Posts Tagged ‘astronomy

24
Jun
13

6.24.13 … Summer Solstice 2013 and Super Moon: it’s completely coincidental …

Summer Solstice 2013, Super Moon 2013, astronomy, Summer, culture, history: 

This year’s summer solstice also stands out because it will be followed shortly after by the largest “supermoon” of the year. In the early hours of Sunday, June 23, the moon will officially reach its full phase and will be the closest to Earth that it will be all year.

While the astrology-minded might be tempted to see significance in the timing of the two celestial events, there is no connection, said Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

“People draw this connection between [the supermoon] and the summer solstice, but it’s completely coincidental,” he added.

The solstices are the results of Earth’s north-south axis being tilted 23.4 degrees relative to the ecliptic, the plane of our solar system. This tilt causes different amounts of sunlight to reach different regions of the planet during Earth’s yearlong orbit around the sun.

Adler’s Hammergren said he doesn’t feel too bad about the declining significance of the solstices in modern society.

“Ancient cultures and some modern religions pay very, very close attention to certain natural alignments … and there’s a lot of mysticism and special supernatural significance attached to them,” he said. “The fact that we don’t pay attention to that stuff as much anymore, I think, is a rational thing.”

The University of Arizona’s Holbrook, however, thinks there are certain benefits in keeping the tradition alive.

“Paying attention to the solstices is a way of teaching mathematics, celestial mechanics, and astronomy, culture, and history,” she said. “It is also a pretty good party.”

via Summer Solstice 2013: Why It’s the First Day of Summer.

21
Sep
11

9.21.2011 … Jane Austen and Christian Ethics … at FPC Wednesday nights … I am happy …

Jane Austen, FPC, Wednesday Connect:  Loved the first seminar on Jane Austen and Christian Ethics  at Wednesday Connect … join us for two more!

Jane Austen and Christian Ethics – Jane Austen’s novels are to be read and enjoyed for their own sake. The world she depicts, however, is narrated in clear moral terms. During this three week course we will look at three of Jane Austen’s novels to examine the nature of self-knowledge, “happiness,” and the “constancy” such a life calls us to embody.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/FirstNews/fn.20110911.pdf

Mount Tambora, natural disasters, Indonesia, history:  “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”   … 1815 …

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn’t wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes.

“It was like a horror story, growing up,” said Hasanuddin, who joined hundreds of others in refusing to return to their mountainside villages for several days despite assurances they were safe.

“A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”

The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide and half a mile (1 kilometer) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.

It was several times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.

In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.

Tambora is different.

People here are jittery because of the mountain’s history — and they’re not used to feeling the earth move so violently beneath their feet. Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.

Soon after the ice core findings, scientists started studying Tambora in earnest.

In 2004, Icelandic vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson and a team of American and Indonesian researchers uncovered remnants of a village in a gully on Tambora’s flank that had been pulverized in the fast-moving pyroclastic flow.

Sigurdsson heralded it as a “Pompeii of the East,” and local researcher Made Geria says archaeologists have expanded the dig every year since then.

No one expects a repeat of 1815 just yet — it takes much more than 200 years for that type of huge pressure to build up again, said de Boer, who teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The present activity could be part of the birth of Tambora’s so-called child, he said, a process whereby magma still being pushed upward from the original massive blast forms a new volcano in its place.

But that’s little consolation for those confronted with the mountain’s new burst of activity.

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

“Tens of thousands of people, animals and rice fields disappeared,” the 15-year-old said, adding that a veil of ash blocked out the sun for years.

“There was no life here,” he said quietly from the village of Doropeti, 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater. “I know that from my parents.”

via History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers – The Washington Post.

food- restaurant:  Why do you choose a restaurant?  I think that it is combination of food and x factor.

But my class in Food Entrepreneurship this semester is forcing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. The class focuses on the restaurant as the pinnacle of food business.

Restaurants are important. The best ones are reserved for special occasions, and our memories of birthdays and anniversaries are made there. Think about the best meal you’ve ever had out. Does that not stick with you? I was 18 when I ate the best meal of my life, on a tiny patio in Arles, France. I can remember the vegetable gratin and rosé like it was yesterday. But while it’s natural to wax nostalgic this way, our professor reminds us that restaurants have two basic goals: to make money and to feed people. He has identified four basic reasons one chooses a restaurant.

1. The food: From the taste of the dishes themselves to the way each ingredient is sourced.

2. The service: For this one, I think about my favorite bartender, or the owner who brought me edamame hummus while I waited for a table.

3. The design: From David Rockwell-designed wall fountains to easily accessible parking.

4. The X-factor: This can be anything from shrimp-flipping hibachi cooks to sheer exclusivity.

Maybe the best restaurants have all of these things going for them, but more often than not, just one is enough.

The more I think about this, the more true it seems. My family eats at this tiny Italian restaurant in North Newark almost religiously. It has a screen door, awful wine selection, and waitresses who are abrupt at best—but the food is astounding. There are family-style bowls of hand rolled cavatelli with house-made pot cheese and the world’s most perfect Chicken Savoy. Nothing else matters.

What’s your favorite restaurant? What is it about that place that brings you back, either literally or through memory? And does that reason (or reasons) fit into my professor’s list, above?

via Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant – Food – GOOD.

2011 London Riots,  moral decay, culture v. religion:  Does religion really improve culture and prevent moral decay and such evidence of moral decay as rioting?  Read on …

Nearly 200 years later, the Tocqueville of our time, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, made the same discovery. Mr. Putnam is famous for his diagnosis of the breakdown of social capital he called “bowling alone.” More people were going bowling, but fewer were joining teams. It was a symbol of the loss of community in an age of rampant individualism. That was the bad news.

At the end of 2010, he published the good news. Social capital, he wrote in “American Grace,” has not disappeared. It is alive and well and can be found in churches, synagogues and other places of worship. Religious people, he discovered, make better neighbors and citizens. They are more likely to give to charity, volunteer, assist a homeless person, donate blood, spend time with someone feeling depressed, offer a seat to a stranger, help someone find a job and take part in local civic life. Affiliation to a religious community is the best predictor of altruism and empathy: better than education, age, income, gender or race.

Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives. Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent. Alexis de Tocqueville saw it then, Robert Putnam is saying it now. It needs religion: not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good.

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book “Civilization,” in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

It was the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave the West its restless pursuit of a tomorrow that would be better than today. The Chinese have learned the lesson. Fifty years after Chairman Mao declared China a religion-free zone, there are now more Chinese Christians than there are members of the Communist Party.

China has learned the lesson. The question is: Will we?

via Reversing the Moral Decay Behind the London Riots – WSJ.com.

James Taylor, Italy Tour – March 2012:  I would go … but I would rather see him in NC..

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

On March 6, 2012, in Napoli, James and his legendary band will begin a series of unforgettable concerts in Italy. Starting today, the JamesTaylor.com Store has your presale tickets!

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Store immediately in order to get the best tickets!

The full calendar of upcoming tour dates can be seen on the Schedule page.

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

So young, so promising. It was in its prime, and stood to reap the rewards of all of Facebook’s flaws—and in a weird twist, made Facebook copy Google+ for some of its newest “changes.”

But the fact of the matter is, public posts on Google+ have decreased 41 percent since the social networking service launched a few months ago. Even Larry Page, you know – Google’s CEO – last updated one month ago. And I thought something was wrong with me when I forced myself to post something on Google+ so my friends didn’t think I’d virtually disappeared.

via Why Have People Stopped Posting on Google+? – Techland – TIME.com.

food, foodies, DC, places:  Culinary capital … I wish them luck. I have never lived in a clinary capital, but I think it would be great fn.

It’s “Change Season” in D.C. — a peculiar phenomenon that recurs on a regular four-year schedule. Funny thing is, all those politicos calling for “change” in the culture of Washington haven’t a clue how much the nation’s capital is already changing.

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

For one thing, we eat differently, and better. No slap at the Monocle — for decades the place to eat on the Hill (literally), but today we don’t only have change. We have choice.

Just ten years ago, buildings were designed so residents wouldn’t have to look down on the 14th street corridor. Now, it’s the hottest restaurant district in the city and young professionals are clamoring to move there. New culinary playgrounds — like the H Street corridor — continue to blossom even in the areas once decimated by the riots of ’68.

D.C. is undergoing a transformation. Some call it a renaissance. The flow of people towards the suburbs has reversed course. The transient city par excellence is putting down roots. No longer do foreign hirelings reckon D.C. as a four-year hardship posting. We’ve become the place where young people flock to start their lives. And with them comes a whole new cast of creative thinkers, movers and doers — many of whom discover a natural affinity with the wide world of gastronomy.

Bold new restaurant concepts supplant stodgy steak houses. Foragers graze the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And culinary entrepreneurs bring dynamism to the market with novel concepts that broaden the scope of ambition. This change exemplifies the new Washington. Problem is, this change is in no way all-encompassing.

To honor the history and tradition of this city, we need to ensure that progress of the dining scene extends to everyone who calls the District home. People across the city are working on food access with great urgency. D.C. Central Kitchen is stocking corner stores with fresh produce as part of their recently launched Healthy Corners Program. Less known chefs like Teddy Folkman are working tirelessly at after school cooking programs to empower young students through food. And Bread for the City is growing food on its roof to line its pantry shelves. This change is just as important as the opening of a new three-star restaurant as we work to become a great twenty-first century food city.

The District is quickly becoming a culinary capital. The characters who are driving this movement — pushing food forward in a town once known for only rum buns, Old Bay and half-smokes — are part of a broader narrative of renewal that few outside “this town” rarely hear.

So while the rest of the nation fixates on their quadrennial obsession with bringing change to Washington, those who actually call this city home know that change has arrived. Change that improves people’s lives, creates new jobs, and tastes good too.

via Nick Wiseman: Transforming D.C. Into a Culinary Capital.

Wrigley Building,  Chicago, architectural icons: I just hope they don’t try to change the name!.

