Archive for January 16th, 2012


1.16.2012 … It’s strange that so many businesses do not take MLK Day as a holiday. I had a doctor’s appointment, and the staff was not happy to be there … Blue Monday? How’s it going for you?

MLK Day:  It’s strange that so many businesses do not take MLK Day as a holiday. I had a doctor’s appointment, and the staff was not happy to be there.

Blue Monday:

January is a depressing time for many. The weather’s awful, you get less daylight than a stunted dandelion and your body is struggling to cope with the withdrawal of the depression-alleviating calorific foods, such as chocolate, of the hedonistic festive period. January is one long post-Christmas hangover.

So there are many reasons why someone may feel particularly “down” during January. But every year, much of the media become fixated on a specific day – the third Monday in January – as the most depressing of the year. It has become known as Blue Monday.

This silly claim comes from a ludicrous equation that calculates “debt”, “motivation”, “weather”, “need to take action” and other arbitrary variables that are impossible to quantify and largely incompatible.

True clinical depression (as opposed to a post-Christmas slump) is a far more complex condition that is affected by many factors, chronic and temporary, internal and external. What is extremely unlikely (i.e. impossible) is that there is a reliable set of external factors that cause depression in an entire population at the same time every year.

But that doesn’t stop the equation from popping up every year. Its creator, Dr Cliff Arnall, devised it for a travel firm. He has since admitted that it is meaningless (without actually saying it’s wrong).

via Blue Monday: a depressing day of pseudoscience and humiliation | Science |

networks, knowledge organization:

Manuel Lima, founder of data visualization portal Visual Complexity, author of the indispensable information visualization bible of the same name, and one of the most intelligent people I know, recently gave an excellent talk on the power of networks at the RSA. Using examples that span from the Dewey Decimal System to Wikipedia, Manuel explores the evolving organization of knowledge and information, and the shift from hierarchical structures to distributed lateral networks.

via Manuel Lima on the Power of Knowledge Networks in the Age of Infinite Connectivity | Brain Pickings.

logos, icons:

We often don’t really look at great logos — we just see them and know exactly what they mean, like the shape of a letter or a familiar word that our brains can process so quickly it seems as if it goes straight from image to understanding. Some logos are so ubiquitous that we would never think twice about what they mean or how they came to be, so when we came across this great little video about the PBS logo we decided to take a closer look at some iconic brand markers. Click through to read the stories behind a few of our favorite logos, and perhaps you will look at them a bit more closely in the future.

via Flavorwire » The Stories Behind Great Iconic Logos.

The Genographic Project:

The Genographic Project is seeking to chart new knowledge about the migratory history of the human species by using sophisticated laboratory and computer analysis of DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. In this unprecedented and of real-time research effort, the Genographic Project is closing the gaps of what science knows today about humankind’s ancient migration stories.

via The Genographic Project – Human Migration, Population Genetics, Maps, DNA – National Geographic.

online shopping, the Little Guy:  GUILTY …

Giant e-commerce companies like Amazon are acting increasingly like their big-box brethren as they extinguish small competitors with discounted prices, free shipping and easy-to-use apps. Big online retailers had a 19 percent jump in revenue over the holidays versus 2010, while at smaller online retailers growth was just 7 percent.

The little sites are fighting back with some tactics of their own, like preventing price comparisons or offering freebies that an anonymous large site can’t. And in a new twist, they are also exploiting the sympathies of shoppers like Dr. Pollack by encouraging customers to think of them as the digital version of a mom-and-pop shop facing off against Walmart: If you can’t shop close to home, at least shop small.

via Online Shoppers Are Rooting for the Little Guy –

South Africa, car guards/valet/hustler, informal economy:  Very noticeable in South Africa and makes Americans very uneasy … you really wonder if you don’t “pay up” then you will be robbed.

At sporting events and concerts, shopping malls and pub crawls, they are a ubiquitous breed: self-appointed car guards who direct drivers into parking spaces and ask for money in exchange for watching the vehicles while the drivers are gone.

The car guards are part of South Africa’s informal economy, which provides work for about 2.1 million people, more than 16 percent of the labor force, a crucial sector in a country where the official unemployment rate is 25 percent. The informal economy includes windshield washers and prostitutes, peddlers of squishy balls and exfoliators, people who cannot find official jobs as well as people who do not want them.

But car guarding, which requires little overhead and whose success depends largely on energetic enterprise, has proved a strong draw for young men with little prospect of a formal job. Offering a semblance of security in a crime-racked city, the entrepreneurs have found a ready market and a decent, tax-free income.

via South African Car Guards, Part Valet, Part Hustler –

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January 2012
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