Posts Tagged ‘Africa

02
Jul
13

7.2.13 … Laura Bush: “Women are the ones who … “

Laura Bush, Africa, Michelle Obama, women’s issues, education, Mike Allen – POLITICO.com:  I loved the  working together of the FLOTUS and former FLOTUS, and their perspective on their role and projects.  I really do believe that education  girls is the key to change …

Laura Bush said in her introduction: “Women are the ones who care for their family’s health, who see to it that their children are educated, and in many cases provide vital economic support for their family. Educated girls are less likely to marry early. They are more likely to be understand how to protect their own health and bear healthy children, and are better equipped to contribute to the economy with good jobs.”

via Michelle Obama dishes to Laura Bush in Africa – Mike Allen – POLITICO.com.

03
Jun
13

6.3.13 … Fly the friendly skies …

global airlines, Africa, South African Airlines, WSJ.com:  It’s a long way and its expensive.  This article puts the economics and politics of flying to and from Africa in perspective.

Not long ago, the modest Africa traffic consisted mostly of Western business people, a few Africans who could afford to fly and international aid workers. Now, seats hold rising numbers of African businesspeople and citizens with newfound personal wealth. Chinese construction firms, Australian mining giants and U.S. oil companies also fill flights.

“Next to the BRIC countries, it is a main growth market, with fast-growing economies, wealth and foreign investments from China and other countries,” says Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan. The carrier recently expanded its presence in Africa and struck deals with South African Airways Pty. Ltd. and Kenya Airways in which the carriers sell seats on each other’s flights.

via Global Airlines Jockey for Position in Africa – Wall Street Journal – WSJ.com.

03
Jun
13

6.3.13 … E-Book Education, for $5 a Month …

education, Africa, poverty, Bridge Schools, private v. public:  I had no idea …

Much rides on Bridge’s fate. There is a movement, championed by Sir Michael Barber (chief educational adviser to Pearson and formerly a top official in the Blair government), and by Tooley and Dixon, among others, to shift government money and international aid toward increasing access to low-cost private schools and so away from public schools. Public schools are failing, but this idea would make them worse, as the reason they are so bad in the first place is that no one with any clout uses them.

via A By-the-E-Book Education, for $5 a Month – NYTimes.com.

29
Nov
11

11.29.2011… Planning the half-way there luncheon for my high school senior … and for the magabus tomorrow …

grammar, LOL:


‎7 walking-into-a-bar jokes for grammar geeks… http://is.gd/1hDsvf

Eloise, The Plaza, NYC, Christmas trees:

At first glance, it’s easy to forget that Johnson’s creation is a Christmas tree. There’s barely a hint of green in the 18-inch high creation, but instead, vibrant pink decorations everywhere, which is befitting the designer’s aesthetic. “It’s filled with girly stuff—pink feathers, sparkles, foldout Eloise paper dolls,” Johnson says. “There’s three quarters of me that’s six years old and it comes out.”

via Betsey Johnson Unveils ‘Eloise’ Christmas Tree at Plaza Hotel | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

abseiling, rapp jumping, South Africa, adventure travel, South Africa:

It’s only recently that abseiling has become an activity in its own right. Really it’s just the method climbers use to get off mountains – or special services forces use to descend deserted buildings into enemy territory in adventure movies – but it’s fun, and so it’s become available as an activity in its own right.

You can hang out high over Cape Town abseiling from Table Mountain. The “long drop” is 112m high – and about a kilometre above the city – making it the world’s highest commercial abseil.

via Abseiling & rapp jumping in SA – SouthAfrica.info.

Advent Calendars, chocolate, history:  The Germans again … 🙂

Like most Christmas traditions, Advent Calendars date back to early 19th-century-Germany. Religious families counted down the days to Christmas by drawing lines in chalk on their doors and, later, lighting candles and hanging religious images on their walls each day to mark Advent’s passing. The first Advent Wreath was hung in December 1839.

Historians believe the first hand-made Advent Calendar, an extension of the Wreath tradition, was produced in 1851. The date of the first printed Advent Calendar, however, is uncertain. But we do know that it was some time in the first decade of the 1900s.

Gerhard Lang, a Swabian, began printing Advent Calendars in Munich around this time, and created at least 30 different calendar designs, mostly consisting of little paper images stuck to a piece of cardboard, before his company folded in the 1930s. Other companies picked up the practice, which grew in popularity until cardboard was rationed during the Second World War.

