Posts Tagged ‘banking

22
Jul
11

‎7.22.2011 … NYC has no idea there is a recession. Everywhere is construction and the stores are packed. Another thing, men in NY still dark wear suits and ties and polish their beautiful black leather shoes.

NYC: So today I walked along Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue … Here is what I saw … Walk About Town.

 

NYC, public art, Sherman Statue:  As a Georgian, I balked when I saw this statue … Peace?

As with many of the sculptor’s works, the allegorical figure of peace leading Sherman is modeled after Saint-Gaudens’s mistress, Davida Johnson. The pine branch at the horse’s feet represents Sherman’s march through Georgia. Disliking statues looking like “smoke stacks,” Saint-Gaudens had the piece gilded with two layers of gold leaf. A frail Saint-Gaudens attended the unveiling on Memorial Day, 1903, eleven years after the monument was first proposed. “Saint-Gaudens is one of those artists for whom it is worthwhile to wait,” the Saturday Evening Post explained, however, as the successful piece was widely praised.

via Grand Army Plaza Highlights – Sherman Monument : New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.


careers, internships, banking:

While hard work has been customary among young finance workers for years, after-hours benefits once made the long days more palatable. In 2006, a group of JPMorgan Chase interns took a firm-sponsored trip in white Hummer limousines to the trendy NoHo nightclub Butter, where they partied before retiring to swank rooms at the Hudson Hotel, according to a person who was present. The next year Lehman Brothers took interns to Jones Beach for a concert featuring OK Go and the Fray, and Credit Suisse paid for its interns to take gourmet cooking classes, according to former interns at the banks.

Those extravagances are gone, experts say, victims of slashed entertainment budgets and increased sensitivity at banks whose reputations suffered during the financial crisis.

“Banks are trying to be a little bit more sensible,” said Geoff Robinson, head of investment banking at 7city Learning and lead author of “The Complete Intern: Navigating the Investment Banking Maze.” “If you look back three or four years at some of the perks, it’s certainly more economical now.”

via Fewer Perks and More Work for Wall St.’s Summer Interns – NYTimes.com.

digital age, changes, end of an era, USPS: 

It seems the digital revolution is finally set to hit postal mail. Due to an $8.3 billion loss this year, reports USA Today, the days of Saturday mail delivery may be numbered.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe continued to warn us that snail-mail could be limited to a three-days-a-week delivery within 15 years.

When asked about the removal of Saturday mail delivery by USA Today, Donahoe reflected that there is “a much better chance today than a year ago.” The postal services have estimated that by cutting down on Saturday deliveries they could save $3.1 billion a year.

via Postmaster General: Saturday Mail Delivery May Be Doomed – TIME NewsFeed.

kids, end of an era:

Full List

KIDS THESE DAYS

Camera Film

Landline Phones

Real Books

Being Lost

Music Videos on MTV

Walkmans

The Glory Days of Nick at Nite

Tan M&Ms

Czechoslovakia

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator

via Full List – Top 10 Things Today’s Kids Will Never Experience – TIME.

tweets, twitter, searches: Snap Bird – search twitter’s history , The Most Hilarious Tweets About The Heat.

random:  OK, really random!

So how can you win more at rock-paper-scissors? Well, knowing that your opponent will unconsciously be copying you, you can close your eyes to avoid being psyched out yourself. Also, males have a tendency to throw out rock on their first try, so if you’re playing a guy, try closing your eyes and throwing out paper. Science and statistics are on your side! Unless, you know, your opponent reads this post too, then he might try to psych you out by going scissors or something.

via How to Win More at Rock-Paper-Scissors (According to Science) – Techland – TIME.com.

19
Jul
11

‎7.19.2011 … hot … everywhere …

The Constitution, politics, conflict: Loved this article …

Here are a few things the framers did not know about: World War II. DNA. Sexting. Airplanes. The atom. Television. Medicare. Collateralized debt obligations. The germ theory of disease. Miniskirts. The internal combustion engine. Computers. Antibiotics. Lady Gaga.

People on the right and left constantly ask what the framers would say about some event that is happening today. What would the framers say about whether the drones over Libya constitute a violation of Article I, Section 8, which gives Congress the power to declare war? Well, since George Washington didn’t even dream that man could fly, much less use a global-positioning satellite to aim a missile, it’s hard to say what he would think. What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress’s authority under the commerce clause? Well, since James Madison did not know what health insurance was and doctors back then still used leeches, it’s difficult to know what he would say. And what would Thomas Jefferson, a man who owned slaves and is believed to have fathered children with at least one of them, think about a half-white, half-black American President born in Hawaii (a state that did not exist)? Again, hard to say.

Today’s debates represent conflict, not crisis. Conflict is at the core of our politics, and the Constitution is designed to manage it. There have been few conflicts in American history greater than the internal debates the framers had about the Constitution. For better or for worse — and I would argue that it is for better — the Constitution allows and even encourages deep arguments about the most basic democratic issues. A crisis is when the Constitution breaks down. We’re not in danger of that.

If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.

via U.S. Constitution Under Siege over Libya, Taxes, Health Care – TIME.

Space Shuttle, End of an Era, NASA:  End of an era or “error”?

The space shuttle Atlantis will be in space for one more day than originally planned, NASA announced Monday.

The shuttle, which was scheduled to land July 20, will now make what NASA called a night landing at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 a.m. July 21.

Atlantis lifted off Friday on NASA’s final space shuttle mission.

On board is a four-person team: mission commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. The crew of veteran astronauts docked Sunday at the International Space Station to deliver a load of supplies.

via NASA extends shuttle mission one day – CNN.com.

