconception making its way through our Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles and injecting itself into our brains. And it’s leading those infected to believe these social sites are looking out for us.

Yesterday, we wondered if Twitter should actually hand over user information to officials when it’s subpoenaed. The day before, a report that even Facebook content marked “Friends-Only” could be used against you in court sent us spiraling into rants about the company’s lack of integrity on issues of user privacy. (The horror!) Well, Facebook’s integrity isn’t on today’s discussion menu. But yours is.

There will never be an easier way to break this to you other than to just say it: Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business. Repeat this to yourself until it begins to sink deep within in your social-loving brain cells. “Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business.”

Laws on Internet activity and speech are just beginning to manifest in court, and nine times out of ten, companies will comply with authorities. (Yes, this means handing over your account’s info.) Some rulings have required Facebook to turn over user password information, other courts have thrown out similar requests. It’s all the more reason to consider what you post online fair game inside our legal system.

Of course, when I say “Facebook,” I really mean every social media site you’ve hitched to your digital identity: Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. Facebook seems to take the brunt of the backlash because of its size, but that hasn’t changed our silly new idea that all of these companies have our best interests in mind. They don’t. They’re businesses. They want our personal information to dangle in front of advertisers. And no, Facebook isn’t inherently evil for not really giving a damn about you. It’s business.

The problem is that this reality doesn’t fit our modern consumer expectations, which, some would argue could be described as profound laziness. We’re living in the age of blaming companies for everything we don’t like about ourselves. Smoke too much? Blame big tobacco. Eat too much? Blame fast food. Sign up for a website that craves your personal information, then do something stupid? Surely it’s not your fault.

via Facebook, Twitter Aren’t Responsible For Your Online Behavior – Techland – TIME.com.

Apple, music, cloud computing, iCloud:  Well, I for one, hope this works … our family has music spread over to many computers.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this whole online music thing is heating up. First Amazon rolled out its Cloud Player, then Google Music came along, and now Apple is expected to announce its own online music service—the big money’s on something called “iCloud” that’ll be unveiled on June 6th.

The difference between Apple’s offering and offerings from both Amazon and Google is that Apple has apparently gotten the blessing of three of the four major record labels, with the fourth said to be right around the corner. But why should Apple care about playing nice with the record labels when Google and Amazon have already thumbed their noses at the music industry?

If what Businessweek is reporting turns out to be accurate, Apple’s service will behave differently than Google’s and Amazon’s in that you won’t have to actually upload your entire music collection to Apple’s servers.

via Apple’s Online Music Locker: A Great Idea (That’s 10+ Years Old) – Techland – TIME.com.

Groupon, jobs, creative writing:  I actually thought about applying for a job as a Groupon writer …

Groupon has nothing so special. It offers discounts on products and services, something that Internet start-up companies have tried to develop as a business model many times before, with minimal success. Groupon’s breakthrough sprang not just from the deals but from an ingredient that was both unlikely and ephemeral: words.

Words are not much valued on the Internet, perhaps because it features so many of them. Newspapers and magazines might have gained vast new audiences online but still can’t recoup the costs from their Web operations of producing the material.

Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay.

IN 177 North American cities and neighborhoods, 31 million people see one of the hundreds of daily deals that Ms. Handler and her colleagues write, and so many of them take the horseback ride or splurge on the spa or have dinner at the restaurant or sign up for the kayak tour that Groupon is raking in more than a billion dollars a year from these featured businesses and is already profitable.

There used to be a name for marketing things to clumps of people by blasting messages at them: spam. People despised it so much it nearly killed e-mail. The great achievement of Groupon — a blend of “group” and “coupon” — is to have reformulated spam into something benign, even ingratiating.

via Groupon Counts on Writers and Editors to Build Its Audience – NYTimes.com.

Experience is a plus, but not necessarily required if you have compelling samples. We’ll work with anyone who can write succinctly, persuasively, and intelligently. Groupon writers are held not only to a high quality standard, but must also show a willingness and ability to generate a high volume of copy on a daily basis. Fast typing and web savvy are critical. Salary is $37K and includes full benefits. For the right candidate, Groupon will pay a relocation allowance.

via Groupon Jobs.

international politics, G8, economics: G8 irrelevant?