Post-WWII, many companies picked printing back up again, including Richard Sellmer, who was the first to recreate Advent Calendars in 1946. His company produces yearly calendars to this day.

The first chocolate-filled calendar was created in 1958 and—obviously—the trend stuck.

via The History of Chocolate and the Advent Calendar — Gourmet Live.

The Physics Book: An Illustrated Chronology of How We Understand the Universe, books:

Einstein famously observed that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. In The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics, acclaimed science author Clifford Pickover offers a sweeping, lavishly illustrated chronology of comprehension by way of physics, from the Big Bang (13.7 billion BC) to Quantum Resurrection (> 100 trillion), through such watershed moments as Newton’s formulation of the laws of motion and gravity (1687), the invention of fiber optics (1841), Einstein’s general theory of relativity (1915), the first speculation about parallel universes (1956), the discovery of buckyballs (1985), Stephen Hawking’s Star Trek cameo (1993), and the building of the Large Hadron Collider (2009).

The book, which could well be the best thing since Bill Bryson’s short illustrated history of nearly everything, begins with a beautiful quote about the poetry of science and curiosity:

As the island of knowledge grows, the surface that makes contact with mystery expands. When major theories are overturned, what we thought was certain knowledge gives way, and knowledge touches upon mystery differently. This newly uncovered mystery may be humbling and unsettling, but it is the cost of truth. Creative scientists, philosophers, and poets thrive at this shoreline.” ~ W. Mark Richardson, ‘A Skeptic’s Sense of Wonder,’ Science

via The Physics Book: An Illustrated Chronology of How We Understand the Universe | Brain Pickings.

Three as Four, fashion collective, Islam, Judaism:  Very interesting …

On Sunday night, the fashion collective Three as Four opened its highly anticipated exhibition “Insalaam Inshalom” at the Beit Ha’Ir Center for Urban Culture in Tel Aviv, bringing to fruition a project over two years in the making. Covering the walls of the four-story building in fabric printed with their spring collection’s central motifs, which are made of a mix of Muslim and Jewish symbols, the designers Gabi Asfour, Adi Gil and Ange Donhauser invited 10 artists to show works that relate to the project’s central notion: that Judaism and Islam can live side by side. “We’ve accumulated the energy of artists and performers who are like-minded,” Asfour said. “We tried to balance things from all sides, though it’s always difficult.”

via Come Together – NYTimes.com.

Apple, iPad:  Chatter, chatter … Apple Chatter: New iPad, iPhone Soon? – TheStreet.

Africa Through a Lens, photography, Africa:

These images, from The National Archives, have been added to Flickr so that you can comment, tag and share them easily.

Do you recognise anything or anyone in the photographs and do they provoke any personal memories? Perhaps you have a similar picture from your own travels? If you do, post us a link. Let us know of any inaccuracies in the descriptions and help us to map the images we don’t have locations for.

For more information please see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/africa

The CO 1069 series is a diverse collection of images with a rich variety of content. In many instances we know little about the people or contents of the photographs and this is one of the reasons why we have published them online and asked people to comment and share their knowledge.

Please note the pictures and the captions attached to them are representative of the time they were taken. They frequently use terms that would not be used today. However, our role is to preserve the integrity of the historic public record, which is why they have been preserved and presented as originally captured.

via Collection: Africa Through a Lens.

nature, Atlanta, coyotes:

Emma Millican Park remained closed Thursday due to the wild animals.

Resident LaTanya Grant said she feared the worst when she saw the yellow caution tape stretched across the park across the street from her home.

Tuesday, she said she walked across Lynnhave Drive to read the yellow notice posted at the park. Turns out, there wasn’t a crime at all. But there is a den of coyotes living near the park, according to the notice posted by the city of Atlanta.

“I read it twice because the first time I didn’t believe it,” Grant told the AJC. “They’re probably just as scared of us, but my guard is going to be up.”

Joyce Shepherd, a member of the Atlanta City Council, told Channel 2 Action News the coyotes have become more aggressive recently, even eating a neighbor’s chickens and a goat.

via ‘Coyote’ trapped near park turns out to be dog  | ajc.com.

Chiquita, Charlotte,Twitter war, Cincinnati:  War!

