Posts Tagged ‘anthropology

05
May
14

5.5.14 … SkyMall: A Tour Of The American Psyche … We hurt … We don’t want to look fat … We love our home and our pets … we don’t know where to store our shoes … We wish we had the money to order an 8-foot-tall silverback gorilla statue or a a small, motorized gondola that moves around a pool while a 2-foot-tall gondolier named Luciano Pool-varotti sings …

anthropology, SkyMall, Want A Tour Of The American Psyche? Flip Through SkyMall, NPR:  I love SkyMall, but I must admit I have never bought anything, not one thing.  I’ve mentioned this before … 9.15.2010.

I sometimes thumb through the catalog and wonder what future anthropologists may deduce about life in our times by looking at SkyMall.

They’d find out that we hurt. There are pages of corrective braces, shiatsu leg massagers, reflexology foot massagers, all-day gel seats, while-you-sleep foot relief sleeves and back stretching aids.

They’d also find out that we don’t want to look fat. There are scads of garments that promise to slim, insta-slim, and superslim, maybe while we try to digest the deep-fried pretzel we downed just before boarding.

Travel makes us long for home and pets. There are elevated dog beds — which, by the way, look like something Scarlett O’Hara might sleep in; pet gates — a term that sounds like a White House dog immersed in a scandal; and pet ramps and stairs.

I ordered upholstered pet stairs for our cat, after seeing cunning pictures of cats and dogs in the catalog, strolling on stairs as if touring the National Gallery. I rubbed my cheek on the steps to show our cat they were soft and friendly, but she seems to have now decided they were for me and still jumps on the sofa.

Travel can aggravate our deepest anxieties. Thumb through SkyMall and you’ll see that we don’t know where to store our shoes. We worry about holding on to our hair. We wish we had the money to order an 8-foot-tall silverback gorilla statue in fiberglass resin. We might not be able to imagine where we’d put the statue, but having the $5,000 to spend on it would be nice.

The current catalog shows a small, motorized gondola that moves around a pool while a 2-foot-tall gondolier named Luciano Pool-varotti sings.

You might wonder who would order such a thing? I’ll let you know — delivery is guaranteed in seven to 10 days.

via Want A Tour Of The American Psyche? Flip Through SkyMall : NPR.

New York City Rescue Mission, homeless, makethemvisible.com: Change how you see the homeless.  makethemvisible.com

via ▶ Have the Homeless Become Invisible? – YouTube.

Published on Apr 22, 2014

In this social experiment, unsuspecting people walked by relatives pretending to be homeless. Would they notice their family members? Or have the homeless become invisible? http://MakeThemVisible.com

To find out more about the New York City Rescue Mission visit http://nycrescue.org/

via ▶ Have the Homeless Become Invisible? – YouTube.

President Obama, Is Barry Whiffing? – NYTimes.com:  I followed a link posted by a liberal friend who agreed with this article.  interesting … ” A singles hitter doesn’t scare anybody.”

But that being said, you are the American president. And the American president should not perpetually use the word “eventually.” And he should not set a tone of resignation with references to this being a relay race and say he’s willing to take “a quarter of a loaf or half a loaf,” and muse that things may not come “to full fruition on your timetable.”

An American president should never say, as you did to the New Yorker editor, David Remnick, about presidents through history: “We’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”

Mr. President, I am just trying to get my paragraph right. You need to think bigger.

An American president should never say, as you did Monday in Manila when you got frustrated in a press conference with the Philippine president: “You hit singles; you hit doubles. Every once in a while, we may be able to hit a home run.”

Especially now that we have this scary World War III vibe with the Russians, we expect the president, especially one who ran as Babe Ruth, to hit home runs.

In the immortal words of Earl Weaver, the Hall of Famer who managed the Baltimore Orioles: “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers.” A singles hitter doesn’t scare anybody.

.via Is Barry Whiffing? – NYTimes.com.

Warren Buffett, Bank of America, BAC:  I think he should have been outraged.  I am.

Mr. Buffett also expressed support for the management of Bank of America Corp. BAC +1.06% , another company in which Berkshire Hathaway owns preferred stock.

Last month, the bank had to reverse course on a stock buyback and dividend-increase plan after miscalculating capital levels. “That error they made does not bother me,” Mr. Buffett said in response to a shareholder question. “It doesn’t change my feeling about Bank of America’s risk management one iota.”

Mr. Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America in 2011 in the form of preferred stock that paid 6% a year, and received warrants to purchase 700 million shares as part of that deal. The terms of the preferred stock were renegotiated earlier this year to allow the lender to include it as part of its capital.

The bank was forced to shelve a plan to repurchase shares and boost its dividend for the first time since 2008, after discovering an error that left the lender with $4 billion less in capital than it thought it had.

via Warren Buffett Defends Coke Abstention at Berkshire Meeting – WSJ.com.

Mount St. Helens, LiveScience:  I spent a day touring all the museums near Mt. St. Helens.  It was one of the most interesting of days.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Mount St. Helens is nowhere near another eruption, but new magma is rising underground, heaving the volcano upward and outward by the length of a fingertip, researchers said here today (May 2) at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

A small amount of magma started pooling 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) beneath the volcano in 2008, said lead study author Seth Moran, a seismologist with the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington state. The depth comes from the pattern of surface swelling, measured with GPS, and from earthquakes triggered by the molten rock pushing upward. GPS units moved away from the center of the volcano by up to 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) between 2008 and 2013. (Imagine that Mount St. Helens’ magma chamber is like a balloon inflating deep beneath the volcano, pushing everything above it out of the way as it fills with a fresh batch of molten rock.) [Gallery: The Incredible Eruption of Mount St. Helens]

“This doesn’t mean it’s getting ready to erupt,” Moran told Live Science’s Our Amazing Planet. “The balloon has inflated, and it could stay inflated for decades. What we can say, is when it is ready to erupt, we will know.”

The observatory tracked a similar refueling pattern beneath Mount St. Helens during the volcano’s quiet period in the 1980s and 1990s, Moran said. However, the earthquakes were deeper during the first quiet period, at about 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8 km) below the surface, and the magma refueled faster, according to the new results.

Digital elevation map of Mount St. Helens, showing the epicenter of earthquakes from 2008 to 2014.

Credit: S. Moran

Scientists keep a close eye on the Washington volcano, which has erupted on and off since its deadly 1980 blast. Studies of past eruptions suggest Mount St. Helens is more likely to spend the next few hundred years rebuilding a beautiful, snowy peak, rather than blowing the countryside to smithereens.

Even so, the signals from the slumbering volcano are a message to be ready for the next eruption, however small, the researchers said.

“We’re like the fire department,” Moran said. “We’ve got to be ready to go.”

via Mount St. Helens Is Recharging: What Rising Magma Means | LiveScience.

Thomas Cook Train Guide, Redbook, Trainspotters, Train Lovers, Timetable, WSJ.com:  I loved this quirky story about quirky people.

But in Oundle, work is full steam ahead. The compilers hope there is enough traction to make their project work.

