Posts Tagged ‘advertising

23
Jun
12

6.23.12 … I want to B&B at sea …

bucket list, NC Coast:  I want to B&B at sea …

The rate is $300 a person for two nights, excluding transportation to the tower. Guests bring and cook their own meals. They shower in water collected in a cistern, sleep in rooms with ocean views (one of eight bedrooms has been repainted) and shoot pool on a billiards table in the rec room. No bugs, steady breezes, plenty of sun.

via Mecklenburg man opens a Bed & Breakfast at sea | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

a capella, Dartmouth College, Rockapellas:  Love this story … You go girls!

Then two enterprising freshmen, Debbie and Steph, decided they were going to start a singing group. If they started it themselves, they would have to be let in, right? And maybe they would take pity on me, in the same boat. I swallowed my wounded pride, and went and tried out. I got in. Mostly because it was midway through the semester and people were otherwise consumed with lots of extracurriculars already, so the auditions were pretty slim pickens.

We decided to call ourselves the Rockapellas. We also decided we weren’t going to be a fluffy, pretty singing group with a high vocal range that did all the current a capella standards—House at Pooh Corner and such. We would be multiracial, all different shapes and sizes, and we would do fun songs with a deep lower register (think Yaz) as well as songs with a social justice message (Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Ella’s Song” was one of our first tunes).

We did skits in which we made fun of binge drinking, sexual assaulters and misogyny on Dartmouth’s campus. We invented a character, Fratman, embodied by my bestie Aisha Tyler, who is now an amazing stand up comic and talk show host without limits (it all started here).

We got snubbed by the other, more established singing groups, passed over time and time again for big group shows, but kept working hard and building our fan base and improving musically. And finally, grudgingly, they accepted us.

rockapellas ella’s song – YouTube.

via Holy Spirit Portality – Born This Way..

photography, literature, art:  How do people think of this!

The photographs in this series, Fictitious Dishes, enter the lives of five fictional characters and depict meals from the novels The Catcher in the Rye, Oliver Twist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Moby Dick

via Fictitious Dishes : Dinah Fried.

film, The 10th Kingdom: Years ago, one friend mentioned this mini series … I look for it every once in a while …anyone seen it?

Two centuries after Snow White and Cinderella had their adventures, the Nine Kingdoms ready themselves for the coronation of Prince Wendel, Snow White’s grandson, to the throne of the Fourth Kingdom. But an evil once-queen has freed herself from prison, and turns the prince into a golden retriever. Wendel, by means of a magic mirror, escapes into a hitherto-unknown Tenth Kingdom (modern day New York City) and meets Virginia (Kimberly Williams) and her father Tony (John Larroquette). Pursued by trolls, cops and a wolf in man’s form, the three blunder back into the Nine Kingdoms and begin their adventures to restore Wendel to his human form and throne, and find the magic mirror that will take Tony and Virginia back home.

via Watch The 10th Kingdom Online – Full Episodes of The 10th Kingdom & More TV Shows Online with blinkx Remote.

Pretty Providence, blogs, interesting, cheapskates:  I stumbled on this blog … Am a being really cheap to try it?

Universal, always-working Redbox promo codes:

DVDONME

BREAKROOM

REDBOX

via PRETTY PROVIDENCE.

economic history, graph:  Very telling graph …

That headline is a big promise. But here it is: The economic history of the world going back to Year 1 showing the major powers’ share of world GDP, from a research letter written by Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JP Morgan.

via Business – Derek Thompson – The Economic History of the Last 2,000 Years in 1 Little Graph – The Atlantic.

Jane Austen:

So,until the next wave of Austen TV/film remakes,we do have a good number of alternate Austen fare to fulfill our need for elegant entertainment. Not to mention the next season of Downton Abbey,which is just as inspiring despite not holding the distinction of being adapted from a book. Yet,that hardly diminishes the pleasure of any parody which charmingly combines both sides of that English pop culture coin:

 

 

via living read girl: Some merry modern romps with Jane Austen.

LeBron James,  Nike, advertising:  Out the next day … amazing!

As the Miami Heat celebrate as the 2012 NBA champions, Nike released this spot called, “Ring Maker” for LeBron James.

As usual the ad wizards over at Nike have produced another gem:

via LeBron James “Ring Maker” Nike commercial is out (Video) ~ That NBA Lottery Pick.

women, careers: Baby, check. Briefcase, check …

A magazine article by a former Obama administration official has blown up into an instant debate about a new conundrum of female success: women have greater status than ever before in human history, even outpacing men in education, yet the lineup at the top of most fields is still stubbornly male. Is that new gender gap caused by women who give up too easily, unsympathetic employers or just nature itself?The article in The Atlantic, by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who recently left a job at the State Department, added to a renewed feminist conversation that is bringing fresh twists to bear on longstanding concerns about status, opportunity and family. Unlike earlier iterations, it is being led not by agitators who are out of power, but by elite women at the top of their fields, like the comedian Tina Fey, the Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and now Ms. Slaughter. In contrast to some earlier barrier-breakers from Gloria Steinem to Condoleezza Rice, these women have children, along with husbands who do as much child-rearing as they do, or more.

via Elite Women Put a New Spin on Work-Life Debate – NYTimes.com.

dorm life, dorm art, college, clichés:  Guilty!

Well, we’ve surveyed the slightly younger generation, and apparently not much has changed as far as college dorm decorations are concerned. You’ve gotta be kidding. Well, alright. Let’s hit up some dorm rooms and delve into the (still) most cliched and popular posters and the art therein. Girls! Van Gogh! And other usual suspects! Which ones did you have? ‘Fess up.

Flavorwire & The Artists Behind Some of the Most Cliched Dorm Posters – StumbleUpon.

16
Nov
11

11.16.2011 … On the megabus :) — at I 85 … mega-glad that I made it safely to mega-ATL … and safely to Lenbrook for Veggie plate including vegetarian egg rolls and then bingo … Nice evening with the Lenboook ladies — with Mary-Stewart and Mamma at lenbrook square.

Megabus, Atlanta, bingo, kith/kin:  First day of Megabus service to Atlanta … a little slow … but arrived safely and had a great visit with the Mom.

.

via http://stageus.megabus.com/routemap.aspx

holidays, photos, tips: Get Creative! … I am certainly glad imperfection is perfectly OK!!

Imperfection Is Perfectly Okay

Capturing a technically good image takes a lot of learning and practice. That said, I like to grab seasonal shots even in their imperfection — like this scene through a bus window during a New York City downpour on Central Park West. Shoot as many pictures as you want, because with digital — unlike when I started shooting two decades ago — there’s no film to process, and you’re not burning through a lot of film (or through your wallet) every time you take a dozen photos. Mind you, the downside is that you might not think through your shots as clearly as you do when you have to manually focus and change film cartridges every 36 pictures.

via Holiday Photo Tips: Get Creative! – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

college students, human memory, learning:  Great article…

I expect that most of us can identify personally with the connection between cues and memories. The power of cues helps explain why a particular song may remind you of a memorable afternoon in Paris, or why, for me, the smell of stale beer always draws up vivid memories of my first-year dorm room.

Further reflection is likely to yield more-intellectual examples. One long afternoon over winter break in my sophomore year in college, I sat in a chair in my parents’ living room and had my life changed by Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. Whenever I sat in that chair, for many years afterward, detailed memories of O’Neill’s play and its impact on my life would return to me. And I can walk into certain classrooms on my campus and immediately recall formative experiences I had in my development as a teacher.

But while we may be able to draw up endless examples of how our minds have created such connections between learned information and the contextual cues that accompanied our first encounter with that information, those examples don’t translate very easily—as Miller points out—into concrete pedagogical practice.

If it turns out that the greatest memory challenge our students face is retrieving information from their long-term memories when they need it to perform on exams and assignments, and if that retrieval ability depends on the use of contextual cues during the information-encoding process, what does that mean for our job description as teachers? Do we have any control over the cues that accompany the encoding of information in our students’ brains? Can we help them develop effective cues?

via Teaching and Human Memory, Part I – Do Your Job Better – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

NBA lockout, college hoops, Pat Forde:  Enjoyed this article!

A long-lost friend is knocking on your front door, sports fan.

Open up and let him in.

Look who’s there – it’s college basketball. You remember him – used to be a lot of fun to be around, especially in March. Amid the more serious entities on the sporting cocktail circuit – college and pro football, the NBA, Major League Baseball – he was the life of the party. A weeknight at the gym (or just watching on TV) was always a good time.

The return of UNC’s Harrison Barnes and others is among the many reasons college basketball is flying high so far this season.

Then the old friend got wayward. He became irresponsible, with scandals cropping up constantly. He hung around sketchy characters – greasy third parties who attached themselves to star players. And then even the stars themselves became transient properties, just passing through on their way to the NBA, never sticking around long enough to develop a bond with the fans.

After a while, the product just wasn’t very good – not the players, not the teams. As problems kept surfacing, the credibility went the way of boxing. And all those other sports looked like better alternatives.

College basketball hit the skids.

But like the prodigal son and Britney Spears, college hoops is back after some rough years. And not looking too bad.

This is the chance to reacquaint with your old friend, sports fan. What else are you going to do, watch the NBA?

That league appears intent on alienating its fan base with a prolonged lockout that could eradicate the entire season. Already, 26 percent of the games have been canceled. The players union and ownership are at the breaking point. So is the faith of the customers.

You won’t see LeBron and Kobe and Dirk on Friday nights anytime soon – maybe not until next fall. So if you love hoops, what’s the alternative?

Let in your old friend.

The college game still has tremendous problems – cheating, hypocrisy and a corrosive cult-of-the-coach mentality among them. But this 2011-12 season is college hoops’ big chance to regain its seat at American sports’ main table.

The opportunity is there, and the product should be good enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

The talent on the floor – individually and from a team perspective – is as good as it’s been since 2008 at least.

When Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Terrence Jones of Kentucky all said no to the NBA draft and came back to school, the game got a jolt of star power. Casual fans who like watching pro-level talent perform have something to tune into.

The return of those players helped guarantee that the Tar Heels, Buckeyes and Wildcats all would be better than they were last year. In fact, all three programs are probably better than any team was last year.

Let’s face it: if the talent level weren’t massively down in 2010-11, we wouldn’t have had both Virginia Commonwealth and Butler in the Final Four. They were great stories, not great teams. We wouldn’t have had the ninth-place team in the Big East (Connecticut) winning the national title while scoring 109 points in two games – the lowest Final Four total for the national champion since 1946.

When that fetid Final Four ended with Jim Calhoun – facing personal NCAA sanctions for violations within his program – holding up the national championship trophy after a weekend of horrible hoops, college basketball might have reached its nadir.

Now the game is climbing back up.

via NBA lockout opens door for college hoops – College Basketball – Rivals.com.

The Insanely Great History of Apple, posters, infographics: pretty cool …

The Insanely Great History of Apple is a cool new poster from PopChartLabs.com, where you can purchase the $25, 18”x24” poster for yourself (and many other great ones).

The world’s most comprehensive mapping of Apple products, this print shows every computer released by Apple in the last thirty years, from the original Mac through the MacBook Air. Products are sorted according to type, including the connections between various form factors which have arisen as Apple has invented—and reinvented—insanely great products.

via Cool Infographics – Blog – The Insanely Great History of Apple.

 college students, “Occupy Generation”, Occupy Wall Street:  Passing of the mantle?

As of today, Occupations are occurring in nearly 500 cities worldwide, according to Occupy Wall Street’s website. The protests have already been successful in one sense. The country is talking about ‘income inequality’ like never before. Since the protests began, the media has used the term 400% more this week than the week before the Occupation began according to a Politico metric.

So then, what next? In the words of Tom Hayden: “What happens next will be a collective judgment based on what they’ve been through. History awaits their decision.”

The country is waiting on these young people to act. They wanted to start a conversation, and they did. The question remains how they will be able to fix anything.

Will they form a political movement or continue changing the system from the outside? Will leadership emerge or will the difficult process of leaderless general assemblies succeed without it?

The answer might be found in Iowa. On January 4th, 2012, Occupiers from around the country will travel to Iowa to demonstrate at the First-In-The-Nation caucus. That is, if they can get organized. Much like Chicago, the cameras will be rolling in Iowa starting in early December. The demonstrators have a chance to affect the grassroots political process in historic fashion, if they are willing to engage it at all.

via Passing the mantle: The new Occupation Generation | USA TODAY College.

Benetton, advertising, controversial advertising: Benetton has the Pope kissing an imam, and Obama kissing Hugo Chavez in ad campaign. Doesn’t make me want to buy their clothes …

“Twenty-five years ago, Italian fashion label Benetton rode its controversial “United Colors of Benetton” ad campaign to global fame,” write the Journal’s Christina Passariello and Jennifer Clark.

Now, after having lost speed to competitors such as Inditex’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz’s H&M, Benetton is trying for a second publicity coup.

On Wednesday, the house unveiled its first major brand advertising campaign in more than a decade, titled “Unhate.”

The images are of global leaders kissing: U.S. President Barack Obama locks lips with China’s Hu Jintao and with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

A picture of the Pope embracing one of Islam’s leading figures, Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, the imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, was hung from a bridge near the Vatican early Wednesday.

Alessandro Benetton anticipated that this ad would be the most controversial. “We could be excommunicated,” he said, only half-joking.

via Benetton’s Controversial Ad Campaigns, Featuring Obama, Chavez and the Pope – Heard on the Runway – WSJ.

Maria Popova, theoatmeal.com:  Another find from Maria Popova … Old but gold – top tweets illustrated …

I drew some tweets – The Oatmeal.

Coco-Cola, Arctic Home Coke Commercial, WWF, csr:   Protect the polar bears  … nice ad … but is this csr or just an advertising ploy.

This is the Arctic. This vast area of tundra, jagged peaks and frozen seas is the only place where the polar bear can live, hunt and breed. And it needs our help. Check this out, then join us at ArcticHome.com to learn about these amazing animals through video, pictures and bear facts from World Wildlife Fund. Together, we can help make sure the polar bear has a place to call home. http://CokeURL.com/ArcticHome

via Arctic Home Coke Commercial | Protect the Polar Bears – YouTube.

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, “journey for enlightenment”:

I don’t think it was just a question of liking him. I admired him, respected him, and found him unbelievably compelling even though he’s not your usual role model. I mean, he wasn’t the sweetest person I’ve ever met. But he was certainly the most interesting and, in some ways, mesmerizing person I’ve met.

