Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring

03
Mar
13

3.3.13 … the Advantages of Being Useless … Ok, I feel very useless … and proud of it!

liberal arts:  Ok, I feel very useless … and proud of it!

Because I’m going to convince you that the uselessness of Liberal Arts degrees is advantageous. I’m going toargue that people who major or minor in a liberal arts discipline are better off than people who don’t. And I’m going to argue that these people are better off  precisely because Liberal Arts degrees are useless.

via Liberal Arts, and the Advantages of Being Useless | Nicholaos Jones – Academia.edu.

Arab Spring,  climate change, stressor, NYTimes.com:  Very interesting …

IN her introduction to a compelling new study, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” released Thursday, the Princeton scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter notes that crime shows often rely on the concept of a “stressor.” A stressor, she explains, is a “sudden change in circumstances or environment that interacts with a complicated psychological profile in a way that leads a previously quiescent person to become violent.” The stressor is never the only explanation for the crime, but it is inevitably an important factor in a complex set of variables that lead to a disaster. “The Arab Spring and Climate Change” doesn’t claim that climate change caused the recent wave of Arab revolutions, but, taken together, the essays make a strong case that the interplay between climate change, food prices (particularly wheat) and politics is a hidden stressor that helped to fuel the revolutions and will continue to make consolidating them into stable democracies much more difficult.

via The Scary Hidden Stressor – NYTimes.com.

28
Oct
11

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

Statue of Liberty, history: Happy 125th birthday!

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

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

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

Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty – YouTube.

Charlotte, Olympics:  Wouldn’t that be fun …

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

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

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

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

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

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

October snow,  D.C., weather: YIKES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

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

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

college application essay, anxiety:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Seth’s Blog: Your agenda.

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

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

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

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

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

Mormons, culture:  Mormon ways to be hip??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antique & Vintage Sterling Silver for your table and bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren Zalaznick: The conscience of television – YouTube.

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

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

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

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

gardening, deer:  The deer devoured my impatiens!!

Occasionally Severely Damaged:  Impatiens, Fall Mums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via How to Be a 1 Percenter | The Nation.

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

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

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

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

27
Oct
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iPhone

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

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

via Dead Escape Review | Mac|Life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tawakkol Karman, Yemen, Arab Spring:

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

 

Three-Line Novels: Precursor to twitter?

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Jobs, bookstores, random:  Steve is watching …

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

via Steve Jobs Watches Over Bookstores – GalleyCat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stink bug invasion, GA: Ughh!

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

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

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

viral videos, LOLJazz for Cows – YouTube.

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

via Jazz for Cows.

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

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

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

Occupy Wall Street, violence:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Storify Update Feels Like a Cleaner Social News Experience.

visual storytelling: These are fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is WDC2014?

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

via World Design Capital Bid 2014 | Cape Town.

Cape Town – World Design Capital 2014 – YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

compassion, faith and spirituality, authority:

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

via Daily Meditation: The Authority of Compassion.

Condoleezza Rice, Moammar Gaddafi: So strange …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charms – Accessories – Anthropologie.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van Anden is working to make it available on iPhone.

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

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

thermostat, Nest Labs:  Remake  of the lowly thermostat …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Jackson Pollock, “Dripped”, animated homage:

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

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

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

BONES, season 7:  next week …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pink flash mob, Breast Cancer Awareness:

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

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

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

Avon Walk Mob Dance 2011 – YouTube.

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

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

The company, like other new-fangled exp

via Megabus to launch express bus service in Atlanta.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

twitter:

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

public colleges, economy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Litfy, e-books: free e-books …

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

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

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

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

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

Great Recession, unemployment, careers:

Everybody’s heard the complaints about recruiting lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

philosophy:  Just read it … times have changed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Talking Philosophy | Example Failure.

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

war crimes, Moammar Gaddafi: This will be interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

Robert J. Zimmer, liberal arts education:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

income gap, poverty, The South, Atlanta:

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

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

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

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

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10.23.2011 … wasabi reunion day 2 … home and sushi with Molly — at Koishi Fine Chinese & Sushi Bar.

Davidson College,wasabi, reunions:  So what is a wasabi reunion like … mornings turn to afternoon and we are still in our pjs, sharing, sharing, sharing … loves, likes, movies, books, passions, missions, careers, vocations, families, coffee and more coffee, food  …

Things I learned …, food – gluten-free, vocation, El Hogar Ministries, Inc, Daraja Academy, Nike’s Girl Effect,  Rock the Vonate!, Building Dreams:

  • Gluten-free food can be pretty good and Betsy’s soup is divine … gluten-free?

Spinach-Provolone Soup 

1 28 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed but not squeezed dry(note:  if I’m strapped for time, I put the frozen spinach in a colander and run hot water over it)

¾ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup butter

6 cups skim milk

6 cups chicken broth

6 T cornstarch mixed thoroughly with some of the milk until smooth

2 cups shredded provolone cheese (I often buy the Italian blend already shredded at Wal Mart—easier)

2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Extra grated cheese and crumbled bacon for topping the soup

  • Puree spinach in food processor and set aside.  If you don’t have a food processor, the soup will still work (you’ll just have chunkier spinach J)
  • Saute onion in melted butter.
  • Add broth, milk, and cornstarch mixture
  • Heat over medium heat until mixture thickens to a thin sauce and begins to bubble (stir frequently).
  • Add the 2 c. grated cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in the salt, cayenne pepper, and spinach.
  • Serve as soon as spinach is heated thoroughly.  Garnish each bowl with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.

This makes enough to serve 12.  Enjoy!

  • Pride in a child who is conquering an illness or handicap, pride in an adult who is conquering an illness or handicap …
  • Heartbreak and joy … everyone can and should experience both … Both are better when shared.
  • Finding your vocation … (I am still looking for mine).

… one wasabi’s husband is heading an orphanage in Honduras, and he is happy … he has found his vocation.

The mission of El Hogar Projects is to provide a loving home and education in a Christian environment for abandoned, orphaned and hopelessly poor children, enabling them to fulfill their ultimate potential as productive human beings in Honduras.

The mission of El Hogar Ministries, Inc. is to assist in the improvement of social and educational conditions in Honduras, principally by supporting El Hogar Projects. El Hogar Ministries, Inc. raises funds and maintains an office for coordination and communication with North American sponsors, contributors and outreach groups which form a sacred community of service and are the backbone of financial support for the 250 children at the three schools and homes of El Hogar Projects.

via El Hogar’s schools provide a loving home & education for abandoned & orphaned children in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

… another wasabi is on the board of a Kenyan school for girls which  is using Rock the Vonate to raise funds … She taught in Kenya right out of Davidson and always           wanted to find a way back

Girls of Daraja (complete) – YouTube.

Rock the Vonate! Your vonate will help Daraja win a spot with Nike’s Girl Effect: top 6 projects w/highest # of individual donations win. This is an opportunity to get Daraja on the global stage. Daraja Academy is a boarding secondary school for Kenyan girls with top academic scores and exceptional leadership skills but no means to continue their education.The academy provides shelter, food, healthcare and counseling services allowing students to focus on academic and personal development.

via Daraja Academy for Exceptional Kenyan Girls – GlobalGiving.

… another wasabi spouse is starting up a mentoring program for SC children of incarcerated parents …

Who We Are

Building Dreams provides mentoring services based on principles of positive youth development to children of incarcerated parents. Started in 2004 in five counties of South Carolina, the Building Dreams program has gradually expanded so that today services are available in eight counties and will soon expand state-wide. Our overarching goal is to develop close, supportive, one-on-one mentoring relationships between trained adult volunteers and eligible children.

via Building Dreams : Public Service : Clemson University : South Carolina.

home, kith/kin: It is wonderful to have a child to share fun and different meals with … Sushi with Molly — at Koishi Sushi Bar and Fine Chinese Restaurant.

travel, technology, iPads:  Another significant impact of a Steve Jobs’ invention … Ipads change economics and speed of hotel wi-fi.  It changes it in my house … “The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said.”

IF, like me, you have been complaining about unusually poor Internet service in hotel rooms lately, the hotels have a good explanation.

Largely because of the broad use of iPads and other mobile tablets, which are heavy users of video streaming, the guest room Wi-Fi networks that most hotels thought they had brought up to standard just a few years ago are now often groaning under user demands.

“The iPad is the fastest-selling device in consumer electronics history, and because of it the demand placed on any public place Wi-Fi system has gone up exponentially in the last year and a half,” said David W. Garrison, the chief executive of iBAHN, a provider of systems for the hotel and meetings industries.

This means more hotel customers are unhappy with their Internet connections. Hotel owners, meanwhile, who are digging out from a two-year slump caused by the recession, will probably have to invest more money to provide more bandwidth.

For travelers, it may mean still another fee, since hotels will be paying their own Internet bills. Some hotel Internet service providers are proposing a solution that offers tiered Wi-Fi service. The lowest level, suitable for basic Internet requirements like checking e-mail, would be free, but other levels would be priced depending on bandwidth requirements. According to iBAHN, iPads consume four times more Wi-Fi data per month than the average smartphone.

The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said.

via IPads Change Economics, and Speed, of Hotel Wi-Fi-On the Road – NYTimes.com.

2012 Presidential Election, technology, twitter, social networking, GOP:  Is the GOP finally getting up to speed?

President Obama’s image projected from one of the many television screens that hang in Representative Eric Cantor’s office suite, where the president could be seen telling a crowd in North Carolina that he was open to “any serious idea” Republicans offered on jobs.

Within seconds, Brad Dayspring, Mr. Cantor’s Rasputin of retort, was on the case, his fingers ripping across the keyboard as if individually caffeinated. “Obama says he’s open to any “serious #GOP idea,” typed Mr. Dayspring, the aggressive spokesman for Mr. Cantor, the Republican from Virginia who serves as House majority leader, in a message on Twitter. “Here are 15 jobs bills stalled in the Senate to get him started.”

A link from Mr. Cantor’s blog was quickly pasted in, the send button was hit, and Mr. Dayspring sat back slightly in his chair, pleased.

Barely a minute goes by between the time Mr. Obama — or a high-ranking member of his administration — makes a speech, holds a news conference or says something to a talk show host, and a team of young Republican House staffers, fueled by pizza and partisanship, punches back.

It’s a bit of a table turn on Mr. Obama, whose 2008 campaign capitalized on social media in a way that left Republicans bruised and scrambling. Now, after a post-election order from Speaker John A. Boehner that year, House Republicans have embraced Twitter as their karaoke microphone to push their message against the White House bullhorn.

The insta-Tweet has revolutionized rapid response operations that just two years ago relied heavily on cable television, e-mails and news conferences to spread the word of the opposition, which often took a day or two to gain momentum. That time lag could delay the message from taking hold, a result Republicans were eager to undo.

“In the Hill environment, minutes count,” said Mr. Dayspring, whose mad-dash Twitter messaging is supplemented by his colleague Brian Patrick, Mr. Cantor’s blogger and a Twitter expert who is known as Boomer for his ability to pump up Republican crowds.

“It’s far more like a campaign environment now,” Mr. Dayspring said.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama made productive use of Facebook, MySpace and his Web site as tools of outreach and organization. Through social media, money was raised, volunteers were gathered, events were publicized and videos of the candidate went instantly viral. His Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, was flat-footed in the same arena (though he has become a devout Twitter believer since). Out of that experience was born a list of roughly 13 million Twitter users, like the famous Republican mailing lists of the past, this one on steroids.

At a January 2009 retreat, as defeated Republicans licked their wounds, Mr. Boehner told his colleagues that they needed to “think about the potential of new media,” according to a copy of his remarks. He urged members and their staff to immediately get themselves on YouTube and Twitter, as he did. Without control of the House floor, it became the Republicans’ main messaging tool as they mounted their successful push to capture control of the House. Now, it is their weapon of repetition.

Republican House members have more than twice as many followers as their Democratic counterparts — about 1.3 million versus roughly 600,000 — and are far more active on Twitter with more than 157,000 individual Twitter messages, versus roughly 62,000 for Democrats.