“Obviously, you can look a journey up on bahn.de in 10 seconds,” said Mr. Potter, referring to the website of the German railways. “But people buy [timetables] just to read them.”

via Trainspotters and Other Train Lovers Take Timetable to Heart – WSJ.com.

Twitter / GeorgiaPics, Atlanta secret:

BmgsbidCcAAAPDN

Beautiful Georgia

‏@GeorgiaPics

An Atlanta secret, 1,000’s of people walk by this world map near Hooters & Hard Rock and never notice it. pic.twitter.com/KKfaY33hmX

via Twitter / GeorgiaPics: An Atlanta secret, 1,000’s ….

Twitter / GeorgiaProblemz: A simpler breakdown of Georgia. …

BmgtVKrCMAAq9To

Georgia Problemz

‏@GeorgiaProblemz

A simpler breakdown of Georgia. pic.twitter.com/cvZgzRHT6L

via Twitter / GeorgiaProblemz: A simpler breakdown of Georgia. ….

University Of New Hampshire,  National Model For Rape Prevention:

DURHAM, N.H., May 2 (Reuters) – The 1987 gang rape of an 18-year-old University of New Hampshire freshman by three fellow students set then-graduate student Jane Stapleton on a course that could revolutionize the way U.S. colleges and universities handle sexual assaults.

Stapleton helped develop a campus program that aims to eradicate sex assaults – not by focusing on potential victims and assailants, but by making other students aware how bystanders can play a key role in preventing an attack.

New Hampshire is one of three universities chosen to help a White House task force come up with a plan that could be rolled out at colleges across the United States to combat what it called a sex assault “epidemic.”

“Instead of pointing fingers at women as victims or potential victims or men as perpetrators or potential perpetrators, it says everybody has a role to play here,” said Stapleton, who is co-director of the Prevention Innovations initiative at UNH.

One in five coeds in the United States falls victim to sexual assault during her student years, studies show, and experts warn that many of the attacks go unreported.

The program, which goes by the acronym SHARPP, runs workshops to teach students practical methods for heading off potential sex attacks, whether it be forming a conga line at a bar to walk an inebriated friend away from unwanted approach or turning on the lights at a party to discourage a sexual advance.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING

The university’s program is one of just a handful in the country to treat reports of rape as confidential, not reporting attacks to the police without the victim’s consent.

That is important since most victims of sex assault that takes place on or around a college campus know their attackers, and that can make them less willing to report the crime, said Maggie Wells, Sharpp’s educational outreach coordinator.

“Part of empowerment is getting the situation back under the victim’s control,” Wells said.

Some victims come forward immediately. And when they do, the program dispatches student volunteers to accompany them to a hospital where staff collect the physical evidence police can use to pursue criminal charges.

The university offers other remediation options, from moving an assailant out of a victim’s dorm to suspending the attacker from school until the victim graduates, even if that takes years, said Amy Culp, the program’s interim director.

One of the main challenges faced by the program’s staff and 38 student volunteers is overcoming the perception that sex assaults are an inevitable part of college culture.

via University Of New Hampshire Sets National Model For Rape Prevention.

film synopsis, Wizard of Oz:  I chuckled …

BmrAPsFCQAAh7Qg

Steve Silberman

‏@stevesilberman

Best film synopsis ever. [By @ShakeNTell] http://goo.gl/7IIcPS  pic.twitter.com/lAFpTpGByk

via Twitter / stevesilberman: Best film synopsis ever. [By ….

12 Literary Spots, London, book lover:  Next time I visit …

A guide to the best (and mostly free) places to channel some of the city’s greatest writers and celebrate their works.

via 12 Literary Spots In London That Every Book Lover Needs To Visit.

And these are my favorites …

4. The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾

6. Sherlock Holmes Museum & Shop

8. Charles Dickens Museum

12.  Shakespeare’s Globe

via 12 Literary Spots In London That Every Book Lover Needs To Visit.

 

 

09
Nov
13

11.9.13 … Some Buckhead history and some perspective on “American Nations” … So is Buckhead typical of the Deep South?

Buckhead, history, Atlanta: I have most of this, but it is nice to read it condensed in one place.  And I was just trying to remember how to spell “Eretus” Rivers yesterday  (as in E. Rivers Elementary School, the public elementary school that is located  and most associated with Buckhead). 

The purchase of 400 acres along the road connecting “Buckhead” with Hardy Pace’s ferry by a prominent Atlanta businessman in 1903 proved to be the seminal moment in the evolution of Buckhead.

Here to fore, the area — and that is the best way to describe it at that time — was mostly owned by a few pioneering families who scratched a pretty impressive living out of dense forest and farmland.

But the land offered something beyond agriculture, something rare during the summer months when the dust and dirt of the bustling downtown combined with the oppressive heat to make life in Atlanta a bit of a challenge. The tall trees and a general lack of development meant it was substantially cooler and more tolerable. Those who had the means made their way out to the Chattahoochee River on the weekends, which gave rise to communities like Vinings.

Like a burning star creates a solar system around it, so, too, did Maddox’s presence in Buckhead create a gravitational pull. His prominent friends would soon follow, people like William H. Kiser, who created a fortune as a dry-goods wholesaler and built the impressive Knollwood nearby. Designed by Philip Trammel Shutze, the English Georgian-style home set atop a knoll was visible for many years from Paces Ferry Road. Among the others were attorney Morris Brandon, politician and former Florida Attorney General William Bailey Lamar, banker John Grant and James W. Morrow, who owned Morrow Transfer and Storage. All built magnificent summer estates where they, too, could escape downtown Atlanta and entertain their prominent friends and acquaintances.

Developer Charles Black purchased the remainder of the Dickey estate in 1911 to create Tuxedo Park. With enormous land lots the neighborhood consisted of homes of comparable size and style to those already in area. Across West Paces Ferry Road, Eretus Rivers and his business partners acquired nearly 400 acres from the estate of Wesley Collier in 1906 and in 1911 developed Peachtree Heights West. Over the course of the next few years, additional subdivisions developed around this area, which is remarkable given the continuity of the styles.

Thus Buckhead became the destination neighborhood, rising above the former trendy enclaves of Druid Hills and Inman Park in drawing the city’s politically and socially connected families.

via Neighbor Newspapers – Column Transaction gave rise to Buckhead we know.

Up in Arms, Colin Woodard,  American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, history, sociology,  anthropology: This article is one of the most fascinating I have read in years and it pulls together history, sociology and anthropology.

Up in Arms

THE BATTLE LINES OF TODAY’S DEBATES OVER GUN CONTROL, STAND-YOUR-GROUND LAWS, AND OTHER VIOLENCE-RELATED ISSUES WERE DRAWN CENTURIES AGO BY AMERICA’S EARLY SETTLERS

Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission, and numbers to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South. For more than two hundred years, they’ve fought for control of the federal government and, in a sense, the nation’s soul. Over the decades, Deep South has become strongly allied with Greater Appalachia and Tidewater, and more tenuously with the Far West. Their combined agenda—to slash taxes, regulations, social services, and federal powers—is opposed by a Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast. Other nations, especially the Midlands and El Norte, often hold the swing vote, whether in a presidential election or a congressional battle over health care reform. Those swing nations stand to play a decisive role on violence-related issues as well.