A joint venture including investor Byron Trott and the co-founders of Groupon Inc. confirmed Monday that it has bought the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Trott’s firm, Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners, is leading an investor group that includes Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon investors and directors, and Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago-based office landlord.

“The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city’s rich history and growth,” Mr. Trott, managing partner and chief investment officer for BDT Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago’s future economic progress.”

via Wrigley Building purchase announced | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.

science v. religion,faith and spirituality, God,  evolution:  I have no problem with the two.

I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

via Can You Believe in God and Evolution? – TIME.

9/11, follow-up:  This kid remembers where he was … and it changed his life forever.

Until the second plane hit, few knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Most were still hoping it could have been a terrible air-traffic-control mistake. But, somehow, I didn’t. I knew it was terrorism from the first moment. I knew it because what I did that morning had been something of a premonition. I had been reminded of war. I had been reminded too of tremendous patriotism and valor. And I wasn’t worthy of any of it.

There was no reason at all for me to suspect that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were behind the attack, nor any reason to suspect that it was motivated by Islamic extremism. Yet in my social cowering — feeling like my entire class was judging my morning escapade — I instinctively concluded in the depths of my consciousness that whoever performed these attacks probably looked more like me than anyone else in the room. And now I was a target.

The following months of high school were occasionally intimidating. I was not Muslim, I was not Arab, but I looked close enough to the part to serve as the punching bag for a few of my community’s less tolerant citizens. The most frustrating name-calling came when other groups who used to be the target of such ethnic scorn (Hispanic and African-American kids) would snarl their turban-teasing remarks as a means of countering any advance I made in the classroom or on the playing field. I needed a community. I needed an identity. So when I received the phone call from an Army recruiter, I asked to meet him for coffee, whereas most Indian kids went back to their math books. He told me to think about West Point.

It amazes me that it has been only 10 years since that horrific morning. That day changed the trajectory of my life so greatly, I can’t imagine where I would be had it not occurred. Ten years later, I’m a West Point graduate, a captain in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who served 12 months in Kandahar. I wear a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge proudly on my uniform. And 10 years later, I’m still overcome with guilt. Not for what I did on 9/11, but for who I was. I am guilty that it took the death of 3,000 people for me to change my outlook on the blessings of this country.

via Class of 9/11: How a School Prank Helped Change My Life – TIME.

Food – Chinese, Jewish culture, Pastrami Egg Rolls:   I just thought they ate it at Christmas because that was all that was open.  🙂  I loved this story!

The question as to why Jews are drawn so irresistibly to Chinese food is one I’ve often wondered about. Eddie Glasses (who gets his nickname from sporting all sorts of outlandish eyewear) could have attached himself to the Italian masters, or the French, or even gone off in some other exotic direction like Moroccan or Indian. But his existence as the Ultimate Jewish Chinese-Food Nerd has a kind of dynamic inevitability. Put any two Jews together, and we are likely to start arguing over who has the best scallion pancakes. Schoenfeld had the good fortune and intellectual curiosity to devote himself to some of the midcentury titans of Chinese cuisine — the cooking teacher Grace Yu, the restaurateur David Keh, the chefs T.T. Wang and “Uncle Lou” (Lo Hoy Yen) — and learn everything he could. So he gets the last word, which is a very Jewish thing to want to get. But why Chinese food?

The two groups have neither linguistic nor religious nor geographic commonalities. They aren’t known for intermarrying or for intermingling. Both groups are famously insular, and tend to regard themselves as chosen peoples. And yet, there’s a connection. There are lots of jokes about it. There’s even a restaurant in Los Angeles called Genghis Cohen. But the inroad made by Chinese food has been so profound that even sacred dietary laws are routinely broken for this cuisine. A Jewish household that wouldn’t countenance a single bacon bit at home will consume industrial quantities of spare ribs, roast-pork fried rice and shrimp dumplings. So what gives?

So here is my best guess. The thing to remember about Chinese food is that, besides being cheap, it is eminently suited to take out; at least three-quarters of the Chinese food I ate growing up was at home. And Jews love eating at home. We are intensely familial, home-loving and nuclear; and given that our own food is both bad and laborious (endlessly braised brisket, spattering latkes), Chinese food — varied, fatty and festive — is a better alternative in part because it’s always at hand. It’s a cheap lift; you can think of it as Jewish Prozac. And, beyond this, there is an even greater power of Chinese food in our lives, a sentimental tradition in a secular world. The China Teacup in Brooklyn Heights, where Schoenfeld used to eat as a kid, or Ling-Nam in West Miami and China Land in Atlantic City, N.J., my own egg-roll academies, have been serving essentially the same food for generations. The takeout menu currently on my refrigerator looks just like the one my father had on his, the one he used to stand there gazing at with a mix of puzzlement (maybe ribs and egg foo yong?) and something like adoration. I think that we, as a people, prize comfort above all else, both emotionally and physically. To sit in the living room with a plate of lo mein and half an egg roll is about as safe and stable as life gets for us. That, more than anything else, accounts for our odd abiding love of the most foreign — most domestic — of cuisines.

via Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food – TIME.

Life is stranger than fiction, astronomy,Tatooine, Star Wars:  Scientists found one planet with two stars, a ‘Star Wars’ World.  “When two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.”

The Star Wars movies weren’t especially big on subtlety. Their heroes and villains were cartoonishly one-dimensional, the aliens were grotesquely alien, and the action was over the top. One scene in the first film was a notable exception, though. It showed a sunset on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home world — with not one, but two suns sinking in tandem toward the horizon. The essential strangeness of that image made it quietly but profoundly clear that you were visiting an utterly foreign world.

When astronomers actually began finding such worlds almost two decades after that first Star Wars movie, though, they didn’t waste much time looking for places like Tatooine. Double-star systems are very common in the Milky Way — in fact, solitary stars like the sun are in the minority. But it wasn’t clear, said theorists, that planets could form and survive in their vicinity: when two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.

via One Planet, Two Suns: Scientists Find a ‘Star Wars’ World – TIME.

smileys, emoticons, history:  Never thought about who or why the smiley emoticon was created.  Thank you, computer geeks!

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts.  Or at least I’m one of the inventors.

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”.  These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing.  Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room.  Who does it belong to?”  Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion).  Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor).  The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in  response.  That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried.  In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.   After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone.  Various “joke markers”  were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based  computer terminals of the day.  So I suggested that.  In the same post, I also suggested the use of  😦  to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.  (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.)

So the message itself, and the thread that gave rise to it, are here.  The exact date of the smiley’s birth can now be determined: 19 September, 1982.  It was great to have this message back just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original post.

So, the smiley idea may have appeared and disappeared a few times before my 1982 post.  I probably was not the first person ever to type these three letters in sequence, perhaps even with the meaning of “I’m just kidding” and perhaps even online.  But I do believe that my 1982 suggestion was the one that finally took hold, spread around the world, and spawned thousands of variations.  My colleagues and I have been able to watch the idea spread out through the world’s computer networks from that original post.

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

students, design,  rural poor, globalizaton, International Development Design Summit: Putting our smarts to work!

The scene is vibrant and chaotic. A village grandmother who had never before seen the city turns the crank of a device constructed to extract oil from the seeds of a moringa tree. Other people crowd around tables to check out a mosquito-repelling, battery-powered lantern housed in an old plastic water bottle; farming implements fashioned out of treated bamboo; and a mobile-phone-based platform for providing farmers with information on crops and markets.

These are the fruits of the International Development Design Summit, a monthlong event conceived by Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has for the past five years brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services, and business models to serve the rural poor. Here, students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the United States work side by side with artisans, teachers, and village chiefs who hail from other countries and from surrounding villages, soaking up a very different sort of education.

While the technologies themselves are neither earth-shattering nor elegant (teams have only five weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and refine their products), what’s innovative about the summit, its organizers say, is its emphasis on design as a collaborative and creative process. It assumes that the farmers and chiefs in the villages for which these products are destined have at least as much to add to the designs as do engineers with Ph.D.’s.

via Students Design Low-Tech Ways to Help Improve Lives of Rural Poor – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Redbox: I do love Redbox … a business that seems outdated but delivers a product when, when and at a price point people want.

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

There’s a ton of ways to share your love for redbox,

but if you do it this way, you might win a big prize:

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

Netflix, mea culpa:  My bad … but the change stays …

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

via http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

 Proteus, direct feedback, business culture “FedEx Day”: I think I need a FedEx Day at home!

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

A. One other thing we do is called FedEx Day.  Pretty much anyone can apply for FedEx Day, or any group of people.  The deal is that you can take the whole day and go off and do something, but it’s FedEx, right?  So it has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight.  And you can break it down, because maybe you want four FedEx Days, but there has to be a deliverable for every day.  That’s also terrific because it’s everything from very simple little things — like improving the layout of the desks in the area — all the way through to fairly important things.

via Andrew Thompson of Proteus, on Direct Feedback – NYTimes.com.

apps, Nike BOOM: 

Nike BOOMBy Nike, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Description

Nike BOOM syncs your music to your dynamic training workouts, with the world’s most elite athletes and coaches motivating you along the way. Choose your type of workout, length of training, best workout music and favorite Nike athletes—then get to work.

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

chocolate bars, Paris, food- drink:  Another thing to add to my list … chocolate bars … but I think I will stay away from hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

On the menu at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new Paris chocolate bar: hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

Autumn visitors to Paris may feel that nothing beats a traditional chocolat chaud, but the city’s chocolatiers have been experimenting on the old tea room favourite, with surprising results

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

The bartender raised his eyebrows as I placed my order: “Not many people ask for that.” I was perched at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new chocolate bar, a modern gold-and-brown space where Parisians come to indulge in thoroughly adult versions of a traditional children’s drink. From the long menu I had chosen hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion, a mysterious concoction whipped up in the laboratoire at the back.

When the plain white cup arrived, the soft-spoken waitress advised me not to stir the pearly blobs of what looked like sea foam into the hot chocolate, in order to appreciate the contrast. The first couple of sips went down easily, the iodised taste bringing a welcome saltiness to the intense chocolate. But then I encountered my first lump: either a piece of oyster or some jellied reconstitution. The bartender threw me a sympathetic glance as I pushed the cup aside.