“Once Republicans get their act together, they are really good at organizing,” said Andrew Rasiej, the founder of Personal Democracy Media, which studies how technology is changing politics. Republicans in the House are using technology “in order to blunt the power of the White House in a new political media ecology that benefits from speed,” he said.

via The G.O.P.’s Very Rapid Response Team – NYTimes.com.

Spotify, media, journalism, social networking:  Is Spotify where journalism/media and social networking meet?  Like many products it may disappear before I figure it out!

Until Google irons out its music licensing issues with the big record labels, its Google Music service (which the Wall Street Journal says is rumored to launch within the next few weeks) probably won’t reach the popularity of the music industry’s latest big thing: Spotify. One thing Google does want to do is emulate Spotify’s social media features, which lets people share public playlists. So, what to do if your friends don’t have the best taste in music? Find someone who does!

Everyone from obsessive music geeks to celebs are sharing their playlists with the masses; Facebook kingpin Mark Zuckerberg really, really likes Green Day while Britney Spears has a thing for other pop legends such as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. For those looking for something a little more advanced, we recommend adding these seven Spotify users to your people list.

via Snoop Dogg, Sean Parker and 5 More Spotify Users You Should Add Now – Techland – TIME.com.

 iTunesU,  autism:  The access to such high quality information for free is astounding …

The Yale Seminar on Autism and Related Disorders is the United States’ first undergraduate course of its kind. The goal of this series is to make all of the lecture content and supporting materials available online for free for anyone who desires to learn about Autsim Spectrum Disorders. For Yale undergraduates, the class consists of a weekly seminar on diagnosis and assessment, etiology and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders of socialization. This collection contains the full video of the course.

via Yale Autism Seminar – Video – Download free content from Yale University on iTunes.

Unreasonable Institute,  social missions, entrepreneurship,  changing the world:  “Entrepreneurs who want to change world have to be a little crazy.”  Great NYT piece on the Unreasonable Institute!

DANIEL EPSTEIN wants to get one thing straight: He is an unreasonable man. Happily, proudly unreasonable. Entrepreneurs who want to change the world, he says, have got to be a little crazy.

Biosense Technologies developed the ToucHb, a device that tests women and children for anemia and is in clinical trials. From left are Sarita Patil, a nurse; Pallavi Janarav; and Biosense’s founders, Myshkin Ingawale and Yogesh Patil.

And so, to foster some practical zaniness, Mr. Epstein is a co-founder of something called the Unreasonable Institute, in Boulder, Colo. For the last two summers, he has helped preside over this academy for entrepreneurs who want to solve social problems and make some money, too.

Part schmooze-fest, part group hug, this six-week program connects entrepreneurs with one another, as well as with executives, investors and thinkers who might help them. Its name derives from a quotation by George Bernard Shaw: “All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” For good measure, Mr. Epstein recently had Unreasonable’s logo tattooed on his derrière.

Welcome to the age of the spreadsheet humanitarian. The central idea of the Unreasonable Institute is that profit-making businesses can sometimes succeed where their nonprofit counterparts might falter. Mr. Epstein, 25, and a serial entrepreneur, says the Unreasonable Institute wants people who are willing to think big, even when skeptics scoff.

The institute conducts its program at a fraternity house it rents at the University of Colorado. The six weeks are intense and communal. Fellows sleep three or so to a room. A chef prepares three in-house meals a day. The fellows dine at a table seating 60, alongside mentors who might include the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard or the former director of Google.org.

On any given day, the fellows might go on a hike or a bike ride with a potential investor, attend a workshop about building corporate partnerships, or take part in “family pitch night,” when two entrepreneurs present their companies to the rest of the group for feedback. At the end of the program, the fellows travel to San Francisco and pitch their ideas to a group of investors.

Mr. Epstein says market-based solutions are important in spurring economic growth throughout the developing world.

“This is really in contrast to the prevalent model of international aid,” says Cynthia Koening, 33, who attended the program this year. Her company, Wello, based in Rajasthan, India, is aimed at people — most of them women — who must walk long distances to bring drinking water to the home. Her cylinder-shaped product allows women to roll water home from the source rather than carry it on their heads, which can be dangerous and time-consuming.

The institute conducts its program at a fraternity house it rents at the University of Colorado. The six weeks are intense and communal. Fellows sleep three or so to a room. A chef prepares three in-house meals a day. The fellows dine at a table seating 60, alongside mentors who might include the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard or the former director of Google.org.

On any given day, the fellows might go on a hike or a bike ride with a potential investor, attend a workshop about building corporate partnerships, or take part in “family pitch night,” when two entrepreneurs present their companies to the rest of the group for feedback. At the end of the program, the fellows travel to San Francisco and pitch their ideas to a group of investors.

Mr. Epstein says market-based solutions are important in spurring economic growth throughout the developing world.

“This is really in contrast to the prevalent model of international aid,” says Cynthia Koening, 33, who attended the program this year. Her company, Wello, based in Rajasthan, India, is aimed at people — most of them women — who must walk long distances to bring drinking water to the home. Her cylinder-shaped product allows women to roll water home from the source rather than carry it on their heads, which can be dangerous and time-consuming.

FOR some participants, the institute is just one stop on a kind of social entrepreneurship circuit; they’ve been awarded numerous fellowships, won different business plan competitions and are regular faces at industry conferences. For others, the institute is their first encounter with this scene. This is especially true for many of the 60 percent of fellows who live outside the United States.

By coming to Boulder this year, Mr. Duarte of Mexico, founder of YoRecicolo, which operates recycling programs, was able to meet like-minded people who work on recycling and waste issues. He even received an invitation to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York last month. His company has been profitable since last year.

via Unreasonable Institute Teaches New Paths to Social Missions – NYTimes.com.

punctuation, grammar, rhetoric, history, end of an era, graphics:  Just loved this article … I obviously am a fan of the ellipses but use it like a dash …

 How might punctuation now evolve? The dystopian view is that it will vanish. I find this conceivable, though not likely. But we can see harbingers of such change: editorial austerity with commas, the newsroom preference for the period over all other marks, and the taste for visual crispness.

Though it is not unusual to hear calls for new punctuation, the marks proposed tend to cannibalize existing ones. In this vein, you may have encountered the interrobang , which signals excited disbelief.

Such marks are symptoms of an increasing tendency to punctuate for rhetorical rather than grammatical effect. Instead of presenting syntactical and logical relationships, punctuation reproduces the patterns of speech.

One manifestation of this is the advance of the dash. It imitates the jagged urgency of conversation, in which we change direction sharply and with punch. Dashes became common only in the 18th century. Their appeal is visual, their shape dramatic. That’s what a modern, talky style of writing seems to demand.

By contrast, use of the semicolon is dwindling. Although colons were common as early as the 14th century, the semicolon was rare in English books before the 17th century. It has always been regarded as a useful hybrid—a separator that’s also a connector—but it’s a trinket beloved of people who want to show that they went to the right school.

More surprising is the eclipse of the hyphen. Traditionally, it has been used to link two halves of a compound noun and has suggested that a new coinage is on probation. But now the noun is split (fig leaf, hobby horse) or rendered without a hyphen (crybaby, bumblebee). It may be that the hyphen’s last outpost will be in emoticons, where it plays a leading role.

Graphic designers, who favor an uncluttered aesthetic, dislike hyphens. They are also partly responsible for the disappearance of the apostrophe. This little squiggle first appeared in an English text in 1559. Its use has never been completely stable, and today confusion leads to the overcompensation that we see in those handwritten signs. The alternative is not to use apostrophes at all—an act of pragmatism easily mistaken for ignorance.

Defenders of the apostrophe insist that it minimizes ambiguity, but there are few situations in which its omission can lead to real misunderstanding.

The apostrophe is mainly a device for the eye, not the ear. And while I plan to keep handling apostrophes in accordance with the principles I was shown as a child, I am confident that they will either disappear or be reduced to little baubles of orthographic bling.

via Is This the Future of Punctuation!? – WSJ.com.

Occupy Wall Street, capitalism, markets, thongs, V for Vendetta:  “… the Guy Fawkes mask—popularized by the 2006 Natalie Portman film “V for Vendetta”—as a symbol of the fight against corporations.”

The “Occupy” movement may purposefully be trying to resist being branded or labeled with specific messages and demands, but there are already plenty of creative types eager to come up with logos and slogans for the protests—and make some profits while they’re at it. The DIY design site Spreadshirt reports that nearly 200 OWS-related designs have been uploaded by independent craftspeople and are available for purchase on T-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs—and even on thongs and doggie clothing. Hundreds more items are for sale at similar sites such as Zazzle and CafePress. It must be noted that there’s no indication any of the proceeds go to help the protesters. For that matter, it’s highly unlikely that any of this merchandise would even be worn by diehard protesters. But we suppose it could be argued that wearing a 99% baseball hat or an OWS hoodie represents a different kind of support for the movement.

via ‘Occupy Wall Street’ For Sale | Moneyland | How People Are Profiting From Occupy Wall Street | TIME.com.

Hackers and protesters alike have adopted the Guy Fawkes mask—popularized by the 2006 Natalie Portman film “V for Vendetta”—as a symbol of the fight against corporations. Dozens of designs feature the sinister Fawkes mask, including this $19 T-shirt at Spreadshirt.

via ‘Occupy Wall Street’ For Sale | Moneyland | Rise Guy Fawkes T-Shirt | TIME.com.

Occupy Wall Street, journalism, mainstream new media, Jeff Elder:

A Sunday New York Times column helped to focus media coverage on the legitimacy of the movement. At the same time, a news event occurred that received less coverage.

How Seriously Should We Take Occupy Wall Street?

How seriously should we take the Occupy Wall Street movement? It has turned into a global debate, and the main focus of mainstream media coverage of the movement. Much of this dialogue about the legitimacy of the protests can be traced to one newspaper column.

via How One Column Shaped Mainstream News Coverage Of Occupy Wall Street · jeffelder · Storify

the 1%, Occupy Wall Street, American Dream, social mobility, education, philanthropy:  It’s nice someone is looking at the other side of this story … even for a second.

Americans used to believe in social mobility regardless of the hand you’re dealt. Ten years ago, polls showed that about two thirds believed “people are rewarded for intelligence and skill,” the highest percentage across 27 countries surveyed. Fewer than a fifth thought that “coming from a wealthy family is essential [or] very important to getting ahead.” Such views made Americans more tolerant than Europeans and Canadians of inequality and more suspicious of government attempts to reduce it.

Yet the hardships of the Great Recession may be changing that, giving an unexpected resonance to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Falling wages and rising unemployment are making us appreciate what we ignored during the good times. Social mobility is actually lower in the U.S. than in most other developed countries—and falling.

Academic studies show that if a child is born into the poorest quintile (20 percent) of the U.S. population, his chance of making it into the top decile (10 percent) is around 1 in 20, whereas a kid born into the top quintile has a better than 40 percent chance. On average, then, a father’s earnings are a pretty good predictor of his son’s earnings. This is less true in Europe or Canada. What’s more, American social mobility has declined markedly in the past 30 years.

The right answer is to promote the kind of diversity and competition that already make the American university system the world’s best. And one highly effective way of doing this is by setting up more charter schools—publicly funded but independently run and union-free. The performance of the Success Charter Network speaks for itself. In New York City’s public schools, 60 percent of third, fourth, and fifth graders passed their math exams last year. The figure at Harlem Success was 94 percent.

The American Dream is about social mobility, not enforced equality. It’s about competition, not public monopoly. It’s also about philanthropy, not confiscatory taxation.

I’ll cheer up even more when I hear those words at a Republican presidential debate. Or maybe next week we should just tell the candidates to shut up and play poker.

via Yes, Wall Street Helps the Poor – The Daily Beast.

Arab Spring, Libya, Gadhafi’s death, democracy, transition: “Clinton said a democratic Libya should begin with the rule of law and accountability, as well as unity and reconciliation. She called investigating Gadhafi’s death a part of that process.”