For now, the country will remain split on how best to make its citizens safer, with Deep South and its allies bent on deterrence through armament and the threat of capital punishment, and Yankeedom and its allies determined to bring peace through constraints such as gun control. The deadlock will persist until one of these camps modifies its message and policy platform to draw in the swing nations. Only then can that camp seize full control over the levers of federal power—the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority—to force its will on the opposing nations. Until then, expect continuing frustration and division.

GREATER APPALACHIA. Founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Appalachia has been lampooned by writers and screenwriters as the home of hillbillies and rednecks. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. It was with the Union in the Civil War. Since Reconstruction, and especially since the upheavals of the 1960s, it has joined with Deep South to counter federal overrides of local preference.

DEEP SOUTH. Established by English slave lords from Barbados, Deep South was meant as a West Indies–style slave society. This nation offered a version of classical Republicanism modeled on the slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations.

If you understand the United States as a patchwork of separate nations, each with its own origins and prevailing values, you would hardly expect attitudes toward violence to be uniformly distributed. You would instead be prepared to discover that some parts of the country experience more violence, have a greater tolerance for violent solutions to conflict, and are more protective of the instruments of violence than other parts of the country. That is exactly what the data on violence reveal about the modern United States.

With such sharp regional differences, the idea that the United States would ever reach consensus on any issue having to do with violence seems far-fetched. The cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland is simply too large. But it’s conceivable that some new alliance could form to tip the balance.

Among the eleven regional cultures, there are two superpowers, nations with the identity, mission, and numbers to shape continental debate: Yankeedom and Deep South. For more than two hundred years, they’ve fought for control of the federal government and, in a sense, the nation’s soul. Over the decades, Deep South has become strongly allied with Greater Appalachia and Tidewater, and more tenuously with the Far West. Their combined agenda—to slash taxes, regulations, social services, and federal powers—is opposed by a Yankee-led bloc that includes New Netherland and the Left Coast. Other nations, especially the Midlands and El Norte, often hold the swing vote, whether in a presidential election or a congressional battle over health care reform. Those swing nations stand to play a decisive role on violence-related issues as well.

For now, the country will remain split on how best to make its citizens safer, with Deep South and its allies bent on deterrence through armament and the threat of capital punishment, and Yankeedom and its allies determined to bring peace through constraints such as gun control. The deadlock will persist until one of these camps modifies its message and policy platform to draw in the swing nations. Only then can that camp seize full control over the levers of federal power—the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority—to force its will on the opposing nations. Until then, expect continuing frustration and division.

via Tufts Magazine / fall 2013.

 
04
Feb
13

2.4.13 … Becoming Kind …

King Richard III, anthropology, Shakespeare, Facebook: 500 Year-Old Skeleton Is King Richard III …   Just love this story …and all my friends on FB’s wonderful and sometimes erudite (sometime not) comments!

The University of Leicester unveiled an image Monday of the skeleton of Richard III, the English king who ruled between 1483 and 1485. The university said DNA analysis of the skeleton found at an archaeological dig in a parking lot in Leicester, England, confirmed his identity.

via Video – 500 Year-Old Skeleton Is King Richard III – WSJ.com.

[SB10001424127887324445904578283352916247158]

Richard became king in 1483, taking power from his nephew, the 12-year-old Edward V. Richard said Edward was an illegitimate heir as the product of his father’s second marriage. Richard was said to have imprisoned his two nephews in the Tower of London. Within months of Richard’s taking the throne, the two nephews disappeared, and some assumed Richard had murdered them.

Some historians say Richard was an evil, power-hungry ruler who murdered family members to quicken his rise to the throne. William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” helped to popularize this depiction, describing Richard as a crippled villain who killed anyone in his path to the throne.

Others say this description is fictional, and one spread by Henry Tudor, Richard’s successor, whose army killed Richard in battle. Shakespeare was born about 80 years after Richard died and wrote during the Tudor dynasty. Pro-Richard enthusiasts say a closer look at Richard’s reign shows he was one of the most progressive rulers of his time and one who promoted foreign trade and books.

His death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, outside of Leicester, marked a pivotal moment in English history and in the struggle for power between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, known as the “The Wars of the Roses.” Richard was the last of the Plantagenet kings to rule and his defeat by Henry VII began the start of the Tudor dynasty, which lasted for more than a century.

via Richard III’s Grave Confirmed – WSJ.com.

MS:

All of the Richard III related status updates make me realize that when it comes to Facebook, I am way out of my league.

BC:

“Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;

Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.” — Shakespeare

Maybe this will allow for a modern-day rehabilitation of Richard’s reputation!!!

Which side are you on?

Richard III – villain or victim? – YouTube.

 

2013 Super Bowl blackout, FYI,  2013 Super Bowl ads,  Oreo ad, Twitter:

fyi … I still don’t have a clue what happened …

 

Super Bowl – Associated Press Interactive.

Loved this!

“We had a mission control set up at our office with the brand and 360i, and when the blackout happened, the team looked at it as an opportunity,” agency president Sarah Hofstetter told BuzzFeed. “Because the brand team was there, it was easy to get approvals and get it up in minutes.”

Oreo had already aired a solid TV ad with their “Cookie or Creme” spot. But they were ready to capitalize on social media as well when the lights went out.

“The big question is, what happens when everything changes, when you go off script?” Hofstetter said. “That was where it got fun.”

The key? Having Oreo executives in the room, ready to pull the trigger.

“You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic,” Hofstetter said.

via How Oreo Got That Twitter Ad Up So Fast.

New Yorker Cartoons, The New Yorker, cell phones, cone of shame, LOL:  I deserve a cone of shame  …

 Downton Abbey, Dowager, quotes:  The Dowager, she gets all the good quotes!

Albert Schweitzer, quotes, A Mighty Girl:  A Might Girl is one of my favorite source for quotes.

“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” — Albert Schweitzer

via A Mighty Girl.

just a thought …, Henri Nouwen, Tolstoi, kindness:

 Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

via Daily Meditation: Becoming Kind.

Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness. – Leo Tolstoy in A Calendar of Wisdom

via Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other… • literary jukebox.

when bad things happen …, What Gives 365:  From one of my favorite blogs …

I went to church this morning wanting to thank the universe for sparing us … but that assumes, of course, that the universe would have been punishing us had things turned out differently. And therein lies the shame and guilt when bad things happen. The truth is a terrible accident can happen to anyone, at any time, and often there is nobody to blame. But that reality is awfully terrifying to admit; we want our universe to make more sense than that and we want to feel as if our good intentions and conduct will spare us from tragedy.

via Up in smoke. | What Gives 365.

E.B. White, quotes, LOL:

source: Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

2012 Beyonce Bowl, Twitter:  My personal favorite –

This is best new-mom half-time show ever. –

via Beyoncé: Our Favorite Tweets about the Super Bowl Halftime Show | Past Blue Ivy’s Bedtime | TIME.com.