Determined to stop Chiquita’s exodus, Cincinnati residents started a hashtag on Twitter, #NoCincyBananaSplit, to keep the global fruit and vegetable distributor around. Within days, Charlotte lovers had come up with their own rival hashtag, #Bananas4CLT, certain they could win the battle for Chiquita’s heart. Prolific tweeter and Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre encouraged the faceoff, and Charlotte restaurants soon joined in.

Today, Chiquita announced its decision: It would, as planned, move its headquarters to Charlotte. But Cincinnati didn’t go without a fight. Here is how the Twitter war went down:

via Chiquita’s new world headquarters in Charlotte decided with help from a Twitter war – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

cake balls, holiday desserts: 🙂

I first tasted these two years ago at a Christmas party and immediately had to have the recipe. It’s based on a mix, but I imagine you can follow the same directions substituting from scratch cake and frosting (I’ll try that one day). You can also try it with other cake combinations.

via Red Velvet Cake Balls « bakerella.com.

30
Sep
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Pottermore Insider: Beta and Beyond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Implications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06
Jun
11

‎6.6.2011 … I turned off all my school day alarms this morning … life is good …

summer: If you didn’t figure it out … School’s out!  Hello summer!  By August,  I’ll be excited for fall …  It’s that optimism bias at work. (See yesterday’s post.)

food-Southern, food-drink, Southern sodas, Coca-Cola, Atlanta:  Growing up in Atlanta, Coke was a Southern soda, albeit one that conquered the world. Later I learned that Pepsi is too.  But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned about the rest of these …

What’s your favorite Southern soda? Vote now!

Cheerwine; Salisbury, North Carolina

Bleheim Ginger Ale, Hamer, South Carolina

Sun Drop; Tullahoma, Tennessee

Ale-8-One; Winchester, Kentucky

RC Cola; Columbus, Georgia

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale; Birmingham, Alabama

via What’s Your Favorite Southern Soda?.

China, change, role of women, history, Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth:  When you read The Good Earth, did you think about any of this?  Great Article!!!

“Impossible is nothing,” said my Chinese host in March, when I told her the English proverb “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. She had just passed me a plateful of what looked like tiny, shiny, caramel-and-white striped silk purses. They turned out to be sliced pig’s ear, one of many traditional delicacies at a banquet that included fried ants, sea slugs and geese feet.

Of course almost nothing is impossible in a country where acrobats still juggle wooden chairs as if they were feathers or ping-pong balls—and where the gristle and cartilage of a pig’s ear turn up on your plate as an absurdly elegant appetiser.

What makes foreigners gasp and stretch their eyes in China now is the almost inconceivable speed and scale of the changes that, in the past ten years, have swept people off the land like a giant magnet. In 1990 three out of every four people still lived and worked, as they always had done, on farms. More than 40% have now moved to the cities. By 2015, according to an article I read in China Daily, based on a United Nations forecast, half the population will be urbanised.

The creative energy released by this frenetic development is palpable almost as soon as you step off the plane. It comes like a buzz off the people, especially the young women. When I arrived in the university town of Nanjing on my first visit to China in 2007, I spent days on end watching and talking to students, marvelling above all at the confidence, competence and poise of the girls. I was working on a book about Pearl Buck, who grew up in the Chinese countryside before teaching on the Nanjing campus in the 1920s, so I knew a lot about the world of these girls’ grandmothers: a slow-moving world where traffic went by river steamer or canal boat, and the only wheeled vehicle most people ever saw was a wheelbarrow. Girls were shut up at home on reaching puberty with no further access to the outside world, and no voice in their own or their family’s affairs. In traditional households they were forbidden to speak even to their husbands, except behind closed doors in the bedroom at night.

I found similar indignation from polite but insistent students. Didn’t I know how much China had changed, they asked. The modern world had made a clean break with the sad primitive outmoded countryside depicted in “The Good Earth”. Didn’t I realise how little that world had to do with them now? People everywhere wanted to know what I meant by the title of my biography, “Burying the Bones”. I explained that it came from a passage in Buck’s memoirs about how, as a small girl, she made secret grave mounds for tiny dismembered limbs or fragments of skull—the remains of newborn girls thrown out for the dogs to devour—that she found in the tall grass beyond her parents’ back gate.