But there’s the other side of the shuttle too. The $500 million price tag every time one took off, the months of maintenance and prep work needed between flights, the temperamental electronic and hydraulic systems that scrubbed launches time and time again, the thermal tiles the ships would shed like dry leaves. And, finally, there are the 14 astronauts who lost their lives when first Challenger and later Columbia soared aloft but never returned home.

It’s easy both to hate and love a ship like that. Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer, who yields to no man when it comes to finely crafted crankiness, distilled that kind of cognitive dissonance splendidly once when he wrote that the space shuttle belongs in “the Museum of Things Too Beautiful and Complicated to Survive.”

The fact is, the shuttles almost didn’t exist at all. A reusable, low-orbit space truck was hardly the initial direction NASA was planning to go in the triumphant afterglow of the Apollo program. It wasn’t even the initial direction the Nixon administration advocated. Not long after taking office, Nixon appointed a space task force to determine the future of cosmic exploration, chaired by Vice President Spiro Agnew. The group came back with an ambitious long-term plan that included the establishment of a near-Earth space station, further explorations of the lunar surface and a manned landing on Mars by 1986.

But Nixon wanted none of it — nor of much of the remainder of the existing lunar program either, which was supposed to continue through Apollo 20 but was canceled before its final three missions could be flown. There has always been speculation in space circles that Nixon’s antipathy for the lunar program was based on the fact that it was an idea initiated by President John F. Kennedy — whom Nixon never quite quit resenting. Maybe that’s true; the man who gave us a White House enemies list was clearly not above pettiness. But it’s also true that it was Nixon who was in office when Apollo 11 landed, and thus Nixon who got to perform the presidential touchdown dance — phoning the astronauts on the lunar surface, appearing on the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet to welcome them home. Apollo had effectively become Nixon’s program and any future Mars initiative would have been his baby as surely as the early space push was Kennedy’s.

The more prosaic explanation for Nixon’s wariness was money. The Vietnam War was still consuming an outsize portion of the federal budget and inflation was roaring — at 6% in 1970 — prompting Nixon to take the now unthinkable measure of imposing wage and price controls in the summer of 1971. Throwing money at Mars at a time like that might simply not have seemed tenable. Instead, we’d go the practical route, and a space shuttle would provide the way.

via NASA’s Final Shuttle: The End of an Error? – TIME.

Casey Anthony, trials, media trials, murder trials, justice: OK, I did not watch one day of the trial … but the prosecution did not prove its case … bottom line.

Anthony, who was sentenced to four years with time served for lying to police, will be released from jail July 17. The 25-year-old was acquitted of charges she abused and murdered her toddler daughter Caylee. Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, have received death threats since the trial ended, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Mason made some strong remarks about the media’s role in the case, scolding those “who have indulged in media assassination for three years.”

“She was not only tried, but convicted and sentenced by the news media, and that conviction was overturned by the jury,” he told Guthrie.

via Casey Anthony lawyer worried about her safety after release; speculation continues about Caylee’s death – The Washington Post.

Casey Anthony is guilty of many things. She is an enthusiastic liar. She was an indifferent mother. She mooched off her overindulgent parents for years. Even after her daughter went missing, Anthony partied and got a tattoo. But the state of Florida did not make a good case that Anthony murdered her daughter. In acquitting Anthony, the jury made the right call.

… The Casey Anthony trial offered few answers. It provided neither justice nor clarity.

Murder cases occupy a unique place in the American judicial arena: they require inflexible scientific evidence even as they elicit primal emotions. In the unsolved death of Caylee, the dearth of evidence means that all that unresolved emotions will continue to haunt an audience that had grown obsessed with the trial of her mother since jury selection began on May 9, almost two months ago.

via The Casey Anthony Verdict: The Jury Did the Right Thing – TIME.

Google, e-readers, competition:  I still prefer my iPad, but there is something nice about a designated e-reader … and the more competition the better!

Google has teamed up with device manufacturer iriver to release a Google branded eReader. The iriver Story HD will be the first eReader integrated with the Google eBooks platform. The Wi-Fi enabled device has a 6″ eInk screen and a QWERTY keyboard. It goes on sale this coming Sunday at Target for $139.99, the same price as the Kindle.

Do you think the eReader will be competitive? It is good news for independent bookstores who can sell eBooks using the Google eBookstore platform.

via Google eReader Takes on Kindle – GalleyCat.

Google+, social networking: I want an invite!

If you’re desperate to get on to Google+ but are still awaiting your invite, stay calm: Google’s new social network is growing incredibly fast, according to one unofficial study. So your chance to join in the Circle-dancing fun on G+ can’t be far off.

According to G+ user Paul Allen (not the Paul Allen that co-founded Microsoft, though), Google+ is “growing like crazy”. In a post published over the weekend, he estimated it had 4.5 million users, and had grown nearly three times in a single week. Allen said he’s post a more detailed report, with up-to-date figures, later today.

(MORE:: Five Failed Social Networks Even Worse Than MySpace)

Plus is getting a lot of attention because – finally – Google seems to have done a social network right. All right, I know Orkut was big in Brazil. I’m talking about a social network for everyone who isn’t in Brazil.

via Google+ Is ‘Growing Like Crazy’ – Techland – TIME.com.

It’s too early to declare Google+ a success. For one thing, it’s still not fully open to the public. (Google has been admitting newcomers in small, sporadic batches; you can get on the waitlist at plus.google.com.) For another, it’s an unapologetic work in progress. But it has enormous potential — both to be a cool online destination and to redefine the dynamics of the ongoing battle between the Web’s biggest companies. Already, it’s having an impact. Facebook unveiled a new person-to-person video-calling service in partnership with Skype this week, but the fact that Google+’s Hangout feature permits up to 10 people to chat via Webcam made Facebook’s news less of a big whoop.