Hévin might have gone one step too far with his oyster drink, but he is one of several Paris chocolate makers who are reviving the art of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, hot chocolate so thick it pours like custard. If Italian hot chocolate relies on starch to obtain this texture, the French prefer a simple mixture of milk, chocolate and/or cocoa powder and sometimes cream. For Parisian chocolatiers, what counts most is the quality of the chocolate, which often comes from the celebrated Valrhona factory in the Rhône Valley.

For many Parisians and even more foreigners, the Holy Grail of hot chocolate is still the chocolat chaud à l’africain served at the Belle Epoque tea room Angelina. It’s certainly hard to find this drink served with more ceremony: here, it comes with water to cleanse your palate, a bowl of whipped cream to complement its pudding-like richness, and a dense almond financier. The best in town? Probably not, but if you can’t resist a brand name, it’s still worth experiencing at least once.

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

self-curation, happiness:  My clips and comments are my self-curation. 🙂

I read an excellent novel this weekend, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. Like any good novel, it’s about many things, but in particular, it made me think about the issue of self-curation.

In his “Chronicles,” the character Nik elaborately archives his work in music and an alternate autobiography. He tells his sister Denise, “Self-curate or disappear.”

As I was reading, I realized: I suffer from archive anxiety. Partly about my actual life, which is why I’ve adopted resolutions such as Keep a one-sentence journal and Suffer for fifteen minutes. They help me chronicle my life.

But for me, the greater worry is the archiving and curation of my observations — not my actual life, but my intellectual life. Even though taking notes on my reading and thinking is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also burdensome: it takes up a lot of time, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to find what I want later and whether I’m making good use of my materials. So much wonderful material! I want to write book after book after book, to think it all through.

Reading Stone Arabia has made me consider this theme of “self-curation” in a different light.

via The Happiness Project: Do You Think About “Self-Curation”?.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry :  Republican front-runners are from different worlds and appeal to very different parts of the GOP.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

via Republican front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry come from different worlds – The Washington Post.

college admissions, Middlebury College:  I am not sure I would want my essay “on stage!”

College applicants – and, in some cases, their advisers, friends and parents – spend incalculable time poring over the personal statement.

But once an essay is submitted, students rarely revisit it, burying those Microsoft Word files full of personal insights, goals and vulnerabilities within a series of “College Application” folders.

Not so students at Middlebury College.

Since the early ’90s, the college’s “Voices of the Class” program has brought to life the admissions essays of freshmen, with upperclassmen acting them out during new student orientation.

The program was fashioned by Matt Longman, a residential dean of the college and a Middlebury alumnus himself who oversees the show’s execution each year.

Some 20 years ago, as the college was considering introducing formal diversity workshops to its orientation, Mr. Longman spoke up and suggested something less institutional. “Why don’t we try something that lets the students’ own voices speak to each other?” he asked.

“I’d always been a big proponent of reading application essays closely because they provide such a wonderful, behind-the-scenes, in-depth picture of what really matters to people,” Mr. Longman said, praising the breadth and creativity in applicants’ writing and experiences.

Middlebury listened. Each year since, the school has mined fresh material from its admitted students, formally incorporating 10 to 20 essays into an orientation week performance.

via Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage – NYTimes.com.

Dar Al-Hijrah,  Imam Abdul-Malik:  Tough job … but needs to answer obvious questions.

But having defended Dar Al-Hij­rah for so long, Abdul-Malik knows what they’re really asking: What exactly is going on at this mosque? Is this a breeding ground for terrorists?

It is a suspicion that nearly all Muslim institutions have faced to some degree since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But none more so than Dar Al-Hijrah.

via Imam serves as public face of an embattled mosque – The Washington Post.

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro.

The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois — whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro — is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests.

At least one commissioner, Michael P. Flanagan of Michigan, who went to Helsinki, decided not to participate in future trips once he realized who was underwriting them.

“While he does not believe those trips are unethical, he did see that they could be perceived that way, and for that reason he chose not to attend,” said Mr. Flanagan’s spokesman, Martin Ackley.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, dismissed any ethical concerns about providing free trips to people his corporate cousin is pitching for business. “We categorically refute any suggestion or implication that the partnership is designed to enable Pearson ‘to win contracts,’ ” he said in a statement. Rather, Mr. Nieker said, the trips are “in pursuit of educational excellence.”

But Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a centrist group, compared the practice to pharmaceutical companies that run junkets for doctors or lobbyists who fly members of Congress to vacation getaways. “If we want that kind of corruption in education, we’re fools,” he said.

via Pearson Sends Education Commissioners on Free Trips – NYTimes.com.

60-Second Video Tips, Test Kitchen, tips:  useful …

60-SECOND VIDEO TIPS Test kitchen wisdom distilled into super quick video clips

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

women’s issues, women’s progress:  You’ve come a long way, baby … at least in some areas … in some places.

Just over a decade into the 21st century, women’s progress can be seen—and celebrated—across a range of fields. They hold the highest political offices from Thailand to Brazil, Costa Rica to Australia. A woman holds the top spot at the International Monetary Fund; another won the Nobel Prize in economics. Self-made billionaires in Beijing, tech innovators in Silicon Valley, pioneering justices in Ghana—in these and countless other areas, women are leaving their mark.

But hold the applause. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation. In the developed world, women lag behind men in pay and political power. The poverty rate among women in the U.S. rose to 14.5 percent last year, the highest in 17 years.

To measure the state of women’s progress, Newsweek ranked 165 countries, looking at five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care. Poring over data from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and consulting with experts and academics, we measured 28 factors to come up with our rankings.

via Newsweek Tracks Women’s Progress Around the World – The Daily Beast.

Moses, manna, Bible, tamarisk:  I never heard of  tamarisk –  “the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground”

The word “manna” means “What is it?” For centuries, people who live in the Sinai peninsula have gathered the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground; over 500 pounds of this manna is deposited on the Sinai peninsula each year. Loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, manna isnt tasty – except to the ants, who in fact consume whats on the ground by mid-day. Was this the “bread from heaven”? If so, is this manna any less a gift of God? God provides, often in simple, mundane ways.

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

‘The Playboy Club’, tv, review:  Controversy might make me watch it … just once.

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”So I would like to say this:1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.3. Playboy did not change the world.Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.

09
Sep
11

9.9.2011 … John’s trail name is No Sweat … watching an old NG special on the AT … what should mine be?

Appalachian Trail, trail names, National Geographic, Netflix: Streaming Netflix and watching a apecial on the AT.  John’s dream is to hike it … he will, and he already has his trail name …”No Sweat” … I can’t imagine what mine will be …

education, college, reading, empathy:

Researchers from the University at Buffalo gave 140 undergraduates passages from either Meyer’s Twilight or JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to read, with the vampire group delving into an extract in which Edward Cullen tells his teenage love interest Bella what it is like to be a vampire, and the wizardly readers getting a section in which Harry and his cohorts are “sorted” into Hogwarts houses.

The candidates then went through a series of tests, in which they categorised “me” words (myself, mine) and “wizard” words (wand, broomstick, spells, potions) by pressing one key when they appeared on the screen, and “not me” words (they, theirs) and “vampire” words (blood, undead, fangs, bitten) by pressing another key, with the test then reversed. The study’s authors, Dr Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young, expected them to respond more quickly to the “me” words when they were linked to the book they had just read.

Gabriel and Young then applied what they dubbed the Twilight/Harry Potter Narrative Collective Assimilation Scale, which saw the students asked questions designed to measure their identification with the worlds they had been reading about – including “How long could you go without sleep?”, “How sharp are your teeth?” and “Do you think, if you tried really hard, you might be able to make an object move just using the power of your mind?” Their moods, life satisfaction, and absorption into the stories were then measured.

Published by the journal Psychological Science, the study found that participants who read the Harry Potter chapters self-identified as wizards, whereas participants who read the Twilight chapter self-identified as vampires. And “belonging” to these fictional communities actually provided the same mood and life satisfaction people get from affiliations with real-life groups. “The current research suggests that books give readers more than an opportunity to tune out and submerge themselves in fantasy worlds. Books provide the opportunity for social connection and the blissful calm that comes from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious, fleeting moment,” Gabriel and Young write.

via Reading fiction ‘improves empathy’, study finds | Books | guardian.co.uk.

youth, culture, tattoo remorse:

The Rise of Tattoo Remorse: Heavy Cost to Erase What’s Often an Impulse Decision

Most fads are relatively harmless, inexpensive, and, by their very nature, short-lived. Tattoos, however, have become remarkably trendy at the same time they’re as long-lasting as purchases get. If and when you have that sweet $80 tattoo you got on a whim in college removed because it now looks silly, the procedure will wind up being far more painful (“like getting burnt with hot baking grease”) and way more expensive ($3,600!) than when you got tattooed in the first place.

The Boston Globe recently profiled a few of the many tattooed Americans who regret their decisions to go under the needle and now just wish their skin was ink-free. According to a 2008 poll, 16% of the inked suffer from “tattoo remorse,” and the number of people electing to have tattoos removed—like the number of people choosing to get tattoos, by no coincidence—has been on the rise in recent years. In 2009, there were 61,535 surgical procedures performed to remove tattoos.

That doesn’t necessarily mean 61,535 tattoos were actually removed that year. In some cases, it takes 15 or more sessions to remove a single tattoo. Each of these sessions can be an ordeal. In order to scare his kids away from getting tattoos, actor Mark Wahlberg had them observe when a few of his tattoos were removed. This is how Wahlberg described the experience:

“It’s like getting burnt with hot baking grease,” he told Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” in February. “There’s blood coming up, it looks like somebody welded your skin. Hopefully that will deter them.”

