Archive for September 26th, 2011

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.




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