Archive for September, 2011

30
Sep
11

9.30.2011 … I never thought I would be so excited about a few blades of grass! … tgif …

UNC-CH, international students, game reserves, Zimbabwe, Africa:  One of Molls’ favorite memories was visiting the game farm of a friend.  There is something magical that goes on there.

Cheetah urine on the curtains, a baby rhino knocking you off your chair and the family’s pet hyena trying to eat you are not the problems of a typical North Carolina student athlete, but they are for field hockey player Samantha Travers, a native of Harare, Zimbabwe.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC forward recalls growing up on game reserve in Zimbabwe.

Appalachian Trail, thru hikers, Robert Yerike, RIP:  RIP, Buffalo Bobby.  I hope you died happy, doing something you loved.

A 67-year-old hiker was within 20 miles of completing the Appalachian Trail for the third time when he suffered a fatal medical problem.The Maine Forest Service received a call Thursday about a so-called “thru-hiker” who suffered stroke-like symptoms on a rugged stretch known as the 100-Mile Wilderness.0CommentsWeigh InCorrections?inShareThe hiker was Robert Yerike YER’-ick of Brick, N.J. He had to be carried more than 2 miles because bad weather made a helicopter rescue impossible. He died Thursday night at Millinocket Hospital.Yerike started hiking in Georgia in March. His family says the former paratrooper known on the trail as “Buffalo Bobby” completed the more than 2,000-mile trail twice before.One of his six children says he was planning to return to New Jersey on Sunday.

via NJ hiker dies in Maine just a few miles short of completing Appalachian Trail – The Washington Post.

Facebook, changes, marketing: Never realized what a big deal Facebook is too marketers, even colleges.

From Timeline to ticker and a totally revamped stream, it has been a big couple weeks for Facebook. And while the social giant’s latest innovations are grabbing headlines, many marketers are left wondering how the changes will impact their own efforts on the platform. Though largely overlooked amidst the recent media frenzy, Facebook has been quietly making significant changes to the way marketers engage with the site. Included in these changes are overhauling if and when your content will appear in a users’ stream, lifting restrictions on how users engage with your Page, and reversing the platform’s approach to public figure profiles, just to name a few.

via What Facebook Changes Means for Marketers | Higher Ed Live.

CU-Boulder,  youth violence prevention project,  Denver, kudos:  What an exciting project.  Kudos to CU.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is granting $6.5 million to CU to lead a project to reduce youth violence in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, according to a news release from CU.

The project, a five-year process that will begin Sept. 30, received praise from the city when it was submitted as a grant. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock supported the initiative.

Delbert Elliot, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and distinguished professor emeritus of sociology, is leading the project which will be partnered with the School of Medicine.

“We intend to create a novel combination of risk assessment and interventions in a broad partnership with the community, and in collaboration with a local hospital, to address the problem of high levels of violence,” said Elliot in a CU news release.

via CU leads violence prevention project in Denver | CU Independent.

BofA, headlines: Bad week/month/quarter for BofA … at least we weren’t the headline.

Morgan Stanley shares shed 7%, battered by concerns about the investment firm’s exposure to Europe, and Bank of America Corp. limped toward the third-quarter finish line Friday.

Bank of America also dragged on the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -2.16% . The bank closed 3.6% lower on Friday and fell 25% in September alone. It is the worst performer among the Dow industrials’ 30 components for the quarter.

via Morgan Stanley sinks 11% on Europe exposure – Financial Stocks – MarketWatch.

Michele Bachmann, Arab Spring, GOP: Arab Spring is a consequence of Obama’s “weakness?”  Personally, I don’t think it had anything to do with Obama … and not a bad thing.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has taken her special perspective on world affairs to a new level, telling an audience in Concord, N.C., on Thursday that the Arab Spring was the unwelcome consequence of weak leadership from President Obama.

“You want to know why we have Arab Spring?” Bachmann asked in the appearance. “Barack Obama has laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America.”

In Bachmann’s telling, the widespread popular — and mostly peaceful — movements by Arab people to liberate themselves from decades of brutal dictatorships has posed a threat to the safety of Israel, and should not have been allowed to take place.

“[Obama] put a lot of daylight in our relationship with our ally Israel,” she added.

In a May speech, President Obama explicitly embraced the revolutions sweeping the Middle East, and confirmed that the U.S. would do everything in its power to help usher them along.

via Michele Bachmann Slams Arab Spring As Consequence Of Obama’s ‘Weakness’.

Pottermore beta:  I never got on the beta … I may lose interest by the time they let me on. 😦

There are now one million people with access to Pottermore and everyone who registered through The Magical Quill challenge can access the site.

The Beta is enabling us to learn a lot about how people want to use Pottermore – and to understand the features they enjoy the most.

Since the launch of the Beta, we’ve seen really high levels of activity, and interaction with the site has been phenomenal. This affects how quickly we can give everyone access. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the Beta period beyond September and take a different approach to the way new users are brought onto the site.

From the end of October, registration will be opened to everyone and we’ll be giving access to registered users in phases. Access may be granted quickly, but please note it could also take some weeks or months, depending on demand.

We are also making a number of enhancements and simplifications to Pottermore, in order to make the site smoother and more enjoyable – so existing Beta users will likely experience some changes when new users begin to join.

Finally, the Pottermore Shop, which will sell the Harry Potter eBooks and digital audio books, will now open in the first half of 2012, in order to allow us to focus on our first priority: opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.

via Pottermore Insider: Beta and Beyond.

UBS, 2011 rogue trading scandal, risk management: ” I’m pretty convinced that we have one of the best risk managements in the industry.”

Looking back, perhaps Gruebel’s most side splitting remark came this past June when he said “we have no undue risk in our positions… I’m pretty convinced that we have one of the best risk managements in the industry.”
Man, what a laugher. Just too comical. But what really cracks us up about that particular statement is not that he announced a $2.3 billion rogue trading loss barely two months later.  It’s that he said it with a perfectly straight face.

New Boom, oil industry, North Dakota, fracking:  I had no idea of the magnitude of this.

The boom in Williston, Charles Groat says, is happening in spots across America. New drilling technology is also fueling boom towns in Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado. New drilling technologies mean companies can extract oil and natural gas from shale rock that was previously thought unreachable.

“Horizontal drilling — accessing a huge area of reservoir — and then the fracking process, which props opens those cracks, and allows the liquid or gas to flow to the well,” Groat says. “That’s what’s made shale gas and shale oil such a viable resource.”

But those techniques also raise environmental concerns that Groat is studying.

“There is a danger, here – the fact that we drill so many wells,” he says. “If you look at the numbers of wells that have been drilled in North Dakota, just in recent times, the numbers of wells are huge, which increases the opportunity for bad things to happen environmentally or procedurally in developing the resource. We also are not dealing, of course, with the question of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide as we continue our hydrocarbon dependence.”

Global Implications

Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.

“Some are now saying, in five or 10 years’ time, we’re a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up,” she says.

The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That’s compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.

Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will “absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas.”

via NPR.org » New Boom Reshapes Oil World, Rocks North Dakota.

“Courageous”, movies, faith-based film industry: “As of this morning, purchases for “Courageous” accounted for 26% of the transactions on the site; the only other new release that comes close is “50/50,” which was in fourth place with 7%. The film has also been trending throughout much of the day on Google.”  Impressive numbers for a low-budget faith inspired film.

“Courageous,” a film about four police officers attempting to be good fathers and maintain their Christian faith, may be the most popular new movie release of the weekend. Yet odds are that you’ve never even heard of it.

The new movie — which opens on 1,161 screens nationwide and was co-written and directed by Alex Kendrick, the filmmaker behind past faith-based films such as “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants” — is leading advance sales on Fandango and has been throughout the week, according to data provided by the online ticket retailer.

As of this morning, purchases for “Courageous” accounted for 26% of the transactions on the site; the only other new release that comes close is “50/50,” which was in fourth place with 7%. The film has also been trending throughout much of the day on Google.

But “Courageous” was not screened in advance for most critics (only four reviews can currently be found on Rotten Tomatoes) and the marketing push behind it does not even approach the media blitzes behind competitors like “50/50” and Anna Faris’s “What’s Your Number?”

via ‘Courageous’: The movie that’s leading Fandango ticket sales – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

Apple, corporate secrets:  Whatever happened to the guy that left the iPhone 4 in the bar?

To feed the fan fire, Apple keeps its new devices shrouded in secrecy until launch day. As the iPhone 5 release date approaches, a lot has been said about the latest iGadget, but not much has been confirmed. And Apple likes it like that. While its had its slip-ups, Apple is pretty good at keeping those privy to its latest device muzzled, requiring a series of involved security procedures for those who get to test the device pre-launch. A few executives and developers who went through Apple’s absurd security precautions and lived to tell exactly how Apple keeps its new products under wraps. It’s intense.

via All the Ways Apple Keeps Secrets (That We Know Of) – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Great  Recession,  women’s equality:  Not good for anyone …

The recession was bad for everyone, but women experienced at least one silver lining: Their median earnings edged a bit closer to men’s.

The progress was bittersweet, however. It happened not because women earned more, but because men earned less, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.

via Recession Struck Inadvertent Blow for Women’s Equality – NYTimes.com.

29
Sep
11

9.29.2011 … the Molls overnighted at Davidson … :)

Davidson College, admissions process, kith/kin: There is value in sending a prospect on an overnight. 🙂

Davidson College – Distinctions.

road trip, music playlist, lists:  What’s on you road trip playlist?

And here’s a final playlist:

1. The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design by Rodney Crowell

2. The Poet Game , sung by Ani DiFranco (written by Greg Brown, an American treasure who deserves more attention than he gets)

3. Sweet is the Melody by Iris DeMent (who, last I heard, was living with Greg Brown)

4. Talkin’ ‘Bout Women, Obviously by Buddy Guy

5. Leonard by Merle Haggard

via Road Trip Day 19: Road Trip Interruptus | Swampland | TIME.com.

TimesCast, media,  video, NYT: Just discovered this daily video broadcast … why am I paying for cable?

President Obama faces a changing electoral landscape; the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof on Bahrain’s latest crackdown; and Islamists prepare for elections in Egypt and Tunisia.

via TimesCast | September 29, 2011 – Video Library – The New York Times.

Google Wallet:  From Katherine (Boehret WSJ’s The Digital Solution – AllThingsD): “Ironic: Citi sent me a paper letter confirming I was using Google Wallet for paper-free payments”  🙂

Would you rather leave home without your wallet and be penniless all day, or leave your phone at home and be out of touch all day? Many people would rather be penniless. If only phones could be used to pay for things, it would be easier to leave a wallet behind.

Enter Google Wallet, the search engine’s answer to this problem. This mobile app uses a chip in the phone so it can be waved in front of payment stations to buy things. Users set it up by registering a credit card to the phone or loading a Google Prepaid Card with a credit card. A four-digit password enables payment transactions. Google Wallet is rolling out this week to Sprint’s already available, $50 (after $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract) Nexus S 4G phones by way of an Android operating-system software update.

via Katie Reviews Google Wallet – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

South Africa, Honeymoon Murder Case:  This murder occurred shortly after I returned from SA last year and it sent chills down my spine.  SA had made great strides in connection with its public image regarding such random acts of violence in connection with ists hosting of the World Cup.  In one fell swoop this brought it right back to where it started … and to know here that it was a hit job by the groom.  Very sad.

British Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of a British businessman to return to South Africa to stand trial for his wife’s murder on their honeymoon last year.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring hit men to kill his 28-year-old bride, Anni Dewani, who was shot and killed last November when the couple’s taxi was hijacked in the Gugulethu township in South Africa, the BBC reports. Dewani, who denies involvement in the murder, was released unharmed during the hijacking, but his bride’s body was later found in the abandoned car.

via British Government Approves Extradition in South Africa Honeymoon Murder Case – TIME NewsFeed.

zombies, tv, AMC , “Walking Dead”:    “Walking Dead” themed talk show… Well, since we haven’t watched  “Walking Dead”, yet, i don’t think I need to watch a   “Walking Dead” themed talk show!

Coming soon to your TV: A zombie talk show.

Let’s Talk Zombies: AMC to Air ‘Walking Dead’-Themed Talk Show – TIME NewsFeed.

Wall Street Journal, advertisements,  commercials:  I don’t think I have ever seen a WSJ ad … I wonder how many people called 1-800-xxx-xxxx … agents are standing by … Actually it is an interesting add … what do you think?

By animating a series of still photographs, and without using a single word of dialogue, The Wall Street Journal moves beyond its traditional business focus to become a vibrant “Everything Journal” in a :30 brand image spot entitled, “Live in the Know,” from agency McGarry Bowen (NYC) and production/design company The Wilderness.

In aggressively moving beyond its traditional black-and-white, business-only format, The Wall Street Journal’s agency asked The Wilderness to produce a spot that embraces its newly expanded editorial focus and use of four-color art throughout, exclusively using still images. Using the masthead the concept was to create a new visual language to present the newspaper as the The ‘Blank’ Street Journal, in which the reader fills in his favorite ‘blank’ subject matter.

via The Wall Street Journal : Live in the Know | scaryideas.com.

moods, Twitter, biological rhythms: When I read this i immediately thought of biorhythms and mood rings from the 70’s. 🙂

However grumpy people are when they wake up, and whether they stumble to their feet in Madrid, Mexico City or Minnetonka, Minn., they tend to brighten by breakfast time and feel their moods taper gradually to a low in the late afternoon, before rallying again near bedtime, a large-scale study of posts on the social media site Twitter found.

Drawing on messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries, researchers discovered that the emotional tone of people’s messages followed a similar pattern not only through the day but also through the week and the changing seasons. The new analysis suggests that our moods are driven in part by a shared underlying biological rhythm that transcends culture and environment.

via Moods on Twitter Follow Biological Rhythms, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

slavery, economic analysis, cartography, “Cotton Kingdom”:  Article blended history and economics … very enjoyable.

Te role of maps in visualizing United States Census results is actually a practice that originated 150 years ago, in the crisis between North and South.

An earlier post in this series described the efforts of the Coast Survey to map the distribution of slavery across the South in the summer of 1861. At about the same time, another pathbreaking effort was underway to “measure” the productivity of Southern slavery. The map is not well known, but its creator was none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park and one of the pioneers of American landscape architecture.

Olmsted was already an accomplished journalist when he met Henry Raymond, the editor of the newly established New-York Daily Times (later The New York Times) in the early 1850s. After just five minutes of conversation, Raymond was so impressed that he made Olmsted a special correspondent, and sent him to observe and write about Southern life. For the next several years Olmsted sent back voluminous reports — published in three volumes — of disorder, poverty, inefficiency, backwardness and chaos. We might dismiss these as hopelessly biased Northern observations, yet these accounts gained a wide audience, and challenged the contemporary picture of the cotton south as an economic powerhouse.

Olmsted and Goodloe identified slave labor as the single most damaging influence on the southern economy: it was inefficient, absorbed capital away from reinvestment, and required substantial overhead. Worst of all, the price of slaves drove cotton production — rather than the other way around — and was immune to competition from free labor. Such a system could never generate real prosperity. Even Olmsted’s title, “The Cotton Kingdom,” turned the South Carolina politician James Henry Hammond’s famous phrase — “Cotton is King” — on its head. Instead of a place of wealth and economic superiority, Olmsted found a closed society imprisoned by the crop, unable to advance, diversify or feed its own people. This was entirely an economic — rather than a moral or humanitarian — case against slavery, for the authors were tailoring their case for a British public concerned about their cotton supply.

Olmsted and Goodloe weren’t the first to say that slavery was a doomed system, but they were the first to use cartography to make their case, first to the British, and then to their fellow Americans.

via Mapping the Cotton Kingdom – NYTimes.com.

stereotypes, Christian denominations, LOL:

denomination-interpretation-chart.jpg 1,280×1,280 pixels

Deep Springs College: My friend Bob T. told me about this college … impressive results … but who are the kids that go there … obviously they can get in elite colleges anyway … interesting.

Deep Springs College, a small and storied institution of higher learning set on a cattle ranch in California, is going co-ed.

Founded in 1917, Deep Springs is a highly selective two-year college unlike any other: it enrolls just 26 students, all men, for a two-year regimen of study and toil. Most graduates go on to equally selective four-year colleges. By “equally selective,” I mean Yale.

The college sits on a cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in California’s High Desert and operates “on the belief that manual labor and political deliberation are integral parts of a comprehensive liberal arts education,” according to the web site.

Deep Springs is an ambitious place, intended as a training ground for leaders. Founder L.L. Nunn put it thus: “Great leaders in all ages have sought the desert and heard its voice.”

The admission rate ranges from 6 percent to 15 percent a year. Students who manage to get in attend on a full scholarship worth about $50,000 a year. Over the past 10 years, according to the web site, 16 percent of students went on to Harvard, 13 percent to the University of Chicago, 7 percent to Yale and 7 percent to Brown.

It is probably safe to assume that two years at Deep Springs is, for many lads, a first taste of honest toil.

via A cattle-ranch college for future Yalies goes co-ed – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

compact SLR cameras, photography:  Perfection?   A toy I would like to have …

 

The Nikon 1 is bigger than the Pentax Q — what isn’t? — but strikes a better balance in the complex price/size/features/sensor size equation.

 

It’s available in two models: the J1, intended for the general user (available in white, black, silver, red or pink for $650 with a 3X zoom lens); and the V1, intended for advanced hobbyists (black, $900 with 3X lens). The V1 adds an electronic eyepiece viewfinder and a few more perks.

 

The headline here is speed. These cameras are tricked out with enough computing power to launch a rocket. They can perform stunts like taking 10 shots a second, refocusing all the way, or 60 shots a second without refocusing.

 

They focus faster than any camera Nikon has ever made. They easily create slow-motion video, containing as many as 1,200 frames a second, although at a tiny frame size.

 

Get this: You can even snap a full-resolution still photo while you’re recording video, without leaving a blink or a gap in the movie. Nikon believes, as do I, that that’s a first in the history of consumer cameras, and it’s unbelievably useful.

 

The sensor inside is a new design. At 0.62 inch, it’s much bigger than a pocket camera’s, but not as big as the sensor in a Micro Four Thirds camera (0.89 inch), let alone a real S.L.R. (1.2 inches or larger).

 

The photos are generally very good, but you can easily tell they didn’t come from an S.L.R. For example, the Nikon 1 too easily “blows out” the brightest parts of the scene, and muddies up the darkest parts.

 

That would still present an irresistible tradeoff if it weren’t for a couple of truly idiotic design elements. First, the mode dial has only four positions — Auto, Movie, Best Shot and Motion Snapshot — and two of them are wasted.

 

The Best Shot mode takes 20 photos in one second, then throws away all but what it considers the best five, based on focus, blur and so on. The Motion Snapshot mode captures a one-second slow-motion movie and adds cheesy music to it.

 

But dedicating two of the mode dial’s precious four positions to these rarely used gimmicks is a criminal splurge. Meanwhile, if you want to adjust the shutter speed or aperture, you have to dive deeply into the labyrinth of on-screen menus. Bring bread crumbs.

 

And another thing. There’s a dedicated movie start/stop button, but it doesn’t work except in Movie mode! What’s the point of a Movie button if you have to change modes to use it?

 

Three lenses are already available for the Nikon 1 — an f/2.8 nonzooming pancake lens, the 3X zoom (the film equivalent of a 27-71 mm lens) and a telephoto lens (81-297 mm equivalent). There’s also an enormous 10X zoom intended for video.

 

The Nikon 1’s 1080p videos are spectacular in general (it smoothly refocuses and re-exposes while filming); but when you add the 10X lens and its smooth “power zoom” button, your Nikon 1 becomes an actual camcorder.

 

Nikon will also offer an adapter that lets you use any existing F-mount Nikon lens with your camera. It might look a little silly on such a tiny body, but it’ll work.

 

Both the Pentax Q and the Nikon 1 are important experiments. Both demonstrate that the camera industry has, at last, given up the meaningless race to cram more megapixels onto a sensor — and moved into more important pursuits, like better photos and smaller cameras.

 

Unfortunately, both cameras are also flawed in their own special ways. Yes, the world’s camera engineers have finally brought us the pocket S.L.R. But perfection continues to elude them.

 

via 2 Compact Cameras Move Closer to Perfection – David Pogue – NYTimes.com.

mea culpa, science: Another interesting piece … the science behind saying you’re sorry.  The piece did not mention Tiger … but his mea culpa was a major fail.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent effort to address customer anger follows an all-too-familiar script. A public figure or institution commits an offense, and then offers an apology to fix it.

Yet as we see over and over again, our reactions to even the most direct and explicit mea culpas can differ markedly from one incident to another.

For instance, before his more recent infidelity troubles, Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused of sexually harassing several women during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign. He apologized and subsequently won that election. In contrast, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner apologized in June 2011 for his involvement in a sexting scandal. He was heckled, called a “pervert,” and soon resigned from office.

What makes one apology succeed and another fail? A growing body of research is trying to understand this very question. The psychology behind saying you’re sorry is proliferating rapidly, and there are still many questions to answer. However, it already offers some important lessons that help explain why some acts of contrition work—while others don’t.

Apologies are a double-edged sword. By signaling repentance and an effort to repair the problem, they’re beneficial. But they’re also harmful because they confirm that blame is actually deserved. When making an apology, then, the benefits should outweigh the cost. There is little harm in offering an apology if it’s already obvious that you are guilty. But there’s also little benefit if you fail to make it clear that the offense won’t recur.

Many people assume that if you make the apology more direct, sincere and explicit, people will think you won’t do it again. And they may be partly correct. However, research has shown that a host of other factors often exert far more drastic effects on an apology’s reception than how sincere people think it is.

Here’s just one example, based on research my colleagues and I have done. It turns out that an apology’s effectiveness depends largely on whether the offense is thought to be intentional or a mistake. People are often willing to discount a poor decision if it’s the result of a mistake; they believe its causes will be corrected. But if it’s thought to be intentional, people tend to place little faith in the idea that the flaw will be corrected. This is important because many offenses can be construed either way, and would-be apologizers often fail to account for people’s perception before they respond.

via The science behind saying you’re sorry – The Washington Post.

college admissions, college crisis, internet solutions: A Match.com for Higher Ed?  Lots of good insight in this piece.

