Archive for October, 2011

31
Oct
11

10.31.2011 … Happy Reformation Day! (October 31, 1517) … Zombies! … Once again, I will be seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few will come … :(

Halloween: Once again, I am seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few came … 10 …  however I gave out PEZ dispensers and I was told I was the best house of the night … next year they will come again … bribery … 😦

Reformation Day (October 31, 1517), history:  So something else occurred on this day.

Also on This Day:  1517 Martin Luther Posts Theses

The Protestant Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Germany.  The papers outlined Luther’s ideas on how the Roman Catholic Church had been corrupted and what changes should take place.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

zombies, costumes, Zombie Walk Paris 2011, Occupy Wall Street: Zombies are definitely in …

Ask me About my Zombie Disguise t shirt by Crazy Dog Tshirts.

Zombie Walk Paris 2011 – YouTube.

This weekend, thousands of Americans will cobble together Wall Street-themed costumes in preparation for Halloween. (Pre-emptive note: dressing in a suit and tie and labeling yourself “The One Percent” is not as clever as you think.)

DealBook is here to help. Here with: our seven best finance-themed costume ideas, with tips on how to pull them off at your parties this weekend.

Zombie MF Global: Dress in tattered rags, tape “FOR SALE” signs to all your appendages, and wear a necklace that says “Credit Lines.” Tap it repeatedly. Have two friends dressed as ratings agencies follow you around, telling everyone at the party how ugly you are.

via Trick or Treat, Wall Street Style – NYTimes.com.

Halloween, history: 

Halloween dates back to the Celtic farming festival Samhain.  As the crops died at the end of the harvest season, farmers believed there was a day when spirits could rise from their graves.  During Samhain, people would dress in disguise to fool and ward off the spirits,  and hope that their land would survive through the winter.

In the eighth century, Christians sought to transform the pagan holiday.  Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 to be the feast of All Saints’ Day.  The night before became known as All Hollow’s Eve.

Modern Halloween traditions and folklore first came to America in the 19th century with  the influx of Irish immigrants.  Carving turnips and turning them into lanterns was one of the Irish customs that honored the souls stuck in purgatory.  Since pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips, this ritual adapted into jack-o-lanterns as All Hollow’s Eve celebrations took shape in America.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

Halloween, culture: New Christmas??? I think not.

The holiday that once meant just quaint trick-or-treating, a costume contest or two and maybe a bob for an apple is now second only to Christmas when it comes to celebrating, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Nearly 69 percent of Americans say they intend to celebrate the holiday this Monday, Oct. 31, the highest amount in the survey’s nine-year history.

Nearly half of those celebrating will decorate their homes and-or yard, and each will spend an average $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, a figure second only to the amount spent by individuals on Christmas décor.

Need more proof that Santa Claus and Rudolph have ghosts and goblins close on their heels?

via Is Halloween the New Christmas? | ABC News Blogs – Yahoo!.

South Africa, travel: We loved Kruger and came very near the mountains … next time.

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa takes some beating.

If you’ve seen the popular cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – and want to head away from the well-worn track then Lonely Planet Magazine has three suggestions:

Drakensberg mountains

Elephant Coast

Kruger National Park

via South Africa: away from Cape Town – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet.

October Snow, Lucy Van Pelt, quotes:  🙂

If you grew up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” you will easily recognize the title of this post is based on Lucy Van Pelt’s quote about eating December snowflakes. Lucy preferred January snowflakes.

I (Kevin Ambrose) bet Lucy never tasted an October snowflake. The October snowflakes that flew fast-and-furious across the Washington area late Saturday afternoon were plump, juicy, and partially melted by the time they reached the tongue. I found they were much better tasting than any crunchy, hard-frozen January snowflake.

via “I never eat October snowflakes. I always wait until January.” – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

Calvados, France, food/drink – spirits:  I did not love Calvados but I am intrigued by it. i may have to try it again sometime.

I love Calvados, though I confess I don’t drink it very often. Yet when I do, I’m reminded immediately why I love it. Apple aromas and flavors burst vividly from the glass, in jagged flashes that seem to penetrate deeply into the complex essence of an apple. Clarity, purity, tart citrus, cinnamon spice, earthiness, mintiness: these are just some of the sensations I experience in a glass of good Calvados.

My problem with Calvados is not the apple element. It’s the brandy part.

The usual way of serving brandy does it no favors. It’s generally consigned to an after-dinner or late-night role, served in those horrible oversize balloon snifters that do little beyond emphasizing the biting heat of the alcohol. Perhaps the big snifter is why, for many people, evaluation of brandy stops at whether it is smooth or hot. A smaller snifter, or a good white-wine glass, is superior for enjoying any brandy.

Calvados in particular can defy our expectations of brandy. Because it’s distilled from cider rather than from wine, it’s more rustic by nature than Cognac or Armagnac. Certainly it is by reputation. Serving Calvados in a white-wine glass might signal an intent to regard brandy from a different critical stance.

via Calvados – A Taste of Apples and Fall – The Pour – NYTimes.com.

Jules Breton, “The Song of the Lark”, kith/kin:  My daughter just wrote an essay on my favorite painting … which she saw for the first timein March.  Art taste must be genetic.

The Song of the Lark Print by Jules Breton at AllPosters.com.

Steve Jobs, eulogy, love:  Beautiful eulogy by Steve Job’s sister.

Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.

Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”

I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.”

When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored.

None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing.

His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.

via A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs – NYTimes.com.

science, spending addiction:  So there is a reason …

To many, this might seem like a simple case of shortsightedness, a decision based on today’s wants (an exciting city, independence) versus tomorrow’s needs (money, shelter). Indeed, the choice to spend rather than save reflects a very human—and, some would say, American—quirk: a preference for immediate gratification over future gains. In other words, we get far more joy from buying a new pair of shoes today, or a Caribbean vacation, or an iPhone 4S, than from imagining a comfortable life tomorrow. Throw in an instant-access culture—in which we can get answers on the Internet within seconds, have a coffeepot delivered to our door overnight, and watch movies on demand—and we’re not exactly training the next generation to delay gratification.

“Pleasure now is worth more to us than pleasure later,” says economist William Dickens of Northeastern University. “We much prefer current consumption to future consumption. It may even be wired into us.”

As brain scientists plumb the neurology of an afternoon at the mall, they are discovering measurable differences between the brains of people who save and those who spend with abandon, particularly in areas of the brain that predict consequences, process the sense of reward, spur motivation, and control memory.

via The New Science Behind Your Spending Addiction – The Daily Beast.

2012 Presdential Election, GOP, Herman Cain, viral  Smoking Ad, Jon Huntsman, Huntsman Daughters, Parody:

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s daughters spoofed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s web ad showing his campaign manager smoking in a web video released Friday.

In the original Cain ad, his campaign manager, Mark Block, says: “We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen. But then America’s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain.”

The daughters of the former Utah governor appear in their spoof against a brick wall wearing fake mustaches that resemble Block’s. “We are shamelessly promoting our dad like no other candidate’s family ever has. But then again, no one’s ever seen like a trio like the Jon 2012 girls,” says one of his daughters.

via Herman Cain Smoking Ad: Jon Huntsman’s Daughters Appear In Parody.

Jon2012girls Smokin’ Ad – YouTube.

30
Oct
11

10.30.2011… ‎‎John and Mark at BofA Stadium … so far so good … ok, in the end, not so good … and if anyone cares it is the 200th anniversary of the publication of S&S … “Death … a melancholy and shocking extremity.” – Sense and Sensibility, Ch. 24 …

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, Facebook posts: The month started off great with a pink newsprint Charlotte Observer … but really nothing significant in Charlotte after that.  I did my part … I bought pink socks and posted on Facebook (see below). Anyone else thin this year was “weaker”?

But the pink also reminds us that this disease can be beaten. In fact, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

We special-ordered pink newsprint from a supplier in Mississippi to draw attention to the organizations, businesses and individuals who are devoted to this fight. We hope what we present today adds to the difference that they make.

via A pink paper for a special cause | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

May I ask a personal favor…. only some of you will do it, if you know someone who fought cancer and passed away, or someone who is still fighting… please add this to your status for 1 hour as a mark of respect and remembrance, I hope I was right about the people who will…. Thank you 🙂

Hudson Valley,  artisanal distillery, travel:  There’s that word again … artisanal!

 

On a perfect New England fall day a few weeks ago, I toured Tuthilltown Spirits, a Hudson Valley, NY artisanal or “craft” distiller of handmade spirits–some produced from apples grown at orchards less than 5 miles away and grain harvested by farmers within 10 miles. My husband and I first discovered Tuthilltown’s Hudson Baby Bourbon when we visited the New York State Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, New York a few years back. This led to a search for the bourbon, which at the time was not widely available.

Before Prohibition, there were more than 1,000 New York farm distillers producing alcohol from the state’s grains and fruits. Tuthilltown brings the tradition of small batch distillation back to the Hudson Valley, distilling whiskeys which were the first legally distilled in New York since Prohibition. The handmade spirits, which start at the farm distillery as raw grain and fruit, are made without any additives and are not chill or carbon filtered.

via Day Trip to Hudson Valley Artisanal Distillery | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens.

music, lists, sites of noteMain Page – MixesDB.

Giant Lego Man, mysteries, random:  Who thinks of this stuff?

 

While the sight of a beached whale is a sad but fairly common occurrence, the sight of a giant Lego man washed up on the beach is something to put on YouTube.

As BoingBoing reports, Jeff Hindman, a resident of Siesta Key Village, Fla., was surprised to find a larger-than-life-sized Lego man washed up on the shore. Now people are scratching their heads as they try to figure out where the giant Lego man came from and whether they should put out an APB for any more refugees from the Land of Lego.

So where did the 8-foot, 100 pound giant come from? Not from Lego. A spokeswoman for Legoland told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the Lego man is a counterfeit and is not endorsed by Legoland or its parent company, Merlin Entertainments Group.

The yellow and green Lego man’s shirt provides some clue to his country of origin. The plus-sized shirt is emblazoned with the phrase “No Real Than You Are,” the number 8 and the name of a Netherlands-based artist known as “Ego Leonard.” According to BoingBoing, similar Lego men with analogous enigmatic messages were found on beaches in Holland in 2007 and England in 2008. No word on whether Lego forensics experts are reconstructing potential hairstyles or baseball caps to help identify the gigantic toy.

via Mysterious Giant Lego Man Washes Ashore in Florida | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

 

tennis, WTA, grunting:  Personally  think it is very unprofessional.

For years, the party line from WTA players has been that grunting doesn’t matter. The women almost universally stuck to their story that while an opponent’s loud grunt or shriek was noticeable, they preferred to focus on their side of the net and tune it out.

But the rhetoric has changed over the last year, as the chorus of complaints from fans and broadcasters has grown louder and the WTA has been forced to take the issue more seriously. Now the Tour’s top-ranked player has come out and voiced her concerns over the “habit,” or if you believe Caroline Wozniacki, it’s more of a “tactic.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Wozniacki hit out against the grunters, effectively saying that it’s a form of gamesmanship.

“I think there are some players who do it on purpose,” she said. “They don’t do it in practice and then they come into the match and they grunt. I think [officials] could definitely cut it.”

Of course, the most notable grunters on Tour are Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, both of whom grunt not only at contact but also through the hit, often continuing their wail as opponents are prepping their shot. Serena and Venus Williams are also culprits. While the sisters don’t grunt on every shot (and in fact have played matches in complete silence), their tendency to unleash a grunt often coincides with tense and crucial moments in a match.

via Beyond the Baseline » Posts Wozniacki: Some players grunt on purpose «.

sites of noteChurch Health Reader – Home.

Halloween, San Francisco,  trick-or-treating, lists:  Wonder what makes them so special?

San Francisco tops trick-or-treat rankings

via San Francisco tops trick-or-treat rankings | News In Brief | Marketplace from American Public Media.

College Basketball, Duke University, Seth Curry:  One to watch …

Duke head mens basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that Seth Curry has been named a team captain. Curry, a junior from Charlotte, N.C., joins senior Miles Plumlee and junior Ryan Kelly as team captains for the 2011-12 season.”We knew going into the season that the leadership would be fluid,” said Krzyzewski. “We thought after practices started that Seth would emerge as a leader. He is showing some really good leadership and he deserves this. The leadership of our team is more of a team concept with Miles, Ryan and Seth. I think this will help make us a better team.”Curry, a preseason All-ACC selection, is Dukes leading returning scorer after averaging 9.0 points per game a year ago. He knocked down 64 three-point field goals to share the team lead with Andre Dawkins, while also leading the Blue Devils in steals 52 and three-point field goal percentage .435. Curry was named to the ACC All-Tournament team last season after averaging 10.9 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals as Duke claimed its third consecutive ACC Championship.

via Curry Joins Kelly & Plumlee As Duke Team Captain | digtriad.com.

labyrinths, church labyrinths,  spiritual practitioners, Sally Quinn, Double Appleton labyrinth:  Researching labyrinths …

The conclusion provided for this publication by the two editors, Goleman and Thurman, points toward “a rich opportunity for cross-fertilization. Cognitive sciences may find a wealth of insights and hypotheses about extending the limits of human potential” (p. 117). On the other hand, “His Holiness has said if modern science has proven some Buddhist belief to be wrong, then Buddhism will have to change” (ibid.).

But beyond the limits of even these exchanges, this beginning dialogue between Tibetan Buddhists and Western neuroscientists could and perhaps should have effects on East–West dialogue in general—particularly on contemplative and monastic practices. Both the open manner in which the talks and dialogues were presented and the similarity of aim evidenced by all are examples that could be followed by all religions and disciplines.

The Dalai Lama himself sums this up in his Foreword to the book: “I believe the ultimate aim of all human beings is to obtain happiness and a sense of fulfillment. . . .Whether we are scientists or spiritual practitioners our basic needs and aspirations are the same. . . . (Therefore) I have always stressed the importance of combining both the mental and the material approach to achieving happiness for humankind.”

via Monastic Interreligious Dialogue | Book Review: MindScience.

..

Sally Quinn: How to walk a labyrinth

The Washington Post columnist says that installing a labyrinth in her back yard changed her life.

via Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com.

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To start the sequence, we need to seed two people in the goal. Let’s call them Guide One and Guide Two.  Guide One begins their walk out, and when they come round the innermost circuit, they are joined by somebody walking in from the entrance. Let’s call that person The Seeker. So far, this is the same as the normal Appleton.