Obama said the U.S. looks forward to working with officials as they prepare for free and fair elections.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she supported calls for an investigation into Gadhafi’s death as part of Libya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Gadhafi was captured wounded but alive in his hometown of Sirte. Bloody images of Gadhafi being taunted and beaten by his captors have raised questions about whether he was killed in crossfire, as suggested by government officials, or was executed.

Clinton told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview aired Sunday that she backs a proposal for the United Nations to investigate Gadhafi’s death and for Libya’s Transitional National Council to look into the circumstances.

Clinton said a democratic Libya should begin with the rule of law and accountability, as well as unity and reconciliation. She called investigating Gadhafi’s death a part of that process.

via News from The Associated Press.

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10.21.2011 … Buttery and Beanery … hasn’t changed a bit …

places, Buttery & Beanery: John and I ventured to Davidson and dined at the Buttery and Beanery – ‎”A Convenient Store & Restaurant”!!! Funny … not a “convenience store” but a “convenient store.” 🙂

cities: “Ecosystems outlast organisms.”

In modern times, it’s almost unheard of for a city to run out of steam, to disappear or to become obsolete. It happens to companies all the time. They go out of business, fail, merge, get bought and disappear.

What’s the difference?

It’s about control and the fringes.

Corporations have CEOs, investors and a disdain for failure. Because they fear failure, they legislate behavior that they believe will avoid it.

Cities, on the other hand, don’t regulate what their citizens do all day (they might prohibit certain activities, but generally, market economies permit their citizens to fail all they like).

This failure at the fringes, this deviant behavior, almost always leads to failure. Except when it doesn’t.

Ecosystems outlast organisms.

via Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do).

Moammar Gaddafi, dictator, vanity: wigs?

The long, strange tale of Moammar Gaddafi is at an end, after the former Libyan leader was shot and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday.

At the hospital, Libyan officials ran a number of tests, including on hair samples for DNA, to prove the identity of the dictator who had been on the run for the last two months. The hair was not Moammar Gaddafi’s. The slain leader was wearing a wig.

via Gaddafi’s wig: A dictator undone by vanity? – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Apple’s Board: Good advice … “Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.”

Jobs, Gore reminded the audience, had become a Disney board member after selling his Pixar animation shop. “He used to talk initially about how after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking ‘what would Walt do in this situation?’” Gore said. “And he made it very clear — ‘I don’t want that at Apple.’ He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else, ‘Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.’”

via Al Gore on Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Apple’s Board (Video) – Peter Kafka – AsiaD – AllThingsD.

Vice President Joe Biden, absurd claims, fact checkers, journalism: As I have said before, I love the fact checker articles … useful with regard to both parties.

More important than the raw figures is the rate per 100,000 individuals. Murder did go up—though the rate did not double from 2009 to 2010, as Biden claimed. But rape has gone down. Biden actually asserted it had tripled.

Biden’s office referred us to officials in Flint. After inquiries from The Fact Checker, Dawn Jones, a spokeswoman for Flint’s mayor, issued a statement from Public Safety Director Chief Alvern Lock saying: “The City of Flint stands behind the crime statistics provided to the Office of The Vice President….This information is the most accurate data and demonstrates the rise in crime associated with the economic crisis and the reduced staffing levels.”

The statement said the murder rate for 2010 was different than the FBI statistics because of a “clerical error” when the data was submitted to the FBI. (Someone in the police department forgot to add people to the murder rate if they died long after the assault.) But the revised number for the FBI will be 58 murders, not Biden’s figure of 65, because the FBI only counts willful homicides, not manslaughter and negligent homicide, Jones said.

The statement, however, was strangely silent on the massive discrepancy in the rape statistics. There have been a number of studies (see here and here) that document that the FBI statistics do not capture all forms of rape. The FBI stats include forcible intercourse but not oral sex or other forms of sexual assault.

But that issue does not explain why Biden’s rape statistics would be so much higher than what was reported in the local press over the years. The Flint Journal on May 24, in fact, reported the number of rapes had declined in the city from 2009 to 2010.

via Biden’s absurd claims about rising rape and murder rates – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

Facebook, student grades: Interesting analysis …

Mr. Junco found a direct relationship between site use and out-of-class sociability: the more time a student spent on Facebook, the more likely that student was to be involved with extracurricular activities.

Meanwhile — contradicting the zero-sum logic of some who might believe that a minute spent social networking is a minute spent not attending to schoolwork — the study found no substantive link between time spent on Facebook and time spent studying.

Mr. Junco said in an e-mail that he was surprised by the fact that the number of times a student checked Facebook each day was only weakly related to academic performance.

“This tells me that spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook is related to negative outcomes, while just checking Facebook for a few minutes each time is not,” he wrote.

via Facebook’s Impact on Student Grades – NYTimes.com.

brain development, exercise: “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Dr. John Ratey has discovered that exercise releases a special brain-nourishing protein – something he calls “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” The research means that exercise has added benefits for adults, but also for children and learning at school. We’ll find out how increasing physical activity before and during school can help kids improve their grades, lower their anxiety levels and keep them healthy all at the same time.

(Originally Aired: 4/14/2011)

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

recipes – biscuits: Great biscuits to me are not fluffy … but it is definitely worth trying to make some.

There are biscuits, and then there are biscuits. Whether you like to savor them solo with honey and butter, paired with ultra-crunchy fried chicken, or slathered with sausage gravy (hello, breakfast!), they can be the sleeper hit of any meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make fluffy, picture-perfect biscuits—as well as to gather appeals for seconds from everyone at the table.

via Secrets to Perfect Biscuits | The Feed.

apps, exercise: An exercise app …

Everyone knows that fitness is a worthy end unto itself, but that doesn’t mean that many people don’t need a little extra motivation. Enter Nexercise, an iPhone app that brings a dose of gamification to the world of fitness, with medals, discounts and even free merchandise offered as rewards for physical activity.

Now available in the iTunes store, Nexercise rewards users for walking, running, aerobics, yardwork, dancing, or any physical activity that lasts at least 15 minutes. Users begin by telling Nexercise what activity they’re about to start, and with their phone somewhere on their body, they then go ahead and do it. When they’re done, they hit a button to notify Nexercise, which verifies the activity has taken place via the motion of the device. In return, users earn rewards such as points and medals — with bonus points awarded for exercising with a friend — as well as discounts on a variety of products and services. The more points a user amasses, the better the deals become, and at the end of every month there’s a grand prize. Users can also check into gyms, view their exercise history, and compete against friends added to the app’s friend list via a connection with Facebook and Twitter.

via App turns exercise into a game, with rewards for healthy activity | Springwise.

Steve Jobs, Android, President Obama, modern medicine: If nothing else, he was opinionated … “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The Associated Press reported that Jobs, an eternal competitor, was reportedly furious after Google introduced its Android operating system, calling it a stolen product. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” he reportedly said. “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

While Apple and Google had enjoyed a close partnership before the Android launch, Jobs reportedly told Google chairman Eric Schmidt that he had no interest in settling Apple’s lawsuit over the system. Android is now the world’s dominant smartphone platform.

Excerpts of the book obtained by the Huffington Post run over Jobs’ relationship with the current administration. According to the report, Jobs told Obama that he was “headed for a one-term presidency” and criticized the president for not being business friendly. Still, Jobs reportedly offered to help Obama with his advertising but knocked heads with senior aide David Axelrod.

In a short preview of an interview with the book’s author posted by CBS, Isaacson said that Jobs regretted his decision to delay surgery that could have prevented his pancreatic cancer from spreading. Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that could be treated with surgery.

When Isaacson asked Jobs why he chose to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before consenting to surgery, Jobs told him that he “didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” It’s not clear if delaying the surgery truly would have made a difference in the end, the Associated Press reported, but doctors did say that Jobs waited a “significant period” of time before accepting the recommended treatment.

via Steve Jobs bio: His thoughts on Android, Obama and modern medicine – The Washington Post.

websites: This is useful … It checks to see if a site is still valid … but why not just put the address in the browser. Is It Old?.

“Ms.”, history: I remember my dad ranting about women who used “Ms.” It is such a non-issue today.

Ms. was suggested as a marriage-neutral honorific as early as 1901 and periodically in the years thereafter, but it never got any traction until about 1970. And with all the success that it has enjoyed since then, it’s easy to forget the resistance it met when it was first widely put forward, in the months before the magazine’s launch.

My wife was cleaning out a closet the other day and came across an issue of the Wellesley College News dated October 21, 1971—precisely 40 years ago, it now strikes me. It contains a truly remarkable letter from the president of the college, Ruth Adams (1914-2004), which I am delighted to quote nearly in full:

I read with a certain horror your lead editorial of October 14.

I consequently make this request of you: when it is necessary for you to include my name in a news story or editorial, may I be referred to either as Miss Adams or as Ruth Adams, please.

I deplore the use of the depersonalizing, degrading, and meaningless Ms. When mail comes into my house bearing that appellation, I rate it as slightly more consequential than that mail which comes addressed either to “Occupant” or “Resident.” The destination of both categories is immediately the wastepaper basket. If a correspondent cannot display the interest, intelligence, and courtesy of determining the maiden or married state of someone to whom he [sic] is writing, the correspondence is of no value. …

I rather like my maiden status and wish to have it indicated when I am identified publicly. I indeed was of the generation that was brought up believing that a married woman was referred to by her husband’s name, and only when she was translated into widowhood was she properly identified by her given name together with her married name.

Autre temps, autre meurs!

So, with this plea that I may retain the identity with which I have lived, lo, these many years, herewith my request to be identified as Miss Adams or Ruth Adams but not as that nullity which is Ms.

Seriously, there are so many important and consequential aspects involved in our attempts properly to define and identify women this cause is trivial in comparison and leaves you vulnerable to patronizing laughter.

The use of maiden is worthy of note. Also, translated into widowhood.

I was reminded of Miss Adams’s sentiments recently while listening to an NPR segment about efforts in France to get rid of the term mademoiselle. There wasn’t a push for a Ms.-like term, merely a move for all adult females to be referred to as madame. The reporter talked to a 45-year-old woman in the street whose comment shows how far this particular campaign has to go: “As long as no one calls me ‘monsieur,’ I’m fine. Anyway, we naturally refer to an older, unmarried woman as ‘madame.’ And if you you’re married but don’t look your age, you might get called ‘mademoiselle.’ It’s flattering one way and less so the other, but that’s life.”

via Ms., 40 Years On – Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

One Scene, websites, film critique, Brazil: Another one that caught my attention.

Barely a scene, this is one of those thankless transitions that shows how our protagonist gets from point A to point B. It doesn’t really advance the narrative or reveal new information about characters. In old-timey screenwriting parlance, it’s just “shoe leather.”

But look at this leather!

The intro of Sam Lowry’s vehicle is old-school Monty Python hilarious, but I’ll never forget the revelation of Shangri-La Towers, which is at first really funny and then almost immediately kind of depressing. Talk about world building. Even when the different elements of the filmmaking seem to be operating at cross-purposes, the jaunty score, battered set design, and sumptuous cinematography somehow work in concert to make this absurd future feel not just plausible but likely. And that poster behind the kids looks like it was stolen from 2011.

This entire little journey could have been handled with a cheaper/easier/saner dissolve, but instead, like with every scene in Brazil, we get something epic and unexpected and beautiful.

via One Scene: Brazil – From the Current – The Criterion Collection.

spaces, cooking, tiny kitchens, kith/kin: Our favorite house had a tiny kitchen … my daughter loved that house and swears she will never have a big house. Tiny spaces can make for great kitchens.

I turned to Shaun Hill, chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant the Walnut Tree. Before moving to his current roomy premises, Hill ran Merchant House in Ludlow from a 3m by 2m domestic-sized kitchen. In this space he singlehandedly whipped up Michelin-starred meals for up to 24 diners (with four choices). When he decided to move on, no other chef was brave enough to take on the tiny kitchen and he had to turn Merchant House back into, well, a house.