Newspapers and magazines like to pick on excitable parents over-prepping their children for college. This would be a wonderful problem for the rest of the country to have.

It’s an article of faith among the striving classes that college admissions has become a Thunderdome-style tournament from which a chosen few emerge to enjoy lives of guaranteed privilege. Media outlets make a lot money stoking the flames of anxiety among the college-bound. A devoted New York Times reader could be forgiven for thinking the typical American teenager spends his or her seventeenth year doing nothing but studying for AP tests and fretting about impressing the personal-essay readers at Swarthmore and Brown.

In truth, the college admissions frenzy is limited to a relative handful of privileged students, as I wrote in a story for the Washington Monthly’s annual college issue. This is a problem. As a nation, we need far more students to be caught up in the college admissions market–but in a completely different way.

Unfortunately, the closest, cheapest college is often a bad choice. In 2009, more than 320 four-year colleges and universities reported six-year graduation rates below 30 percent. At community colleges, the average three-year graduation rate is 16 percent. While much ink is spilled denouncing terrible K-12 schools, pundits and politicians seem less willing to admit that a not-insignificant number of public colleges also suffer from the same problems of incompetence, mediocrity, and inadequate funding. Add the more recent phenomenon of some (although by no means all) for-profit colleges loading up students with debt by selling overpriced online degrees, and it’s clear that all students need help choosing the right college, not just the privileged few.

Indeed, the stakes are arguably much higher for a first-generation student picking among open-access institutions of wildly varying quality than for a wealthy suburban kid whose worst-case scenario is an expensive private school. Without a better-functioning higher market, we’ll continue to lose ground to foreign competitors that have eclipsed America in producing college graduates in recent years.

The existing admissions system is also remarkably archaic. To a large extent, it still involves students submitting pieces of paper (or electronic copies of pieces of paper) containing information about grades, test scores, high-school profiles, essays, and personal recommendations. Colleges then apply a few crude filters, like a minimum SAT threshold or whether the student’s parents are rich, and consider the remaining applicants via a “holistic” process of decision-by-committee. Because the information isn’t stored in a database, it’s hard to perform post hoc analyses to see if the “yea” and “nay” decisions were good ones. The fact that most students drop out of or transfer from the first college they choose suggests that many are not.

Traditional students will probably be least affected by all of this. Harvard will always be Harvard. But for everyone else, a vigorous, technology-driven higher education marketplace can’t come soon enough.

via Our Best Weapon Against the College Crisis: A Match.com for Higher Ed – Kevin Carey – Business – The Atlantic.

mass transit, Charlotte, Red Line (Charlotte-to-Mooresville mass transit line), CATS, Charlotte NC, innovative funding: John and I always said we would move back to Davidson if they built the Red Line!  The funding would be based on a dual usage line —  both passenger and freight rail service.

According to the blog, a Red Line Task Force subcommittee has come up with an idea that state transportation official Paul Morris says is unique — use the Charlotte-to-Mooresville line for both passenger and freight rail service. The plan also calls for CATS to join with the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson to tax revenues from new development along the line.

via New idea for North transit line? | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

MLB, wild card, Braves, quotes: he must not be a Braves fan. 🙂 “What that was, quite simply, was the best day of regular-season baseball the game has ever seen.”

(STEVE NESIUS – REUTERS) At one point Wednesday night, the final night of the baseball calendar, there were four games being contested to decide the two wild cards, and in three of them the situations were as follows: In Baltimore, a 3-2 game in the seventh inning; in St. Petersburg, Fla., a 7-7 game in the 10th; in Atlanta, a 3-3 game in the 12th.

I am tasked with looking forward today (I think the matchups are Yankees-Tigers and Rangers-Rays in the AL, and Phillies-Cardinals and Brewers-Diamondbacks in the NL). I have a playoff preview to write, and predictions to get wrong. But it is impossible not to spend a few hours looking back first.

via Wild-card race: Baseball’s greatest regular-season finish – Baseball Insider – The Washington Post.

Apple, iPod, kith/kin, RIP:  My boys still have their original iPods … what a great product.  RIP, iPod.

Apple makes the most sought after gadgets on the planet, but they may be about to pull the plug on one that helped get the revolution rolling.

Classic is just another way to say outdated.

Rumor has it that the iPod Classic (and iPod Shuffle) may be discontinued.

Apple sells millions of iPods, but the Classic and Shuffle don’t have touchscreens, which are the interface of the present and future.

CNET’s Crave gadget blog notes there’s no mention of iPod news in the upcoming Oct. 4 Apple press conference, where details of the iPhone 5 will be announced.

The iPod first appeared 10 years ago … a long time in tech circles … and Apple would rather folks buy an iPhone (or iTouch) than an iPod, which contributed a mere 8 percent of the company’s revenue.

Crave has a great Steve Jobs quote: ”Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

The iPod Classic can hold 120 gigabytes of music … which I think is really good, but probably not enough to keep it from going the way of the Walkman.

via Apple to pull plug on iPod? | News To Me with George Mathis.

Civil War, refugee box,  General  Sherman, evacuation of Atlanta, history:  Interesting that your valuables could be put in one box …

Before Sherman ordered the evacuation of Atlanta, thousands of civilians living outside the city had begun to refugee South. As the Union army approached in June 1864, the Archibald Smith family fled from their home in Roswell, GA. They packed their belongings in this box, painted their address across the top, and made their way to Valdosta, GA, to stay with relatives. They would not return to Roswell until 1866. Today their home is museum and is open to the public.

via Atlanta History Center, Civil War Refugee Box.

28
Sep
11

9.28.2011 … it’s a LOL kinda day …

LOL:  Here are three for you … all found via Facebook friends. 🙂



Encyclopaedia Britannica, apps, kith/kin:  At our house the arrival of the encyclopedia Britannica was a VERY big deal.  This may be a gift to me!

I’ve been testing this new iPad app, and I like it. It is much cleaner and more attractive than the cluttered Britannica website and sports some nice features, including a dynamic “link map” showing the relationship between topics in a visual format. Unlike the Web version, it is free of ads. The app is expected to be available in a couple of weeks.

Whether or not this new Britannica app is for you will be a personal decision based on what you’re looking for; and how much you value an edited, highly curated source over the broader, more easily updated, but crowd-sourced, Wikipedia, which also is available via a variety of iPad apps. Of course, many subscribers to Britannica will still use Wikipedia or other Web sources for research.

via Encyclopaedia Britannica Now Fits Into an App – Walt Mossberg – Personal Technology – AllThingsD.

Lewis and Clark expedition,  Chinook Tribe, descendants, amends, history:  This story made me feel good …

A wrong, 205 years old, was righted Saturday along the banks of the Columbia River. Under swaying alder trees and in the smoke of cooking salmon, a private ceremony of forgiveness was held between a nation and a family.

In 1806, members of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition stole a canoe from the Chinook Indian Nation days before the Corps’ return journey up the Columbia River from their winter camp at Fort Clatsop. On Saturday, a replica of that canoe was given back to the tribe by descendants of Captain William Clark.

Lewis and Clark justified the theft as payback for elk meat the tribe had earlier stolen from the expedition. But the tribe already had paid back its debt. More likely, the expedition members knew their crudely constructed canoes couldn’t match the fast and expertly made tribal canoes, or they simply needed an extra one and didn’t have the time to make it.

Fast-forward 200 years to a Virginia river where Clark descendant Carlota “Lotsie” Clark Holton wound up in a canoe with Ray Gardner, chairman of the Chinook Nation, during an American Rivers organization outing.

Holton knew her ancestor had taken the canoe, but it wasn’t until that 2008 chance meeting that she learned from Gardner that a canoe is just more than a means of conveyance to native peoples.

“I never realized that a canoe was a living part of the Chinook. It’s like a wife or child,” Lotsie Holton said.

Canoes were indeed like a member of the family and are sacred, said Kate Elliott, Chinook Tribal councilwoman.

“If you took a house and a car and your kids and put them all into one thing, that would be how important a canoe is to native tribes,” Elliott said.

In a time before roads, canoes were essential to the native way of life. A canoe was the Chinook people’s means for food, protection, trading and funeral practices. Canoe construction took months, and the know-how was passed down through generations.

It was shortly after that meeting on the river that Holton and her husband, Rick, residents of St. Louis, decided to make amends.

And so on Saturday, a sea-worthy 36-foot replica canoe was repatriated to the Chinook people at Fort Columbia State Park.

via 205 years after Lewis and Clark expedition stole canoe from Chinook, descendants make amends | Local News – The News Tribune.

young adults, faith and spirituality, Church, kith/kin:  To be honest I did not go to Church when I was a young adult … but are they not coming back in their late twenties/early thirties?  This takes a very negative view of current culture.

Why Young Adults Are Walking Away From Church.

It’s no surprise we’ve walked away from traditional institutions in droves; we feel we owe them precisely what they’ve given us.

The redemption of such cultural ambiguity is that assumptions and stereotypes fall short more often than they apply, causing us to have to take people more at face value, discerning what they believe through face-to-face discourse. We crave more intimate, direct connection with one another because, in doing so, we hope to find out more about who we are as well.

It is here, as Harris points out, that real change takes place: where two or more are gathered. The talking points and ready-made labels fall short, giving way to a deeper concern for the humanity at the center of each life. The effect on her was that she “determined not to let dogma swallow up my personality and poison my sense of charity. I promised myself that I would remember that people are more important than clinging to beliefs.”

Call it cynical, iconoclastic or even destructive to the fabric of society, but placing humanity above ideals seems the only hope we have for living out Christ’s call to love one another as ourselves. In so much as politics and religion both have failed to yield the result they had promised, it’s now up to us to plant new seeds, together, one at a time.

via Christian Piatt: Why Young Adults Are Walking Away From Church.

church, National Back to Church Sunday (10/18/2011):  I, too, failed to make it on 10/18.  But this is a great analysis of why we should go and what to reasonably expect.

September 18 was National Back to Church Sunday.

It’s OK. I missed it, too.

A lot of folks I know — people who would describe themselves as “Christian” or “believer” and those who would not — struggle with the idea of church. They’re gun shy.

The idea of joining a community where they might not fit in, where they could be judged unkindly, where there is an unspoken (and sometimes clearly verbalized) set of cultural norms and expectations that they’d have a hard time living up to, is daunting.

Church is supposed to be a safe place. A refuge in the storm. A haven of not just acceptance, but love. A sanctuary of grace.

Too often, for too many of us, it is not safe, loving, welcoming, or full of grace. That’s because church is a human institution and as faulted, imperfect and maddening as human beings themselves.

Perhaps that is why I got a lump in my throat when I watched the promotional video (above) about National Back to Church Sunday.

Messaging is a tricky thing but man, did they get it right.

Listen to how church is described in the video:

a place for new beginnings

imperfect people welcome

people are priceless

right where God wants you

come as you are

doubts welcome

forgiven

“See, it’s not about a religion. It’s about a relationship. So please, come to my church, where nobody’s perfect, where beginners are welcome, where socks are optional, but GRACE is required. Where forgiveness is offered, where hope is alive, and where it’s OK to not be OK. Really.”

Amen and Hallelujah!

That is a message worth sharing, an invitation that begs to be shared. That is the good news. That is the Gospel.

Thanks be to God.

via Church: Socks Are Optional but Grace is Required – Cathleen Falsani – God’s Politics Blog.

27
Sep
11

9.27.2011 … started a new bible study at FPC … and I loved it … Genesis … In the beginning …

FPC Tuesday Bible Study, Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation, Genesisfaith and culture: Great first class … creation.

TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY:  This weekly study meets on Tuesdays from 11:45- 1:00 in the Pattie Cole Room (S203). Led by Reverend Roland Perdue the group will study Jonathan Sacks’ recent book, Covenant and Conversation, Genesis: the Book of Beginnings. Using the text, Scripture and supplemental readings, we will examine current issues and concerns in the biblical context and discuss them from the vantage point of a dialogue between faith and culture.

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Steven Pinker, violence, history:  Great piece …

“How bad was the world in the past?”

Believe it or not, the world of the past was much worse. Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.

The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth. It has not brought violence down to zero, and it is not guaranteed to continue. But it is a persistent historical development, visible on scales from millennia to years, from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.

This claim, I know, invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger. We tend to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which we can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. There will always be enough violent deaths to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from its actual likelihood.

Evidence of our bloody history is not hard to find. Consider the genocides in the Old Testament and the crucifixions in the New, the gory mutilations in Shakespeare’s tragedies and Grimm’s fairy tales, the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.

For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment that we can savor—and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible.

via Steven Pinker: Why Violence Is Vanishing – WSJ.com.

teenagers, brain development, culture:  … what’s wrong with these kids?!  …

Through the ages, most answers have cited dark forces that uniquely affect the teen. Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that “the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine.” A shepherd in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale wishes “there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.” His lament colors most modern scientific inquiries as well. G. Stanley Hall, who formalized adolescent studies with his 1904 Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, believed this period of “storm and stress” replicated earlier, less civilized stages of human development. Freud saw adolescence as an expression of torturous psychosexual conflict; Erik Erikson, as the most tumultuous of life’s several identity crises. Adolescence: always a problem.

Such thinking carried into the late 20th century, when researchers developed brain-imaging technology that enabled them to see the teen brain in enough detail to track both its physical development and its patterns of activity. These imaging tools offered a new way to ask the same question—What’s wrong with these kids?—and revealed an answer that surprised almost everyone. Our brains, it turned out, take much longer to develop than we had thought. This revelation suggested both a simplistic, unflattering explanation for teens’ maddening behavior—and a more complex, affirmative explanation as well.

via Teenage Brains – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine.

Herman Cain, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Florida Straw Poll:  This process is a nightmare … who cares about these straw polls …

Herman Cain, Ex-CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, pulls stunning upset over Rick Perry.

via GOP in Disarray After Shocking Florida Straw Poll | Video – ABC News.

Troy Davis, death penalty: Another voice against the death penalty …

Last Wednesday, as the state of Georgia prepared to execute Troy Davis despite concerns about his guilt, I wrote a letter with five former death-row wardens and directors urging Georgia prison officials to commute his sentence. I feared not only the risk of Georgia killing an innocent man, but also the psychological toll it would exact on the prison workers who performed his execution. “No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt,” we wrote in our letter.

via Ordering Death in Georgia Prisons – The Daily Beast.

war: This article reminds me of last week’s clip about Sebastian Junger’s talk at Davidson. “The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb …”

It’s just life or death: the simplicity of it,” said Cpl. Robert Cole of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which ends a seven-month deployment in the southern region of Sangin in October. “It’s also kind of nice in some ways because you don’t have to worry about anything else in the world.”

The dominant narrative about war in a foreign land says its practitioners yearn for home, for the families, the comforts, and the luxury of no longer worrying about imminent death or injury. It applies to young American troops in Afghan combat zones, but it’s not the whole truth.

Combat can deliver a sense of urgency, meaning, order and belonging. There is the adrenaline-fueled elation of a firefight, and the horror of rescuing a comrade wounded by a bomb on patrol. It is magnified, instantaneous experience. An existence boiled down to the essentials mocks the mundane detritus, the quibbles and bill-paying and anonymity, of life back home.

Various books, films and television series address the theme of troops liking aspects of war, or missing it when they get home. Many focus on the sacrifice, the brotherhood, or the bloodshed, or some combination. Norman Mailer’s novel, “The Naked and the Dead,” and the 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” are among works that explore the psychological impact of intense combat on its protagonists.

Some who come from rural areas in the United States feel a curious affinity with Afghanistan and its web of sparsely populated villages and farmland. Capt. Brian Huysman of Delphos, Ohio — “Good luck finding Delphos on the map,” he said — sees parallels between the “small town mentality” and rivalries back home and the jostling for advantage among local leaders in southern Afghan settlements.

“It’s very eerie,” said Huysman, Weapons Company commander for the battalion.

When these men are retired veterans, many will look back on Afghanistan as a place of loss, but also a place that made them better than they were, whether the U.S. military succeeds in its long-term goals or not. The cult of sacrifice finds expression in a shrine to the missing in action of past wars in the dining hall at Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

via The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb: US Marines enjoy some aspects of Afghan war – The Washington Post.

photography, photo gallery, LIFE:  I love these … The beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things— Seeing Shadows

50656806.jpg

To think of shadows,” Victor Hugo wrote in his great novel, Les Miserables, “is a serious thing.” Hugo, of course, was addressing vast concepts — justice, memory, vengeance — both in the book and in that particular quote. But the beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things: symbols, suggestions, riddles, jokes, threats. They can be anything, or they can simply be themselves — which is a central reason why they’re so cool. Pictured: A handmade Shaker basket sitting on the floor amid a grid of shadows in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.

via Seeing Shadows – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

mens rea, Federal Criminal Code, legal history: Originally 20 federal crimes … now over 4500.

For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

Back in 1790, the first federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 federal crimes. Today there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s.

One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.

Under English common law principles, most U.S. criminal statutes traditionally required prosecutors not only to prove that defendants committed a bad act, but also that they also had bad intentions. In a theft, don’t merely show that the accused took someone’s property, but also show that he or she knew it belonged to someone else.

Over time, lawmakers have devised a sliding scale for different crimes. For instance, a “willful” violation is among the toughest to prove.

Requiring the government to prove a willful violation is “a big protection for all of us,” says Andrew Weissmann, a New York attorney who for a time ran the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Enron Corp. Generally speaking in criminal law, he says, willful means “you have the specific intent to violate the law.”

A lower threshold, attorneys say, involves proving that someone “knowingly” violated the law. It can be easier to fall afoul of the law under these terms.

via ‘Mens Rea’ Legal Protection Erodes in U.S. as Federal Criminal Code Expands – WSJ.com.

Ford Motor Company, marketing, politics, White House, President Obama, automotive bailout: Marketing and politics don’t mix.

As part of a campaign featuring “real people” explaining their decision to buy the Blue Oval, a guy named “Chris” says he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” according the text of the ad, launched in early September.

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”

That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

via Columnists | Ford pulls its ad on bailouts | The Detroit News.

Amanda Knox, criminal cases, Jessica Rabbit: I don’t follow these big cases daily, but how could I not click when her lawyer says Knox “more like Jessica Rabbit.”

A defense lawyer has told a court to see Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her roommate, not as the “femme fatale” her accusers describe but rather as a loving young woman.

Giulia Bongiorno even compared Knox to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, saying Tuesday she is faithful like the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” character.

Amanda Knox called “she-devil” in court

Anxiety grips Amanda Knox as appeal wraps up

Prosecutors compare Amanda Knox to Nazis

Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, a British student in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Bongiorno, Sollecito’s lawyer, paraphrased a famous line from the movie saying Knox “is not bad, she’s just drawn that way.”

“Jessica Rabbit looks like a man-eater, but she is a faithful and loving woman,” Bongiorno said.

via Amanda Knox lawyer: She’s no “femme fatale” – CBS News.

 Banned Books Week, Virtual Read-Out, Gossip Girl:  A reading from Cecily von Ziegesar’s GOSSIP GIRL – YouTube.

Professor Jim Miller, University of Wisconsin, criminal charges, free speech, constitutional law: Sigh …

A professor has been censored twice, reported to the “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller’s poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

via ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus – FIRE.

digital photography, organization, tips:

That’s where a good photo organizer comes in. There are many available, but I’ll concentrate here on Google’s Picasa. It’s not my personal favorite (that would be Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery, which handles tags much better than Picasa), but it’s popular, free, and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

via How to Organize Your Digital Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Troy Davis, RIP: I honestly never thought about his or any executed individual’s funeral … makes me feel less human.  Maybe that is my issue with the death penalty … it takes away my/our humanity.

The family of Troy Davis has scheduled his funeral for Saturday in his hometown of Savannah.

Davis’ younger sister, Kimberly Davis, said Tuesday the public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. funeral service at Jonesville Baptist Church.

Davis was executed in Georgia’s death chamber last week for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insisted he was innocent, but courts ultimately upheld his conviction. Thousands of supporters worldwide protested Davis’ execution, saying the case raised too many doubts about his guilt.

Because some people recanted their testimony, the Davis case has added to the debate over eyewitness reliability.

via Troy Davis funeral set for Saturday in Savannah  | ajc.com.

recipes, chicken:  Just looking at the pictures makes me want chicken! Recipes for Chicken Dishes – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

bookstores, end of an era, Oxford Books, Atlanta, kith/kin:  Friday nights in Atlanta my mom and dad always went to the local bookstore Oxford Books … sad when things change.

In a gloomy post, TechCrunch predicted that bookstores will be virtually extinct by 2018.  The Future Of Books: A Dystopian Timeline also imagined a “great culling of publishers” in 2019.

What do you think? Extrapolating from the rapid growth of eBooks and declines in print sales, the post took a dark view of print books. Here are a few excerpts:

“2015 – The death of the Mom and Pops. Smaller book stores will use the real estate to sell coffee and Wi-Fi. Collectable bookstores will still exist in the margins.”

“2018 – The last Barnes & Noble store converts to a cafe and digital access point.”

“2019 – B&N and Amazon’s publishing arms – including self-pub – will dwarf all other publishing.”

via TechCrunch Predicts Bookstores Will Disappear by 2018 – GalleyCat.

dating methods, media, Christianity, BBC:  BBC dropped the B.C./A.D. dating method and outraged Christians … I saw this happening in my children’s history books …  and I wondered who makes these decisions …

British Christians are incensed after the state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E. and C.E. in historical date references.

The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) in its television and radio broadcasts.

The BBC said in an official statement that since it is “committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.”

It described the terms B.C.E. and C.E. as “a religiously neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.,” although critics quickly pointed out that the new terms, like the old, were anchored around the birth of Jesus Christ.

via BBC Drops B.C./A.D. Dating Method: Christians Outraged (UPDATE).

BofA, shareholder lawsuits:  $50 billion shareholder lawsuit … this one will be interesting …

But if it is true that Mr. Price, with Mr. Lewis’s assent, kept this information from Mr. Mayopoulos in order to avoid disclosure, this is a prima facie case of securities fraud. Would Bank of America shareholders have voted to approve this transaction? If the answer is no, then it is hard to see this as anything other than material information.