21
Jan
13

1.21.13 2013 Inauguration and MLK Day … Interesting combination …

2013 Inauguration, Edward Lindsey:  Thoughtful words from my brother …

Tomorrow, a victorious Democratic president and his party will have the burden of leadership, and my defeated Republican party will take up the difficult duty to provide the loyal opposition. But for today, all Americans celebrate the continuation of the great American Experiment in republican democracy. One President. One Congress. One Country. United today by more than what divides us. Congratulations, President Barrack Obama. May God bless you and our nation.

via Edward Lindsey.

Photo: Tomorrow, a victorious Democratic president and his party will have the burden of leadership, and my defeated Republican party  will take up the difficult duty to provide the loyal opposition.   But for today, all Americans celebrate the continuation of the great American Experiment in republican democracy.  One President.  One Congress.  One Country.  United today by more than what divides us.  Congratulations, President Barrack Obama.  May God bless you and our nation.

Martin Luther King Jr., quotes, holiday:  Celebrating the life and wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you dont see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. #martinlutherkingjr

“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Photo: Celebrating the life and wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

 

Martin Luther King Jr.,  Brene Brown:  I loved this post by Brene Brown “light, love and martin luther king, jr.” so I am sharing it in full …

 

I used to turn to this quote in the midst of crisis or tragedy (or whenever I was in personal struggle). Now I realize that what started as shared wisdom has become my central prayer and a daily practice for me.

Anger, judgment and blame are go-to emotions for me. This is especially true when I’m tired, anxious, or feeling vulnerable. When I’m not being mindful, I can try to overcome hate with hate. I can drop quickly into resentment and judgment.

When there is darkness in the world, I can slip into the dark place. I can start rehearsing tragedy and let my fear take over. I can turn to blame even though I know that blaming is simply a way to discharge pain and discomfort and has nothing to do with holding people accountable.

This incredible wisdom from Martin Luther King has become a prayer to me because it is everything I believe about my faith. I want to stay in love when fear drives me to hate and judgement. I want to practice gratitude and cultivate joy in the darkness. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be afraid or sad or vulnerable, it simply means that reacting to tragedy by living in fear doesn’t create empathy, it breeds more fear.

Here’s to love and light. As an imperfect practice. As a daring prayer. Thank you, Dr. King.

via light, love and martin luther king, jr..

Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday, anthropology,  13.7: Cosmos And Culture, NPR, bookshelf:  Another to add to the list …

In his new book, The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies, Diamond questions the practice of psychologists who base their claims about human nature entirely on people from WEIRD — Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic — societies. In fact, Diamond writes, people in small-scale societies, people who gather and hunt, herd animals or farm, may have figured out better ways than WEIRD ways to treat people, solve social problems and stay healthy.

So far, this sounds pretty much like an embrace of the cross-cultural diversity that we anthropologists work to understand, even to celebrate. So what’s the backlash all about?

via Why Does Jared Diamond Make Anthropologists So Mad? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

Mark Twain, A Biography, quotes, profanity: Interesting … I think I’ll send this to the person in my life who actively uses profanity. 🙂

“In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.” Mark Twain, A Biography

via Did Twain use the F-word?.

Downton Abbey, Speakeasy – WSJ:  In case I missed something I love these recaps.:)

What was Branson thinking? What do you think of Robert’s handling of financial matters up to this point? Did Ethel make the right decision?

via ‘Downton Abbey,’ Season 3, Episode 3: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

21+ Students,  drinking preferences, culture, college life, Davidson College:

Though 21-year-old students may drink more nights per week, they rarely feel like they “black-out” or get as drunk as they did when they were younger. It seems that as Davidson students get older, they develop more responsible drinking habits. When students turn 21, alcohol becomes much more accessible at court parties, Martin Court Apartments, and bars, and they thus feel less inclined to pre-game or aggressively drink.

via 21+ Students share drinking preferences – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

sustainability, money, justice, environment, Davidson College:  This is much bigger than I realized …

 

Now leading the sustainability charge at Davidson is Jeff Mittelstadt ’99, who returns to alma mater as the college’s first, full-time director of sustainability. A triple threat with masters’ degrees in environmental management (Duke), in business administration (UNC Chapel Hill) and in journalism and mass communications (UNC Chapel Hill), Mittelstadt likewise takes a three-pronged view of sustainability circa 2013.

 

“It’s a triple bottom line,” he says, “of economic prosperity, social justice, environmental integrity. It’s about not just how they conflict but how they can drive each other.”

 

via Sustainability 3.0: Money, Justice, Environment.

Carl Sandburg, unpublished, guns, poetry, “Revolver”: Very timely …

With the debate over gun control heating up, a retired volunteer at a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made a timely find.

Ernie Gullerud, a former professor of social work at the university, came upon a previously unpublished poem by Carl Sandburg titled “A Revolver,” which addresses the issue of guns and violence.

“I’m no judge of what makes a great poem, but this one said so much and so succinctly and to the point. I thought ‘Golly, someone could have written this today,'” said Gullerud, 83.

It’s not clear when Sandburg typed the poem:

Here is a revolver.
It has an amazing language all its own.
It delivers unmistakable ultimatums.
It is the last word.
A simple, little human forefinger can tell a terrible story with it.
Hunger, fear, revenge, robbery hide behind it.
It is the claw of the jungle made quick and powerful.
It is the club of the savage turned to magnificent precision.
It is more rapid than any judge or court of law.
It is less subtle and treacherous than any one lawyer or ten.
When it has spoken, the case can not be appealed to the supreme court, nor any mandamus nor any injunction nor any stay of execution in and interfere with the original purpose.
And nothing in human philosophy persists more strangely than the old belief that God is always on the side of those who have the most revolvers.
 

via Unpublished Carl Sandburg poem about power of guns uncovered at U. of I. library – chicagotribune.com.

19
Nov
11

11.19.2011 … Downtown Charlotte tour … first stop CLS Senior art show … sites along Tryon … then Halcyon …

Charlotte, Charlotte Latin School, kith/kin, Jefferson Davis, Civil War History, Halcyon:

A little late to the CLS SENIOR ART EXHIBIT — at Spirit Square.

And then stumbled upon this on S. Tryon …

So here is what happened after he heard the news…

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington, Georgia (178 miles NE of the Park), where he performed his last duties as President of the Confederate States of America. Shortly thereafter, with a small staff and escort, he departed enroute to the trans-Mississippi Department where, from which vantage point he hoped to negotiate a just peace.

Traveling via Warrenton and Sandersville, he reached Dublin (50 mile NE) about 11 o`clock May 7th, after being joined by his family early that morning. Leaving Dublin, he camped for a few hours near Alligator Creek (30[?] miles NE) and again four miles SE of Eastman (UDC marker at site), then he pushed on toward Abbeville, unaware that the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry (USA) had learned of his passage through Dublin and had begun a pursuit.

On the 8th, after a day of hard rains and boggy roads, his party crossed the Ocmulgee River at Poor Robin Ferry and camped in Abbeville (26 miles SW) and camped a mile N of the town in the present Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park. At dawn on May 10th, his camp was surrounded by men of the 1st Wisconsin and 4th Michigan cavalry regiments (USA) and he became a `state prisoner`, his hopes for a new nation — in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished `Constitutional Rights` — forever dead.