 

And that’s not a bad thing because, as a global conclave, the G-8 has become almost entirely irrelevant. It was originally formed in 1975, in the wake of an alarming international oil crisis, as a forum for the West’s greatest economies to meet and steer global policy without the burdensome nuisance of the U.N. or other more democratic international institutions. For a long time, the annual summit seemed the place from which the world was truly governed — a resurrection of an older Western imperial guard (plus Japan). Not surprisingly, it was hated by many. Just a decade ago, the G-8 summit in Genoa was the site of truly epic scenes of rioting and mayhem as anti-globalization protesters attempted to storm the gathering, targeting what they thought was the progenitor of all the world’s capitalistic injustices. Fast forward ten years later: at Deauville, there was greater fury in the waves of the placid English Channel. How things have changed.

 

In the age of the BRICs — a Goldman Sachs monicker that has stuck for the combined rising clout of Brazil, Russia, India and China — it’s not controversial to suggest the G-8 has gone past its shelf-life. President Obama has already hailed the G-20, where all the BRICs are in attendance (only Russia is in the G-8), as the “premier forum for global economic coordination.” (Incidentally, the G-20 is also meeting in France later this year, in Cannes.) Sensing the change in the winds, then Brazilian President Lula da Silva declared in 2009 that the G-8 “doesn’t have any reason to exist.” By any metric, he’s right: the G-8 no longer accommodates the world’s biggest or most dynamic economies; the G-8 no longer accounts for all the world’s nuclear weapons; the G-8 doesn’t speak for any particular identity or values — with Russia in the fold, it’s hardly a champion of democracy. So what is it for?

 

via Why the G-8 Should Never Meet Again – Global Spin – TIME.com.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  I think I used the term slime bag … This writer uses “pond scum” and  “jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale” … but asks a fair question …  did he commit a crime?  Part of me hopes yes … but his family has suffered immeasurably, and if he didn’t, then let the man just wallow in his sin.

As far as I’m concerned, John Edwards is pond scum. Last I checked, that’s not a crime.

We can stipulate, I think, to the pond scum part. The man cheated on his wife — and defended himself by noting that her cancer was in remission at the time. Even after the affair was disclosed, Edwards lied about whether he fathered a daughter with the woman. He had a loyal aide falsely claim paternity and turned to wealthy friends to support the woman.

But being a jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale, is not a felony, which is what federal prosecutors have been pursuing for more than two years. The original theory of the case was that Edwards misused campaign funds to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter. That would have been a serious matter, except the theory fizzled.

Some prosecutors would have stopped there. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, George Holding, did not.

The current case against Edwards, the one for which he is on the verge of being indicted, rests on a novel and expansive reading of what constitutes a campaign contribution.

The crux of the case is that during the 2008 campaign, Edwards, directly or indirectly, approached two of his biggest financial backers, the late trial lawyer Fred Baron and heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, to solicit financial support for Hunter. Baron and Mellon, motivated at least in part by a desire to fuel Edwards’s presidential ambitions, anted up, to the tune of more than $750,000.

Was that a contribution to the Edwards campaign, in which case it would be illegal because it was not reported as such and exceeded the allowable contribution limits? That’s a stretch.

via John Edwards: A jerk, not a felon – The Washington Post.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  New tag … slime bags … Go for it US Justice Department.

via 2011 May 26 « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

business, data, technology, changes:  Data and harnessing that data is changing business … a whole new world.

As usual, the reality of the digital age is outpacing fiction. Last year people stored enough data to fill 60,000 Libraries of Congress. The world’s 4 billion mobile-phone users (12% of whom own smartphones) have turned themselves into data-streams. YouTube claims to receive 24 hours of video every minute. Manufacturers have embedded 30m sensors into their products, converting mute bits of metal into data-generating nodes in the internet of things. The number of smartphones is increasing by 20% a year and the number of sensors by 30%.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has no Borges-like qualms about the value of all these data. In a suitably fact-packed new report, “Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity”, MGI argues that data are becoming a factor of production, like physical or human capital. Companies that can harness big data will trample data-incompetents. Data equity, to coin a phrase, will become as important as brand equity. MGI insists that this is not just idle futurology: businesses are already adapting to big data.