Of all the tattoos that can be later regretted, perhaps none is worse than the name of one’s ex. One 25-year-old student told the Globe that, naturally, he wished he didn’t have the name of his now ex-girlfriend (Kate) tattooed on his buttocks:

“I was in love,” he explained, a warm smile spreading across his face as he recalled how he felt when he impulsively went to the tattoo parlor. Now? The smile disappeared. “It reminds me of her.”

And obviously not in a good way. Talk about a pain in the butt.

Some tattoos don’t age well for other reasons. The 31-year-old marketing director described in the story’s introduction got her ankle tattoo—a Chinese symbol supposed to symbolize a warrior and scholar—when it seemed like the cool thing to do in college. Later, she found out the mark translated as something like “mud pie.” Embarrassed—because the mark was basically meaningless, and because the tattoo was a mismatch for the professional world she now worked in—she wound up spending $3,600 to have the tattoo removed over the course of two years.

via The Rise of Tattoo Remorse: Heavy Cost to Erase What’s Often an Impulse Decision | Moneyland | TIME.com.

word clouds, President Obama, Obama’s 2011 Jobs Speech:  Some sites won’t let me exerpt … “Obama’s 2011 Jobs Speech” by Justin Wolfers

mobile cloud:  Storm clouds brewing!

Apple iCloud. Google Music. Amazon Cloud Drive. Microsoft SkyDrive and Office 365. OnLive. Dropbox. Jungle Disk. These are just a few of the many new services promising to let consumers access their music, pictures, videos, games, documents and other files anywhere, anytime, from any device via wireless networks. In theory, these services offer a bright future for consumers, especially those who value convenience and want access to all their content no matter where they are.

But in reality, there are dark storm clouds brewing. These mobile “cloud” services won’t happen without radiofrequency spectrum, a natural resource that is quickly becoming scarcer because of outdated regulatory and technological spectrum access methods.

via Will spectrum scarcity sink wireless access to content in the cloud? — Broadband News and Analysis.

Apple, iOS 5 , iPhone 5:  Can they top themselves again …

The new build has several additional features enabled including Facetime over 3G and the speech-to-text features that we have previously talked about.

The carrier partners have been instructed to test Facetime over 3G extensively, raising hopes that iPhone users will soon be able to use Facetime anywhere they have a data connection. This doesn’t mean that we will be seeing Facetime 3G in the final release, of course, but it does mean that carriers are at least being encouraged to test it on their networks.

This build of iOS 5 is said to be a newer one than the one available to developers currently, which is beta 7. Currently, Facetime must be used over WiFi connections only, limiting its usage as you are normally around a computer when you’re on WiFi and can use higher quality services like Skype.

Apple’s new speech-to-text feature is also said to be in the build as well. This feature, which we have seen referred to as ‘Dictation’ internally, allows users to tap a microphone button and speak into the iPhone, which will transcribe the voice into text passages. This feature apparently works very much like Android’s speech-to-text and is said to be ‘very polished, quick and accurate’. This was initially thought to coincide with a system-wide ‘Assistant’ feature that would act much like fellow Nuance partner Siri’s capabilities.

via Apple’s carrier partners get ‘near-final’ build of iOS 5 with speech and Facetime 3G – TNW Apple.

Facebook, helpful hints:

For all of Facebook’s popularity, many of its users are still nervous about how to maintain their privacy on the network. Google’s rival social network, called Google+, answered the call for easier sharing control: Each post clearly shows which groups of friends will see it, and these groups are privately named by users.

This week I’ll dig into the latest updates on Facebook, which aim to ease the process of controlling one’s profile and privacy. An upcoming Facebook developer conference in two weeks is expected to reveal additional changes.

via Facebook Updates Help Users Share Better With Others – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

business class, travel: Service is the key. 🙂

This all sounds like very nice stuff. The Consumerist blog says all the fancy stuff “hearken[s] back to the day of luxury carriers like Pan Am and the high-end airlines favored by international business travelers.” But do business travellers really care that much about this sort of thing? The main complaint many flyers have about big American carriers is that their service is rotten, not that their goodie bags are insufficiently stocked. Amenities are an important part of the service experience. But they’re not as important as making sure your customers get where they are going on time and happy.

via First class on American Airlines: Classing up first class | The Economist.

Nike, shoes, Back to the Future, movies:  Belated tie-in?

In 2015, Marty McFly slipped on a pair of Nike Air Power Laces, white-and-gray high-tops with teal specks and wrap-around ankle straps, which self-fastened electronically. Now, four years earlier, Nike is going Back To The Future (er, forward to the past) to re-release the movie’s famous sneakers–and from what we’ve seen, the 2011 Nike MAGs, as they’re called, are as slick as the DeLorean DMC-12 they arrived in.

via Nike Unveils MAG, Marty McFly’s Kicks From Back To The Future II | Co. Design.

health, exercise, swimming:  I have always thought I would like some lessons.

When you break it down, swimming has a high potential for embarrassment. It requires us to show grace, coordination and strength—all without the security of clothing. This didn’t seem to bother us back when we worked as lifeguards at the YMCA or as splash-happy counselors at Camp Good Times. But over the years, without regular access to a pool or a pond, many of us have grown tentative in the water.

It’s worth rebuilding our confidence, though, because swimming offers a total-body workout like no other. And as many athletes are discovering, this non-impact activity is an excellent alternative for joints that have become stiff from years’ worth of pavement-pounding. It can help us feel weightless—and even ageless. “The water doesn’t know what age you are when you jump in,” said Dara Torres, who at 41 was the oldest woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. “So why not?”

While complete novices are best served by a class or private instruction, some lapsed swimmers just need a little push. We asked two professional coaches for advice on getting back in the swim.

via Advice for Nervous Swimmers – How to Swim if You Haven’t in a While – Oprah.com

Plato, Atlantis, archeology, fact v. fiction:  “His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, the gradual corruption of human society—these ideas are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favorite themes.”

If the writing of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato had not contained so much truth about the human condition, his name would have been forgotten centuries ago.

But one of his most famous stories—the cataclysmic destruction of the ancient civilization of Atlantis—is almost certainly false. So why is this story still repeated more than 2,300 years after Plato’s death?

“It’s a story that captures the imagination,” says James Romm, a professor of classics at Bard College in Annandale, New York. “It’s a great myth. It has a lot of elements that people love to fantasize about.”

Plato told the story of Atlantis around 360 B.C. The founders of Atlantis, he said, were half god and half human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power. Their home was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. The lush islands contained gold, silver, and other precious metals and supported an abundance of rare, exotic wildlife. There was a great capital city on the central island.

….

Romm believes Plato created the story of Atlantis to convey some of his philosophical theories. “He was dealing with a number of issues, themes that run throughout his work,” he says. “His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, the gradual corruption of human society—these ideas are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favorite themes.”

The legend of Atlantis is a story about a moral, spiritual people who lived in a highly advanced, utopian civilization. But they became greedy, petty, and “morally bankrupt,” and the gods “became angry because the people had lost their way and turned to immoral pursuits,” Orser says.

As punishment, he says, the gods sent “one terrible night of fire and earthquakes” that caused Atlantis to sink into the sea.

via Atlantis Legend — National Geographic.

Blackbeard, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, Beaufort NC, history, archeology:  I love this stuff …

After 15 years of uncertainty, a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina has been confirmed as that of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, state officials say.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge grounded on a sandbar near Beaufort (see map) in 1718, nine years after the town had been established. Blackbeard and his crew abandoned the ship and survived.

Until recently, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources emphasized that the wreck, discovered in 1995, was “thought to be” the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Now, after a comprehensive review of the evidence, those same officials are sure it’s the ship sailed by one of history’s fiercest and most colorful pirates.

“There was not one aha moment,” said Claire Aubel, public relations coordinator for the North Carolina Maritime Museums. “There was a collection of moments and a deduction based on the evidence.”

via Blackbeard’s Ship Confirmed off North Carolina.

astronomy, new planet: Most earth-like … only 36 light years away!

A new planet found about 36 light-years away could be one of the most Earthlike worlds yet—if it has enough clouds, a new study says.

The unpoetically named HD85512b was discovered orbiting an orange dwarf star in the constellation Vela. Astronomers found the planet using the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, instrument in Chile.

Radial velocity is a planet-hunting technique that looks for wobbles in a star’s light, which can indicate the gravitational tugs of orbiting worlds.

The HARPS data show that the planet is 3.6 times the mass of Earth, and the new world orbits its parent star at just the right distance for water to be liquid on the planet’s surface—a trait scientists believe is crucial for life as we know it.

via New Planet May Be Among Most Earthlike—Weather Permitting.

photography, apps, kith/kin:  My favorite professional photographer Mark Fortenberry likes Hipstamatic.  I am still learning.

Learn more about a few of my favorite photo apps in the gallery above.

And once you’re hooked, keep up with the latest and greatest at iPhoneography.com or push your creative edge with The Art of iPhoneography, both great resources for mobile creativity.

via Artsy Travel Photos? There’s an App for That – Intelligent Travel.

Dancing with the Stars, tv, Chaz Bono:  Now this will be interesting …

Although he may have something to prove, Chaz, however couldn’t be more beloved by his fellow contestants and the dancers who have all dubbed him a ‘very cool dude.’

via Chaz Bono ‘struggling with rehearsals because he lacks rhythm’ | Mail Online.

education, technology, iPads: 

School districts across the country are plunking down major cash for iPads—even for kindergarten classrooms—but there hasn’t been much research about whether using them actually boosts student achievement. So James Harmon, a veteran English teacher from the Cleveland area, decided to conduct his own experiment (PDF). His finding? His students learned better with the aid of iPads—if used correctly.

Harmon’s experiment began at the start of the last school year when the school district provided his school, Euclid High, with a set of 24 iPads. The school serves a population that’s majority black and low-income, and Harmon knew that traditional approaches to teaching reading and writing weren’t working. His gut instinct was that the iPads would help the school’s English teachers find new, creative approaches to teaching the content, but he also wanted to justify asking for more iPads with data-based evidence.