??? Georgia Historical Commission 19??

via Georgia Marker.

And then Halcyon … where John had Greens eggs and ham …

Thanksgiving, food-southern, menus, Hugh Acheson:  Turkey brined in sweet tea. 🙂

“Top Chef” judge and celebrity chef Hugh Acheson is known for reinventing traditional Southern cuisine with a bit of a French twist.

When he’s not dishing culinary advice on “Top Chef,” he’s chef/partner of the Athens, Ga. restaurants Five & Ten and The National, as well as Gosford Wine, and Atlanta eatery Empire State South.

He also has a new cookbook, “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen.”

On “THE Dish,” a different famous chef each week reveals what he or she would have if they could have just one meal. That’s because for us, “THE Dish” is about the moment, the place, and the person you would share it with. It’s about the emotion behind the food, it’s about the conversation and the meal itself. We want to get to know these chefs on a deeper level and hope our viewers will, as well.

RECIPES:

ROASTED SWEET TEA BRINED TURKEY

via Hugh Acheson’s Southern take on Thanksgiving – CBS News.

art, photo mosaic:

Smile-one / Guinness World Records

Containing 137,200 photographs and measuring 1,562.39 square meters (or 16,817.3 square feet), the largest photo mosaic was created in Nagoya, Japan by Smile-one Taichi Masumoto on Nov. 16. And the finished product is pretty cute, too.

via Largest Photo Mosaic | Hula Hoops and Giant Underwear: Eight Odd Feats from Guinness World Records Day | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

Lip Service: The Science of Smiles,  books, psychology, anthropology, biology, medicine, computer science:  Another use for anthropology

Years ago, I did an undergraduate thesis on nonverbal communication and facial expression, a large portion of which revolved around the Duchenne smile — a set of anatomical markers that differentiate an authentic smile from a feigned one. The science of smiles is, of course, far more complex than the mere fake vs. real dichotomy — the universal expression of positive disposition lives on a rich spectrum of micro-expressions and nuances. That’s exactly what Marianne LaFrance explores in Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics — a fascinating new book drawing on the author’s research at Yale and Boston College, alongside a wide array of cross-disciplinary studies from psychology, anthropology, biology, medicine and computer science, to reveal how smiles impact our inter-personal dynamics and our life experience as social beings.

via Lip Service: The Science of Smiles | Brain Pickings.

fashion, Versace, H&M:

High Fashion, Low Cost – Versace comes to H&M

via High Fashion, Low Cost | Video – ABC News.

careers, resumes, virtual badges:  OK, I thought this fascinating …

CLOTH and metal badges have long been worn by Boy Scouts, soldiers and others to show off their accomplishments.

Now the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is putting millions of dollars into a competition to spur interest in a new type of badge — one that people can display not on their clothing but on a Web site, blog or Facebook page while they are looking for a job.

The badges will not replace résumés or transcripts, but they may be a convenient supplement, putting the spotlight on skills that do not necessarily show up in traditional documents — highly specialized computer knowledge, say, or skills learned in the military, in online courses or in after-school programs at museums or libraries.

“The badges can give kids credit for the extraordinary things they are learning outside of school,” as well as being a symbol of lifelong learning for adults, said Connie M. Yowell, director of education grant-making at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

Prospective employers could click on an e-badge awarded for prowess in Javascript, for example, and see detailed supporting information, including who issued the badge, the criteria and even samples of the work that led to the award.

“The badges are another way to tell the story of who you are and what you know,” Dr. Yowell said.

“What people are learning in school is often not connected to the world of work,” she said. “Badges can fill that gap. They can be a kind of glue to connect informal and formal learning in and out of school.” If valued, they might also inspire students to accomplish new tasks.

To create prototypes of these alternative credentials, MacArthur has started a “Badges for Lifelong Learning” competition that will culminate in March 2012, when the foundation will award a total of $2 million to several dozen winners, Dr. Yowell said.

In addition, the federal Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs will jointly award $25,000 for the best badge concept and prototype that serves veterans seeking jobs.

In preparation for the contest, MacArthur has also given $1 million to the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation to develop a common standard or protocol for the badges.

Developers will use this protocol so that their badges will work across the Web on various platforms, no matter which organization is awarding them, just as e-mail works across the Internet regardless of the particular program used, said Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation in Mountain View, Calif.

“People will be able to take courses at a dozen places, and then put the badges from these different places on their Web site,” he said.

The badges can be verified in several ways. For instance, a badge can include a verification link that makes it possible to check with the issuer about authenticity and status, should the badge have an expiration date.

The Mozilla Foundation supports the development of free software that can be used throughout the Web. It owns the Mozilla Corporation, creator of Firefox, the open source Internet browser.

Mr. Surman’s group tested an early version of the badge system this spring at the School of Webcraft at Peer to Peer University, an online school offering free courses organized by peers, said Erin B. Knight, who works on the badge project for the Mozilla Foundation. Students in the pilot program were awarded badges in Javascript, HTML, teamwork, collaboration and other areas.

Many organizations, including NASA, Intel and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are collaborating with MacArthur in the competition, providing information about their programs and activities that could be the basis for badge awards, said Cathy N. Davidson, a professor at Duke University and co-administrator of the competition.

NASA, for example, has educational programs in robotics for young people that might be suitable content for badges.

Designers have until Jan. 12 to submit their ideas for badge prototypes. Design winners will be paired with content providers to compete for the final awards, Dr. Davidson said.

Independent of the MacArthur contest, one company, TopCoder, in Glastonbury, Conn., has been awarding its own version of digital badges for several years. It holds online programming competitions that offer cash rewards, said Mike Lydon, its chief technology officer. Many of the programs become commercial products that are sold or licensed to customers like I.B.M.

TopCoder competitors who do not win cash awards can still obtain a useful credential, Mr. Lydon said — a digital emblem that, when clicked on, gives statistics about their prowess relative to others. Competitors use screen names that let them preserve their anonymity, but also share scores with prospective employers when the scores are ones they are proud of.

It is an extremely helpful badge to include in job searches, Mr. Lydon said.

“Rather than saying ‘look me up,’ ” he said, “people have this transportable widget at their Web site.”

via Digital Badges May Highlight Job Seekers’ Skills – NYTimes.com.

toys, gifts:  I did not think any of these interesting … KidsPost Holiday Toy Test – The Washington Post.

quote, Einstein, Disney, Jobs, Picasso: … ” It’s a real genius to tie art, emotion and technology together.”

I think that Einstein was in a different orbit. Steve was equal to Walt Disney or Pablo Picasso. Disney was probably the closest to Steve. The real genius of these men was that they were able to create an emotional connection with their products. Bob Dylan does the same with music; Picasso with art. It’s a real genius to tie art, emotion and technology together.

— The New York Times’ Nick Bilton has a great one-on-one interview with Walter Isaacson, author of the highly anticipated Steve Jobs biography

via curiosity counts – I think that Einstein was in a different orbit…..

‘sleep texting’:  Oh, my …

Doctors are seeing more cases of sleep deprived patients who are sleep texting.