It seemed to me an image of amnesia, public and private. Heads always nodded in my audience when I said that all of us have bones to bury, things that are never talked about in families, things a whole nation might prefer to forget. People in China now dismiss their ugly memories just as people all over Europe dismissed the Holocaust for many years after the war. “Children can’t bear to remember what happened to their parents,” says Xinran, who recorded the life stories of men and women in their 70s and 80s in “China Witness” (2008), the only one of her books that remains banned today even in translation.

Buck insisted that our grandparents’ world belongs also to us. The past made us what we are now, and we forget it at our peril. At the end of my last talk at Nanjing university, a student pointed out that burying the bones has a further meaning in China, where the dead are traditionally returned to the earth from which they came so that they may find peace. He might have added that it is only when the past has been acknowledged and accepted that it can finally be laid to rest.

via WOMEN IN CHINA: A SOCIAL REVOLUTION | More Intelligent Life.

China, globalization, history:  Another great article.

When the United States took over from Britain as the predominant world power 100 years ago, the transition was like one between brothers — or cousins, at least. And the two countries remain close allies to this day. The rise of China in relation to U.S. predominance presents a somewhat different challenge — with decades of sometimes outright hostility and an ongoing fractious relationship.

As it reemerges as a world power, the question is: Is China’s awakening to be welcomed — or feared?

Some look to the past for clues — all the way back to the 15th century.

Today China’s role in Africa seems to me to be very similar to that of other countries. I see China following, for better, and possibly for worse, an American model of needing to secure energy sources and seeking to do so in a great variety of ways, wherever the energy can be found.”

Six hundred years ago, Zheng He’s treasure ships went out and came back peacefully, partly because China didn’t need anything from outside its own realm. Now it does. How it deals with that search for energy and natural resources could be what decides whether China’s rise will in the end be peaceful or not.

via China’s Rise: A Quest To ‘Hug The World’? : NPR.

business, global markets, globalization, Africa, China, :  Very interesting article about business in Africa.

Cummins joins a growing number of U.S. companies vying for a stronger foothold on the continent. Caterpillar Inc., the giant maker of construction equipment, is selling more trucks to Mozambique and Zambia. Harley-Davidson Inc. is opening dealerships in Botswana and Mauritius. General Electric Co. has its first aircraft-leasing office in Ghana for Central and West African airlines. Google Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are among the dozens of other U.S. companies moving in or expanding.

Until now, “Africa has been just a rounding error for us,” says Brady Southwick, Cummins’s new head of Africa operations.

U.S. companies’ game of catch-up shows the perils of waking up late to the next big frontier market, Africa. The continent’s economy is forecast to grow to $2.6 trillion in 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, fueled by booms in mining, agriculture and development of ports, roads and other infrastructure, according to McKinsey Global Institute. The middle class is growing, and total household spending now exceeds that of India.

Getting in early to a developing market allows companies to build up strong brands and sales channels that can reap big profits in the long run. That’s what China has done in Africa over the past two decades. It has aggressively promoted trade and investment, courting countries by offering aid in exchange for favorable trade terms. China’s government has provided funds to build a telecommunications network in Ethiopia, the Merowe Dam in Sudan and railways in Libya and Nigeria, among many other projects.

Western European companies, many of which had lingering business interests in Africa from colonial days, also took their eye off the ball. Western Europe’s share of overall trade—the sum of imports and exports—with sub-Saharan Africa dropped to 30% in 2009 from 52% in 1990, according to McKinsey. The share of China and other Asian countries in Africa trade more than doubled to 30% from 14% in the same period, while North America’s share slipped to 13% from 16%.

A few American companies have been entrenched in Africa for decades. Coca-Cola Co. established its first African bottling plant in 1928, in Johannesburg, and its soft drinks now are available throughout the continent.

But many other U.S. companies only now are “starting to wake up to the African opportunity,” says Acha Leke, a Lagos-based director of the McKinsey Global Institute. To succeed, he says, they will need to find good local partners and send in some of their best executives. In the past, he says, some American companies “just sent whoever wanted to go there.”

via U.S. Companies Race to Catch Up in African Markets – WSJ.com.

Apple, iCloud, new products, iconic images:  Sounds like this is inevitable … but that for once Apple is behind … I loved the last line: “On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.”  Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck and jeans is an iconic image!

On Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce a new product that allows iPhone owners to stream music from their personal iTunes collections to their phones.

Rumormongers say the music will be stored “in the cloud” — tech jargon for “on Apple’s servers” – although the CultOfMac blog claims inside knowledge that Jobs will instead sell customers a personal storage drive that holds the music and does the streaming from home.