Google calls Google+ a “project,” which is about right. It’s not one thing but several of them loosely stitched together and with existing Google services like the Picasa photo-sharing service. Some of it is cribbed directly from Facebook. The Stream is Facebook’s News Feed, Posts are the Wall, and the +1 button is a shameless imitation of the Facebook Like button that’s been pressed billions of times all over the Web.

Google+ replicates only a fraction of Facebook, though, and it offers several things that Facebook doesn’t — like Sparks, a special-interest search engine that helps you find stuff on the Web to share with your pals, with topics ranging from recipes to robotics. It also borrows a fundamental principle from Twitter rather than Facebook: you can follow other members without seeking their permission, and it’s a unidirectional action that doesn’t require them to follow you back.

via Google+ Reverses Social-Network Curse, Challenges Facebook – TIME.

 

careers, banking, farming:  I think this is good for American society … we need more farmers.

If you want to become rich, Jim Rogers, investment whiz, best-selling author and one of Wall Street’s towering personalities, has this advice: Become a farmer. Food prices have been high recently. Some have questioned how long that can continue. Not Rogers. He predicts that farming incomes will rise dramatically in the next few decades, faster than those in most other industries — even Wall Street. The essence of his argument is this: We don’t need more bankers. What we need are more farmers. The invisible hand will do its magic. “The world has got a serious food problem,” says Rogers. “The only real way to solve it is to draw more people back to agriculture.”

But some experts believe agriculture can do more to fuel job growth. Chuck Fluharty of the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri sees a possible renaissance in farm towns. As money flows back into those areas, he predicts, farmers will need somewhere to invest. As they did with ethanol, he says, farmers will put their money in new industries that will create uses for their crops, like biodegradable plastics or other kinds of biofuels. The result will be more jobs. “Agriculture is the most critical story in our economy today,” says Fluharty. “It will affect the future of the world.”

via Best U.S. Job: Become a Farmer to Make More than a Banker – TIME.

websites, apps, Historypin:  Looks pretty cool …

Today, the unveiling of an ambitious new site called Historypin takes the concept several steps further.

In a partnership with Google, from which it leverages maps and Street View imagery, Historypin allows users to upload vintage photographs to geographically “pinned” locations on a map. Those images are then laid on top of Google’s Street View and organized on a navigable timeline, dating all the way back to 1840 (when the first recorded photograph took place). Landmarks, street corners, or wherever else you can imagine can be given unimaginable layers of depth via their own past and present communities.

via Technology and History Collide in Historypin: A Progressive Time Capsule for Vintage Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Jaycee Dugard, media: I wish this woman peace.

A statement from Dugard, read by her mother at the sentencing hearing, called the Garridos “evil” and described her kidnapping by them as a “sexual perversion.”

During the ABC interview, she stressed she is moving on with her life. Dugard said she wants to study writing, the network reported.

She spoke out just days before her memoir, “A Stolen Life,” is scheduled to be released. The book is due in stores Tuesday.

“Why not look at it? Stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore,” Dugard said about her nearly two decades in captivity. “I didn’t want there to be any more secrets.”

via Kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard talks about her 18 years of terror – CNN.com.

Harry Potter, movies, music, lists:  🙂 Music Monday: To Celebrate Harry Potter, the Top 5 Songs About Magic – TIME NewsFeed.

 

 

03
Jun
11

‎6.3.2011 … SUMMER! … Did anyone get a free doughnut today?

… School is out for all the chillen at chez T …

 

health, diet, government food chart:

Whatever you do, don’t call it a pie chart.

The Obama administration is about to ditch the food pyramid, that symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. In its place officials are dishing up a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.

The circular plate, which will be unveiled Thursday, is meant to give consumers a fast, easily grasped reminder of the basics of a healthy diet. It consists of four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, according to several people who have been briefed on the change. Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.

via Food Pyramid Being Replaced With Plate-Shaped Logo – NYTimes.com.

careers, alternate careers, banking:  So, do they take fifty-somethings …

Former Merrill Lynch & Co. banker Mike Howe is moving to New York to help bored finance workers escape Wall Street for far-flung jobs and adventures, from Mongolian venture capital to African charities.

The 26-year-old former money manager is opening U.K. startup recruitment website Escape the City Ltd. in the U.S. next month. The company has attracted more than 30,000 members since founders Rob Symington, 27, and Dom Jackman, 28, quit consulting firm Ernst & Young in 2009.

“Escape the City was created specifically to help talented people escape from unfulfilling corporate jobs after we realized that our own feelings of misery and frustration at work were shared by a lot of people,” Symington said in an interview in London. “We stumbled upon a business opportunity by following a hunch about job dissatisfaction to its logical conclusion.”

via Ex-Banker Wants You to Trade Wall Street ‘Misery’ for Mongolia – Bloomberg.

iPad apps, music, lists:  Music apps for you …

You name it, you can probably play it on the iPad. That’s the genius of the blank slate: All it takes is an app, and your iPad can be just about anything musical, such as a guitar, a keyboard, a drum machine, some sheet music or a beatbox.

Heck, if you wanted to, you could replace your recording studio or create an entire rock band with nothing more than an iPad and a suite of apps. (Though you probably won’t get lucky nearly as much as a traditional rock star.) And if cranking tunes out of a tablet isn’t your thing, there’s a host of neat, interactive apps that teach you how to play real instruments.

From synthesizers to loop creators, sheet-music readers to recording tools, here are some of the coolest iPad apps for musicians we’ve found in the App Store.

via 9 iPad Music Apps to Rock Your World | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

food-desserts, freebies:  

The nation’s largest donut (or doughnut) chains are doing their part for National Donut Day.

Giving away FREE DONUTS.