Sleep expert Dr. Marcus Schmidt tells WTHR-TV that sleep deprivation can trigger common motor behaviors during sleep, including reaching for the phone when it goes off. Schmidt suggests keeping your cell phone away from the bed while you are sleeping, maybe even in another room.

Schmidt admits the phenomenon is new, so there isn’t a lot of empirical data to go with it.

via Doctors noting increase in ‘sleep texting’ | KING5.com Seattle.

graphics, web typeface:  for the real computer nerds …

There are those points in every interactive designer’s career when he becomes fed up with producing the same set of graphics all over again for every website he designs. It could be the social network icons, gallery arrows or any number of his «signature» butterflies for the footer of each of his projects. Similar for interactive developers that have to slice the same GIFs and PNGs each time art-director asks them to.

Until now. We want creative people to spend time on creative things. So we came up with the typeface that includes all frequently used iconographics and symbols. Although, the idea is not hot-baked — Webdings and Windings have been around for quite a time — all of them have a lot of unnecessary and sometimes actually scary symbols.

Web Symbols is a set of vector html-compliant typefaces, so it might be used in any size, color and browser (okey, mostly — but IE7 for sure).

via Web Symbols typeface.

street art, 3D street art: 🙂

3D pavement art: 3D painting by Joe Hill at Canary Wharf

3D street art around the world – in pictures

British artist Joe Hill’s creation has broken records for the longest and largest surface area 3D painting, according to Guinness Book of World Records. We take a look at some other great examples of 3D street paintings, from crevasses in Ireland to shark-infested waters in China

via 3D street art around the world – in pictures | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.

movies, holiday movies, kids’ movies:  I have heard that Hugo is good … mixed on the Muppets.

T he weeks between Thanksgiving and the new year provide lots of opportunities to go to the movies, and this year is no different. Here’s a look at some films made for kids that might be worth an outing for the entire family.

“Happy Feet Two”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Hugo”

“The Muppets”

“The Adventures of Tintin”

via Family-friendly movies for the holidays – The Washington Post.

28
May
11

‎5.28.2011 … I wonder how many people take the megabus to dc and then stay at the Willard …

travel, transportation, DC:  I am taking the megabus to and from dc … anybody tried it?  Then I will join John who is flying in on US Air 🙂 … and stay at the Willard … anybody stayed there?  Will make for an interesting rendezvous!

labyrinths, Charlotte, quotes:  I enjoyed my Labyrinth Walk #2 at Presbyterian Hospital while waiting for ET to wake from his liver biopsy on 5.26.  Anyone know the source of the quote, “yet also: Be still for healing most likely whispers”?

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“I knew something good could come out of such pain. The new labyrinth will provide a point of focus to help people collect their thoughts during the grieving process,” said Linda Matney, donor and founder of the Jack and Linda Matney Family Foundation.

Dating back to the 14th century, a labyrinth is a geometric, flat surface with winding, circuitous paths. A labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful course. Walking a labyrinth has been effective in reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and breathing rates, in addition to reducing chronic pain. Often people find peace, solace, release and a deep sense of joy as they reach the center of the labyrinth’s circuitous paths.

Designer, Tom Schultz, nationally recognized for his unique labyrinth designs, has patterned the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth after the 14th Century labyrinth at Chatres Cathedral in France.

The Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth is supported by ongoing financial gifts from the community. In addition to the Labyrinth endowment, fundraising efforts continue for phase II of the labyrinth, projected to include a memorial prayer wall.

“My impetus in creating the labyrinth was to give patient’s families and caregivers the opportunity to focus on a spiritual connection, prayer or whatever could bring peace to each person.”

via New Presbyterian Hospital Labyrinth Puts Caregivers on Path to Peace.

Facebook, twitter, privacy:  Facebook is not my friend … Facebook is not my friend …

 

Attention, humanity: We seem to be suffering from an acute case of stupidity.

There’s a viral misconception making its way through our Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles and injecting itself into our brains. And it’s leading those infected to believe these social sites are looking out for us.

Yesterday, we wondered if Twitter should actually hand over user information to officials when it’s subpoenaed. The day before, a report that even Facebook content marked “Friends-Only” could be used against you in court sent us spiraling into rants about the company’s lack of integrity on issues of user privacy. (The horror!) Well, Facebook’s integrity isn’t on today’s discussion menu. But yours is.

There will never be an easier way to break this to you other than to just say it: Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business. Repeat this to yourself until it begins to sink deep within in your social-loving brain cells. “Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business.”

Laws on Internet activity and speech are just beginning to manifest in court, and nine times out of ten, companies will comply with authorities. (Yes, this means handing over your account’s info.) Some rulings have required Facebook to turn over user password information, other courts have thrown out similar requests. It’s all the more reason to consider what you post online fair game inside our legal system.

Of course, when I say “Facebook,” I really mean every social media site you’ve hitched to your digital identity: Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. Facebook seems to take the brunt of the backlash because of its size, but that hasn’t changed our silly new idea that all of these companies have our best interests in mind. They don’t. They’re businesses. They want our personal information to dangle in front of advertisers. And no, Facebook isn’t inherently evil for not really giving a damn about you. It’s business.

The problem is that this reality doesn’t fit our modern consumer expectations, which, some would argue could be described as profound laziness. We’re living in the age of blaming companies for everything we don’t like about ourselves. Smoke too much? Blame big tobacco. Eat too much? Blame fast food. Sign up for a website that craves your personal information, then do something stupid? Surely it’s not your fault.

via Facebook, Twitter Aren’t Responsible For Your Online Behavior – Techland – TIME.com.

Apple, music, cloud computing, iCloud:  Well, I for one, hope this works … our family has music spread over to many computers.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this whole online music thing is heating up. First Amazon rolled out its Cloud Player, then Google Music came along, and now Apple is expected to announce its own online music service—the big money’s on something called “iCloud” that’ll be unveiled on June 6th.

The difference between Apple’s offering and offerings from both Amazon and Google is that Apple has apparently gotten the blessing of three of the four major record labels, with the fourth said to be right around the corner. But why should Apple care about playing nice with the record labels when Google and Amazon have already thumbed their noses at the music industry?

If what Businessweek is reporting turns out to be accurate, Apple’s service will behave differently than Google’s and Amazon’s in that you won’t have to actually upload your entire music collection to Apple’s servers.

via Apple’s Online Music Locker: A Great Idea (That’s 10+ Years Old) – Techland – TIME.com.

Groupon, jobs, creative writing:  I actually thought about applying for a job as a Groupon writer …

Groupon has nothing so special. It offers discounts on products and services, something that Internet start-up companies have tried to develop as a business model many times before, with minimal success. Groupon’s breakthrough sprang not just from the deals but from an ingredient that was both unlikely and ephemeral: words.

Words are not much valued on the Internet, perhaps because it features so many of them. Newspapers and magazines might have gained vast new audiences online but still can’t recoup the costs from their Web operations of producing the material.

Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay.

IN 177 North American cities and neighborhoods, 31 million people see one of the hundreds of daily deals that Ms. Handler and her colleagues write, and so many of them take the horseback ride or splurge on the spa or have dinner at the restaurant or sign up for the kayak tour that Groupon is raking in more than a billion dollars a year from these featured businesses and is already profitable.