The two walkers process around the outer circuits, remembering the ‘do-si-do’ crossover when they reach the ‘corner’, until the Seeker, walking inwards, is about to transition from the outermost path onto the inner circuits. Here they are walking directly towards the goal and our patiently waiting second seed person, Guide Two.

Now Guide Two leaves the goal, joining up with the two coming towards them. We now have three people walking side by side. This continues for one circuit only, when our original Guide One has to leave the labyrinth. But, unlike the normal Appleton at this point, our Seeker is not cast into the darkness of the Underworld to find his own way to the Goal – he still has Guide Two to help him navigate the Inner Realms of the labyrinth. They can continue to walk side by side as the Seeker rounds the innermost circuit, remembering the ‘do-si-do’ at the corner. This puts Guide Two on the innermost path, so when they have rounded the Goal once more, Guide Two can pick up the next Seeker coming in from the entrance. So we now have two Seekers with one Guide in between them. On the 7-circuit labyrinth, this all happens rather quickly so you need to pay attention; on the 15-circuit there are more inner circuits to negotiate and it was a little more timely and elegant. In fact, had it not been for the additional circuits of this particular labyrinth, I doubt that I would have discovered this extended movement.

After one more circuit, our original Seeker has reached the Goal and has to part company with his Guide and the second Seeker. Our Guide Two now finds himself as a guide to the outer realms of the labyrinth as he guides our second Seeker inwards whilst he is walking out. But after only a couple of circuits, the pair will find themselves coming round the outer paths and facing our original Seeker, now enlightened and initiated by his sojourn in the Goal and ready to join with them as a Guide in his own right… and so the sequence continues.

The symmetry of the walk is delightful, with the traverse of the inner circuits being like a mirror-image reflection of the outer ones. It brings completion to the standard Appleton and can be kept going indefinitely as there is always somebody feeding in and somebody feeding out.

via Gardner’s Double Appleton « Western Geomancy.

THE consideration of labyrinths worked in Roman mosaic pavements leads us on to a very interesting development of the subject which deserves a chapter to itself, namely, the Labyrinth in the Church.

Probably the oldest known example of this nature is that in the ancient basilica of Reparatus at Orléansville (Algeria), an edifice which is believed to date from the fourth century A.D. In the pavement near the north-west entrance of the church is the design shown in outline in Fig. 42. It measures about 8 ft. in diameter and shows great resemblance to the Roman pavement found at Harpham and the tomb-mosaic at Susa. At the centre is a jeu-de-lettres on the words SANCTA ECLESIA, which may be read in any direction, except diagonally, commencing at the centre. But for the employment of these words the labyrinth in question might well have been conceived to be a Roman relic utilised by the builders of the church to ornament their pavement. Such pavement-labyrinths, however, with or without central figures or other embellishments, and of various dimensions and composition, are found in many of the old churches of France and Italy.

via Mazes and Labyriths: Chapter IX. Church Labyrinths.

29
Oct
11

10.29.2011 … Molly and John on the tarmac early this am … running in the Runway 5K Run out at CLT. (Oh, and Molly so beat her daddy :))

food, kith/kin, random: Ever heard of white sweet potatoes? Ask Elizabeth  and Ballard … I laughed about as hard as I have ever laughed about special white sweet potatoes from VA at “67.” Who else was there? Jimmy? And why did I think of this …

When potato plants bloom, they send up five-lobed flowers that spangle fields like fat purple stars. By some accounts, Marie Antoinette liked the blossoms so much that she put them in her hair. Her husband, Louis XVI, put one in his buttonhole, inspiring a brief vogue in which the French aristocracy swanned around with potato plants on their clothes. The flowers were part of an attempt to persuade French farmers to plant and French diners to eat this strange new species.

Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus.

via How the Potato Changed the World | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

Brene Brown, TED, culture:  I have posted this before, I think … but it is one of my favorite TED videos … Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com.

Christmas 2012, stocking stuffers:  I really love the little gifts … The Container Store – The Original Storage and Organization Store®.

zombies, pop culture, kith/kin:  Once again the Teagues are ahead of the game. 🙂

That glazed look in their dead eyes, the stench of rotting flesh, their hunger for fresh human brains — zombies seem to be everywhere.

The fascination with the undead has been creeping up on the sexy vampires of the “Twilight” dynasty. Over the past decade, movies such as “Resident Evil,” “I Am Legend ” and the spoofy “Zombieland” — not to mention the vast array of zombie DVDs, video games and accessories — have brought in $5 billion.

Seven million people watched the premiere of the hit AMC series “The Walking Dead” last week. Greg Nicoterro, the co-executive producer for the TV show said people have become “really obsessed” with zombies.

“You know vampires also have this huge following, they’re sort of been made sexy by the Twilight movies,” he said. “I honestly believe it’s the fact that as people grow up being fans of the horror genre that there’s something about zombies that are iconic.”

It’s arguable that Nicoterro is responsible for this most recent zombie contagion. He has created about 400 zombies for just season two of “The Walking Dead,” and his professional life has been dedicated to transforming regular-looking people into an army of flesh-feasting, blood-slurping ghouls.

via Move Over ‘Twilight,’ Zombies Are Creeping Up as the Popular Horror Obsession – ABC News.

Halloween costumes,  Steven J. Baum, Great Recession, PR nightmares:  Sometimes grown-ups can be really stupid.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)

MFY Legal Services, which defends homeowners, and Harwood Feffer, a large class-action firm, have filed a class-action suit claiming that Steven J. Baum has consistently failed to file certain papers that are necessary to allow for a state-mandated settlement conference that can lead to a modification. Judge Arthur Schack of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn once described Baum’s foreclosure filings as “operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe.” (My source told me that one Baum employee dressed up as Judge Schack at a previous Halloween party.)

I saw the firm operate up close when I wrote several columns about Lilla Roberts, a 73-year-old homeowner who had spent three years in foreclosure hell. Although she had a steady income and was a good candidate for a modification, the Baum firm treated her mercilessly.

When I called a press spokesman for Steven J. Baum to ask about the photographs, he sent me a statement a few hours later. “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It described this column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

I encourage you to look at the photographs with this column on the Web. Then judge for yourself the veracity of Steven J. Baum’s denial.

via What the Costumes Reveal – NYTimes.com.

define: person, social sciences, the natural sciences, liberal arts education, What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up, books:  Age old question … who should answer it?

We’ve previously explored three different disciplines’ perspectives on what it means to be human and a neuroscientist’s search for the self. But what, exactly, is a person? That’s exactly what sociologist Christian Smith examines in What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up — a fascinating and ambitious meditation on the grand existential question, the answer to which determines our view of our selves, our expectations of others, and our conception of what makes a good society, arguing that much of contemporary theory and thought on personhood is incomplete, short-sighted, misguided even.

Above all, Smith debunks the idea that science, morality, politics, and philosophy are separate matters that don’t, and needn’t, intersect — a byproduct of the ill-conceived model demanding the social sciences emulate the natural sciences. What Is a Person? is thus as much a compelling case for cross-disciplinary curiosity as it is a testament to the power of the synthesizer as a storyteller, weaving together existing ideas to illuminate the subject for a new

via What Is a Person? | Brain Pickings.

28
Oct
11

10.28.2011 … It’s definitely a tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich kinda day … Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty …

Statue of Liberty, history: Happy 125th birthday!

The Statue of Liberty, which today turns 125, is America’s most versatile icon. The colossus of New York Harbor embodies both abstract principles (freedom, democracy) and the intensely personal yearnings of immigrants who wept beneath her on their way to new American beginnings. Over the years, Lady Liberty has endorsed everything from wafers and war bonds to Budweiser and Barbie. Ronald Reagan called her “everybody’s gal.”

Yet “Liberty Enlightening the World” — her formal name — was not always so beloved. A gift from France, the statue originally reflected French yearnings more than it did American ideals. During the two decades it took to complete the hulking monument, Liberty’s creators struggled mightily to fund their efforts. Most Americans looked on with indifference; some even came to resent the gift — for it came with strings attached.

via The History Page: Liberty belle – WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty – YouTube.

Charlotte, Olympics:  Wouldn’t that be fun …

“We need somebody to embrace that, and let’s try to go get the Olympics,” Harris said.

Harris says Charlotte is much like Atlanta was when they first started trying to be a host city.

“They had a big airport…lots of parallels to Charlotte.  It just takes a long time.”

And he says we already have much of the necessary infrastructure.

“Why not? Why not Charlotte,” asked Morgan.

via Charlotte eyes hosting the Olympics | WCNC.com Charlotte.

October snow,  D.C., weather: YIKES!

Because this is a very dynamic storm system and a slight change in temperatures could mean the difference between no snow and several inches in any given location, this is a low confidence forecast. Even in Washington, D.C. there is an outside chance (15% or so) of 4” of snow.

via Rare October snow likely for D.C.’s north and west suburbs – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

$16 Muffins, followup:  So glad the muffins came with   fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The $16 muffin that became a reviled symbol of government waste didn’t cost $16 after all.

That’s the new conclusion of Justice Department auditors, who last month had criticized the department for spending $16.80 apiece for the notorious pastries at a conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington.

An audit of the Department of Justice by the Inspector General says that taxpayer money was wasted on overpriced food and drinks. At one conference, the DOJ spent $4200 on 250 muffins–that’s about $16 a muffin. (Sept. 21)

On Friday, acting Justice ­Department Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar issued a revised report on the department’s conference expenditures. Her new finding: The muffins were part of a continental breakfast that also included items such as fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The new report does not break out a cost for the muffins alone, but a Hilton spokesman has said the entire breakfast cost $16 per person, including taxes and gratuity.

“The department did not pay $16 per muffin,’’ Schnedar’s office wrote, saying that the office regretted the error and that the original conclusion “brought significant negative publicity to the Department and the Capital Hilton.’’

via Justice Dept.: Muffins weren’t $16 after all – The Washington Post.

education, science, Roy G. Biv, mnemonics:  A friend asked how did you learn the colors o f the spectrum and when.  I knew immediately … ROY G BIV and third grade.

ROYGBIV is an acronym for the visible part of the electromagnetic light spectrum:

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colors; the distinct bands are an artifact of human color vision. In ROYGBIV, the colors are arranged in the order of decreasing wavelengths, with red being 650 nm and violet being about 400 nm. The reverse VIBGYOR is used in many Commonwealth countries.

via Roy G. Biv – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

college application essay, anxiety:

Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, agreed that concise writing was laudable but said the implication of a strict limit was misleading. “I worry about that kid who’s written 530 and thinks he has to cut 30 words,” he said. “It just puts another stage of anxiety in front of these kids.”

via College Application Essay as Haiku? For Some, 500 Words Aren’t Enough – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature:  Who you gonna call?

Now you can get back into your Facebook account with a little help from your friends: Facebook just announced a new feature called Trusted Friends, which uses—surprise, surprise—your social network to log you back in if you forget your password.

This is how it works: First, you pick five Facebook friends you trust. If you get locked out, you can arrange it so those friends get a code. Afterwards, call them, collect three of the codes, enter them, and voila—you’re back in business. Facebook likens it “to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation.”

via Facebook Announces New ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature – Techland – TIME.com.

5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street, liberal arts education, quotes:  HMMM … don’t quite understand the reference to a liberal arts education.

“5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street … where each week I try to show you the value of a liberal arts education.”

via 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 28 – TheStreet.

Arab Spring,  Tunisia, Islamist victory, Egypt, Libya:  Arab Spring or Arab instability?

Tunisia’s vote marks the first time that an Islamist party has won a majority in an Arab election since Hamas’ 2006, which resulted in a split of the Palestinian territories between two rival factions. The Arab world’s only other experience with an Islamist win came in Algeria’s 1991 parliamentary race, during which the military swept in to block a full Islamist victory, sparking a bloody 10-year civil war. Ennahda’s sweep in Tunisia is unlikely to yield the same results; most participants and monitors hailed the election’s peaceful and transparent process as a success, and the military has appeared both cooperative and willing to cede power to a civilian government. But the results — and how they came about — will certainly prompt some soul-searching and strategizing across the region.

“The real test now is what happens in the next few weeks,” says Ottaway. Whether Ennahda succeeds in implementing its promise of a broad-based coalition will likely impact the process in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party is poised to capture a sizeable proportion of the votes in the parliamentary race slated for November 28. “In Egypt, there is this great lot of people in the liberal spectrum that are ready to jump into the arms of the military because they are so afraid of the Muslim brotherhood,” Ottaway says. But if Ennahda proves willing to ally with secular parties to form a government, that should alleviate some Egyptian fears. “I think that should show Egyptians that even if the Freedom and Justice party does very well, it doesn’t mean the country is going to become an Islamic republic.”

Either way, the region’s secularists will still have to deal with their own demons. In Egypt where some 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and the literacy rate is among the lowest in the Arab world, secular parties and politicians are often regarded as elitist and distant, while Islamist parties have garnered the most success in attracting poor constituents. Tunisia’s secularists suffered from the same affliction. And indeed, it may have been one of the decisive factors that thwarted their success.

via Tunisia’s Islamist Victory: A Lesson for Egypt and Libya — or Not? – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Jon Huntsman, Stephen Colbert, running mates: 🙂

Former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” Monday night and asked host Stephen Colbert — in Mandarin — to be his running mate.

Colbert took the request in stride, saying that it raised concerns because the fact that he has a SuperPAC prohibits him from “coordinating” with any presidential candidate.

via Jon Huntsman: Stephen Colbert, Will You Be My Running Mate? (VIDEO).

agenda, productivity:  Made me think about my own agenda.

Most of the time, if you ask someone about their agenda, it turns out that it involves doing what’s on someone else’s agenda.

… As soon as you turn over your agenda to others, you’re giving up one of the biggest opportunities you have to contribute. Setting an agenda is often as important as checking the boxes.

Obviously, you can’t be part of any system without engaging with other people and their agendas.

But perhaps we’ve absorbed that habit so completely that we’ve ceded all responsibility and in fact don’t even have an agenda any longer…

via Seth’s Blog: Your agenda.

2012 Presidential Election, flat tax,  GOP,  ‘trickle-down economics’:  This piece at least outlines the various GOP flat tax plans …

The flat tax is making a comeback among Republican presidential candidates. But it faces tough opposition in Congress because it tends to favor the rich at the expense of other taxpayers, renewing an old debate about “trickle-down economics.”