So Harmon divided the sophomore class into two groups, one iPad-free control group, and one that had access to the tablets at school. For consistency, he also ensured that all three sophomore English teachers taught the same curriculum. According to his experiment’s end-of-year data, students with access to an iPad were more likely to pass both the reading and writing sections of the state standardized test.

via Teacher’s iPad Experiment Shows Possibilities for Classroom Technology – Education – GOOD.

education, learning styles, edupunks:  Ar you an edupunk?  education, no … learning journey!

It’s the best of times and the worst of times to be a learner. College tuition has doubled in the past decade, while the options for learning online and independently keep expanding: you can take a free Stanford class with 100,000 other students, hop on YouTube to find an instructional video, or ask a question on Twitter or Quora and share your work on a forum like Github or Behance. Anya Kamenetz’s new free ebook The Edupunks’ Guide is all about the many paths that learners are taking in this new world. So we teamed up with her to find out: are you an edupunk?

the THEME

Three-quarters of students don’t fit the traditional mold of straight-from-high-school-four-years-of-college-first-job. We want to see a real learning journey: online and real-world resources and communities you’ve found, classes, internships, conferences, jobs, dead ends or wrong turns, and the person or people who really made a difference in getting you where you are today (or where you hope to be).

the OBJECTIVE

Doodle a map of your most important learning experiences. Show us what it’s like to learn outside the traditional academic model.

the REQUIREMENTS

Submit your entry here. We will accept submissions through Sunday, September 11. Check back on to see the slideshow and vote on your favorite. The winner will receive a GOOD T-shirt and see their infographic displayed on GOOD.is.

via Project: Doodle Your Learning Journey – Education – GOOD.

small business, internet, etsy:

In anticipation of Hello Etsy, a summit on small business and sustainability, we teamed up with Etsy to ask you which local businesses you love. We received tons of great submissions celebrating small businesses across the world.

via Submissions: Which Small Businesses Do You Love? – Culture – GOOD.

13
Aug
11

‎8.13.2011 … what is the appropriate attire for an evening at the Roller Derby? … I am thinking anything with bra straps showing or without a bra … not my best looks!

Roller Derby, Charlotte, kith/kin:  Oh, what a night … photos 🙂

food, drink, wine, Bordeaus, France, technology:  There are some amazing things going on in the world.

In partnership with the Wine Cooperative Institute (WCI), a company called Geo-Information Services (GIS), a subsidiary of Astrium Services, has offered a service for the past three years called “Œnoview.” The idea is simple: to provide wine growers with a map detailing the vegetative state of their vineyards.

“It helps the winegrower make decisions and save a considerable amount of time,” says Jacques Rousseau, the WCI Group’s director of wine-producing services. “It allows him to have an instant overall view of his vineyard. He can then know the state of his vineyard as if he had scoured the rows one by one.”

This satellite map can determine the uniformity of the ripening process as it takes place in a specific plot of land. The greener the grapes, the stronger the plant surface is; the more red and blue they are, the less developed the vegetation is. From this report, vintner can draw numerous conclusions, including the optimum harvest date.

via In Bordeaux, Harvest Time Means Infrared Spy Satellites – TIME.

Jane Austen, Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, Who Was Jane Austen: The Girl With the Magic Pen 
Children’s/YA literature: Jane Austen: A Life Revealed – Catherine Reef Clarion Books, 2011 and Who Was Jane Austen: The Girl With the Magic Pen – Gill Hornby Short Books, 2005 …

Claimed to be the first biography for teens (more on that later), this 190 page hardcover copy – which I read in e-book format – does not offer many new insights into Jane Austen’s life. However, that is hardly to be expected from a short biography aimed at teens to introduce them to the life and works of Jane Austen. I imagine that, had I been fourteen still, on my first journey into the land of Austen, I would have thoroughly enjoyed such an easy-access guide, to go on learning more about her from there.

via Two Biographies of Jane Austen Meant for a Teen/YA Audience | Iris on Books.

Gill Hornby’s biography reads like a story, instead of a non-fiction account of her life. It makes me think that maybe it was meant to be accessible to even younger readers. And while the choice to write about Austen as if she’s a character herself might give the story a less objective feel, I actually think it worked really well. Especially since in many ways, Austen has become a character in a story to so many fans of her works.

via Two Biographies of Jane Austen Meant for a Teen/YA Audience | Iris on Books.

e-books: How To Price Comparison Shop For eBooks – eBookNewser.

random, Apple, China:  Faux Apple stores?

The hits (and trademark misses) just keep coming out of China, whose authorities now say they’ve uncovered a whopping 22 fake Apple stores—and that’s just in the city of Kunming, where this strange, sordid tale of Apple retail ne’er do wells started.

via Those Chinese Apple Store Knockoffs? China Says It Found 22 More – Techland – TIME.com.

UGA – Between the Hedges, college football, SEC:  What can I say, I’m a dawg at heart.

Georgia

The annual August tease: We’re ready to shove aside Alabama, Florida and the rest of the SEC and take over the conference!

Mark Richt has the talent at Georgia — but can the Dawgs put it all together?

The annual fall reality: The Mark Richt expiration date is looming.

The Bulldogs have pretty well underachieved four of the past five years. Yeah, one of those alleged underachievers was a 10-3 team in 2008, but it began the year ranked No. 1 and had the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in Matthew Stafford. That qualifies as underachieving.

The past two years have been so bad that they almost defy description. I’m still trying to figure out how Georgia could be a plus-10 in turnovers in 2010 and still wind up 6-7.

via Florida State Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes, Tennessee Volunteers among annual teases – ESPN.

culture, graphics:  This graphic tells the story …

Getty ImagesHow you rank in society purportedly has a lot to do with how much you care about your fellow man. That’s the gist of “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” a new paper written by University of California psychologists and social scientists published in the academic journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

The authors write that one’s sense of social class—derived mainly from income and education—”exerts broad influences on social thought, emotion, and behavior.” Using various tests that measure empathy, those who perceive themselves among the lower classes demonstrate “heightened vigilance of the social context and an other-focused social orientation.” In other words, poorer, less well-educated individuals tend to notice, and care more about, the people around them. “Upper-class rank perceptions,” on the other hand, “trigger a focus away from the context toward the self, prioritizing self-interest.”

via Study: The Rich Really Are More Selfish | Moneyland | TIME.com.

pc, IBM, end of an era, tablets, quotes, makes you think, future: “These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives,” …

Thirty years ago, Mark Dean was part of the original team that helped usher in a personal computing revolution when Big Blue announced its PC. On the anniversary of that seminal announcement, Dean said it is time to move beyond the PC. (see: Today is the IBM Model 5150’s 30th birthday)

“My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline,” Dean, nowadays the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa, wrote on a company blog. “But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.”

Taking note of recent changes reworking the contours of the tech landscape, Dean observed that while PCs are getting replaced, the interesting development action now centers around mobile hardware and social networking connections.

“These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives,” he wrote.

via IBM inventor: PC is dead – CBS News.

Anthropologie, fashion, marketing:  My daughter turned me on to Anthropologie and I love the store for its quirkiness … this video does a good job of explaining its concept.

Color + print steal the show in our newest film, a behind-the-scenes look at our fall collection. Watch and listen as our designers open up about their autumn inspirations and processes.

via Videos Posted by Anthropologie: Color + Print [HD].

USPS, stamps, graphics:  I agree, aren’t they lovely?  Makes me want Valentine’s Day in August.

x2omq.jpg

kabster728 1 day 19 hours ago Twitter

Newest Love stamps — so pretty.

via yfrog Photo : http://yfrog.com/h0x2omqj Shared by kabster728.

astronomy, meteor shower: Well, I missed it.

Whether you were able or not to view Perseid meteor showers earlier this week, tonight’s peak should still provide a good show despite the interference of this month’s full moon. Moreover, tonight will be a double treat, for coincidentally the International Space Station will be visible (local sky conditions permitting) over much of the U.S. for a short window.

via Perseid meteor shower and International Space Station flyby late tonight – double pleasure – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

Twitter / @washingtonpost: Have you seen the Perseid ….

Bipolar Dow, stock market, Great Recession, humor, a picture is worth a thousand words:  

The Dow is up almost 200 points today based on news that the Dow hasn’t dropped 400 points today.

FlyoverJoel

August 12, 2011 at 13:17

ReplyRetweet

via 10 hilarious posts about the Dow’s bipolar week – storify.com.

Just the other day (8/10), I posted on FB, “I am tired of the stock market …” Sometimes, pictures are better than words. 🙂  I laughed …

Ravi Joisa’s Photos – Funny Pics.

college search:  

Having a good professor can indelibly affect your college experience, and make you remember facts that most people would forget after a decent period of time. Good teaching, therefore, is one of the most important things a college can offer.

Princeton Review recently named the ten schools in the country with the best professors. All-female Wellesley College topped the list, with engineering school Harvey Mudd coming in second.

via The 10 Colleges With The Best Professors.

college costs, random, Colorado – Boulder:  This is an old story, and I think the kid was silly, but he has a point …

Nic Ramos’s tuition payment this semester weighed 30 pounds.

Why? The University of Colorado-Boulder economics student decided to pay his $14,309.51 charge in $1 bills (and a 50-cent piece, and a penny).

“Just looking at [the bills] really sends a message,” Ramos said in an interview with the Daily Camera.

Ramos, an out-of-state student, wanted to bring awareness to how much an education costs for non-residents and residents alike. Per his calculations, class comes in at $65 an hour.

via Nic Ramos, University Of Colorado Student, Pays Tuition In $1 Bills (VIDEO).

websites, new and interesting:  Here are a few to check out … WhtespaceHappy Blogging Birthday to Me!.

recipes, shrimp salad, cold court-bouillon:  This sounds really good … but does anyone know what cold court-bouillon is?