There used to be a name for marketing things to clumps of people by blasting messages at them: spam. People despised it so much it nearly killed e-mail. The great achievement of Groupon — a blend of “group” and “coupon” — is to have reformulated spam into something benign, even ingratiating.

via Groupon Counts on Writers and Editors to Build Its Audience – NYTimes.com.

Experience is a plus, but not necessarily required if you have compelling samples. We’ll work with anyone who can write succinctly, persuasively, and intelligently. Groupon writers are held not only to a high quality standard, but must also show a willingness and ability to generate a high volume of copy on a daily basis. Fast typing and web savvy are critical. Salary is $37K and includes full benefits. For the right candidate, Groupon will pay a relocation allowance.

via Groupon Jobs.

international politics, G8, economics: G8 irrelevant?

 

And that’s not a bad thing because, as a global conclave, the G-8 has become almost entirely irrelevant. It was originally formed in 1975, in the wake of an alarming international oil crisis, as a forum for the West’s greatest economies to meet and steer global policy without the burdensome nuisance of the U.N. or other more democratic international institutions. For a long time, the annual summit seemed the place from which the world was truly governed — a resurrection of an older Western imperial guard (plus Japan). Not surprisingly, it was hated by many. Just a decade ago, the G-8 summit in Genoa was the site of truly epic scenes of rioting and mayhem as anti-globalization protesters attempted to storm the gathering, targeting what they thought was the progenitor of all the world’s capitalistic injustices. Fast forward ten years later: at Deauville, there was greater fury in the waves of the placid English Channel. How things have changed.

 

In the age of the BRICs — a Goldman Sachs monicker that has stuck for the combined rising clout of Brazil, Russia, India and China — it’s not controversial to suggest the G-8 has gone past its shelf-life. President Obama has already hailed the G-20, where all the BRICs are in attendance (only Russia is in the G-8), as the “premier forum for global economic coordination.” (Incidentally, the G-20 is also meeting in France later this year, in Cannes.) Sensing the change in the winds, then Brazilian President Lula da Silva declared in 2009 that the G-8 “doesn’t have any reason to exist.” By any metric, he’s right: the G-8 no longer accommodates the world’s biggest or most dynamic economies; the G-8 no longer accounts for all the world’s nuclear weapons; the G-8 doesn’t speak for any particular identity or values — with Russia in the fold, it’s hardly a champion of democracy. So what is it for?

 

via Why the G-8 Should Never Meet Again – Global Spin – TIME.com.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  I think I used the term slime bag … This writer uses “pond scum” and  “jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale” … but asks a fair question …  did he commit a crime?  Part of me hopes yes … but his family has suffered immeasurably, and if he didn’t, then let the man just wallow in his sin.

As far as I’m concerned, John Edwards is pond scum. Last I checked, that’s not a crime.

We can stipulate, I think, to the pond scum part. The man cheated on his wife — and defended himself by noting that her cancer was in remission at the time. Even after the affair was disclosed, Edwards lied about whether he fathered a daughter with the woman. He had a loyal aide falsely claim paternity and turned to wealthy friends to support the woman.

But being a jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale, is not a felony, which is what federal prosecutors have been pursuing for more than two years. The original theory of the case was that Edwards misused campaign funds to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter. That would have been a serious matter, except the theory fizzled.

Some prosecutors would have stopped there. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, George Holding, did not.

The current case against Edwards, the one for which he is on the verge of being indicted, rests on a novel and expansive reading of what constitutes a campaign contribution.

The crux of the case is that during the 2008 campaign, Edwards, directly or indirectly, approached two of his biggest financial backers, the late trial lawyer Fred Baron and heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, to solicit financial support for Hunter. Baron and Mellon, motivated at least in part by a desire to fuel Edwards’s presidential ambitions, anted up, to the tune of more than $750,000.

Was that a contribution to the Edwards campaign, in which case it would be illegal because it was not reported as such and exceeded the allowable contribution limits? That’s a stretch.

via John Edwards: A jerk, not a felon – The Washington Post.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  New tag … slime bags … Go for it US Justice Department.

via 2011 May 26 « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

business, data, technology, changes:  Data and harnessing that data is changing business … a whole new world.

As usual, the reality of the digital age is outpacing fiction. Last year people stored enough data to fill 60,000 Libraries of Congress. The world’s 4 billion mobile-phone users (12% of whom own smartphones) have turned themselves into data-streams. YouTube claims to receive 24 hours of video every minute. Manufacturers have embedded 30m sensors into their products, converting mute bits of metal into data-generating nodes in the internet of things. The number of smartphones is increasing by 20% a year and the number of sensors by 30%.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has no Borges-like qualms about the value of all these data. In a suitably fact-packed new report, “Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity”, MGI argues that data are becoming a factor of production, like physical or human capital. Companies that can harness big data will trample data-incompetents. Data equity, to coin a phrase, will become as important as brand equity. MGI insists that this is not just idle futurology: businesses are already adapting to big data.

Companies are assembling more detailed pictures of their customers than ever before. Tesco, a British retailer, collects 1.5 billion nuggets of data every month and uses them to adjust prices and promotions. Williams-Sonoma, an American retailer, uses its knowledge of its 60m customers (which includes such details as their income and the value of their houses) to produce different iterations of its catalogue. Amazon, an online retailer, has claimed that 30% of its sales are generated by its recommendation engine (“you may also like”). The mobile revolution adds a new dimension to customer-targeting. Companies such as America’s Placecast are developing technologies that allow them to track potential consumers and send them enticing offers when they get within a few yards of a Starbucks.

via Schumpeter: Building with big data | The Economist.

Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy, crime and law, constitutional law, cruel and unusual punishment:  This is a serious problem, and one that will not go away.  We are fortunate to have a constitution that respects human dignity, even that of criminals.

So it was no surprise that Mr Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 decision by the court this week that orders California to reduce its prison overcrowding. Full capacity is defined as one inmate per cell, which in California currently means 80,000 prisoners. But California’s prisons have at times housed twice as many, with inmates stacked in bunk beds in gymnasiums. At the moment, the prisons are about 175% full. The court order requires that ratio to go down to a slightly less egregious 137.5% within two years.

Overcrowding has meant not only more violence but woefully inadequate health and mental care, with more deaths and suicides. “When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their faeces for days in a dazed state?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor testily demanded of a lawyer representing California last November. Mr Kennedy, in his opinion this week, referred to an inmate who had been held “in a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic.”

Such conditions are, in Mr Kennedy’s words, “incompatible with the concept of human dignity” and amount to unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment”. The four judges who are considered liberal agreed; the four conservatives did not. For Justice Samuel Alito, the case was a matter not of dignity but of public safety. The decision, he said, will force California to release “46,000 criminals—the equivalent of three army divisions”.

via Prison overcrowding: A win for dignity | The Economist.

random, Widespread Panic, John Bell, energy room, Clarksville GA, places:  I need an energy room!