So what did he learn? “When I started there, I had been cooking for a thousand years and you have in mind ideas for what you would like to make, but it doesn’t necessarily work in the space. Quite a few things didn’t work – anything that required too many pans.” But, he promises, there are definite advantages. “It concentrates the mind. There are fewer things to turn into a disaster zone, and it doesn’t take hours to clean – you have to tidy as you go, so you can use the same space for whatever’s next.”

Mark Bittman is equally sure that size should not be an issue. When the food writer was pictured in his former kitchen in the New York Times, readers demanded to know how he created anything in such an inadequate space – which he finds hilarious. “People all over the world make do with a hotplate and nothing else, and they do fine. I’ve never felt oppressed by my small kitchen.” Instead, he points out, cooking is less tiring when everything is within reaching distance.

via Size shouldn’t matter: tiny kitchens | Life and style | The Guardian.

“Whispering windows”, marketing, technology, 24/7:

Whispering windows have been a favorite of advertisers and marketeers for a few years now. The windows are equipped with speakers and programmed to emit sounds or speech as passers by walk past the built in sensors. Often they are designed to entice or create intrigue for those on the street, but the windows installed in South African 8ta stores are adding a new level of functionality to the technology by enabling customers to browse the store’s catalogue throughout the day and night.

8ta is a mobile brand from South African Telkom that operates numerous stores selling the latest devices and services. Aiming to make a visit to their stores a sensory-rich experience for shoppers, the brand has tapped One Digital Media for a variety of technological elements. The stores’ whispering window technology “turns store windows into glass window speakers, creating a unique way to deliver messages throughout or around your store,” as One Digital Media explains. However, the windows differ from similar whispering window examples we’ve seen recently; their innovative use of through-glass touch technology allows customers to browse through a store catalogue after hours, even requesting a callback when the store reopens. Also included in 8ta stores are large video walls showcasing 8ta’s latest commercials and handset deals, as well as “pick ‘n watch” screens that allow customers to interact with and learn more about the different mobile phone models. Touch tables, meanwhile, are on hand to detail and compare all the handsets available.

Bricks and mortar may still play a key role in many product categories, but that doesn’t mean physical stores can’t borrow elements from the best of the online shopping experience — including the ability to deliver multimedia messages and product information 24/7. Other retailers around the globe: be inspired!

via ‘Whispering windows’ let stores interact with shoppers 24/7 | Springwise.

animals, animal behavior: I definitely believe animal’s feel.

But why should our inability to measure these phenomena mean that they don’t exist at all? That’s exactly what scientist and animal advocate Jonathan Balcombe explores in The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure — an absolutely remarkable and fascinating journey into the rich, tender and complex emotional lives of animals.

Balcombe examines a new generation of research on animal feelings, especially animal pleasure, illustrated with joyful images of the animal kingdom by some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers. The story unfolds with equal parts affectionate enthusiasm and scientific rigor, extending a gentle invitation to reexamine our relationship with living beings, reaching for more kindness, more empathy and more wholeheartedness in how we think of and treat other animals.

Nobody denies that other humans are sentient, though it’s no more possible to prove another human being is sentient than it is to prove an animal’s sentience. We don’t accept such solipsism. It would be far-fetched. So let’s stop drawing this line between humans and all other animals.” ~ Jonathan Balcombe

via The Exultant Ark: The Secret Emotional Lives of Animals | Brain Pickings.

gender stereotyping, men:

The human male is in crisis. Or at least he must be, given the recurring themes in this season’s crop of new TV shows. Apparently the networks have sensed something in the zeitguyst that cries out for reassurance, and they have scampered to oblige. Oh, sorry, men don’t scamper. They stride purposefully. And network TV’s recent purposeful steps include the following:

How to Be a Gentleman, about a prissy fop destined to be made into a real man (CBS);

Man Up, about three grown men feeling like they’re anything but (ABC);

Last Man Standing, in which Tim Allen angrily defends traditional masculinity from the encroaching forces of femininity and metrosexuality (ABC).

Here now is where I trot out my man bona fides. Yes, I like to grill meat and drink beer. I also like to play video games, and I share an interest in some of the media aimed at my seven-year-old son. I also love my cats, have had long talks with my son about feelings, and one time in the housewares section he asked my wife if she thought I wanted a new vacuum cleaner (I was uncertain about switching to a bagless model, but it’s working out well).

via Jeff Alexander on The Gender Stereotyping of Man Shows | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

dictators, class: Dictators and classy don’t seem to mix?

When you’re the ruthless autocrat of an oppressed country, chances are your inside coterie consists entirely of yes men. And yes men are notoriously unreliable judges of taste — especially when their boss has a reputation for executing those who don’t mesh with their personal sense of … um … style. You know, for example, that no one was willing to give Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi pointers in aesthetics when he decided he wanted a huge golden fist crushing an enemy fighter jet to grace a courtyard inside his compound in Tripoli — as seen here after rebels seized the compound in late August 2011. Classy!

via What Dictators Consider Classy – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Arab Spring, Tunisia, democracy: Democracy is not going to be easy. “From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.”

But Harrath is referring to his native Tunisia, the country that lit the touch paper for the uprisings that toppled the regimes of its larger neighbors to the East. Its revolution, sparked by the death of a fruit seller in Sidi Bouzid, was quick, almost clinical, taking barely a month to sweep President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power. Tunisia’s democracy is also blooming before others in the region, with elections called for this Sunday, Oct. 23. From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.

And that model may prove uncomfortable for the western countries that have hailed the uprisings and joined the public denunciations of regimes with whom they until recently did business. An Islamist party Ennahdha is topping the polls as Tunisians prepare to select a Constituent Assembly to pen the country’s new constitution and set up its transitional government. Tunisians living abroad have already been invited to cast their ballots. Their ranks include exiles whose mistreatment, not only by the Tunisian authorities but by storied democracies and institutions that might have been expected to protect them, informs their worldview.

via A Tunisian Islamist in Exile Expresses His Hopes Ahead of Oct. 23 Election – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Facebook, LOL: Facebook Voicemails from my Mom – YouTube.

20
Oct
11

10.20.2011 … after two solid weeks of Davidson pomp and circumstance … it is nice to have my world back to normal … I bet Dr. Quillen feels the same way … Moammar Gadhafi … RIP or Celebrate his overthrow and demise …

Davidson College, pomp and circumstance: “At Davidson as everywhere, time and people march on. A larger sense of purpose remains.”

 

Trustee and Search Committee Chair Kristin Hills Bradberry ’85 quoted a fellow Search Committee member on Quillen: “We saw Davidson fresh and anew through her eyes. She sees the good, the beautiful, the excellent in what we do. She makes us want to share her vision for the potential she sees in us, to be even better.”

At Davidson as everywhere, time and people march on. A larger sense of purpose remains.

via Daybook Davidson » Pomp and Circumstance: Time Marches On, And Sense of Purpose Remains Steadfast.

vacation traditions, kith/kin, empty nesters recipes, crab cakes: I am really jealous … store bought crab cakes from EarthFare are nothing like Joni’s, even if I cook them in butter … and she’s probably having some of the good ones at the beach without me … Oh, and Otis is just fine Molly says …

FPC,  PW CIrcle 11,  Community Culinary School of Charlotte:  The  Community Culinary School of Charlotte is a great place to gather a small group for a meal, learn about a wonderful ministry we have in Charlotte.  I’ll be glad to go on any Thursday it is open.  Any takers?

It’s a gourmet lunch. It’s a party. It’s a celebration of learning valuable culinary skills. It’s BISTRO!.

The Culinary School BISTRO! is held roughly every other Thursday at 1 p.m. while classes are in session. The dates of upcoming BISTRO!s are below.

Preparations for BISTRO! begin many days in advance as students learn culinary skills through preparing foods that will be served at BISTRO! In making everything from simple salads to complex sauces, students learn how to cook, how to present food appealing to the eye, how to make the most of the available food ingredients, how to organize a big event, how to work as a team.

via BISTRO! | Community Culinary School of Charlotte | 704-375-4500.

 

Col. Moammar Gaddafi, RIP, Arab Spring: Col. Moammar Gaddafi comes to a violent end.

For more than 40 years, Col. Moammar Gaddafi was the eccentric, unpredictable and brutal face of Libya, an oil-rich country that became an international pariah. Defiant to the last, he was killed Thursday in Sirte, his home town, eight months after he vowed to die rather than concede defeat to a popular uprising.

It was an ignominious end for Col. Gaddafi, who had managed in his waning years to rehabilitate himself in foreign eyes but then left even supporters appalled and sickened as he unleashed his army against his people in what proved to be a doomed effort to suppress this year’s revolution.

Deposed in August when rebel forces won control of the capital, he was killed in crossfire in Sirte, his loyalists’ last redoubt, after being dragged alive from a sewer culvert where he had taken refuge, said Mahmoud Jibril, the rebel leader who is Libya’s interim prime minister.

He became the first Arab ruler to be slain by his people in the transformative revolt that has come to be known as the Arab Spring, pitting thousands of citizen demonstrators against aging dictators and despots. His downfall followed the toppling of authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, who were ousted before protesters took to the streets of eastern Libya in February.

Col. Gaddafi was thought to be 69, although his birth date was not known. At his death, he had been one of the world’s longest-serving rulers.

Many in the international community had long dismissed him as a clown for his quirky behavior. He traveled with an all-female praetorian guard and received guests in a Bedouin tent. But much of his reign was brutal.

via For longtime autocrat, a violent end – The Washington Post.

Condoleezza Rice, Muammar Gaddafi: “And I was very, very glad that we had disarmed him of his most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. There in his bunker, making his last stand, I have no doubt he would have used them.”

There were two reasons for this: one traditional and the other, well, a little disconcerting. Obviously, the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state since 1953 would be a major milestone on the country’s path to inter- national acceptability. But Qaddafi also had a slightly eerie fascination with me personally, asking visitors why his “African princess” wouldn’t visit him.

I decided to ignore the latter and dwell on the former to prepare for the trip. The arrangements were not easy, with all manner of Libyan demands, including that I meet the leader in his tent. Needless to say, I declined the invitation and met him in his formal residence.

The press was fascinated with my trip, and I sat down for an interview with CNN’s Zain Verjee (who often worked with producer Elise Labott on State Department coverage). Zain asked me about my personal impressions of Qaddafi. I remember that I came away from the visit realizing how much Qaddafi lives inside his own head, in a kind of alternate reality. As I watched events unfold in the spring and summer of 2011, I wondered if he even understood fully what was going on around him. And I was very, very glad that we had disarmed him of his most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. There in his bunker, making his last stand, I have no doubt he would have used them.

via Condoleezza Rice Met Muammar Gaddafi: Exclusive Excerpt of ‘No Higher Honor’ – The Daily Beast.

Muammar Gaddafi,   the Top 15 Overthrown, lists:  An ignomious list …

In reality, Gaddafi allowed only a small group — mostly members of his family — to participate in the governing of the country, which, thanks to its oil reserves (the ninth largest known in the world), had amassed enormous wealth. The riches allowed him to rule relatively unchecked until February 2011, when his people had had enough. Spurred by the Arab Spring that had successfully toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans took to the streets. Gaddafi lashed back with unprecedented violence against his own people while at the same time telling members of the press, “All my people love me.” The resistance kept pushing forward, winning support from NATO forces, which began air strikes on March 19. On Aug. 22, after six months of fighting, the rebel forces claimed the capital city, Tripoli, as their own, formally ending Gaddafi’s regime. But until they captured the man himself, Libyans could not breathe a sigh of relief. That moment came Oct. 20, when Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference, “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

via Muammar Gaddafi – Top 15 Toppled Dictators – TIME.

40 Lipsticked Virgins, Moammar Gadhafi:  Interesting story about Gadhafi’s bodyguards … old but interesting … another strange aspect of the Colonel.

About 40 lipsticked, bejeweled bodyguards surround the Libyan dictator at all times. They wear designer sunglasses and high heels with their military camouflage. But they’re purported to be trained killers — graduates of an elite military academy in Tripoli that’s solely for women.

Gadhafi established the Tripoli Women’s Military Academy in 1979 as a symbol of women’s emancipation. “I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya,” he reportedly said at the time. His mother, a Bedouin tribeswoman born when Libya was an Italian colony, was illiterate.