Both Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme will be giving away free donuts tomorrow in order to celebrate the ‘holiday,’ in an almost too good to be true fashion. Both chains have taken to Facebook to promote the event, Krispy Kreme listing it on their main page, while Dunkin’ Donuts has created an entire event page for the day.

via National Donut Day 2011: Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme Giving Away Free Donuts June 3 (LOCATIONS).

movies, zombies:  Another one for our crew.  After Zombieland I have high standards!

 

Ever think there just aren’t enough musical numbers in zombie films? Or love stories for that matter?

New indie flick Rigamortis: A Zombie Love Story delivers plenty of both, bringing together the disparate worlds of Glee and gore in a 40-minute blast you can watch online for free. (See the first part above; the second and third segments are below.)

Inspired by Joss Whedon’s web hit Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the zombie musical was made with $25,000 in donations and investments as well as a lot of freely given time and equipment. The creators hope to show that it’s possible to make a quality picture outside the studio system, said Jenny Stolte, the film’s co-writer–producer and cinematographer.

via Rigamortis Boasts Best Dancing Zombies Since ‘Thriller’ | Underwire | Wired.com.

urban planning, design:  Thought this very interesting.

Looking to Monty Python skits to invent scenarios (the Attention Clinic) is a fun approach for a weekend installation — but for more lasting changes, there’s plenty of “material” to pull from the residents themselves. Rather than a heavy-handed approach, the Open House explorations suggest a role design can play, at a more localized level. In this first attempt many came up short, and revealed a degree of naivete to larger issues — but the instinct to draw out latent social and economic potentials, was spot on. What’s exciting about this approach: is the potential to align with the “bottom up” Home Depot-style retrofit culture already prevalent, and enhance it via the new ideas and expertise that designers can offer.

via David Glick: Can Architects Fix The Suburbs? Designers Visit Long Island To Find Out.

Sarah Palin, quotes:  I just don’t like the woman …

Sarah Palin was mysteriously out of the spotlight for a few months, but this week she’s driven her way back into the news cycle — on a tour bus traveling across America for as-yet-undefined reasons. And as grating as Palin’s brand of thin-skinned straight shooting can be, we’re happy to see another cycle of flubs, gaffes and misstatements before the ride is over.

via 11 Sarah Palin Quotes Presented By Teenage Girls (PICTURES).

Coca-Cola, history:  DENIED

A Spanish town claims that the most famous soft drink in the world was invented not by an Atlanta-based pharmacist, but in a 126-year-old liquor factory across the Atlantic, Public Radio International reports.

Town of Ayelo resident JuanJo Mica, fourth-generation operator of the Fabrica de Liquores, or the Liquor Factory, says that his family’s invention, Cola-Coca, is the “real thing.”

“My great-great uncle took his cola coca syrup to America that same year, 1884, and won a prize at a fair in Philadelphia,” he said. “Supposedly, the Americans tried it, liked it and two years later their soft drink, Coca-Cola, was born.”

If the Mica family elders did in fact whip up the dark syrupy beverage in 1884, that would put the Ayelo concoction two years ahead of John Pemberton, the pharmacist popula

via Coca Cola Invented In Spain? Town Of Ayelo Claims It Created Soft Drink.

16
Feb
11

2.16.2011 … mind is lots of places … Bahrain, Boulder, Charlotte, Atlanta, Naples … technology makes the world smaller.

Uprising in the Middle East, Bahrain:  Unlike Egypt,  where most have a visual picture, albeit ancient, of pyramids and pharaohs, few have much knowledge of Bahrain, ancient or modern.  I only became aware of it beyond its name last year when I met our South African exchange student.  Her family’s primary residence is there because her father is a banker working out of the Middle East, and it is/was considered the safest.  Now the democracy movement has moved there.  I watch … I wish I knew more.  I wish I could understand what is going on and where this is going

Protests in Bahrain entered their third day on Wednesday, as tens of thousands continued to occupy a major intersection in the capital and thousands more marched to mourn a second man killed in Tuesday’s clashes with security forces.

A committee set up by seven opposition groups to coordinate the protests called for a massive demonstration on Saturday, forecasting a gathering of at least 50,000 people.

Crowds massed at the hospital morgue, as the body of the man killed on Tuesday was ferried out on top of a land-cruiser in a coffin covered with green satin. Thousands of men followed the coffin, many holding pictures of the deceased, beating their chests and chanting “God is great” and “Death to the Al Khalifa,” a reference to the country’s ruling family. Security forces remained withdrawn from protest areas, stationed in large battalions around a kilometer away.

At the Pearl roundabout, a central traffic circle in the financial district of the capital which has been claimed by the protesters, more tents and makeshift food stalls sprung up Wednesday, with those who spent the night there in a festive mood. Young men, many carrying Bahraini flags, chanted and danced, while a loudspeaker broadcasted a steady stream of speeches from activists.

The mourners are expected to march to the central roundabout later in the day, further swelling the numbers there.

Bahrain is a tiny, island kingdom in the oil-rich Persian Gulf, best known for its banking prowess and bars that cater to nationals from alcohol-free Saudi Arabia next door. While it pumps little crude itself, its neighbors are some of the world’s biggest petroleum producers.

Its position straddling the Gulf has made it a longtime, strategic ally of Washington. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, though no American warships are actually home-ported here.

via Protests Swell as Bahrain Demonstrators Mourn – WSJ.com.

Bernie Madoff, banking, Great Recession:  Is he getting even?  The NYT Op-Ed piece that follows is a great read even if you do not agree.

Disgraced Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff said in an interview published online Tuesday that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his scheme to fleece victims out of billions of dollars.

Madoff did not name any institutions in his series of interviews with The New York Times but said banks and hedge funds “were complicit in one form or another.” He said they failed to scrutinize the discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information.

via Madoff to NY newspaper: Banks ‘complicit’ in fraud – WSJ.com.