SQ: If Jobs hadn’t been successful, would people still admire him?

WI: I tried to make it all come together in the book, which is the passionate perfectionism that causes him to be hard-driving and not put up with things that he considered mediocre. It’s what led him to create great products, but also to gather around him a loyal and talented team. So, to say that you can separate that passion for perfection and that demanding nature from the fact that he kept driving them like crazy to make the iPod perfect, is wrong. His personality is integrated into his success just like Apple products have the software and the hardware integrated with one another.

via Steve Jobs’s ‘journey for enlightenment’ – Under God – The Washington Post.


08
Oct
11

10.8.2011 … off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte … amazing leaves and unbelievably funny signs to this Southerner …

road trip, college search, New England, fall leaves, road signs:  Off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte.

On I-95 in Connecticut on a big yellow road hazard sign:

Do Not Stop

Correctional Facility Area

Now my question … How often do the inmates get loose?  I am not the only one concerned. DO NOT STOP [Correctional Facility Area] – Goatload.com. And I now understand that in some states they don’t care if you stop, just don’t pick up any hitchhikers … Correctional Facility: Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers photo – Paul Marcus photos at pbase.com.

Todays colleges:

Brown … Thanks to Ashley  and Justine for a great tour, lunch and Nutella milkshakes!  Yale: Thanks Katie and Carolyn … what a great place … the colleges, bladderball, master’s teas,  weddings … and Thai food …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

and loved this public art at Yale …

 

 

The Women’s Table, 1993

Maya Lin (b. 1959; B.A. 1981, M.Arch. 1986, D.F.A. 1987)

Location: Rose Walk, by Sterling Memorial Library

Maya Lin’s monument-making began during her undergraduate years at Yale, with her 1981 design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Like the black wall of names cutting into the grassy Mall, the simple granite blocks of Lin’s Women’s Table organically emerge from the pavement as both a lament and a tribute. A string of figures marks the number of female students at Yale each year since its founding in 1701. These numbers grow with time as they spiral out toward the table’s edge, swelling like the rings of water that bubble from the central spring and spill over on all sides. Anonymous gift, commissioned in 1989 and installed in 1993

via Public art at Yale – The Women’s Table.

Rural America, USPS, kith/kin, Pineview GA:  Growing up visiting my grandparents in Pineview GA, I know how important a post office is.  Not only does it provie services connecting a community to the world, it also provides identity and is a “meeting up” place.  In my opinion, rural post offices should be subsidized before many other entitlements.

Many here note that the people who would be hurt most by the closings — the rural elderly — often do not use computers or e-mail.

Susan Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, defended the proposed closings. “Regarding rural America, the fact is that our network of post offices was established decades ago to serve populations that in many, many cases moved on years ago,” she said. “The residents in these communities already go to neighboring towns to shop for food, go to the drugstore, purchase gas, go to the bank — they can take care of their postal needs there.” Postal authorities have also proposed installing branches in some retail stores, with Ms. Brennan suggesting that the move might buoy ailing small-town shopkeepers.

Inside Neville’s post office building, which was once a grocery store, the Postal Service’s notice of “possible closing or consolidation” remains tacked to the bulletin board. Citing a “declining workload,” the Postal Service letter noted that the branch’s “walk-in revenue” declined to $15,487 in fiscal 2010, down from $21,806 the previous year. A closing, it estimated, would yield savings of $347,126 over 10 years — almost all from eliminating Ms. Blackburn’s job.

The letter stated, “Savings for the Postal Service contribute in the long run to stable postage rates and savings for customers.”

Ms. Blackburn is anything but a faceless bureaucrat — she plays community booster, historian and newscaster, telling people why that ambulance came to town a day earlier and warning people to lock their doors when an escaped convict was in the area. She also played an important role in arranging a paddleboat excursion to mark Neville’s bicentennial in 2008. (The Postal Service has ordered local postmasters not to grant interviews about the proposed closing.)

Mr. Burke said that to avoid shutting rural post offices, the Postal Service should first pare the number and salaries of upper managers and close more urban post offices. (Postal officials say they have been making such moves, but they would not save nearly enough money to avert rural closings.)

Some residents here also argue that just as the federal government subsidizes oil companies and other industries, it should subsidize rural post offices. Right now, the Postal Service, which is financed through sales of postage, receives no direct federal appropriations, although it is exempt from most taxes.

Townspeople also say the threatened closing insults the region’s lore. Six miles north lies Point Pleasant, the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. And these river towns served as havens for the underground railroad.

Shelby Lucas, who has lived all of his 64 years in Neville, complained about the inconvenience that would accompany a closing. “It may save money for the post office, but it will cost us money, and it’s a hassle for us,” he said. “I’ll have to drive four miles each way to the post office in Moscow, but with the price of gas, that can really cost. It won’t be easy for retirees like me.”

Currently Neville has no mail delivery to homes or to curbside boxes, but the Postal Service says it might begin making deliveries to “cluster post boxes” of six or eight if the building is shuttered.

“I get retirement checks,” said Mr. Lucas, who used to work at Cincinnati Milacron, a machinery manufacturer. “If you put those post boxes on the street, I worry my retirement checks would disappear. There’ll be vandals. That’s happened before.”

Shirley Keller, 75, Chilo’s mayor, gets weepy about the post office. As a girl, she used to cross to Kentucky by rowboat with the postman to help him collect mailbags.

“There are quite a few old people here” said Ms. Keller, the mother-in-law of Chilo’s postmaster. “I don’t drive. It’ll be real hard to get to the post office in Felicity,” nearly five miles away.

Many rural residents have heard how the rise of e-mail and electronic bill-paying has caused the Postal Service’s volume and revenue to plummet.

“Everything is going to be the Internet,” said Carolyn Breisler, who is protesting the threatened closing in Decatur, Ohio. “Well, half the people in rural areas don’t have access to high-speed Internet. We’re not the ones putting the post office out of business. Yet we’re becoming the victims.”

via In Rural America, Fears That Beloved Post Offices Will Close – NYTimes.com.

death penalty, redemption:  There are so many facets to this complex issue.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a quarter century on death row, Gaile Owens walked out of prison Friday with a few belongings and a simple wish: to walk in the park with her family.

The 58-year-old Memphis woman came within two months of being executed last year before her sentence was commuted — not because she was innocent, but because then-Gov. Phil Bredesen thought her punishment was excessive.

Owens admitted to hiring a hit-man in 1985 to kill her husband and the father of her two children. Supporters who tirelessly made the case to release her say she was an abused wife who has rehabilitated herself in prison.

via Woman inmate who came within 2 months of being executed leaves Tennessee prison on parole – The Washington Post.

Steve Jobs, Apple, Afghanistan, media, global issues:  I am guilty.  Steve Jobs’ death has occupied my space … and there really are more important issues.

There are many good reasons to mourn Jobs. He helped  transform communications and inspired many. Amid the gloom of the present, the brainy, bespectacled Californian represented the possibility of the future. He was, as Alexis Madrigal writes for the Atlantic, “the white wizard in the black turtleneck holding the forces of decline at bay.” Only a small fraction of the world could afford his wares,  but that didn’t stop a not-so-small fraction from coveting them—or from admiring him. As Madrigal put it, “We could all want to be Steve Jobs.” For most of us, though, “the occasional glimpse of our better selves in the reflection of an iPad is enough.”

To catch that glimpse, we’re willing to forget. We forget the harsh realities of globalized labor that lurk just beneath those brushed metallic surfacs. We pretend that it was the iPod and the iPad, not war, that defined the  decade. Steve Jobs and the iPhone may be the American dream, but Afghanistan is American reality.

via With All Eyes on Apple, It’s Easy to Forget Afghanistan – Global Spin – TIME.com.

design, architecture, form v. function, advertising, random, landmarks, icons:  Any in your area?  Saw the Hood milk jug recently  and the chest facade is in my state.

This one’s a Boston institution. In 1933, Arthur Gagnon wanted to open an ice cream stand in nearby Taunton, and he designed his new business to look like a giant milk bottle. After several changes in ownership (and a sail from Quincy to Boston proper), the structure is now known as the Hood Milk Bottle and resides at the Children’s Museum. It’s 40 feet tall and could hold 58,000 gallons of milk.

Furnitureland South’s 85-Foot Tall Highboy is more statue-attached-to-building than building itself, but the North Carolina landmark is still worth a mention

via mental_floss Blog » 10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell.

Skype, Facebook, Apple iPod, Amazon, cloud computing, personal computers, Foxconn City,  globalised supply chain, consumerisation, cloud-based “ecosystems”, global economy:  Very interesting article.  Read on …

ANYONE WANTING TO get a better idea of the scale of the changes taking place in the world of consumer electronics should take a look at Foxconn’s giant factory complex in Shenzhen, in southern China. Known as Foxconn City, it covers an entire square mile and is crammed with manufacturing operations and company-managed housing, medical facilities and educational centres. About 400,000 people work there, roughly as many as live in Oakland, California.

Like several other Taiwanese firms that operate factories at home and in China, Foxconn churns out electronic devices on behalf of a number of Western companies. By tapping into cheap Asian labour, Apple, Samsung and other consumer-electronics giants have been able to drive down the prices of their phones and other gadgets, broadening their appeal to consumers. A handful of insurgent Asian firms, including China’s Huawei and Taiwan’s HTC, which make devices that run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, are using their cost advantage to build their own global brands.

A globalised supply chain is not the only thing helping consumer-electronics companies to cut costs. They are also benefiting from economies of scale as the incomes of more and more people in more and more countries rise to the point at which gadgets are affordable.

Technologically impressive as all this is, the biggest change that the new devices have wrought is to transform many people’s experience of computing. The PC may have been personal; a smartphone or tablet, held in your hand rather than perched on your desk, is almost intimate, and you can take it almost anywhere. This shift has been driven by Apple, which likes to boast that most of its revenue now comes from “post-PC” devices such as iPods and iPhones rather than from its Macintosh computers. This is partly marketing talk: crack open an iPhone and you will find many of the paraphernalia—including a motherboard and microchips—that make up the guts of a PC too.

The Gucci of gadgets

Yet Apple has indeed ushered in a new era in which personal technology is finally living up to its name. That is because the technology is starting to adapt to the people who use it rather than forcing them to adapt to it. The most obvious manifestations of this are the touch-screens and intuitive operating systems on many tablets and smartphones that have allowed even toddlers to take to them with gusto. It is also reflected in the way that phones can now be tweaked to reflect people’s increasingly connected lives by, say, bringing up a friend’s latest Facebook posts when he calls. “The PC is personal but nowhere near as customisable as the smartphone,” says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a consultancy.

Pioneers such as Amazon have built cloud-based “ecosystems” that make content such as its electronic books widely available. Even though the firm has its own e-reader, the Kindle, and has hatched a tablet computer too, it has also created apps and other software that let people get at their digital stuff on all sorts of devices, including PCs.

The rise of the cloud has also created an explosion of other consumer-focused web services. These include the big social networks such as Facebook, which has over 800m users, and a host of smaller firms such as Foursquare, which was created specifically to let people tell their pals where they are. This combination of social networking, location-signalling and mobile computing—nicknamed “SoLoMo” by John Doerr, a prominent venture capitalist—has given birth to outfits such as Badoo, a site for people wanting to chat, flirt and date. Mobile computing is also encouraging people to use web services more often than they would on a PC. Facebook reports that people who visit its network via mobile devices are twice as active on it as those who tap into it via other means.

Like many other technology executives, Mr Bates is convinced that consumerisation is an unstoppable force and that it has raised people’s expectations hugely. “It used to be that the best IT experiences people had were in the office,” he says. “Now that technology has been democratised, they have become used to doing new and exciting things themselves.” For their employers, this is creating both opportunities and headaches.

via Consumerisation: The power of many | The Economist.

02
Oct
11

10.2.2011 … I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina … Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event …

kith/kin: Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event.  Prime at Lenox Square was a great choice.  Great to be with the siblings and my wonderful eighty-something mom.  She has the best mind I know.  And we did not discuss the Braves.

gasoline prices, travel: I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina.

Occupy Wall Street Movement, bankers v. revolutionaries, Wall Street v. Main Street:  I hard on NPR that this movement was the liberal’s tea party before it gt politicized.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has taken over a park in Manhattan’s financial district and turned it into a revolutionary camp. Hundreds of young people chant slogans against “banksters” or corporate tycoons. Occasionally, a few even pull off their clothes, which always draws news cameras.

“Occupy Wall Street” was initially treated as a joke, but after a couple of weeks it’s gaining traction. The crowds are still tiny by protest standards — mostly in the hundreds, swelling during periodic marches — but similar occupations are bubbling up in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. David Paterson, the former New York governor, dropped by, and labor unions are lending increasing support.

I tweeted that the protest reminded me a bit of Tahrir Square in Cairo, and that raised eyebrows. True, no bullets are whizzing around, and the movement won’t unseat any dictators. But there is the same cohort of alienated young people, and the same savvy use of Twitter and other social media to recruit more participants. Most of all, there’s a similar tide of youthful frustration with a political and economic system that protesters regard as broken, corrupt, unresponsive and unaccountable.

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

Anwar al Awlaki, justified killing, war on terror, slippery slopes:  This killing of  a US citizen is going to be debated … “due process in war.”

Anwar al Awlaki’s rise from American-born cleric to key terror plotter had put him atop the U.S. terror “hit list.” Under the code name Objective Troy, intelligence tracked Awlaki for months near his hideout in Yemen.

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism – and a legal challenge – over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, “due process in war.”

The killing of a U.S. jihadist

“The administration has tried to make very clear that this was an act of self-defense, that Awlaki was part of not only al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, but he was the external operations chief. He was ongoing in his plotting against American citizens – not only having done so in the past, but continuing to do so in an imminent way,” said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate.

“So based on the rules of self-defense, based on the principles that we’re at war with al Qaeda and the fact that he was a part of the group, self-professed, all of that suggests that it’s lawful and appropriate to go after him and to kill him,” Zarate said.

When asked if the drone attack against a U.S. citizen – in effect, execution without trial – sets a precedent, Zarate said, “It’s a good question – you run the risk of a slippery slope here. I think people are asking very appropriate questions about what the limits of the government’s power can be in terms of going after Americans who are part of al Qaeda, and we’ve seen in the recent past that Americans have formed more and more part of the al Qaeda network – not just Anwar al-Awlaki, but others. There are important questions to ask about what the process is and what the procedures are to determine who is an imminent danger to the United States.”

via Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki – CBS News.