 

The academy’s best students are dubbed “revolutionary nuns,” and they never marry and dedicate their lives to the idea of Gadhafi’s 1969 revolution. They’re banned from having sex and swear an oath to protect the Libyan leader until death, if need be. In 1998, a bodyguard named Aisha threw herself on top of Gadhafi when Islamic militants ambushed his motorcade. A barrage of bullets killed her and injured two others, but Gadhafi escaped unharmed.

So while Gadhafi’s all-female crew — and especially their photos — have been featured in many a tongue-in-cheek article in the Western press, they could actually prove powerful in protecting him. Foreign intelligence agents are likely trying already to stealthily chip away at the loyalty of Gadhafi’s elite inner circle. But while diplomats at the U.N. and even some of Gadhafi’s distant relatives have turned on him, there have been no reports of defections from Gadhafi’s all-female bodyguard clan — though the regime would likely try its best to squelch any such publicity.

via 40 Lipsticked Virgins: Moammar Gadhafi’s Best Bet for Survival.

I, Steve, books, quotes: In some ways he is like Ben Franklin … he could turn a great phrase.

On legacy:

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” ~ The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993

An invaluable treasure trove of inspiration and insight, I, Steve captures the essence of one of our era’s greatest hearts, minds, and souls with the candor and precision only self-revelation can unlatch.

via I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words | Brain Pickings.

Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen, bookshelf:  Just caught my attention.

 “We are often presented with stimuli but remain unaware. Zen, which means meditation, allows humans to become mindful-attentively aware of reality. In his newest book, Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen, Dr. James Austin, one of the world’s outstanding neurologists, explains how the brain mediates these meditation activities and how these activities alter the brain. Using language that can be understood by all, Austin teaches the fortunate readers of this book about the biological basis of the important changes brought about by this ancient but still current process of enlightenment.”–Kenneth M. Heilman, M.D., James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine

via Amazon.com: Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen (9780262015875): James H. Austin: Books.

college, college costs:  Good question … Why is college so expensive?

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written before about the networking wonders and creative collaborations that can happen via online forums.  We have written extensively about creating an online presence that is positive and professional.  In online interactions, we meet people from different disciplines in various parts of the world, and we connect because we share interests and goals.  With all the good, though, there can be a negative side to online activity.  As positive and as good as online connections can be, it’s important to recognize that whatever we write online is for public consumption, that what we write is a part of our larger online persona, that we are not simply chatting with friends and family when we post.

Unfortunately, fatigue and stress can allow us—as professional educators—to become a little lax in our online practices, particularly when it concerns students.  It’s easy to commiserate with like-minded professionals on Twitter, for example, and complain about the student who is always late to class or a conference, or the one who has plagiarized, or the one who can’t write as we think she should, or the one who always has an excuse why he can’t submit his work on time.  We can be irritated at students’ sometimes immature behavior, or we can sometimes feel responsible for that student’s lack of understanding of course content.  We sometimes take students’ actions personally.  If we work with sometimes hundreds of students each semester, frustration can a part of our job.  Sometimes, those frustrations can bubble to the surface and they erupt on social networking sites.

We might think we are writing to a group of our closest online friends who will understand the context of our complaints , but it’s impossible to know—with any certainty—who might be reading those online words.  But our actual audience could include those very students we criticize.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Anthropologie, art, purses, fashion:  My daughter turned me on to Anthropologie and I have to admit I love their accessiories and home furnishings.

 

With that I want to give Anthropologie props for fearlessly incorporating different mediums of art with fashion. Each of these bags are SO different- Anthro never ceases to amaze & inspire!!

via Artfully pursed » Pearls for Paper.

Supreme Court, health care case:  Interesting discussion of procedure  and moving this case along.

The Obama administration and challengers of the president’s health care overhaul are pushing for Supreme Court consideration of the law in late March, judging by the speed with which they are filing legal papers.

Parties in a high court case rarely submit legal briefs before their deadline, and often ask for extensions. But this week, the administration, the 26 states that have joined in opposition to the law and the association of small businesses that also wants the law struck down filed their briefs more than a week before they were due.

Having the case argued in March, instead of April, would give the justices an extra month to write their opinions in what is expected to be the most significant Supreme Court case in recent years.

Legal scholars have complained that the justices do not do their best work when faced with resolving complicated legal issues between the final arguments in April and the term’s end in late June. The justices themselves have recognized the problem by trying to have more cases argued early

via Supreme Court Health Care Case May Be Headed For March Start.

Auburn tree poisoning, criminal acts:  You have to wonder about a 63 year old man pulling a college prank.

Updyke, 63, appeared in court briefly with his new attorney, Everett Wess of Birmingham.

Updyke sat quietly in the court room, and did not make any statements.

He was indicted in May on two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerable object and two counts of a state law that includes making it unlawful to damage, vandalize or steal any property on or from an animal or crop facility.

Updyke has requested that the charges be reduced to misdemeanors, saying that the state of Alabama “has explicitly set the value of an oak tree” at $20, which would be below the level for a felony. The judge has not yet ruled on that request.

His trial was originally scheduled for the Oct. 31 docket, but Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said there were three capital trials approaching that would stretch the resources of his department. Wess had no objection to pushing back the court dates.

via Man charged in Auburn tree poisoning gets new lawyer, court date  | ajc.com.

twitter, educating girls in Africa:  This twitter post just got my attention …

Maria Popova (@brainpicker)
10/20/11 3:57 PM
“850,000 girls in Kenya miss school because they don’t have sanitary pads.” #PopTech2011 Social Innovation Fellow@ZanaAfrica

political cartoons, Coca-Cola, Pepsi:  I live in a Coke bubble … but this political cartoon rings so true for Atlantans and Coke … I just had to laugh.  I guess in the Coke version, he would get fired for testing negative for Coke!

.

political cartoons, Occupy Wall Street, kith/kin: ‎:( … Remember I’m married to a banker …

October 9, 2011

Siri,  tips,  iPhone 4S Virtual Assistant:  I want one …

In a phone with lots of evolutionary qualities, Siri is the iPhone 4S’s most revolutionary feature. Simply by speaking to this virtual assistant, you can set reminders, send text messages, look up information and schedule meetings.

But with a bit of extra effort, Siri can do even more.

via Siri Tricks and Tips: Do More with the iPhone 4S Virtual Assistant – Techland – TIME.com.

Siri, iPhone 4s:  Sounds like a stupid mistake … siri works even when phones are locked.

Siri, the personal assistant on the iPhone has been the top selling point of Apple’s new iPhone 4S. But Graham Cluley, security researcher for Sophos, pointed out that Siri works from a locked screen. That means that users who don’t pay attention to their settings could be putting themselves at risk.

Users are able to lock up Siri with a passcode by going into their security settings and turning the feature off without passcode authentication. But by default, anyone could pick up an iPhone 4S, hold down the home button and ask Siri a questions such as, “What is my home address?” and the assistant will display that information.

via Siri works even when phones are locked – The Washington Post.

education, digital district, Mooresville NC:  Amid the failures of Charlotte’s CMS, just up the road in the next county is a school district receiving national attention.

Yes, 1-to-1 laptop programs have become increasingly popular across the country, along the way drawing criticism that the results of those efforts are not justifying the substantial investments. But the Mooresville district, which in its fourth 1-to-1 year has stretched its program to reach all students in grades 3-12, appears to be a model of how to do it right, and in a community whose roots are more akin to Mayberry than the state’s Research Triangle region.

Since the digital conversion began, the district has seen an improvement of 20 percentage points—from 68 percent to 88 percent—in the portion of its students who scored “proficient” on all core-subject state exams, in the subjects of reading, math, and science. Six of eight schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, up from two of seven schools during the conversion’s first year. And its 2010-11 graduation rate rose to 91 percent, up 14 percentage points from four years ago.

All of those gains have occurred while the district sat at 99th of the state’s 115 districts in per-pupil funding, at $7,463 a year, as of last spring, not including about 10 percent of the budget that comes from funds for capital outlays, before- and after-school programs, and child-nutrition programs. And while Mooresville’s population is by no means impoverished, the gains came during an economic downturn that has seen the proportion of the district’s students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch rise from 31 percent to 40 percent since 2007-08.

Staunch opponents of assessment-driven education may dispute the merit of some of Mooresville’s success. But other educators are asking how the district’s approach differs from that of less successful 1-to-1 initiatives, why it’s working, whether it can be replicated, and if it’s worth the sacrifices to do so.

Mooresville’s district leaders stress the reason for their success, in their eyes, is that their 1-to-1 implementation made up just a part of a districtwide reform to make teaching and learning more contemporary. And while the district hosts monthly open houses to welcome visitors interested in following the model, the leaders of Mooresville’s conversion say only districts with leaders who see budget and procedural restrictions as obstacles to be conquered, not feared, are capable of pulling it off.

“We have visitors all the time,” says Scott Smith, the district’s chief technology officer, who was hired by Superintendent Mark Edwards during the conversion’s planning phase in 2007. “When they leave, we’re like, ‘Yeah, they can do it,’ or ‘No, they can’t do it, because they have the wrong person in charge.’ ”

Higher Expectations for Teachers

via Education Week: Building the Digital District.

Apps, Beat the Traffic+ :  My Garmin broke several weeks ago and I tried Garmin’s On Demand app … I don’t think I will purchae another Garmin.  I may try this one for free next …

Currently the app supports 34 major cities or metropolitan areas, and picks up construction, accident, or weather-related problems that might bring your trip to a grinding halt. The only catch is that these extra features, though initially free for two weeks, cost $19.99 a year after your trial period has expired. However, you can still access all the features available in “plus” with the free app — albeit without the personalization.

The bottom line. Whether you’re a “plus” subscriber or not, though, Beat the Traffic is a pretty worthwhile app if you’re an iPhone user who spends a lot of time behind the wheel.

via Beat the Traffic+ Review | Mac|Life.

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.

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9.19.2011 … ChristCare then relaxing to disappointing new season of tv

ChristCare, FPC, Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast:  FPC runs a ChristCare  small group ministry.  I belong to a multigenerational women’s group, and we are starting a book written by a former FPC minister in 1977.  We are reading Lee Stoffel’s Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast.  So far it is excellent and it challenges you to ask how much has changed in 30+ years.

How I Met Your Mother, new season, tv:  I hate to say this … but I think i like to watch the whole season in a short period.  I think I like the instant gratification!

autism, culture, community:  Great article about integrating autistic adults communities.

As planned, he arrived that morning with a portfolio of his comic strips and charcoal sketches, some of which were sold through a Chelsea gallery. Kate Stanton-Paule, the teacher who had set up the meeting, accompanied him. But his first words upon entering the office were, like most things involving Justin, not in the script.

“Hello, everybody,” he announced, loud enough to be heard behind the company president’s door. “This is going to be my new job, and you are going to be my new friends.”

As the employees exchanged nervous glances that morning in January 2010, Ms. Stanton-Paule, the coordinator of a new kind of “transition to adulthood” program for special education students at Montclair High School, wondered if they were all in over their heads.

Justin, who barely spoke until he was 10, falls roughly in the middle of the spectrum of social impairments that characterize autism, which affects nearly one in 100 American children. He talks to himself in public, has had occasional angry outbursts, avoids eye contact and rarely deviates from his favorite subject, animation.  His unabashed expression of emotion and quirky sense of humor endear him to teachers, therapists and relatives. Yet at 20, he had never made a true friend.

People with autism, whose unusual behaviors are believed to stem from variations in early brain development, typically disappear from public view after they leave school. As few as one in 10 hold even part-time jobs. Some live in state-supported group homes; even those who attend college often end up unemployed and isolated, living with parents.

But Justin is among the first generation of autistic youths who have benefited throughout childhood from more effective therapies and hard-won educational opportunities. And Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program here is based on the somewhat radical premise that with intensive coaching in the workplace and community — and some stretching by others to include them — students like Justin can achieve a level of lifelong independence that has eluded their predecessors.