Whatever Apple announces, it follows recent offerings from Google and Amazon that offer cloud-based personal music streaming for Android phone users. Both work similarly: You sign up, then download an application to your Mac or PC that uploads your music collection to Google or Amazon’s servers, and keeps it in sync. To play your music on your phone, you install an Android app that’s a music player which connects to your cloud-stored collection to stream it to your phone.

On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.

via Amazon’s and Google’s Cloud Services Compared – NYTimes.com.

Katie Couric, media, change, glass ceiling:  I like Katie Couric.  I wanted her to succeed at CBS and smash the glass ceiling.  But I always thought she was smart and professional, but too perky.  I think she will succeed at ABC, but she’s under the ceiling again.

The negotiations over Ms. Couric’s future in television unfolded over the last few months and involved three of the four broadcast networks, as well as CNN. They also featured top media executives including Mr. Burke, Robert Iger of Disney, Leslie Moonves of CBS and Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner. Perhaps unexpectedly, because Ms. Couric had not succeeded in stemming the long ratings descent at “The CBS Evening News,” she remained something of a hot property.

At a time when Oprah Winfrey, syndicated television’s biggest star, has just left the stage, the courtship of Ms. Couric suggested that the networks, looking to cash in on the enormous revenue potential of syndication, were still willing to make a big bet on stars — even ones like Ms. Couric who have taken their share of blows in the media.

The details of Ms. Couric’s impending deal with ABC have not been disclosed, but as co-owner of the show Ms. Couric will claim a share of the profits. Syndication has such a great financial upside because successful shows make money from both station fees and advertising revenue — and they are generally inexpensive to produce.

via In Pursuit of Couric, ABC Made the Best Pitch – NYTimes.com.

random, local theater, sitcom parodies:  I just laughed …

Welcome to “Gilligan’s Island…of Death.”

The characters in this way-off Broadway send-up are familiar to viewers of the original show, which featured seven castaways stranded on a desert island. All the characters from the sitcom, which ran on CBS for three years in the mid-1960s, but found eternal life in reruns, are there: The Skipper, Mary Ann in pigtails, Ginger in a clingy evening gown. But the plots are darkly twisted. This Gilligan’s Island is the setting for multiple murders. And every character who doesn’t die becomes a suspect.

“If you were trapped on an island for years with a bunch of people you don’t know, you’d want to kill each other,” says Traci Connaughton, who runs Without a Cue Productions, the small Pennsylvania acting company that created this noir version of the show.

It’s all in good fun. But not everyone is amused.

Some of the media conglomerates that own the rights to the shows are cool to the sendups and at least one has expressed copyright complaints.

But Ms. Connaughton says she is undaunted. She says her most immediate problem is getting new material.

“I am running out of TV shows,” she says.

via TV Dinner Theater: Parodies of Old Sitcoms Draw Blood, Crowds – WSJ.com.

medicine, cancer, treatment, technology, miracles, policy:  Change comes fast and change comes slow.

New research is signaling a major shift in how cancer drugs are developed and patients are treated—offering the promise of personalized therapies that reach patients faster and are more effective than other medicines.

Studies show gains from targeting cancer patients more individually. Work at a breast-cancer clinical trial at George Mason University.

At the heart of the change: an emerging ability for researchers to use genetic information to match drugs to the biological drivers of tumors in individuals. Studies released at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here are helping to support previous findings that personalized medicine—introduced more than a decade ago—is closer to being realized as a weapon to fight cancer.

“A pattern is developing at an accelerated pace where we are able to match genetic information about a tumor to a new agent and get results,” says John Mendelsohn, president of Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.

via Genetic Information Shifts War on Cancer to Personalized Therapies – WSJ.com.

Jane Austen, film/lit, ersatz, words, Mike Ditka, quotes, phantom Bible quotes, technology:  One of the things I love about the computer/internet is that you start one place and in a few clicks a whole world opens up to you.  I went from a blog post on Jane Austen movies with inauthentic quotes and scenes to ersatz  to Mike Ditka to phantom Bible quotes in 2 minutes … great way to start my morning.

“I have been alert for a while now to the danger that Austen film
adaptaptions can be seduce unwary Janeites into believing that certain
scenes and/or lines of dialogue are taken from the novels, when they
have actually been written by the modern screenwriter.