Former President Bill Clinton, President Obama, history:  They always say history repeats itself.  I am amazed how Bill Clinton seems to keep himself in the press. … “vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.”

Bill Clinton is using the 20th anniversary of the launch of his presidential bid to offer a vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.

Clinton told a crowd of about 5,000 people gathered outside the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock that Obama faces a different set of challenges than he did in 1992. But Clinton says Obama faces the same debate over the role of government.

Clinton spoke at an event marking the anniversary of his 1991 announcement that he’d run for president. He told the crowd that he decided to run because he believed the country needed a new kind of politics and a new economics.

via Clinton: Obama faces same debate from ’92 bid – CBS News.

Groupon, deal sites, marketing:   “Fading allure?”

Shopping coupons have a long history, and they will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in local merchants’ efforts to attract customers. But what has become apparent is a basic contradiction at the heart of the daily deals industry on the Internet.

The consumers were being told: You will never pay full price again. The merchants were hearing: You are going to get new customers who will stick around and pay full price. Disappointment was inevitable.

Some entrepreneurs are questioning the entire premise of the industry. Jasper Malcolmson, co-founder of the deal site Bloomspot, compares the basic deal offer with lenders’ marketing subprime loans during the housing boom.

Even worse from the merchants’ point of view, the popularity of the coupon sites fed a relentless bargain-hunting mentality among customers that did not use them. “Every day, we get an e-mail or phone call saying, Can we match someone else’s price?” said Ms. Bengel of Wellpath. “We’re not Wal-Mart.”

And the long-term reputation of the merchant may be at risk, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Harvard that analyzed thousands of Groupon and Living Social deals. The researchers found that fans of daily deals were on average hard to please. After they ate at the restaurant or visited the spa, they went on Yelp and grumbled about it. This pulled down the average Yelp rating by as much as half a point.

“Offering a Groupon puts a merchant’s reputation at risk,” said John Byers, a professor of computer science at Boston University who worked on the project. “The audience being reached may be more critical,” he said, “than their typical audience or have a more tenuous fit with the merchant.”

Even Amazon, the retailing juggernaut, has found quick riches are elusive. Its response in New York has been tepid. A subscription to The New York Observer had 84 takers, as did a “Sex and the City” tour. A Latin cooking class attracted 61 people, an Asian bistro 109.

Kevin Walters, manager of the Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club on Third Avenue in Manhattan, said he was “very, very surprised” to sell only 77 deals through Amazon. “It should have been huge,” he said. Amazon declined to comment.

Despite the lackluster response, Mr. Walters will probably try another coupon. “I’m in East Harlem,” he said. “If the rest of the economy is shaky, then East Harlem is depressed. One way or another, I need to get people here.”

via Deal Sites Have Fading Allure for Merchants – NYTimes.com.

John F. Kennedy, Cold War, bomb shelters, Peanut Island, FL, history: I have toured the shelter for Congress at the Greenbriar and it was very interesting.  If I were nearby, i would probably go see this one.

President John F. Kennedy, who was facing a series of nail-biting face-offs with the Soviets, even recommended a fallout shelter for all Americans “as rapidly as possible” in an October 1961 speech. Two months later, Kennedy was presented with his own top-secret tropical bomb shelter off Palm Beach, Fla., on an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.

Few even know it is here, but some area residents believe that the bunker is a must-see attraction that could put Peanut Island, a manmade islet, on the map.

Termed the “Detachment Hotel” in documents, the fallout shelter here was built by Navy Seabees in less than two weeks at the end of December 1961 and sits a short stroll from a rambling colonial-style house that doubled as a United States Coast Guard station. Deftly camouflaged by trees, it was hard to spot. If people asked, they would be told it was a munitions depot, nothing more. Kennedy visited the bunker twice during a drill.

“The government never declared it existed until 1974,” said Anthony Miller, a member of the executive board of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, a nonprofit organization that leases part of the land on Peanut Island and runs a charter school and gives tours of the bunker and the former Coast Guard station. “But it was the worst-kept secret in Palm Beach.”

With the Soviets intent on shipping nuclear warheads to nearby Cuba, Kennedy was assured a radiation-proof haven a mere five-minute helicopter hop from his oceanfront winter home on millionaire’s row in Palm Beach. Peanut Island sits just between Palm Beach and its ritzy companion, Singer Island. It was intended to be used as a terminal for shipping peanut oil; that never happened, but the name stuck.

To ensure the president’s safety during the summer, when he visited the Kennedy compound on Hyannis Port, Mass., a sister shelter was built on Nantucket Island in 1961; it has never been open to the public.

The Florida bunker, which fell into disrepair in the 1990s, was cleaned up and has been open for tours since 1999, shortly after the museum leased the land. Buried under layers of concrete and built with quarter-inch-thick walls of steel and lead, the bunker looks like something out of the television show “Lost.”

via For Kennedy, a Secret Shelter Was a Cold War Camelot – NYTimes.com.

Gov. Mitt Romney, politics, political strategy, 2012 Presidential Election:  Maybe his strategy is to play both sides … and to me closing loopholes seems like a fair way to solve the tax shortfall because loopholes are usually geared to a special interest group.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

via Romney’s Strategies as Governor Bucked His C.E.O. Image – NYTimes.com.

culture, Great Recession, waste, Halloween:  Halloween used to a home-made holiday … a sheet and a pillowcase … $& Billion???

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend $6.9 billion this year for Halloween. To put that number into context, the same NRF survey found that Americans planned to spend $3.3 billion as recently as 2005.

This biggest chunk of this money — $2.5 billion of it — will go to costumes. Of that total, a little more than $300 million will be spent on costumes for pets. We’ll also drop $2 billion on candy and just under that on decorations.

This year isn’t an anomaly, either. Halloween spending did decline in 2009, when it dropped by about $1 billion to $4.8 billion. But by last year, it had bounced back to $5.8 billion.

via Now That’s Creepy: Americans Will Blow $7 Billion on Halloween | Moneyland | TIME.com.

NYT, food, drink, media:  I actually enjoyed this interactive issue and especially this article on food cravings.

This Food and Drink Issue of the magazine — the fourth annual — is full of questions. I have two of my own, and they’re the same questions I’ve been asking myself since I began cooking 40 years ago. How can food change my life? And how can food change the world?

I grew up during a time when the awareness of the quality of food was practically nil. It’s true that in the ’50s and even the ’60s people still cooked, even if much of the food was “convenient,” like Jell-O mold or tuna tetrazzini. It’s also true that pigs were still raised on farms, most vegetables were seasonal and hyperprocessed junk hadn’t yet achieved hegemony. But back then we took the good stuff for granted and never thought it would get anything but better.

The ’70s and ’80s were a more optimistic era, because cooking was in the news and the American food revolution was in full swing. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t a revolution but a civil war. Our side featured good people arguing for real, mostly simple cooking done with fresh, well- raised ingredients, a retreat from convenience and overly fancy stuff and a return to the basics. Arrayed against us in this fight — a struggle for the American palate and ultimately the global diet — was Big Food, spreading like the Blob.

It was hardly a fair fight: we were naïve, optimistic and unprepared, armed with spatulas, good food and journalism. The bad guys had nuclear weapons like scientific marketing and advertising, billions of dollars and, worst of all, government support.

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

But can cravings for sweet or salt or fat be classified as actually, legitimately addictive? The processed-food industry doesn’t much like the A-word, preferring its own coinage: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction. (Among other examples, fasting — the food equivalent of needing a hit — doesn’t result in enhanced cravings.) The American Beverage Association paid for a 2006 review that makes a similar argument about caffeine. While some may ingest the stimulant to suppress withdrawal symptoms, the study declared, caffeine “does no harm to the individual or to society, and its users are not compelled to consume it.”

The junk-food industry may have a point. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that drugs can set off brain responses that are far more powerful than those caused by even the most luscious food. On the other hand, she notes, “clearly, processed sugar in certain individuals can produce these compulsive patterns of intake.” The difficulty of trying to kick a food habit, however, is that you can’t just go cold turkey from all food. Still, the best strategy for the afflicted, according to Volkow, is to mimic drug programs and completely avoid foods that cause the most trouble. “Don’t try to limit yourself to two Oreo cookies, because if the reward is very potent, no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it.”

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former President  Bill Clinton, Back to Work, books:   Everybody want in on the solution …

“Back to Work” addresses the subject Mr Obama has been weakest with: job creation. Mr Clinton sounds some classic themes from the 1990s with a bit of fashionable greenery flown in. The private and public sector should be partners, not antagonists: anti-government rhetoric may be good for politics (and TV ratings) but it is bad for policy-making. A modern economy requires a government that is active but smart rather than one that is active but driven by vested interests. But the blurb also promises some “specific recommendations” on how to put people back to work and create new businesses—and even double America’s exports. It is impossible to judge whether this is just flannel or serious argument until the book is released next month. It is also far easier to make recommendations from the comfort of retirement than it is to govern. But a president who presided over America’s Indian summer—a period of sustained growth and disciplined government—should at least have something to say to a new generation of politicians who live in a far stormier time.

via Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work”: Missing Bill | The Economist.

architectural styles, polls: Well, how well do you know your architectural styles?

Colonial-style houses are best-sellers in the Washington area, comprising 40 percent of all home sales in the area.

How do you know if your house is one of those, and why does it matter?

As Susan Straight reports in this week’s Real Estate section, “real estate professionals say that knowing your Colonial from your Federal- and Tudor-style home really matters when it comes to buying and selling. That’s because certain styles are more popular than others, and a home’s style can factor into its resale value, agents say.”

via How well do you know your architectural styles? – Post User Polls – The Washington Post.

street art, websites, lists: From a postsecret tweet: Street Anatomy,   Wooster Collective and  Banksy – Outdoors.

NBA lockout,Stephen Curry, Davidson College:  You go Steph …

It was an awkward moment, that first day of class at history of education, when the professor did a roll call.

“Wendell Curry?”

“Actually, my name is Wardell,” the student replied. “But people call me Stephen.”

And with that, any hope of blending in was also history. The other students, mostly freshmen, stared and pointed because this was not your usual Davidson classmate.

via NBA lockout opens door for Stephen Curry’s education | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

business, management, lists:  The Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say  … this one struck me … most big firms close off access to such sites on the internet.  I agree that if they require you to be accessible 24/7, you should be allowed a little freedom 9-5 in exchange.

I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.

Decent managers have figured out that there is no clock, not for white-collar knowledge workers, anyway. Knowledge workers live, sleep, and eat their jobs. Their e-mail inboxes fill up just as fast after 5:00 p.m. as they do before. Their work is never done, and it’s never going to be done. That’s O.K. Employees get together in the office during the daytime hours to do a lot of the work together, and then they go home and try to live their lives in the small spaces of time remaining. If they need a mental break during the day, they can go on PeopleofWalmart.com or Failblog.org without fear of managerial reprisal. We are not robots. We need to stop and shake off the corporate cobwebs every now and then. If a person is sitting in the corner staring up at the ceiling, you could be watching him daydream—or watching him come up with your next million-dollar product idea. (Or doing both things at once.)

via Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say – BusinessWeek.

bike messengers, culture,  NYC, random:  You never know what you will find …

The scene, more reminiscent of a garage-band festival than a bicycle event, captured the spirit of the East Coast Messenger Stage Race, Mr. Horse’s hastily arranged, informal competition for a small group of hardy riders — mostly bicycle messengers — from across the country. The five-day race, through a tangled network of roads from Boston to Washington, was the latest project for Mr. Horse, a competitive cyclist and bike advocate who has emerged in recent years as one of the best-known figures in the city’s brigade of professional messengers.

Mr. Horse, 29, has raced against a sport utility vehicle from Harlem to Brooklyn in a Web advertisement for Mercedes-Benz, worked as a producer and cameraman on a reality series about bicycle messengers for the Travel Channel and performed stunts for more than two months for “Premium Rush,” a bike-centered action movie to be released next year. He has won national and international messenger competitions, as well as sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Oakley sunglasses and the urban bike-wear company Outlier.

But there is a paradox at work here: just as corporate brands and Hollywood try to harness the increasing visibility of urban cycling through its most recognizable character, the grease-grizzled New York City messenger, that subculture is dwindling in the face of higher-tech competition.

The contradictions don’t end there — what kind of grunt job garners brand sponsorships? — but such is the changing state of the messenger’s role as it has morphed from job to lifestyle. The Stage Race, too, is more about messengering as a rugged cowboy ideal than as an efficient way to shuttle important documents between corporate offices. Surely, few — if any — have sent a package from Boston to Washington by bicycle.

Amid this shift, Mr. Horse has become a symbol for a group that prides itself on standing apart.

via The Bike Messenger Goes Hollywood as a Culture Dwindles – NYTimes.com.

David Gerbi – “revolutionary Jew”,  Libya, synagogue, post- Arab Spring, restoration, history: “What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

David Gerbi is a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, but to Libyan rebels he was the “revolutionary Jew.” He returned to his homeland after 44 years in exile to help oust Muammar Qaddafi, and to take on what may be an even more challenging mission.

That job began Sunday, when he took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall. Behind it: the door to Tripoli’s crumbling main synagogue, unused since Qaddafi expelled Libya’s small Jewish community early in his decades-long rule.

Gerbi knocked down the wall, said a prayer and cried.

“What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

The Star of David is still visible inside and outside the peach-colored Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s walled Old City. An empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept still reads “Shema Israel” — “Hear, O Israel” — in faded Hebrew. But graffiti is painted on the walls, and the floor and upper chambers are covered in garbage — plastic water bottles, clothes, mattresses, drug paraphernalia and dead pigeon carcasses.

via Libyan “revolutionary Jew” to restore synagogue – CBS News.

cities, urban development, homebuilding, suburbs:  Very interest article about homebuilding and what need to happen with the next generation of homes…

While we obsess over the new in terms of what we keep in our houses — the ever-increasing speed and functionality of our Smartphones, entertainment options built into refrigerators, sophisticated devices that monitor, analyze and report on our sleep cycles, even the superior technology of the running shoes we put on before heading out the flimsy fiberboard door — we’re incredibly undemanding of the houses themselves. These continue to be built the same way they have for over a century, and usually not as well. Walls and windows are thin, materials cheap, design (and I use the term loosely) not well-considered. The building process is a protracted affair, taking far too long and creating embarrassing amounts of building waste (over 50 percent of all waste produced in the United States, in fact).