Companies are assembling more detailed pictures of their customers than ever before. Tesco, a British retailer, collects 1.5 billion nuggets of data every month and uses them to adjust prices and promotions. Williams-Sonoma, an American retailer, uses its knowledge of its 60m customers (which includes such details as their income and the value of their houses) to produce different iterations of its catalogue. Amazon, an online retailer, has claimed that 30% of its sales are generated by its recommendation engine (“you may also like”). The mobile revolution adds a new dimension to customer-targeting. Companies such as America’s Placecast are developing technologies that allow them to track potential consumers and send them enticing offers when they get within a few yards of a Starbucks.

via Schumpeter: Building with big data | The Economist.

Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy, crime and law, constitutional law, cruel and unusual punishment:  This is a serious problem, and one that will not go away.  We are fortunate to have a constitution that respects human dignity, even that of criminals.

So it was no surprise that Mr Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 decision by the court this week that orders California to reduce its prison overcrowding. Full capacity is defined as one inmate per cell, which in California currently means 80,000 prisoners. But California’s prisons have at times housed twice as many, with inmates stacked in bunk beds in gymnasiums. At the moment, the prisons are about 175% full. The court order requires that ratio to go down to a slightly less egregious 137.5% within two years.

Overcrowding has meant not only more violence but woefully inadequate health and mental care, with more deaths and suicides. “When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their faeces for days in a dazed state?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor testily demanded of a lawyer representing California last November. Mr Kennedy, in his opinion this week, referred to an inmate who had been held “in a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic.”

Such conditions are, in Mr Kennedy’s words, “incompatible with the concept of human dignity” and amount to unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment”. The four judges who are considered liberal agreed; the four conservatives did not. For Justice Samuel Alito, the case was a matter not of dignity but of public safety. The decision, he said, will force California to release “46,000 criminals—the equivalent of three army divisions”.

via Prison overcrowding: A win for dignity | The Economist.

random, Widespread Panic, John Bell, energy room, Clarksville GA, places:  I need an energy room!

Clad in jeans and cowboy boots, musician John “JB” Bell reclined in a green fabric and metal chair on a Saturday morning, surrounded by 16 computers sitting on shelves about a foot from the ceiling. The computer screens glowed blue behind multicolored static, generating so much heat air-conditioning was needed to cool the room.

A Wellness Center at Home

When he’s not on tour, musician John “JB” Bell of the southern rock jam band Widespread Panic spends much of his time at a home in Clarkesville, Ga., a tiny mountain town.

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Jeff Herr for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Bell seeks balance at his 1912 white colonial that he’s turned into a holistic wellness center.

Mr. Bell, 49, said he spends a few hours every night and day he’s home in this “energy room,” working on lyrics, reading, thinking or sleeping. He says the energy generated by the computers creates an “uplifting vibe very similar to the feeling when the band improvises into new territory, and the audience seems to be right there alongside you.” His wife Laura, 48, said, “We joke it’s the new way of catching a buzz.”

Come January, when Widespread Panic will take a break for at least a year, Mr. Bell plans to spend most of his time gardening and hanging out in Clarkesville. “Keeping your life balanced is very nurturing to music. The band can’t be my total identity. I still enjoy being on the road. It is still fulfilling,” he said. “But here it is more working in the garden, hanging out with Laura and working on music at a leisurely pace. I like to let songs come to me at their own pace. I try to stay calm about it.”

Fans do occasionally track Mr. Bell down at his house. When they do, Mrs. Bell quickly ushers them into the energy room.

“It turns the focus on them instead of John. It’s disarming to them,” she said. The Bells charge $44 for a two-hour session in the room, but said they don’t make a profit from the wellness center. Rates at the clinic are sliding scale depending on financial need, and most customers are from the local community.

Most members of Widespread Panic haven’t been to the house—and only their tour manager, Steve Lopez, is enthusiastic about the energy room. Recently, when on the road, Mr. Lopez and Mr. Bell spent time in an energy room in Hollywood. “We need it. There are times when our work makes us really stressed out,” Mr. Lopez said.

via The Georgia Home of Widespread Panic Lead Singer and Guitarist John ‘JB’ Bell – WSJ.com.

random, sports, quotes: OK, I like this quote: “‘a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.'”