Using a technique practiced in the 1970s by French chef Michel Guérard, we started cooking our shrimp in a cold court-bouillon (leaving out the white wine, which tasters found overwhelming), then heating the shrimp and liquid to just a near simmer.

via Better Shrimp Salad – Cooks Illustrated

well, here it is …

A court bouillon (literally “short boil”) is an acidulated vegetable stock. The vegetables are cooked with aromatics for a short time to create a flavorful vegetable stock, which has an acid like vinegar or lemon juice added to it. The main purpose of using a court bouillon to cook things in is to preserve their flavor. Instead of leaching the flavor out, as would happen if you used plain water, the osmotic pressure of the vegetable stock keeps flavors in the food being cooked. In addition, the acid firms and whitens the white flesh of fish or poultry. For shellfish like crabs and shrimp, I like to add Old Bay Seafood seasoning. I also use it for lobsters, which I simmer (never boil) for about twenty minutes for chicken lobsters (1 pounders).

via About Court Bouillon.

loyalty memberships/frequent flyers, good advice:

In 2010, the most recent data available, U.S. consumers had a total of more than two billion loyalty memberships—about 18 memberships per household—up 16% from five years ago, according to Cincinnati-based loyalty-marketing company Colloquy. Some 46% of consumers actively use rewards programs, up from 39% in 2006, and about one-third of those are travel and hospitality programs.

Yet while Americans accumulate $48 billion in rewards points and miles annually, according to Colloquy, they leave one-third of these unredeemed and at risk of expiring.

via How to Protect Your Rewards – WSJ.com.

Jane Fonda, random:  Years ago I was trying to remember the name of a movie that had Jane Fonda in it, and I went to my favorite movie buff … I concluded the description with, “and Jane Fonda was in it.”  My friend looked at me strangely and said, ” I do not go to movies with Jane Fonda.”  My friend was a West Point grad and had served in Vietnam.  I was too young to remember Jane and her famous picture … but his statement said it all.  I am glad she regrets the picture.  Keep apologizing, Jane … for some it may never be enough.

Jane on that North Vietnam photo: “That picture was a terrible mistake, and I’m prepared to apologize for it until I go to my grave.”

via ‘That Picture Was a Terrible Mistake’: Jane Fonda Sits Down for 10 Questions – TIME NewsFeed.

worldcrunch, technology:  Noticed this note on the Bordeaux wine article above … pretty cool.

This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global-news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in Le Monde.

via In Bordeaux, Harvest Time Means Infrared Spy Satellites – TIME.

16
Jul
11

‎7.16.2011 … to ATL … and tomorrow to the FOX Theater to see the Sound of Music Sing-a-long … I know you are jealous!

movies, Sound of Music, sing-a-longs, Fox Theater, Atlanta:  

The smash hit interactive screening of the classic Julie Andrews film is in glorious, full screen Technicolor, complete with subtitles so that the whole audience can sing a long!

via The Fox Theatre – Atlanta, Georgia – Sound of Music Sing-A-Long.

icons, Simpson Syndrome:  🙂

For much of this week Marilyn Monroe’s legs stood astride a plaza in Chicago, like the bottom half of some giant jitterbugging mannequin. The rest of the statue is scheduled to be unveiled Friday, a 26-foot rendering of Ms. Monroe fighting a losing battle with her pleated skirt—the iconic image from the film “The Seven Year Itch.”

Let’s stipulate that public statuary derived from movie scenes is at best dubious. (The less said about A. Thomas Schomberg’s bronze “Rocky” statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the better.) But worse is the endless recycling of images, whether from film, photos or art, that have become—and here’s that dreaded word again—iconic. What is an icon these days but a cliché on stilts?

How clichéd is the subway-grate Marilyn? A trailer for this summer’s Smurf movie features a little blue cartoon blonde giggling as her dress flies up.

via Simpsons Syndrome: Overused Cultural Icons Trigger Gag Reflex | Postmodern Times by Eric Felten – WSJ.com.

music, lists:  Funny, most are pretty old …

Cathartic Tunes for the Heartsick

The 10 Best Breakup Songs

Doesn’t matter if you’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken, one of the best ways to shake off a bad relationship is to burst into song. Try one of these classic breakup anthems.

via The 10 Best Breakup Songs – Emotional Health Center – Everyday Health.

Paris, quizzes:  I have a lot to learn:)

Paris, Perfume, and Pranksters

The City of Light’s beauty draws tourists in, and the rest of the country’s charms keep them captivated. Know your France facts? Find out.

via France Quiz — National Geographic.

music: Another recommendation … The Morning Benders – Excuses Yours Truly session ‏ – YouTube.

random, Bubble Tea, Groupon, Paris:  Since I am planning a trip to Paris, I signed up for the Paris Groupons.  They are of course in French! … But I did recognize Bubble Tea, something i had never heard of before a few weeks ago.  I guess i am behind on the times.

coupon de Vita In Paris extra
Mettez-vous au thé tendance ! 2 Bubble Tea et 2 pâtisseries pour 10 euros au lieu de 21 chez Vita In

via Vita In : Economisez 52.38% à Paris Sud Est.

doctors, professionals, fairy tales, Brothers Grimm:  Nice story …

Fairy tales are, at their core, heightened portrayals of human nature, revealing, as the glare of injury and illness does, the underbelly of mankind. Both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic. And the terrifying things that go bump in the night are what doctors treat at 3 a.m. in emergency rooms.

So I now find comfort in fairy tales. They remind me that happy endings are possible. With a few days of rest and proper medication, the bewildered princess left relaxed and smiling, with a set of goals and a new job in sight. The endoscopy on my cross-eyed confidante showed she was cancer-free.

They also remind me that what I’m seeing now has come before. Child endangerment is not an invention of the Facebook age. Elder neglect didn’t arrive with Gen X. And discharge summaries are not always happy; “Cinderella” originally ended with a blinding, and Death, in his tattered shroud, waits at the end of many journeys.

Healing, I’m learning, begins with kindness, and most fairy tales teach us to show kindness wherever we can, to the stooped little beggar and the highest nobleman. In another year, I’ll be among the new doctors reporting to residency training. And the Brothers Grimm will be with me.

via Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work – NYTimes.com.

travel, airport clubs, independent airport clubs:  Interesting.

For decades airlines plied premium customers and road warriors with fancy airport clubs, often charging annual membership fees of $400 or more, or daily rates of $50. International first-class and business-class passengers have enjoyed clubs with showers, buffets and other perks.

Independent lounges have replaced clubs abandoned by cost-cutting airlines or opened up new spaces in New York; Baltimore; Miami; Dallas-Fort Worth; Los Angeles; Green Bay, Wis.; Manchester, N.H.; and Savannah, Ga. Small airports find offering such niceties can sway travelers from driving to big-city airports for cheaper tickets. Bigger airports can provide for international travelers who want lounge access, but can’t get into airline-operated clubs without business- or first-class tickets.

via And Now, an Airport V.I.P. Lounge for the Rest of Us – WSJ.com.

internet shopping, Etsy:  I love to look on Etsy … but I never buy.

The site provides an outlet to many sellers who previously relied on local craft fairs and flea markets to peddle their wares. Sheryl Okin, a maker of handpainted children’s furniture who lives on New York’s Long Island, says using Etsy has allowed her to keep up her income while significantly cutting back on the number of crafts fairs she attends. Now, she says, she is thinking about hiring a few workers to help her meet the growing demand for her desks, chairs and other furniture.

Etsy makes money in three ways. It charges 20 cents per item for a four-month listing. Etsy also takes a 3.5% cut of each sale. And it sells advertising, but only for product listed on the site, which it says had almost 1 billion page views last month.

Etsy’s base of active sellers has doubled since last August’s fund raising to about 800,000. Sales of goods through the site totaled $314 million last year, up 74% from 2009. Growth has continued this year, with $225 million in gross sales through June.

The tone at the company is set by CEO Rob Kalin, who is also a furniture maker, and was once described by a company investor as an “accidental business person.”

Handmade goods, including a giant owl-like creature made of cardboard, adorn the company’s office, and a large rack of bicycles fills the entry way. Employees get a handbuilt desk when they join. The staff of 200 lunches together twice a week on a free meal of locally grown food.

via Etsy Knits Together a Market – WSJ.com.

internet, Spotify, LOL:  “hot friend with benefits”

Spotify, though, joins a growing number of streaming music services now targeting music consumers who throw away (i.e. quit listening to) digital downloads faster than you can say “Gucci Gucci.” (Phrase you won’t hear: “Kreayshawn isn’t really writing songs, she’s writing albums.”) Meanwhile, music collectors find fewer things they want to actually own in the scrap bin of pop singles. Streaming services let both types listen to tons of music without the commitment of buying. Sometimes, users will even commit to paying a monthly fee for that service.

In other words, music consumers want to fool around before they settle down. And Spotify is a hot friend with benefits.

via How Spotify’s Casual Encounters Seduce Young U.S. Music Lovers | Fast Company.

astronomy, neptune: One Neptune year = 164.79 earth years …

Astronomers will celebrate a remarkable event on 11 July. It will be exactly one year since the planet Neptune was discovered. Readers should note a caveat, however. That year is a Neptunian one. The great icy world was first pinpointed 164.79 years ago – on 23 September 1846. And as Neptune takes 164.79 Earthly years to circle the sun, it is only now completing its first full orbit since its detection by humans. Hence those anniversary celebrations.

via Neptune’s first orbit: a turning point in astronomy | Science | The Observer.

Shuttle Program, NASA, end of an era, photography:  What a neat experience for this father and son!

Father and Son Recreate Space Shuttle Launch Photo 30 Years Later.

travel, frequent flyers:

EVEN frequent flyers get their 15 minutes of fame. Thomas Stuker, a car salesman from Chicago, has just completed 10m miles of flying with United Airlines, an achievement for which he has been roundly feted ( see video). It took him 29 years and 5,962 flights, but he has a plane named after him, he will never have to queue and, most remarkably perhaps, his wife hasn’t left him. (They do go on four or five honeymoons a year.)

via Frequent flyers: The ten-million-mile man | The Economist.

YA/Children’s literature, parody:  This does nothing for me … not funny.