Sometimes the screenwriter’s changes are very well done, and that makes
it harder to spot them as ersatz.”

Definition of ERSATZ: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation—

via Ersatz – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone – milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper – to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler – and the NFL coach – start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

via Actually, that’s not in the Bible – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Gustave Caillebotte , art, Impressionist paintings, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, history:  I get more and more excited about my upcoming trip. 🙂

But because he was a great patron of the arts, Caillebotte’s first-rate art collection became what today is the crux of the Impressionist holdings at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Although for a while, he (or his executors) couldn’t even give the paintings away. “It’s a pity,” Garnot says. “When he offered all [of] the collection to the French state, the minister of fine arts wasn’t pleased at all by the donation. He refused it. He turned them away.”

At the time, the custom was for the state to only accept works by dead painters. But that wasn’t the only reason the paintings were rejected by the state: “You must understand,” Garnot says, “that they didn’t appreciate … the style.” Critics of the day felt the Impressionist works looked hasty, crude and unfinished. There was no place for them in prestigious, official French collections.

Caillebotte died in 1894. Seven years later, after much bickering, wrangling and negotiation, 40 of the 60 paintings in his bequest of Impressionist treasures were accepted by the government of France. Now, more than a century later, the names Renoir, Monet, Sisley — and, yes, Gustave Caillebotte — have become part of the Pantheon of French painting.

via Gustave Caillebotte: Impressions Of A Changing Paris : NPR.

 

travel, bus travel, frugal traveler:  Of course, just as I plan my journey to DC on MegaBus, this comes out ….

On Friday, federal authorities also subpoenaed records of GoToBus.com, TakeTours.com and 2001Bus.com. Those websites, run by a company called Ivy Media Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., sell tickets online for a number of low-fare bus companies, including Sky Express.

Many of the bus companies linked to from GoToBus.com have nearly identical websites. For example, Sky Express, I-95 Coach and Horse Run Tour all use much of the same identical text, such as “We are always thrilled to hear from our customers. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!”

Tracking operators who resurface under new names is difficult.

Congressional watchdogs found in 2009 that nearly 10 percent of interstate bus operators who have federal permits revoked for safety violations quickly resume business by reopening under new names.

On August 8, 2008, a bus carrying a group on a religious pilgrimage crashed in Sherman, Texas, killing 17 people.

The carrier was a reincarnation of a company ordered out of service two months earlier. It re-registered using the same mail and email addresses.

The problem of unraveling who is responsible for operations of closely linked bus lines isn’t new. In 2005, the government noted how hard it is to disentangle the web of relationships and said it was cracking down on low-cost carriers for safety violations.

via Low-fare bus industry faces more scrutiny | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

John Edwards, slime bags, criminal law:  Don’t like the guy … I am beginning to think I never like VP candidates from either party.  Was with some trial lawyers and their thought was Edwards is so good at this, he will probably get off … Interesting thought to me is by having the plea bargaining in the national press, he, in effect, is admitting to some level of criminal culpability.  What do you think?

Edwards and his lawyers were concerned. They wanted the ability to at least argue to a judge for alternatives, such as a halfway house, weekend releases, home arrest or some other arrangement that would allow Edwards time to be with his school-age children. He is a single parent since his wife, Elizabeth, died in December.

But the way the possible plea deal was structured, the Edwards lawyers believed they would be muzzled from advocating at all about Edwards’ confinement before a judge, according to multiple people who were involved in the negotiations. Those sources described the plea negotiations in detail on a condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

It was the last significant issue to be resolved for a plea. If Edwards didn’t agree, he would be indicted on multiple felony charges.

Edwards, 57, understood the risk. As a successful trial lawyer, he had sometimes spurned offers of settlements to take his chances with a jury, often winning big judgments. Would he do that again?

The clock was ticking.

Edwards, just as he had refused to do in cases for his clients, would not accept a deal. For now, he would gamble on motions to a judge to dismiss the charges. And, if necessary, a jury.

via Edwards dealing went to the wire | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

history, medicine, midwifery, kith/kin:  Because one of my best friends is a CNM, I find midwifery interesting.  I enjoyed this tidbit of history in this book review.

Colonial Midwifery began with the Mayflower’s journey in 1620. Bridget Lee Fuller delivered three babies during the two months long voyage and continued practice as a midwife in Plymouth for 44 years until her death in 1664. In addition, it is documented that one birth took place aboard the Arabella by a midwife that was brought on board from the Jewel. (1)

via Colonial Midwifery.