The billions that vaporized in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme amounted to a rounding error next to the eye-popping federal bailouts, including those pouring into too-big-to-fail banks wrecked by their own Ponzi schemes of securitization.

via At Last, Bernie Madoff Gives Back – NYTimes.com.

faith and spirituality:  When anthropologists and psychologists discuss the breakdown of the nuclear family, there is often a comment about the importance of the family meal.  From a spiritual standpoint,  I found this blogpost very interesting.

The table is one of the most intimate places in our lives. It is there that we give ourselves to one another. When we say, “Take some more, let me serve you another plate, let me pour you another glass, don’t be shy, enjoy it,” we say a lot more than our words express. We invite our friends to become part of our lives. We want them to be nurtured by the same food and drink that nurture us. We desire communion. That is why a refusal to eat and drink what a host offers is so offensive. It feels like a rejection of an invitation to intimacy.

Strange as it may sound, the table is the place where we want to become food for one another. Every breakfast, lunch, or dinner can become a time of growing communion with one another.

via February 16, 2011 – The Intimacy of the Table.

business, mergers, Family Dollar, Howard Levine, Charlotte: I heard a commentator on the radio the other day quip that Charlotte should be renamed “Levine-McColl” (like Winston-Salem?)  because of the importance of these two men and their families.  If the Levine’s sold Family Dollar I do not think it would impact Charlotte like a merger of other local companies … many do not know it is headquartered here …

Mr. Peltz’s Trian Group contacted Family Dollar’s chairman and chief executive, Howard Levine, on Tuesday and said it had amassed a 7.9 percent stake in the retailer, according to the filing. The investment firm has offered to pay between $55 to $60 a share in cash for the rest of the company, valuing Family Dollar at between $7 billion and nearly $7.6 billion.

At the low end of the range, Trian’s offer represents a 25 percent premium over Family Dollar’s Tuesday closing stock price of $43.96. Shares in the company soared more than 30 percent in after-hours trading.

Family Dollar’s stock has risen 39 percent over the past 12 months.

via Peltz Offers More Than $7 Billion for Family Dollar – NYTimes.com.

travel, adventure travel:  If money were no object then every vacation would be an adventure for John … but part of the adventure is planning it yourself.

Mr. Robertson creates 15 to 20 trips a year; he also takes the bespoke quality to a new level, having personally accompanied travelers (there’s a maximum of six per trip) on each trip so far. The packages, which start at around $7,000 a person (they can range up to $500,000, since each trip is custom-designed), span all seven continents and range in length from two to 21 days. They also make good use of Mr. Robertson’s wide network. On a recent hunting and whiskey-making getaway, for example, guests stayed at a seaside castle in Scotland that’s not open to the public.

via A New Entrant in Adventure Travel Outfitters – NYTimes.com.

marathons, adventure travel:  John loves Chicago’s, has wanted to run London’s … never thought about Las Vegas’s …

Marathons are popular around the globe, and it’s not uncommon for people to fly great distances to run in one. After all, if you’re going to work that hard, you might as well reward yourself with interesting sites, great pre-race carb-loading and the reward of a champion’s feast afterward. Here are three marathons that are among the best for an all-around great experience.

via Where is the World’s Best Marathon? | Spa & Sport | Four Seasons Magazine.

business, business secrets, Coca-Cola, Atlanta:  Those who read this “blog” know that I am brand loyal to Apple.  But before Apple, I was brand loyal to only one other company … Coca-Cola … I am an Atlanta girl:  I loved real Coke; I loved that the “secret formula” was locked away in the vault at the Trust Company (now SunTrust); I loved Atlanta’s Anonymous Donor (when everyone knew it was Mr. Woodruff); I pay money to go to the World of Coke … at least once a year;  I have read multiple books about its corporate history … truly.  Is the secret formula now out …

One of the most closely guarded trade secrets in the history of commerce may be a secret no more: NPR’s “This American Life” thinks it has found the exact recipe for the world’s most popular soft drink in a 1979 newspaper article.

According to the show’s host, Ira Glass, the drink’s secret flavoring component, which was created by pharmacist John Pemberton in 1886, is something called “Merchandise 7X.” The show’s staff recently stumbled across the February 8, 1979 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which published an article on page 28 about a leather-bound notebook that once belonged to Pemberton’s best friend, another pharmacist in the Atlanta area named R. R. Evans. The notebook contained a number of pharmacological recipes–but the main entry, for students of commercial history, was what’s believed to be the exact recipe for the soft drink: all of the ingredients listed with the exact amounts needed to whip up a batch.

The Journal-Constitution piece also featured a photo of the page in Evans’ notebook detailing Coke recipe–essentially revealing the recipe to the world. But since 1979 well antedated the explosion of digital media, the photograph of the recipe didn’t travel far beyond the Atlanta area.

Coke’s recipe is one of the most closely guarded secrets in American commerce, steeped in cloak-and-dagger lore. After businessman Asa Griggs Candler bought out Pemberton–who also conjured up cough medicines and blood purifiers, among other things–in 1887 for $2,300, the exact recipe for 7X was placed in the vault in an Atlanta bank. It’s been reported that only two company employees are privy to its ingredients and how they’re mixed at any given time–and that those two aren’t allowed to travel together out of fear that a traveling accident might take both of their lives.

According to company historian Mark Pendergrast, Candler was so paranoid about the recipe leaking out of his proprietary control that he would go through the company mail himself to prevent any employees from seeing invoices that might tip off its ingredients.

“It’s this carefully passed-on secret ritual,” Pendergrast told Glass, “and the formula is kept in a bank vault at Sun Trust, which used to be the Georgia Trust Company.”

via Did NPR’s ‘This American Life’ discover Coke’s secret formula? – Yahoo! News.

economics, St. Valentine’s Day, LOL, UNC-CH:  OK, one last VD post.  I loved this …

This annual event has really become a classic in the economics department,” said Sarah Whitford, executive co-president of the club.