“GO THE F*** to Sleep” is an expletive-laced cry of adult rage disguised as a child’s book of lullabies that is now a smash bestseller. Go, as they say, figure. The book consists of page after page of more or less conventional two lines of nursery rhyme, and flat-footed ones to boot—“The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle./The sparrow has silenced her cheep.”— followed by another two lines, which are crude, angry pleas for the resistant child to immediately make himself unconscious. “F*** your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you s—./Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.”

via Parenthood: Give me a f*** break | The Economist.

Harry Potter, memory lane:  I enjoyed this journalist/mother’s perspective.

The moments in the company of the kids stand out. Maybe it’s the mom in me. As most reporters will attest, interviewing children can be difficult. They give one-word answers, or a nod or shake of the head. Attention wanders, it’s hard to get quotable material. It’s a variation on the W.C. Fields trope: Kids and dogs — adorable scene-stealers, surely, but not reliable interviews.

But something about these kids was charming from the start. And as they matured, it was fascinating to watch their development and see how they changed or, in some cases, stayed the same.

As our recent interview wound down, I told Radcliffe how much I’d enjoyed speaking with him over the years.

His response harked back to our earliest encounter. “You’re very kind. It’s been a pleasure.”

The pleasure has been all mine.

via Critic spins Time-Turner back through ‘Potter’ years – USATODAY.com.

11
May
11

5.11.2011 … birthday eve at Chez T … Loved this description from ABC: “The Real Housewives of Abbottabad” …

food, kith/kin:  My sister served this last year … when I heard about it I acted like a 5-year old … i.e. YUCK … but it is very good and I think I will serve it tonight!

Watermelon and tomato are two fruits that complement each another in an unusual way. When you cut up and combine them, their distinctions become a little blurry and each masquerades as the other. The tomato’s acidity becomes tamed, as does the melon’s sweetness; their juices mingle, and even their flesh seems to meld.

via Recipe of the Day: Watermelon and Tomato Salad – NYTimes.com.

gLee, tv, Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, pop culture:  Last night’s episode didn’t work too well for me … but I find it interesting how ” Rebecca Black’s inane, idiotic autotuned song ‘Friday'” is making its way through pop culture.

That bit of lyric from Rebecca Black’s inane, idiotic autotuned song “Friday” got a treatment so … darn good and infectious that you just have to tip your hat to Artie, Sam and Puck for starting prom night jumpin’. They lit up the crowd, simultaneously mocking and honoring the vapidness of a YouTube pop anthem. Artie’s rap made it more legit.

via ‘Glee,’ Season 2, Episode 20, ‘Prom Queen’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – W

fashion, Kate Middleton:  I am not a huge fashion person … I have my uniform … but I like this column where they tell you where to find a celebrity’s outfit …

Where did Kate Middleton go for her first public appearance since Wedding Weekend? Grocery shopping! The newlywed grabbed some necessities at her local Waitrose supermarket in Anglesey, Wales last week, where she topped off her skinny black jeans and white sweater with acozy cashmere shawl by knitwear brand Minnie RosePeople reports. Similar styles by the designer are available at Saks Fifth Avenue for $280 and The Girls Room for $298. The new Duchess of Cambridge also trotted to the store in a pair of brown patent crocodile ballet flats by British footwear company London SoleThe $165 “Pirouette” shoes feature fabric lining and working drawstrings, and are currently in stock atLondonSole.com

via http://news.instyle.com/2011/05/10/kate-middleton-grocery-shopping/.

travel, in-flight entertainment: Something new …

TWO massive pieces of news from the giddy world of in-flight entertainment. Firstly, passengers flying with American Airlines (AA) may soon be able to stream films and TV shows from an in-flight library direct to their own Wi-Fi-enabled media players. Rather than watch on the sometimes rather poky players embedded in the seat in front, they can enjoy “The Fast and the Furious” on the larger screens of their laptops and iPads. AA is testing the technology on two planes, but it could be rolled out across more flights in the autumn if the Federal Aviation Administration is happy.

Elsewhere in the sky, Singapore Airlines has launched its new e-Magazine. Twenty publications, including Bloomberg Businessweek and Elle, have been made available for perusal via the in-flight entertainment systems on the carrier’s Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER services. This roll-out follows a successful trial with three of Singapore Airlines’ in-house magazines. The future plan is to serve even more magazines on more flights.

via In-flight entertainment: Entertaining improvements | The Economist.

high school, superlatives, questions:  Were you most likely to succeed?  What do you think?  Any long-term impact?

Schools Shunning Senior Polls

An estimated 1 in 4 high-school senior classes this month are conducting the ritual pre-graduation vote to choose one or two members “most likely to succeed.” But the trend may not last much longer.

Schools are veering away from senior-class “superlatives” polls. Kelly Furnas, executive director of the Journalism Education Association at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., estimates that about 25% of high-school yearbooks still name one or more students “most likely to succeed,” down from about 75% two decades ago. One reason, says Mike Hiestand, an attorney in Ferndale, Wash., and legal consultant to the nonprofit Student Press Law Center, Arlington, Va., is that some labels, such as “worst reputation” or “most likely to have a conversation with himself,” can raise legal concerns about damaging students’ future prospects.

via ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ Burden – WSJ.com.

iPhone, Apps:  I already have this App … now I know something to do with it.

Google’s “Goggles” app does many things, all of which revolve around using your phone to take a picture of something. Google then analyzes that picture using dark magic known as image recognition and returns relevant information to you. Take a photo of a famous piece of artwork, for instance, and you’ll get information about its artist, its value and so on.

One of the more useful features is Goggles’ ability to capture images of business cards and, with the latest version of the Android app, parse the relevant information from a particular card and add it under the appropriate headings of a new contact entry.

via Google Goggles’ Business Card Recognition Works like a Dream – Techland – TIME.com.

fifty-somethings, health, Dave Barry:  Good incentive to just do it.

And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking “Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine . . .”

. . . and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that was, essentially, nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep, no discomfort. I was risking my life for nothing.

via Dave Barry: A journey into my colon — and yours – Dave Barry – MiamiHerald.com.

google doodles, Martha Graham, dance, arts:  Loved this one …

The line. The leap. The leg kick. It is arguably the most elegant Google Doodle yet.

The folks at Google celebrate what would have been pioneering dancer/choreographer Martha Graham’s 117th birthday with a beguiling short animation by “motiongrapher” Ryan Woodward .

via GOOGLE DOODLE: Today’s animation celebrates dance pioneer Martha Graham – Comic Riffs – The Washington Post.

natural disasters, flooding, history, lists:  None of the historical floods impacted my areas …. but interesting to think about what you remember of the ones in your lifetime.

In light of the current flooding of the Mississippi River, TIME’s Kayla Webley spoke to Robert Holmes, a flood expert with the U.S. Geological Survey, about some of the largest floods in America’s history

via Mississippi River, 1927 – Top 10 Historic U.S. Floods – TIME.

Albert Einstein,  scientists, people, icons:  Don’t you just want to hug him … great article … read on.

He was the embodiment of pure intellect, the bumbling professor with the German accent, a comic cliche in a thousand films. Instantly recognizable, like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Albert Einstein’s shaggy-haired visage was as familiar to ordinary people as to the matrons who fluttered about him in salons from Berlin to Hollywood. Yet he was unfathomably profound–the genius among geniuses who discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed.

World War II, Einstein became even more outspoken. Besides campaigning for a ban on nuclear weaponry, he denounced McCarthyism and pleaded for an end to bigotry and racism. Coming as they did at the height of the cold war, the haloed professor’s pronouncements seemed well meaning if naive; Life magazine listed Einstein as one of this country’s 50 prominent “dupes and fellow travelers.” Says Cassidy: “He had a straight moral sense that others could not always see, even other moral people.” Harvard physicist and historian Gerald Holton adds, “If Einstein’s ideas are really naive, the world is really in pretty bad shape.” Rather it seems to him that Einstein’s humane and democratic instincts are “an ideal political model for the 21st century,” embodying the very best of this century as well as our highest hopes for the next. What more could we ask of a man to personify the past 100 years?

via Albert Einstein (1879-1955) — Printout — TIME.

nature, astronomy, news:  Might have to get up early and look …

It was the Mayans — or maybe the Romans or the Greeks or the Sumerians — who called the shot this time, evidently on a day Nostradamus phoned in sick. Apparently, a rogue planet named Nibiru (which frankly sounds more like a new Honda than a new world) is headed our way, with a cosmic crack-up set for next year. No matter who’s behind the current prediction, there are enough people ready to spread and believe in this kind of end-of-the-world hooey that you have to wonder if the earth isn’t starting to take things personally.

Regrettably, the Nibiru yarn got a boost in recent days with the very real announcement that an alignment of several of the very real planets will be taking place this month, offering a fleeting treat for stargazers willing to get up before sunrise and take a look. Even this genuine cosmic phenomenon, however, may be a bit less than it appears.

Beginning today and lasting for a few weeks, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars will be visible in the early morning sky, aligned roughly along the ecliptic — or the path the sun travels throughout the day. Uranus and Neptune, much fainter but there all the same, should be visible through binoculars. What gives the end-of-the-worlders shivers is that just such a configuration is supposed to occur on Dec. 21, 2012, and contribute in some unspecified way to the demolition of the planet. But what makes that especially nonsensical — apart from the fact that it’s, you know, nonsense — is that astronomers say no remotely similar alignment will occur next year.

via Six Planets Will Be Aligning, but the Earth Will Not End – TIME.

Osama bin Laden’s death, ObL family, moral issues:  Like I said … great international law exam/bar question

The sons of Osama bin Laden have issued a statement that accuses the U.S. of violating international law by killing an unarmed man and dumping his body in the ocean.

via Osama Bin Laden Son Omar: U.S. Broke Law in Killing Their Father – ABC News.

Osama bin Laden’s death, ObL family:  “The Real Housewives of Abbottabad”  – interesting short piece on his wives. VIDEO: Osama Bin Laden’s Widows to Come Forward – ABC News.