My friend and mentor Michael Kinsley defined a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.” In my profile of Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ chief executive, this week, he apparently made several gaffes in describing several of his players. Wilpon said David Wright is “a very good player, not a superstar”; Carlos Beltran is “sixty-five to seventy per cent” of the player he was; Jose Reyes has had a lot of injuries:

“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to the Red Sox’ signing of the former Tampa Bay player to a seven-year, $142-million contract. “He’s had everything wrong with him,” Wilpon said of Reyes. “He won’t get it.”

In the Kinsley tradition, though, all Wilpon did was tell the truth.

I spend more of my time covering law and politics than I do writing about sports. Both fields have changed dramatically in recent years, largely for the better. Sportswriting used to be cheerleading; political journalism used to be stenography. (I generalize.) But both fields demand candor no less from our subjects than from us journalists. Wilpon shouldn’t be criticized for delivering it.

via The Sporting Scene: Honest About the Mets : The New Yorker.

Blackbeard, anthropology, pirates:  I love pirate lore …

Dead men tell no tales, but the sea does, as shown Friday when an anchor was recovered from the wreckage of pirate Blackbeard’s flagship.

An expedition off the North Carolina coast hoisted the nearly 3,000-pound anchor, one of three belonging to the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Crews were working in just 20 feet of water, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge is believed to have run aground in the shallow waters off Beaufort in 1718. The ship was discovered in 1996, with piecemeal recovery of artifacts intensifying only a few years ago.

via Anchor from Blackbeard ship recovered – CNN.com.

causes, Jeff McGonnell, Davidson, ultramarathons, kudos, kith/kin:  You go, Jeff … but I think you are a little crazy!

 

Don’t be alarmed if you see Davidson resident Jeff McGonnell running nonstop circles around the Green on Friday and Saturday, June 4-5. He hasn’t lost his mind. He’ll be running for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for the Batten Disease Support and Research Association.

 

The event, sponsored by the Town of Davidson and BirdNest Music, is called “24 hour Loopy for a Cause.”

 

McGonnell will be running a pre-determined loop on the Green, seven loops being equal to one mile. He hopes to run around 100 miles in the 24 hours.

 

While he runs, there will be live music. Musicians scheduled to play include Billy Jones, Rick Spreitzer, Rusty Knox, Rob McHale and more. There will also be food, games and other fun activities for kids.

 

McGonnell has been an ultra runner for more than 20 years, competing in more than 150 races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). For the right donation, this serious runner will run in a dress juggling pineapples and whistling pop tunes. Anyone can join in a few laps of the run for a small donation.

 

via He’ll run 24 hours on the Green, for a good cause  | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

music, technology, innovations, Mall music, Bluebrain, DC: Bluebrain launches ‘location-aware album’ … very cool.  I may add this to my next DC experience.

If a melody on the new Bluebrain album doesn’t move you, keep walking.

On Saturday, the Washington-based band of brothers, Hays and Ryan Holladay, will release what has been dubbed the world’s first location-aware album — an app designed for smartphones that uses Global Positioning System technology to trigger different swaths of electro-pop based on physical location. Titled “The National Mall,” the app-album can be heard only in Washington by iPhone-toting listeners strolling around the monuments and museums.

Sounds geeky, right? It is. But like the most fantastic collisions of music and technology, it feels magical. And in an iPod era, where bite-size MP3s have threatened to vanquish the traditional album format, Bluebrain is helping redefine what an album can actually be. Somewhere, Sgt. Pepper is smiling.

Musically, the pair set out to compose electronic soundscapes that would embellish that sense of aesthetic weirdness, divorcing, they hoped, many of the iconic vistas from their historical and cultural associations in the process.

“There’s this giant obelisk in the middle of a lawn,” Ryan says. “If you don’t think of that as a George Washington Monument, it’s just a really crazy-looking thing.”

Approach that crazy-looking thing while listening to “The National Mall,” and you’ll hear a keyboard weep. Get closer and digital cellos begin to trace a regal melody. Closer. There’s percussion. Keep going. The volume creeps up. The drums push toward anarchy. Walk right up to the monument, press your hand against the cool, smooth stone and listen, as if the obelisk were a giant radio needle receiving some riotous transmission from deep space.

It’s truly magical.

Remember to wear good headphones. And comfortable walking shoes.

via Bluebrain’s ‘The National Mall’: The first location-aware album – The Washington Post.

travel, NYC, lists:  Don’t you just love the term al fresco … makes me want to go to NYC and enjoy the out of doors … the NY way!