Byrns said he hopes students take away more than a laugh from his lecture, adding that he also wants them to learn to approach love rationally and look at the bigger picture.

“I hope they take away the technique of making themselves better people,” Byrns said.

“I hope they take away that, even though I teach economics, this isn’t all about money. It’s about relationships and what you give the world.”

During his lecture, Byrns said that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all, quoting Whitney Houston.

“Giving love is so much harder than receiving love because in order to give love you have to be a whole person,” Byrns said. “Asking and demanding love is a sign that you have issues you need to work through and that love should be a gift.”

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Ralph Byrns gives last-ever lecture on economics of love.

Apple, iPad: I knew this was coming.  I was not about to buy a magazine every month for full price …

Apple launched a subscription service at the App Store for magazines, newspapers, videos, and music bought through its App Store.

In a move that goes a long way to addressing concerns of many in the magazine and newspaper sectors, Apple said today that publishers will be allowed to set the price and the length of the subscription term. The processing of payments will be Apple’s job and handled within the App Store. Apple will collect 30 percent of the revenue.

“Our philosophy is simple,” Steve Jobs wrote in a statement. “When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share. When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing.


06
Feb
11

2.6.2011 … Super Bowl XLV … gLee … great day …

Why I do this…: There are a lot of reasons I started to do this “blog”.  Among them was that I did not want to bore my facebook friends with all my posts or send around e-mails to everyone who I thought had similar interests.  I have been doing this about a year now … and I love it when someone sends me a link that they think will interest me because it means that they read it and that they may, to some extent, share that interest.  It also keeps a dialogue going.  So thank you Elizabeth for the link to the Nashville native who is teaching in Cairo … see below

Egypt Uprising, blogposts: This young man’s perspective is very interesting.

Yesterday morning an angry man confronted me only one hundred meters from my apartment, yelling at me for being an agnahbee (foreigner). This is the first time that I have felt a serious threat directed at me since all of this began. Last night, the new prime minster and vice president of Egypt gave speeches about the crisis. Both referred to ambiguous foreign elements that have played a role in exacerbating the crisis. This morning men attempted to take a friend of mine living in the wealthy island neighborhood of Zamalek to the police as he tried to cross the bridge into downtown on the way to Tahrir Square. Several hotels where journalists are staying have been broken into and ransacked by the pro-government thugs. It seems that anti-foreign feelings are beginning to be presented by more than just the thugs acting on orders from the government.

The mood in Cairo has shifted abruptly. The consensus among Egyptians supporting the movement for democratic reforms and the end of Mubarak’s regime has been weakened by the burdens of the struggle—no work and limited food. Mubarak’s small concessions seem to have placated the least resolved of the protesters. The government’s strategy to divide the people and sow uncertainty seems to be working. The joyous mood of Tuesday’s peaceful demonstrations has disappeared and in its place an angry suspicion of foreigners is creeping in. It is no longer safe for me to remain in Cairo as I had hoped. It seems that it was naive of me to expect that I would be able to in the first place.

Though I am no longer in Cairo, I travel with the people in Tahrir Square on my mind and close to my heart. There is nothing I can

via ReadAbroad: Egyptian Protests–Departing from Cairo, Accepting Naivety.

Super Bowl XLV, Charlie Peprah:  Great story … you must read the whole thing …

“I think Charlie takes right after my dad,” she said, adding, “He would have been so proud of him.”

via To Super Bowl via Ghana – Charlie Peprah and Family’s Journey – NYTimes.com.

Super Bowl XLV, The White House, The President, Bill O’Reilly: OK, I would be happy to be bipartisan for a few hours!  Comments about O’Reilly’s 12 minute interview are very interesting … protocol … respect for the office.  I personally think it should carry over into how he is treated in the media in general … not just in person.

And no, the guests won’t be grouped based on the team they’re rooting for. With a renewed Obama push for bipartisanship, I’m told “the whole point is to bring people together.”

via Obama Super Bowl Bash Has Pols, Jennifer Lopez, but First a Pre-game O’Reilly Interview.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising:

Forget the regular refrain of, “Are you ready for some football?” When it comes to the showpiece game of the year, isn’t it all about the advertisements?

via Looking at the Buzz Behind this Year’s Super Bowl Ads – TIME NewsFeed.

UNC, basketball: What can I say … this makes no sense. Drew clicks Heels – North Carolina – NewsObserver.com.

LOLYouTube – We Wish.

travel, London, lists: 10 ways to cheer up if you’re sad in London – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet.

World Economic Forum, class issue, followup, bucket list: Davos seems like the perfect mix of people wanting to come together to do the right thing for the world.  I guess there will always be a divide.

WAS this the year when class came to Davos? To many outsiders, the event reeks of privilege, but from the inside its spirit has long attempted to be egalitarian. The bespectacled figure clumping along in the snow in his ski jacket could on closer inspection turn out to be a billionaire, a green campaigner, central banker or a politician. Yet somehow each year the divisions grow. Ever more of the plutocrats seem to travel by limousine, rather than foot. (The telltale indicator of status remains footwear: the more impractical the shoe, the clearer it is that the owner has arrived by car). There seems to be more queue-jumping by the powerful. Security is the obvious excuse: police kept a herd of freezing people outside one hotel for close to half an hour on the pretext that a Russian politician (and his courtly motorcade) might, just might, appear.

Class is also part of the conversation this year, especially in the Anglo-Saxon business world. There is a growing realisation that the pain is disproportionately hitting the bottom of society, an acknowledgement that it is not going to change soon—and, perhaps more selfishly, a worry that it will result in a backlash of some sort. Thus British businesspeople, especially those with consumer businesses, fret what will happen when governments cuts begin to bite in northern towns where many households depend on the state (either through benefits or as an employer). But the biggest worry is in America.

via Davos diary: Class consciousness comes to Davos | The Economist.