Most of the top GOP contenders — Mitt Romney’s an exception — offer a variation of the tax plan in which everyone pays the same rate. Businessman Herman Cain has his 9-9-9 proposal, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry unveiled a 20 percent flat tax on income this week. Even Romney foresees a flatter tax system in the future, though he favors something closer to the current setup in the short term.

The idea of a flat tax has long been championed by conservative politicians as being simple and fair. Publisher Steve Forbes made it a centerpiece of his Republican presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has endorsed Perry, calling his economic plan “the most exciting plan since (Ronald) Reagan’s.”

via Flat tax makes a comeback among GOP hopefuls, renewing dispute over ‘trickle-down economics’ – The Washington Post.

Mormons, culture:  Mormon ways to be hip??

But the boundaries of Mormon style are expanding. The highly visible “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign (the subject of a major push on television, billboards, the subway and the Internet) seeks to quash strait-laced stereotypes by showing off a cool, diverse set of Mormons, including, besides Mr. Flowers, a leather-clad Harley aficionado, knit-cap-wearing professional skateboarder and an R & B singer with a shaved head.

It’s not just in ads sponsored by the church. On college campuses, city streets and countless style blogs, a young generation of Mormons has adopted a fashion-forward urban aesthetic (geek-chic glasses, designer labels and plenty of vintage) that wouldn’t look out of place at a Bushwick party.

“There used to be a bias against being ‘cool’ in the Mormon world,” said Kendra Smoot, 31, a prop stylist who does work for Lucky and Martha Stewart, and who can be seen sporting Sartorialist-inflected ensembles on Smoot, a blog she runs with her husband, Seth Smoot, a photographer. Ten years ago, when she was a student at Brigham Young University, “there was absolutely zero fashion sense, myself included,” she said. “Now when I go back to visit, the kids there look really cool.

“I think there’s an acceptance now that you can look current and interesting but still uphold the values of the Mormon religion,” she added.

There are limits, however. According to guidelines on dress and grooming on the church’s official Web site, Mormons are discouraged from wearing immodest clothing, including “short shorts and skirts,” “tight clothing” and “shirts that do not cover the stomach.” They should “avoid extremes in clothing, appearance and hairstyle” and not “disfigure” themselves “with tattoos or body piercings.”

Those strictures can be a challenge for members of the creative class who feel the lure of scruffy, bohemian chic.

via Young Mormons Find Ways to Be Hip – NYTimes.com.

antiques, vintage sterling silver, kith/kin: Was talking with a cousin about some heirloom silver.  I have no idea how to value … thought this might be an interesting resource.

Antique & Vintage Sterling Silver for your table and bar

via Antique and Vintage Sterling Silver | Sterling Silver Hallmarks | Silver Magpies Home.

economic theory,  economic complexity, economic growth:  Worth reading …

Two economists, Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Cesar Hidalgo of MIT, have just released their 364-page “Atlas of Economic Complexity,” which claims to be the best model yet for predicting how much nations will grow in the future. So what’s the secret?

As it turns out, the authors argue, the best way to tell how rich a country will get isn’t by looking at things like political institutions, or the rule of law, or even education levels. Nope, it’s far better to look at what they call a country’s “collective knowledge.” That means looking, primarily, at how many different products a country creates — and particularly how many unique products a country makes, things that no other countries are making (say, medical-imaging devices). For example, the authors note that Pakistan and Singapore both export a similar number of types of products. But Singapore’s exports tend to be relatively rarer on the world stage than Pakistan’s, and the country’s much richer as a result.

via Is ‘complexity’ the key to economic growth? – The Washington Post.

Halloween Weekend, London, travel:  London can be eerie!

There’s more to the dark side of the English capital’s history than that of the Tower of London. Around Halloween the city will come alive (so to speak) with the dead, as ghosts, ghouls and witches take to the streets for a weekend of spine-chilling revelries, from Oct. 29 to 31.

via On Halloween Weekend, Exploring London’s Scary Side – NYTimes.com.

Muammar Gaddafi,  Third World Solidarity, Pan – Africa, followup:  I had no idea he had tried to create a United States of Africa and he was crowned  “king of kings!”

One of the more farcical moments in a reign steeped in the bizarre, Muammar Gaddafi’s 2008 coronation as the “king of kings” of Africa was an elaborate ceremony attended by a couple hundred African royals. From a mock throne, wielding a gleaming scepter, Gaddafi urged greater African unity, calling on the formation of a “United States of Africa” with a common army and currency. The dignitaries, mostly traditional chieftains or petty royals with only symbolic power, seemed happy enough to play along with yet another megalomaniacal Gaddafi spectacle.

Yet Gaddafi’s international legacy deserves more analysis. Spurned by many Arab states who had no time for his pan-Arabist posturing, Gaddafi had turned to Africa in recent years with a vast fund of his petro-wealth — some $5 billion — that he distributed as largesse throughout the continent. It won him the presidency of the African Union in 2009, though neither his attempt to extend his tenure nor calls for a more integrated federation met any success. But, after years of fomenting insurgencies, abetting militant action and grooming ideological pet projects around the world, Gaddafi’s pan-Africanism has left a mark. A report by the International Crisis Group, a New York and Brussels-based think tank, sums up the immediate effect of his exit from the scene:

Due to the length of his reign, his influence abroad and strong patronage politics, Qaddafi’s shadow will continue to be felt in Libya and neighbouring countries. The upheavals that preceded and followed his fall have created new and potential problems, including massive displacement of populations; tribal tensions within Libya and racist attacks against nationals of sub-Saharan countries; a possible resurgence of Islamism; and the proliferation of fighters and weapons.

Despite such chaos, Gaddafi still commands sympathy in sub-Saharan Africa. His pan-Africanism and support of liberation struggles against colonial rule won him the loyalty of Nelson Mandela. For all the evil that he may have perpetrated, there’s a larger narrative of justice on whose side he’s still somewhat on: that of Third World solidarity, a sentiment that once wove much of the developing world together during the Cold War.

via Gaddafi Now Dead, Has Third World Solidarity Died with Him? – Global Spin – TIME.com.

HOT lane, Atlanta, GA, travel, followup:  Has this worked other places … or does it work if installed  at HOT lanes at the beginning and not as conversion from HOV lanes … or is it just too early to tell.

Driving with two commuters, one in the HOT lanes, the other in the regular lanes, yielded dramatically different experiences. But one thing was the same: Both commuters said that, as far as they can see, the opening of the project has cost them without benefiting them.

via HOT lane unhappiness: Some drivers say congestion worse  | ajc.com.

green, South African, recycled rugby balls, job creation: another good green idea …

TOUCH in South Africa is training unemployed seamstresses to make rugby balls from recycled materials, addressing the problems of waste and unemployment simultaneously.

via Upcycled South African rugby balls create jobs and clean up streets | Springwise.

tv, cultural history,  Lauren Zalaznick, TED:  My grandmother called it the “idiot box,” too!

From the intricate balance of moral ambiguity and inspiration, humor and judgement, to the normative shifts scripted television can ignite, to the evolving ideals of motherhood, Zalaznick illustrates not only how history has shaped the medium, but also how the medium itself is shaping cultural history.

via The Conscience of Television: Lauren Zalaznick at TED | Brain Pickings.

Lauren Zalaznick: The conscience of television – YouTube.

Coca-Cola, polar bears, white Coke Cans, WWF, branding, kudos:  Coke and polar bears … an unlikely pair … kudos to Coke!

So perhaps it’s a measure of the company’s dedication to the environment that Coca-Cola has decided to change the color of its iconic cans for the holiday season—white, to draw attention to the plight of the polar bear. Coke and the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have joined together to promote the Arctic Home project, which will involve turning 1.4 billion Coke cans white, emblazoned with the image of a mother polar bear and her cubs pawing through the Arctic. There will also be white bottle caps on other Coke branded drinks, all running from the beginning of November to February. “In 125 years we’ve never changed the color of the Coke can,” says Katie Bayne, president and GM of Coca-Cola Sparking Beverages. “We really see this as a bold gesture.”

Bold gestures are exactly what the polar bears needs. There’s a reason the planet’s largest land carnivores have emerged as the symbols of climate change—perhaps no species is more directly impacted by warming temperatures than the polar bear. They depend on Arctic sea ice as a major habitat and hunting ground, but sea ice is vanishing rapidly, shrinking to its second-lowest level on record this past summer. As the ice melts, polar bears are forced to swim further and further for food—and some, especially young cubs, simply won’t make it. “We’re watching the ice shrink in front of our eyes, and if there is no ice, there are no bears,” says Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of WWF. “The polar bears need our help.”

via Coke and WWF Work Together to Save the Polar Bears in the Arctic – Ecocentric – TIME.com.

gardening, deer:  The deer devoured my impatiens!!

Occasionally Severely Damaged:  Impatiens, Fall Mums

via Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance: Home, Lawn & Garden.

college application process,  QuestBridge National College Match program, college scholarships:  I had never heard of this until recently when Molly found it on a questionnaire at UVA.  If you are low-income and gifted you should take a look.

For high-achieving students from low-income families, attending a top-tier college can feel completely out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

The National College Match program looks for students who have achieved excellence in school, and whose families face economic challenges. Then it matches those students with elite colleges that are prepared to offer full scholarships to these talented kids.

Participating schools include Amherst, Dartmouth, Brown, Emory, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and more — 31 highly respected universities in all.

High-school seniors are invited to apply now. The application deadline is Sept. 30, 2011, and the application process requires a good bit of documentation, along with three essays, so best to get started now. The good news? With just one application, students can be considered for scholarships to up to eight schools.

via Full scholarships to elite colleges for high achieving, low income students « Gifted Atlanta.

1 %-er, Occupy Wall Street:  Trying to understand all sides of this issue … ” But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?  Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently.

One of the chief complaints emerging from the 99 percenters camped in New York City and around the world is the sense that the top 1 percent have gotten away with something—that no amount of malfeasance on their part could endanger their status.

The movement began, of course, on Wall Street, where this phenomenon is glaringly typified. By now, the chutzpah of the bankers, who are batting away even the gentlest attempts to regulate their behavior after they ruined the economy and got trillions in taxpayer bailouts, is well-known.

But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?

Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently. Take, for example, the recent eviscerations of class-action lawsuits. When Wal-Mart v. Dukes was before the Supreme Court earlier this year, big businesses rushed to the defense of the company. The megastore, run by the Walton family—one of the wealthiest in the world, with a collective fortune of $90 billion—was being sued by a class-action group of women charging gender discrimination at stores nationwide. The US Chamber of Commerce’s litigation center filed an amicus brief on the company’s behalf, as did a wide array of large corporations, from Altria to Bank of America to General Electric.

The Court decided against the women, saying they must sue individually and cannot act as a class in action against Walmart. The legal logic the justices applied limited many class-action suits going forward and means that “the bigger the company, the more varied and decentralized its job practices, the less likely it will have to face a class-action claim,” according to longtime Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston.

via How to Be a 1 Percenter | The Nation.

Storify:  Still trying to figure this one out?  Maybe if I keep clipping I will actually try it. 🙂

You’ll notice a new look, stronger foundation, better tools for collecting media from around the web, and great new ways to organize your story.

Welcome to the new Storify editor interface. We’ve taken your feedback and have rebuilt Storify on a stronger foundation with some cool new features, a new logo, and a new look.

via New Storify Editor Interface Rolls Out – With StoryPad Tool For Gathering And Sharing Media · storify · Storify.

27
Oct
11

10.27.2011 … Yoga at the Y with the Molls … Namaste …

Northern Lights, GA:  My son has seen the Northern Lights in Canada … It’s on my list.  Never would have thought I could see them in North Georgia.

A solar storm on Monday led to a rare and impressive overnight display of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, that was seen as far south as north Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“A big geomagnetic storm caused the rare Aurora this far south,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

The website spaceweather.com reported that a coronal mass ejection hit Earth at about 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, sparking the intense geomagnetic storm that left a red hue in the northern sky far south of areas that normally experience the Northern Lights.

The website said that Monday night’s Aurora was seen in more than half of all U.S. states.

“Many observers, especially in the deep South, commented on the pure red color of the lights they saw,” the website said. “These rare all-red auroras sometimes appear during intense geomagnetic storms.”

<iframe src=’http://widget.newsinc.com/single.html?WID=2&VID=23541662&freewheel=69016&sitesection=ajc&#8217; height=’320′ width=’425′ scrolling=’no’ frameborder=’0′ marginwidth=’0′ marginheight=’0′>

via North Georgians treated to rare view of Northern Lights  | ajc.com.

Condoleezza Rice, Arab Spring, immigration, education: I really like Rice. Wish I had seen her in Charlotte.

3. The Arab Spring is up there with 9/11 and the global financial crisis as great shocks shaping the world. The average American knows the movement against Middle East dictators is important, but few, we bet, would put that up with 9/11 and the recession.

2. America is wrong to be so anti-immigrant. Immigrants have made this country great, and can continue to do so, she said. A top Russian official boasted to Rice that it had the best minds in technology. “Yes,” Rice said, “unfortunately, they’re all working in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv.” She told the Observer earlier that her biggest regret from her time in the Bush administration was the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to pass. “Sometimes I don’t understand the conversation we’re having about immigration,” she said Tuesday. “When did immigrants become the enemy?”

1. The greatest national security crisis facing the United States? Not al-Qaida. Not Iran. Not North Korea. It’s the crisis in K-12 education.

via O-pinion: Top 5 most surprising things Condi Rice said in Charlotte.

Supreme Court, Freedom of Speech, social networking, education, MySpace Case:

Blue Mountain School District officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a ruling for a student disciplined for a MySpace parody of the middle school principal.

In a petition filed Tuesday and docketed Thursday by the nation’s highest court, district officials asked the court to hear their arguments in favor of overturning the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 13 decision overturning the 2007 suspension of a student identified only as J.S.

The petition asked the court to issue a writ of certiorari, which is the official order indicating that it will hear the case.

By an 8-6 vote, the circuit court ruled that the parodies J.S. and a friend posted were protected by the First Amendment because they were created off school grounds, and that they were unlikely to cause significant disruptions in the school.

via Education Week: School District Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear MySpace Case.

faith and spirituality, The Church:  “Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.”