Plaintiffs in this private case have the additional benefit that this claim is related to a shareholder vote. It is easier to prove securities fraud related to a shareholder vote than more typical securities fraud claims like accounting fraud. Shareholder vote claims do not require that the plaintiffs prove that the person committing securities fraud did so with awareness that the statement was wrong or otherwise recklessly made. You only need to show that the person should have acted with care.

This case is not only easier to establish, but the potential damages could also be enormous. Damages in a claim like this are calculated by looking at the amount lost as a result of the securities fraud. A court will most likely calculate this by referencing the amount that Bank of America stock dropped after the loss was announced; this is as much as $50 billion. It is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream.

via Bank of America Faces a $50 Billion Shareholder Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.

“Prohibition”,  tv documentaries, history, Ken Burns, history:  DVR is set …

It’s a subject that violently polarized the nation, pitting “wets” against “drys,” Catholics against Protestants, city folk against small-towners, and immigrants against native-born citizens.

Prohibition’s story, like Burns’ film, starts almost 100 years before the ban on alcohol took effect in 1920.

For much of the 19th century, a sizable percentage of the U.S. population made the cast of “Jersey Shore” look like lightweights. Male-only saloons and taverns were everywhere. Alcohol abuse was destroying families and, in some people’s eyes, the very fabric of society.

Women who’d never had a political voice began leading a crusade against the evils of booze — a crusade that was championed further by the Anti-Saloon League, a lobbying group that grew so powerful “it makes the NRA look like they’re still in short pants,” Burns said.

The fight culminated in 1919 with the passage of the 18th amendment, which made the sale and manufacturing of “intoxicating beverages” illegal.

“It was meant to eradicate an evil,” says “Prohibition” narrator Peter Coyote. “Instead, it turned millions of law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers.”

And it turned run-of-the-mill hoodlums into rich and ruthless bootleggers.

via Ken Burns’ ‘Prohibition’ tackles hot topic that polarized nation – Chicago Sun-Times.

food – slow food:   I am a prepared food, fast food junkie … all sorts of reasons this is bad …

This year, Slow Food USA, which defines “slow food” as good for its eaters, its producers and the environment — a definition anyone can get behind — set out to demonstrate that slow food can also be affordable, not only a better alternative to fast food but a less expensive one. The organization issued a $5 Challenge with the inspired rallying cry of “take back the ‘value meal’,” which in most fast food restaurants runs somewhere around five bucks.

Under the leadership of its president, Josh Viertel, Slow Food has moved from a group of rah-rah supporters of artisanal foods to become a determined booster of sustainability and of real food for everyone. Last month it called for people to cook pot luck and community dinners for no more than $5 per person. “We gave ourselves a month to launch the first big public day of action in what we hoped would become an ongoing challenge,” says Viertel. “In those four weeks we hoped to organize 500 people to host meals on Sept. 17. Our dream was to have 20,000 people participate.”

Slow Food believes that the very best way to build the kind of social movement needed to produce the systemic changes that they seek is to start small: to share knowledge and to share meals. What’s wrong with that?

via Slow Food: Shared Meals, Shared Knowledge – NYTimes.com.

criminals, hijackers: On the run for 41 years!  “Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.”

Now, after a manhunt spanning three continents that often appeared to run cold, the FBI has finally found George Wright.

At age 68, he was living quietly in the resort of Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal when he was arrested Monday.

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for murder. Portuguese judicial authorities could not be reached Tuesday for details of the extradition process.

Wright is fighting extradition, a U.S. federal agent said, and his next court appearance in Portugal is in about two weeks.

Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.

via On the run for 41 years, hijacker traced to Portugal – CNN.com.

citizen journalism, politics, global issues:  Very good article about empowering people through citizen journalism.

Before the American Revolution, journalism, if you could call it that, was an elite practice heavily censored by the colonial government. So when Thomas Paine and John Peter Zenger published their defiant tracts, fellow American colonists yearning for freedom did not question their credentials to write. Instead, they enshrined their right to do so in the First Amendment.

“We are the first nation – arguably the only nation – in which top-down control of the flow of information never was seriously attempted,” AOL Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman writes in his 2008 book, The Thirteen American Arguments .

He notes that Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense anonymously, yet “It was the most influential pamphlet of our time, and perhaps even in world history.”

Meet Kimberley Sevcik, Media Relations Manager for Camfed, an international educational organization with offices in Cambridge (U.K.) and San Francisco, who just returned from three weeks in East Africa. There, as she did on two previous trips (to Zambia and Tanzania), she trained women in basic communications techniques, empowering them to talk and write about what most impacts their lives and what they would like to see done about it. In other countries such as Zambia and Ghana, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education) previously hired professionals to teach filmmaking as a communication tool, resulting in deeply affecting documentaries about previously taboo topics such as AIDS and domestic violence. The latter was the topic of their latest film, “Hidden Truth,” which just won the Prize for Best Documentary at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

If you think about it, “People are always speaking for African woman,” Sevcik observed. “Isn’t is better to ask them, ‘What are you experiencing?’ – and let them find their own voices?”

via Laura Paull: In The Beginning, There Were Citizen Journalists.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election:  I’d like to write him off.

If anyone is seriously willing to argue that a handful of Republican activists in Florida are predictive of the broader electorate, please unmask yourself in the comments and accept the teasing you deserve.

As I’ve said before, I think Mr Perry is beatable, by Mr Romney or Mr Obama (or perhaps by another Republican, should it come to that). He has two serious liabilities. The first is that he doesn’t particularly play well with others. He explicitly rejects moderation and bipartisan behaviour, even though his behaviour is occasionally quite temperate, as on the tuition issue. This truculence is slightly unusual in a national politician, at least a winning one. Mr Perry’s second major liability is that he has no record of leading people places they don’t want to go, on politics or on policy. He usually doesn’t even try. This isn’t a thoroughgoing drawback in an elected leader—it forestalls crusading—but it does challenge his ability to form coalitions, electoral or otherwise. These are the overarching reasons that I think Mr Perry can be beaten. However, many of his critics, being apparently unable to take a balanced view of the situation, tend to ignore such substantive complaints or obscure them with a barrage of flimsier complaints about how he has a Texas accent. At some point they’re going to realise that’s not going to work.

via Rick Perry’s problems: The need for new narratives | The Economist.

depression, “Supermoms”:  I bet  “Supermoms” who accept their limitations and drink lots of coffee are never depressed. 🙂

So I was intrigued to come across a new study reporting that women who recognize that something has to give when it comes to juggling a job and family tend to have fewer depressive symptoms than those who think they can truly have — and handle — it all.

“It’s really about accepting that combining employment and family requires that trade-offs be made, and then feeling okay about letting certain things go, either at home or at work,” says the study’s leader, Katrina Leupp, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

via Depression is less common among ‘Supermoms’ who accept their limitations – The Washington Post.

economics, cities, Great Recession, families: An interesting take …  “The Gated City”: Moving toward stagnation | The Economist.

26
Sep
11

9.26.2011 … So many friends and family members have birthdays this week … hmmm … 9 months after Christmas. Today would be the 108th birthday of my grandmother and the 76th birthday of my father-in-law. And happy birthday to Debbie … still going strong!

tv, theme songs, music:  Fun?  Do you have a favorite?  I love The Doris Day Show … Que sera, sera … TV Theme Music and Songs – TelevisionTunes.com.

global economy, end of an era:  Interesting analysis …

People just don’t disappear. Look at Germany in 1946 or Athenians in 339 B.C. They continue, but their governments and cultures end. Aside from the dramatic military implosions of authoritarian or tribal societies — the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the end of Nazism, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the annexation of tribal Gaul — what brings consensual states to an end, or at least an end to the good life?

The city-states could not stop 30,000 Macedonians in a way — when far poorer and 150 year earlier — they had stopped 300,000 Persians descending on many of the same routes. The French Republic of 1939 had more tanks and troops on the Rhine than the Third Reich that was busy overrunning Poland. A poorer Britain fought differently at el-Alamein than it does now over Libya. A British battleship was once a sign of national pride; today a destroyer represents a billion pounds stolen from social services.

Give me

Redistribution of wealth rather than emphasis on its creation is surely a symptom of aging societies. Whether at Byzantium during the Nika Riots or in bread and circuses Rome, when the public expects government to provide security rather than the individual to become autonomous through a growing economy, then there grows a collective lethargy. I think that is the message of Juvenal’s savage satires about both mobs and the idle rich. Fourth-century Athenian literature is characterized by forensic law suits, as citizens sought to sue each other, or to sue the state for sustenance, or to fight over inheritances.

 

We all know what will save us and what is destroying us. But the trick is to see how the two will collide. A new tax code, simple rates, few deductions, everybody pays something; new entitlement reform, less benefits, later retirement; a smaller government, a larger private sector; a different popular culture that honors character rather than excess — all that is not, and yet is, impossible to envision. It will only transpire when the cries of the self-interested anguished are ignored. My expectation is that soon that the affluent of suddenly rich China and India will come down with the Western disease that we see endemically in Europe and among our own, even as America snaps out of it, and recommits itself to self-reliance and wealth creation. But when I look at 18th-century Venice, or 1950s Britain, or France in 1935, or 3rd-century Athens, or 5th-century AD Rome, I am worried. I don’t think we wish to live in a quiet but collapsed Greece in the age of Plutarch, forever dreaming about a far off age of past accomplishment.

 

via Works and Days » Why Does the Good Life End?.

random, Shakespeare, a few million monkeys, random: 🙂

Today (2011-09-23) at 2:30 PST the monkeys successfully randomly recreated A Lover’s Complaint, The Tempest (2011-09-26) and As You Like It (2011-09-28). This is the first time a work of Shakespeare has actually been randomly reproduced.  Furthermore, this is the largest work ever randomly reproduced. It is one small step for a monkey, one giant leap for virtual primates everywhere.

The monkeys will continue typing away until every work of Shakespeare is randomly created.  Until then, you can continue to view the monkeys’ progress on that page.  I am making the raw data available to anyone who wants it.  Please use the Contact page to ask for the URL. If you have a Hadoop cluster that I could run the monkeys project on, please contact me as well.

via A Few Million Monkeys Randomly Recreate Shakespeare | Jesse Anderson.

Montmartre, Parisian Wine, Paris:  We heard about this wine (not particularly good … vineyard faces North), but the festival is supposed to be great fun.

The fabled Parisian district of Montmartre celebrates the arrival of the new vintage of the beloved Clos Montmartre wine with the Montmartre Harvest Festival, from Oct. 5 to 9.

The only Parisian vineyards still active exist because the government stepped in to support the recreation of the area’s original vines after a real estate development project threatened their existence early in the 20th century. The first vines were replanted in 1933.

During the festivities, the neighborhood fills with street musicians and singers, entertaining visitors who come to sample Clos Montmartre and a wide selection of wines from Aquitaine, Gard, the Drôme and other regions. Winemakers offer advice along with regional produce designed to accompany their wines. Since this year’s theme is “Islands,” rums from the Caribbean will also be among the refreshments.

via Parisian Wine Celebrated in Montmartre Festival – NYTimes.com.

Bollywood, Silk Smitha, The Dirty Picture: Ooh la la … promises to push at the boundaries of what is sexually acceptable in Bollywood. :

Through the 1980s, South Indian film star Silk Smitha was shorthand for sex. Her fans just couldn’t get enough of her inviting eyes and heaving bosom, but her racy roles meant she never made in big in Bollywood. The picture about her life is already generating heat, months ahead of its release. The film’s first trailer, which was released this month, has found a huge audience (over 800,000 hits on YouTube).

A poster of Silk Smitha from “Miss Pamela,” released in 1989.

The sobriquet Silk came from her first Tamil film “Vandi Chakkaram,” in which she played a bar girl named Silk. In a career spanning 17 years, she did more than 450 films in a variety of languages: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi.

The Dirty Picture promises to push at the boundaries of what is sexually acceptable in Bollywood. Ahead of the film’s release, here is a look at some other female film characters who rewrote the rules.

via Breaking Bollywood’s Rules – NYTimes.com.

Colin Firth, movies:  Sounds like a very interesting movie.

The King’s Speech star made a 650-mile round trip from London to have tea with Eric Lomax at his home in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.  Colin described 92-year-old Eric’s life as “an extraordinary story”.

After the war Eric was filled with hate, particularly for Nagase Takashi, the interpreter who interrogated him.  In 1988 Eric tracked him down and they met on the bridge over the River Kwai. Takashi apologised and was forgiven by his victim. The pair then became friends.

via The League of British Artists: COLIN Firth has made a secret visit to the former prisoner of war he will play in his next film..

global economy:

Paramount is copying the tricks long used by rich-world businesses to fend off low-cost rivals from emerging markets: better designs, newer machinery, shorter production runs (to give rarity value to each line) and faster delivery to local markets.

Britain bounded ahead in textile production two centuries ago, and established firms have been looking over their shoulder ever since. An early challenge came from the textile industry in New England, where countless townships called Manchester were founded (of which one survives). That cluster soon faced competition from factories in the low-wage American South.

The cotton industry has carried on travelling: its technology moves easily to wherever labour costs are low. The pattern has been repeated for other sorts of ventures. More complex technologies are harder to copy, so their diffusion has been slower. But technology eventually spreads. It is what drives economic convergence, making large parts of the developing world better off year by year.

The big question for the global economy is whether the rapid growth in emerging markets can continue. The broad economic logic suggests more of the world economy’s gains should come from convergence by emerging markets than from the rich world pushing ahead. Each innovation adds less to rich-world prosperity than the adoption of an established technology does to a poor country. At the start of the industrial revolution the cotton industry alone could make Britain’s productivity jump. But now that the frontier is wider, there is less scope for leading economies to surge ahead. More of the world’s growth ought to come from catching up.

And perhaps the pessimism about America and Europe is as overdone as the optimism about emerging markets. The rich world is an enticing place when viewed from the developing world. For all its troubles, America’s economy is a source of envy. Europe’s high-end industries and luxury goods are not easily mimicked. Emerging-market firms find it easier to do business, to raise finance and to find skilled workers in the rich world. Such attributes are hard to replicate. If it were easy, the emerging economies would already be rich.

via The path ahead: Cottoning on | The Economist.

Paleo Diet, health:  I think this would probably work for me.

For more than 25 years, De Vany has been an advocate of what he calls “evolutionary fitness”: a regimen of low-carb eating and interval- or cross-training workouts (with periodic fasting) aimed at controlling insulin. But he has also become the grandfather of the growing Paleo movement, a health philosophy built around the belief that modern life — dating from the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago — is simply alien to our genes. Believers say that only by returning to a diet of wild game and fresh produce, eliminating grains and dairy, and exercising in short, intense bursts, can we thrive in a world of escalators and cheese fries.

There’s no doubt that something is way off about our collective health; rampant rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes make that self-evident. And there’s no doubt that this is a direct result of our high-fat, high-calorie, sedentary lives. But is there something more authentically “human” about life in the Paleolithic — something that makes humans simply better adapted to an ancient diet and ancient exercise patterns? Not exactly.

For one thing, there was no single Paleolithic “lifestyle.” Survival in Ice Age Europe, for instance, was vastly different from life on the African savannah, requiring different diets, behaviors and genetic adaptations. For another, human DNA didn’t freeze in place at some mythical peak. In fact, we’re still evolving.

via Paleo Diet: ‘New Evolution Diet’ Author De Vany on Food and Exercise – TIME.

Netflix, business models, change:   I am still hoping this a NEW Coke type mistake … I don’t care who is to blame.

Canadians: they’re lovely people. Seriously. And we bet they’d offer a hearty and sincere “Sooorry.” But according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, we should blame them for the split between Netflix and the new DVD-by-mail service called Qwikster.

“It’s all the Canadians’ fault,” Hastings joked Thursday as he answered questions about the fracturing company while celebrating Netflix’s first anniversary of its Canadian launch. The Great White North got its first taste of Netflix last September, as a streaming-only endeavor.

“Is broadband good enough that streaming only, without DVD, is a good enough product to catch on?” Hastings wondered. Turns out, it certainly was. Netflix decided to keep Netflix as a strictly-online enterprise, without offering the DVD-by-mail service. And business was good. Good enough to exist on its own, apparently.

Seeing the success of streaming in Canada, Hastings brought the results back to the U.S. The DVD-by-mail division was unbundled from the streaming service in July, meaning users would have to pay for each. And this week Netflix announced the postal program would become a separate company, now (laughably) known as Qwikster. We’ve never seen a better definition of “going postal.” The Netflix stock has tumbled more than 30 points this week in reaction to the name change.

via Netflix Split: Should We Blame Canada? – TIME NewsFeed.

technology, marriage:  I think technology has made my marriage a little worse. 😦

So he has his and I have mine. But technology gives us ours too: YogaGlo.com, an $18-a-month service allowing us to take any one of several dozen yoga classes taught and videotaped at a studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Joe and I both love yoga and love going to classes together. But like so many hobbies when you’re working parents, this one mostly gets the divide-and-conquer treatment. Yet YogaGlo provides an opportunity to practice more yoga, individually and together.

Last week Joe called me at work in the morning and said, “You want to do a class once we get the kids to sleep tonight?”

I said, “Yes, but send me an Outlook invitation so it gets on my calendar and I can plan my day accordingly.”

He agreed and later sent me an email that said, “I love it when you talk organization to me.”

via Technology: My Marriage’s Secret Glue – WSJ.com.

apps, Snapseed: 

SnapseedBy Nik Software, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Try Snapseed for FREE from 9/20—9/23 and get the app Apple named their iTunes App of the Week in August!

via Snapseed for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, movies: Breakfast at Tiffany’s turns 50.  Wow … it was really cutting edge in 1961.

Happy Birthday, Breakfast at Tiffany‘s! The Audrey Hepburn classic turns 50 today, and in celebration of the half-century milestone, the film has been restored and reissued on Blu-ray DVD ($19.99 at Amazon.com). That means Breakfast at Tiffany‘s fans can see Holly Golightly‘s iconic Givenchy wardrobe, oversize shades and statement jewelry in high definition. Tell us, what’syour favorite Breakfast at Tiffany’s fashion moment?

Breakfast at Tiffany's

via Breakfast at Tiffany’s Turns 50 Today! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

Facebook,  changes, LOL:  

University of Chicago, medicine, gifts:  $42 Million Gift to the university to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ handling of the doctor-patient relationship … I hope it works.  I fortunately have generally had great care.

Years later, Ms. Bucksbaum and her husband, Matthew, would come under the care of Dr. Mark Siegler at the University of Chicago Medical Center, a doctor they found compassionate and humble. “He goes by Mark,” Ms. Bucksbaum noted approvingly, “not ‘Doctor.’ ” Medical students, they thought, could do well to emulate him.

Now, the Bucksbaums are donating $42 million to the university to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ handling of the doctor-patient relationship. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, to be announced Thursday, will be led by Dr. Siegler.

“To care for a patient,” Dr. Siegler said, “you have to care about a patient.”

via University of Chicago Gets $42 Million Gift for Bucksbaum Institute – NYTimes.com.

college admissions:   “Full-pay” students favored … hmmm.

Among all four-year colleges, the admission strategy “judged most important over the next two years” was to recruit more out-of-state students, a group that typically pays sharply higher tuition at public institutions. Private institutions don’t charge higher tuition to out-of-state students but do rely on international students, who often come from wealthy families and pay the full cost of attendance.

The survey found that recruiting larger numbers of “full-pay” students, those who receive no financial aid, was viewed as a “key goal” at public institutions. Providing aid for low-income students was cited as a lower priority.

Dozens of colleges profess on their Web sites to a policy of admitting students without regard to financial need. Yet, the Inside Higher Ed survey found that 10 percent of four-year colleges reported admitting full-pay students with lower grades and test scores than other admitted students.

Roughly one-quarter of admission directors reported pressure from someone — college administrators, trustees or fund-raisers — to admit a student irrespective of her or his qualifications to attend. Admission preferences made big news recently two years ago at the University of Illinois.

via Survey: Admission directors increasingly favor ‘full-pay’ students – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

Emily Deschanel, Bones: Congratulations, Emily … but get back to work … we are missing Bones this fall.

Bones star Emily Deschanel and her husband, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s David Hornsby, welcomed their first child Wednesday, a baby boy named Henry Hornsby, Deschanel’s rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.

via Emily Deschanel and David Hornsby Have a Son : People.com.

25
Sep
11

9.25.2011 …‎ Sitting in a sea of BIG Newton fans at Bank of America Stadium … (OK, we bolted at the half due to the rain deluge … and it was sunny with no sign of rain at home … not a drop) … But nonetheless it was a panther day!

Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton:  Great day to be a Panther fan … Nice to have a QB to cheer for.

The Carolina Panthers slipped up in the rain that pelted Bank of America Stadium in the second quarter Sunday, but they refused to let it rain on their parade, rallying for a 16-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the large majority of fans having retreated for cover, a defensive gaffe gave Jacksonville a touchdown and a 10-5 lead as the clock expired on an opening half otherwise dominated by the Panthers.

The fans came back when conditions improved after halftime, and so did Carolina. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and the offense navigated treacherous field conditions for a game-winning drive capped by tight end Greg Olsen’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 4:20 left.

With that, the Panthers earned their first victory of the season, and Ron Rivera got his first victory as head coach.

via Panthers reign in the rain.

Rin Tin Tin, legends: My dad always talked about Rin Tin Tin …  ‘Yo, Rinty,’

This Rin Tin Tin is heir to a dynasty of celebrity canines. After all, a lot of us still remember “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” on TV back in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The number of people who declared ‘Yo, Rinty,’ which was the sort of signature phrase of the TV show, was heartening, said Susan Orlean – heartening enough to inspire her to write a whole book about the legend of Rin Tin Tin.

“I think he’s a wonderful symbol of something innocently heroic, Orleans said, “a living being who has embodied qualities that we have always thought of as American – of being independent, of being tough and brave.”

It’s a story that may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that the first Rin Tin Tin was a star in silent movies in the ’20s, celebrated as an athlete AND an actor?

via The legend of Rin Tin Tin – CBS News.

writing, tips, lists:  I like lists … so far I am at #1.

One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips that I’ve found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day;

via The Happiness Project: Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done..

gLee, Sesame Street, letter G, parody, LOL: Enjoy the  letter G!