20
Dec
10

12.20.2010 Christmas Eve … Not on Christmas Eve … Dinner

nature, astronomy:

This year’s winter solstice — an event that will occur next Tuesday — will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn’t been seen in 456 years.

The celestial eccentricity holds special significance for spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a time that is associated with the rebirth of the sun.

“It’s a ritual of transformation from darkness into light,” says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto’s Wiccan Church of Canada. “It’s the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation.

via Solstice-eclipse overlap first in 456 years.

history:  I think I will tire of this sesquicentennial. Gone With the Myths – NYTimes.com.

kith/kin, banking, ethics, BofA, Charlotte, UNC:  Charles Bowman quoted in the paper … one of our own.

Q. Can you describe an ethical dilemma you’ve faced at work?

Charles Bowman, Bank of America: Part of my job is to help people work through things like conflicts of interest. There are things that are clearly black and white: You can’t take bribes, you can’t act illegally. But I think the toughest ones are, how do you deal in the shades of gray where people are making very rational decisions but it may not be as clear-cut as an illegal activity?

***

Q. Can you give us an example?

Bowman: One example is probably gifting or perceptions of influence – will it be perceived as giving favor to a customer?

Another example is where an institution may be representing both sides of a transaction. You may have two customers coming at a transaction from different perspectives and you’ve got an obligation to try to represent their interests. In some cases you might take yourself out of one side of the transaction. Clearly you don’t represent the buyer and the seller, or you try not to.

via Bankers and ethics: Where do we go now? – CharlotteObserver.com.

too little-too late: Panthers get a 2nd win, boosting Fox’s record – CharlotteObserver.com.

13
Dec
10

12.13.2010 … exams for the kids … work for John … lunch for me with my ChristCare group … I got the better deal!

Christmas, tv:  I do love the Christmas movies and specials?  What’s your favorite?  Best Classic Holiday TV Specials.

college, our kids, culture, parenting:  I would like to see this.  I believe we are putting our kids under way too much pressure.

With no advertising and little news media attention, “Race to Nowhere” has become a must-see movie in communities where the kindergarten-to-Harvard steeplechase is most competitive.

More than 1,100 attended a screening last week at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. About 500 saw it at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan in November. It has been shown to a roomful of fathers at Pixar during lunch hour and twice to employees at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Google.

All 325 seats in the auditorium of New Canaan Country School in Connecticut were filled during a screening for parents last Thursday night. Francie Irvine, the assistant head of school, said, “Our parents’ association president called me and said, ‘My sister just saw this in California and we have to, have to, have to have it here.’ ”

The film portrays the pressures when schools pile on hours of homework and coaches turn sports into year-round obligations. Left somewhat unexamined is the role of parents whose high expectations contribute the most pressure of all.

“Everyone expects us to be superheroes,” one high school senior in the film says.

Another tells of borrowing her friends’ prescription for Adderall to juggle her many commitments. “It’s hard to be the vice president of your class, play on the soccer team and do homework,” she says.

via Parents Embrace ‘Race to Nowhere,’ on Pressures of School – NYTimes.com.

and –

A new documentary, “Race to Nowhere,” looks at the pressures being put on high school students to build their résumés with Advance Placement classes and athletic accomplishments to improve their chances of acceptance at elite colleges and universities. The film captures the angst of boys who drop out of high school because of the pressure, girls who suffer stress-induced insomnia and students forced to cheat their way through classes.

Room for Debate: Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

The film is hitting a nerve among parents across the country who are worried about the levels of stress that their children are experiencing, beginning even in elementary school. What can schools — and parents — do to turn down the heat?

via Stress and the High School Student – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

apps, lists:  Two lists to try: 1) Apps For Foodies To Drool Over : NPR and 2) Best Shopping Apps to Save Your Time, Money and Sanity.

philanthropy:  Now this is a project I would like to get involved with.

“Students come together to study the social needs of their communities and then spot a local charity that is addressing a particular problem,” Ms. Schecter says. Students then compete to have the best presentation in front of judges to win money to award to their chosen charity.

Ms. Schecter says projects like these shouldn’t be targeted only to children of affluent backgrounds.

Her program “works regardless of geography, and it has been successful in affluent or middle-class schools. Even kids with poorer backgrounds have taken part in the program and have gained skills that they then carry for life,” she says.

It is too early to say for sure whether such programs will encourage a shift in the way future generations approach philanthropy, but some seem to think they will.

“I think we will see a generation of more socially engaged individuals,” says Alex Reynolds of the Institute for Philanthropy, a provider of donor education for wealthy individuals. “Pupils are being entrusted with real money, which empowers them to have a major impact on real people’s lives.”

via New Programs Teach Kids About Charitable Giving – WSJ.com.

yesterday, me: Due to events beyond my control, I did not make it to the Taizi Service … Next year!

Christmas, tv, me:  Enough of Pigpen, you say … this author attributes a “classic” line to Pigpen.  I shall wear my new pin proudly!

N is for Nativity, a key part of the Christmas play Lucy invites Charlie Brown to direct, although, at the helm, C.B. continues to get little respect from the gang, including Snoopy, who boos him. One highlight: Pig Pen as the innkeeper, who promises Charlie Brown and his assistant, Lucy, “In spite of my outward appearance, I shall try to run a neat inn.”

via ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’: Celebrating 45 Years of the Classic Holiday Special.

astronomy, science, bookshelf: Did it bother you when they changed Pluto to a non-planet?

Astronomer Mike Brown didn’t mean to kill Pluto — or so he claims.

Brown says the ex-ninth planet was just collateral damage in his search for the 10th. The story of that search — and the subsequent demotion of Pluto that raised the ire of elementary school students everywhere — is in his new book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.

Brown tells Weekend Edition Sunday’s Liane Hansen that he had been searching the night sky for years, trying to find the elusive “Planet X.”

Scientists had speculated for decades that there might be another heavenly body floating far out in the solar system. Brown says he knew what he was looking for, just not whether it actually existed.

via Killer Confesses To Pluto’s Murder In Tell-All Book : NPR.

irony, music, favorites, facebook:  

I posted YouTube – Bright Lights Big City by Jimmy Reed on Facebook on Saturday and a friend immediately asked if it had anything to do with the John Edwards connection (the day of the posting was the day of Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral).  I posted it because I happen to like the song … it’s in Sweet Home Alabama … and it was on my mind.  So what is the John Edwards connection?  Read on …

4) She was in some book, right? I don’t have time to read a whole long book.

No problem!

In 1988, Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney published his third novel, Story of My Life. The protagonist was Alison Poole, an “ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old.” McInerney based Poole on his ex-girlfriend… Lisa Druck.

The Poole character also appeared in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, where she was sexually assaulted by the evil Patrick Bateman. Whether it’s real life or fiction, Rielle seems to be drawn to sociopaths.

via Rielle Hunter FAQ | The Daily Caller – Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment.

 

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Nov
10

11.20.2010 ‎… Sweet Caroline… Good times never seemed so good … Davidson 70 – Nebraska 67!

Davidson Basketball: I’m singing …  Sweet Caroline ..

Davidson coach Bob McKillop is going to maximize this team and it’ll be a factor in the Southern Conference with Appalachian State, College of Charleston and Wofford. The Wildcats had a near-miss at Penn, were overmatched against West Virginia and got a solid win over Nebraska by making 11 3-pointers.

The Wildcats are a young squad, but have pieces with De’Mon Brooks able to slice into the lane, Brendan McKillop able to make 3s (6-of-11 on Friday) and balance from Jake Cohen (19 points) and J.P. Kuhlman(11).

McKillop was pleased with the way the Wildcats responded over the past 24 hours. He said the competitiveness Davidson showed against West Virginia was the first step toward maturing. Beating Nebraska was a major point forward and McKillop said the win was a lift for his team’s confidence.

Davidson isn’t going to beat itself and now it has some confidence that it can win. That’s a dangerous combination for SoCon teams that are used to seeing the Cats as a contender.

via Davidson building, Huskers stumbling – College Basketball Nation Blog – ESPN.

food, chocolate:  🙂

Ms. Leaf, a culinary historian, cookbook author and chocolate-tour guide, was trying to educate my palate about the subtle pleasures of dark chocolate. I didn’t reveal my prejudice because I didn’t feel like breaking her heart, but I find the fuss over chocolate composed of ever-escalating quantities of cacao—into the 70%, 80% and even 90% range—highly disturbing.

I like to think I know a thing or two about chocolate, that I’m even something of an autodidact, my education commencing in early toddlerhood and crescendoing at the age of 8, when I spent all my money for the entire summer—five dollars—in Ireland, our first stop, on Cadbury Dairy Milk and Cadbury Flake bars.

via Chocolate’s Dark Cult – WSJ.com.

astronomy:  New Planet in another Galaxy …

That’s probably because the Jupiter-size world originally occupied a Jupiter-like orbit, much farther from its star than Earth is from the Sun. It spiraled in to its present orbit only after HIP 13044 shrank back to a more dignified size — another common stage of life for stars, which return to their original dimensions when they start burning the helium in their core. A tiny handful of planets have been seen orbiting stars that are currently red giants, but this is the first to be found in the next chapter of a star’s life.

via A New Planet — from Beyond the Galaxy – TIME.

 

college, Harry Potter: These kids grew up with HP.  This does not surprise me one bit.

A sociologist looking to underscore the narrative of Generation Y’s prolonged immaturity would have had a field day with the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup, the Harry Potter–inspired sports competition that drew legions of muggles to midtown Manhattan this past weekend. Quidditch is, after all, an event inspired by a magical sport in a line of far-fetched children’s books that most of this weekend’s competitors read way back in elementary school. Indeed, at the event’s opening ceremony, many of the 700 athletes arrived dressed in costumes, capes and T-shirts, singing songs from 1990s Disney musicals while masses of media surveyed the endless Potter in-jokes proudly scrawled on their attire (“Pwning Myrtle”). The high point of these people’s lives, it might have appeared, was sometime around 1998.

via Harry Potter’s Quidditch Sport Brought to Life with World Cup – TIME.

 




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