“There’s a prevailing philosophy that certain people can never function in the community,” Ms. Stanton-Paule told skeptics. “I just don’t think that’s true.”

With some 200,000 autistic teenagers set to come of age in the United States over the next five years alone, little is known about their ability to participate fully in public life, or what it would take to accommodate them. Across the country, neighbors, employers, colleagues and strangers are warily interacting with young adults whose neurological condition many associate only with children.

via Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World – NYTimes.com.

Arab Spring, diplomacy, international relations: Long term relationships are up in the air.  I had not thought of the long-term consequences of this move toward democracy in the middle east.

While the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring created new opportunities for American diplomacy, the tumult has also presented the United States with challenges — and worst-case scenarios — that would have once been almost unimaginable.

What if the Palestinians’ quest for recognition of a state at the United Nations, despite American pleas otherwise, lands Israel in the International Criminal Court, fuels deeper resentment of the United States, or touches off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza?

Or if Egypt, emerging from decades of autocratic rule under President Hosni Mubarak, responds to anti-Israeli sentiments on the street and abrogates the Camp David peace treaty, a bulwark of Arab-Israeli stability for three decades?

“We’re facing an Arab awakening that nobody could have imagined and few predicted just a few years ago,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a recent interview with reporters and editors of The New York Times. “And it’s sweeping aside a lot of the old preconceptions.”

It may also sweep aside, or at least diminish, American influence in the region. The bold vow on Friday by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to seek full membership at the United Nations amounted to a public rebuff of weeks of feverish American diplomacy. His vow came on top of a rapid and worrisome deterioration of relations between Egypt and Israel and between Israel and Turkey, the three countries that have been the strongest American allies in the region.

Diplomacy has never been easy in the Middle East, but the recent events have so roiled the region that the United States fears being forced to take sides in diplomatic or, worse, military disputes among its friends. Hypothetical outcomes seem chillingly present. What would happen if Turkey, a NATO ally that the United States is bound by treaty to defend, sent warships to escort ships to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s blockade, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to do?

via Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington – NYTimes.com.

adoption scandal, China, U.S. ramifications:  Chills … I know many families who have adopted from China, and this literally sent chills down my spine.

On Aug. 5, this newspaper published a front-page article from China that contained chilling news for many adoptive parents: government officials in Hunan Province, in southern China, had seized babies from their parents and sold them into what the article called “a lucrative black market in children.”

The news, the latest in a slow trickle of reports describing child abduction and trafficking in China, swept through the tight communities of families — many of them in the New York area — who have adopted children from China. For some, it raised a nightmarish question: What if my child had been taken forcibly from her parents?

And from that question, inevitably, tumble others: What can or should adoptive parents do? Try to find the birth parents? And if they could, what then?

Scott Mayer, who with his wife adopted a girl from southern China in 2007, said the article’s implications hit him head on. “I couldn’t really think straight,” Mr. Mayer said. His daughter, Keshi, is 5 years old — “I have to tell you, she’s brilliant,” he said proudly — and is a mainstay of his life as a husband and a father.

“What I felt,” he said, “was a wave of heat rush over me.”

Like many adoptive parents, Mr. Mayer can recount the emotionally exhausting process he and his wife went through to get their daughter, and can describe the warm home they have strived to provide. They had been assured that she, like thousands of other Chinese girls, was abandoned in secret by her birth parents, left in a public place with a note stating her date of birth.

But as he started to read about the Hunan cases, he said, doubts flooded in. How much did he — or any adoptive parent — really know about what happened on the other side of the world? Could Keshi have been taken by force, or bought by the orphanage in order to reap the thousands of dollars that American parents like him donate when they get their children?

In his home in Montclair, N.J., Mr. Mayer rushed upstairs to re-examine the adoption documents.

According to the news reports, the children were removed from their families when they were several months old, then taken to the orphanages. “The first thing I did was look in my files,” he said, speaking in deliberative, unsparing sentences. According to his paperwork, his daughter had been found on a specific date, as a newborn.

He paused to weigh the next thought.

“Now, could that have been faked?” he said. “Perhaps. I don’t know. But at least it didn’t say she was 3 months old when she was left at the orphanage.”

According to the State Department, 64,043 Chinese children were adopted in the United States between 1999 and 2010, far more than from any other country. Child abduction and trafficking have plagued other international adoption programs, notably in Vietnam and Romania, and some have shut down to stop the black market trade.

via China’s Adoption Scandal Sends Chills Through Families in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

fashion, copies: I always think it interesting how fast they copy … Who Wore it First? – Fall Fashion Trends 2011 – Fashion – InStyle

PostSecret, PostSecret App:  There was something really fun about checking PostSecret on Sunday … I think this will take away from that.  Although I do think more will post.

I started PostSecret six years ago in Washington, DC by passing out postcards to strangers and inviting them to illustrate a secret and mail it to me. Quickly, word of the project spread virally around the world. Today I have a pile of anonymous secrets taller than me – more than 600,000.

Now I’m excited about the new PostSecret App that allows users to discover secrets from their cities or schools, create and share anonymous secrets with their phone, and connect with like-minded people. In this special collection made for Huffington Post readers, I have included five provocative secrets mailed to me on postcards and five secrets shared with the new PostSecret App, and a trailer that explains how the app works.

via Frank Warren: EXCLUSIVE: New PostSecret Post Cards.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer – Medal Of Honor Recipient, White House, White House home brew, President Obama: I thought it pretty gutsy that Mr. Meyer asked for the face time.  And I want some White House Honey Blonde!

Talk about an all-American beer.

Barack Obama and the White House chefs have been brewing beer for quite some time, and on Wednesday, the president shared some of the White House Honey Ale with a Medal of Honor recipient.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer had requested to share a beer with the president before the ceremony, CBS reports.

The Honey Ale is the first beer brewed in the White House, but Obama is not the first president to take on the hobby, according to historians.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were brewing aficionados, but Jefferson never made beer at the White House, and Washington, of course, never lived there, White House curator Bill Allman told NPR.

Early reports of the White House-brewed beer began circulating after Obama offered it to guests guests during the Super Bowl this year, CBS reports. The beer was also consumed on St. Patty’s Day.

Obama Foodorama, a blog focusing on the administration’s food and nutrition initiatives, reports that the Honey Ale isn’t the only beer that’s been brewed by the chefs. A White House Honey Blonde and a White House Honey Porter have also been created.

The Obamas paid for all of the brewing equipment out of pocket, according to CBS.

The casual meeting between Obama and Meyer didn’t end without controversy, though.

White House staffers Tweeted a photo of the two men talking over drinks Wednesday, which elicited both sincere praise and snarky remarks about the president, the Washington Post points out.

Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday for his service in Afghanistan.

via White House Brews Its Own Beer; Obama Shares A Drink With Dakota Meyer, Medal Of Honor Recipient.

writing, tipsUncreative Writing – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

House Speaker John Boehner, politics, democrats v republicans, jobs creation/deficit reduction:  Irony here …

House Speaker John Boehner just gave a speech outlining the GOP’s ideas for jobs creation and its prescriptions for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. I thought I’d highlight two sentences from it. There was this:

If we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the “my way or the highway” philosophy behind.

And there was also this:

Tax increases, however, are not a viable option for the Joint Committee.

The juxtaposition of those two sentences perfectly encapsulate the last two and a half years of United States political history. And who knows — it may end up encapsulating what’s left of Obama’s term, too.

via Two sentences from John Boehner’s speech – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.

travel, guidebooks, NYC, LOL: Sounds like fun … I wonder how long it takes.

The Italian art house publishing group Log607 is testing conventional wisdom that guidebooks should be fact-based with a series of fictional-narrative guides that force tourists to go on treasure hunts. These “WhaiWhai” guides have been popular in Italy for a few years now, but had not been released for any city outside the boot until this week when New York: The Pegleg hit bookstores.

The book concerns the legend of a magical pegleg that once belonged to Peter Stuyvesant, and asks readers — who might better be described as participants — to go to different Manhattan landmarks in search for “secrets.” Each page of each guidebook is cut into thirds and participants are given codes that tell them how to put a page together whenever they correctly solve a puzzle by identifying a detail about New York (a la the number of women depicted on a Broadway Theater’s facade).

In an effort to determine whether treasure hunt-style guidebooks might become a fad, HuffPost Travel editors Paul Brady and Andrew Burmon took to the streets and tried to uncover the secrets of the pegleg. The experiment went swimmingly, providing our stand-in travelers with an excellent excuse to get out of the office and wander around downtown Manhattan. They made some interesting discoveries along the way, but also found this creative guidebook model a bit of an uneasy compromise.

The book is clearly intended to create opportunities for serendipity and exploration while also being very opinionated about where travelers should go next.

via New York: The Pegleg: A Guidebook That’s Actually A Treasure Hunt (VIDEO).

Tim Gruber, high school sports, high school cross-country, kudos:  Kudos, Tim Gruber!

Tim Gruber won the 13th annual Cannon Invitational Cross Country Invitational boys’ race on Saturday, Sept. 17, on his home 5K course at Cannon. Lake Norman Charter School won the team title with 73 points, edging North Raleigh Christian with 77.

via Gruber wins Cannon Invite, other local runners shine | Sports.

French macarons, cookbooks:  I want to master French macarons! Macarons – Anthropologie.com.

reform education, great schools revolution:

Why now? One answer is the sheer amount of data available on performance, not just within countries but between them. In 2000 the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at the OECD, a rich-country club, began tracking academic attainment by the age of 15 in 32 countries. Many were shocked by where they came in the rankings. (PISA’s latest figures appear in table 1.) Other outfits, too, have been measuring how good or bad schools are. McKinsey, a consultancy, has monitored which education systems have improved most in recent years.

Technology has also made a difference. After a number of false starts, many people now believe that the internet can make a real difference to educating children. Hence the success of institutions like America’s Kahn Academy (see article). Experimentation is also infectious; the more governments try things, the more others examine, and copy, the results.

Above all, though, there has been a change in the quality of the debate. In particular, what might be called “the three great excuses” for bad schools have receded in importance. Teachers’ unions have long maintained that failures in Western education could be blamed on skimpy government spending, social class and cultures that did not value education. All these make a difference, but they do not determine outcomes by themselves.

The idea that good schooling is about spending money is the one that has been beaten back hardest. Many of the 20 leading economic performers in the OECD doubled or tripled their education spending in real terms between 1970 and 1994, yet outcomes in many countries stagnated—or went backwards. Educational performance varies widely even among countries that spend similar amounts per pupil. Such spending is highest in the United States—yet America lags behind other developed countries on overall outcomes in secondary education. Andreas Schleicher, head of analysis at PISA, thinks that only about 10% of the variation in pupil performance has anything to do with money.

Many still insist, though, that social class makes a difference. Martin Johnson, an education trade unionist, points to Britain’s “inequality between classes, which is among the largest in the wealthiest nations” as the main reason why its pupils underperform. A review of reforms over the past decade by researchers at Oxford University supports him. “Despite rising attainment levels,” it concludes, “there has been little narrowing of longstanding and sizeable attainment gaps. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds remain at higher risks of poor outcomes.” American studies confirm the point; Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington claims that “non-school factors”, such as family income, account for as much as 60% of a child’s performance in school.

via Reforming education: The great schools revolution | The Economist.

Ted Williams, heroes, baseball:   “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

In an essay within the 1994 book “Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures,” the Harvard paleontologist and popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould called Williams’s 1941 season “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

via Ted Williams’s .406 Average Is More Than a Number – NYTimes.com.

John Maynard Keynes, economics, graphics:  Very interesting article … love the graphic!  Winston Churchill of economics!

FOR someone who’s been dead for 65 years, John Maynard Keynes has amazing presence. Open a paper, click on a blog or TV, and, voilà, like Waldo, he’s everywhere. The British economic oracle — whose boyhood nickname Snout should tell you that a pretty face isn’t why he’s hot — gets more Google hits than Leonardo DiCaprio. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas apparently got so fed up with the old scene stealer that he interrupted a recent Republican debate to flash his rivals the news that Keynes was, well, deceased.