Get ready to learn all about the letter ‘G’ with Sue, Rachel, Finn, and er, Mr. Guester. Sesame Street‘s 42nd season premiere airs Monday, and it features a killer parody of Glee that is sure to delight children and parents alike (the episode also includes a significantly more manly parody of The Deadliest Catch, if you balk at musical television but dig puppets)

via Flavorwire » Watch Sesame Street’s Hilarious ‘Glee’ Parody.

Sesame Street: G – YouTube.

cartoon, pirate cartoon, New Yorker, LOL:

Cartoons from the Issue of September 26th, 2011 : The New Yorker.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, heroes, Supreme Court, photo essays:  As a female law student in the 80’s, she was a role model … a hero.

The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor

A look back at the rise and tenure of the first female Supreme Court justice, sworn in thirty years ago, September 25, 1981.

via The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor – Photo Essays – TIME.

Planet Word , books, Stephen Fry: “The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you” – Stephen Fry

Planet Word

“The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you”. (Stephen Fry). From feral children to fairy-tale princesses, secrets codes, invented languages – even a language that was eaten – “Planet Word” uncovers everything you didn’t know you needed to know about how language evolves. Learn the tricks to political propaganda, why we can talk but animals can’t, discover 3,000-year-old clay tablets that discussed beer and impotence and test yourself at textese – do you know your RMEs from your LOLs? Meet the 105-year-old man who invented modern-day Chinese and all but eradicated illiteracy, and find out why language caused the go-light in Japan to be blue. From the dusty scrolls of the past to the unknown digital future, and with (heart) the first graphic to enter the OED, are we already well on our way to a language without words? In a round-the-world trip of a lifetime, discover all this and more as J.P. Davidson travels across our gloriously, endlessly intriguing multilingual Planet Word.

via Planet Word (Book) by J. P. Davidson, et al. (2011): Waterstones.com.

Frank Warren, PostSecret: I am a big fan of PostSecret … although sometimes they are tiring because so many secrets are sexually related … or maybe I am just really boring.

It began simply enough seven years ago, when Germantown resident Frank Warren decided to embark on an experiment: He distributed postcards around the Washington area to complete strangers. Warren inscribed the postcards with the following instructions: “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”

Warren’s initial idea became PostSecret, a Web site which now receives millions of hits a week. The ongoing project fills Warren’s mailbox with hundreds of postcards every week, from which he chooses a few to post on his blog. PostSecret has produced five books to date, and last week Warren launched his newest project: an app for mobile devices. The PostSecret app takes Warren’s project to an entire different level of connectivity, allowing users to create and share secrets on the go. Within three days, the app had processed over 50,000 submitted secrets, and it’s currently the bestselling social networking iPhone app in the country.

via Q&A with Frank Warren, Founder of PostSecret – Capital Comment Blog (washingtonian.com).

Apple, Steve Jobs, business, growth:  Worth reading …

Finding that first market — a few customers willing to pay for your early product — is hard enough. But there’s one thing that may be even harder. And that’s finding the second market. Especially because companies are often so focused on protecting what they already have.

In 1996 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, I was in charge of an industry-recognized channel program for the company that was responsible for growing a $2M business to $180M business in 18 months. By working with a few dedicated partners — some were called “value-added-resellers” and some were national retailers such as Best Buy — Apple was able to grow its sales exponentially.

So, as I went into the full business review, it never occurred to me that Jobs wouldn’t appreciate the channel program. It was the most profitable part of Apple’s business at the time and a needed source of revenue. But Steve’s take on it (in his words, not mine): “Fuck the channel; we don’t need the fuckin’ channel.”

And he was right. Getting to that next growth market takes more than being unhappy with your current results (in this case, abysmal sales margins and underperforming stock), and it takes more than being willing to change. You have to be willing to do what feels unnatural.

As you become successful in something, you develop a feel for how to do it. You know when something is “right.” You’ve built up the equivalent of a hand callus in response to the friction and pressure of what it has taken to get to that first-market success. So, when you try to replicate that in a new context — a second market in this case — all courses of action just feel…off.

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, a good channel strategy made the key difference between a $100M and a $2B company in the tech world. If you had enough money, you could buy distribution and thus sales. The channel, therefore, had a powerful position in relationship to the brand.

via What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Growth – Nilofer Merchant – Harvard Business Review.

reality of fiction, naturalism: Very interesting article … “Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.”

Literature has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

In his contribution to The Stone last week, Alex Rosenberg posed a defense of naturalism — “the philosophical theory that treats science as our most reliable source of knowledge and scientific method as the most effective route to knowledge” — at the expense of other theoretical endeavors such as, notably, literary theory. To the question of “whether disciplines like literary theory provide real understanding,” Professor Rosenberg’s answer is as unequivocal as it is withering: just like fiction, literary theory can be “fun,” but neither one qualifies as “knowledge.”

Though the works of authors like Sophocles, Dante or Shakespeare certainly provide us with enjoyment, can we really classify what they have produced as “fun”? Are we not giving the Bard and others short shrift when we treat their work merely as entertainment? Does their fictional art not offer insights into human nature as illuminating as many of those the physical sciences have produced?

As a literary theorist, I suppose I could take umbrage at the claim that my own discipline, while fun, doesn’t rise to the level of knowledge. But what I’d actually like to argue goes a little further. Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

via ‘Quixote,’ Colbert and the Reality of Fiction – NYTimes.com.

college search, fit:  If I were a high school senior, I would be pulling my hair out.

Not too long ago in my office, I counseled a student distraught because the extensive spring break college tour from which he had just returned hadn’t yielded a discovery of “the right fit.” This seemed to be defined as El Dorado in college form, where everyone would share this young person’s worldview and interests—and the food was great. Each fall counselors have some tough talks with teenagers insistent that super-selective, name-brand colleges are the right fit for them, even if the admission profile of those colleges would suggest otherwise. We also see young people who earnestly struggle to identify the factors that will define fit for them, but who get derailed by “lifestyle” selling points of the colleges, like the ubiquitous gleaming athletic facility with climbing wall, touted in viewbooks and in admission officers’ seemingly interchangeable information sessions. From the student perspective, the Quest for Fit can be elusive, stressful, and frustrating.

There is a popular slogan posted in many college counseling offices: “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.” This statement has become a mantra we repeat to families as an antidote to the media-driven obsession with rank, reputation, and prestige. The notion of “fit” or “match” once seemed to offer a metaphorical goal that would lead our conversations to more productive ground—to what my colleague Jeff Durso-Finley calls the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy, College Edition. What college attributes will contribute to your success and give you the support you need to meet your goals? What do you bring to a college community? What are some realistic parameters for your search? Increasingly, though, Fit showed up as a factor in student experiences that were counterproductive to the reflective, student-guided college search we want to support.

A few years ago, I was comparing notes with my colleagues Carl Ahlgren, of Baltimore’s Gilman School, and Jeff Durso-Finley, of The Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey, when we recognized the emergence of the “mid-sized urban school with great school spirit” (or MSUSWGSS) as the Holy Grail of Generation Fit. A by-product of our abuse of Fit, simultaneously one-size-fits-all and highly customized, this perfect college is academic, but fun, not too big, not too small. Its campus is, of course, reminiscent of Hogwarts; its dorms, spacious. The largest cross-section of our counselees described this mythic ideal as their “right fit,” usually assuming it was found in the far off lands where admit rates fall to single digits. Strange as it may seem, this is where Don Quixote rode into the conversation. Quixote’s tasks of knight-errantry are undertaken in the name of his beloved Dulcinea, of whom he proclaims, “all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her.” In fact, he has never seen her and she may or may not even exist; he has heard her name and ascribed attributes; she sounds a lot like the elusive MSUSWGSS.

Our colleague Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, once captured the frustration of a conversation about the whole business of Fit when she exclaimed, “Fit happens!” Happily, this tongue-in-cheek phrase nails it. We hope it can become the new counseling office motto, opening our kids to unexpected possibilities and a more authentic, empowering and reflective transition to the next phase of their lives.

via Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), media, President Obama, politics,  black/race card:  Don’t like or respect Joe Walsh … but I am really tired of the race card being thrown out … from both sides.

A recent crop of bad press has not stopped U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) from making his usual media rounds this week. On Wednesday, after being named among Congress’s thirteen “most corrupt” representatives, Walsh sat down with the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell to discuss the mainstream media’s alleged “protection” of President Obama, claiming the president’s race protects him from criticism.

Bozell, a conservative talk show host, brought up the Tea Party’s love for African American GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain before accusing the Obama administration of “playing class warfare and race warfare games.” He went on to say that the national media is “aiding and abetting” that agenda, and Walsh agreed, referring to the president as “this guy.”

“This guy pushed every one of the media’s buttons,” Walsh said. “He was liberal, he was different, he was new, he was black. Oh my God, it was the potpourri of everything. They are so vested in our first black president not being a failure that it’s going to be amazing to watch the lengths they go to protect him. [The media], I believe, will spout this racist line if some of their colleagues up here aren’t doing it aggressively enough. There is going to be a real desperation.”

via Joe Walsh: Media Will Protect Obama Because He Is Black (VIDEO).

Troy Davis, final words, death penalty:  Troy Davis maintained his innocence in killing of officer … Never a advocate of the death penalty, I can justify it in certain circumstances … but cases like this make more and more actively against it.

Georgia inmate Troy Davis maintained his innocence until the very end, saying he did not kill an off-duty officer in 1989.

Davis made his final statement as he was strapped to a gurney. He was executed at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. Davis told the family of officer Mark MacPhail that he did not kill their son, father and brother.

He said the incident that happened that night was not his fault and he didn’t have a gun. Davis’ claims of innocence drew worldwide support from hundreds of thousands of people. Courts, however, consistently ruled against him.

via In his final words before execution, Troy Davis maintains his innocence in killing of officer – The Washington Post.

Facebook, social networks, media, marketing: Big Brother is watching …

Facebook, the Web’s biggest social network, is where you go to see what your friends are up to. Now it wants to be a force that shapes what you watch, hear, read and buy.

The company announced new features here on Thursday that could unleash a torrent of updates about what you and your Facebook friends are doing online: Frank is watching “The Hangover,” Jane is listening to Jay-Z, Mark is running a race wearing Nike sneakers, and so forth. That in turn, Facebook and its dozens of partner companies hope, will influence what Frank and Jane and Mark’s friends consume.

via Facebook’s New Strategy to Turn Eyeballs Into Influence – NYTimes.com.

Southern American English, Y’all: It may be ok to say y’all!!  And I never thought that there was a distinct name for my language … Southern American English!

DISCUSSIONS of Texas often turn to an exploration of the American South’s most distinctive regional locution, “y’all.” The common view, among outsiders, is that insofar as “y’all” is from the region specified, it’s also a bit sub-literate and redneck.

That’s a bit snooty. The fact is that “y’all” is pretty useful, as formal English doesn’t have a distinctly plural version of “you.” There is no “yous” (except in places like New York city and New Jersey, sometimes in the form of “youse guys”). This suggests that the referent is usually clear enough in context. But the existence of “y’all,” the related “you-all” and “all-y’all,” and other workarounds like “you guys” and “you lot” show that there is, in fact, room in the market for new second-person plural pronouns. Visitors to Texas typically realize the value of “y’all” within 48 hours.

via Southern American English: Y’all hear this | The Economist.

Navy SEALs, Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert, Davidson College Alums:  Some Davidson friends and I were talking about the Navy SEALs the other night and one friend said that a classmate was head of the recruiting and training (Although he may be retired now.)  So I looked it  … learned a little about the SEALs, too.

In a courtyard known as the Grinder, more than 200 young men are well into a 90-minute, high-intensity workout. They’re dressed in white T-shirts and camouflage pants. A shirtless and heavily tattooed instructor shouts out orders. Other instructors pace up and down the aisles with megaphones — making sure that on push-ups elbows are bent past 90 degrees and chests are hitting the ground. These SEAL recruits are in the last week of “in doc” — the ramp-up to the first phase of formal SEAL training.

This is a scene that makes Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert very happy. He oversees the recruiting and training of future SEALs.

“For the first time in years, I’ve got a full class out there,” he says. “We don’t usually see that. In fact, we have so many people in the class, they’re competing to get into first phase. This is a problem we’ve always wanted.”

It’s especially good news for the SEALs now. The Pentagon wants the force of just over 2,000 SEALs to expand by 500 by the year 2010. Herbert says it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s not just a spigot you can turn on and off,” he explains. “From the day that a guy gets here to the day that I give the guy his trident — the seal insignia — takes 59 weeks minimum, if he makes it through the first pass.”

The SEALs hope this mentoring will help recruits make it through the program, but Captain Herbert says the force will not compromise its standards.

“If we compromise our standards,” he says, “we are putting our troops in jeopardy. We are putting our mission in jeopardy.”

Herbert says the SEALs’ work during wartime is dangerous enough as is. He won’t tell parents of SEALs not to worry. Instead, he says this: “I can promise you he’ll be the best-trained man on the battlefield, the best-led man on the battlefield, the best-equipped man on the battlefield. But ultimately, he’s on the battlefield, and war is an uncertain thing.”

Herbert will disclose nothing about what SEAL commandos are doing overseas. He’ll only say they’re making contributions that Americans would be proud of. To date, 18 SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

via Navy SEALs Seek to Build Up Their Ranks : NPR.

Draw a Stickman, websites, random:  As one blogger said … what a great way to waste time. 🙂

careers, happiness, kith/kin:  My dad always whistled when he came in from work … he was a pretty happy guy.  He was a stock broker/bond peddler … #9 on the list: financial services sales agents.

Your therapist’s happiness level rises when you visit her couch. Firefighters are delighted to help you get Kitty out of a tree. Sins to confess to your priest or minister? He’s tickled to hear them.

Psychologist, firefighter, and clergy are included in the list of the “10 happiest jobs” based on data collected via the General Social Survey of the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “Since experts say that social interaction drives job satisfaction, it makes sense that clergy are happiest of all,” Christian Science Monitor writes. “Social interaction and helping people [is a] combination that’s tough to beat for job happiness.”

This formula explains why teachers and physical therapists are on the list, but also included are autonomous, creative professions like author and artist, and labor-intensive jobs like operating engineer. “Operating engineers get to play with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors,” says the Monitor. And, “with more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, no wonder they are happy.” The full list follows:

1. Clergy

2. Firefighters

3. Physical therapists

4. Authors

5. Special education teachers

6. Teachers

7. Artists

8. Psychologists

9. Financial services sales agents

10. Operating engineers

Interestingly, many of the occupations that fall at the bottom of the job-satisfaction list involve information technology, which can create isolating work, notes Forbes:

1. Director of information technology

2. Director of sales and marketing

3. Product manager

4. Senior web developer

5. Technical specialist

6. Electronics technician

7. Law clerk

8. Technical support analyst

9. CNC machinist

10. Marketing manager

Where does your job fall on the happiness scale? Are you bolstered by the helping hand you extend to others or satisfied by what you create—or should you pack it all in and learn to drive a bulldozer?

via Whistle While You Work – The Sweet Pursuit – Utne Reader.

Apple, Samsung, competition, intellectual property:  Samsung … you look pretty stupid.

Consider the wall of apps in this photo of the company’s new shop-in-a-shop in Italy’s Centro Sicilia, which appears to feature not only the iOS icon for Apple’s mobile Safari browser, but the icon for the company’s iOS App Store — three instances of it.

Embarrassing, particularly given Apple’s allegations that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of its iPhone and iPad devices. It’s hard to imagine there’s a reasonable explanation for this. Samsung phones don’t support iOS apps and I can’t imagine Apple is making the company a version of Safari.

Now it’s possible this was a display left over from some other event or product, but still.

via What Are Apple’s Icons Doing on Samsung’s Wall of Apps? – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

Jennifer Ehle,  “A Gifted Man”,  “Pride & Prejudice”:  Love Jennifer Ehle … I will add “A Gifted Man” to my dvr record list.

Many viewers will forever associate Jennifer Ehle with her career-making role as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice, the sumptuous adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. But the 41-year old actress, the daughter of the actress Rosemary Harris and the writer John Ehle and now a mother of two, has been producing a steady body of work for both the stage and film, since she first donned a curly black wig to play Austen’s outspoken romantic heroine back in 1995. On Broadway, she won a Tony award in 2000 for The Real Thing and another in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia.

Recently, Ehle starred alongside her Darcy, Colin Firth, in The King’s Speech, though the two only shared one brief scene together; she played Lady Catelyn Stark in the original pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but departed the role before it went to series. This month, she’s in Steven Soderbergh’s big-budget germaphobe’s-worst-nightmare flick, Contagion, in which she plays a CDC scientist, and next month she’ll appear as the wife of George Clooney’s politician character in The Ides of March.

Ehle also stars in CBS’s new supernatural/medical/personal journey drama, A Gifted Man, created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and launching tonight. She plays Anna Paul, the ghost of a free clinic doctor on a mission to improve the character of her arrogant ex-husband, Michael (Patrick Wilson), a brilliant neurosurgeon who has lost his way.

The Daily Beast sat down with Ehle, and in these excerpts we discussed A Gifted Man, why she left Game of Thrones, attachment parenting, why she’s never recognized on the street, and ghost sex.

Why did you decide to do a weekly series now?

Jennifer Ehle: I never thought in a million years that I would do a weekly series. I met Jonathan Demme when I’d auditioned for him for Rachel Getting Married. It hadn’t worked out, but I knew he liked me. Without Patrick being attached to this and Jonathan directing it I don’t think I would have even read it or looked at it. Then I just sort of started taking baby steps because if they’re both seeing something in this then maybe what I see is not an illusion.

via Jennifer Ehle on ‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ Colin Firth – The Daily Beast.

New York City Ballet “Ocean’s Kingdom,” Sir Paul McCartney,  ballet, New York City Ballet, costume design,  Stella McCartney:  What a great father daughter collaboration.  Now I need to find a review of the performance … not that I know anything about ballet.

Sir Paul McCartney’s first ballet score has premiered in New York.

Peter Martins, master-in-chief of the New York City Ballet, said it has been one of the greatest collaborations in his career.

Speaking ahead of the premiere, he told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz that the musician was engaged in “every aspect” of the project.

The ballet, choreographed by Martins, tells the story of an underwater romance.

via BBC News – Sir Paul McCartney ‘delivered’ to the ballet world.

When Paul McCartney announced earlier this year that he would create an original score for the New York City Ballet’s “Ocean’s Kingdom,” he had the perfect costume designer in mind—daughter Stella McCartney! The limited-engagement ballet premiered last night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Stella McCartney, Ocean's Kingdom

Stella McCartney’s Ballet Costumes: See the Sketches! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

R.E.M, music:  Love  REM … might actually have to  buy the set … christmas gift for me?

Recently disbanded alt-rock legends R.E.M. will release their first career-spanning retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 on November 15th. Few details of the set have emerged, but Rolling Stone has confirmed that the compilation will include a handful of tracks recorded this year after the completion of the band’s final album, Collapse Into Now.

Though R.E.M. have released a handful of compilations and hits collections over the years, the material on those sets has always been divided between their IRS Records years, which covers the Chronic Town EP on through Document in 1987, and their Warner Bros. catalog, which includes all of their material from Green through Collapse Into Now. Part Lies, presumably a multi-disc set to cover the sheer volume of the band’s hits, will be the first collection to provide an overview of their entire body of work.

via R.E.M. to Release Career-Spanning Hits Set in November | Music News | Rolling Stone.

“The Problem We All Live With” ,  Norman Rockwell,  paintings, civil rights paintings, kudos:  Since I was only 4 at the time, I never thought about how controversial “The Problem We All Live With” was.  Kudos to Norman Rockwell for using his work to portray this.

With the eyes of the nation this week on civil rights, let’s turn our focus to a painting inspired by a Louisiana event that astonished America when it came out 46 years ago.

In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell, the well-known illustrator of iconic images of the American dream, unveiled the first of his civil rights paintings, “The Problem We All Live With.” It’s very likely you have seen this painting that debuted in a two-page spread in Look magazine. It’s very different from most of Rockwell’s work.

The painting shows a full-length profile of a young black girl in a white dress and tennis shoes on a sidewalk. She’s sandwiched between two pairs of federal marshals. You can’t see the full bodies of the marshals – just from their shoulders to their shoes. Scrawled on a wall that serves as the painting’s background is the nasty word, “Nigger.” Scratched at another place is “K.K.K.” The only vivid color in the piece, marked mostly by its muted grays, tans and yellows, is the carcass of a red tomato. It lay on the ground, splattered just below where it hit the wall.

“The Problem” is a simple, but remarkable work. North Carolina artist Kenneth W. Laird, who did his master’s degree thesis on this and other paintings, calls Rockwell’s piece “arguably the single most important image ever done of an African American in illustration history.”

via Rockwell painting nudged nation by Andy Brack | LikeTheDew.com.

 “All My Children”, soap operas, end of an era, UGA Law School:  41 years … great memory of watching all my children at lunchtime as a first year law student and rushing to get to Louisville to see if Jenny married ???

The long-running soap opera aired its final episode on Friday, ending the show’s 41-year run.

The finale finished with a cliffhanger: It ended with most of the show’s characters gathered at the Chandler house for a party. J.R. lurked outside with a gun and fired it when the screen went black.

Whether anyone was shot could still be revealed – ABC licensed the show to production company Prospect Park, which hopes to keep the show going online and on other “emerging platforms.”

The series, which debuted in 1970, featured Susan Lucci as villain Erica Kane, and helped launch the careers of actors including Kelly Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Melissa Leo, Amanda Seyfried, Mischa Barton, Christian Slater and Michelle Trachtenberg.

ABC announced it was pulling the plug on the show back in April, along with the soap opera “One Life to Live,” which will end its run in January.

via “All My Children” ends after 41 years – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

“Buffett Rule”, Warren Buffet, taxes, politics:

WHAT percentage of your annual income do you pay in taxes — as much as Warren Buffett’s secretary? If not, what is the likelihood that you will soon?

Wealthy investors and their advisers pondered these questions this week, after President Obama included the “Buffett Rule” in the budget plan he sent to Congress. The rule stipulates that people who make more than $1 million a year should pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-class Americans.