Now that the season has made it acceptable to wear cutoff shots and visibly sweat through your shirt, it’s time to take eating and drinking into the great outdoors. So whether it be on a sidewalk, a rooftop, or a beach, we’ve got you covered for the restaurants and bars with killer outdoor spaces. To kick off this weekend’s unofficial start of summer, here’s what opened earlier this spring, what’s opening this weekend, and what’s coming in the very near future. Have a happy Memorial Day, and see you Tuesday!

via Take It Outside: 42 Great Places for Going Alfresco This Summer — Grub Street New York.

27
May
11

5.27.2011 … old news now … I went to Davidson for the public announcement of its 18th president, and SHE is wonderful. She has to be … there are at least 10,000 living alums … and she just got our dream job!

Davidson College, Dr. Carol Quillen, kudos:  Congratulations to Dr. Quillen, Davidson College’s 18th president, to DC’s Presidential Search Committee for a job well done and to Davidson College for being open to an outsider and a woman … the future is bright. I also had the privilege of joining John, a member of the Board of Trustees, for a quick dinner with Dr. Quillen … not only is she everything listed on her cv, she is charming, warm, engaging and humorous.  It a great time to be a wildcat! …

Carol Quillen understands all facets of the academic enterprise. A brilliant administrator and a talented teacher and scholar, she can articulate not only the value, but also the necessity of a liberal arts education. Her values are Davidson’s values. She inspired us, and we could not be more enthusiastic about welcoming her to Davidson.”

via Davidson College – Presidential Search.

At Davidson, a particular religious tradition grounds a foundational commitment to cultivating a broadly diverse and collegial community, where people possessing different talents, from different cultures, whose deepest convictions differ, can learn from and with each other in an environment of warmth and respect. Davidson creates a distinctive culture of inquiry and trust within which students grow as humane thinkers and perceptive leaders precisely because they are simultaneously engaged in the production of knowledge and challenged to build creative, purposeful lives. Davidson graduates morally courageous persons who are not afraid to take intellectual risks. Most important, Davidson somehow enables each student to discover the remarkable human being he or she could become, such that each student seeks to fulfill his or her highest potential—not because they have to, not because other people expect it, not because they will get in trouble if they don’t, but because they genuinely want to be that remarkable human being that this college shows them they are capable of becoming. Somehow Davidson gives students the courage to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for those decisions, so that, whatever they choose to do, they live lives of purpose and consequence in pursuit of their highest aspirations.

I do not know precisely how Davidson has done this—that is why I need to spend some time just listening. I do not know what it will take for Davidson to do this in and for an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. That is something we will need to figure out together, the whole Davidson family, and it will be both challenging and exhilarating.

I do know this. Davidson is uniquely able to re-imagine and to exemplify this profoundly valuable kind of education at this crucial time. And because Davidson is uniquely able to do this, Davidson is also obligated to do so. It will be a great privilege to contribute with you to this daunting, urgent and profoundly rewarding task.

via Davidson College – Presidents Office – Remarks by President-Elect Carol Quillen.

colleges, liberal arts:  Some interesting thoughts of the value of a liberal arts education.

Fortunately, as Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, has pointed out, superior arts education also teaches many of those same skills. High-quality arts and humanities instruction is almost perfectly suited to stimulate imagination, creativity, and the ability to find adaptive solutions. Like Daniel Pink, I believe in enhancing “STEAM” in our institutions of higher education–with an extra “A” in the center of STEM incorporating the Arts as central.

Finally, the value of a liberal arts education cannot be minimized without also minimizing the lessons of history, literature, and science for the present-day. There is a reason why Congress created the National Endowment for the Humanities. I don’t ordinarily quote from statutory language to explicate the value of education, but the provisions of the U.S. Code outlining the purpose of the NEH bear repeating. The law states that Congress finds “an advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone but must give full value and support to the other branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.” Democracy,” the statute goes on to state, “demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.”

The founders, from Thomas Jefferson on, understood that the study of the liberal arts and civic obligation was important– not just to learn the lessons of history, but to preserve a functioning Republic. Walt Whitman once called America “an aesthetic democracy”– and that is a pretty good metaphor for the intellectual life of a liberal arts college.

via The Relevance of Liberal Arts to a Prosperous Democracy: Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter’s Remarks at the Annapolis Group Conference | U.S. Department of Education.