For some, Keynes is the hero who rescued the West from the Great Depression, for others the villain to blame for the current mess. To me, he’s neither, but rather the Winston Churchill of economics, radiating optimism when things looked bleakest, never so happily engaged as in a national or global emergency.

The new, cheerful social science that Marshall pioneered and Keynes and others innovated was a genuine revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe. What would Keynes say if he were, say, to appear on CNBC tomorrow? That we’ve overcome a dozen challenges as bad or worse, that the tenfold rise in standards since Jane Austen’s lifetime shows that we’ve done more things right than wrong, and that the “apparatus of the mind” — which demands that we let facts change our minds, engage our critics and see common ground — is infinitely more helpful in a crisis than ideology or raw emotion.

And what would Keynes do now? Go shopping, I suspect. This was the “incorrigible optimist,” his biographer Robert Skidelsky relates, who made a big bet on the United States recovery in 1936 and hung on when it collapsed again in 1937. It may have looked like midnight but Keynes knew that morning would come again.

via John Maynard Keynes – His sunny optimism shaped economists’ approach to depression. – NYTimes.com.

Republican governors, politics, republican v. democrat:  Governors are a different breed from Members of Congress and their politics can vary much more … think Romney and Perry.

But the four Republicans’ uncompromising and unapologetic stance marks them out, says Carolyn Fiddler of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an outfit dedicated to getting more Democrats elected to state legislatures. She notes that they have all attempted to cut taxes even as they slash spending. Mr Kasich’s budget compounded an $8 billion two-year shortfall by eliminating Ohio’s inheritance tax and pressing ahead with a promised income-tax cut that had been delayed for two years. Mr Walker piled $200m in tax cuts onto a $3.2 billion gap in Wisconsin. Mr Scott, who already needed to find cuts of $3.7 billion to make ends meet, proposed $2 billion in tax cuts, but was rebuffed by the legislature.

All this has made the four heroes in Republican circles. Mr Christie is constantly swatting away pleas that he run for president. Mr Walker is spoken of as vice-presidential material. Their pugnaciousness has energised donors and activists. But it has not endeared them to the general electorate. Polls over the summer put Mr Christie’s approval rating at 47%, Mr Walker’s at 45%, Mr Kasich’s at 36% and Mr Scott’s at 35%—especially dismal numbers for the three who have been in office for less than a year.

It is a standard tactic to get unpleasant tasks out of the way at the beginning of a four-year term, in the hope that anger will have faded by election time. It worked for Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, another swing state. But Messrs Kasich and Walker, in particular, seem to have stirred unusually fierce opposition.

via Republican governors: The right’s brave swingers | The Economist.

2012 Primaries, media primary coverage:  Interesting article – should national media cover all the candidates … is there a journalistic obligation?

JONATHAN BERNSTEIN makes an excellent point:

The other thing that’s important to remember is that there is no actual good reason for either parties or the press to be fair to candidates. They should be fair to voters, either individually or as they exist in organized groups and constituencies. But candidates? Nope.

There’s no reason at all why Herman Cain or Rick Santorum “deserves” to be covered. Ron Paul is different: he has no chance to win the Republican nomination, but he has a fervent following of supporters nationwide and is a national political figure in his own right amongst the small but ideologically influential libertarian constituency. But for the rest of this year’s vanity candidates, I’d actually go further than Mr Bernstein does: the press is doing the public a disservice by covering them. The mainstream media’s job ought to be filtering out the irrelevant noise for busy voters so that they can process the information they need to have in order to vote. To the extent major press organs fail to filter out irrelevant noise, they’re not doing their jobs.

via Primary coverage: The media should be fair to voters, not candidates | The Economist.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.),  2012 Election:  Everything may be worse under Obama, but the republicans are doing everything to lose the election in my opinion.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that “everything is worse” under President Barack Obama.

“This is our election to lose,” Graham told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked for his assessment of the GOP candidates and the 2012 race.

“President Obama has done everything he knows how to do to beat himself. The reason people have little confidence in President Obama’s policies, they’re just not working. Everything is worse: 2 million people unemployed after he took office. Gas prices are 100 percent higher. Home values are down. Debt is up by 35 percent”

“There seems to be no relief on the horizon,” Graham said. “He keeps proposing the same old things.”

Graham’s remarks ran counter to the perspective offered earlier in the program by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who was optimistic about Obama’s reelection prospects.

“As I listen to the Republican presidential nominee candidates come forward and spot their ideas and bow and genuflect to the Tea Party and their agenda, I remember the Tea Party is not very popular in America,” Durbin told Crowley.

“I don’t think people like that style of politics.”

via Lindsey Graham: 2012 Election Is GOP’s To Lose, ‘Everything Is Worse’ Under Obama.

Is Marriage for White People?, books, culture:  Interesting question.

The unmarried black woman is a figure of cultural fascination these days. Cable news specials, popular books by Steve Harvey and T. D. Jakes, the films of Tyler Perry, and newspaper articles about single black women and their children born out of wedlock send waves of dismay through the American public. The explanations offered for this phenomenon tend to be of two sorts: prurient accounts of black male promiscuity and irresponsibility, or caricatures of aggressive and unreasonable black women. It is rare for the popular media to include careful social or historical analyses. Rather, they are often purveyors of a moral panic presented without root or reason.

Upon reading the title “Is Marriage for White People?” I assumed the book, by the Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks, would follow in this trend. But I was wrong. Banks doesn’t offer a jeremiad about the decline of black family values in the way of so many others who do little more than regurgitate Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” which described black family structure as “a tangle of pathology.” Refreshingly, Banks offers a well-researched and probing discussion of why marriage rates are so low among black Americans.

In clean and efficient prose, Banks presents a lucid picture of romantic life in black America. Moreover, he disposes of the mythology that the failure to marry is primarily an underclass phenomenon, turning his attention especially to the lives of middle-class black women. He has set out to answer the question: Why are black women “half as likely as white women to be married, and more than three times as likely as white women never to marry”?

via Is Marriage for White People? — By Ralph Richard Banks — Book Review – NYTimes.com.

message bottle, random:  I always wanted to put a message in a bottle … nice story.

The clear glass bottle was found Thursday by Navy Petty Officer Jon Moore during a beach cleanup at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

The bottle contained four origami cranes — symbols of peace in Japan — as well as a photo of Arikawa’s elementary school class and a note dated March 25, 2006, and signed by Arikawa saying she wanted it to be “a graduation memory.”

News of the bottle’s recovery reconnected more than a dozen of her old classmates, now studying at different high schools, and their elementary school homeroom teacher for a reunion Saturday. Arikawa says she now wants to further expand the circle of friendship.

via Japanese girl thanks US sailor in Hawaii for finding message bottle, calls it a ‘miracle’ – The Washington Post.

GOP, “Right to Death Party”, 2012 Presidential Debates:  I too was shocked by the crowd’s response … another example of the GOP going down the wrong rabbit hole.

I’ve watched the two Republican Party debates, and something weird is going on in the audience.

When moderator Brian Williams said to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “Your state has executed 234 Death Row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” the audience APPLAUDED.

Applause at the number of people executed in Texas?

When Ron Paul was asked by Wolf Blitzer about health insurance, and how an uninsured man who had a medical emergency should be treated, the Texas Congressman said:

“That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks.”

The audience cheered.

Paul continued: “This whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …”

“Are you saying that society should just let him die?” Blitzer asked.

There were cheers from the audience of “Yeah!”

How about these guys – applauding even before Ron Paul answered the question!

Now, I haven’t been to church in years, but I seem to remember the question of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

And something about “Thou shall not kill.”

So how is it that NOT ONE single candidate – some of whom claim their spirituality has been a guiding force in their politics – how could they not challenge the applause, and maybe suggest that their invited audience take a step back from the bloodlust?

I totally take it for granted that one of the founding principles of the United States is freedom to express an opinion. But having said that, regardless of party affiliation, I can’t imagine APPLAUDING at the idea of death – either mandated by lethal injection, or from lack of medical insurance.

via GOP: The “Right to Death Party”? – CBS News.

CU- Boulder, kith/kin: disappointing … CU falls in national rankings but still holds high position | CU Independent.

Bob Turner (R-NY), Anthony Weiner, LOL: I just laughed … But Mrs. Weiner has a point.

Newly-elected Republican Bob Turner officially took over Anthony Weiner’s House seat on Thursday. But he won’t literally be taking over his chair.

That’s because Turner’s wife Peggy apparently wants Weiner’s office chair, the one the embattled former Congressman tweeted lewd pictures from, removed from the office.

Turner took over Weiner’s old office, suite 2104, in the Rayburn House Office Building last week. Upon moving in, they found some choice leftovers from the office’s prior inhabitants. “Weiner left his toothbrush behind! It literally says ‘Anthony’ on it,” an insider tells the New York Post.

This prompted Peggy Turner to ask for a thorough sanitization of the entire space. The insider notes Mrs. Turner was discussing replacing the office chair and carpeting, in addition to having the place professionally cleaned.

But the 70-year-old new congressman, a retired television executive from Queens, was decidedly mum about the decision. “That’s not the most important thing I have to deal with,” he said. Turner, a first-time politician, is just learning the ropes of Congress. He’s taking over Weiner’s seat just hours after winning Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 9th District.

via Turner Takes Over: Anthony Weiner’s Old Office Gets a Scrubdown – TIME NewsFeed.

America’s Favorite Cities, photography, LIFE:  I agree … Chicago has the most beautiful skyline!

America’s Favorite Cities With Travel + Leisure

From sea to shining sea, the United States of America has the best, brightest, and most exciting cities in the world. But with its bounty of metropolitan riches, it’s sometimes hard to decide between destinations when you’re up for a domestic trip. Thank the travel-ready gods, then, for Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual round-up of Americans’ favorite U.S. cities in various categories. T+L editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod recently sat down with LIFE to give readers an early scoop on this year’s winners, including the always-entertaining T+L look at America’s most and least attractive people.

via America’s Favorite Cities – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

30
Aug
11

‎8.30.2011 … doing the little things … servicing cars and inspections … etc.

Apple, tablets, competition: War?

If Apple has to “prepare for war,” she says, they have only themselves to blame. “Product strategists at Apple … fired the first shot” by changing the App Store rules and making it harder for Amazon to sell books on Apple’s devices.

via Forrester: Amazon’s tablet will bury the iPad – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech.

The Help, bookshelf, movie, reviews:  I thoroughly enjoyed this review because of its honesty.

Today I enjoy many friends of all races and I am so grateful that God protected my heart from the hatefulness of prejudice. When I meet someone, I simply see that person. I am not aware of skin color, eye shape, hair texture, I simply see a soul that God loves.

Over the years I have learned that most racial prejudice is rooted in fear and ignorance, and is never rational. I have read somewhere that it is rooted in tribalism and was about maintaining one’s possessions, hunting grounds, or agricultural lands. Differences in dress (costume) signaled the enemy and so people learned to fear those who are different. I have no idea just how correct that theory is, but it at least gives me some rational reason for such an irrational way of thinking.

In closing I highly recommend, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, both book and movie.

via ‘The Help’ by Jack DeJarnette | LikeTheDew.com.


Arab Spring, guessing game:  The world is still in shock …

IN FEBRUARY we put together an index that attempted to predict which Arab regime would be toppled next. At the time Libya seemed rather an unlikely candidate for regime change, even though the index suggested Muammar Qaddafi’s time as Brother-Leader might be numbered. Below is the interactive version of the Shoe Thrower’s Index, set with the weightings we originally chose. Play around with it to explore the factors that created fertile soil for the Arab Spring.

via Daily chart: Return of the shoe throwers | The Economist.

Steve Jobs, Apple, changing the world:  Another interesting article on Steve Jobs.