The prospects of the rule ever becoming law are poor — there is strong opposition to it among Republicans in Congress. But some variation is possible. And that prompted David Scott Sloan, co-chairman of private wealth services at the law firm Holland & Knight, to spend his lunch hour earlier this week trying to calculate how much Mr. Buffett’s secretary would have to make to pay a higher percentage of her income than one of the richest men in the world. Assistants to high-powered financiers often make six-figure salaries, which put them in a top tax bracket (and presumably out of the middle class).

But Mr. Sloan gave up. “It’s so nonsensical,” he said. “It’s not rich, poor. It’s source of income.”

As Mr. Buffett explained last month, “What I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.” His income comes mostly from his investments, which are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. His secretary is most likely paid a salary and bonus, which would be taxed as ordinary income, at a rate that goes as high as 35 percent.

Yet behind the entertaining political theater, some complicated tax questions are being raised. Here is a look at a few.

via ‘Buffett Rule’ Is More Complicated Than Politics Suggest – NYTimes.com.

dictionaries, words, culture:   Outrage?  Don’t ususally think of a dictionary as evoking such strong emotions.

But it was widely denounced for what critics viewed as a lax admissions policy: it opened its columns to parvenus like “litterbug” and “wise up,” declined to condemn “ain’t,” and illustrated its definitions with quotations from down-market sources like Ethel Merman and Betty Grable. That was reason enough for The Times to charge that Merriam had “surrendered to the permissive school” and that the dictionary’s “say as you go” approach would surely accelerate the deterioration already apparent in the language. In The New Yorker, Dwight Macdonald wrote that the editors had “made a sop of the solid structure of English,” and in an Atlantic article called “Sabotage in Springfield,” Wilson Follett called the Third a “fighting document” that was “out to destroy . . . every obstinate vestige of linguistic punctilio, every surviving influence that makes for the upholding of standards.” (The dereliction that most appalled Follett was the Third’s refusal to reject “that darling of the advanced libertarians,” the use of “like” as a conjunction.)

Gove was naïve to imagine that the dictionary could be purged of all subjective value judgments. Yet the Third wasn’t the radical manifesto critics made it out to be. Mmes. Merman and Grable notwithstanding, its three most frequently cited sources were Shakespeare, the Bible and Milton. And the editors insisted — quaintly, by modern lights — on including only words that had been documented in respectable venues. In a letter responding to the Times editorial, Gove pointed out that “double-dome” had been used by John Mason Brown and Alistair Cooke, and that “finalize” could be found in “highly reputable places” like The New Republic and The Times itself.

Still, the controversy signaled a turning point in Ameri­can attitudes about language. It introduced the words “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” into the cultural conversation, and fixed the battle lines for the ritualized squabble over standards that persists across media old and new. The keening indignation, the dire prophecies of imminent cultural disintegration — it’s easy to have the impression that little has changed over the past 50 years.

But the furor over Webster’s Third also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-­century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.

via When a Dictionary Could Outrage – NYTimes.com.

fads,  photo gallery, LIFE:  I really enjoy these LIFE photo galleries … What fads do you remember?  Duncan yo-yos …

Fads. They come and go. Some, like the hula hoop, have a kind of staying power, a certain quirkiness or kitsch that makes us love ’em even more as time goes on. Others definitely have their moment in the sun and then vanish, exiled to the cultural dustbin where so many pet rocks and beanie babies currently reside. In need of a fad refresher? Come take a scroll down memory lane.

via Freaky and Fabulous: A Tour of Fads – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Mitch Daniels, GOP/Republican Party, 2012 Presidential Election, politics:  There is still time …

Daniels, a leading voice within the GOP on the need for radical fiscal reforms in government, disappointed legions of activists by ruling out his own bid for president this year. In town through Tuesday to promote his new book, “Keeping the Republic,” Daniels said he is hoping his views can remain in the conversation and guide the nomination process.

In his remarks Friday, Daniels said he did not watch Thursday night’s GOP debate in Orlando, nor any of the debates, for that matter. It’s his way of dodging a question he’s constantly asked: what he thinks of the current field.

Daniels did say that he would support the GOP nominee, whoever it turns out to be, and he qualified his view that there’s still time for someone else to jump in by saying, “I didn’t say there was a need.”

via Mitch Daniels: There’s still time for more GOP hopefuls – The Washington Post.

college applications, application essay, advice:  Another approach to the essay …

Stanford University’s application for admission includes a prompt directing students to write a letter to their future freshman roommates. The exercise is a good one for all applicants – regardless of their interest in Stanford – as a fun, fresh jumping-off point in the essay writing process, Rebecca Joseph, a professor of education at California State University, said on Friday.

“It’s all about loosening up,” said Ms. Joseph, who was on a panel called “Communicating Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Essays,” part of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors conference in New Orleans.

She quoted various students’ “Dear Roommate” pieces:

“If you want to borrow my music, just ask. If you want to borrow my underwear, just take them.”

“I eat ice cream with a fork, and I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth just for the sour taste.”

“If you have anything other than a Dodgers poster on the wall, I will tear it down.”

“Using ‘I’ is scary,” Ms. Joseph said, but students must get comfortable with their first-person voice on paper in order to craft successful, resonant essays.

Erica Sanders, an admissions officer at the University of Michigan, stressed that writing style – something students may obsess over – is less important than “psychedelic” three-dimensionality and shows of authentic personality.

“We can fix that a student’s a comma fiend, that they don’t have verb-tense structure,” she said.

via Crafting an Application Essay That ‘Pops’ – NYTimes.com.

grammar, grammatical errors, lists:  Don’t want anybody to look dumb!

One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when blogging and writing web copy.

via Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb | Copyblogger.

alumni relations, technology:  

Alumni, analyzed: Collecting and analyzing data on alumni browsing habits—which newsletters they click on, how many times they visit the college’s Web site—can be a big help to fund raisers, write Peter Wylie and John Sammis on the CoolData Blog. They recommend that colleges push back against vendors who are reluctant to provide such data.

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), princess school, The Princess Diaries, movies:  Sounds a great deal like Kate Middleton is a real life Mia Thermopolis.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Kate Middleton (ahem, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), is getting some private briefings on Britain’s august national institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of shaking hands royal duties.

It’s been remarkably quiet for Middleton in recent weeks, since she and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, returned from their tour of Canada and the U.S. But behind the scenes, it transpires that experts in the areas of government, the arts and media have visited St James’s Palace to give the Duchess one-on-one tutorials.

A royal source said, “The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better and learning more about organizations such as the arts, the media and the government. It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately.”

NewsFeed was particularly taken by the notion that Middleton is “spending time carrying out private research of her own,” which one might call, you know, reading.

If this comes across as slightly extreme behavior, the Telegraph suggests that the Royal Family (or “The Firm,” as some refer to them) are keen to avoid the mistakes made in the case of William’s late mother, Princess Diana. According to the paper, she “told friends that no forethought had been given to her future role when she married the Prince of Wales, and that Palace staff ‘basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.'”

To that end, William insisted that a support network be established to guide his bride through the potential pitfalls of public life. We have no doubt that she’ll do just fine, and hope that if we’re ever a player short for a pub quiz team, the Duchess will be available to take part.

via A Royal Education: Kate Middleton Goes to Princess School – TIME NewsFeed.

 Coca-Cola, memorabilia, collecting, UNC-CH, exhibits:  I want to the Stonehenge!

Stephen and Sandra Rich’s collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia began with just a few serving trays.

Now an unknown number of pieces whose dates of origin span more than 100 years make up one of the largest private collections in the country.

The couple, both UNC alumni, will display a portion of their artifacts beginning tonight at the Love House and Hutchins Forum in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola.

Stephen Rich worked as an executive with the Coca-Cola Co. at its headquarters in Atlanta for 30 years.

As an Atlanta native, Rich said he inherited his collecting gene from his mother.

“What company better reflects our country and the south?” he said.

The couple’s memorabilia — including a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan holding a Coke, a 1904 oval plate of the St. Louis World’s Fair and a miniature model of Stonehenge with Coca-Cola products in place of rocks — is housed in their downstairs den.

Stephen said every piece has a story.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Coca-Cola memorabilia to be displayed on UNC campus.

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Sep
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9.24.2011 ‎… nice visit with Jimbo, Joni and Bob, and John … then off to Davidson to see Moneyball in it’s great movie theater and Moneyball was great …

Davidson NC, movie, places:  Davidson has a fun movie theater … worth the drive for a date night!  10 best new places, uptown and beyond – Our Town Cinemas

Moneyball, movies, baseball, music:  Moneyball was great fun … even had sentimental chick flick theme in the subplot.And I loved the daughter’s song …

When Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts attends home games at Wrigley Field, he spends part of the day hearing from fans who have endured more than a century without a World Series Championship.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than 1 million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday,starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane. Matthew Futterman on Lunch Break discusses how the book changed the game.

He must endure inevitable questions about “Moneyball,” Michael Lewis’s 2003 best seller about baseball’s statistical revolution. Fans used to ask owners when they’re going to trade for a starting pitcher; now they beg for a computer whiz to swoop in and save the franchise.

“It comes up all the time,” says Mr. Ricketts, whose family bought the Cubs two years ago. “The fans hope that the decisions made on the baseball side are made with the evidence at hand.” He doesn’t mind at all: he’s pushing for more such analysis himself.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than one million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday, starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane.

“Moneyball” allowed the business world to see sports in terms of strategic tools, especially in environments where resources are scarce and innovation becomes a requirement.

“It’s about how to price assets, and that’s something that’s germane whether you’re running Chrysler or Goldman Sachs or the Oakland A’s,” says George Will, the political columnist and author of the baseball book “Men at Work.”

Beyond that, “Moneyball” celebrated measurements at exactly the time when computers and simple programs were exponentially increasing the speed at which the educated working public could analyze data and hold everyone from second basemen to third-grade teachers accountable for their results.

John Challenger, principal of the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, remembers reading “Moneyball” for the first time, then going out and buying copies for each of his top managers. In his view, this was the first book to coherently address the issue of finding the key measurements that will help you run your business, the kind of data that a company like General Electric sought tirelessly for decades.

“People thought it was crazy,” Mr. Challenger said of GE’s approach. “Moneyball” gave everybody a way to understand and think about it, and everybody finally got it.”

via Baseball After Moneyball – WSJ.com.

Lenka – The Show (With Lyrics) – YouTube.

education, early achievers:   I have seen this happen … there must be a solution.

The study, “Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude?,” builds on a previous report from Fordham that suggests nationwide policies aimed at making schools more accountable for improving low-performing students’ achievement are hurting the brightest students. That 2008 report found that from 2000 to 2007, achievement for students who were the highest performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress was flat, while the lowest-performing students improved dramatically.

Unlike NAEP, which compares different cohorts of students, the MAP data analyzed for the Fordham study compared individual students with themselves.

The new study also found that while some high-achieving students faltered, other students developed into high performers as they got older, although those students were likely to have scored between the 50th and 80th percentiles in the first place. In addition, many of the initially high-achieving students whose test scores fell below the 90th percentile after a few years didn’t fall far. Many scored in the 70th percentile or higher years later.

Role of NCLB Law

The Fordham authors also acknowledge that the idea that all high-achieving students will remain that way indefinitely is “naive, … just as it’s naive to expect 100 percent of students to reach ‘proficient,’ ” which is the mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act. Signed into law in 2002, No Child Left Behind is the current version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Reauthorization of the ESEA is stalled in Congress. Later this week, President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a package of waivers that would give states wiggle room on some of the current law’s requirements.

via Education Week: Early Achievers Losing Ground, Study Finds.

knitting, Martha Stewart:   Some people compare knitting to yoga.  Maybe I will let Martha teach me to knit.

The Basics of Knitting

Learn how to knit your own mittens, hats, scarves, and more. Here we take you through the step-by-step instructions and teach you how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off.

There are two basic knitting styles, the English method and the German/Continental method, but the only real difference lies in how the yarn is held.

With the English method, the working yarn is held in the right hand; with the German/Continental method, it is held in the left. While both methods produce equally fine results, here we use the German/Continental method.

via The Basics of Knitting – How to Knit – Knitting – MarthaStewart.com.

“Le Lac Annecy”,  Paul Cezanne, painting, art, Talloires FR:  I was thinking about Talloires last night and researched Cezanne’s painting.  Learned something new …

Richard Verdi (in Cézanne) has described this painting, simple in form but highly complex in its prismatic colours, ‘with no two strokes of blue or green appearing exactly the same in size hue or direction’. Verdi notes, for example, that ‘while house and château on the distant shore are clearly delineated, the landscape around them appears in an inchoate state, as though still awaiting further resolution.’ This illustrates a general feature of the artist’s approach: rather than distinguishing foreground from background through the degree of detail applied to forms, Cézanne concentrated attention on objects at different points in space. While Cézanne saw in this his difficulty in realizing the full complexity of nature, the result was paintings that have ‘an unparalleled vitality and lay bare the formative process of painting as few other works of art do.’

via Some Landscapes: Lac d’Annecy.

Twitter, restaurants, foodies, Zagat:  Zagat, you are crazy … who is going to follow 140 restaurants and foodies.

Not sure who to follow in the foodie Twitterverse? Check out our indispensable guide to 140 must-read accounts, including chefs, food media and restaurants.

via Who to Follow on Twitter: 140 Restaurants and Foodies | Zagat.

food trucks: I only know of one food truck in Charlotte, and it is not crazy-looking.  Like pop-up stores, we are just not on the cutting edge.  🙂

Some food-truck proprietors have gone beyond the norm with design, creating totally wacky vehicles from which to dole out their grub. And we don’t just mean a friendly coat of paint or a cute awning – some sport elaborate murals and sculptures, and one even resembles the animal served on its menu.

via The 8 Craziest-Looking Food Trucks | Zagat.

foursquare, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, social networking:   OK … Still want to know why I would use foursquare???  What does KK doughnuts get …

All of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s Tips

Here are all of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s insider Tips. Whip up a List of the best ones, so you can experience the world through their eyes.

via foursquare :: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts :: Tips.

Eve’s Diary, book, Mark Twain, Banned Books Week:  I wonder if our public library has any banned books?

Trustees of the Charlton Public Library lifted the 1906 ban earlier this week of “Eve’s Diary,” Twain’s satirical version of the Adam and Eve story, said Cheryl Hansen, the library’s director.

Two paperback copies were made available at the library in central Massachusetts on Thursday and, within hours, one of them was in a reader’s hands, she said.

“I think there’ll be a lot of interest in taking it out,” Hansen added, saying the unanimous vote to lift the ban came just in time for Banned Books Week, which begins on Saturday.

A library trustee learned about the ban from a local newspaper article and last year tracked down a first edition of the book, which will be on display through next week, she said.

via Library lifts 1906 ban on Mark Twain book | Reuters.

Palestine, U.N. Statehood Bid, 2012 Presidential Election, foreign affairs:   This really is going to be the 2012 Presidential Election foreign affairs issue.

Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the U.N. Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of troubled negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would re-energize their quest for an independent homeland.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hands over a formal letter for Palestine to be admitted as a state to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Earlier in the week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed an intense, U.S.-led effort to sway him from the statehood bid, saying he would submit the application to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as planned.

“We’re going without any hesitation and continuing despite all the pressures,” Mr. Abbas told members of the Palestinian diaspora at a hotel in New York on Thursday night. “We seek to achieve our right and we want our independent state.” Shortly before noon on Friday, Mr. Ban’s spokesman tweeted, “President Abbas just handed the Palestinian application to the Secretary-General UNSG.”

In his letter to Mr. Ban accompanying the application, Mr. Abbas asked the U.N. chief to immediately forward the request for full U.N. membership to the Security Council and the General Assembly, according to a top aide. The General Assembly will likely be asked to approve a more-modest status upgrade if the bid in the council founders as expected.

via Palestinians Submit U.N. Statehood Bid – WSJ.com.

Wall Street Banks, BofA:  I am getting tired of words like “bruising.”  I can’t tell you how much this thrills me … “Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.”

Third-quarter revenue expectations at six big U.S. banks—Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman and Morgan—have fallen 7% since midyear, according to analysts surveyed by data provider FactSet Research Systems. That is the biggest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The banks’ pain has widespread implications on Wall Street and across the country. Weaker banks will likely lend less, pressuring an economy already flirting with recession. Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.

via Wall Street Banks Taking a Bruising – WSJ.com.

Cure Bad Breath,  YouTube, marketing, Wal-Mart:   OK, I might check out  “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?”  🙂

Can a YouTube video bring in big business? If it goes viral, it just might.

On Tuesday, Provo, Utah-based Orabrush Inc. announced its flagship product – a tongue cleaner – would be carried in 3,500 of Wal-Mart Inc.’s 3,800 U.S. stores thanks to a social-media campaign launched two years ago.

[SBtongue1]

Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, Jeffrey Harmon, (left) and Robert Wagstaff, the company’s founder, watch YouTube videos.>

Orabrush initially marketed its tongue cleaners directly to consumers with a TV infomercial in mid-2008, according to founder Bob Wagstaff, who invented the product. But the strategy didn’t perform well.

“We spent $40,000 on it and sold practically nothing,” says the 76-year-old, who next cold-called several large retailers, asking them to carry the product, to no avail.

Unsure why his efforts failed, Mr. Wagstaff approached a marketing professor at Brigham Young University about his dilemma. The professor agreed to let Mr. Wagstaff solicit students for suggestions on how to get the word out. One student suggested creating a YouTube video and volunteered to take up the task. Mr. Wagstaff accepted the offer, which resulted in a comedic two-minute video that cost about $500 to make. It quickly went viral and a series of related videos also made by the same student, now Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, followed soon after.

Today, the company has its own YouTube channel that boasts more than 39 million views and 160,000 subscribers, who get alerts whenever a new video is posted to it. The channel, called Cure Bad Breath, is the third most popular YouTube channel behind OldSpice (No. 1) Apple (No. 2), according to Vidstax.com, a Web-analytics firm. Orabrush also has nearly 300,000 fans on Facebook, which the company uses to promote its videos.

Cure Bad Breath features 88 original shorts, all comedies, with titles like “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?” The company’s more recent videos are slicker than the originals and cost more to produce — between $3,000 and $5,000, says Orabrush’s CEO, Jeff Davis. Most of the actors in them are college students and recent graduates, which are also the company’s biggest customers.

Wal-Mart didn’t base its decision to stock the tongue cleaner on Orabrush’s YouTube popularity, says Tara Raddohl, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, but she notes the company’s YouTube videos likely raised its profile among consumers.

via How a Start-Up Landed Shelf Space at Wal-Mart – WSJ.com.

physics, light speed limit,  Albert Einstein, 1905 special theory of relativity: Just when we think we understand the world  ” … appears to violate the laws of nature as we know them.”

Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said Friday they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

Hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at one of the world’s foremost laboratories on the Swiss-French border to hear how a subatomic particle, the neutrino, was found to have outrun light and confounded the theories of Albert Einstein.

“To our great surprise we found an anomaly,” said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team.

An anomaly is a mild way of putting it.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity. The speed of light — 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) — has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.

The team — a collaboration between France’s National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory — fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy.

They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That’s sixty billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register.

Physicists not involved in the experiment have been understandably skeptical.

Alvaro De Rujula, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva from where the neutron beam was fired, said he blamed the readings on a so-far undetected human error.

If not, and it’s a big if, the door would be opened to some wild possibilities.

The average person, said De Rujula, “could, in principle, travel to the past and kill their mother before they were born.”

But Ereditato and his team are wary of letting such science fiction story lines keep them up at night.

“We will continue our studies and we will wait patiently for the confirmation,” he told the AP. “Everybody is free to do what they want: to think, to claim, to dream.”

He added: “I’m not going to tell you my dreams.”

via Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet – WSJ.com.

NBA lockout, Steph Curry:  What is bad for the NBA is good for Davidson … the longer the lockout, the closer Steph is to a Davidson degree.

The NBA postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games Friday because it has not reached a new labor deal with players.

All games from Oct. 9-15 are off, the league said. Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.

NBA.com’s schedule page, which has a banner across the top listing the number of games on each day, was changed Friday morning to read “0 Games” for each date until Oct. 16, when there are four games.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The cancellations were expected after the latest meeting between owners and players Thursday ended without a collective bargaining agreement. Both sides still hope the entire regular season, scheduled to begin Nov. 1, can be saved.

The NBA has lost games to a work stoppage only once, when the 1998-99 season was reduced to a 50-game schedule.

via NBA postpones camps, cancels 43 preseason games – ESPN.

Davidson College, vandalism,  community bike program, honor code:  Very disappointing … you would think Davidson would be the perfect place for a community bike program.

The system was convenient for those who did not have bikes on campus, or who were unexpectedly running late to class. They were also a pleasant surprise to many, who found them sitting outside their dorm, the library, the Union or on Chambers lawn. The bikes did not have to be locked up or left in a secure location, which made them extremely convenient.

Of course since the bikes were limited in number, completely public and in high demand, they were never in one place for long. This inconvenience aside, the program was in place for many years here, and many other campuses across the country maintain similar programs.

Why was such a useful and popular program discontinued? Unfortunately, it appears that the strong Davidson sense of honor and responsibility wavered when it came to these bikes.

“They were stolen, damaged and some were even thrown off of buildings,” Jeannie Kinnett ’12 said. “Since there were no repercussions for damaging them, and no way to ensure their maintenance, the Activities Tax Council decided that funding them this year would not be worth it since they would be trashed anyway.”

There were efforts by Davidson Outdoors and other organizations to improve student treatment of the bikes, but this was largely ineffective. They were being damaged and stolen faster than they could be repaired or replaced.

“I once found one on the side of the road on Main Street,” Samanvitha Sridhar ’14 said. “I tried to ride it, but the tires were completely deflated, so I fell. It was pretty awful, and after that, I avoided the bikes because they all seemed to be in bad condition or broken.” One bike was even found in a drug bust.

Though Davidson students take great pride in their honor code, it is difficult to enforce any sort of regulation on the treatment of public property that changes hands on an hourly basis. Ironically, the program’s initial success was due to the honor code, which has now become its downfall.

Many students are not happy about the end of the program. “While I understand why the decision was made to end the community bikes program, I think that it was a useful resource for many students and I’m sad to see it go.” Denton Baird ’14 said.