FaceBook, novel uses, random: Modern day uses of technology … So next time you find something .. put it on FaceBook …

“TRYING to find the owner of a red Pentax camera I found on the corner of 34th and 7th Ave in NYC. With your help, I hope to find the camera owner and return this camera to him/her.”

Adelyn Zhou posted this message on her Facebook page on Thursday, January 27th, minutes after picking up a stray digital device in New York’s garment district. She added a selection of 13 snapshots from the camera, showing a hotel logo (but no name), a room number, the room’s interior, and a bunch of companions. Ms Zhou then tagged the photo album with some of her own friends, hoping someone might recognise something (or, less probably, somebody) that could help identify the owner.

Barely an hour later, her wall and message box were crammed with comments, suggestions—and the name of the hotel. An enterprising friend had discovered it through a Google map search of the garment district. Three hours on, the camera was back with its rightful owner, a grateful 16-year-old French tourist who was staying at the New Yorker Hotel, a stone’s throw away from where the camera had been found. (The tips kept coming for another few days—one amateur sleuth, for instance, accurately identified the hotel by its décor.)

In 2008, a website called IFoundYourCamera.net was set up in Winnipeg, Canada, with the express purpose of aiding similar searches. Honest finders of lost cameras post photos on the site, along with information on where and when it was found. About 30 cameras have been returned to their owners since the launch of the site, according to Matt Preprost, its founder. That is about 10% of the searches initiated on the site, which now gets thousands of visits each week.

The idea is noble, and clever, but it needs scale for the true potential of network effects to kick in. So, Ms Zhou plumped instead for Facebook which, with its 500m registered users, is more than just a social network. It is the world’s ultimate lost and found.

via Crowdsourced lost and found: Lostandfoundbook | The Economist.

icons, politics, lists: interesting list …

Feb. 6 marks the 100th birthday of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Few political figures in recent memory have matched the Gipper’s charisma or enduring appeal. We look at other world leaders whose legacies have stood the test of time

via Mohandas Gandhi – Top 25 Political Icons – TIME.

quotes, twitter, Mark Twain:  In case you were wondering, twitter is one of my best sources.

When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old ~ #MarkTwain

via Twitter / @Jane Austen LIVES: When your friends begin to ….

twitter, random, LOL:

According to twitoaster.com the Starbucks cup tweet from yesterday was 5th most popular tweet throughout twitter for the day.

via Twitter / @PostSecret: According to twitoaster.co ….

twitter, libraries:

public libraries are not “middle class pleasure.” They are a universal good & a lifeline to people who can’t afford books. #saveourlibraries

via Twitter / @rosamundi: public libraries are not ” ….

twitter: There is a website that keeps list of the most popular tweets … tweet, tweet …

Most popular Tweets of the week (1 to 20) Ranking the 100 most replied and/or retweeted tweets this week, worldwide. To discourage “cheating”, this list is ordered by distinct users (i.e. 10 replies from the same user will count for 1, not for 10). Congratulations if one of your tweets made this Top 100 😉

via Most popular Tweets of the week.

csf, faith and spirituality:  Can a corporation have and maintain a Christian purpose?

Considering Chick-fil-A’s conservative Christian mission, perhaps the most striking feature of the recent controversy is how unusual it is for the company. As the chain continues to grow, they may find it more difficult to avoid the culture war.

via Chick-fil-A controversy shines light on restaurant’s Christian DNA – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

BofA, misleading headlines, banking, journalism:  The headline of this story only mentions BofA  …  JPMorgan Chase & Co , Citigroup Inc  and Wells Fargo & Co are all co-defendants … others are still appealing … I think they should get credit for moving forward … this makes them look like the big bad wolf …

The largest U.S. bank by assets is among the more than two dozen U.S., Canadian and European lenders named as defendants in the class-action litigation, which in 2009 consolidated lawsuits filed across the country.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) are among the other defendants named in the case, court records show.

Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace in an email said the bank has already changed its overdraft practices, eliminating fees for debit transactions and significantly lowering fees for customers who overdraw excessively.

She also said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender has “fully accrued funds” to cover the settlement.

via B of A to pay $410 million to settle overdraft lawsuit | Reuters.

globalization, multiculturalism:  Interesting …

Faced with growing alarm about Islamic militants who have made Britain one of Europe’s most active bases for terrorist plots, Prime Minister David Cameron has mounted an attack on the country’s decades-old policy of “multiculturalism,” saying it has encouraged “segregated communities” where Islamic extremism can thrive.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Mr. Cameron condemned what he called the “hands-off tolerance” in Britain and other European nations that had encouraged Muslims and other immigrant groups “to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”

via Cameron Criticizes ‘Multiculturalism’ in Britain – NYTimes.com.

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.

31
Aug
10

‎8.31.2010 … why do I feel the need to fix our cars and clean my house before I go on vacation?

random, RIP: Loved this Daniel Pink Spotlight on a unique individual. Rest in peace, Mr. Foster … I am sure you are leading the band now and forevermore.

I’ve got a soft spot for people who take on the status quo — of an industry, a sport, an art form — and then turn it upside down and inside out. Think Marcel Duchamp for art. Or Ray Kroc for restaurants. Or Bill Walsh for football.One such person passed away this weekend: William P. Foster, whose obituary runs in today’s New York Times. Foster was a consummate outsider — an African-American clarinetist who aspired to become a symphony conductor, only to realize that his race prevented him from attaining that position.So instead Foster decided to reinvent the marching band.

via What a fabled marching band can teach you about innovation | Daniel Pink.

colleges, green:

CU-Boulder is no longer the reigning king of environmentally friendly colleges and universities across the nation, at least according to Sierra Magazine.