While the tradition of the liberal-arts education may be on the wane nationwide, the most elite schools, such as Harvard, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Williams, remain committed to its ideal. These top schools are not tweaking their curriculums to add any pre-professional undergraduate programs. Thanks to their hefty endowments, they don’t have to. As the economy rebounds, their students, ironically, may be in the best spot. While studying the humanities has become unfashionable and seemingly impractical, the liberal arts also teaches students to think big thoughts—big enough to see beyond specific college majors and adapt to the broader job market.

via Jobs: The Economy, Killing Liberal Arts Education? – Newsweek.

inns, travel, lists:  Top 10 to-die-for inns and B&Bs.

truth, family history, memoirs, quotes, kith/kin:  A distant cousin has written a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood … which involves much of my family and extended family … So when I came across this NPR story, it just struck home … “‘It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

In the best-selling memoir Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs told the story of his bizarre and occasionally brutal upbringing as the son of a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father. When the book hit the best-seller lists, it not only established Burroughs as a well-known writer, but it also paved the way for the rest of his family to tell their own versions of the story. His older brother, John Elder Robison, wrote about their childhood in his memoir Look Me in the Eye, and now their mother, Margaret Robison, has added to this family saga with her memoir, The Long Journey Home. Taken together, the three books raise interesting questions about truth, memory and the much-maligned genre of the memoir.

Memoirs have to be true, says Lee Gutkind, a professor at Arizona State University and a specialist in creative nonfiction. But you can’t apply journalistic standards to a memoir — there’s a difference between facts and the truth.

“It’s your story, that’s what a memoir is,” Gutkind says.

“It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

via In Burroughs’ Family, One Saga, Three Memoirs, Many Competing Truths : NPR.

26
May
11

‎5.26.2011 Restoration Day … house has gutters going up … and ET has biopsy to hopefully show restoration to full health!

Davidson College, Agnes Scott College, grants, college learning, kudos:  Kudos to two fine colleges for enhancing the learning of its students.

Davidson College will share a $200,000, two-year grant with Agnes Scott College from The Teagle Foundation to develop strategies for improved student learning. Davidson will focus on helping first-generation college students, while Agnes Scott seeks to support students in overcoming hurdles encountered in pursuing degrees in math and science.

About 40 of the 500 students in Davidson’s latest entering class were first-generation students.

“Without a family history of college attendance, these students may have difficulty navigating the college experience during their first year,” said Verna Case, associate dean of teaching, learning and research at Davidson. “The Teagle grant will enable us to assess their needs early on and provide assistance to help them achieve academically.”

via Teagle Grant Will Boost Learning Strategies at Davidson and Agnes Scott

Facebook, law:  Be careful what you post … Caveat FBor …

Be careful what you post on your Facebook account, because it might end up being used against you in a court of law. This isn’t another case where someone else may be claiming that anything and everything that you post online is fair game in terms of copyright, however.

Instead, there’s the possibility that you might end up as your own worst enemy in any future lawsuits as opposing counsels use your Facebook updates or photos to prove their case – whether or not they’re normally available for public viewing.

San Francisco-based lawyer Eric Sinrod writes about what he calls “a judicial willingness to compel the disclosure of Facebook material to the other side in litigation” over at FindLaw, noting that “in at least one case, McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, the court ordered that disclosure of the Facebook password of one of the parties so that access could be gained by the other side to the relevant Facebook account.”

This isn’t always the case; Sinrod also mentions another case, Piccolo v. Paterson, where the court refused a similar request – although, as he points out, this may have been because similar evidence was available already.

But there is something disturbing about the lengths to which even “private” information can be made public if the court decides that it’s necessary. The moral of this story may, in the end, be that you shouldn’t put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with the world, Friends-Only or not.

via Even Your ‘Friends Only’ Facebook Material Can Be Used in Court – Techland – TIME.com.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  New tag … slime bags … Go for it US Justice Department.

The U.S. Justice Department has given prosecutors the go-ahead to seek an indictment against former U.S. Senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, according to multiple broadcast reports.

via Report: Prosecution of John Edwards OK’d | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

green, cars, jealous, Chevy Volt:  I really want an electric car … just like the idea. So if GM or Volvo …or anyone else wants a tester in Charlotte, PICK ME!