Perhaps one day the community bikes program will be reinstituted, perhaps not. Either way, it brings to light the fact that, though the Honor Code is a source of pride for every Davidson student, when tested at least a few students take advantage of the benefits it affords. Our community is also accessible to a wider public that does not share our mutual pact.

via Theft, vandalism kill community bike program – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Duke Energy, green energy:  Buying energy or energy credits … very complicated.

Carolinas is seeking bids from companies that produce power from wind projects to sell the electricity and credits to Duke to help it meet state renewable-energy requirements.

Duke filed its long-range power-generation plan with state regulators this month. The plan calls for an increased reliance on wind power in the early years of the 20-year plan. About 12% of the renewable energy Duke provides by 2015 is expected to come from wind projects.

This is the first request Duke has made for bids from wind producers since filing that plan. The company says that power or credits will have to come from projects 50 megawatts to 300 megawatt in size. And the proposals must offer a minimum of 60,000-megawatt hours annually.

via Duke Energy asks for bids to sell wind power – Charlotte Business Journal.

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Sep
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9.23.2011 … ‎lucky me … i get to take two dogs and a cat to the vet and its pouring … cat is MIA right now … and nightime viewing …‎… watched The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) … Why are old movies so slow?

pets, Armstrong Animal Clinic, followup:  It’s a good thing I love my pets and my vets … all animals are healthy … but the bill was $779!  I am getting pet insurance on my next pets.  And why are we talking about adding another to the pack??? Shout out to the best vets in Charlotte … the Drs. Williston at Armstrong Animal Clinic.  We have been seeing them for 26 years … Thank you for great vet care.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), movies, old movies: Why are old movies so slow? Did we not think they were slow way back when?

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Poster

1966 Nominated Oscar

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Richard Burton

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen, Ted Marshall, Josie MacAvin

via The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) – Awards.

Jenna Huff , Deb Guthmann, high school sports, high school cross-country, sportsmanship, kudos, NC:  sometimes you just need a feel good story.  Kudos to Jenna and Deb!

Eleven months ago, a spontaneous act of good sportsmanship at a girls’ cross country meet in Salisbury transformed a simple race into something bigger.

The ripples from that moment keep widening. Tonight, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jenna Huff is scheduled to receive a national sportsmanship award from the U.S. Olympic Committee for what she did for Deb Guthmann.

They were bound together last Halloween morning at a regional meet, where Jenna trailed Deb for all but the final few yards of the 3.1-mile race.

As the two approached the finish line – behind the race leaders but well ahead of the majority of runners – Deb still led Jenna.

Then something awful happened. Deb’s right hip basically tore apart. She screamed in pain and stopped.

Jenna had never met Deb and had been taught to pass every runner she could no matter the circumstances.

Instead, Jenna stopped and helped.

“C’mon,” Jenna said she told Deb. “We’re going to run, and we’re going to do it now.”

Jenna took Deb’s left elbow with her right hand and helped her jog the last few yards of the race. Then, at the finish line, she pushed Deb in front of her, reasoning Deb would have beaten her anyway if not for the injury. That act helped Deb’s Waxhaw Cuthbertson team win the regional race and advance to the state meet.

via Act of sportsmanship one that keeps drawing praise | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

death penalty, last meals request, cookbooks, random:  The main part of this story is that Texas Prisons ended special last meals because the inmates facing execution were being unreasonable.  Nothing funny there.  However, I just had to laugh at the last paragraph …

A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”

via Special Last Meals: Texas Prisons End Special Last Meals For Inmates Facing Execution.

cohabiting, culture:  Twenty plus years ago a special friend asked her girlfriends what we thought if her boyfriend moved in with her.  We all twenty-somethings told her the world judges women harsher than men, but that we would not judge her negatively because we knew her. He moved in … and pretty soon they got married and had three kids … happy ending.  This article strikes a chord ….

Is a Bad Idea For Some.

But if you are a young adult who thinks you might want to have kids one day and maybe even get married but you aren’t sure that your current sweetie’s The One, please don’t move in with him or her.

I can hear the grumbling; “How will I know if we’re compatible or not if we don’t live together?” Easy — you know because you’ve spent enough time together as a couple. If you really don’t know if you can live with his smelly socks in the hallway or her panties hanging in the bathroom, then you either haven’t known each other long enough or you haven’t been paying attention. In either case, you’re just not ready to marry. Please, date some more.

Couples rarely split up over socks and underwear; they split because of affairs, alcohol, addictions and abuse. They split because their expectations of marriage differ. And they split because they never should have been together in the first place — probably because they moved in together to see if they could live with the socks and panties while they were ignoring other, much bigger issues.

So what’s so wrong with living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s forget the studies pointing out the booze (cohabitors drink more), weight (they’re heavier) and happiness (they’re not quite as happy as married couples but they aren’t more miserable, either), because those aren’t the issues. Nor are the results of the latest NMP study, “Why Marriage Matters,” which predicts doom and gloom for the children of cohabiting couples. The NMP has an agenda; it wants to promote marriage. Still, even a recent and presumably agenda-less Pew Study finds similar results, at least when it comes to cohabiting couples’ economic well-being; they’re poorer, and that puts stress on a relationship. A lot of stress.

As a society, we need to pay attention because there are 12 times as many cohabiting couples today as there were in the 1970s.

The real problem with cohabiting is that many couples who enter into it don’t give it a lot of thought; it’s one of those “just kind of happened” things. You like him, he likes you and a few months later you’re jamming your stuff into his closets. And those are the couples who, if they end up “sliding into marriage,” as research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver Scott Stanley would call it, are more likely to divorce at some point.

Commitment is a decision. And if cohabitation is being offered as a replacement to marriage — as the Alternatives to Marriage Project and many sociologists and family psychologists see it — then a little more thought about it needs to happen, especially if you know you want to have kids one day.

For Linda Lea Viken, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that would mean a cohabitation agreement. Even if a couple doesn’t end up signing one, at least they’ve been thinking about things like property, spending, saving and — this is a big one — expectations. If you can have unrealistic expectations in a marriage, you can have them living together, too.

Of course, none of this matters if we’re talking about two child-free adults who live together and then split. It’s just a heck of a lot worse if there are kids involved — his kids, her kids, their kids. According to the ATMP, 40 percent of the first babies of single mothers are actually born to cohabiting couples. And some 42 percent of kids will have lived in a cohabiting household before they turn 12 years old.

Still, no one’s pushing for marriage (well, except the NMP), but it you want to live with someone happily and for the long haul you really do need to be committed, especially if you have or want kids. “To me, the biggest issue is commitment not marriage,” says psychologist Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. “A lot of people are opting not to marry, but I wonder what is the context in which you have a child.”

For our most famously cohabiting couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the context seems clear. As Jolie said when asked if she and Pitt will grow old together, “Of course; we wouldn’t have six children if we weren’t absolutely sure of that.”

No one can ever definitively know if a relationship will last, whether married or not. But making a conscious decision to start off that way sure helps.

via Vicki Larson: Why Cohabiting Is a Bad Idea For Some.

Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It, children’s/YA literature:  I loved Siverstein’s poetry with my kids …. and now he has a post mortem (11 years) new book!

Every Thing On It, published eleven years after Shel Silverstein’s death, arrived yesterday. Homework was instantly abandoned. The Girl Who Hates To Read simply had to dive into this collection of 139 poems.

This speaks volumes.

Shel Silverstein’s books are said to be for children 9 to 12. Nonsense. We started reading him when The Girl Who Hates To Read was six, and now we have the full collection. Only Roald Dahl comes close — and he’s a distant second.

What is Silverstein’s appeal?

Simple: He’s not full of the mealy-mouth bullshit that used to pass for children’s books. Starting way back in the ’60s — when Ozzie and Harriet values were finally starting to wither and die everywhere but in kids’ books — he talked to kids with respect. He thought they were smart. And creative. And they needed to be encouraged, not sedated.

via Jesse Kornbluth: Hey, Kids! A Decade After His Death, Shel Silverstein Has a New Book.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry:  I learned a lot from this analysis using debate team analysis as the basis.  Without this new understanding, I agree, anyway:  timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it.

In any debate, contestants must make decisions given their limited amount of time to speak. On Thursday night, Rick Perry made the wrong ones. The Texas governor came across as forced and all over the place — awkward, unsure, with no clear strategy for how to answer questions or when he should go on attack. At one point he tried to fit three attacks on his nearest challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, into one sentence.

In short, Perry misused his time.

Academic competitions set rules and speaking times, and the debate teams I coach cannot change them. Debaters must make argumentative decisions about what they need to say to win. You have to pick and choose your best argument and stick with it. You should have a theme, limit your attacks, clarify your positions. In the presidential debates, the candidates must also do so.

As we have learned by now, these debates are a bit stacked. Front-runners Romney and Perry get more questions, making the job harder for the other candidates. They have to win over voters with less speaking time. Some did well with their limited time at the Florida/Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, others not so much.

via Timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, illegal immigration:

My friend Gov. Perry said if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don’t have a heart,” Romney said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.”

via TRENDING: Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney:  I found this review helpful …

Reporters look at five moments from the debate in Orlando, Fla., and their importance going forward in the Republican race.

via The Caucus | Key Moments From the Debate – Video Library – The New York Times.

2012 Presidential Election, President Obama, Israel, analysis:  Israel is becoming the  key foreign affairs issue … so far neither party is looking very good … “As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.”

A small secret. In writing about the White House or Congress, I always feel completely free to attempt to see things clearly, to consider the evidence, to sift it through experience and knowledge, and then to make a judgment. It may be highly critical, or caustic, even damning. But deep down I always hope I’m wrong—that it isn’t as bad as I say it is, that there is information unknown to me that would explain such and such an act, that there were factors I didn’t know of that make bad decisions suddenly explicable. Or even justifiable.

I note this to make clear the particular importance, for me, of Ron Suskind’s book on the creation of President Obama’s economic policy, “Confidence Men.” If Mr. Suskind is right, I have been wrong in my critiques of the president’s economic policy. None of it was as bad as I said. It was much worse.

The most famous part of the book is the Larry Summers quote that he saw it as a “Home Alone” administration, with no grown-ups in charge. But there’s more than that. Most of us remember the president as in a difficult position from day one: two wars and an economic crash, good luck with that. But Mr. Suskind recasts the picture.

Mr. Obama isn’t as resilient as a Bill Clinton, with his broad spectrum of political gifts and a Rasputin-like ability to emerge undead in spite of the best efforts of his foes. His spectrum of political gifts is more limited. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

But consider what happened this week in New York.

Mr. Obama’s speech Wednesday at the United Nations was good. It was strong because it was clear, and it was clear because he didn’t rely on the thumping clichés and vapidities he’s lately embraced. When the camera turned to the professionally impassive diplomats in the audience, they seemed to be actually listening.

“It has been a remarkable year,” he said: Moammar Gadhafi on the run, Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed, Osama bin Laden dead. “Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be.” Technology is putting power in the hands of the people, history is tending toward the overthrow of entrenched powers. But “peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart.”

On the Mideast conflict: “The people of Palestine deserve a state of their own.” But the proposed U.N. statehood resolution is a “shortcut” that won’t work: “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.” Peace can be realized only when both parties acknowledge each other’s legitimate needs: “Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.” Friends of the Palestinians “do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”

“I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress,” the president said. “So am I.” All in all, it was a measured statement at a tense moment. It was meant to defuse tensions, to cool things down.

Contrast it with the words of Rick Perry, who zoomed into New York to make his own Mideast statement the day before the president’s speech. The Obama administration’s policy, the Texas governor said, amounts to “appeasement.” It has encouraged “an ominous act of bad faith.” We are “at the precipice of such a dangerous move” because the Obama administration is “arrogant, misguided and dangerous.” “Moral equivalency” is “a dangerous insult.”

This was meant not to defuse but to inflame. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Perry that when you are running for president you have to be big, you have to act as if you’re a broad fellow who understands that when the American president is in a tight spot in the U.N., America is in a tight spot in the U.N. You don’t exploit it for political gain.

Perry competitor Rick Santorum responded: “I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” he told Politico. Mr. Perry “has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’artez likened Mr. Perry’s remarks to “a pep rally for one of Israel’s right-wing politicians, and a hard-liner at that,” adding that the governor “adopted the rhetoric of Israel’s radical right lock, stock and barrel.”

I’d add only that in his first foreign-policy foray, the GOP front-runner looked like a cheap, base-playing buffoon.

As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.

via Amateur Hour at the White House – WSJ.com.

“The Good Wife” , tv, culture, gender issues, monogamy:  I don’t really like tv’s portrayal of our culture … “there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.”

Are men meant to be monogamous?

Alan Cumming from “The Good Wife” says there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.

via Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Morgan Freeman, President  Obama, race relations, politics, Tea Party:  Makes you think … I personally had hoped Pres. Obama’s election would be a great leap forward for the U.S.

Morgan Freeman, in an interview to be aired on CNN Friday evening, says that President Obama has made racism worse in America.

Chatting with Piers Morgan, the Oscar-winning actor also blames the Tea Party saying they’re “going to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

via Morgan Freeman: Obama Made Racism Worse, Tea Party Will Do ‘Whatever [It] Can To Get This Black Man Outta Here’ | NewsBusters.org.

Troy Davis, capital punishment, understatement, GA:  “Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.”  SETTLED!  Talk about effective use of understatement.

The idea that if you do wrong you get what’s coming to you animates Westerns and crime fiction, both distinctly American genres; small wonder it should find fertile political ground too. But here’s the thing: life is not a movie or a novel. Reality has no obligation to provide us with a clear narrative or villain, and it rarely does.

Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.

Speaker after speaker harped on the same two points, one sound and one largely but not wholly irrelevant. The former, of course, concerned the injustice of the death penalty and the large amount of doubt concerning Mr Davis’s guilt. He was effectively killed on the word of nine people, seven of whom changed their minds. Reports said that Georgia’s parole board, which denied Mr Davis clemency on Monday, split 3-2 on that decision. Eyewitness testimony is profoundly unreliable; that it, and only it, was used to kill someone is unjust on its face and sets a terrible precedent.

The largely irrelevant point concerned the large numbers of supporters Mr Davis had around the world. We were told that rallies were held in Europe and across America, that hundreds of thousands of people had signed petitions, that death-penalty supporters such as Bob Barr and William Sessions (a former Georgia congressman and a former FBI director) and luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and the pope all opposed Mr Davis’s execution. But the problem with Georgia’s decision to kill Mr Davis is not that it’s unpopular; it’s that it was wrong.

When it was all over, Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Church, where Martin Luther King preached, said, “This is one of those moments when the nation is called to examine itself and ask, ‘Is this who we are?'” It seems that it is, alas.

via Capital punishment: A death in Georgia | The Economist.

President Obama, Jobs Bill, ” A Bridge To Nowhere”, 2012 Presidential Election:  Is the jobs bill nothing more than a first swing at the 2012 election … “This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.”

“It’s a short-lived fix,” he says. “I mean, the guys will be working on the bridge for a couple years, and then they’re out of work again.”

The truth is, construction on the Brent Spence Bridge would not begin right away even if the bill passes tomorrow. The White House says it never claimed this project was shovel-ready. One reason it was chosen was its political symbolism.

The Brent Spence connects House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky. On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell said it would be great to fix this bridge, but the president’s jobs bill won’t get it done.

“Don’t patronize us by implying that if we pass the second stimulus, that bridges will get fixed right away,” McConnell said. “The American people heard the same thing when the administration was selling the first stimulus.”

But small-business owner Jeffrey McClorey says the first stimulus really helped this community. He runs Bromwell’s Fireplace and Art Gallery, which calls itself the oldest business in Cincinnati. He says the first stimulus helped spur a mixed-use condo development along the river, called The Banks.

“There’s 300 new families living down at The Banks, and more coming. And those people are buying products from me and other people downtown and in the region,” McClorey says. “And it also benefits and helps to repopulate the city center, which I think is very important.”

This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.

via Obama’s Jobs Bill Pitch: A Bridge To Nowhere? : NPR.

“How I Met Your Mother”, tv, Katie Holmes,  “Slutty Pumpkin”, random, LOL:  OK, I watch some shows because my kids watch them.  I admit I have grown to love “How I Met Your Mother” and look forward to Season 7 and Katie Holmes as the “slutty pumpkin.”

Shockers abound in Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother.”

Just days after the season premiere return of Season 1’s cupcake girl, Victoria (Ashley Williams), the identity of the elusive “Slutty Pumpkin” has been revealed.

First reported by Vulture, the elusive character first mentioned in Season 1 will appear this year in the form of Katie Holmes.

“Katie is a lovely and talented actress,” co-creator Craig Thomas tells Vulture, “which is why we’ve saved for her perhaps the most classily named character in our show’s history.”

“The Slutty Pumpkin,” also the name of the series’ sixth episode, was a potential love interest Ted (Josh Radnor) met at a 2001 Halloween party and never saw again. She’s since been mentioned several times — and cannot possibly be the mother.

via ‘How I Met Your Mother’ revelation: Katie Holmes is the ‘Slutty Pumpkin’ – chicagotribune.com.

Michael Warner, public lectures, UNC-CH, evangelical Christianity: ” Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.”

When one thinks of evangelical Christianity, “nation-shaping” is not the first concept to come to mind.

But Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.

Warner defined evangelicalism as a “transnational movement” that focuses on converting strangers. The movement is loud and unafraid to adapt to technology, he said.

He focused on the rise of evangelical Christians as a “counter public” in America from the late 18th century until the mid-1970s, which he claimed was the turning point for modern evangelicalism.

He discussed early American evangelical publications created for the purpose of converting readers, including “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon delivered in the 1740s by theologian Jonathan Edwards.

“The idea of evangelicalism follows the assumption that a reading of these texts anywhere by anyone leads to a conversion,” Warner said. “To read it is to imagine a spectacular conversion happening somewhere.”

“Free speech created a very special kind of culture,” he said.

Many students attended as part of their “Introduction to Fiction” class, said John Weeks, a junior psychology and political science double major.

“The religious discussion relates to the theme in the book we’re studying, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle,” said Tara Jeffries, a freshman journalism major.

“I enjoyed the references to American history and how the Puritanical religious views shaped the country,” Jeffries said. “His analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon and the way he deconstructed it were especially interesting.”

The lecture was part of the Critical Speaker Series of UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Yale professor lectures on social importance of evangelical Christianity.

Silent Sam, public monuments, Real Silent Sam movement, UNC-CH, history, traditions:  I clipped about silent Sam before.  It is difficult … should it go … I will say I was very moved by The Unsung Founders Memorial.  I am interested to see how this plays out.  My opinion is that it should stay and be a reminder of a history that you cannot deny … but be a discussion point.

0919_silentsam_sweeney

The statue in McCorkle Place has again sparked community-wide debate about the implications of having a monument to the Confederacy so prominently placed on campus.

But despite outrage from some, the monument has never been seriously threatened, at least during the past few decades.

Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said he has heard of no formal petition to remove the statue in his 31 years at the University.

On Sept. 1, a group called the Real Silent Sam movement, composed of concerned community members and students, held a protest to attract attention to the statue’s history.

Senior Will McInerney, a member of the movement, said the group wants to start a discussion about monuments with racist backgrounds.

University officials said they support the students’ right to protest the statue.

“I do fully support robust and earnest dialogue about this and similar issues, and I fully support student’s rights to raise this issue before the university community,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

About 10 years ago, University officials heard from a senior class that wanted to commemorate another aspect of UNC’s history.

The Unsung Founders Memorial — the stone table situated less than 100 yards away from Silent Sam — was erected in 2005 by the graduating class of 2002 in memory of enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the University.

David Owens, chairman of UNC’s building and grounds committee, said careful considerations were made about the placement of the Unsung Founders monument.

“Silent Sam was the second monument to be placed inside the sidewalks at McCorkle Place,” Owens said, adding that the first was the burial site for Joseph Caldwell, the University’s first president, who was also a slaveowner.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Real Silent Sam movement holds protest focused on statue’s history.

Sebastian Junger, Reynolds Lecture, Davidson College:  Great lecture … “He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: ‘And then there’s Congress.’”

His talk touched on themes recounted in his books “War,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.”

He describes his time embedded with an military unit in Iraq. We all almost died, he said. Soldiers come to know that “you die or survive because of a random set of circumstances. … It’s meaningless,” he said. “It really torments these guys.”

The horrors and meaninglessness of war create problems when veterans return. On the battlefield, they come to know brotherhood and loyalty. For brotherhood, he said, all that’s required is that you value others’ lives above your own. “It’s there in the platoon,” and soldiers know they all can be brave.

That accords them respect that is hard to find in civilian life, Mr. Junger said. In combat, “every 19 year old can be encased in all the respect he can ever want.”

Once back home, they miss that and find they lack the same sense of purpose. In response to a question after his talk, he said as a nation, our goal for veterans should be to make them feel necessary. “A hug is great,” he said, but we need to ensure they have a purpose.

He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: “And then there’s Congress.”

Mr. Junger also recounted the death of his friend, collaborator and photojournalist Timothy Hetherington, with whom he made the award-winning documentary “Restrepo,” about Afghanistan. After they appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony to received an award for the film, Mr. Hetherington headed off to cover the civil unrest in Libya. There, he was killed by a mortar shell.

As Mr. Junger mourned, a friend emailed him. Apologizing for being so blunt, he told Mr. Junger that he and Mr. Hetherington had come closer than most to capturing the meaning of war. “The central truth of war is not that you might die, it’s that you’re guaranteed to lose your brothers,” the friend wrote. Now you understand, the friend said.

via At Davidson, Junger talks about war and its meaning | DavidsonNews.net.

Freshman Cake Race, Davidson College, traditions, goats, followup:  A Davidson tradition is the freshman cake race … I just saw this and loved its creativity … someone made a kudzu eating goat cake!

Today’s Freshman Cake Race scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Baker Sports Complex has inspired people all over town. One of the college’s crack strategic planning analysts, Janet Werner, was so moved by the college’s summer goat story that she confected this decorative entry, complete with tiny goat on top of kudzu fondant:

Not Baaaad!

And irrepressible math prof Tim Chartier concocted a real Wildcat paw/M&M cake on his computer, then brought it to life in the kitchen.

via Daybook Davidson.