As Jesus was one human person among many, the Church is one organization among many.  And just as there may have been people with more attractive appearances than Jesus, there may be many organizations that are a lot better run than the Church.   But Jesus is the Christ appearing among us to reveal God’s love, and the Church is his people called together to make his presence visible in today’s world.

Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.

via Daily Meditation: The Church, God’s People.

NFL, Redskins, black fans, DC, history:  Redemption story?

Fifty years ago this fall, civil rights groups protested the opening of D.C. Stadium, whose most important tenants — the Washington Redskins — were the last National Football League team to remain segregated. A half-century after many area sports fans boycotted the team for racial reasons, the Redskins have an unrivaled hold on Washington’s black community.

The affinity for the team is seen at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church on fall Sundays, when the Rev. Joseph Gilmore Jr., dismisses his parishioners at 12:30 so he can get situated in his “man cave” before kickoff.

The deep relationship between the Washington area’s black sports fans and the Redskins is supported by a new Washington Post poll , which found that two-thirds of African American fans have a favorable view of the team and four in 10 feel that way “strongly.” Less than half of white fans have an overall favorable view. The racial differences concerning Daniel Snyder, the team’s owner, are even starker. Black fans are fairly evenly divided on Snyder, but 72 percent of white sports fans in the area give Snyder negative marks, compared with 9 percent positive.

via Black fans have grown to love the Redskins – The Washington Post.

zombies, apps, games: Think John needs a Zombie game?

iPhone

The very concept of escape when it comes to zombies has become, from an entertainment perspective, next to impossible. They’ve saturated media and spread their virus across the public consciousness, and like the shambling hordes themselves, their appearances just keep coming. The outbreak of their pop-cultural contagion is a grim allegory to how things would probably go down if flesh-eaters suddenly invaded more than just our minds and wallets.

Dead Escape, then, is just another in the zombie ranks, with its only real differentiation being that it looks pretty nice for an iOS game. Interestingly, it’s not a combat game; in fact it only carries a “9+” rating on the App Store. Instead, it takes the familiar third-person horror genre perspective and combines it ever so slightly with a point-and-click adventure approach. This doesn’t always work, however. There’s little fear when the game refers to a zombie as an “obstacle” that you have to “get rid of,” which may involve simply finding an alternate escape route. And the zombies all inexplicably just stand there; a probable cost-cutting measure in the game’s design that makes Dead Escape one of the least thrilling infection scenarios we’ve seen to date.

via Dead Escape Review | Mac|Life.

Japan earthquake/tsunami 2011, followup, photo gallery:  Great cleanup.  I do not think the US would be nearly as far along.

Last Sunday was the six-month anniversary of the day the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s northeast coast.

Some 20,000 people are dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society estimates that 400,000 people were displaced.

Half a year later, there are physical signs of progress.

Much of the debris has been cleared away or at least organized into big piles.

via The Frame: Japan marks 6 months since earthquake, tsunami.

Tawakkol Karman, Yemen, Arab Spring:

Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Yemen, says that she is frustrated by what she sees as the “ambiguous” policies of the Obama administration toward the Arab Spring.

On one hand, she says, President Obama has made speeches supporting a transition to democracy in the Arab Middle East, and the administration appears to have backed popular movements for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt.

But in Yemen, Karman said in an interview Thursday, the perception is that the administration still has not detached itself from the authoritarian regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, which it has regarded as an ally in the war against terrorism.

….

Karman said that she traveled to Washington to make the argument to the Obama administration that it should break definitively with Saleh. It can do this, she said, by taking two steps: supporting the strongman’s referral to the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges and freezing his personal assets and those of his family. The United States adopted both measures in the case of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

“It is the obligation of the international community and the United States as the leader of freedom and democracy to stand on the side of the Yemeni people,” she said. “Saleh’s regime is over. It is just a matter of time. We, the young people, are the future, so it is in your interest to stand with us.”

via A Nobel Peace Prize winner questions Obama – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.

 

Three-Line Novels: Precursor to twitter?

Artist, anarchist and literary entrepreneur Félix Fénéon was the one-man Twitter of early 20th-century France. Between May and November of 1906, he wrote 1,220 succinct and near-surrealist three-line reports in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, serving to inform of everything from notable deaths to petty theft to naval expedition disasters. In Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, artist Joanna Neborsky captures the best of these enigmatic vignettes in stunning illustrations and collages, inspired by Luc Sante’s English translation of Fénéon’s gems for the New York Review of Books. Sometimes profound, often perplexing, and always prepossessing, these visual snapshots of historical micro-narratives offer a bizarre and beautiful glimpse of a long-gone French era and a man of rare

via Illustrated Three-Line Novels by the One-Man Twitter of 1906 France | Brain Pickings.

The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, books:  Sounds interesting …

The prison library counter, his new post, attracts con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. There’s an anxious pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing a memoir. A passionate gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle. A disgruntled officer who instigates a major feud over a Post-it note. A doomed ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son, himself an inmate. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves — a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor. But when the struggles of the prison library — between life and death, love and loyalty — become personal, Steinberg is forced to take sides.

via Amazon.com: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (9780385529099): Avi Steinberg: Books.

Steve Jobs, bookstores, random:  Steve is watching …

As you can see by the photo embedded above, bookstore employees photographed Walter Isacsson‘s book in various locations around the store in a playful memorial to the late Apple CEO.  What do you think?

via Steve Jobs Watches Over Bookstores – GalleyCat.

RIP, places, lists:  Can you guess who is on the list?  Rest in Peace (and Mystery): Top 6 Secret Burials – TIME NewsFeed.

Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs:  Who will be our net visionary?

Bezos has an opportunity to become a very strong innovator, because there is a vacuum left by the tragic death of Steve Jobs, and I’m sure he sees that as an opportunity. He sees an opportunity and he is going to jump on it. It will be interesting to see the direction he takes Amazon going forward. I’m sure he’s going to continue to surprise us with new features and new products.

via Can Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Fill the Void Left by Steve Jobs? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

nostalgia, ’90s tv, millenials:  I can’t stand the 90’s show!!

This summer, some of the television shows that defined the ‘90s started airing again…some simply as reruns, but others as updated versions.

In July, Nickelodeon began airing The ‘90s Are All That, a program beginning at midnight that features popular series from the ‘90s such as All That, Kenan and Kel, Clarissa Explains It All, and Doug. Since TeenNick brought the shows back, they have averaged a 50% ratings increase among viewers 18-34.

On Thursday, Beavis and Butt-Head will make its much-anticipated return to MTV, but with certain revisions. For example, the notorious twosome will now be watching Jersey Shore.

Millennials (those born after 1980 and before 2000), often accused of being lazy and spoiled, are now facing unemployment (even though most are well-educated and highly qualified for positions) and high stress levels. In this time of uncertainty, they find these shows comforting. Experts explain the trend as “instant nostalgia.”

“I guess I have comfort in familiarity I forgot I had,” Margolis said. “Seeing an episode of Kenan and Kel that I hadn’t watched in 10 years, but finding that I remember every single word! It’s the best era of TV because the plots were unrealistic but rooted in real-life issues.”

via Nostalgic ’90s television offers escape for Millenials | USA TODAY College.

stink bug invasion, GA: Ughh!

Entomologist Rick Hoebeke tells the Athens Banner-Herald that swarms of brown marmorated stink bugs are probably going to be seeking wintertime refuge inside Georgia homes.

He said the bugs, about a half-inch long, have been known to show up in such numbers that homeowners in Pennsylvania have used buckets and brooms to sweep them off porches.

via UGA researcher warns of stink bug invasion  | ajc.com.

viral videos, LOLJazz for Cows – YouTube.

The “New Hot 5” plays for a herd of cows in Autrans, France.   I’ve never seen cows look so enthused.

via Jazz for Cows.

The Royal Society, archives:  60,000 papers online!   Issac Newton … Ben Franklin …

60,000 peer-reviewed papers, including the first peer-reviewed scientific research journal in the world, are now available free online. The Royal Society has opened its historical archives to the public. Among the cool stuff you’ll find here: Issac Newton’s first published research paper and Ben Franklin’s write-up about that famous kite experiment. Good luck getting anything accomplished today. Or ever again. —

via Royal Society Opens Online Archive; Puts 60,000 Papers Online | Open Culture.

Occupy Wall Street, violence:

New Post polling shows the Occupy Wall Street movement could be a boon for Democrats in 2012. But violent clashes with the police at Occupy Oakland, along with arrests elsewhere, raise questions about how long the movement can last — and whether its message will be muddled by violence.

Oakland police fire tear gas as they prepare to move in to Frank Ogawa Plaza to disperse Occupy Oakland protesters on Tuesday. (JANE TYSKA – AP)

As police start ousting protesters, a disparate movement — one that has been embraced by many Democratic politicians and labor organizations — is struggling to respond.

Protesters in other cities are worried about suddenly finding themselves in a clash with police. And even if the vast majority of protesters are peaceful, violent provocateurs could tarnish the movement’s image in the eyes of the public.

Just as Democrats tried to tie Republicans to the most extreme tea party activists, the Massachusetts Republican Party is already attacking Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren as the “Matriarch of Mayhem” for saying she helped create an intellectual foundation for the protests.

via Occupy movement could be damaged by violent clashes – The Washington Post.

Storify, social news experience:  Interesting concept … social news experience …

Today Storify launched its new editor interface, featuring slicker, easier-to-use tools for fast content curation.

The new foundation flip-flops the search and editor sides of the interface, and places a higher priority on each content curator writing their own text for the story. Photo searches are big and bright, and the results are displayed in a handy gallery format that mimics a slick, white cube art space. The drag-and-drop functionality makes story curation more user-friendly. Previously, Storify didn’t have a logo – now it does. Storify has its own login system now, too.

via Storify Update Feels Like a Cleaner Social News Experience.

visual storytelling: These are fun.

Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling — we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employed animation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of the pictorial superiority effect.

via Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age | Brain Pickings.

viral videos, LOLContrex – Ma Contrexpérience – 97s – YouTube.

college application process, college major:  Good advice on defining yourself.

At the College Board’s annual conference on Wednesday, I listened to an intriguing discussion of how a student’s choice of major may shape her college experience, not to mention her odds of gaining an admission offer in the first place.

Robert Springall, dean of admissions at Bucknell University, described how he weighs information about an applicant’s intended major, or the lack thereof. Mr. Springall, who brings in about 920 new students each year, said that such information is crucial to meeting a variety of enrollment goals.

“I can’t have 920 students who all want to do the same thing, and I can’t have 920 students who all come in undecided,” he said. “I can’t over-enroll engineering and have no classics majors.”

Such are the demands of shaping a class, an act that one might liken to doing a jigsaw puzzle while balancing on a tightrope. Mr. Springall must ensure that there will be enough—but not too many—students to fill each of the university’s four clusters: arts and humanities, natural and physical sciences, the school of management, and the school of engingeering.

On many campuses, the failure to spread the wealth of students among different disciplines might incur the wrath of faculty members, cause scheduling headaches, and perhaps even jeopardize an institution’s accreditation. Moreover, if a student isn’t interested in, say, engineering on day one of his freshman year, he might have problems getting on the engineering track later.

This is why Mr. Springall looks for applicants whose academic interests are at least somewhat defined. “We’re seeing the importance of starting these conversations at the high-school level and, yes, at the middle-school level,” he said.

via What’s Your Major? – Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cape Town SA, World Design Capital 2014, kudos:  One of my favorite cities in the world!

What is WDC2014?

This prestigious status is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.

via World Design Capital Bid 2014 | Cape Town.

Cape Town – World Design Capital 2014 – YouTube.

Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town, South Africa and the African continent.

In her acceptance speech De Lille said: “It is an honour for me to be addressing you here today as mayor of the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. A city belongs to its people and it must be designed for and with them and their communities. For many years, people have been applying innovative solutions to our challenges. They have been using design to transform various aspects of life. But they have often been working without an overarching social goal in mind.

“The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.

via Cape Town Awarded World Design Capital 2014 – A Win For Cape Town, South Africa and The African Continent | World Design Capital Bid 2014.

compassion, faith and spirituality, authority:

There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion.   Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.

via Daily Meditation: The Authority of Compassion.

Condoleezza Rice, Moammar Gaddafi: So strange …

Rice describes a 2008 meeting between the pair that ended with Gaddafi showing her photos of Rice with world leaders — and the performance of a song he had composed in her honor.

“What was going through my head was ‘How long do I have to sit here and how quickly can I get out of here?’ You know, it was funny because when he said, ‘I have a video for you,’ I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this going to be?’ But it was actually just a bunch of pictures of me with Vladimir Putin, me with Hu Jintao,” Rice tells ABC News in an interview set for next week. “And then he said, ‘I have Libya’s best composer, most famous composer write this song for you,’ and it was called ‘Black Flower in the White House.’”

Rice called Gaddafi’s scrapbook “eerie” and labeled the exchange one of the strangest of her tenure.

Asked if the Bush administration grew too close to Gaddafi after he agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Rice said no: “I think what we did was to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction, or the most dangerous ones,” she said.

“We weren’t ever really going to get very close to Gaddafi,” Rice added. “And the most important thing was to try and open up this place that had been closed for so long, to get him out of terrorism, to get him away from weapons of mass destruction, to make it a little bit safer. But it’s far preferable that he’s gone.”

via When Condoleezza Rice met Moammar Gaddafi – The Federal Eye – The Washington Post.

charms, fashion – accessories, Anthropologie:  I did not think charm bracelets would be popular again … 🙂

Charms – Accessories – Anthropologie.com.

faith and spirituality, spiritual master: Who would be mine …

What figure would you choose to be your spiritual master? It might be obvious to you; it might take you some serious reflection. Once you’ve identified a spiritual master, try to learn more about his or her life; think about why you picked that particular figure; and, most important, how to incorporate the lessons of that life into your own life.

For example, when I was annoyed when the woman working next to me at the library kept sighing noisily, I was inspired by St. Thérèse: she tells the story of how she once broke into a sweat at the effort to conquer her annoyance when a fellow nun made maddening clicking noises during evening prayers. I could relate.

I’m curious to know what spiritual masters other people have adopted. Have you found someone whose life or teaching has captivated you? If you’ve identified your spiritual master, please post it—I, and I’m sure other people, would be very interested to see the range of choices.

via The Happiness Project: Your Happiness Project: Imitate a spiritual master..

Occupy Wall Street, ‘Getting Arrested’ app, LOL:

Occupy Wall Street protesters now have a free app to alert others if they’re about to be arrested.