A battery powers the Volt, which Motor Trend magazine named its 2011 Car of the Year. The four-passenger car can go 38 miles on a fully charged battery, Hanley said. The battery is recharged by plugging it into a standard 120-volt household outlet. Hanley recharged her Volt each night via an outlet in her garage.

The Volt, however, also can run on gasoline when the battery’s charge is used up.

“Once the battery is depleted, the (gas-powered) engine will kick in, and act as a generator” to power the electric motor, General Motors spokesman Tony Macrito said.

“You can go another 300-plus miles” with the gas in the 9-gallon tank, Macrito said.

The car switched to gas power “a few times when I had to go downtown,” Hanley said. The Volt made the switch seamlessly, she said.

“I wondered if it was going to start knocking like a jalopy, with black fumes coming out, but there was no discernible difference.” The car was “zippy,” Hanley said, with a smooth ride.

The dashboard display made it easy to figure out whether she was using the battery or gas.

“I am just excited they have this new technology, especially now when Chicago has the highest gas prices in the county,” Hanley said. “I think it’s a relevant topic for people who care about oil dependency and the environment.”

via Winnetka woman gets a shot with the Chevrolet Volt –.

Restoration Day, prayers, organ donations, Landon Powell, kith/kin:  Well, today is the day we find out if ET’s liver has returned to full health … prayers.  ET’s doctor is very hopeful he will be in full remission and that will be an end to it … However, please consider organ donation.  There are many who are not fortunate and need your healthy organs.

In partnership with the non-profit organization Donate Life South Carolina, in 2010 A’s catcher Landon Powell founded the Donors on the Diamond charity event to promote organ donation in South Carolina.

The mission of Donate Life South Carolina is to increase the supply of organs and tissues for transplantation and provide assistance for South Carolina transplant recipients with hopes that one day an organ or tissue will be available for every South Carolinian in need of a transplant.

Prior to reaching the Major Leagues, Powell recovered from two ACL knee surgeries in three short years in which he was a recipient of ligaments from tissue donations. In January of 2009, Powell was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, a rare liver disease with no known cure. The disease can be controlled with medication, but Powell will need a liver transplant at some point in his life.

Because of this, organ and tissue donation has become very important to Landon and his family and this was the driving factor in his involvement of raising awareness for organ and tissue donation.

via Landon Powell’s Donors on the Diamond | oaklandathletics.com: Community.

25
May
11

5.25.2011 ‎… sometimes PT hurts …

music: Friend pointed this artist out … I kinda like them.  YouTube – The Apache Relay “Live at Grimey’s_American Nomad with State Trooper bonus”.

products, consumers, Made in the USA, lists:  I enjoyed this list .. I only own two … Weber grills and a few pieces of fiesta ware … Made in USA: 10 Great Products Still Made Here (Slide 1 of 10) – CBS MoneyWatch.com.

technology, smart phones:  I still don’t use those funny squares … but it appears it is the next way.

About eight months ago, the three-store chain started putting these “quick response” codes in its train ads. When customers scan the little squares with their smartphone cameras, a coffee menu pops up on their screens. Then they can order a cup of coffee on the train—and have it waiting when they arrive at one of Ethical Bean’s shops.

Business has doubled since then, says Chief Executive Lloyd Bernhardt. “We catch people who are on the go and don’t have a lot of time,” he says.

via Quick-response codes aim to capitalize on the boom in smartphones – WSJ.com.

cars, compact cars, history, design, quotes: “Gorgeous design costs no more than boring design,” says Mr. Krafcik.

Today, however, cars such as the new Elantra are giving Honda a tough challenge. Hyundai has designed all versions of the Elantra—not just one low-volume variant—to achieve a 40-mpg highway rating from the government. Where Honda offers a five-speed automatic, the Elantra has six speeds, which helps improve efficiency. The Hyundai’s interior appointments, materials and design match up well against the new Civic, which suffers from cheap-looking, black, plastic panels in the dash.

The Elantra’s exterior styling was designed in Hyundai’s California studios and uses tricks familiar to German luxury brands, such as bold creases along the sides and well-defined wheel arches to give the car a “fast” look.

“Gorgeous design costs no more than boring design,” says Mr. Krafcik.