We know the world, and each other, better because of him. With his Apple Mac he managed, in the words of Walt Whitman, to “unscrew the locks from the doors.” He precipitated an enlightenment. But as with the dazzling light of many great inventions, unexpected shadows were created—the greatest of which is an eroding of privacy, now verging on a total loss of solitude. Beware of darkness.
In public appearances in recent years, Jobs has been thinner, whittled to his essence, and yet somehow this seemed to emphasize his elasticity and endurance, a metonym for his ever-thinner, ever-more-adaptable machines. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said toward the end of the Stanford speech. “Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important?.?.?.?There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Facebook, daily deals:  I never saw anything I wanted to buy.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to metro Atlantans: Facebook is ending its “deals” program.The daily-deal type offerings promoted spas, horseback riding trips and the typical restaurant discounts — many times for large groups of people — through the current Facebook platform.Although Facebook hasn’t announced a reason for dumping “deals,” speculation includes consumer deal fatigue. When I wrote a column on Facebook in May, I had trouble finding anyone who’d actually bought a Facebook deal here in Atlanta, one of the five test markets.According to media sources, the demise of “deals” won’t affect Facebook’s location-based “check-in deals.”What’s your go-to daily deal source? Are there any underdogs you think offer better discounts?
physics, God particle, Big Bang: Big question!
CERN’s statement said new results, which updated findings that caused excitement at a scientific gathering in Grenoble last month, “show that the elusive Higgs particle, if it exists, is running out of places to hide.”Under what is known as the Standard Model of physics, the boson, which was named after British physicist Peter Higgs and is sometimes know as the God particle, is posited as having been the agent that gave mass and energy to matter just after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.For some scientists, the Higgs remains the simplest explanation of how matter got mass. It remains unclear what could replace it as an explanation. “We know something is missing; we simply don’t quite know what this new something might be,” wrote CERN blogger Pauline Gagnon.
book clubs, technology: Video chat with an author!
Skype made book club headlines today as one author used the video chat service to visit book clubs around the country.If you want to have an author speak to your book club through video chat, check out our Authors Who Visit Book Clubs list to find nearly 1,000 writers–simply explore the “Video Chat” category to find a video-friendly author in your favorite genre. Read our Host a Virtual Book Club on Facebook, Skype or Google article for more tools.Here’s more from Reuters: “Nine book clubs across the United States took part in an hour-long discussion earlier this month with Meg Wolitzer, the best-selling author of the ‘The Ten-Year Nap,’ in what is thought to be the first coast-to-coast virtual book club with multiple participants.” (Image via)
food, locavore, globalization:  Interesting historical analysis of the local food movement.
The foods we consider local are results of a globalization process that has been in full swing for more than five centuries, ever since Columbus landed in the New World. Suddenly all the continents were linked, mixing plants and animals that had evolved separately since the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Pangaea.What resulted, Mr. Mann argues in his fascinating new book, “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created,” was a new epoch in human life, the Homogenocene. This age of homogeneity was brought on by the creation of a world-spanning economic system as crops, worms, parasites and people traveled among Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia — the Columbian Exchange, as it was dubbed by the geographer Alfred W. Crosby.“The Columbian Exchange,” Mr. Mann writes, “is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in the United States, chocolates in Switzerland and chili peppers in Thailand. To ecologists, the Columbian Exchange is arguably the most important event since the death of the dinosaurs.”
Meanwhile, people in Europe were reaping nutritional benefits from the Columbian Exchange. Europeans’ diets improved radically from the introduction of potatoes and what Mr. Mann calls the first green revolution: the widespread use of fertilizer, made possible by the importing of guano from Peru.As always, there were trade-offs. In China, the introduction of maize and sweet potatoes to the highlands provided vital sustenance — and erosion that flooded rice paddies. A ship carrying guano fertilizer to Europe was probably also the source of the organism that blighted the potato crops in Europe and led to the great famine in Ireland in the 1840s.Mr. Mann has come to sympathize with both sides in the debate over globalization. The opponents of globalization correctly realize that trade produces unpredictable and destructive consequences for the environment and for society, he says, but globalization also leads to more and better food, better health, longer life and other benefits that affluent Western locavores take for granted.
“People in Brazil still talk bitterly about the Brits stealing their rubber seeds and planting them in Asia,” Mr. Mann said. “Brazilians will denounce this horrible ‘bio-piracy’ while they’re standing in front of fields of bananas and coffee — plants that originated in Africa.” Two other leading crops in Brazil, soybeans and sugar, he noted, are from Asia.“But if your concern is to produce the maximum amount of food possible for the lowest cost, which is a serious concern around the world for people who aren’t middle-class foodies like me, this seems like a crazy luxury. It doesn’t make sense for my aesthetic preference to be elevated to a moral imperative.”
BofA:
Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan bought himself some breathing room as the bank agreed to sell more than $8 billion of China Construction Bank Corp. stock, its second multibillion-dollar deal in a week.Shares rose 8% Monday, adding to a rally following a deal Thursday for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to buy $5 billion worth of Bank of America stock. Since the Buffett deal, the Charlotte, N.C., lender has regained $14 billion of market value.
Like its competitors, Bank of America has struggled to make up revenue lost to a stagnant economy and tighter rules on fees.But Bank of America faces additional worries because of its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled California lender that is the source of many bad mortgages now plaguing the bank.Construction on the Hong Kong headquarters of CCB takes place in front of the Bank of America Tower.”No one really knows the capital hole that sits there,” said Mr. Miller, the bank analyst for FBR Capital Markets.Shareholders, he said, could get more comfortable about that exposure if a judge rules that an $8.5 billion settlement the Bank of America reached with a group of mortgage-bond investors is fair and can move forward. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Monday joined the parties objecting to that proposed agreement.
faith and spirituality:  Like this article!
Polkinghorne doesn’t know for sure that there is a God. And yet, when he was at the top of his game in physics at Cambridge in 1979, he left the laboratory studying one unseen reality for the seminary to study another unseen reality. He became a priest in the Anglican Church. In addition to believing that quarks exist, he believes in a God who is driven by love to continuously create a world that is beautiful. For him, the theories that have God in them work. But he doesn’t really know for sure. And he’s OK with that.
Religious belief in the modern age doesn’t seem to hold much room for uncertainty or doubt. In November of last year, I took Polkinghorne to the Creation Museum in Santee, Calif., to see how he would react to a hall dedicated to certainty. The museum organizers are certain that there was a six-day, 24-hour creation, that there was a literal Adam and Eve, that Darwin and Hitler belonged on the same wall of genetic engineers, and that evolution is a hoax. Polkinghorne stopped at a display that said the Bible has no record of death until Adam and Eve’s sin. (Apparently even animals lived forever before the humans ate the apple.) Polkinghorne gazed at what appeared to be the museum’s certainty and said to me, “The Bible may not have a record of it, but there is plenty of evidence in the fossil record.” Motivating evidence changes one’s beliefs. Or at least it can if we aren’t holding on to our certainty too tightly.
It may be OK, finally, for people to admit that they don’t know things for sure — whether it’s about quarks, light, God or the best way forward for the nation’s economy.At 80, Polkinghorne doesn’t let his own doubts keep him from believing, any more than he let his doubts about quantum physics keep him from solving problems. He still prays, still celebrates the Eucharist, still believes in some kind of life eternal.As for belief in God, “It’s a reasonable position, but not a knock-down argument,” he said. “It’s strong enough to bet my life on it. Just as Polanyi bet his life on his belief, knowing that it might not be true, I give my life to it, but I’m not certain. Sometimes I’m wrong.”
cycling, green, NYC:

But, white gloves or no, bike storage tends to be easier to find in new buildings, whether condo or rental. As of 2009 most new buildings, including multifamily residential, have been required by the city to provide some bike storage. (Offering it is also a relatively inexpensive way for a developer to gain points toward LEED certification, which measures a building’s environmental impact.)

“It adds to the general tone of the building,” said Shaun Osher, the founder of the brokerage CORE, who kept his rusty bike on the fire escape when he first moved to New York City 20 years ago. “It’s one less thing you have to worry about in your apartment.”

In most buildings, however, either the service is free or the fee is nominal, maybe $10 a month. That small sum is mostly intended to discourage the leaving of unused and unusable bikes in storage ad infinitum, rather than to raise revenue.

“When you’re paying top dollar for a home,” said Mr. Kliegerman of Halstead, “you wouldn’t expect to pay to hang your bike on a wall.”

Many New Yorkers, of course, do surrender chunks of their living rooms to their two-wheelers. And they make do.

“People find all kinds of creative solutions,” said Richard Hamilton, a senior vice president aof Halstead Property. “I’ve seen bike pulleys that get them off the floor. In my old apartment, we put up hooks and hung them. Or you could lean it against the wall. And then it falls on you. And then you cuss.”

via The Bicycle Muscles In – NYTimes.com.

NASA, space station:  I hope this problem can be solved.
Astronauts will abandon the International Space Station, probably in mid-November, if rocket engine problems that doomed a Russian cargo ship last week are not diagnosed and fixed.This photograph from May shows the International Space Station and the space shuttle Endeavour docked on the left.Even if unoccupied, the space station can be operated by controllers on the ground indefinitely and would not be in immediate danger of falling out of orbit.Three Russian astronauts, two Americans and a Japanese are living on the space station.“We’re going to do what’s the safest for the crew and for the space station, which is a very big investment of our governments,” said Michael T. Suffredini, manager of the space station program for NASA, during a news conference on Monday. “Our job is, as stewards of the government, to protect that investment, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”The $100 billion station has been continuously occupied for over a decade.Last Wednesday, an unmanned Russian cargo ship known as the Progress, which was carrying three tons of supplies to the space station, crashed in Siberia. Telemetry from the rocket indicated that a drop of fuel pressure led its computer to shut down the third-stage engine prematurely five and a half minutes into flight.
apps, translators, travel:  May have to try this next time I travel to a non-English speaking country.
Instantly translate printed words from one language to another with your built-in video camera, in real time! PLEASE NOTE: Language packs must be purchased from within the app. Use Word Lens on vacation, business travel, and just for fun.
Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, quotes:  The more I read the more I like Powell and the less I like Cheney.
But I got some new favorite Powell quotes this weekend, when he went on “Face the Nation” to talk about Dick Cheney’s charming new book. “I think Dick overshot the runway,” Powell said, with the “cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the Administration.” One of the many things that bothered Powell was Cheney’s complaint that he didn’t support the President:Well, who went to the United Nations and, regrettably, with a lot of false information? It was me. It wasn’t Mr. Cheney.Cheney was peddling the false information—does that count? Schieffer said afterward that Powell struck him as “truly, I think, offended about what he read in this book…. “Interior lines of communication,” “another block away,” “everybody needs a shoulder,” “he would do the same for me”—real knowledge of war, street smarts, human sympathy, and humility: four qualities that “the lone cowboy,” if he ever had them, fatally lacked in his all too influential Vice-Presidency, and now again in his memoir. There will be more to say about that—and particularly about Cheney’s expressed desire for waterboarding. (He seems to be the sort of man who, told that he li torture ved in a city on a fjord, would start babbling about how well worked for the Vikings.) Does being a lone cowboy mean losing all sense of shame?via Close Read: Colin Powell and the Lone Cowboy : The New Yorker.
Steve Jobs, Apple, philanthropy:  I have often wondered about this …

In 2006, in a scathing column in Wired, Leander Kahney, author of “Inside Steve’s Brain,” wrote: “Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theater. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power.”

Yet Mr. Jobs has always been upfront about where he has chosen to focus. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 1993 , he said, “Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”

Let’s hope Mr. Jobs has many more years to make wonderful things — and perhaps to inspire his legions of admirers to give.

Despite accumulating an estimated $8.3 billion fortune through his holdings in Apple and a 7.4 percent stake in Disney (through the sale of Pixar), there is no public record of Mr. Jobs giving money to charity. He is not a member of the Giving Pledge, the organization founded by Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to persuade the nation’s wealthiest families to pledge to give away at least half their fortunes. (He declined to participate, according to people briefed on the matter.) Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it.

None of this is meant to judge Mr. Jobs. I have long been a huge admirer of Mr. Jobs and consider him the da Vinci of our time. Before writing this column, I had reservations about even raising the issue given his ill health, and frankly, because of the enormous positive impact his products have had by improving the lives of millions of people through technology.

via The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving – NYTimes.com.




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