Then there’s a company like Blu Homes, which has demonstrated a clear commitment to merging housing and high tech — to the tune of a $25 million investment, in fact. They recognized the tremendous inefficiencies in home-building and have developed 3D technology that allows for personal customization (clients can click a mouse to alter floor plans, choose green features and select finishes), as well as a proprietary building process and innovative steel-framing technology that allows their homes, as their Web site explains, “to be built to the highest aesthetic and environmental standards and be delivered quickly and economically nationwide.”

But following a long line of V.C. types dabbling in housing, Blu has set its sights on a small slice of an already niche market — high-end modern prefab, which accounts for maybe half of a percent of the less than 5 percent of architect-designed homes in the country. Devoting this much R&D and software development to so few homes feels akin to installing a $250,000 solar array on a garden shed. Why not devote that energy to transforming cookie-cutter developer homes?

Chang writes, “The disconnection between the rising diversity of housing needs and the monotony of housing production speaks to the tenacity of the postwar American dream — the enduring allure of the detached house with front lawn and backyard patio — as well as to the profitability of catering to these aspirations.”

Chang sees this moment — with millions of houses now in foreclosure, many deteriorating or abandoned — as one to seize, and I couldn’t agree more. It is possible, he considers, that once the economy revives we will simply return to home-building-as-usual:

But right now we have an opportunity to rethink suburban housing: to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but rather to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population — not only to the so-called traditional households but also to the growing ranks of those who prefer to rent rather than buy, who either can’t afford or don’t want a 2,000-square-foot-plus detached house, who are retired and living on fixed incomes and maybe driving less, who want granny or nanny flats, who want to pay less for utilities and reduce their carbon footprint, and so on.

Housing can’t be equated with high-tech: a home is, or was, a long-term investment not beholden to the dizzying speeds of change and innovation that drive say, Apple, which must continually reinvent and redefine its product to meet consumer demand. But housing is woefully behind the times, and now it needs to see opportunity in crisis, not wait it out by launching pop-up shops and interactive Web sites that empower consumers to such revolutionary things as customizing bathroom tile and kitchen backsplashes.

We’re beyond the point of a fresh coat of paint and a new sales pitch. If we’re going to continue to hold on to the single-family home, we need to transform it. There is a demand for smaller, more energy-efficient homes in less car-dependent neighborhoods; all aspects of the industry, from designers to lenders to planners to consumers, should meet it. In this era of anti-government fervor, subsidizing the American Dream isn’t an option; transforming it is the only one we’ve got.

via Shifting the Suburban Paradigm – NYTimes.com.

cities, photo gallery:  Great photo gallery/slide show of a city and its geometry, as seen from above … unfortunately I can’t pull the pictures.

“New York reveals itself only at a certain height, a certain distance, a certain speed!” Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a half-century ago, before the city grew even higher. The ideal perch, Sartre suggested, is not at the pedestrian’s height, distance or speed, but in the sky. Here, benches and mounds of shrubbery combine to form an urban oasis of curlicues, now being redesigned, at the Jacob K. Javits Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

via City Geometry, Seen From Above – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

Supreme Court , 2011 term, criminal cases,  First Amendment cases:  It will be an interesting year.

“The docket seems to be changing,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told reporters at a judicial conference in August.

“A lot of big civil cases are going to arbitration,” he said. “I don’t see as many of the big civil cases.”

Still, the shift in focus toward criminal and First Amendment cases will soon be obscured if, as expected, the justices agree to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law. That case promises to be a once-in-a-generation blockbuster.

In the meantime, the justices will hear an extraordinary set of cases that together amount to a project that could overhaul almost every part of the criminal justice system.

The court will decide whether the police need a warrant to use advanced technology to track suspects, whether jails may strip-search people arrested for even the most minor offenses, whether defendants have a right to competent lawyers to help them decide whether to plead guilty, when eyewitness evidence may be used at trial, and what should happen when prosecutors withhold evidence.

“The Supreme Court has positioned itself to improve the quality of the criminal justice process from beginning to end,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University.

The court will continue its intense engagement with the First Amendment. But where earlier cases involved quirky issues like dog fights, funeral protests and the Seven Aphorisms of a fringe church called Summum, the marquee First Amendment cases this term involve issues of sweep and consequence.

In one, the court will rule on whether the government may ban swearing and nudity on broadcast television. In another, the justices will decide for the first time whether there is a “ministerial exception” to employment laws that allows religious institutions to discriminate in ways others employers cannot.

The health care case is not the only juggernaut looming on the horizon. In the next term or two, the court may well address same-sex marriage, affirmative action and illegal immigration. For now, the justices are focused on criminal cases, especially ones concerning the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a fair trial.

via Supreme Court Turns to Criminal and First Amendment Cases – NYTimes.com.

Google, advertising, developing countries, Global economy, internet access, corporate social responsibility, India:  OK, Google doe they need internet access before clean water, medicine, healthy supply of food?

LIKE the travelling fairs that still roam India, a snazzy white bus trundles along the subcontinent’s B-roads, stopping in small towns for a few days at a time and inviting locals into another world. But in place of tightrope-walking girls and performing monkeys, its main attraction is access to the internet. For some visitors, it is their first time online.

The Google Internet bus is a free, mobile cybercafe dreamed up by the search giant and run in association with BSNL, a large state-owned internet service provider (ISP). It has covered over 43,000km and passed through 120 towns in 11 states since it hit the road on February 3rd, 2009. Google estimates that 1.6m people have been offered their first online experience as a result. Of those, 100,000 have signed up for an internet connection of their own. Like a high-school drug dealer, though admittedly less nefarious, the idea is to hook them young and keep them coming back. In return for its efforts, Google says it gains a better understanding of their needs. That, in turn, lets it develop products for the potentially huge local market.

via Internet in developing countries: Hailing the Google bus | The Economist.

iPhone, psychology, love, addiction:  OK, I love my iPhone, literally.

WITH Apple widely expected to release its iPhone 5 on Tuesday, Apple addicts across the world are getting ready for their latest fix.

But should we really characterize the intense consumer devotion to the iPhone as an addiction? A recent experiment that I carried out using neuroimaging technology suggests that drug-related terms like “addiction” and “fix” aren’t as scientifically accurate as a word we use to describe our most cherished personal relationships. That word is “love.”

As a branding consultant, I have followed Apple from its early days as a cult brand to its position today as one of the most valuable, widely admired companies on earth. A few years back, I conducted an experiment to examine the similarities between some of the world’s strongest brands and the world’s greatest religions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests, my team looked at subjects’ brain activity as they viewed consumer images involving brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson and religious images like rosary beads and a photo of the pope. We found that the brain activity was uncannily similar when viewing both types of imagery.

This past summer, I gathered a group of 20 babies between the ages of 14 and 20 months. I handed each one a BlackBerry. No sooner had the babies grasped the phones than they swiped their little fingers across the screens as if they were iPhones, seemingly expecting the screens to come to life. It appears that a whole new generation is being primed to navigate the world of electronics in a ritualized, Apple-approved way.

Earlier this year, I carried out an fMRI experiment to find out whether iPhones were really, truly addictive, no less so than alcohol, cocaine, shopping or video games. In conjunction with the San Diego-based firm MindSign Neuromarketing, I enlisted eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 25. Our 16 subjects were exposed separately to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone.

In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects’ brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects’ brains didn’t just see the vibrating iPhone, they “heard” it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also “saw” it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia.

But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

In short, the subjects didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction. Instead, they loved their iPhones.

As we embrace new technology that does everything but kiss us on the mouth, we risk cutting ourselves off from human interaction. For many, the iPhone has become a best friend, partner, lifeline, companion and, yes, even a Valentine. The man or woman we love most may be seated across from us in a romantic Paris bistro, but his or her 8GB, 16GB or 32GB rival lies in wait inside our pockets and purses.

My best advice? Shut off your iPhone, order some good Champagne and find love and compassion the old-fashioned way.

via You Love Your iPhone. Literally. – NYTimes.com.

Paying the Grace Forward, Kent Matlock, culture, Jerry Richardson, Denny’s, kudos: I don’t think this side of the story has been told.  Kudos to Mr. Matlock for telling this story.

Dr. Gloster bestowed his grace on me. Early in our careers, we all have people who are kind and considerate to us, and I learned to treasure them for two reasons: They’re rare, and their actions inspire you to pay that grace forward.

In the early 1980s, I was an advertising manager at Georgia-Pacific. I had worked for a few ad agencies before that, and wanted to return to that side of the industry. I couldn’t find a job with an agency, however, so I decided to start my own. My mother, Jean, who had taught accounting, joined me a few years later as our accountant. At the time we started, minority companies in Atlanta often partnered with larger organizations, which gave the smaller companies more opportunities. We experienced much of our growth that way.

My mother taught me loyalty, and I learned several lessons from clients. Jerry Richardson, C.E.O. of the restaurant company TW Services, then parent of Denny’s, taught me about doing the right thing. We were working on crisis communications for Denny’s after it was accused of racial discrimination in the early 1990s. Jerry didn’t just write checks to settle lawsuits; he asked me what the company could do to improve its practices. He instituted a thorough review and worked with the N.A.A.C.P. on new corporate policies.

Some people criticized me and called me names for working with Denny’s, but Jerry taught me never to let anyone define you. We emerged as an even stronger firm, and Denny’s is still here today.

via Matlock Advertising’s Chief, on Paying the Grace Forward – NYTimes.com.

Bruce Ivins, anthrax mail suspect, Kappa Kappa Gamma – UNC Chapter:  I was in KKG at UNC in the late 70s … very strange. “Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect.”

The Kappa connection

Haigwood had met Bruce Ivins in the mid-1970s during graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She recalled his incessant questions about her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Having joined the sorority as an undergraduate, Haigwood stayed involved as the adult adviser at the UNC chapter. Ivins, she says, always asked her for information about Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Nancy Haigwood says Bruce Ivins was obsessed with her sorority.

“Every time I talked to him, nearly, he would mention it,” says Haigwood. “And finally I said, ‘You know, Bruce, that’s enough!'”

Ivins’ obsession with Haigwood and her sorority continued years after they graduated from UNC. Ivins had started his job at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases — USAMRIID — at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 1980. Haigwood, too, was living and working in suburban Washington.

One day in 1982, she came home to find her sidewalk, fence and car spray-painted with red graffiti: “K K Γ” — the Greek letters of her sorority.

“Because of the Kappa connection, I immediately thought of Bruce Ivins,” Haigwood said.

via Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect – CNN.com.

headlines, War on Terror, drones, modern warfare: That one jumped out at me …

Wall Photos.

01
Jun
11

6.1.2011 … remembering the good times …

RIP, William Gresham, obituary: Rest in peace, Moonshot Willie. Prayers for your beautiful daughters, Dean and her sons, your parents, your sisters and their families, Kathy and many, many friends. You are such a part of our family’s OBX memories. You will always be missed and loved. You will never be forgotten.

William enjoyed sitting by the ocean, fishing, golf, and was a huge WWII history buff. He also loved anything having to do with the Civil War and was an active member of the Southport Civil War Round Table.

via John William Gresham Jr. Obituary: View John Gresham’s Obituary by Wilmington Star-News.

 

Apple, changes, iCloud:

Apple said on Tuesday that it would announce new versions of the software that powers its computers and cellphones, as well as a new Internet service that could connect these devices.

The company gave few details about the service, which it calls iCloud, but analysts think it would allow people to gain access to music, photos and videos over the Internet on multiple Apple devices, without needing to sync those devices. An Internet-based version of iTunes with those features has long been expected, and iCloud comes on the heels of deals between Apple and major recording labels that would allow such a service to go forward.

The announcement is to be made next week by Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive, at Apple’s annual developers conference in San Francisco. Mr. Jobs has been on medical leave since January, though he made a surprise appearance in March to introduce a new iPad.

via In Unusual Move, Apple Previews New Software Plans – NYTimes.com.

bees, Davidson:  OK, bees swarming my house would freak me out.

The Alexander home has had other swarms in recent years as well. Mr. Stewart estimated there were 15,000 to 20,000 bees in the wall this time around. Under the watchful eyes of Mr. Stewart and Mr. Flanagan, the beekeepers removed them, and Mr. Cheshire took them to a hive at his Davidson home.

Bees in a bucket after removal from the Concord Road home. The colony is then transferred to a hive, where it will survive if the queen is collected, too. (David Boraks/DavidsonNews.net)

Local bee-removal experts have been busy lately. Mr. Cheshire said he and fellow beekeepers removed a swarm of bees from Davidson’s McConnell neighborhood in April.  The Concord Road removal was in early in May, and about a week later, he and Mr. Goode captured a swarm of bees near some lakeside condos off Jetton Street.

via When bees swarm a home, the experts follow | DavidsonNews.net.

Commencement speeches, Davidson College, spring convocation:  OK, I enjoyed this one … but honestly, who remembers their commencement speaker.  I went to Davidson and we have none … the day is for the graduates.  But we do have a spring convocation and a speaker at that event.  I don’t remember who spoke or what he said.  Sorry.

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little

parable-ish stories. The story [“thing”] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty

conventions of the genre, but if you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise,

older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old

fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the

ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a

banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes

can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely

morning.

via Dfw Commencement.

blogging, authors, self-promotion, advertising, media:  Although this has no bearing on me, I thought it very interesting.

Nearly all writers launch some sort of blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page and/or Tumblr blog to promote their book online. But most of them have no idea how to get people to actually read these sites.

Over at Splitsider, author and Tumblr blogger Jill Morris (pictured, via) explained How to Become a Published Author in 237 Simple Steps–a useful and funny guide to online promotion.  Below, we’ve highlighted a few tools we never knew existed.

via Tools To Promote Your Author Blog – GalleyCat.

culture, Generation X, Generation Y, Baby Boomers, The Lost Generation, history:  Found this article interesting on multiple levels.  It’s amazing how history repeats itself.  Like the historical link back to the Lost Generation (“the listless generation of young people disillusioned by World War I and memorialized in “The Sun Also Rises.”).

Musical theater dorks like myself will also recall that the 1960 production of “Bye Bye Birdie” had an entire song devoted adults’ frustrations with the slacker youth of their day:

Kids!

I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today!

Kids!

Who can understand anything they say?

Kids!

They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs!

Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

And while we’re on the subject:

Kids!

You can talk and talk till your face is blue!