Clad in jeans and cowboy boots, musician John “JB” Bell reclined in a green fabric and metal chair on a Saturday morning, surrounded by 16 computers sitting on shelves about a foot from the ceiling. The computer screens glowed blue behind multicolored static, generating so much heat air-conditioning was needed to cool the room.

A Wellness Center at Home

When he’s not on tour, musician John “JB” Bell of the southern rock jam band Widespread Panic spends much of his time at a home in Clarkesville, Ga., a tiny mountain town.

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Jeff Herr for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Bell seeks balance at his 1912 white colonial that he’s turned into a holistic wellness center.

Mr. Bell, 49, said he spends a few hours every night and day he’s home in this “energy room,” working on lyrics, reading, thinking or sleeping. He says the energy generated by the computers creates an “uplifting vibe very similar to the feeling when the band improvises into new territory, and the audience seems to be right there alongside you.” His wife Laura, 48, said, “We joke it’s the new way of catching a buzz.”

Come January, when Widespread Panic will take a break for at least a year, Mr. Bell plans to spend most of his time gardening and hanging out in Clarkesville. “Keeping your life balanced is very nurturing to music. The band can’t be my total identity. I still enjoy being on the road. It is still fulfilling,” he said. “But here it is more working in the garden, hanging out with Laura and working on music at a leisurely pace. I like to let songs come to me at their own pace. I try to stay calm about it.”

Fans do occasionally track Mr. Bell down at his house. When they do, Mrs. Bell quickly ushers them into the energy room.

“It turns the focus on them instead of John. It’s disarming to them,” she said. The Bells charge $44 for a two-hour session in the room, but said they don’t make a profit from the wellness center. Rates at the clinic are sliding scale depending on financial need, and most customers are from the local community.

Most members of Widespread Panic haven’t been to the house—and only their tour manager, Steve Lopez, is enthusiastic about the energy room. Recently, when on the road, Mr. Lopez and Mr. Bell spent time in an energy room in Hollywood. “We need it. There are times when our work makes us really stressed out,” Mr. Lopez said.

via The Georgia Home of Widespread Panic Lead Singer and Guitarist John ‘JB’ Bell – WSJ.com.

random, sports, quotes: OK, I like this quote: “‘a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.'”

My friend and mentor Michael Kinsley defined a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.” In my profile of Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ chief executive, this week, he apparently made several gaffes in describing several of his players. Wilpon said David Wright is “a very good player, not a superstar”; Carlos Beltran is “sixty-five to seventy per cent” of the player he was; Jose Reyes has had a lot of injuries:

“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to the Red Sox’ signing of the former Tampa Bay player to a seven-year, $142-million contract. “He’s had everything wrong with him,” Wilpon said of Reyes. “He won’t get it.”

In the Kinsley tradition, though, all Wilpon did was tell the truth.

I spend more of my time covering law and politics than I do writing about sports. Both fields have changed dramatically in recent years, largely for the better. Sportswriting used to be cheerleading; political journalism used to be stenography. (I generalize.) But both fields demand candor no less from our subjects than from us journalists. Wilpon shouldn’t be criticized for delivering it.

via The Sporting Scene: Honest About the Mets : The New Yorker.

Blackbeard, anthropology, pirates:  I love pirate lore …

Dead men tell no tales, but the sea does, as shown Friday when an anchor was recovered from the wreckage of pirate Blackbeard’s flagship.

An expedition off the North Carolina coast hoisted the nearly 3,000-pound anchor, one of three belonging to the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Crews were working in just 20 feet of water, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge is believed to have run aground in the shallow waters off Beaufort in 1718. The ship was discovered in 1996, with piecemeal recovery of artifacts intensifying only a few years ago.

via Anchor from Blackbeard ship recovered – CNN.com.

causes, Jeff McGonnell, Davidson, ultramarathons, kudos, kith/kin:  You go, Jeff … but I think you are a little crazy!

 

Don’t be alarmed if you see Davidson resident Jeff McGonnell running nonstop circles around the Green on Friday and Saturday, June 4-5. He hasn’t lost his mind. He’ll be running for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for the Batten Disease Support and Research Association.

 

The event, sponsored by the Town of Davidson and BirdNest Music, is called “24 hour Loopy for a Cause.”

 

McGonnell will be running a pre-determined loop on the Green, seven loops being equal to one mile. He hopes to run around 100 miles in the 24 hours.

 

While he runs, there will be live music. Musicians scheduled to play include Billy Jones, Rick Spreitzer, Rusty Knox, Rob McHale and more. There will also be food, games and other fun activities for kids.

 

McGonnell has been an ultra runner for more than 20 years, competing in more than 150 races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). For the right donation, this serious runner will run in a dress juggling pineapples and whistling pop tunes. Anyone can join in a few laps of the run for a small donation.

 

via He’ll run 24 hours on the Green, for a good cause  | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

music, technology, innovations, Mall music, Bluebrain, DC: Bluebrain launches ‘location-aware album’ … very cool.  I may add this to my next DC experience.

If a melody on the new Bluebrain album doesn’t move you, keep walking.

On Saturday, the Washington-based band of brothers, Hays and Ryan Holladay, will release what has been dubbed the world’s first location-aware album — an app designed for smartphones that uses Global Positioning System technology to trigger different swaths of electro-pop based on physical location. Titled “The National Mall,” the app-album can be heard only in Washington by iPhone-toting listeners strolling around the monuments and museums.

Sounds geeky, right? It is. But like the most fantastic collisions of music and technology, it feels magical. And in an iPod era, where bite-size MP3s have threatened to vanquish the traditional album format, Bluebrain is helping redefine what an album can actually be. Somewhere, Sgt. Pepper is smiling.

Musically, the pair set out to compose electronic soundscapes that would embellish that sense of aesthetic weirdness, divorcing, they hoped, many of the iconic vistas from their historical and cultural associations in the process.

“There’s this giant obelisk in the middle of a lawn,” Ryan says. “If you don’t think of that as a George Washington Monument, it’s just a really crazy-looking thing.”

Approach that crazy-looking thing while listening to “The National Mall,” and you’ll hear a keyboard weep. Get closer and digital cellos begin to trace a regal melody. Closer. There’s percussion. Keep going. The volume creeps up. The drums push toward anarchy. Walk right up to the monument, press your hand against the cool, smooth stone and listen, as if the obelisk were a giant radio needle receiving some riotous transmission from deep space.

It’s truly magical.

Remember to wear good headphones. And comfortable walking shoes.

via Bluebrain’s ‘The National Mall’: The first location-aware album – The Washington Post.

travel, NYC, lists:  Don’t you just love the term al fresco … makes me want to go to NYC and enjoy the out of doors … the NY way!

Now that the season has made it acceptable to wear cutoff shots and visibly sweat through your shirt, it’s time to take eating and drinking into the great outdoors. So whether it be on a sidewalk, a rooftop, or a beach, we’ve got you covered for the restaurants and bars with killer outdoor spaces. To kick off this weekend’s unofficial start of summer, here’s what opened earlier this spring, what’s opening this weekend, and what’s coming in the very near future. Have a happy Memorial Day, and see you Tuesday!

via Take It Outside: 42 Great Places for Going Alfresco This Summer — Grub Street New York.

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.

 




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