Carl Sandburg, goats, public art, random, followup:  NB: THIS IS A PROPOSED STATUE …

 

 

Goat, or no goat for statue?

The plan to put a statue of Carl Sandburg in Public Square has stirred a great deal of public debate. A deal breaker for some critics is the inclusion of a goat next to a standing Sandburg. It’s been well-documented that Sandburg and his wife admired goats which they raised on their North Carolina farm.

City reporter Eric Timmons, who has done several stories detailing the statue, received an e-mail Tuesday from Shannon Nelson of Alabama. Shannon asked, “Carl Sanburg (sic) owned Toggenburg dairy Goats, as his most famous Toggenburg doe “Puritan Jons Jennifer” held the world record in 1960 for the DHIA 305 continuous days of 5,750 lbs. Why was his most famous doe not put on the statue with him?

“This was a big thing in the goat world, especially for the smallest of all dairy goat breed of Toggenburgs, and just think ‘she belonged to Carl Sanburg’. I think the statue is a wonderful idea. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

Asked where she heard about the Sandburg/goat statue, Shannon said, “I read about the article on a goat group I’m on.”

Who knew … a goat group?

via Goats and Carl Sandburg; Public Square history; Bunker Links “open” – Galesburg, IL – The Register-Mail.

02
May
11

5.2.2011 … late edition … there is more to a day than the death of US’ nemesis …

Osama bin Laden, 9/11, War on Terrorism, death of bin Laden, follow-up, politics, President Obama:  So what did you think of the President’s speech?

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.  They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.  And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight.  It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.  After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.  These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.

via Transcript of President Obama’s Speech – Washington Wire – WSJ.

Osama bin Laden, 9/11, War on Terrorism:  So they buried at him at sea within 24  hours … at sea … no shrine …

A U.S. official says Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea.

After bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea.

The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred.

via Official: Bin Laden buried at sea – Yahoo! News.

Osama bin Laden,  9/11, War on Terrorism, twitter:

A man in Abbottabad, the town where Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. on Monday, inadvertently live-tweeted the attack as it started.

The man, who uses the Twitter handle “ReallyVirtual”, identifies himself as Sohaib Athar, “an IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops.”

Around 11 hours ago, according to the Twitter timeline, Mr. Athar first tweeted about a helicopter hovering above him at 1 a.m., saying it was a “rare event” for Abbottabad. That would have been at about 3.30 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

via From Abbottabad, Live-Tweeting the Bin Laden Attack – India Real Time – WSJ.

Osama bin Laden,   9/11, War on Terrorism:   very thought-provoking …. Ding, dong the witch is dead! Now what? – By Mary Habeck | Shadow Government.

Osama bin Laden,   9/11, War on Terrorism, Team Six – Navy SEALs special unit, kudos:  Job well done, SEALs!

The highly trained operatives who killed Osama bin Laden are part of a counterterrorism group so specialized that no one can apply to join it.

Anjum Naveed, AP U.S. troops stormed into this compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan – identified by the CIA as Osama bin Laden’s hideout – and killed the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, in a firefight.Instead, they are recruited. They are chosen from existing SEAL teams, making the unit an elite within an elite.

The group was originally known as Team Six, but the official name was changed in 1987 to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

While most information relating to the group is classified, it is believed to have been formed in response to the failed 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. Richard Marcinko was its first commander.

The unit is a component of the Joint Special Operations Command, which also oversees the Army’s Delta Force.

It has operated in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Members have hunted down key al-Qaeda and Taliban figures since 2001.

via What is the Navy SEALS’ Team Six?  | ajc.com.

White House, history, artistic recreations:  So they  redo more than just the private apartments?

The White House is a home, not a museum, so when presidents move in, they do what any new homeowner would do: they redecorate. Just like the rest of us, they paint, paper, change the furniture and carpets.

In 1860, President James Buchanan welcomed a delegation of three Japanese samurai. They noted that the White House lacked towers and a moat, but conceded it was “handsomely furnished.” You, too, can see inside the White House as it looked in its first 200 years in an interactive at the White House Historical Association website.