Kids!

But they still just do what they want to do!

Why can’t they be like we were,

Perfect in every way?

What’s the matter with kids today?

Before these whippersnappers came the “Lost Generation,” the listless generation of young people disillusioned by World War I and memorialized in “The Sun Also Rises.” And so on.

When the economy is bad, older Americans are often quick to blame young people when they can’t find jobs. Somehow when the economy is good, however, young people don’t seem to get nearly the same degree of credit for their professional successes.

via The Laziest Generation(s) – NYTimes.com.

fashion, t-shirts, Apple:  25 years of Apple … in t-shirts … I like this one.

Apparel, T-shirt: 25 Years of Mac

Apparel, T-shirt: 25 Years of Mac – FastMac.

WWDC, Apple, Steve Jobs, new products:  WWDC is always more fun when Steve Jobs speaks … can’t wait to find out what is next from Apple.

Apple(APPL) has announced that CEO Steve Jobs, currently on his second medical leave of absence, will headline the company’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) next week, adding a touch of tech glamour to the software-focused event.

In a statement released on Monday before market open, Apple confirmed that Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will “kick off” the event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10 a.m. PST.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will headline next week’s WWDC event.

According to Apple, Jobs and co. will unveil the eighth major release of Mac OS X, dubbed Lion. As widely anticipated, Apple will also take the wraps off iOS 5, the latest version of its mobile operating system, as well as iCloud, its forthcoming cloud services offering.

Apple did not reveal specific details of iCloud, although the service is expected to involve a cloud-based version of iTunes, and, potentially, a streaming media platform for devices running its iOS operating system.

via Article Page | TheStreet.

culture, vulnerability:  I personally hate feeling vulnerable …

Sometimes the toughest part of embracing vulnerability is recognizing vulnerability. There are so many secondary emotions that spring to the surface and grab our focus. I wrote this in my journal this morning as a little reminder to look deeper, be mindful, and practice self-compassion. I don’t want to shut myself off from vulnerability because I don’t want to miss out on what it brings to my life: love, creativity, joy, authenticity, courage, and hope (just to name a few).

It’s always so helpful to be reminded of the many ways that vulnerability shows up in our lives. Leave a comment telling us how you fill in the blanks (on one or both) and three folks will get a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection. I’ll announce the names on Friday.

Vulnerability is __________________.

Vulnerability feels like ___________________.

Have a great week!

via vulnerability is ___________. – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

culture, motivation:  maybe I need to rethink my parenting.

Make no mistake: I’m all for paying people what they’re worth. And I’m opposed to schemes that compensate people the same regardless of their performance.  But whether you’re at a bank in Bogota or a school in Schenectady, relying on “if-then” rewards to encourage great work is like guzzling six cups of coffee and downing three Snickers bars for lunch. It’ll give you a burst of energy – but the effects won’t last. For the long-term, human beings need a very different kind of nourishment.

via Carrots and sticks: Procrastination fix? | Daniel Pink.

technology, tablets:  I have picked my tablet … I’m an iPad user.. Everything You Need to Know About Tablets in 15 Simple Charts – Atlantic Mobile.

protest, flash mob, Jefferson Memorial, court rulings, Washington DC:  Flash mobs are interesting to me … but I want to research the court ruling … “Regardless of your thoughts on the protest or those behind it, there’s little doubt that a collection of over a thousand people could put a real crimp into the “atmosphere of calm, tranquility, and reverence” inside the Jefferson that the Court suggested dancing would compromise.”

2011_0531_jefferson.jpg

Adam Kokesh and several others — a handful of whom were arrested by U.S. Park Police over the weekend during a demonstration in protest of a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling barring dancing inside the Jefferson — have posted a Facebook invitation to a “DANCE PARTY @ TJ’S!!!”, scheduled to take place at noon this Saturday.

“Come dance with us! You don’t have to risk arrest, you can dance on the steps outside in support or join us in civil disobedience in the memorial!” reads the invitation, which also proclaims that “THIS IS NOT A PROTEST! I AM NOT ORGANIZING ANYTHING!” despite being arranged by several individuals. Regardless of your thoughts on the protest or those behind it, there’s little doubt that a collection of over a thousand people could put a real crimp into the “atmosphere of calm, tranquility, and reverence” inside the Jefferson that the Court suggested dancing would compromise.

Based on the video of the arrests and the ensuing media coverage, the U.S. Park Police have launched an “all-encompassing inquiry” into the arrests.

via Over 1,800 RSVP For Next Jefferson Memorial “Dance Party”: DCist.

Afghanistan, US involvement:  Again, interesting perspective expressed here in a no win situation.

We don’t want Karzai telling our soldiers what to do, because they are our soldiers and we don’t trust him, but we don’t want to do things he doesn’t want us to do, because it is his country and we don’t want to be occupiers. There is a fundamental illogic there, enough to make HAL the computer explode—or, perhaps, to persuade us to get out of Afghanistan. Karzai said in his press conference that he was warning us “for the last time” to change our ways. Maybe we should, if not quite in the way he’d like.

via Close Read: What Karzai Wants : The New Yorker.

twitter social networking:

Twitter users who are not household names tend to start by following loved ones, colleagues, favourite writers, etc. Replying to those you do not know personally is no faux pas, whether or not they are extremely well known. And if a popular tweeter retweets you—ie, redistributes the tweet to his followers—that can do wonders to your tally.

What should Babbage’s friend make of all this? She is a writer, filmmaker and former television presenter, yet Twitter makes her strangely shy. Your correspondent’s advice: the only way to go is to take the plunge and start talking, loudly and often. Well, not too often.

via Social networking: Rules of engagement | The Economist.

online self-help, education, technology:  The list of courses is fascinating … Bill Gates is a backer.  I think I may take a few lessons and see what I think.  Anybody tried it?

Watch. Practice. Learn almost anything—for free.

What started out as Sal making a few algebra videos for his cousins has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced exercises and assessments covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history.

via Khan Academy.

21
May
11

5.21.2011 … The Rapture? If God is going to take me up without my clothes … I hope He give me a new birthday suit.

movies, zombies, Zombieland, LOL‎:  Last night I watched  Zombieland … No, really, I watched Zombieland with John, the Trobs and the Forts. And we all laughed … really laughed.  Anybody else seen it?Poster for Zombieland with subtitle "Nut up or shut up". The four actors appear as a group all holding different weapons.

There’s no getting around it: Zombies are funny. I think they stopped being scary for me along toward the end of “Night of the Living Dead.” OK, maybe in a few others, like “28 Days Later.” They’re the Energizer Bunnies of corpses, existing primarily to be splattered. But who would have guessed such a funny movie as “Zombieland” could be made around zombies? No thanks to the zombies.

The movie is narrated by a guy played by Jesse Eisenberg, named after his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, who is making his way back home across a zombie-infested America. The landscape is strewn with burned-out cars and dead bodies. He encounters another non-zombie survivor, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). The two team up, not without many disagreements, and eventually find two healthy women: the sexy Wichita (Emma Stone) and her little sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

The plot comes down to a road movie threatened by the Undead, as countless zombies are shot, mashed, sledgehammered and otherwise inconvenienced. Wichita and Little Rock turn out to be con women, dashing the hopes of the love-struck Columbus. Yet eventually they all join in an odyssey to a Los Angeles amusement park, for no better reason than that there’s no location like a carnival for a horror movie. Yes, even with a haunted house, the usual ominous calliope music and a zombie clown. Columbus, like so many others, is phobic about clowns, making Eisenberg an ingrate, since his mother put him through grade school by playing clowns at children’s parties.

All of this could have been dreary, but not here. The filmmakers show invention and well-tuned comic timing, and above all, there’s a cameo by Bill Murray that gets the single biggest laugh I’ve heard this year. The foursome hauls up at Murray’s vast Beverly Hills mansion, so palatial it is surely a grand hotel, and finds him still in residence. More than that I will not say, except that not many zombie comedies can make me think simultaneously about “Psycho” and “Garfield.”

via Zombieland :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews.

Rapture, headlines music:  If God is going to take me up without my clothes … I hope He give me a new birthday suit. And did you know that twitter has a hash tag for #myraptureplaylist?

The New York Daily News has an amusing take on the Rapture predicted to happen today.

via Newseum’s Photos – Wall Photos.

Thousands of people around the country have spent the last few days taking to the streets and saying final goodbyes before Saturday, Judgment Day, when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months.

With their doomsday T-shirts, placards and leaflets, followers — often clutching Bibles — are typically viewed as harmless proselytizers from outside mainstream religion. But their convictions have frequently created the most tension within their own families, particularly with relatives whose main concern about the weekend is whether it will rain.

via Harold Camping Rapture Prophecy Tests Families – NYTimes.com.

As I was driving one day I encountered a bumper sticker admonishing me: “WARNING! In the event of Rapture, this car will be driverless.”

via Orthodox Way of Life: Rapture – Heresy?.

Pope Benedict XVI, Cmdr. Mark Kelly, Endeavor Mission, International Space station, quotes:  “I think it must be obvious to you how we all live together on one Earth, and how absurd it is that we fight and kill each one,” the pontiff said.  “We fly over most of the world and we don’t see borders, but at the same time we realize that people fight with each other and there is a lot of violence in this world,” Kelly said.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke Saturday with the astronauts aboard the international space station, specifically mentioning Cmdr. Mark Kelly’s wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recuperating from recent surgery on her skull.

“I know that Mark and his wife were the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve,” the pope said.
Kelly thanked the pope for mentioning Giffords. The Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt.
The two men also talked about how technology used in space may be able to help relations between people on Earth.
“I think it must be obvious to you how we all live together on one Earth, and how absurd it is that we fight and kill each one,” the pontiff said.
“We fly over most of the world and we don’t see borders, but at the same time we realize that people fight with each other and there is a lot of violence in this world,” Kelly said.
via Pope speaks with crew on space station – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs.

Bollywood, advertising:

Bollywood, in some respects one of the more traditional corridors of international filmmaking, is finding that when it comes to marketing its product, it needs to start innovating. AFP has an interesting story today about how this most analog of industries–enormous, hand-painted posters have been a marketing staple–is now turning to mobile technology to recapture a dwindling market. An upcoming film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Only Live Once), starring Bollywood heart-throb Hrithik Roshan, will be promoted only via mobile phone and online–an industry first, per AFP.

via Dancing In The Streets: Bollywood Goes Mobile | Fast Company.

Wadah Khanfar, people, creative people, lists, TED:  OK, Ihave never heard of #1. But he presented at TED this year so I will have to watch.

1 WADAH KHANFAR/ Al Jazeera

via Most Creative People | Most Creative People 2011 | Fast Company.

Khanfar became Managing Director of the Al Jazeera Channel in 2003 and Director General of the Al Jazeera Network in 2006. He spoke at the 2011 TED Conference on the ongoing Middle East protests.[27]

via Wadah Khanfar – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

T. Boone Pickens, green, wind farms:  About face …

“You have no way to force wind in unless it makes economic sense…You’re sitting here on an abundance of the cleanest of all hydrocarbons. You’re a fool if you don’t use it. If you turn it down, it means you’re for foreign oil.” According to Pickens, wind power won’t be profitable until natural gas costs rise from $4 to $6 per million BTUs. He speculates that this will happen by 2016.

Should wind developers be panicking? Not necessarily. Climate Progress speculates that part of the problem is Pickens’ fixation on Texas, where utilities have already bought enough wind power to meet their renewable energy targets, and farms that sell wind power on the “spot market” (40% of the total Texas wind market) can’t beat out prices for natural gas at the moment. Utilities in the Northwest and California, however, are more open to wind power because they’re still trying to hit their renewable energy targets.

via T. Boone Pickens Ditches Wind Power | Fast Company.

college, economics:  Hard call … but long term it has to be worth it.

The dismal job prospects for new college graduates have revived debates about whether college is “worth it.” The PayPal founder Peter Thiel is among the major skeptics, but there are plenty of others. Check out the comments on yesterday’s article about employment rates for recent grads to see what I mean.

College provides plenty of intellectual and psychic benefits alongside the potential economic ones, granted. Let’s just focus on the economic ones. Is college worth it, economically? My colleagues David Leonhardt and Floyd Norris had a blogging debate about this question, which I encourage you to go back and read. For now I’d just like to highlight a few factors to consider.

It’s true that the job market for new college graduates stinks right now. But you know what? The job market for non-graduates is worse.

People with more skills have a broader range of jobs they can do, and having a postsecondary degree sometimes serves as litmus test for employers who can be picky about hiring.

As a result, unemployment rates decline as workers become more educated:

via Once Again: Is College Worth It? – NYTimes.com.

google doodles, google doodle competition, kudos:  Kudos to the 2011 winner … what fun.

For every successful man, there is a strong woman standing behind him.

In the case of Matteo Lopez – the seven-year-old kid whose “doodling” of the Google logo was selected from 107,000 contest entries and today adorns the Google home page – it’s his mom, Maria, a 41-year-old office administrator in San Francisco, near where she, her husband and son live.

“I just never thought, we can’t even express it, we are in shock, it’s unbelievable,” Maria said by phone a few hours after Matteo was announced as the winner. She took a breath. “I have been more nervous than he has been.”

“Google Doodles” are the illustrations that occasionally adorn the search engine’s logo in the U.S. and abroad. As we reported last year, Doodles commemorate holidays, pop-culture touchstones, civic milestones and scientific discovery.

via The Path Toward Google Doodledom – Speakeasy – WSJ.

TheBiddingTraveler.com, travel, hotels, helpful websites: Might try it …

I have obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to saving on hotels. When I travel for work, I book 95 percent of the hotels I stay in through Priceline.com or Hotwire.com and save anywhere from 35 percent to 60 percent off the usual price.

Though before I ever place a bid on either site, I have a complicated system that involves checking related message boards to get a feel for what other people are bidding. Then I have a set process I go through when bidding that’s very methodical and boring to some. As I’ve tried to explain it over the years, I just seem to create more confusion among people!

Now there’s a new free website called TheBiddingTraveler.com that has automated the process that I do manually. With TheBiddingTraveler.com, you pick the town where you want to stay and your dates of travel. Then you set the minimum you’re willing to bid and the maximum you’re willing to bid, plus you identify any neighborhoods in the area you’re not willing to occupy.