The Daily News (http://nydn.us/uIbKWq ) says the creator of the “I’m Getting Arrested” app is Jason Van Anden, a Brooklyn software developer. It’s available at Android Market.

Van Anden is working to make it available on iPhone.

Here’s how it works: Users write a text message in advance and program a list of recipients. As they’re about to be arrested, users can hit one button and alert everyone on their list.

via AP News: Wall Street protesters get ‘Getting Arrested’ app.

thermostat, Nest Labs:  Remake  of the lowly thermostat …

Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who led iPod and iPhone development from 2001 to 2009, helped transform consumer products used by millions of people. Next up: the humble household thermostat.

The device’s temperature  is set by moving its outer ring.

A boring wall fixture and an unlikely target for innovation? Not to Mr. Fadell, his team of 100 computer hardware and software experts and the venture capitalists backing his Silicon Valley start-up, Nest Labs.

They see the conventional thermostat as a dumb switch that can be changed into a clever digital assistant that saves homeowners money and reduces energy consumption and pollution.

“We’ve built the world’s first learning thermostat — a thermostat for the iPhone generation,” Mr. Fadell said.

Nest Labs, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded last year, is announcing its offering on Tuesday, and plans to begin shipping the $249 thermostat by the middle of November.

Outsiders who have tried out the product are impressed by its stylish design, ease of use and advanced features, like motion-tracking sensors that detect whether people are present and adjust room temperatures accordingly. But it remains to be seen whether consumers and contractors will pay more for a high-tech thermostat, when good enough has been good enough for decades.

via At Nest Labs, Ex-Apple Leaders Remake the Thermostat – NYTimes.com.

Steve Jobs, textbook market, education:  “[T]he Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.”

“Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform,” says a passage in the new book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. It notes that Jobs said he had met with several major textbook publishers, including Pearson. It appears that his primary focus was on the K-12 textbook market. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” Mr. Jobs is quoted as saying. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Mr. Jobs was less keen on the power of his products to change other aspects of education, according to the book. Rupert Murdoch said that during a dinner he had with Mr. Jobs recently, the Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.

via Steve Jobs Had Hopes of Disrupting Textbook Market – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Davidson College, college basketball, SoCon:  Hoping for a good season.

The Davidson men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Southern Conference South Division by the league’s 12 head coaches, the conference announced today, and juniors Jake Cohen and JP Kuhlman were named to the preseason all-conference team.

Davidson earned 10 first-place votes and finished the balloting with 65 points in the South Division. College of Charleston earned the final two first-place votes and finished with 56 points. Georgia Southern was tabbed third (42) ahead of Furman (34). Wofford (32) was selected fifth with The Citadel (17) rounding out the South Division.

via Davidson College Athletics – Men’s Basketball Picked First in SoCon Coaches Poll.

 Jackson Pollock, “Dripped”, animated homage:

Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his distinctive art, his volatile personality and and his unusual creative process the subject of much curiosity and debate. Dripped is a wonderful and beautifully animated French short film by director Léo Verrier, paying homage to the great artist. Set in 1950s New York, the film follows Pollock’s ecstatic, passionate quest for truth, beauty and art as he finds the creative voice that catapulted him to the top of the art world — a mid-week treat of the finest kind

via Dripped: French Animated Homage to Jackson Pollock | Brain Pickings.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/24455397″>Dripped – Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/chezeddy”>ChezEddy</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

BONES, season 7:  next week …

“Do I want to tell you this?” Hanson questioned. “No, there will not be a time jump after the baby is born. We will continue on. There’s no time jump. We’re going to see it through as a cohesive story from the time we come back in the beginning of the season to the end of the season. There will be no time jumps.”

But that doesn’t mean the lab will be sans Brennan for any sort of traditional maternity leave.

“Do you think Brennan would take maternity leave?” he laughed. “I don’t consider a couple days [away] a time jump…the audience should not feel a time jump [when she comes back to work].”

Looking forward to the episodes airing in 2012, Hanson teased that in addition to the return of the new serial killer, Booth and Brennan will be struggling to figure out the latest shift in their relationship.

“The personal stuff will be how does a couple have a child, work together and deal with each other, while maintaining the fact that we’re a murder show,” Hanson said. “We’re still going to solve a murder each week. So it’s going to be a murder show each week, for that segment of the audience, and we’re going to see how are they going to [balance their relationship]. That’s what the last 7 [or so] episodes of the season will be. How does that work [for them]?”

via BONES: Hart Hanson Teases Season 7 | Give Me My Remote.

Pink flash mob, Breast Cancer Awareness:

A pink flash mob broke out in Reston Town Center to raise breast cancer awareness this weekend.

About 100 people, decked out in pink T-shirts emblazoned with the words “In It Because I Care,” danced for about three minutes to promote breast cancer awareness month and the 2012 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

via Pink flash mob raises breast cancer awareness – The Buzz – The Washington Post.

Avon Walk Mob Dance 2011 – YouTube.

Megabus, Atlanta:  Already have two overnights booked.  Yeah!!

Starting Nov. 16, it plans to begin daily departures from a curbside bus stop at the Civic Center MARTA station in downtown Atlanta to Birmingham, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Gainesville, Fla., Jacksonville, Knoxville, Memphis, Mobile, Montgomery, Nashville and Orlando.

The company, like other new-fangled exp

via Megabus to launch express bus service in Atlanta.

college application process, scholarship:  More good advice … Have to search for the left-handedness one!

The key to getting a scholarship is research. Start with your guidance counselor and college financial aid offices. Beyond traditional scholarships for academic achievement, there are literally thousands of special and unusual scholarships out there, each with its own requirements.

These scholarships may emphasize community service, leadership or work experience. Others are for students with very specific interests and talents. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers $5000 each to two students who promote vegetarianism in their school and community; the American Association of Candy Technologists offers $5000 to one lucky student interested in a career in the candy industry. There are even scholarships for left handedness, twins, knitters and skateboarders.

Make sure to do your homework; look at all the details. Pick those scholarships that match your interests and qualifications. Proofread your application. Then, proofread it again. And most importantly, don’t miss the deadline!

via Unigo Expert Network: Scholarships 101 What are the craziest college scholarships? | USA TODAY College.

John McCarthy, RIP, artificial intelligence: Rest in Peace, John McCarthy … you sound like a phenomenal person.

He remained an independent thinker throughout his life. Some years ago, one of his daughters presented him with a license plate bearing one of his favorite aphorisms: “Do the arithmetic or be doomed to talk nonsense.”

via John McCarthy, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 84 – NYTimes.com.

twitter:

RT @aaltman82 Amy Winehouse’s alcohol poisoning is poetically rendered by coroner as “death by misadventure.” Brits do have a way with words

public colleges, economy:

Tuition increases at public colleges have been a source of concern across the country as states grapple with budget cuts, and “there’s a tendency to look at national numbers,” said Sandy Baum, an independent policy analyst for the College Board and an author of the reports, who also contributes to a Chronicle blog. Yet, she said, the price increases facing students vary significantly from state to state. In Connecticut and South Carolina, for example, tuition at public four-year colleges grew by only about 2.5 percent; and in Montana and North Dakota, tuition and fees at public two-year colleges grew by less than 2 percent.

via Rise in Sticker Price at Public Colleges Outpaces That at Private Colleges for 5th Year in a Row – Admissions & Student Aid – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Apple, Maiden NC,  solar farm, green, kudos: Kudos, Apple!

The Charlotte Observer and the Hickory Daily Record report that Apple is clearing about 100 acres of land to build a solar farm adjacent to their Maiden, NC data center.

via Apple building solar farm at Maiden, NC data center | CLT Blog.

random, art, NYC: Very weird … performance artist gives birth in museum.

Marni Kotak has given birth to her first child — inside a New York City art gallery.

The 36-year-old performance artist gave birth to a healthy 9-pound, 2-ounce, and 21-inch-long baby boy at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn. Kotak had set up a home-birth center at the gallery, turning her space into a brightly decorated bedroom with ocean blue walls and photo-imprinted pillows.

“Baby X” was born at 10:17 a.m., according to a statement from the museum.

via NYC performance artist gives birth in museum  | ajc.com.

Litfy, e-books: free e-books …

Read all the novels you want, anywhere, anytime, on any device, for free.

via Litfy – All the free e-books you can muster.

GOP, war on science and reason:  Great intro … LOL

Last month, Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein wrote that if you wanted to come up with a bumper sticker that defined the Republican Party’s platform it would be this: “Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.” With their unrelenting attempts to slash Social Security, end Medicare and Medicaid and destroy the social safety net, Republicans are, indeed, on a quest of reversal. But they have set their sights on an even bolder course than Pearlstein acknowledges in his column: It’s not just the 20th century they have targeted for repeal; it’s the 18th and 19th too.

via The Republicans’ war on science and reason – The Washington Post.

Great Recession, unemployment, careers:

Everybody’s heard the complaints about recruiting lately.

Even with unemployment hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can’t find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting.

Employers are quick to lay blame. Schools aren’t giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn’t letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on.

But I believe that the real culprits are the employers themselves.

With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time.

In other words, to get a job, you have to have that job already. It’s a Catch-22 situation for workers—and it’s hurting companies and the economy.

via Why Companies Can’t Find the Employees They Need – WSJ.com.

philosophy:  Just read it … times have changed?

For years I have been making use of a plane crash example to illustrate the moral distinction between killing people and letting people die and the results have always been the same, at least until this past week. Before getting to that, I will briefly present the examples.

I usually open my discussion of utilitarianism by noting that people tend to have utilitarian intuitions in many cases, such as those involving emergency medial treatment. My stock example is as follows:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with six people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. Examining the people, you know that if you try to save the badly injured pilot, you will lose 3-4 of the others for sure. But, if you allow the pilot to die, you are certain you can save at least four of the passengers, maybe even five. What do you do?”

As you might suspect, everyone always says something like “save the five because five is more than one.”

When transitioning to my discussion of rule-deontology, I make the point that sometimes our intuitions seem to steer us away from just the consequences to also considering the action itself. To illustrate this intuition, I change the story just a bit:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with five people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. To save them, you need a lot of blood and you need it fast. Coincidentally, Ted the hermit has come in for his yearly checkup. Ted has no friends or relatives and no one checks up on him. By a truly amazing coincidence Ted’s blood type means that he can donate to all five people. Unfortunately, getting enough blood to save all five will kill Ted. What do you do?”

For years, my students have said that killing Ted even to save five people would be wrong and I fully expected my current students  to give the same answer. But, rather than the usual “that would be wrong”, I was met with silence. So, I asked again and two students said that they’d drain Ted. When I said that this was the first class that ever said that, the reply was “times have changed.”

I’m not quite sure what the significance of this might be, but it was certainly interesting.

via Talking Philosophy | Example Failure.

Princess Bride, movies:  Not my favorite movie but I found this “history” interesting.   ‘Princess Bride’: An Oral History | Inside Movies | EW.com.

war crimes, Moammar Gaddafi: This will be interesting.

Gaddafi’s family plans to file a war crimes complaint against NATO with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alliance’s alleged role in his death, the family’s lawyer said.

Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Gaddafi’s regime and now represents his family, told AFP news agency on Wednesday that a complaint would be filed with the Hague-based ICC because NATO’s attack on the convoy led directly to his death.

“The wilful killing (of someone protected by the Geneva Convention) is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute,” he said.

He said he could not yet say when the complaint would be filed, but said it would target both NATO executive bodies and the leaders of alliance member states.

via Libya – Oct 26, 2011 – 12:05 | Al Jazeera Blogs.

Robert J. Zimmer, liberal arts education:

And yet, in a roundabout, academic fashion, the university president did imply that liberal arts skills are both translatable and necessary to all things in life.

“Not all students want or need the same education,” Mr. Zimmer said. “But even students who are being trained in a very particular area will have to confront the issue of how what they’re doing connects to what others are doing.”

He then went on to define liberal arts learning as, among other things, an education in “how to integrate multiple perspectives.”

Mr. Zimmer warned against viewing the workplace as a “collection of buckets or isolated specializations,” and he emphasized the interconnectedness of different fields and skills.

“There are arguments about the value of liberal arts education. Tuition costs are a major concern. There are financial and political pressures on institutions to show immediate value,” Mr. Zimmer conceded.

But, ultimately, he said, such concerns should not obscure the mission of liberal arts institutions: “to help students lead fuller lives and be better citizens.”

At the conclusion of Mr. Zimmer’s remarks, an audience member jumped up and asked, “People who were products of liberal arts educations at the best institutions in the country led us into the Iraq war. How do you explain that?”

“Not everybody agrees on what to do,” Mr. Zimmer responded. “It’s a good question.”

via Robert J. Zimmer on the Value of a Liberal Arts Diploma – NYTimes.com.

income gap, poverty, The South, Atlanta:

Atlanta has widest income gap between rich and poor of all the major U.S. cities, the U.S. Census reported on Wednesday. New Orleans ranked second, followed by the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. …

Rounding out the list of 10 big cities with the largest gaps between high and low income are Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville, all in Florida; Athens, Ga.; New York; Dallas; and Baton Rouge, La.

Cities in the South seem to have more than their share of inequality, don’t they? Maybe, this kind of thing happens when you’re pro-business, anti-union workers?

via LikeTheDew.com, Gap between U.S. rich, poor is widest in Atlanta – US news – Life – msnbc.com.

26
Oct
11

10.26.2011 … Coffee with Bob and Joni … Again we will solve the problems of the world … John is on his way back from Kuwait … 26 hours in Kuwait City … 24 hours travel time each way!

travel, kith/kin:  24 hours to KWI … 26 hours in KC … 24 hours back …and now  eagle landed and is snoozing on the sofa … Poor thing … Off on the early bird to LGA in the AM.

Halloween, cartoons, viral videos:  Now for a little fun …

.

Halloween Light Show 2011 – This Is Halloween – YouTube.

Steven Pinker, language, RSA Animate: I love these animated whiteboard videos!  And Steven Pinker is one of my new favorites (thanks katie!) – Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

RSA Animate Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

potatoes, food, history, changed the world:  Food history … also interesting …

When potato plants bloom, they send up five-lobed flowers that spangle fields like fat purple stars. By some accounts, Marie Antoinette liked the blossoms so much that she put them in her hair. Her husband, Louis XVI, put one in his buttonhole, inspiring a brief vogue in which the French aristocracy swanned around with potato plants on their clothes. The flowers were part of an attempt to persuade French farmers to plant and French diners to eat this strange new species.

Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus.

About 250 million years ago, the world consisted of a single giant landmass now known as Pangaea. Geological forces broke Pangaea apart, creating the continents and hemispheres familiar today. Over the eons, the separate corners of the earth developed wildly different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’ voyages reknit the seams of Pangaea, to borrow a phrase from Alfred W. Crosby, the historian who first described this process. In what Crosby called the Columbian Exchange, the world’s long-separate ecosystems abruptly collided and mixed in a biological bedlam that underlies much of the history we learn in school. The potato flower in Louis XVI’s buttonhole, a species that had crossed the Atlantic from Peru, was both an emblem of the Columbian Exchange and one of its most important aspects.

Compared with grains, tubers are inherently more productive. If the head of a wheat or rice plant grows too big, the plant will fall over, with fatal results. Growing underground, tubers are not limited by the rest of the plant. In 2008 a Lebanese farmer dug up a potato that weighed nearly 25 pounds. It was bigger than his head.

Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.

Equally important, the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture—the so-called agro-industrial complex. Not only did the Columbian Exchange carry the potato across the Atlantic, it also brought the world’s first intensive fertilizer: Peruvian guano. And when potatoes fell to the attack of another import, the Colorado potato beetle, panicked farmers turned to the first artificial pesticide: a form of arsenic. Competition to produce ever-more-potent arsenic blends launched the modern pesticide industry. In the 1940s and 1950s, improved crops, high-intensity fertilizers and chemical pesticides created the Green Revolution, the explosion of agricultural productivity that transformed farms from Illinois to Indonesia—and set off a political argument about the food supply that grows more intense by the day.

via How the Potato Changed the World | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

‘Inhalable’ Caffeine, inventions: Would you snort one?

Courtesy of AeroShot

Is caffeine addictive? Certainly, it produces tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped abruptly. But even though it is the most widely used drug in the world, few caffeine users exhibit signs of serious addiction — namely, compulsive drug-related behaviors despite negative consequences. That could be in part because caffeine is legal and easily and cheaply obtained. Or, it could be because the effects of caffeine use — especially in a hyperefficient society — are generally positive.

So, while previous products, like inhalable aerosolized alcohol, led to bans in multiple states, AeroShot seems more likely to garner praise (especially from employers — and editors).

The new product will hit stores in New York City and Boston in January and will be available online in several weeks, according to Edwards. The retail price is expected to be $2.99 per inhaler — cheaper than a Starbucks latte.

via What We’ve All Been Waiting For: Zero-Calorie, ‘Inhalable’ Caffeine – TIME Healthland.

Moammar Gadhafi, legacy: to many Africans he is a “martyr, benefactor, instigator.”  Leaves a conflicted image.

Moammar Gadhafi’s regime poured tens of billions of dollars into some of Africa’s poorest countries. Even when he came to visit, the eccentric Libyan leader won admiration for handing out money to beggars on the streets.

“Other heads of state just drive past here in their limousines. Gadhafi stopped, pushed away his bodyguards and shook our hands,” said Cherno Diallo, standing Monday beside hundreds of caged birds he sells near a Libyan-funded hotel. “Gadhafi’s death has touched every Malian, every single one of us. We’re all upset.”

Gadhafi backed some of the most brutal rebel leaders and dictators on the continent, but tens of thousands are now gathering at mosques built with his money and are remembering him as an anti-colonial martyr, and as an Arab leader who called himself African.

While Western powers heralded Gadhafi’s demise, many Africans were gathering at mosques built with Gadhafi’s money to mourn the man they consider an anti-imperialist martyr and benefactor.

Critics, though, note this image is at odds with Gadhafi’s history of backing some of Africa’s most brutal rebel leaders and dictators. Gadhafi sent 600 troops to support Uganda’s much-hated Idi Amin in the final throes of his dictatorship.

And Gadhafi-funded rebels supported by former Liberian leader Charles Taylor forcibly recruited children and chopped off limbs of their victims during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

“Is Gadhafi’s life more important than many thousands of people that have been killed during the war in these two countries?” asked one shopkeeper in the tiny West African country of Gambia, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing recrimination.

“Gadhafi was a godfather to many Ugandans,” said Muhammed Kazibala, a head teacher at a Libyan-funded school in the country’s capital.

The Libyan leader also built a palace for one of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms. It was a fitting donation for a man who traveled to African Union summits dressed in a gold-embroidered green robe, flanked by seven men who said they were the “traditional kings of Africa.”

Gadhafi used Libya’s oil wealth to help create the AU in 2002, and also served as its rotating chairman. During the revolt against Gadhafi, the AU condemned NATO airstrikes as evidence mounted that his military was massacring civilians.

Gadhafi’s influence even extended to Africa’s largest economy: The Libyan leader supported the African National Congress when it was fighting racist white rule, and remained close to Nelson Mandela after the anti-apartheid icon became South Africa’s first black president.

via Across Africa, Gadhafi remembered as martyr, benefactor, instigator in the continent’s wars – The Washington Post.

rhinos, South Africa, endangered species: A group of rhinos is called a “crash.”  But why do people destroy animals for human rituals … craziness.

Black rhino in Kenya

Johannesburg’s bustling O. R. Tambo International Airport is an easy place to get lost in a crowd, and that’s just what a 29-year-old Vietnamese man named Xuan Hoang was hoping to do one day in March last year—just lie low until he could board his flight home. The police dog sniffing the line of passengers didn’t worry him; he’d checked his baggage through to Ho Chi Minh City. But behind the scenes, police were also using X-ray scanners on luggage checked to Vietnam, believed to be the epicenter of a new war on rhinos. And when Hoang’s bag appeared on the screen, they saw the unmistakable shape of rhinoceros horns—six of them, weighing more than 35 pounds and worth up to $500,000 on the black market.

Investigators suspected the contraband might be linked to a poaching incident a few days earlier on a game farm in Limpopo Province, on South Africa’s northern border. “We have learned over time, as soon as a rhino goes down, in the next two or three days the horns will leave the country,” Col. Johan Jooste of South Africa’s national priority crime unit told me when I interviewed him in Pretoria.

You might also wonder why they bother. The orneriness of rhinos is so proverbial that the word for a group of them is not a “herd” but a “crash.” “The first time I saw one I was a 4-year-old in this park. We were in a boat, and it charged the boat,” said Bird. “That’s how aggressive they can be.” Bird now makes his living keeping tabs on the park’s black rhinos and sometimes works by helicopter to catch them for relocation to other protected areas. “They’ll charge helicopters,” he added. “They’ll be running and then after a while, they’ll say, ‘Bugger this,’ and they’ll turn around and run toward you. You can see them actually lift off their front feet as they try to have a go at the helicopter.”

via Defending the Rhino | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine.

twitter, women, Occupy Wall Street:  Where are the women?

Twitter is still the social media outlet of choice for Occupy Wall Street, but new analysis into the #OWS tweets has found a surprising gender imbalance in those who’re talking about the protests: Fewer women seem to be doing so, despite Twitter being a female-dominated service overall.

According to analysis by Attention released yesterday, only 30% of tweets mentioning Occupy Wall Street were from female users, even though over 64% of all Twitter users are believed to be female as a result of a 2010 Pew survey. That number is actually up from where it was a month earlier; by mid-September, fewer than 20% of Occupy Wall Street tweets were from women.

via Why Aren’t Women Tweeting About Occupy Wall Street? – Techland – TIME.com.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Will Ferrell, FYI:  Never heard of this award … have to look it up.

Actor and comedian Will Ferrell jokingly gives the thumbs-down during his introduction as the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoree at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At left is his wife, Viveca Paulin.

via The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: The red carpet – The Washington Post.

The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr. The Kennedy Center established The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October 1998, and it has been televised annually. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), and Tina Fey (2010).

via The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

Gabrielle Giffords, therapy, Asheville NC:  Must be a pretty good therapist in Asheville!

TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in North Carolina for two weeks of intensive therapy sessions as she continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.

Giffords’ office says in a statement Sunday that the Arizona congresswoman is expected to spend time with a therapist who has worked with her in Houston for the last several months and has been extensively involved in her therapy.

Giffords will work with the therapist from Monday through Nov. 4 in Asheville, N.C. No other specifics on her therapy were given.

Her staff says the trip is strictly rehabilitation-related and has been planned for several months. No public appearances or events are scheduled.

Giffords is recovering from a brain injury suffered on Jan. 8 in Tucson. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded, including Giffords.

via Gabrielle Giffords In Intensive Therapy For Two Weeks.

time:

What the second law of thermodynamics has to do with Saint Augustine, landscape art, and graphic novels.

Time is the most fundamental common denominator between our existence and that of everything else, it’s the yardstick by which we measure nearly every aspect of our lives, directly or indirectly, yet its nature remains one of the greatest mysteries of science. Last year, we devoured BBC’s excellent What Is Time? and today we turn to seven essential books that explore the grand question on a deeper, more multidimensional level, spanning everything from quantum physics to philosophy to art.

via 7 cross-disciplinary books to understand time, Steve Jobs in 200 timeless quotes, and more.

Chemistry: A Volatile History, tv, BBC:  I just love the BBC shows!

Now, thanks to the fine folks at BBC Four — who previously pondered such captivating issues as the nature of reality, the age-old tension between science and religion, how music works, and what time really is — you can refresh and enrich your understanding of this complex world with Chemistry: A Volatile History, a fascinating three-part series by theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, exploring everything from the history of the elements to the rivalries and controversies that bedeviled scientific progress to the latest

via BBC’s Volatile History of Chemistry | Brain Pickings.

Mitchell International Airport, Mitchell International Airport, “recombobulation area”:  I have to ask my Milwaukee friend Donna if she’s utilized the “recombobulation area.”

Taking off your shoes and pulling out your laptop at airport security may leave you feeling discombobulated.

The Mitchell International Airport staff has set up some chairs and a sign just past one of the security checkpoints to help you out.

They’ve labeled it the “recombobulation area.”

Yes, it’s a joke. At airport security.

The sign has been hanging at the Concourse C security checkpoint for about a month. Some passengers get it immediately. Some take a few steps, then laugh. Others look up and say, “Huh?”

“See? You’re getting recombobulated right now,” Melissa Fullmore said Tuesday morning to another traveler who was putting on his belt.

via Airport draws smiles with ‘recombobulation area’ – JSOnline.

gender differences, economic hardship, Great Recession:

Measured in terms of absolute job loss, men bore the brunt of the Great Recession, hence the term “mancession.” On the other hand, men have fared better than women in regaining jobs during the slight rebound sometimes called the recovery.

Interesting comparison, but gender differences in economic hardship reach beyond employment statistics.

Many people – even those who live alone – share a portion of their earnings or devote unpaid hours of work to family members, including children and others who are dependent as result of age, sickness, disability or unemployment. Measures of economic hardship should take responsibility for dependents into account.

Women tend to be more vulnerable in this respect than men, primarily because they are more likely to take both financial and direct responsibility for the care of children.

via Nancy Folbre: The Recession in Pink and Blue – NYTimes.com.

Lake Lanier GA, Atlanta, FYI:  Lake Lanier to within 9 feet of historic low … 😦

Authorities say Lake Lanier has dropped below 1,060 feet above sea level and is now just nine feet above the historic low it reached during Georgia’s devastating drought of 2007-2009.

The lake has been on a downward trend for months now, away from the full pool of 1,071 feet and stirring memories of the drought.

The lake’s historic low water level of 1,051 feet was set on Dec. 26, 2007.

Business owners tell The Times of Gainesville (http://bit.ly/oVGFJi) that the low water level has drained some tourism.

Bob Benson, a lake guide, said there are stumps everywhere sticking out of the water, and many people aren’t going out on the lake.

via Lake Lanier drops to within 9 feet of historic low  | ajc.com.

Aftershock Survival Summit, books, Global Recession:  Not pretty!

At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Ben Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.”

This wasn’t the first time Wiedemer’s predictions hit a nerve. In 2006, he and his team of economists accurately predicted the four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer spending markets that almost sunk America.

Regardless of his warnings and survival advice, Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.

As the warnings went unheeded, and America suffered the consequences, Wiedemer penned his latest prophetic work, “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”

Once again his contrarian views ruffled feathers and just before the book was publicly released, the publisher yanked the final chapter, deeming it too controversial for newsstand and online outlets such as Amazon.com.

Despite appearances, “Aftershock” is not a book with the singular intention of scaring people, explains DeHoog. “The true value lies in the sound economic survival guidance that people can act on immediately. I was able to read the original version with the ‘unpublished chapter,’ and I think it’s the most crucial in the entire book. After contacting Wiedemer, we [Newsmax] were granted permission to share it with our readers. In fact, viewers of the Aftershock Survival Summit are able to claim a free copy of it.”

In the Aftershock Survival Summit, Wiedemer reveals what the publisher didn’t want you to see. Citing the unthinkable, he provides disturbing evidence and financial charts forecasting 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market collapse, and 100% annual inflation.

“I doubted some of his predictions at first. But then Robert showed me the charts that provided evidence for such disturbing claims,” DeHoog commented.

via Aftershock Survival Summit Predicts the Unthinkable.

coffee, cities, lists:  It seems surprising to me that the home of the chain Starbucks is “the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters.”  But I have been there ad it is true!

No surprise—the home of Starbucks is the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters. But there is more than just that familiar logo here—you’ll find plenty of indie coffeehouses all over the city, as well as espresso shacks and carts on street corners and in parking lots. All that caffeine gives the locals an edge, but in a good way: they ranked No. 2 for smartest locals in the AFC. And while colder months seem like a great time to enjoy that hot cup, the Emerald City took last place for winter visits.

via America’s Best Coffee Cities- Page 2 – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

books, media, viral, discourse:  All I can say is interesting …

There is something both ridiculous and refreshing about all this. Ridiculous because 90 percent of Morozov’s criticisms are wildly unfair (and also because, you know, http://bit.ly/AnsweringMrGrumpy)…and refreshing because here is a work of book-bound nonfiction — chock full of claims to be assessed and arguments to be discussed — that is actually being assessed and discussed. In a public forum! Discourse, and everything!