The White House has been “done over” many times, and now, the White House Historical Association has commissioned a set of pictures to explore what those famous rooms might have looked like at different moments in American history. The exhibit of 14 paintings by architectural painter Peter Waddell covers roughly the first 100 years of the White House, from 1792 to 1902.

“Few artists painted [the White House],” Waddell tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “It’s a really hard building to paint decently. Compared with how … many images there are of Mount Vernon, there’s very few of the White House.”

But, Waddell says, the interiors were even more complicated. Working with The White House Historical Association, Waddell looked at inventories, samples of fabrics, and furniture and fixtures still stored in the White House collection, to get the details exactly right: “We know how many yards of trim for the curtains,” he says. “We know about the white sheer curtains with the little eagles on them. We know the colors of things.”

via An Artist Imagines The White House As It Once Was : NPR.

Royal Wedding, fashion, Kate Middleton/Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge:  The reception dress looks like the wedding dress without all the top layers .. very simple … very elegant.

We’ve already pondered the perfection that is Kate Middleton’s wedding dress once today here on PopWatch. But, readers, take a look at the amazing photo before you now of The Duchess’s white satin reception dress. Does this not make your wedding-obsessed soul flutter as it did this morning when she stepped out of her car? To be honest, I gasped when I first saw this beautiful gown (which is reportedly a Sarah Burton — as was her first dress). In fact, dare I say, I like this one better? Between the cardigan, the sparkle, and the figure-flattering effect — ugh, I don’t know! Sleep deprivation is setting in, and that always makes decisions 10 times harder, especially with regard to fashion.

The only thing I am sure of? That a new bar has been set — not only for future royals but for brides in general. A recently-engaged friend of mine said to me shortly after instant messaging me this photo, “On my wedding day, I just wanna feel as pretty as she looked.” And isn’t that the truth?

via Kate Middleton Royal Wedding reception dress | PopWatch | EW.com.

Panthers, 2011 NFL Draft, 2011-12 NFL Season: Hope or Hopeless?

Carolina

What I liked: No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton. It was obvious Carolina’s biggest problem last year was one of the most inept passing attacks we’ve seen in years, as they were dead-last in almost all of our offensive Quality Stats. Enter Newton. He’s fresh off arguably the most productive season in the history of college football: No. 2 nationally in passing efficiency, with 1,473 yards on the ground, a mind-blowing 50 touchdowns (30 passing, 20 rushing), Heisman Trophy, national title … you get the point. The upside is tantalizing.

What I didn’t like: The Panthers had only one pick in the first two rounds, and that went to a high-risk player — one who tells us that the team has already given up on their top pick of last year, Jimmy Clausen. If Newton doesn’t work out, we’re talking two wasted drafts for the worst team in football last year.

Hard to judge. If Newton works out, it’s an A+ draft. But right now it’s a high-risk, high-reward venture. Grade: C

via Broncos, Lions, Bucs grab honors; ‘Boys, Jags fall flat – Kerry J. Byrne – SI.com.

iPad, media:  So if I buy a print subscription, I get the iPad edition free …. It is going to take time to make the switch. Time Inc. Reaches Deal With Apple – WSJ.com.

South Africa, economic development, rise of the middle class, Africa:

Sustained economic growth in Africa has produced for the first time a broad middle class, one that cuts across the continent and is on par with the size of the middle classes in the billion-person emerging markets of China and India.

The rise of a middle class in the world’s poorest continent is a dramatic marker for the global economy. At a time when the U.S., Europe and Japan are struggling to grow, Africa is beginning to beckon as a consumer of what other nations produce, thanks in part to a young population more upwardly mobile than ever before.

Over the past decade, the number of middle-class consumers in Africa has expanded more than 60% to 313 million, according to a new report from the African Development Bank Group. The study—one of the first efforts to document the contours of Africa’s emerging consumer class—brings into focus a potentially huge and enticing frontier market for global investors.

South Africa shows the potential upside. After white-minority rule gave way to a multiracial democracy in 1994, a black middle class has emerged.

The country continues to deal with racial tensions, high unemployment and patchy public services, but a new generation of consumers is changing the economy. That phenomenon has surprised even those who are now a part of it, such as Itumeleng Mamabolo, a 28-year-old clinical psychologist in Johannesburg, who just returned from his first overseas vacation, in Thailand. “I haven’t grown up with the luxury of having access to money and travel,” he says. “So it’s a bit surreal.”

via In Africa, a New Middle Class Rises – WSJ.com.




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