TheBiddingTraveler.com can do in three minutes or less what takes me 15 or 20 minutes (for select cities). It is far superior to the way I have always booked my own rooms.

via Clark Howard: Website directs you to best hotel rates | Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

college life, culture:  It really scares a mom with college age children.  ow do you keep them safe.

The report, which aired Thursday morning on the NBC news program, included an interview with Maggie Hurt, identified as a former band member who said school officials were more interested in protecting two Wake Forest basketball players than in seeking justice.

In a recorded, on-camera interview, Hurt said she was forced by Deacons guard Gary Clark to perform a sex act in a hotel bathroom two years ago while teammate Jeff Teague waited outside the door.

When she later reported the incident to campus police at Wake Forest, Hurt told the “Today” show, she was advised that her best option was to go through a campus hearing and not report the incident to police.

Wake Forest officials have said a federal right to privacy law prevents them from commenting on the case but have contested the “Today” show’s portrayal of the university’s response.

“I am troubled by the prevalence of sexual misconduct in our society today,” Hatch said in a statement issued Thursday. “Regarding the described incident, however, I feel strongly that the University’s response, as well as our character, has been misrepresented.”

via Wake Forest refutes report on sexual assault allegations | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Davidson College, YouTube, LOL: 🙂

Rain delays can be pretty boring, especially when it goes on for quite some time. That was the case down at Clemson Wednesday night when the Davidson Wildcats were in town.

What started as a funny idea, became a contest between two teams, and what resulted was a YouTube sensation that has recorded more than 100,000 views in less than a day.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they lost the baseball game 19 to 0.

via Skit featuring Davidson College becomes online sensation – News14.com.

YouTube – Clemson Baseball vs. Davidson Rain Delay Antics.

17
Apr
11

‎4.17.2011 … Palm Sunday … Beautiful day …

Lent, Palm Sunday, faith and spirituality:  Saw Palm Sunday in a different light this year …

So we are a long way from our prettified Church images of children in pastel outfits singing the hymn: “Tell me the stories of Jesus… Into the city I’d follow, waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand.”  Interestingly, the mounting tension of Palm Sunday was captured pretty well in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar’s catchy song, “Hosanna, Heysanna.”

via Palm Sunday – read Mark 11:1-11.

faith and spirituality: 

It was the worst news I could get as an atheist: my agnostic wife had decided to become a Christian. Two words shot through my mind. The first was an expletive; the second was “divorce.”

I thought she was going to turn into a self-righteous holy roller. But over the following months, I was intrigued by the positive changes in her character and values. Finally, I decided to take my journalism and legal training (I was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune) and systematically investigate whether there was any credibility to Christianity.

Maybe, I figured, I could extricate her from this cult.

I quickly determined that the alleged resurrection of Jesus was the key. Anyone can claim to be divine, but if Jesus backed up his claim by returning from the dead, then that was awfully good evidence he was telling the truth.

For nearly two years, I explored the minutia of the historical data on whether Easter was myth or reality. I didn’t merely accept the New Testament at face value; I was determined only to consider facts that were well-supported historically. As my investigation unfolded, my atheism began to buckle.

Was Jesus really executed? In my opinion, the evidence is so strong that even atheist historianGerd Lüdemann said his death by crucifixion was “indisputable.”

Was Jesus’ tomb empty? Scholar William Lane Craig points out that its location was known to Christians and non-Christians alike. So if it hadn’t been empty, it would have been impossible for a movement founded on the resurrection to have exploded into existence in the same city where Jesus had been publicly executed just a few weeks before.

Besides, even Jesus’ opponents implicitly admitted the tomb was vacant by saying that his body had been stolen. But nobody had a motive for taking the body, especially the disciples. They wouldn’t have been willing to die brutal martyrs’ deaths if they knew this was all a lie.

Did anyone see Jesus alive again? I have identified at least eight ancient sources, both inside and outside the New Testament, that in my view confirm the apostles’ conviction that they encountered the resurrected Christ. Repeatedly, these sources stood strong when I tried to discredit them.

Could these encounters have been hallucinations? No way, experts told me. Hallucinations occur in individual brains, like dreams, yet, according to the Bible, Jesus appeared to groups of people on three different occasions – including 500 at once!

Was this some other sort of vision, perhaps prompted by the apostles’ grief over their leader’s execution? This wouldn’t explain the dramatic conversion of Saul, an opponent of Christians, or James, the once-skeptical half-brother of Jesus.

Neither was primed for a vision, yet each saw the risen Jesus and later died proclaiming he had appeared to him. Besides, if these were visions, the body would still have been in the tomb.

Was the resurrection simply the recasting of ancient mythology, akin to the fanciful tales of Osiris or Mithras? If you want to see a historian laugh out loud, bring up that kind of pop-culture nonsense.

One by one, my objections evaporated. I read books by skeptics, but their counter-arguments crumbled under the weight of the historical data. No wonder atheists so often come up short in scholarly debates over the resurrection.

In the end, after I had thoroughly investigated the matter, I reached an unexpected conclusion: it would actually take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a follower of Jesus.

And that’s why I’m now celebrating my 30th Easter as a Christian. Not because of wishful thinking, the fear of death, or the need for a psychological crutch, but because of the facts.

via How Easter Killed My Faith in Atheism – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Maira Kalman, exhibits, NYC:  Another reason to go to NYC!

For anyone planning a trip to New York City over the upcoming holidays–or already there: Make sure you visit Maira Kalman’s quirkily charming, provocative exhibit, Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World), at the beautiful Jewish Museum, up until July 31, 2011. The museum sells quite a bit of Mairana, as I call it, so while you’re there you can buy have a shower curtain imprinted with her famous New Yorker cover of the Stans of New York City, all her books, and a bag for your loot, printed with her painting of the famous 1939 poster produced by the British government at the outset of World War II: Keep Calm and Carry On.

Sometimes I think of Maira as having been a co-Mom, even though I didn’t meet her until my boys were past toddlerhood. Over the years–well into their years–I read them her Max stories over and over again; they couldn’t hear them often enough. Sayonara Mrs. Kackleman, Max Makes a Milion, Max in Hollywood, Ooh-La-La: Max in Love (in Paris of course)–they are among our cherished possessions.

As a grown up, I’ve returned many times to the pages of The Principles of Uncertainty. Many people got to know Maira through her blog, And the Pursuit of Happiness, for the New York Times. I heard Maira lecture recently at the museum; she said that she was smitten with Lincoln, though Franklin’s face is on the cover of her collection of those blog posts. She feels she would have made Lincoln a much better wife than that crazy Mary Todd.

via Slow Love Life: MAIRA KALMAN EXHIBIT IN NYC.

faith and spirituality, Christianity, Bible, translations:

Christianity, needless to say, is awash in translated variety, a trend begun in the middle of the 20th century as new translation upon new translation flowed from the publishing houses in search not only for a final replacement of the King James Version, but also of soaring profits. Meaning became unrelated to the sounds. Hebrew and Greek are even no longer ordination requirements for clergy in many Christian denominations. The Word is divorced from the words in the original languages. A preacher of the Word no longer needs to be able to read the words! This accounts, I believe, for much of the slide into emotive Gnosticism, today’s heresy of choice, which declares, “I am saved by what I know and I know only what I feel.” (This can be heard in the soppy, “I am so in love with Jesus.” Yuck.) Everyone, and anyone, can be an expert about feelings. Meaning, divorced from the sounds, finds its roots “wherever.”

All this is by way of an introduction of a consideration, to be offered in my next post, of the pending arrival in English-speaking Catholicism of a new translation of the Missal. Much is at stake, as I hope to show.

via Hopelens Blog.

Davidson, Dean Rusk, random:  Great story about Dean Rusk and Davidson.

The title comes from a chapter in Dean Rusk’s As I Saw It (Norton, 1990)–the chapter about his student years at Davidson College.  I had not read the chapter before and at the urging of an alumnus, finally pulled the book off the library shelf.

The Bank of Davidson a few years after Rusk graduated

Rusk writes with humor -and honesty about his experiences.  He claims the “poor man” title …

via Poor Man’s Princeton — Around the D.

Alexander Hamilton, history, tv:  Might have to watch this PBS show …

ALEXANDER HAMILTON was never president. Indeed, he probably could not have been, for he was the only founding father born outside of what became the United States. (I can’t imagine that the Caribbean hell hole called Nevis where Hamilton, an illegitimate child, was born even issued birth certificates. Birthers?)

By contrast, three of the men who cast Hamilton’s life into relief were presidents:

George Washington, who was Hamilton’s aegis for much of his career,

James Madison, who began as Hamilton’s intellectual ally in writing the Federalist Papers but later turned into Hamilton’s enemy, and

Thomas Jefferson, who, with Madison, became the ideological and personal antithesis to Hamilton in the early years of the nation.

Perhaps this is why many of us know less about Hamilton than about these others. For a strong case can be made that Hamilton was in many ways the most “soulful” of the founders and the one with the most nuanced and farsighted vision for America. Indeed, America today almost certainly—as futile as this thought experiment admittedly is—conforms to Hamilton’s vision much more than to Jefferson’s.

America is a cosmopolitan, commercial and industrial place (as Hamilton envisioned), not an agrarian land of yeoman farmers untouched by the corrupting influence of banks and brokers (as Jefferson wanted). It has long since banned slavery, as Hamilton always thought it should, but as Jefferson and Madison, among other southerners, dared not contemplate.

Indeed, a list of Hamilton’s legacies—first Treasury secretary, founder of  “Wall Street” and American central banking, founder of the Coast Guard, visionary of capitalism and governmental checks and balances—inevitably shortchanges his overall impact. In everything but title he really was America’s first and most important prime minister.

So I was thrilled to watch a new documentary about Hamilton that finally gives the man his due. To be aired on PBS on April 11th, “Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton” by Michael Pack and Richard Brookhiser (who also did “Rediscovering George Washington”) brings the man to life in some creatively contemporary ways.

via Alexander Hamilton: Hamiltonian America | The Economist.

graphics, advertising:  

In 2010 Old Spice dominated the airwaves and the Internet with its slick new brand of sexy, funny ads. That’s why Wieden+Kennedy, the ad agency behind these unforgettable spots, made our list of Most Innovative Companies.

Now we bring to you, in striking comics format, The Amazingly True Tale of the Old Spice Campaign.

via The Amazingly True Tale of the Old Spice Campaign | Slideshows.

innovation:  I would have one of these if I had not given up soda … forever …

WHEN NIKE executive Daniel Birnbaum became CEO of the sleepy 104-year-old SodaStream International in 2007, his kids were less than thrilled. “My 12-year-old was in tears. Nike was part of his identity,” says Birnbaum, a Queens, New York, native. “Here I was going to this company that people did not know existed, and it was not exactly the most proud place to work.” Birnbaum has since transformed the “aerating liquid apparatus” company into a sexy soda-maker brand taking over granite countertops across the globe. After a year in which the Israel-based company surpassed $150 million in revenue, gained distribution in 4,000 U.S. retail stores, and had a hot IPO, FAST COMPANY talked to Birnbaum about saving energy, why Coke and Pepsi should be nervous, and actress Tori Spelling’s (water) drinking problem.

via SodaStream’s DIY Pepsi Machine | Fast Company.

politics, Gang of Six:

Perhaps more troublesome for Mr. Chambliss have been critics at home like Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, Atlanta radio talk-show host and CNN contributor. “Is Saxby Chambliss Becoming a Democrat?” Mr. Erickson asked in a recent blog post.

For many actual Democrats, Mr. Chambliss remains negatively defined by his 2002 defeat of Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee veteran of Vietnam, after a campaign that included an ad picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Chambliss’s work on the Gang of Six has done as much as anything to soften attitudes.

via ‘Gang of Six’ in the Senate Seeking a Plan on Debt – NYTimes.com.

technology, art, 3D imaging:

Ron van der Ende must have the patience of a Torah scribe. His artwork, shown above, might vaguely resemble a photograph or at least a damn good paint by numbers, but it’s actually made entirely out of reclaimed wood veneers — each an astonishingly scant 3 millimeters thick.

All those colors? They’re the wood’s original paint job.

It gets crazier. All those colors? They’re the wood’s original paint job; Van der Ende, who hails from the Netherlands, doesn’t use a lick of extra pigment. Instead, he hoards wood the way a painter collects paint tubes, stalking the dumpsters of Rotterdam for doors, cupboards, planks — whatever he can find. That way, he’s always got plenty of colors on hand. (On the rare occasion he can’t find the right color, he visits a warehouse near Rotterdam that stores more than 7,000 old doors. “An afternoon in there with a good flashlight will usually get me exactly what I need,” he tells Co. in an email.)

via Dumpster Diving Artist Creates Trippy 3-D Drawings From Wood Scraps [Slideshow] | Co.Design.

productivity, creativity:

By framing the making of creativity as a game that takes place inside a playground of our own making, we widen the conversation about innovation and design dramatically.

via Nussbaum: 3 Reasons You Should Treat Creativity Like A Game | Co.Design.

innovation:  I need these tires … we always have flats!

Bicycle tire tubes need to stay firmly inflated against the inner surface of the tires themselves to ensure safe, rugged riding. But in the unlucky event of a puncture, that same pressure will only stretch the hole wider — even when it’s closed with sealant. Michelin’s new line of ProTek Max inner tubes employ a radical design to avoid this problem: The air pressure inside actually compresses a puncture closed, instead of blowing it further open.

via Michelin’s Self-Healing Bike Tires Ensure Flats Never Happen | Co.Design.

movies, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, Objectivism:  The movie is being universally canned …

The 1957 tome which champions Objectivism–Rand’s controversial philosophy–has managed to find its way to the big-screen despite numerous challenges along the way. But at last, thanks to John Aglialoro, who bought the rights to the book in 1992 and has been trying to get it on-screen ever since, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is here.

(More on TIME.com: Wanna marry an Objectivist? See the Ayn Rand fan dating site)

And so far, critics aren’t liking it. Here is just a sample of what critics are saying about the film adaptation:

via Sorry, Objectivists: ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Movie Gets Pummeled By Critics – TIME NewsFeed.

IT’S April 15th, tax day! (But not this year; this year, it’s Emancipation Day, which is worth observing if anything is.) And probably not coincidentally, the movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s widely-loved and loathed novel “Atlas Shrugged” opens today at theatres nationwide. So what could be more appropriate and entertainingly polarising than a discussion of Ayn Rand’s views on taxation?