Davidson College,  first night down, college life, student life, traditions, change:  Change is hard .. What college tradition would you be upset about if the college changd or banned it?

In 2009, First Night Down was officially renamed the Opening of the Court. Related events were moved from a Friday to a Monday in an effort to deemphasize drinking and encourage Patterson Court houses to better present their unique qualities to first year students. These changes, however, failed to achieve their desired effect.

This year, administrators from Student Life and Patterson Court chose to completely eliminate First Night Down, a decision that also precipitated a new set of recruitment rules for Patterson Court organizations.

Students were informed of this change on Aug. 15 in an email from Patterson Court Council President Lee Dorsey ’12. Dorsey attributed the decision to a year-long conversation involving the Patterson Court Council, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Police, Counseling and Student Health Center, the Union and the Residence Life Office.

Dorsey stated in the email that the event had lost its original focus and needed to better maintain its primary purpose: “to provide first-year students a comprehensive and welcoming experience, and to favorably introduce the pillars of our Patterson Court organizations and the Patterson Court Council to the outside community.”

In eliminating a formal opening date, Dorsey said that they hoped to “diffuse a frequently stressful and intense environment.”

Current students have mixed feelings about the decision. Krista Catafago ’14, a member of the last class to have a First Night Down, said, “As a freshman, I kind of resented the first night down rule, but as a sophomore, I’m able to understand the reasoning behind it. That being said, I think including students from all years from the very beginning has made the court more fun.”

Ace Coumas ’14 felt more strongly about the loss of the tradition. “I wouldn’t have known my [freshman] hall as well as I do today had First Night Down not existed,” he said. Though Meg Shamburger, Patterson Court Advisor, previously told The Davidsonian that she felt students were more upset about the changes to recruitment than the elimination of First Night Down, Coumas disagreed.

“A tradition has been stripped from Davidson College. It is certainly different. Of all the changes that have been dropped on returning students this year, this is the one that I am most concerned about,” he said.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Anne Wills ’88, Associate Professor of Religion, also suggests that First Night Down may have meant more to recent classes. “As a historian, I would have to point to this occasion as yet another recent invention/innovation that has disguised itself as an ancient (or at least generations-old) tradition,” she said.

Though First Night Down may not have left as great an imprint on the memories of Davidson’s older graduates, the loss is more strongly felt among current students and recent alumni. This loss of tradition reflects the larger goals of the administration to overhaul Patterson Court culture. The measure is officially a “preliminary solution to a long-term concern,” though it remains to be seen what steps will be taken next.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

$16 Muffins, government waste,  Justice Department, oversight:  I am glad there were no $16 Muffins, but it does show you how we can get overhyped by phrases … and the bottom line is there is a lot of waste.

There was a whole host of over-priced items: $5 meatballs, $7.50 beef canapes, $8 coffees. But the sound-byte everyone took from the story was the $16 muffin.

Journalists and auditors arrived at the startling price when they discovered that 250 muffins at a hotel conference had cost the Department $4,200. Many were outraged, and pointed to the muffins as a prime example of governmental waste. Senator Chuck Grassley even said that whoever was responsible should be fired. Obama, for his part, seems to be complying. Obama Foodorama reports that POTUS has ordered a systematic review of all conference spending, and put Vice President Biden in charge of oversight.

It sounds like the new oversight is worth it; the government undoubtedly wastes a lot of money on catering and hospitality. But there’s a fantastic irony at the heart of the entire story. Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum has a great explanation of why the $16 muffins didn’t really cost $16. The calculation was based on the invoice price of the muffins — which included overhead and service charges for the use of the conference space.

UPDATE: Peter Yost of the Associated Press just wrote a story denouncing the idea of the $16 muffin as well; interviews with Hilton indicate that the apparent $16 price included free drinks, service and fruit. Here’s the full AP story:

via $16 Muffins, Which May Not Be Real, Get Justice Department In Trouble.

college search, virtual campus tours:  Anybody found these useful?

Virtual campus tours have been an active part of the higher ed web space for over a decade. Designed as the online sibling to the physical campus tour, they have the potential to reach prospective students and have a major impact on the recruitment process. Yet despite this great potential, the vast majority of virtual campus tours in existence today are disappointing, at best.

via Virtual Campus Tours | Higher Ed Live.

1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, history, Atlanta, followup:  I posted the anniversary of the Epositions’s opening a week ago.  I have always been fascinated it because my great-grandfather JJ Dennard, a Georgia state legislator, attended.  His ticket/pass with his photograph on it (remember 1895!) was always in a drawer in my grandparents home.  My sister has it now.  It just fascinated me.  So here is a little history for you.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
U.S. President Cleveland

The most ambitious of the city’s cotton expositions was staged in 1895. Its goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe. These objectives found expression in the official name of the event—the Cotton States and International Exposition. There were exhibits by six states and special buildings featuring the accomplishments of women and blacks. Also showcased was the latest technology in transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and other fields. Amusements such as the “Phoenix Wheel” and an early version of the motion picture were set up as part of a midway to attract visitors.

On opening day, September 18, military bands played, followed by speeches from political, business, and other leaders, including the prominent African American educator Booker T. Washington. In a speech that came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech and that was greeted enthusiastically by white advocates of the New South, Washington did not challenge

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

the prevailing ideas of segregation held by advocates of the New South; putting aside all claims to political power and social equality, he urged blacks to make progress as agricultural and industrial laborers. In spite of lavish promotion, fewer than 800,000 attended the three-month exposition, which was plagued by constant financial problems. The Cotton States Exposition did showcase Atlanta as a regional business center and helped to attract investment. Although most of the 1895 exposition’s buildings were torn down so that the materials could be sold for scrap, the city eventually purchased the grounds, which became the present-day Piedmont Park.

via New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cotton Expositions in Atlanta.

BofA,  Countrywide, bankruptcy, business ethics:  I am a big supporter of  Bank of America (my spouse has worded for BofA or a predecessor for his entire career).   But passing the Countrywide debacle off on the American people bothers me.  However, BofA took a huge hit with Merrill Lynch for the country … and has taken huge hits with countrywide already … Opinions?

The threat of a Countrywide bankruptcy is a “nuclear” option that Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan could use as leverage against plaintiffs seeking refunds on bad mortgages, said analyst Mike Mayo of Credit Agricole Securities USA. … “If the losses become so great, how can Bank of America at least not discuss internally the relative tradeoff of a Countrywide bankruptcy?” Mayo, who has an “underperform” rating on the bank, said in an interview. “And if you pull out the bazooka, you’d better be prepared to use it.”

via Report: Bank of America could consider Countrywide bankruptcy – Charlotte Business Journal.

Facebook, changes:  I do not get too upset about Facebook changes … but some pretty creative people do …

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Sep
11

9.22.2011 … in 1989 I experienced my only REAL natural disaster, Hurricane Hugo … we went 18 days with out electricity. It was amazing. … I cannot imagine dealing with flooding in addition to the immediate results of a massive storm.

Hurricane Hugo, natural disasters, kith/kin: in 1989 I experienced my only REAL natural disaster, Hurricane Hugo … we went 18 days without electricity, and a month without phone or cable.  It was amazing.  There was only fear for a few hours in the middle of the night … And afterwards we all emptied our refrigerators and cooked out.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  I cannot imagine dealing with flooding or repeated storms in addition to the immediate results of a massive storm.

On September 18, the hurricane was located a couple of hundred miles east of Florida when it began a more northward track, in response to a steering flow associated with a upper-level low pressure area that was moving across the southeastern United States. Hugo then began to strengthen again, and it reached a secondary peak at 1800 UTC on September 21 as a Category 4 hurricane. The maximum sustained winds were 140 mph (230 km/h), while the minimum central pressure was 944 millibars (27.9 inHg). On September 22 at 0400 UTC, Hugo made landfall on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, at his secondary peak as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The storm continued inland, and weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as the cloudy eye passed over Charlotte, North Carolina.

via Hurricane Hugo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

college search, advice:  Good advice here …

It doesn’t help, of course, that decisions about college are mind-numbingly complex to begin with. For starters, a college education is really a joint production between both the college and the student, so “fit” matters greatly. The best college for one student might be a nonstarter for another. Second, both the benefits and the costs, at least for the two-thirds of students who borrow, are extended over a long period of time, requiring a kind of investment perspective.

Moreover, investing in college is not something families deal with frequently, so learning from experience is hard. Reliable information is hard to come by, and decisions aren’t reversed easily or without cost; transfer is possible, but it’s often expensive and risky.

Even a rational planner armed with all available information would have a tough time making smart choices. Add in the foibles and frailties of real human beings, and it’s easy to see why the college search process results in so many bad decisions by so many families.

Being aware of cognitive biases—and taking steps to combat them—can help families make smarter choices. We can’t make the process simple or foolproof. But we can offer some observations and techniques to guard against the cognitive traps too many families fall into.

If parents understand more about the decision biases they share with the rest of the human race, they may be able to plan and save more effectively and to help their children make more constructive choices. They should actively question all of their assumptions and be open to planning, choosing and supporting their children even in ways that don’t immediately feel “right”—like taking on more debt for a higher-tier school.

Finally, there are two basic truths people should keep in mind. The college market is highly competitive. If families have a favored school, and a worthy rival offers a better deal, they shouldn’t hesitate to show the top-choice college their cost spreadsheet. The student-aid office may improve its offer.

And remember that for the great majority of students, the time spent in college, forgoing full-time work, has a bigger monetary value than the tuition they pay. To make the most of college, students have to choose the right place, find a course of study that motivates them, and put considerable time and energy into the learning process. Nothing matters more than using this valuable time well.

via Get Smart About College – WSJ.com.

adventure travel, migration watch, Tanzania, Kenya:  OK, I’m in … ” greatest wildlife show on earth.”

The trouble with animals is that they don’t read textbooks. Take those capricious wildebeest, the mainstay of Africa’s famous migration, the year-long circular movement of animals that has been dubbed the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Right now, as I write, they should have passed through the Serengeti in Tanzania and be milling around the Masai Mara national reserve in south-west Kenya. A good number are where they are supposed to be, chewing the grass, emitting their curious grunting sounds, kicking up the dust, but down in the Serengeti, on the vast plains of the Singita Grumeti game reserves, there are thousands who seem to have taken one look at the Mara and decided that they prefer it in the Serengeti.

The migration is an awesome sight but you don’t have to be obsessive about catching it at its most spectacular. If you speak to the guides, they’ll tell you that their favourite time for game-watching is after the bulk of the migration has passed through.

“It’s as if the grass has just been mown,” says Russell Hastings, who spent several years as a guide in Singita Grumeti and now runs the enchanting Legendary Coffee Lodge (www.legendarycoffeelodge.com) in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. “You get these long, clear vistas enabling you to see game right across the plains.”

via Migration watch – FT.com.

famine, “collateral crisis” , Somalia, War on Terrorism:  “Collateral crisis” … read on ..

A mass exodus, an emptying of half a country, is an unprecedented, biblical event. What triggered it? The immediate cause was drought. Rains failed last October in East Africa, then again in April, and by early August the U.N. was putting the number of people at risk from hunger in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda at 12.4 million.

Southern Somalia was in famine. A full 2.8 million people, 63% of the region’s population, were either starving or at risk of it. The number of Somali children with severe acute malnutrition — near death — was 170,000; 29,000 had already died. Even those cataclysmic figures were probably underestimates. Iffthikar Mohamed, country director for Islamic Relief (which has staff inside the famine area, unlike the U.N.), said his teams found mortality and malnutrition rates at least twice as high. Senior relief managers tell TIME there is no chance of preventing 100,000 Somalis, perhaps more, from dying in the next few weeks.

How did this happen? Could it have been stopped? And how is it that millions of Somalis were so sure that no help was coming that they took their families on a death march across the desert? The answers reveal how a war between Islamic militants and the U.S. and its allies led directly to human catastrophe.

via Collateral Crisis in Somalia: How the War on Terrorism Created a Famine – TIME.

ACC, college football, college sports:  I honestly don’t like these bigger conferences … they lose their local connection.  Just my opinion.

In a development that happened with incredible speed, the ACC announced Sunday morning that it is extending formal membership to Pittsburgh and Syracuse, creating the first 14-team BCS conference.

The news came barely 24 hours after it was first reported that the schools had applied for ACC membership.

“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

We’ll have more on the ACC’s huge news after this morning’s ACC teleconference, which I’ll be following on the Terps Insider Twitter feed. It starts at 9:30.

via ACC extends formal invitation to Pittsburgh and Syracuse – Terrapins Insider – The Washington Post.

Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast, bookshelf, Lee Stoffel, FPC, quotes:  Dr. Stoffel wrote Believing … (after he left FPC) in the mid 70s.  We are reading it this fall in a small group study.  Some books strike me as written for a certain time.  So far this book is very good and relevant now.  I love his use of salt in this passage.

If the posture of the church is no more than condemnation without redemption, then we become like salt without savor, and our words will be cast out and trodden under foot. We are called to be a saving people – which is the positive, redemptive side of those who would do no more than condemn and denounce and deplore.

 Apple, iCloud: I am looking forward to seeing how this works.  We have our entire family on one iTunes account … and to be able to manage the entire library in the cloud sounds great.

Broadly speaking, the cloud is an airy metaphor for computational resources—data, storage, applications, and so on—available from an external network of computers and servers via the Internet. So whenever you do any kind of computing using data or programs that don’t live on your local computer, smart phone, or other connected devices, you are doing cloud computing.

For example, if you store and edit your photos at a site like Google’s Picasa.com, you’re working in the cloud, using Google’s storage space and applications instead of those on your own computer. Gmail and other Web-based e-mail services keep your correspondence in the cloud. And Amazon’s Cloud Drive lets you upload, store, and access music in cloud-based “lockers.” Physically, the cloud is wherever the company happens to house its servers.

The advantage of cloud computing is that you can access your stored stuff from any Web-connected device, instead of being tethered to one location or machine. One drawback, of course, is that you might not always have a usable Internet connection when you need one. And if your cloud service crashes for some reason, your content won’t be available until the service is back on its feet.

Use caution when signing up for any cloud service. Make sure your information is well protected against cyberthieves. The company you’re using should encrypt sensitive data and have state-of-the art privacy safeguards. And use strong passwords—a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in a minimum of six characters.

via What is the Apple iCloud – Consumer Reports.

corruption, Middle East,  Kuwait:  “This is becoming the Kuwaiti Watergate,” said Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University. “The reaction at the popular level is that this is proof that the existing government has failed the people. In this context more demands for the resignation of the government are now heard.”

Two of Kuwait’s largest banks thought it a bit suspicious when about $92 million was transferred into the accounts of two members of Parliament.

So the National Bank of Kuwait and the Kuwait Finance House alerted the public prosecutor, who decided last week to open an investigation not just into those suspicious deposits, but also into the account activity of seven other members of Parliament, as well.

Kuwait is a wealthy nation that has managed to appease the public and avoid the kind of tumult that has swept other Arab nations. But even in Kuwait, where allegations of corruption and kickbacks are endemic, the sheer size of the deposits has set off a fury that is rocking the oil-rich country. Not to mention that investigations, so far, involve 9 of just 50 total members of Parliament.

“This is becoming the Kuwaiti Watergate,” said Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University. “The reaction at the popular level is that this is proof that the existing government has failed the people. In this context more demands for the resignation of the government are now heard.”

Late last month, the Kuwaiti news media first broke the news that the country’s two largest banks were alarmed by multimillion-dollar transfers into the accounts of lawmakers, said Nasser al-Sane, a former lawmaker who now teaches business at Kuwait University.

But even as public anger soars, the government has remained tight-lipped about the case, only fueling public suspicions, rumor and speculation. In that environment, popular anger at the royal family, and in particular the prime minister, Nasser Mohamed al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has flourished.

“We still have been given no information about the source of this money or who received it,” said Ebtihal al-Khatib, a longtime democracy activist. “Everything is a rumor, and that is one reason people are so angry and have come together, because we want more information. We want to know names, and we want to know the dates they will be tried in court.”

The corruption inquiry threatens to put the government into an impossible position, Mr. Ghabra said. If the emir allows Parliament to remain in place while at least one-fifth of its members are investigated for graft, he risks the growth of ever larger street protests and an erosion of public trust. But if he dissolves Parliament and calls for new elections, public outrage could help usher in a legislature hostile to the monarchy and more assertive in demands for constitutional changes.

via Corruption Inquiry Rocks Kuwait – NYTimes.com.

Bumble-Ardy, Maurice Sendak, children’s/YA literature, parenting:  Nursery rhymes and fairy tales have always carried double messages, scary messages.  I don’t know why we are so worried now.  ” There’s something deeply dark and wonderful about older cartoons like this.”

It’s yet another mildly subversive children’s book by a writer known for pushing—if not the absolute limits, at least poking around their edges. At one point, even the Grim Reaper puts in an appearance, leading one Amazon reviewer (granted, one of only three to date) to describe the book as “disturbing…in so many ways” (noticed by the Christian Science Monitor).

Then again, being a little scared isn’t the end of the world. Where the Wild Things Are would be nothing without its nightmarish horned and bearded monsters that “roared their terrible roars, and gnashed their terrible teeth.” Besides, if you want to see something really scary, try this old 1970s Sesame Street clip—also by Sendak, and the inspiration for the 2011 book’s inception—about Bumble-Ardy, whose ninth birthday party’s crashed by a pack of anarchic, Dwarf-like swine. There’s something deeply dark and wonderful about older cartoons like this.

via Should Parents Fear ‘Bumble-Ardy’, Maurice Sendak’s New Book? – TIME NewsFeed.

Oyster.com, travel, websites:  Might try oyster.com

While Web sites like TripAdvisor, which is owned by Expedia, amass consumer reviews, Oyster relies instead on 45 full-time reviewers who stay in hotels incognito and post their reviews and photographs.

Unlike TripAdvisor, Oyster is also a booking site. But unlike booking sites like Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com, Oyster eschews the photographs and descriptions provided by hotels.

A regular feature, Photo Fakeouts, contrasts promotional photos from hotels with photos taken from the same perspective by Oyster reviewers. The promotional photo for the beach at the Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for example, shows just a few beachgoers and about a dozen unoccupied chairs, while the Oyster.com photo shows a beach packed with chairs and vacationers.

“Oyster is meant to be very simple, easy, straightforward and truthful, where what you see is what you get,” said Elie Seidman, chief executive of Oyster. “And the goal in the ads was to convey that.”

To date, Oyster has reviewed about 1,300 hotels in 32 destinations.

This is the first advertising campaign for Oyster, which went online in 2009. Oyster drew 156,000 unique visitors in August, a small fraction of the six million who visited Hotels.com, according to comScore.

via Oyster.com Sells Travel With Words, Not Pictures – NYTimes.com.

R.E.M., music, Athens GA, kith/kin:  I think “my” generation claims REM.  I was in Athens GA for law school and we definitely claim them.  RIP, REM.

R.E.M. has folded after a 31-year run, an influential arc that transformed the Athens, Ga., band from college radio darlings to major label stars. The group released 15 albums, including milestones of alternative rock such as “Murmur” and “Automatic for the People.”

In recent years, however, the group’s cultural clout had eroded, as sales declined and front man Michael Stipe pursued a host of other interests, from filmmaking to sculpture.

In a statement posted on their site today, the band announced: “As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the group said in a statement on its web site. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

via R.E.M. Breaks Up After 31-Year Run – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Palestinian Statehood Bid, President Obama, politics, international relations: Impossible situation.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”

Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should keep pushing Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital.

For Mr. Obama, the challenge in crafting the much-anticipated General Assembly speech was how to address the incongruities of the administration’s position: the president who committed to making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a priority from Day One, now unable to get peace negotiations going after two and a half years; the president who opened the door to Palestinian state membership at the United Nations last year, now threatening to veto that membership; the president determined to get on the right side of Arab history but ending up, in the views of many Arabs, on the wrong side of it on the Palestinian issue.

via Obama Explains Opposition to Palestinian Statehood Bid – NYTimes.com.

21
Sep
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9.21.2011 … Jane Austen and Christian Ethics … at FPC Wednesday nights … I am happy …

Jane Austen, FPC, Wednesday Connect:  Loved the first seminar on Jane Austen and Christian Ethics  at Wednesday Connect … join us for two more!

Jane Austen and Christian Ethics – Jane Austen’s novels are to be read and enjoyed for their own sake. The world she depicts, however, is narrated in clear moral terms. During this three week course we will look at three of Jane Austen’s novels to examine the nature of self-knowledge, “happiness,” and the “constancy” such a life calls us to embody.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/FirstNews/fn.20110911.pdf

Mount Tambora, natural disasters, Indonesia, history:  “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”   … 1815 …

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn’t wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes.

“It was like a horror story, growing up,” said Hasanuddin, who joined hundreds of others in refusing to return to their mountainside villages for several days despite assurances they were safe.

“A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”

The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide and half a mile (1 kilometer) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.

It was several times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.

In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.

Tambora is different.

People here are jittery because of the mountain’s history — and they’re not used to feeling the earth move so violently beneath their feet. Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.

Soon after the ice core findings, scientists started studying Tambora in earnest.

In 2004, Icelandic vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson and a team of American and Indonesian researchers uncovered remnants of a village in a gully on Tambora’s flank that had been pulverized in the fast-moving pyroclastic flow.

Sigurdsson heralded it as a “Pompeii of the East,” and local researcher Made Geria says archaeologists have expanded the dig every year since then.

No one expects a repeat of 1815 just yet — it takes much more than 200 years for that type of huge pressure to build up again, said de Boer, who teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The present activity could be part of the birth of Tambora’s so-called child, he said, a process whereby magma still being pushed upward from the original massive blast forms a new volcano in its place.

But that’s little consolation for those confronted with the mountain’s new burst of activity.

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

“Tens of thousands of people, animals and rice fields disappeared,” the 15-year-old said, adding that a veil of ash blocked out the sun for years.

“There was no life here,” he said quietly from the village of Doropeti, 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater. “I know that from my parents.”

via History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers – The Washington Post.

food- restaurant:  Why do you choose a restaurant?  I think that it is combination of food and x factor.

But my class in Food Entrepreneurship this semester is forcing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. The class focuses on the restaurant as the pinnacle of food business.