That shouldn’t be an anomaly, but it is. Books both e- and analog — the kind that exist not to tell a tale, but to advance an argument — face a fundamental challenge: The interests of books-as-artifacts and books-as-arguments are, in general, misaligned. Books are great, definitely, at capturing ideas. Books are great at claiming cultural ownership of ideas. Books are great at generating speaking gigs based on ideas. Books are great at getting authors paid for ideas. But books are much, much less great at actually propagating ideas — particularly ideas of the relative nuance that Morozov’s “Internet intellectuals” tend to favor.

Which is a flaw that’s easy to forget, given books’ cultural status. A book deal is a big deal; those who have gotten one will make a point, as they should, of highlighting the achievement. A writer and an author.

via ‘Public Parts’ and its public parts: In a networked world, can a book go viral? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

vertigo farming, Queens NY, organic produce, locavore:  Innovation … got to love it.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is at the forefront of urban agriculture in the United States. Operated by four young entrepreneurs on an acre of rooftop in Queens, New York, the farm grows organic produce that is sold to local restaurants, co-ops and farmers markets across New York City. Business is growing quickly, with a second location opening in the Spring of 2012 and booming demand for rooftop vegetables, herbs and honey. To educate urban dwellers about the food systems upon which they rely, the farm hosts regular educational tours, workshops and field trips for schools and community groups.

via World Challenge 2011 – 2011 Finalist – Vertigo Farming.

Condoleezza Rice,  Freedom Agenda, The Freedom War, books: “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.”

“We pursued the Freedom Agenda not only because it was right but also because it was necessary,” Rice writes in her book. “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.” So there’s no sense dwelling on the final demise of tyrants, whether Gaddafi or, for that matter, Saddam Hussein, whose hanging turned into a hideous spectacle as well. “Time to move on,” says Rice.

But the fascination of Rice’s memoir, and it is fascinating, is less in the broad vision put forth for a more democratic world than in the gritty description of the way decisions were made in the White House and the State Department as the Bush administration sought to adapt to a universe radically changed by Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States in 2001.

Rice’s account of the immediate aftermath, as seen from inside the halls of the White House, is both vivid and disturbing. The threat of a second wave of attacks was real. The possibility that biological or other weapons might be used seemed imminent: some lunatic had put anthrax in the mail; one report received at the White House said many of the people there might have been poisoned with botulinum toxin; another report said a plot was afoot to disseminate smallpox. The intelligence was rarely definitive, and it took a toll on everyone involved.

Rice is honest enough to say that at one point she was just about burned out. While attending a ceremony on the White House lawn soon after she became secretary of state, she saw an airliner approaching. It was on a normal route to land at Reagan National Airport, but for a few moments she thought it was coming straight toward the executive mansion. “Tomorrow I am going to tell the President that I want to leave at the end of the year,” she thought. “I can’t do this anymore.”

But she soldiered on, and key to Rice’s role was the confidence of the president, who emerges from her book as sharper than the clichés indulged in by his critics, but perhaps too familiar, too folksy with those he likes and relies on.

The wars launched by the Bush administration have cost the United States more than $1 trillion and many thousands of lives. Were they worth it? The Middle East has been a volatile region, with countless wars at countless cost, Rice said as we talked in Stanford. “I don’t think you put a price on a Middle East that will look very different without Saddam Hussein and with movement toward freedom.”

via Condoleezza Rice Memoir: The Freedom War – The Daily Beast.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, book club:  My book club is reading this book this week.  I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks or of the book.  I have not read it and cannot go, but I am intrigued after reading this review.

When Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), an African-American mother of five who migrated from the tobacco farms of Virginia to poorest neighborhoods of Baltimore, died at the tragic age of 31 from cervical cancer, she didn’t realize she’d be the donor of cells that would create the HeLa immortal cell line — a line that didn’t die after a few cell divisions — making possible some of the most seminal discoveries in modern medicine. Though the tumor tissue was taken with neither her knowledge nor her consent, the HeLa cell was crucial in everything from the first polio vaccine to cancer and AIDS research. To date, scientists have grown more than

via 5 Unsung Heroes Who Shaped Modern Life | Brain Pickings.

Bob Pierpoint, RIP:  Another from a different era of broadcast journalism is dead.  Don’t you love this picture?  Rest in peace, Bob Pierpoint.

Pierpoint_White_House_large.jpg

Bob Pierpoint was a mainstay of CBS News during the golden age of that organization. He was part of the Murrow team and covered the Korean War while in his 20s. He became a White House correspondent during the Eisenhower Administration and stayed on that beat through the time of Jimmy Carter and beyond. It was some time in the 1970s that the picture above, which delighted him, was taken. He was an avid tennis player and had just come from a match on the White House court when he had to do a standup, obviously framed from mid-torso upward. I first saw that picture in Barney Collier’s book Hope and Fear in Washington (The Early Seventies), and I believe it was the jacket photo on Bob’s own book, At the White House. I got it from the collection of his papers at his alma mater, the University of Redlands.

When I was growing up, Bob Pierpoint was the most glamorous product of my home town in California. (That was before Redlands’s own Brian Billick went on to win the Super Bowl, and Landon Donovan became Mr. Soccer USA.) He would come back and tell our public school assemblies what it was like to cover the Kennedy or Johnson Administrations; this was as close as we came to first-hand contact with national politics. He was patient, generous, and non-big-shot-ish in a way I noticed then and admire more in retrospect. He was two days older than my father, and a good friend to my parents and tennis rival to my father when he was in town. When my wife and I first moved to Washington he and his wife Patty served in loco parentis for a while.

He will be remembered, and should be, as a connector to a different, prouder era in broadcast news. But he was also a good friend, husband, and father. Our sympathies to his family.

via Bob Pierpoint – James Fallows – National – The Atlantic.

time: I have always wanted a chiming clock in the house … it keeps you conscious of and accountable for time.

Each hour when my watch, computer, or phone beeps, I stop whatever I’m doing, take a deep breath, and ask myself two questions:

1. Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

2. Am I being who I most want to be right now?

At first it seemed counterintuitive to interrupt myself each hour. Aren’t interruptions precisely what we’re trying to avoid? But these one-minute-an-hour interruptions are productive interruptions. They bring us back to doing what, and being who, will make this a successful day.

This isn’t all about staying on plan. Sometimes the beep will ring and I’ll realize that, while I’ve strayed from my calendar, whatever it is I’m working on is what I most need to be doing. In those situations I simply shift items on my calendar so my most important priorities still get done and I make intentional choices about what I will leave undone.

For me, a once-an-hour reminder, one deep breath, and a couple of questions, has made the difference between ending my day frustrated and ending it fulfilled.

via The power of an hourly beep | Daniel Pink.

summer jobs, internships, college, summer camps:  I think there i something here …

For the most part, interns do work that is wholly unrelated to any sort of day-to-day task that full-time employees fulfill. Indeed, not only do most offices give interns mundane tasks that the aforementioned employees would never do, but they are also given tasks that will only be taken over by another intern. In short, interning in any office, regardless of the field, will likely mean you will be performing more secretarial duties than industry-specific ones. Anyone thinking that taking an internship with Goldman Brothers will give him or her a better shot at becoming a full-time employee is misguided. As such, taking an internship for the sake of career advancement is an unwise decision.

As alluded above, internship experience rarely parallels relevant work experience. Moreover, a student with (all else equal) an internship experience — indeed, even two — will not receive a substantive boost in the hiring process. The dirty secret of the professional world is that everyone knows that internships are vehicles through which companies can unload their undesirables onto unsuspecting college students.

Given this, it is reasonable to conclude that internships provide few potential benefits for their laborious components. Not only are interns wasting time in their respective offices by performing arcane duties, they also are allowing their last free summers to go by the wayside. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, college summers are the last ones for which we will have a legitimate array of choices. Accordingly, students would be well advised to engage in activities that they would enjoy, as opposed to activities that they misguidedly believe will yield long-term benefits. To this end, there are more efficacies in volunteering, working in non-profits or even taking classes than doing an internship. However, the most benefit comes from being a camp counselor.

At my particular summer camp, Four Winds Westward Ho, I have learned many workplace skills that are more relevant than what I could obtain from an internship. For example, at Four Winds, located on tiny Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, I am fully integrated into the aforementioned professional hierarchy. I am given great responsibility; indeed, I am responsible for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of up to seven children for two four-week sessions.

via Opinion: Skip the internship, go to camp | USA TODAY College.

D.C., Georgetown, urban planning: Shooting itself in the foot?

IMAGINE A CITY telling its largest private employer — one that pays millions in taxes and salaries, strives to hire local residents and voluntarily does community service — that it can’t grow anymore, that it might have to cut back. That seems far-fetched in light of today’s scary economy, but it’s essentially what D.C. officials are telling Georgetown University by insisting it either house all its students or cut back enrollment. The District seems distressingly disinterested in promoting a knowledge-based economy.

Georgetown’s 10-year plan for its 104-acre main campus, the subject of hearings before the D.C. Zoning Commission, would cap the undergraduate population at current levels while increasing graduate students by about 1,000. Enrollment in 2010 was 14,033, of whom 6,652 were undergraduates. The plan is modest: It contains no major new building, no additional parking and an offer to reduce the main campus enrollment by moving some graduate students to satellite locations. Still, adjacent neighborhoods — particularly Burleith and Foxhall — are up in arms, and they seem to have city officials on their side.

via It’s D.C. vs. Georgetown in urban planning – The Washington Post.

Lululemon killing:  Too weird.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Monday began selecting a jury in the trial of Brittany Norwood, a 29-year-old charged with killing her co-worker in an upscale Bethesda yoga shop.

via Lululemon killing trial begins Monday – Crime Scene – The Washington Post.

social media,  police,  gangs, antisocial side:  Darwin Award?  Why is social media so hard to resist?

Gangs are just following societal trends,” said a federal law enforcement official who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss how agents use social media to target gangs. “Facebook and Myspace are now some of their primary methods of communication.”

via Antisocial side of social media helps police track gangs – The Washington Post.

economics, unrest: “… relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. ”

Growth that undermines existing social institutions and dislocates workers is also likely to generate instability. In China mass migrations associated with rapid catch-up growth and urbanisation are often blamed for causing instability. Instances of “mass disturbances” have risen steadily since 1993, even as the Chinese economy has enjoyed scorching growth. Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University similarly argues that Egypt’s steps towards economic liberalisation stimulated an appetite for greater opportunity that fuelled discontent with the ruling regime.

Research by MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Harvard’s James Robinson finds that relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. A study by Patricia Justino of the University of Sussex examined inequality and unrest in India and found that redistribution can quell an outcry. That may well be the outcome of the current turmoil, too.

via Economics focus: Unrest in peace | The Economist.

skywatching, Aurora Australis:  Aurora seen from the ISS in Orbit – YouTube.

Check out this awesome video captured from the International Space Station as it flew over the Aurora Australis. Stunning!

via Flying above the Aurora Australis | Go Make Things.

recipes, scrambled eggs, chopsticks:  Scramble with chop sticks!

And last but not least, ditch that fork! Scramble your eggs with a heat-proof spatula, a flat-topped wooden spoon, or for the perfect curd, chopsticks.

via 5 Common Scrambled Eggs Mistakes : BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

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10.25.2011 … ‎1 scoop Pistachio Gelato with 1 scoop Nutella Gelato on the streets of Paris is possibly one of the most enjoyable dessert experiences I have ever had. 1 scoop of store-bought Pistachio Gelato actually comes pretty close and is a lot cheaper.

home, Ciao Bella Pistachio Gelato:  This stuff is really good … but still not as good as that served at  Amorino in Paris … but you can find it at HT!

Discover. Savor. Share. Ciao Bella.Following more than a decade of success in New York City, Ciao Bella opened its first San Francisco location 15 years ago on Harrison Street before moving to the famed Ferry Building, as an inaugural tenant in 2003.   To celebrate its Bay Area history and new design, Ciao Bella will highlight flavors that source ingredients from local vendors, such as Pistachio Gelato and Peach Ginger Sorbet.

via Ciao Bella Gelato & Sorbet blog.

Muammar Gaddafi, RIP/End of an Era: … weird, creepy … makes for a good Halloween costume … see next entry. 🙂

Long before his end, Muammar Gaddafi had become the weird, creepy, certainly criminal uncle who showed up, because he was really rich, at reunions of world leaders. He did not begin that way. How a young man from deep poverty in a rural North African town rose to become one of the West’s most intractable foes, and then one of its most critical political and economic partners, is an extraordinary political saga.

Gaddafi was scarcely destined for power. Born in 1942 into a tribal Bedouin family near the coastal town of Sirt, he was raised in a country still digging out from the ravages of World War II and a long struggle against Italian colonialism. The giant oil reserves that lay beneath the Libyan desert were years away from being explored. In fact, Libya was barely a nation at all. Gaddafi was 9 years old when the country finally gained its independence from France and Britain (which administered it jointly after the war’s end) and became a monarchy under King Idris al-Sanusi.

Like many provincial boys with little education, Gaddafi joined the army. He became a captain, then trained at Britain’s elite Sandhurst Academy, before returning home as an officer in the Signal Corps. It was in that position, at just 27, that he led a group of junior officers in a bloodless coup, toppling King Idris and declaring himself colonel. In the museum glorifying Gaddafi’s “people’s revolution,” set within the high stone walls of the fortress in Tripoli’s Green Square, one of the main exhibits was a battered sand-colored jeep with open sides, in which Gaddafi, according to his own legend, rode into the city, victorious on Sept. 1, 1969, to present himself as Libya’s leader to a people hungry for popular leadership.

via The End of Muammar Gaddafi: The Colonel’s Long, Weird Ride – TIME.

Muammar Gaddafi,  Halloween 2011, costumes:

rebecca black

What you’ll need:

• An unruly black wig (or this mask)

• Unkempt mustache and goatee

• Gaudy sheets, drapes or pajamas

• Matching kufi or brimless hat

• Dark, square sunglasses

• Female bodyguards (optional)

via Muammar Gaddafi – The 10 Best (Topical) Halloween Costumes for 2011 – TIME.

Vatican, global oversight, economy, supranational authority, global economy:  When has the Vatican been known for democratic and ethical principles?

The Vatican called on Monday for an overhaul of the world’s financial systems, and again proposed establishment of a supranational authority to oversee the global economy, calling it necessary to bring more democratic and ethical principles to a marketplace run amok.

In a report issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican argued that “politics — which is responsible for the common good” must be given primacy over the economy and finance, and that existing institutions like the International Monetary Fund had not been responding adequately to global economic problems.