Ayn Rand’s position on government finance is unusual, to say the least. Rand was not an anarchist and believed in the possibility of a legitimate state, but did not believe in taxation. This left her in the odd and almost certainly untenable position of advocating a minimal state financed voluntarily. In her essay “Government Financing in a Free Society”, Rand wrote:

In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance.

This is faintly ridiculous. From one side, the libertarian anarchist will agree that people are willing to pay for these services, but that a government monopoly in their provision will lead only to inefficiency and abuse. From the other side, the liberal statist will defend the government provision of the public goods Rand mentions, but will quite rightly argue that Rand seems not to grasp perhaps the main reason government coercion is needed, especially if one believes, as Rand does, that individuals ought to act in their rational self-interest.

via Taxes and government: Ayn Rand on tax day | The Economist.

The film version being released to theatres today is updated to modern times, but the underlying theme is as timely as ever. It was produced on a tiny $20 million budget, and whether the other parts are completed most likely depends upon whether Part I can sell enough movie tickets and DVDs (and cable rights etc.) to keep the momentum going.

Leftist media outlets are using a mixture of ridicule and silence in order to minimise the impact of the film on the general public. Young minds (and superficial minds) in particular tend to be overly influenced by what is seen as “hot” or “the in thing.”

via Al Fin.

16
Mar
11

3.16.2011 …. Just a normal day … kinda nice …

bookshelf, kith/kin, Westminster, Atlanta: Childhood friend Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser has a new book coming out in June … set in Atlanta in the 1930s … can’t wait.  Click on the link and you can read a few pages …

The Sweetest Thing

Coming in June, 2011

via The Sweetest Thing.

Civil War, history:  This has always bothered me … interesting article.

The Jeffersons, going back to the patriarch, embodied all the contradictions of Upper South slaveholders. The author of the Declaration of Independence was also a founding father of procrastination on slavery. At times Jefferson seemed a determined proponent of abolition. He termed slavery an “assemblage of horrors.” He called “nothing … more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be freed.” Otherwise, he feared that “his people” would free themselves in a slave revolt. He thus winced that “if something is not done, and done soon, we shall be the murderers of our own children.”

But he found emancipating slaves without removing freedmen from the country even more frightening than risking black insurrectionists. In his climactic proposal to effect safe emancipation, presented in 1824, Jefferson suggested a constitutional amendment authorizing the use of profits from federal land sales to free slaves born in the future — and then deport them. But he never urged this plan of delayed emancipation publicly, and he privately shuddered that “we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, or safely let him go.”

via What Would Thomas Jefferson Do About Secession? – NYTimes.com.

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami, pets: How they survived …

When the tsunami warnings sounded after the massive earthquake that struck Japan on Friday, Masaki Kikuchi sprinted upstairs to grab his sleeping 12-year-old daughter before racing away to escape the rushing waters.

In the backyard tied to a small shed, Mr. Kikuchi left behind two dogs: Towa, a two-year-old Sheltie and Melody, a one-year-old Golden Retriever. Mr. Kikuchi assumed the giant tsunami that flattened his neighbors’ homes and whisked away their cars probably killed Towa and Melody too.

When he finally got to the house, sidestepping a car that had shifted to block the entrance to the driveway, he could hear the barking.

“I was happy to see them because I had felt badly about leaving them behind,” said Mr. Kikuchi. He gave them water, food and brought them inside after cleaning them up.

via Two Dogs Defy the Wave – WSJ.com.

social media, twitter, advertising: Separating your business life and personal life can be very tricky …

SOCIAL media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been embraced by Madison Avenue as effective new ways to reach consumers. But what happens when behavior on social media is deemed antisocial?

Two large marketers, Aflac and the Chrysler Group, are struggling to answer that uncomfortable question in the wake of incidents that took place within days of each other. The incidents, involving remarks on Twitter that were judged to be tasteless, inappropriate and insensitive, point out some inherent risks of social media.

One challenge is the “amplified effect” of social media, said Ian Schafer, chief executive at Deep Focus, a digital agency in New York, citing how, on Twitter, “you put something out and it can be retweeted thousands of times.”

“It’s an age when anybody can communicate to an audience,” he added. “It didn’t used to be that way.”

The relative newness of that phenomenon, said George E. Belch, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, means “there are people in your company who forget when they post on a blog, on Twitter, on a Facebook page, that it’s out there — and it’s out there at warp speed.”

via Aflac and Chrysler, Turning to Social Media, Hit Trouble – NYTimes.com.

changes, technology:  Funny. I still like to get a person’s card … just something tangible about it, real, not virtual ….

SXSW attracts distinct, and diverse, tribes. With some, my card is indeed a stamp of authenticity. In others, a mark of a time passed. When I’ve met journalists or designers, the business card is still the default. Some cards are plain; others speak to their holders’ personalities through odd trim sizes, quirky color schemes, or clever word play. But in the startup circles I’ve come across, the business card is the badge of the outsider. I had a lovely conversation with two young entrepreneurs from New York and when it was time to part ways, I used that old line: “Here, let me give you my card.” They both paused, looking unsure about whether or not I was serious. Then I saw the understanding wash over them. I was speaking a forgotten language. A business card. How precious. One kindly accepted it anyway. The other craned his neck to copy my email address into his Hashable account and instantly sent me his virtual business card instead. With that small paper rectangle, I’d outed myself as a square.

via The Business Card Is Dead, Long Live the Business Card – Susy Jackson – Our Editors – Harvard Business Review.

13
Feb
11

2.13.2011 … a day of Rest … great Sunday School and Worship at FPC …

headlines, Newseum, websites, DC: On my last visit to DC, I visited the Newseum … a great place in DC.  It was the day after President Obama had made his conciliatory speech to the muslims in Cairo.  It was fascinating to see how papers around the country and around the wold covered the story.  I now check their website whenever there is a big story.  So with Mubarek’s resignation, I checked again.  Newseum | Today’s Front Pages | Top Ten.

Apple, iPhone, MobileMe: Mini iPhones!  Free MobileMe!

Apple also is exploring a major revamp of its MobileMe online storage service, the people familiar with the matter said. The service, which lets users store data in a central location and synchronize their calendars and contacts among computers and other devices, currently has an individual annual subscription fee of $99. Apple is considering making MobileMe a free service that would serve as a “locker” for personal memorabilia such as photos, music and videos, eliminating the need for devices to carry a lot of memory, the people familiar with the situation said.

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new MobileMe file-storage and music service could be available as early as June, depending on the progress of licensing talks that are in their preliminary stages, the people familiar with the situation said. Apple had planned for the service to be available a year earlier.

via Apple Works on Line of Less-Expensive iPhones – WSJ.com.

health and fitness, strength training: I am starting strength training tomorrow!

Historically, strength training was limited to athletes, but in the last 20 years, its popularity has spread to the general public, said Jeffrey Potteiger, an exercise physiologist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “One can argue that if you don’t do some resistance training through your lifespan, you’re missing out on some benefits, especially as you get older or battle weight gain,” he said.

When we hit middle age, muscle mass gradually diminishes by up to about 1% a year in a process called sarcopenia. Women also are in danger of losing bone mass as they age, especially after the onset of menopause. Some studies have shown that moderate to intense strength training not only builds skeletal muscle but increases bone density as well.

via Strength training benefits more than muscles – latimes.com.

comfort zones, Brene Brown:  I had great conversations with a friend about stepping out of my comfort zones during the next phase of life … teaching Bible classes in India, doing work for the IJM (see below), traveling to emerging countries, pushing myself physically …

Choosing to leave our comfort zones is hard enough. But being forced out is even more difficult. And that is happening all too frequently, with jobs and entire professions disappearing.How do we cope with that? A. J. Schuler, a business consultant who has written about resistance to change, advised finding a core group of people — just two or three was enough — who would listen and understand how difficult this was.“I call that a personal life board, like a board of directors,” he said. “You need to obtain prior permission to just talk.”The advice on accepting change is pretty obvious, but difficult to carry out, he said, so “you can get down on yourself because you see yourself as stagnant. You need people who won’t get frustrated with that.”Ms. Brown, who as part of her research interviewed a large number of men affected by the recession in 2009, agreed. “I think the biggest mistake people make is not acknowledging fear and uncertainty.”Second, realize that you need to give yourself time and space to mourn your loss, Mr. Schuler said.Finally, he said, create a plan to find new opportunities regularly and keep working that plan. “That way you take some control back in an environment that feels out of control.”

“It’s an uncomfortable feeling imagining how much we love someone,” she said.

We all know people who seem to feel most happy being unhappy — always complaining or worrying about something. That’s their comfort zone.

So being slightly uncomfortable, whether or not by choice, can push us to achieve goals we never thought we could. But it’s important to remember that we don’t need to challenge ourselves and be productive all the time. It’s good to step out of our comfort zone. But it’s also good to be able to go back in.

via Tiptoeing Out of One’s Comfort Zone and of Course, Back In – NYTimes.com.

internet, Craigslist, politics, really stupid:  Has anything good come from personal ads on Craigslist? Ex-Rep. Chris Lee, Wife in Retreat While Craigslist Ad-Placer Yesha Callahan Speaks Out.

internet, Groupon: This behavior really makes you think about Groupons …

Groupon has canceled a voucher for $40 worth of flowers from FTD for $20 early after customers called it a scam, CNN reports. Groupon customers were directed to a different Web site, where prices were higher than at the regular Web site. Because of the well-documented confusion, FTD set up a hotline for those who bought the deal. FTD also altered terms of the deal, so that it could be combined with other offers. The snafu comes a day after Groupon decided to cancel its Super Bowl commercials, which some found offensive.

via Groupon Cancels Voucher Early After Customers Call It a Scam | Tricia Duryee | eMoney | AllThingsD.

economics, economists:  Who would you include on your list?

First among them is Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago, whose book “Fault Lines” argues that rising inequality led governments to facilitate credit growth, contributing to the crisis. Robert Shiller of Yale University has long warned of the dangers of irrational exuberance, and urges colleagues to consider “animal spirits” in assessing economic fluctuations. Kenneth Rogoff’s work on debt bubbles with Carmen Reinhart placed the crisis in an 800-year continuum of borrowing and collapse: his papers have earned the most academic citations of the table-toppers in our poll. Barry Eichengreen has written excellent works on the history of the gold standard and the danger of fixed-exchange-rate regimes. Nouriel Roubini earned the nickname “Dr Doom” for warning of an impending global crash.

via Influential economists: The contemporary Keynes | The Economist.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising:  OK, this one was REALLY cute. YouTube – Volkswagen Commercial: The Force.

 

hymns, FPC, Rev. Roland Purdue, race:  Last Sunday, 2/6, Rev. Purdue introduced me to a hymn I had never heard.  It is beautiful.  Have you ever sung this one?

1 O God, we bear the imprint of your face:

The colors of our skin are Your design,

And what we have of beauty in our race

As man or woman, You alone define,

Who stretched a living fabric on our frame

And gave to each a language and a name.

 

2 Where we are torn and pulled apart by hate

Because our race, our skin is not the same;

While we are judged unequal by the state

And victims made because we own our name,

Humanity reduced to little worth,

Dishonored is Your living face on earth.

 

3 O God, we share the image of your Son

Whose flesh and blood are ours, whatever skin,

In His humanity we find our own,

And in his family our proper kin:

Christ is the brother we still crucify,

His love the language we must learn, or die.

via Presbyterian Hymnal 385: O God, we bear the imprint of Your face | Hymnary.org.

anthropology, race: In light of the hymn above, I found this interesting.

Dr. Jonathan Marks, an Anthropologist at UNC Charlotte, says that humans are far more alike than different and that race is not a biological concept; it is a social, political and economic construct. Dr. Marks is working with Discovery Place on a new exhibit exploring the Science of Race. We’ll learn about the exhibit and the facts behind race and human variation with Dr. Marks and Discovery Place CEO, John Mackay.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

random, Disney, marketing: Disney is so pervasive, I really prefer to leave the littlest ones out of their reach.

Late last month, the company quietly began pressing its newest priority, Disney Baby, in 580 maternity hospitals in the United States. A representative visits a new mother and offers a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a variation of the classic Onesie.

In bedside demonstrations, the bilingual representatives extol the product’s bells and whistles — extra soft! durable! better sizing! — and ask mothers to sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby.com. More than 200,000 bodysuits will be given away by May, when Amazon.com is set to begin selling 85 styles for a starting price of $9.99 for two; Nordstrom and Target will follow with more Disney Baby items, including hats.

via Disney Looks to the Cradle to Expand Business – NYTimes.com.

Super Bowl XLV, technology:  Where will it end?  Do we really need a $ 40 million, world’s largest, high-definition video screen?

The stadium’s most visible piece of tech is what’s billed as the world’s largest high-definition video screen: a $40 million, 600-ton video board with 25,000 square feet of displays. It’s 72 feet tall and 160 feet long.

via Sunday’s Super Bowl the most high-tech ever – CNN.com.

random, Chinese New Year, history: It’s definitely time to jump start our economy … so let’s hope the year of the rabbit holds true.

Each year – according to the Chinese zodiac – is associated with an animal. It’s based on a legend: that Buddha once sent a call to animals to come celebrate the new year. Twelve animals responded. Every year – based on a 12-year cycle – is named after one of those 12 animals, and is believed to echo the traits of that animal. The coming year is the Year of the Rabbit – so it’s a year for you, like a rabbit, to jump ahead.

via Use Year of the Rabbit to jump ahead in business – USATODAY.com.

Stephen Curry: Go Steph!

Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a finalist to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during NBA All-Star Saturday in Los Angeles, and fans can help send him there. For the first time, the NBA and Taco Bell are giving fans the opportunity to determine participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the “Choose Your Squad” program. In addition to adding a fan vote, the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from four to five participants. Beginning today and running through 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 14, fans can log on to NBA.com/chooseyoursquad to choose from among eight players to determine four of the five participants in the 2011 event in Los Angeles. The players taking part in the “Choose Your Squad” vote include:

via WARRIORS: Stephen Curry Named Finalist to Compete in 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Challenger Tragedy, NASA, followup: This is a great Time video reflecting on the Tragedy and President Reagan’s very moving response.  The Challenger Tragedy and the Mourner in Chief – Video – TIME.com.

random:  Eight shots seems like a little too much in one 12 ounce can …

 

A Panama-based liquor company is producing whisky in a can. The company, Scottish Spirits, is the first to put straight whisky in a can, and it’s being promoted as an option for outdoor venues, as it’s light-weight and recyclable. Also because people at outdoor venues want to drink lots of whisky?