Restaurants are important. The best ones are reserved for special occasions, and our memories of birthdays and anniversaries are made there. Think about the best meal you’ve ever had out. Does that not stick with you? I was 18 when I ate the best meal of my life, on a tiny patio in Arles, France. I can remember the vegetable gratin and rosé like it was yesterday. But while it’s natural to wax nostalgic this way, our professor reminds us that restaurants have two basic goals: to make money and to feed people. He has identified four basic reasons one chooses a restaurant.

1. The food: From the taste of the dishes themselves to the way each ingredient is sourced.

2. The service: For this one, I think about my favorite bartender, or the owner who brought me edamame hummus while I waited for a table.

3. The design: From David Rockwell-designed wall fountains to easily accessible parking.

4. The X-factor: This can be anything from shrimp-flipping hibachi cooks to sheer exclusivity.

Maybe the best restaurants have all of these things going for them, but more often than not, just one is enough.

The more I think about this, the more true it seems. My family eats at this tiny Italian restaurant in North Newark almost religiously. It has a screen door, awful wine selection, and waitresses who are abrupt at best—but the food is astounding. There are family-style bowls of hand rolled cavatelli with house-made pot cheese and the world’s most perfect Chicken Savoy. Nothing else matters.

What’s your favorite restaurant? What is it about that place that brings you back, either literally or through memory? And does that reason (or reasons) fit into my professor’s list, above?

via Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant – Food – GOOD.

2011 London Riots,  moral decay, culture v. religion:  Does religion really improve culture and prevent moral decay and such evidence of moral decay as rioting?  Read on …

Nearly 200 years later, the Tocqueville of our time, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, made the same discovery. Mr. Putnam is famous for his diagnosis of the breakdown of social capital he called “bowling alone.” More people were going bowling, but fewer were joining teams. It was a symbol of the loss of community in an age of rampant individualism. That was the bad news.

At the end of 2010, he published the good news. Social capital, he wrote in “American Grace,” has not disappeared. It is alive and well and can be found in churches, synagogues and other places of worship. Religious people, he discovered, make better neighbors and citizens. They are more likely to give to charity, volunteer, assist a homeless person, donate blood, spend time with someone feeling depressed, offer a seat to a stranger, help someone find a job and take part in local civic life. Affiliation to a religious community is the best predictor of altruism and empathy: better than education, age, income, gender or race.

Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives. Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent. Alexis de Tocqueville saw it then, Robert Putnam is saying it now. It needs religion: not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good.

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book “Civilization,” in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

It was the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave the West its restless pursuit of a tomorrow that would be better than today. The Chinese have learned the lesson. Fifty years after Chairman Mao declared China a religion-free zone, there are now more Chinese Christians than there are members of the Communist Party.

China has learned the lesson. The question is: Will we?

via Reversing the Moral Decay Behind the London Riots – WSJ.com.

James Taylor, Italy Tour – March 2012:  I would go … but I would rather see him in NC..

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

On March 6, 2012, in Napoli, James and his legendary band will begin a series of unforgettable concerts in Italy. Starting today, the JamesTaylor.com Store has your presale tickets!

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Store immediately in order to get the best tickets!

The full calendar of upcoming tour dates can be seen on the Schedule page.

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

So young, so promising. It was in its prime, and stood to reap the rewards of all of Facebook’s flaws—and in a weird twist, made Facebook copy Google+ for some of its newest “changes.”

But the fact of the matter is, public posts on Google+ have decreased 41 percent since the social networking service launched a few months ago. Even Larry Page, you know – Google’s CEO – last updated one month ago. And I thought something was wrong with me when I forced myself to post something on Google+ so my friends didn’t think I’d virtually disappeared.

via Why Have People Stopped Posting on Google+? – Techland – TIME.com.

food, foodies, DC, places:  Culinary capital … I wish them luck. I have never lived in a clinary capital, but I think it would be great fn.

It’s “Change Season” in D.C. — a peculiar phenomenon that recurs on a regular four-year schedule. Funny thing is, all those politicos calling for “change” in the culture of Washington haven’t a clue how much the nation’s capital is already changing.

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

For one thing, we eat differently, and better. No slap at the Monocle — for decades the place to eat on the Hill (literally), but today we don’t only have change. We have choice.

Just ten years ago, buildings were designed so residents wouldn’t have to look down on the 14th street corridor. Now, it’s the hottest restaurant district in the city and young professionals are clamoring to move there. New culinary playgrounds — like the H Street corridor — continue to blossom even in the areas once decimated by the riots of ’68.

D.C. is undergoing a transformation. Some call it a renaissance. The flow of people towards the suburbs has reversed course. The transient city par excellence is putting down roots. No longer do foreign hirelings reckon D.C. as a four-year hardship posting. We’ve become the place where young people flock to start their lives. And with them comes a whole new cast of creative thinkers, movers and doers — many of whom discover a natural affinity with the wide world of gastronomy.

Bold new restaurant concepts supplant stodgy steak houses. Foragers graze the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And culinary entrepreneurs bring dynamism to the market with novel concepts that broaden the scope of ambition. This change exemplifies the new Washington. Problem is, this change is in no way all-encompassing.

To honor the history and tradition of this city, we need to ensure that progress of the dining scene extends to everyone who calls the District home. People across the city are working on food access with great urgency. D.C. Central Kitchen is stocking corner stores with fresh produce as part of their recently launched Healthy Corners Program. Less known chefs like Teddy Folkman are working tirelessly at after school cooking programs to empower young students through food. And Bread for the City is growing food on its roof to line its pantry shelves. This change is just as important as the opening of a new three-star restaurant as we work to become a great twenty-first century food city.

The District is quickly becoming a culinary capital. The characters who are driving this movement — pushing food forward in a town once known for only rum buns, Old Bay and half-smokes — are part of a broader narrative of renewal that few outside “this town” rarely hear.

So while the rest of the nation fixates on their quadrennial obsession with bringing change to Washington, those who actually call this city home know that change has arrived. Change that improves people’s lives, creates new jobs, and tastes good too.

via Nick Wiseman: Transforming D.C. Into a Culinary Capital.

Wrigley Building,  Chicago, architectural icons: I just hope they don’t try to change the name!.

A joint venture including investor Byron Trott and the co-founders of Groupon Inc. confirmed Monday that it has bought the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Trott’s firm, Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners, is leading an investor group that includes Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon investors and directors, and Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago-based office landlord.

“The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city’s rich history and growth,” Mr. Trott, managing partner and chief investment officer for BDT Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago’s future economic progress.”

via Wrigley Building purchase announced | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.

science v. religion,faith and spirituality, God,  evolution:  I have no problem with the two.

I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

via Can You Believe in God and Evolution? – TIME.

9/11, follow-up:  This kid remembers where he was … and it changed his life forever.

Until the second plane hit, few knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Most were still hoping it could have been a terrible air-traffic-control mistake. But, somehow, I didn’t. I knew it was terrorism from the first moment. I knew it because what I did that morning had been something of a premonition. I had been reminded of war. I had been reminded too of tremendous patriotism and valor. And I wasn’t worthy of any of it.

There was no reason at all for me to suspect that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were behind the attack, nor any reason to suspect that it was motivated by Islamic extremism. Yet in my social cowering — feeling like my entire class was judging my morning escapade — I instinctively concluded in the depths of my consciousness that whoever performed these attacks probably looked more like me than anyone else in the room. And now I was a target.

The following months of high school were occasionally intimidating. I was not Muslim, I was not Arab, but I looked close enough to the part to serve as the punching bag for a few of my community’s less tolerant citizens. The most frustrating name-calling came when other groups who used to be the target of such ethnic scorn (Hispanic and African-American kids) would snarl their turban-teasing remarks as a means of countering any advance I made in the classroom or on the playing field. I needed a community. I needed an identity. So when I received the phone call from an Army recruiter, I asked to meet him for coffee, whereas most Indian kids went back to their math books. He told me to think about West Point.

It amazes me that it has been only 10 years since that horrific morning. That day changed the trajectory of my life so greatly, I can’t imagine where I would be had it not occurred. Ten years later, I’m a West Point graduate, a captain in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who served 12 months in Kandahar. I wear a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge proudly on my uniform. And 10 years later, I’m still overcome with guilt. Not for what I did on 9/11, but for who I was. I am guilty that it took the death of 3,000 people for me to change my outlook on the blessings of this country.

via Class of 9/11: How a School Prank Helped Change My Life – TIME.

Food – Chinese, Jewish culture, Pastrami Egg Rolls:   I just thought they ate it at Christmas because that was all that was open.  🙂  I loved this story!

The question as to why Jews are drawn so irresistibly to Chinese food is one I’ve often wondered about. Eddie Glasses (who gets his nickname from sporting all sorts of outlandish eyewear) could have attached himself to the Italian masters, or the French, or even gone off in some other exotic direction like Moroccan or Indian. But his existence as the Ultimate Jewish Chinese-Food Nerd has a kind of dynamic inevitability. Put any two Jews together, and we are likely to start arguing over who has the best scallion pancakes. Schoenfeld had the good fortune and intellectual curiosity to devote himself to some of the midcentury titans of Chinese cuisine — the cooking teacher Grace Yu, the restaurateur David Keh, the chefs T.T. Wang and “Uncle Lou” (Lo Hoy Yen) — and learn everything he could. So he gets the last word, which is a very Jewish thing to want to get. But why Chinese food?

The two groups have neither linguistic nor religious nor geographic commonalities. They aren’t known for intermarrying or for intermingling. Both groups are famously insular, and tend to regard themselves as chosen peoples. And yet, there’s a connection. There are lots of jokes about it. There’s even a restaurant in Los Angeles called Genghis Cohen. But the inroad made by Chinese food has been so profound that even sacred dietary laws are routinely broken for this cuisine. A Jewish household that wouldn’t countenance a single bacon bit at home will consume industrial quantities of spare ribs, roast-pork fried rice and shrimp dumplings. So what gives?

So here is my best guess. The thing to remember about Chinese food is that, besides being cheap, it is eminently suited to take out; at least three-quarters of the Chinese food I ate growing up was at home. And Jews love eating at home. We are intensely familial, home-loving and nuclear; and given that our own food is both bad and laborious (endlessly braised brisket, spattering latkes), Chinese food — varied, fatty and festive — is a better alternative in part because it’s always at hand. It’s a cheap lift; you can think of it as Jewish Prozac. And, beyond this, there is an even greater power of Chinese food in our lives, a sentimental tradition in a secular world. The China Teacup in Brooklyn Heights, where Schoenfeld used to eat as a kid, or Ling-Nam in West Miami and China Land in Atlantic City, N.J., my own egg-roll academies, have been serving essentially the same food for generations. The takeout menu currently on my refrigerator looks just like the one my father had on his, the one he used to stand there gazing at with a mix of puzzlement (maybe ribs and egg foo yong?) and something like adoration. I think that we, as a people, prize comfort above all else, both emotionally and physically. To sit in the living room with a plate of lo mein and half an egg roll is about as safe and stable as life gets for us. That, more than anything else, accounts for our odd abiding love of the most foreign — most domestic — of cuisines.

via Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food – TIME.

Life is stranger than fiction, astronomy,Tatooine, Star Wars:  Scientists found one planet with two stars, a ‘Star Wars’ World.  “When two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.”

The Star Wars movies weren’t especially big on subtlety. Their heroes and villains were cartoonishly one-dimensional, the aliens were grotesquely alien, and the action was over the top. One scene in the first film was a notable exception, though. It showed a sunset on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home world — with not one, but two suns sinking in tandem toward the horizon. The essential strangeness of that image made it quietly but profoundly clear that you were visiting an utterly foreign world.

When astronomers actually began finding such worlds almost two decades after that first Star Wars movie, though, they didn’t waste much time looking for places like Tatooine. Double-star systems are very common in the Milky Way — in fact, solitary stars like the sun are in the minority. But it wasn’t clear, said theorists, that planets could form and survive in their vicinity: when two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.

via One Planet, Two Suns: Scientists Find a ‘Star Wars’ World – TIME.

smileys, emoticons, history:  Never thought about who or why the smiley emoticon was created.  Thank you, computer geeks!

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts.  Or at least I’m one of the inventors.

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”.  These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing.  Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room.  Who does it belong to?”  Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion).  Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor).  The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in  response.  That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried.  In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.   After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone.  Various “joke markers”  were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based  computer terminals of the day.  So I suggested that.  In the same post, I also suggested the use of  😦  to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.  (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.)

So the message itself, and the thread that gave rise to it, are here.  The exact date of the smiley’s birth can now be determined: 19 September, 1982.  It was great to have this message back just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original post.

So, the smiley idea may have appeared and disappeared a few times before my 1982 post.  I probably was not the first person ever to type these three letters in sequence, perhaps even with the meaning of “I’m just kidding” and perhaps even online.  But I do believe that my 1982 suggestion was the one that finally took hold, spread around the world, and spawned thousands of variations.  My colleagues and I have been able to watch the idea spread out through the world’s computer networks from that original post.

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

students, design,  rural poor, globalizaton, International Development Design Summit: Putting our smarts to work!

The scene is vibrant and chaotic. A village grandmother who had never before seen the city turns the crank of a device constructed to extract oil from the seeds of a moringa tree. Other people crowd around tables to check out a mosquito-repelling, battery-powered lantern housed in an old plastic water bottle; farming implements fashioned out of treated bamboo; and a mobile-phone-based platform for providing farmers with information on crops and markets.

These are the fruits of the International Development Design Summit, a monthlong event conceived by Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has for the past five years brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services, and business models to serve the rural poor. Here, students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the United States work side by side with artisans, teachers, and village chiefs who hail from other countries and from surrounding villages, soaking up a very different sort of education.

While the technologies themselves are neither earth-shattering nor elegant (teams have only five weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and refine their products), what’s innovative about the summit, its organizers say, is its emphasis on design as a collaborative and creative process. It assumes that the farmers and chiefs in the villages for which these products are destined have at least as much to add to the designs as do engineers with Ph.D.’s.

via Students Design Low-Tech Ways to Help Improve Lives of Rural Poor – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Redbox: I do love Redbox … a business that seems outdated but delivers a product when, when and at a price point people want.

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

There’s a ton of ways to share your love for redbox,

but if you do it this way, you might win a big prize:

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

Netflix, mea culpa:  My bad … but the change stays …

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

via http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

 Proteus, direct feedback, business culture “FedEx Day”: I think I need a FedEx Day at home!

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

A. One other thing we do is called FedEx Day.  Pretty much anyone can apply for FedEx Day, or any group of people.  The deal is that you can take the whole day and go off and do something, but it’s FedEx, right?  So it has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight.  And you can break it down, because maybe you want four FedEx Days, but there has to be a deliverable for every day.  That’s also terrific because it’s everything from very simple little things — like improving the layout of the desks in the area — all the way through to fairly important things.

via Andrew Thompson of Proteus, on Direct Feedback – NYTimes.com.

apps, Nike BOOM: 

Nike BOOMBy Nike, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Description

Nike BOOM syncs your music to your dynamic training workouts, with the world’s most elite athletes and coaches motivating you along the way. Choose your type of workout, length of training, best workout music and favorite Nike athletes—then get to work.

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

chocolate bars, Paris, food- drink:  Another thing to add to my list … chocolate bars … but I think I will stay away from hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

On the menu at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new Paris chocolate bar: hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

Autumn visitors to Paris may feel that nothing beats a traditional chocolat chaud, but the city’s chocolatiers have been experimenting on the old tea room favourite, with surprising results

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

The bartender raised his eyebrows as I placed my order: “Not many people ask for that.” I was perched at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new chocolate bar, a modern gold-and-brown space where Parisians come to indulge in thoroughly adult versions of a traditional children’s drink. From the long menu I had chosen hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion, a mysterious concoction whipped up in the laboratoire at the back.

When the plain white cup arrived, the soft-spoken waitress advised me not to stir the pearly blobs of what looked like sea foam into the hot chocolate, in order to appreciate the contrast. The first couple of sips went down easily, the iodised taste bringing a welcome saltiness to the intense chocolate. But then I encountered my first lump: either a piece of oyster or some jellied reconstitution. The bartender threw me a sympathetic glance as I pushed the cup aside.

Hévin might have gone one step too far with his oyster drink, but he is one of several Paris chocolate makers who are reviving the art of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, hot chocolate so thick it pours like custard. If Italian hot chocolate relies on starch to obtain this texture, the French prefer a simple mixture of milk, chocolate and/or cocoa powder and sometimes cream. For Parisian chocolatiers, what counts most is the quality of the chocolate, which often comes from the celebrated Valrhona factory in the Rhône Valley.

For many Parisians and even more foreigners, the Holy Grail of hot chocolate is still the chocolat chaud à l’africain served at the Belle Epoque tea room Angelina. It’s certainly hard to find this drink served with more ceremony: here, it comes with water to cleanse your palate, a bowl of whipped cream to complement its pudding-like richness, and a dense almond financier. The best in town? Probably not, but if you can’t resist a brand name, it’s still worth experiencing at least once.

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

self-curation, happiness:  My clips and comments are my self-curation. 🙂

I read an excellent novel this weekend, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. Like any good novel, it’s about many things, but in particular, it made me think about the issue of self-curation.

In his “Chronicles,” the character Nik elaborately archives his work in music and an alternate autobiography. He tells his sister Denise, “Self-curate or disappear.”

As I was reading, I realized: I suffer from archive anxiety. Partly about my actual life, which is why I’ve adopted resolutions such as Keep a one-sentence journal and Suffer for fifteen minutes. They help me chronicle my life.

But for me, the greater worry is the archiving and curation of my observations — not my actual life, but my intellectual life. Even though taking notes on my reading and thinking is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also burdensome: it takes up a lot of time, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to find what I want later and whether I’m making good use of my materials. So much wonderful material! I want to write book after book after book, to think it all through.

Reading Stone Arabia has made me consider this theme of “self-curation” in a different light.

via The Happiness Project: Do You Think About “Self-Curation”?.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry :  Republican front-runners are from different worlds and appeal to very different parts of the GOP.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

via Republican front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry come from different worlds – The Washington Post.

college admissions, Middlebury College:  I am not sure I would want my essay “on stage!”

College applicants – and, in some cases, their advisers, friends and parents – spend incalculable time poring over the personal statement.

But once an essay is submitted, students rarely revisit it, burying those Microsoft Word files full of personal insights, goals and vulnerabilities within a series of “College Application” folders.

Not so students at Middlebury College.

Since the early ’90s, the college’s “Voices of the Class” program has brought to life the admissions essays of freshmen, with upperclassmen acting them out during new student orientation.

The program was fashioned by Matt Longman, a residential dean of the college and a Middlebury alumnus himself who oversees the show’s execution each year.

Some 20 years ago, as the college was considering introducing formal diversity workshops to its orientation, Mr. Longman spoke up and suggested something less institutional. “Why don’t we try something that lets the students’ own voices speak to each other?” he asked.

“I’d always been a big proponent of reading application essays closely because they provide such a wonderful, behind-the-scenes, in-depth picture of what really matters to people,” Mr. Longman said, praising the breadth and creativity in applicants’ writing and experiences.

Middlebury listened. Each year since, the school has mined fresh material from its admitted students, formally incorporating 10 to 20 essays into an orientation week performance.

via Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage – NYTimes.com.

Dar Al-Hijrah,  Imam Abdul-Malik:  Tough job … but needs to answer obvious questions.

But having defended Dar Al-Hij­rah for so long, Abdul-Malik knows what they’re really asking: What exactly is going on at this mosque? Is this a breeding ground for terrorists?

It is a suspicion that nearly all Muslim institutions have faced to some degree since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But none more so than Dar Al-Hijrah.

via Imam serves as public face of an embattled mosque – The Washington Post.

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro.

The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois — whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro — is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests.

At least one commissioner, Michael P. Flanagan of Michigan, who went to Helsinki, decided not to participate in future trips once he realized who was underwriting them.

“While he does not believe those trips are unethical, he did see that they could be perceived that way, and for that reason he chose not to attend,” said Mr. Flanagan’s spokesman, Martin Ackley.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, dismissed any ethical concerns about providing free trips to people his corporate cousin is pitching for business. “We categorically refute any suggestion or implication that the partnership is designed to enable Pearson ‘to win contracts,’ ” he said in a statement. Rather, Mr. Nieker said, the trips are “in pursuit of educational excellence.”

But Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a centrist group, compared the practice to pharmaceutical companies that run junkets for doctors or lobbyists who fly members of Congress to vacation getaways. “If we want that kind of corruption in education, we’re fools,” he said.

via Pearson Sends Education Commissioners on Free Trips – NYTimes.com.

60-Second Video Tips, Test Kitchen, tips:  useful …

60-SECOND VIDEO TIPS Test kitchen wisdom distilled into super quick video clips

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

women’s issues, women’s progress:  You’ve come a long way, baby … at least in some areas … in some places.

Just over a decade into the 21st century, women’s progress can be seen—and celebrated—across a range of fields. They hold the highest political offices from Thailand to Brazil, Costa Rica to Australia. A woman holds the top spot at the International Monetary Fund; another won the Nobel Prize in economics. Self-made billionaires in Beijing, tech innovators in Silicon Valley, pioneering justices in Ghana—in these and countless other areas, women are leaving their mark.

But hold the applause. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation. In the developed world, women lag behind men in pay and political power. The poverty rate among women in the U.S. rose to 14.5 percent last year, the highest in 17 years.

To measure the state of women’s progress, Newsweek ranked 165 countries, looking at five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care. Poring over data from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and consulting with experts and academics, we measured 28 factors to come up with our rankings.

via Newsweek Tracks Women’s Progress Around the World – The Daily Beast.

Moses, manna, Bible, tamarisk:  I never heard of  tamarisk –  “the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground”

The word “manna” means “What is it?” For centuries, people who live in the Sinai peninsula have gathered the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground; over 500 pounds of this manna is deposited on the Sinai peninsula each year. Loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, manna isnt tasty – except to the ants, who in fact consume whats on the ground by mid-day. Was this the “bread from heaven”? If so, is this manna any less a gift of God? God provides, often in simple, mundane ways.

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

‘The Playboy Club’, tv, review:  Controversy might make me watch it … just once.

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”So I would like to say this:1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.3. Playboy did not change the world.Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.




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