The document grows out of the Roman Catholic Church’s concerns about economic instability and widening inequality of income and wealth around the world, issues that transcend the power of national governments to address on their own.

“The time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which the individual states cannot promote and protect by themselves,” Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, the president of the pontifical council, said as he presented the report on Monday. “That is what pushed us.”

The language in the document, which the Vatican refers to as a note, is distinctively strong. “We should not be afraid to propose new ideas, even if they might destabilize pre-existing balances of power that prevail over the weakest,” the document states.

The message prompted comparisons with the rallying cries of protest movements that have been challenging the financial world order, like the indignados in Madrid and the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City. Still, Vatican officials said the document was not a manifesto for disaffected dissidents.

via Vatican Calls for Global Oversight of the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Polaroid, Edwin Land,  dreaming, success, inventing, Insisting on the Impossible, books, quotes:

In the fall of 1943, a little girl asked her father why she couldn’t see a photograph immediately after it was taken — a blasphemous proposition in the era’s photographic paradigm. Fortunately, her father happened to be Edwin Land, the iconic inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation. So rather than dismissing the question as an impossibility, he took it as a challenge, then made history — in February of 1947, the world’s first Polaroid camera hit stores and unleashed one of the most creative movements in the history of the static image.

via Polaroid Inventor Edwin Land on the 5000 Steps to Success | Brain Pickings.

“If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it and don’t think anything of personalities, or emotional conflicts, or of money, or of family distractions; if you just think of, detail by detail, what you have to do next, it is a wonderful dream even if the end is a long way off, for there are about five thousand steps to be taken before we realize it; and start making the first ten, and stay making twenty after, it is amazing how quickly you get through those five thousand steps.”

~ Edwin Land to Polaroid employees, December 23, 1942

via If you dream of something worth doing – benrmatthews.

electric mini cupcake maker, random:  I have been known to buy some useless items … but this tops the cake … no pun intended!

How it actually works: The cupcakes themselves tasted fine, and except for some tunneling where steam created holes, their texture was fine, too. But compared to the 12 minutes it took to bake a full dozen mini cupcakes in the oven, this machine was no time-saver.

Good to know: It cleaned up easily; however, we had to struggle a bit to wash and rinse it without getting the machine too wet.

Best for: It might be fun as an activity with children, but most kids would probably become bored with waiting before the second half-dozen cupcakes are done, and you’d be trapped, baking off the rest of the batter, tiny batch after tiny batch.

Overall: Would we buy this? No. We’ll stick with the oven, where we can bake a couple dozen mini cupcakes in the time it takes this machine to steam seven.

via World’s Fastest Electric Mini Cupcake Maker (It Exists!) | The Feed.

animated short film, greed, Tout Rien (“All Nothing”): Beautiful! Tout Rien animation – YouTube.

But most striking of all are his animated short films. In 1978, his Tout Rien (“All Nothing”), a delicate and pensive 11-minute animated allegory set to the music of Igor Stravinsky about how our human greed is stealing the happiness of our species, earned him an Oscar nomination. It tackles, with remarkable elegance and sensitivity, our tragic tendency towards anthropocentricity in a world we share with countless

via AAll Nothing: Poetic 1978 Animated Allegory about Mankind’s Greed | Brain Pickings.

corporate social responsibility (“csr”), soda companies:  Interesting … flies in the face of csr, don’t you think?

The soda industry hit a new low this year. In 2010, Philadelphia’s mayor and health commissioner had both supported an SSB tax and came within one vote of having the tax passed by the city council. In 2011, when the mayor made it clear he would reintroduce the tax, the industry created an organization called Foundation for a Healthy America, which gave a gift of $10 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for research and prevention of childhood obesity. Would the hospital accept money from a tobacco company to study anti-smoking programs? The hospital tried to give some of the money to the city to run obesity programs through city health centers, but the mayor refused on the grounds it was funded by the beverage industry.

Over time, the tobacco companies were outed for their dirty tactics and the nation reacted with a series of public policies that cut smoking in half in the U.S. The beverage industry has been successful thus far in fighting off significant taxes through heavy lobbying, questionable tactics, and the attempt to appear public-health minded, but they, too, are likely to be embarrassed as light shines upon them. As they scramble to protect their profits, their actions may ultimately hurt their cause and pave the way for the very government actions they seek to prevent.

via Kelly Brownell on the Dirty Tactics of Soda Companies | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

live and work in the present, lifestyles, universal truths: “Why drag around a chain of regrets like the ghost of Jacob Marley?” … Some good things to think about here. “Perhaps a better way of describing this goal than “getting to clear” is the Quaker notion of finding “peace at the center”—a state of serenity or stillness of spirit in which one is no longer worried about the past or the future. In other words, stop trying to “get” anywhere, just “be clear now,” not next May, or 20 years from now, when you retire, because things won’t be different then, either.”

For reasons I will explain, I call this process “getting to clear.”

I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago from a friend—let’s call him Steve—who worked in multilevel marketing (or sales careers based on recruiting other sellers). He attended a lot of motivational seminars and listened repeatedly to recordings of books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Power of Positive Thinking. For a while he was into Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. As I understood it, the big idea in that book was to remove all your painful memories because they sap your energy and prevent you from being effective and happy.

Steve kept saying that he was “getting to clear,” which is Scientology lingo that meant, more and more, he was fully in the moment, and not only that, the moment was increasingly subject to his mental control. Working from a table outside a shopping mall, Steve could push cellphone accounts on passers-by with a manic, smiling intensity that was almost frightening to behold. He could switch it off, too, like some kind of Tesla-inspired, anti-gravity device, to explain what he was doing so that I could imitate it and earn more commissions.

Reality was something created by our minds, Steve said. Once he was “clear”—and living fully in the present moment—he would be able to “manifest” anything he desired. He said he could visualize customers lining up, and they simply would appear, in greater and greater numbers. In sales, you just have to believe, and then you can have anything you want, developing your mental powers—the will to succeed—by increments.

That belief struck me as odd at the time, and it still does. Sort of like thinking you could learn to fly like Superman by leaping out of airplanes with smaller and smaller parachutes.

On the other hand, some of those ideas seem to descend from respected thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche. Following Emerson’s gospel of self-reliance, Steve was on his way to becoming an Übermensch among the Willy Lomans. Of course I think that acting like the material world is a mental construct—and that people are manifestations of your will—is going too far, but who can doubt the value of liberating yourself from the past so you can be more effective in the present? Why drag around a chain of regrets like the ghost of Jacob Marley? Once you have completed your overdue obligations and done your best to repair the “errata” of your life, as the printer Benjamin Franklin called them, why not embrace the present, completely. As counterculture gurus said back in the ’60s, if you want to be happy, you need to “Be here now!”

But one of my colleagues here at Hope College—let’s call her Natalie (for that, happily, is her name)—said something to me that I’ll never forget: “You can’t spend your career looking forward to doing something else.”

In other words, once September arrives, instead of embracing the academic year, the return of the usual routine, we feel like divers inhaling deeply before a plunge into dark water. We look forward to surfacing with the return of summer, but then summer comes, and we find that nothing has really changed: just a new configuration of responsibilities. It’s never going to be perfect, but you have to find a way to make the most of what you are doing today.

Perhaps a better way of describing this goal than “getting to clear” is the Quaker notion of finding “peace at the center”—a state of serenity or stillness of spirit in which one is no longer worried about the past or the future. In other words, stop trying to “get” anywhere, just “be clear now,” not next May, or 20 years from now, when you retire, because things won’t be different then, either.

via ‘Getting to Clear’ – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

TEDxCharlotte, dream makers, risk takers,  bucket list:  To go to a TED presentation is on my short bucket list … who has been?

Every presenter — whatever their particular passion and mission — was inspiring, motivating and engaging. The day was a composite of live speakers, videos, entertainers and art offered to spark deep discussion and connections. In addition to the daylong conference, there is an accompanying art exhibition up through Thursday, Nov. 3 that highlights some dream makers and risk takers in the art world. This show is in the Max L. Jackson Gallery in the Watkins Building and is open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

via Dream makers and risk takers come out for TEDxCharlotte | Knight Arts.

Elizabeth Eckford, Hazel Bryan, iconic photos, Civil Rights Movement, history, reconciliation, friendship:  How horrible to be branded in the world’s memory as a person filled with racial hatred … very moving story.

Sometime in 1962 or 1963—no cameras recorded the scene, and she didn’t mark anything down—Hazel, sitting in the trailer in rural Little Rock in which she and her family now lived, picked up the Little Rock directory, and looked under “Eckford.” Then, without telling her husband or pastor or anyone else, she dialed the number. Between sobs, she told Elizabeth that she was that girl, and how sorry she was. Elizabeth was gracious. The conversation lasted a minute, if that. In the South, in the ’60s, how much more did a white girl and a black girl have to say to one another?

Still, Hazel never stopped thinking about the picture and making amends for it. She severed what had been her ironclad ties to an intolerant church. She taught mothering skills to unmarried black women, and took underprivileged black teenagers on field trips. She frequented the black history section at the local Barnes & Noble, buying books by Cornel West and Shelby Steele and the companion volume to Eyes on the Prize. She’d argue with her mother on racial topics, defending relatives who’d intermarried.

Secretly, Hazel always hoped some reporter would track her down and write about how she’d changed. But it didn’t happen on its own, and she did nothing to make it happen. Instead, again and again, there was the picture. Anniversary after anniversary, Martin Luther King Day after Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month after Black History Month, it just kept popping up. The world of race relations was changing, but to the world, she never did.

Finally, on the 40th anniversary of Central’s desegregation in 1997, Will Counts returned to Little Rock and arranged for Elizabeth and Hazel to pose for him again. Hazel was thrilled, Elizabeth, curious. Their first meeting was predictably awkward, but the new picture, showing the two women smiling in front of Central, revealed only the barest hint of that. It all but took over the next day’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and very nearly upstaged President Clinton’s speech the next day, in which he worked in a reference to them both. Soon, a poster-sized version of the picture was available: “Reconciliation,” it said. Everyone rejoiced; Thanks to Elizabeth and Hazel, Little Rock, maligned for 40 years, bathed in instant absolution.

Ultimately, it grew too much for Hazel. She cut off ties with Elizabeth—for her, Sept. 11, 2011 marked another anniversary: 10 years had passed since they’d last spoken—and stopped making public appearances with her. Her interviews with me—granted only with great reluctance—will, she says, be her last. When I asked the two women to pose together one last time (Elizabeth turned 70 last Tuesday; Hazel will in January) Elizabeth agreed; Hazel would not. Hazel was poised to vote for Obama in 2008; after all, even her own mother did. But so deep was her hurt that she found some excuse not to.

So the famous photograph of 1957 takes on additional meaning: the continuing chasm between the races and the great difficulty, even among people of good will, to pull off real racial reconciliation. But shuttling back and forth between them, I could see that for all their harsh words—over the past decade, they’ve only dug in their heels—they still missed one another. Each, I noticed, teared up at references to the other. Perhaps, when no one is looking—or taking any pictures—they’ll yet come together again. And if they can, maybe, so too, can we.

via Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan: What happened to the two girls in the most famous photo of the Civil Rights Era..

global population,  7 Billion Day:  I had no idea we were approaching 7 billion!

My print column examines the numbers underlying the designation by the United Nations of Oct. 31 as 7 Billion Day — the day when the world population will hit that milestone number.

Unlike its approach to the equivalent milestone 12 years and a billion people ago, the U.N. won’t be naming the seven billionth inhabitant of the planet. Instead, the agency is calling for hundreds of newborns to take the mantle, by encouraging all countries to identify their own seven billionth baby. The Canadian magazine Maclean’s recently tracked down Adnan Nevic, the designated No. 6,000,000,000, who receives attention each year on his birthday for his achievement but whose Bosnian family has trouble making ends meet.

Hospitals around the U.S. named competing children as No. 300 million when the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the country passed that threshold five years ago. But Census itself stays mum. “Would it be someone born, or an immigrant?” asked Census spokesman Robert Bernstein. “You don’t know which component of change” is responsible for the last bit of population growth.

The world tacked on its most recent billion in as much time as the prior billion, which means the growth rate is slowing, easing some of the fears of Thomas Malthus’s intellectual descendants. And the population milestone isn’t necessarily a one-time-only event: The world could cross back under seven billion if deaths overtakes births. “We may pass that mark several times,” Nico Keilman, a demographic modeler at the University of Oslo, wrote in an email, outlining a morbid scenario. (Keilman has studied the accuracy of past population projections.) “Suppose the world counts exactly seven billion on or around 31 October. Suddenly there is an earthquake or some other natural disaster with many people killed. This may lead to a population less than seven billion. In other words, whereas the U.N. (and others) predict a smooth path for population development, reality is volatile.”

via 7 Billion Day: The Uncertainty of Counting and Projecting Global Population – The Numbers Guy – WSJ.

 The New York Times,  Angry Birds,  corrections: 🙂

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the premise of “Angry Birds,” a popular iPhone game. In the game, slingshots are used to launch birds to destroy pigs and their fortresses, not to shoot down the birds

via Regret the Error» The New York Times offers an amusing Angry Birds correction.

McRib, McDonald’s, cult following, social media:  Just funny!

NEW YORK — The McRib, the elusive sandwich that has inspired a cult-like following, is back.

McDonald’s Corp. announced Monday that the boneless barbecue pork sandwich, usually available in only a few stores at a time, will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14.

Most of the time, it’s up to local franchises to determine when and if they want to sell the McRib — except in Germany, the only place where it’s available perennially. But McDonald’s said the response was so great last November when it made the McRib available nationally for about three weeks that it decided to bring it back this year. The company, which previously hadn’t sold the McRib nationally since 1994, declined to give specific sales numbers.

The sandwich, which is dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce, was introduced nationally in 1982. With 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, it’s slightly trimmer than the Big Mac, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. And just like the Big Mac, the McRib has become a popular McDonald’s offering.

If the McRib is so popular, why not just offer it all the time? McDonald’s likes to stoke the enthusiasm with an aura of transience.

“Bringing it back every so often adds to the excitement,” said Marta Fearon, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director, who added that she’s not sure if the McRib will reappear in stores every fall.

And how can it be called a McRib if it doesn’t have any bones? Said Fearon: “That gives it this quirky sense of humor.”

via The elusive pork sandwich is coming back, briefly; a barbecue without the bones – The Washington Post.




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