Evidently, auto shoppers agree. Elantra sales more than doubled in April.

via Auto Makers Sweeten the Recipe for Small Cars – WSJ.com.

blog posts, bucket lists, lists, Chicago:  This is a pretty good list of things to do in Chicago … My New Year’s Resolution: A Chicago Bucket List | She’sWrite.

blog posts, superlatives, Paris, public restrooms, Magnificent Mile, Chicago, The Fountain on Locust, St. Louis:  Another good one from friend Cary …

One of my themes in life (cause it’s straight from the good old B-I-B-L-E from which I like to take all my themes in life) is that “the truth shall set you free.” And on the streets of Paris the particular truth that humans do need bathrooms from time to time did indeed set me free — to pursue more culture, more croissants, more adventure.

And in five days’ time it only cost me a couple of Euros.  Money well spent.

via Parisian Restrooms Not for Customers Only « Holy Vernacular.

… and this reminded me of an article in the Tribune years ago which listed the best public restrooms on the Magnificent Mile … it was Ralph Lauren … I searched but could not find the old article , but found this … What’s America’s best restroom? – USATODAY.com.  Seems Cary isn’t the only one who likes nice , clean, free restrooms.

It’s in The Fountain on Locust, a vintage ice cream parlor in St. Louis, according to an annual vote.

A beautifully appointed, clean bathroom is a treat when traveling. And there are several good ways to find them. Check out thebathroomdiaries.com (which helps travelers flush out nice lavs and also honors best restrooms with its “Golden Plunger” awards) or sitorsquat.com, which points you toward the nearest bathrooms when you’re out and about and even has an iPhone app.

Anyone care to recommend a favorite pit stop?

via What’s America’s best restroom? – USATODAY.com.

E. Rivers Elementary School, Atlanta, places, Edward Lindsey, kith/kin, Yoda:  My brothers first graduation speech!  At our public elementary school.  I think he did a great job … Sounds a little like Yoda!

Returning now to the question I posed a few minutes ago — how will this community look in 40 years? The answer is that I HAVE NO IDEA.  What I do know is that in the not too distant future it will be in your hands.  Therefore, the lessons you have learned and will learn in the next few years will give you the tools to deal with the challenges our community faces.

So, in conclusion, remember, show passion, try something new and unique, dare to fail, and take an interest and give back to your community.  If you do these things, I know that Atlanta and Buckhead will be in safe hands in the next forty years when you stand where I am standing.

via Graduation Speech to E. Rivers Elementary School May 24, 2011.

24
May
11

5.24.2011 … hot, hot, hot …

things I hate:  OK, I love my cat, more like Molly’s cat.  His name is Fitz for Fitzwilliam Darcy.  He is a charming short-haired black American cat … but today he is the cat from hell … he delivered to my early morning doorstep a bunny … still alive with broken legs and holes in his neck and ears … I just wanted to cry.

summer, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald:

YouTube – Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald-Summertime.

urban development, ghost towns, China:  Amazing waste …

Vast cities are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost uninhabited ghost towns. It’s estimated there are 64 million empty apartments.

via YouTube – China’s Ghost Cities.

green, wind power:  Probably not enough wind in Charlotte …

The manufacturer of the Honeywell WT6500 claims the wind turbine can provide roughly one-third of an average home’s electricity needs in areas with wind speeds of 10-to-12 miles-per-hour, like in Yonkers. The turbine, which cost $7,000 at Ace Hardware uninstalled, is just one of the rooftop-mounted wind power systems designed for homes. And it qualifies for a 30 percent federal tax credit as well as a net-metering program that lets you sell excess energy back to your local utility

But before you throw caution to the wind, there are some things to consider. Most importantly, do you get enough wind and can your roof support a turbine and the associated stress? Some municipalities also restrict their use so do your homework. Here’s some help.

via Turbine tests: Should you try and catch the wind?.

Davidson, Davidson College, places:  You should drive up there … it really is a slice of heaven.

A half hour outside of Charlotte’s city limits lies Davidson — half college town, half historic haven for those looking for a relaxing Saturday. Main Street offers a quaint stretch sprinkled with a book shop, vintage record store, and coffee house—not to mention a whole host of cute eateries beckoning townies and travelers alike.

via Davidson – Charlotte, NC.




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