After Sierra Magazine gave CU the top spot on the “Coolest Schools” list for being green last year, the Buffs fell to 13th out of 162 surveyed schools with an overall score of 81.9 points, according to Sierra. However the lower ranking is not due to decreased sustainability on campus, said Dave Newport, director of CU Boulder’s Environmental Center.

“All our process indicators are up, we are doing more than we were doing last year when we were first [in the nation],” Newport said.

This year, according to Sierra, the magazine put more scoring emphasis on energy supply than last year, which affected CU’s score. When it comes to energy supply, CU is dependent on the utility provider because the school does not have access to as many renewable resources, Newport said.

via CU slides to 13th “Coolest School” | CU Independent.

Great Recession:

A growing number of homeowners are choosing to pay down their mortgages at a faster rate–even if it means a substantial jump in their monthly payments.

Between January and June, 26% of homeowners who refinanced chose a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to data from CoreLogic, a provider of financial, property and consumer information. During all of 2009, 18.5% of borrowers who refinanced opted for a 15-year term.

What’s prompting the shift to shorter loans? Historically low interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages.

Homeowners are doing the math and realizing that rates have fallen enough so the increase in payment between a new 15-year mortgage and their current loan is no longer unbearable for their budgets, says Bob Walters, chief economist at online lender Quicken Loans.

via Paying Off the House in 15 Years – WSJ.com.

Great Recession:

Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort.

More than a fifth of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals are owned by governments and many are drowning in debt caused by rising health-care costs, a spike in uninsured patients, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and payments on construction bonds sold in fatter times. Because most public hospitals tend to be solo operations, they don’t enjoy the economies of scale, or more generous insurance contracts, which bolster revenue at many larger nonprofit and for-profit systems.

via Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals – WSJ.com.

Retail, bookstores: Guilty.

People browsing at the Lincoln Center store on Monday lamented the loss of one of the city’s largest and most prominent bookstores, a sprawling space with a cafe on the fourth floor and an enormous music selection. For devoted theatergoers, it was a reliable site for readings and events that focused on the performing arts. (Still on the fall schedule are appearances by Patti LuPone and Elaine Paige.)

But many of those same people conceded that they have not bought as many books there as they did in the past. Some said they were more likely to browse the shelves, then head home and make purchases online. Others said they prized the store most for its sunny cafe or its magazines and other nonbook items.

via At Bookstore, Even Those Not Buying Regret Its End – NYTimes.com.

random:

Lights are going on across the country as cities try to cut crime by flipping a switch.

Los Angeles this year added eight parks to its Summer Night Lights program, which now keeps the lights on until midnight at 24 parks in neighborhoods with high levels of gang-related crime, as part of a broader community-involvement effort.

Earlier this year, Joplin, Mo., reported a 47% drop in crime since 2007, when it started adding or replacing more than 1,000 lights throughout the city to reduce crime. And in other cities, like Fresno, Calif., plans to turn off street lights to cut carbon emissions and reduce costs have been thwarted by resistance from those with concerns about crime levels.

via Los Angeles Uses Light to Fight Crime – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, banking:

Since 2008, Friday night bank failures have become something of a certainty — almost as likely as death and taxes.But last Friday regulators didn’t seize a single bank. When was the last time that happened?Excluding holiday weekends, when the FDIC typically doesn’t seize banks, you have to go back to June 2009 for the last time regulators didn’t close a bank on Friday.Is this a positive sign? Not exactly. Bank failures remain ahead of last year’s pace — 118 to 84 — and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair expects it to remain that way. The weakening economic recovery hardly suggests fewer bank failures, either.On the positive side, as Colin Barr writes, it’s unlikely that this year’s total will top 1989’s when 534 banks failed.

via Tracking Bank Failures: Regulators Take a Weekend Off – Deal Journal – WSJ.

religion, culture:  OK, this one fascinated me.

In the history of the world, every culture in every location at every point in time has developed some supernatural belief system. And when a human behavior is so universal, scientists often argue that it must be an evolutionary adaptation along the lines of standing upright. That is, something so helpful that the people who had it thrived, and the people who didn’t slowly died out until we were all left with the trait. But what could be the evolutionary advantage of believing in God?

Bering is one of the academics who are trying to figure that out. In the years since his mother’s death, Bering has done experiments in his lab at Queens University, Belfast, in an attempt to understand how belief in the supernatural might have conferred some advantage and made us into the species we are today.

For Bering, and some of his friends, the answer to that question has everything to do with what he discovered in his lab — the way the kids and adults stopped cheating as soon as they thought a supernatural being might be watching them. Through the lens of evolution then, a belief in God serves a very important purpose: Religious belief set us on the path to modern life by stopping cheaters and promoting the social good.

Dominic Johnson is a professor at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and another one of the leaders in this field. And to Johnson, before you can understand the role religion and the supernatural might have played in making us the people we are today, you really have to appreciate just how improbable our modern lives are.

Today we live in a world where perfect strangers are incredibly nice to each other on a regular basis. All day long, strangers open doors for each other, repair each other’s bodies and cars and washing machines. They swap money for food and food for money.  In short: they cooperate.

This cooperation makes all kinds of things possible, of course. Because we can cooperate, we can build sophisticated machines and create whole cities — communities that require huge amounts of coordination. We can do things that no individual or small group could do.

The question is: How did we get to be so cooperative? For academics like Johnson, this is a profound puzzle.

“Explaining cooperation is a huge cottage industry,” Johnson says. “It dominates the pages of top journals in science and economics and psychology. You would think that it was very simple, but in fact from a scientific academic point of view, it just often doesn’t make sense.”

via Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous? : NPR.




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