Scottish Spirits suggests splitting it between three people, because it’s the size of a regular beer can. Seriously: it’s twelve ounces, or eight shots worth of whisky. Which is a lot for a container that’s not resealable.

Twelve ounces. Eight Shots. One can. >>>

Also, oddly, Scottish Spirits makes an alcohol-free whisky aimed at Muslim customers. We’re not really sure why anyone would want to drink alcohol-free whisky, either.

via Scotch Whisky in a Can Contains Eight Shots of Liquor – Novelty Beverages – Eater National.

new products, food – desserts, street vendors, King of Pops, Atlanta, kith/kin: My good friend A is the cousin to the Carse brothers … owners and proprietors of the King of Pops! Anybody tried them?

Although Steven posts his ever-changing menus on Twitter and Facebook, some pops lovers who aren’t hip to social media fail to check before driving to the “the corner.” “Some people like the idea of our changing up flavors, some, well… I don’t know if I would use the word angry, but they’re not happy when they get there,” Steven says. So he tries to keep fan favorites–Chocolate Sea Salt, Blackberry Mojito, and Banana Puddin’–in the rotation. (Steven’s favorite flavors are Pear Cardamom–“I always get stuck on the newest one being my favorite”–and Blueberry Lemongrass.) We tried to get the Chocolate Sea Salt recipe, but there’s a special ingredient that, after putting their heads together, the brothers Carse decided they couldn’t bear to reveal.

via How to Make the King of Pops’ Banana Puddin’ Ice Pops: BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

IJM:  A friend introduced me to the IJM.  What an exciting organizations.  In my next life, maybe I can do some work for them.

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.

via International Justice Mission – IJM Home.

Herb Jackson, Herb Jackson NY Exhibit, Davidson College, NYC, teaching, followup, kudos: Kudos, again, to herb Jackson both for his new exhibit but even more for his gift to Davidson College and its students … 42 years of teaching.

Jackson, whose work can be found at museums around the world and has had over 150 solo-exhibitions, is finally returning to NYC. Opening on February 17th at the Claire Oliver Gallery, Firestorm in the Teahouse will not only mark Jackson’s long-awaited return but also provide his admirers with the chance to see his newest, incredible paintings.

I chatted with the artist about his return to NYC, what it was like to be part of Donald Kuspit’s iconic exhibition of contemporary American art in the Soviet Union and his attempts at teaching me how to paint. Yep, that’s right, yours truly once had the honor of being taught by one of America’s most talented living artists. Too bad I really was a hopeless case…

Liv: Let’s start at the beginning, our at least of how I met you. What made you decide to become a studio art professor?

Herb Jackson: I always felt drawn to teaching, perhaps because I remember and still experience the wonder that comes from making art. To see the germination of a visual idea and then watch its growth, development and change in the hands and mind of a young person is a special privilege that I have enjoyed, and I hope honored, for 42 years.

via Interview with Herb Jackson.

business, psychology, motivation: Interesting statistic here.

With the permission of the university, Grant and his team randomly divided the call centre representatives into three groups. For a few days, before they made calls, people in the first group read brief stories from previous employees about the personal benefits of working in the job – how they developed communication skills and sales know-how that later helped them in their careers.

The second group also read stories before hitting the phones, but theirs were from people who had received scholarships from the funds raised and who described how the money had improved their lives. The aim of these stories was to remind workers of the purpose of their efforts.

The third group was the control group; they read nothing before dialling for dollars. Participants were also told not to discuss what they’d read with the recipients of their calls. Then a month later, Grant measured the performance of the three groups.

The people in the first group, who’d been reminded of the personal benefit of working in a call centre, did no better than those in the control group. Both groups earned about the same number of weekly pledges and raised the same amount of money as they had in the weeks before the experiment.

However, the people in the second group – who took a moment to consider the significance of their work and its effect on others’ lives – raised more than twice as much money, in twice as many pledges, as they had in previous weeks and significantly more than their counterparts in the other two groups.

In other words, reminding employees about that missing W – the “why” – doubled their performance.

via Think Tank: Have you ever asked yourself why you’re in business? – Telegraph.

lists, cookbooks:  My 10 Favorite Cookbooks Plus an Exclusive Offer from Barnes & Noble « Christopher Kimball Blog.

 

09
Feb
11

2.9.2011 … only my hairdresser knows for sure … otherwise a very random day.

Davidson College, changes: Hooray for another new dorm … congrats to 7 new profs … but no SNU Lake.:(  … Board of Trustees Discusses Building Plans, Tuition Increases and Promotes 7 Professors – The Davidsonian – News.

gLee, Katie Courid, UVA:  Katie Couric went to UVA. I bet that is where she learned the crazy moves like the pretzel!  YouTube – GLEE – Katie Couric is a GLEEk!.

… “We did a little dance. I was supposed to lead, but she ended up leading me around, and showing me all these crazy moves like the pretzel. Shes good. Shes a good little dancer.”  Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester, gLee)

Jules Verne, inventions, birthdays: Happy 183, JV!

Jules Verne 183rd birthday picture: Similar to Jules Verne's imagined Nautilus submarine, the underwater submersible Alvin explores the seafloor.

As made interactively evident by a retro-futuristic Google doodle, Tuesday would have been the 183rd birthday of Jules Verne. Had he lived to see 2011, the French science fiction writer also would have seen many of his fanciful inventions made real—more or less.

In perhaps his most famous novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verne’s Captain Nemo travels the world’s oceans in a giant electric submarine, the Nautilus—the inspiration for the portholed Jules Verne Google doodle.

8 Jules Verne Inventions That Came True (Pictures).

business, csr, politics, Mitt Romney:  It’s interesting that this article seems to support indirectly that  the bottom line is the only that that should govern corporate decision-making.

But there does seem to be a method to Marriott’s madness. Politico’s Ben Smith explains that Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a presumptive candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, recently left the Marriott board. The chain’s owners are “longtime Romney supporters”, Mr Smith notes. And social conservatives, apparently, hit Mr Romney hard on the porn “issue” during the ex-governor’s 2008 campaign for the GOP nomination. (One critic called Mr Romney a “major pornographer.”) So in some sense, Mr Smith argues, Marriott appears to be doing Mr Romney a “costly favor.” Then again:

Another person familiar with the workings of the industry, though, cast doubt on the connection: The in-room movie business has been hit hard by wifi, Netflix, iPads, and laptops, and the structure of contracts with providers could well have made it a solid economic decision.

Labour unions, at least, seem convinced that Marriott is throwing Mr Romney a bone. Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, emailed reporters last week to mock the Marriott-Romney-smut connection (via Mr Smith):

Now when it comes to folks who actually work for a living—and negotiating on their wages, benefits, etc—we always hear the mantra ‘we must maximize revenue and value for the shareholders’. Interesting how this pillar of corporate philosophy seems to have gone right out the window when it comes to helping their billionaire buddy’s presidential campaign.

Are Mr Vale and Mr Smith on to something? Or is Marriott just making a normal business decision?

via Hotel pornography: Marriott, Mitt Romney, and porn | The Economist.

pets, inventions: Funny, but if my dogs figured this thing out, they would be FAT!  Amazon.com: The Amazing Treat Machine Interactive Dog Toy: Kitchen & Dining.

urban planning, Jane Jacobs, Davidson College, kith/kin:  Ran across this and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed Jane Jacobs work as a student and talking about her works with my husband’s grandfather, Dali Walte

The 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal Nomination Form

Thank you for your interest in the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal. Please fill out the form below to submit your nomination. The Jane Jacobs Medal will be given each year to two living individuals – one for Lifetime Leadership and the other for New Ideas and Activism – whose creative vision for the urban environment has greatly contributed to the vitality of New York City and who exemplify the following values and ideas:

* Open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city

* Challenge traditional assumptions and conventional thinking

* Advance a creative use of neighborhood knowledge

* Promote Jacobsean principles of dynamism, density, diversity and equity

* Take a common-sense approach to solving complex problems

* Generate new principles for the way we think about development and preservation in New York City

* Demonstrate activism and innovative cross-disciplinary thinking

* Provide leadership in solving common problems

* Generate creative uses of the urban environment

* Make New York City a place of hope and expectation that attracts new people and new ideas.

via Jane Jacobs Medal :: The Rockefeller Foundation.

random, politics, kith/kin: I read this and it just reminded me of my father’s friendships with many “liberals”; he was conservative.  They were able to remain love and respect for each other despite very different political and social views.  Why does this not seem possible now?  The death of Daniel Bell, sociologist of capitalism: Daniel Bell, non-neocon | The Economist.

travel, Hollywood, Los Angeles, history: I would so do this!

As he drove he shared a little history of the Hollywoodand area. It was established as a housing development in early 1920s and specialized in building storybook fantasy houses: castles, Tudor homes, and the like. The Hollywood sign was erected as an advertisement for the development project and read “Hollywoodland.” It was meant to stay up for just a year, but people liked it and it soon became a symbol for the motion picture industry, not just the housing development. The neighborhood has been the home of many famous folks, including Aldous Huxley, Bugsy Siegel, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Swanson, and James M. Cain.

via Hiking up the outdoor staircases of Hollywoodland – Boing Boing.

business, groupon:  Same article as above … but this tidbit included … anyone tried Groupon, yet?  I have and have been very pleased.

But then he offered a deal on a Groupon-like site I can’t remember which one and 1700 people signed up for tours. Now he’s very busy, conducting 2-3 tours per day.

via Hiking up the outdoor staircases of Hollywoodland – Boing Boing.

iPad, Apple:  OK, I want one …

Apple Inc. has started manufacturing a new version of its iPad tablet computer with a built-in camera and faster processor, said people familiar with the matter.

The new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, these people said. It will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features like video-conferencing, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad, these people said. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, they said.

..The one feature in the new iPad that may disappoint consumers will be the lack of significant improvement in the resolution of the device’s display. People familiar with the situation said Apple has had trouble improving the display technology, in part because of the iPad screen’s larger size compared with the iPhone.

via Apple’s New iPad in Production – WSJ.com.

Internet:  I have put up the white flag …

That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented. It isn’t just that we’ve lived one technological revolution among many; it’s that our technological revolution is the big social revolution that we live with. The past twenty years have seen a revolution less in morals, which have remained mostly static, than in means: you could already say “fuck” on HBO back in the eighties; the change has been our ability to tweet or IM or text it. The set subject of our novelists is information; the set obsession of our dons is what it does to our intelligence.

via How the Internet Gets Inside Us : The New Yorker.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, Detroit:  As I said this was my favorite.  I am glad it was successful.

If you haven’t seen the two-minute commercial that Chrysler Group LLC ran during the Super Bowl on Sunday, it’s worth taking a look.

The spot, featuring a brief appearance by Detroit-based rapper Eminem, has gone viral, racking up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube and occupying hours of sports-talk time on radio stations across the country. According to market researchers who tracked the impact of Super Bowl commercials, the Chrysler ad sparked a dramatic spike in online shopping for the company’s models.

via Eminem Super Bowl Ad Sparks Lasting Buzz For Chrysler – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Supreme Court, Constitutional Law, health care, Justice Kennedy, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan:  Good question …

Maybe it all does come down to whether Justice Kennedy eats chicken or fish for dinner one evening in 2012. But isn’t it a little presumptuous, perhaps even a mite sexist, to suppose we already know the minds of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, and that nothing anyone might write or say from now through the time the question is considered by the Supreme Court could change them?

via Judges and ideology: Telepathic Supreme Court vote counting | The Economist.

culture, Lindsay Lohan:  She was so cute in Parent Trap. Enough said.

The actress Lindsay Lohan can now add the prospect of a grand theft charge to her legal woes.

via Lohan Faces Felony Theft Charge – NYTimes.com.

politics, Egypt Uprising, The President, President Bush:  Another interesting perspective …

That possibility now faces Mr Obama as the old order in Egypt changes. What if the new one eventually delivers the greatest of the Arab nations into the patient hands of a hostile Muslim Brotherhood? That fear gives even some neocons pause. And such questions will continue to plague America for as long as it aspires to be both a superpower and a champion of democracy and self-determination. It is a riddle to which neither Mr Bush nor Mr Obama nor any president has found a neat answer.

via Lexington: Was George Bush right? | The Economist.

random, internet auctions:  I get this spam all the time.  It is nice to have it explained.

Anybody who has a computer and an Internet connection has probably seen ads touting deals like those above. They come from “penny auction” sites, a Web phenomenon that has spurred hundreds of start-ups over the past year.

As consumers eager for deals help fuel the rise of these sites, consumer advocates stress the adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Users can actually spend hundreds of dollars on these sites without winning a thing.

Penny auctions, believed to have started in Europe, operate very differently from other auction sites such as eBay.

via Penny auctions promise savings, overlook downsides – USATODAY.com.

green, wind farms: The first picture is of the wind farm in the English Channel.  I flew over it in September and it is truly massive.  I had no idea how big an area they covered or how big the “wind mills” are.

The world’s largest offshore wind farm officially opened today in the English Channel 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from Foreness Point, off England’s southeast coast.

Owned and operated by the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm has 100 turbines and covers an area of 35 square kilometers (13.5 square miles).

Boat cruises past the new Thanet wind farm in the English Channel. (Photo courtesy Vattenfall)

With 300 megawatts of generating capacity, the wind farm will generate electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 200,000 British households.

via World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens in English Channel.

green, wind farms, USA:  So it will be interesting to see them off the US coast.

The Interior Department said it will expedite environmental reviews for four wind projects off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. This spring, it expects to identify other wind energy areas off Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the South Atlantic region, notably North Carolina.

“This initiative will spur the type of innovation that will help us create new jobs, build a clean energy future and compete and win in the technologies of the 21st century,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in the announcement, which notes President Obama’s goal of generating 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

Wind advocates called for a streamlined process after it took eight years for the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Mass., to obtain a lease as the nation’s first offshore wind farm. That project faced opposition from Indian tribes, some environmentalists and residents, who argued it threatened marine life and ruined ocean views.

Salazar said the wind farms identified Monday — all off major tourist destinations, including Atlantic City, N.J.; Ocean City, Md.; and Virginia Beach, Va. — would be 10 to 20 miles offshore so they shouldn’t mar vacationers’ views, according to the Associated Press.

via Obama fast-tracks Mid-Atlantic offshore wind energy – Green House – USATODAY.com.

 




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 617 other followers

July 2020
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031