Posts Tagged ‘biology

12
Dec
11

12.12.2011 … I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! …

holidays, food – desserts:  I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! Cake Balls « bakerella.com.

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Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, marketing, Middle East, North Africa:

Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are huge in the Middle East and North Africa, where they account for 55 percent of mobile Internet traffic, according to a new survey by Dubai-based Effective Measure. The iPhone and iPad in particular are doing well, splitting top device honors among the countries covered in the study.

During the month of October, Apple iPhone accounted for 29.6 percent of traffic from mobile devices, with the iPad accounting for 24.1 percent. The iPod touch added another two percent to the total for Apple devices. Apple’s iPhone was the most popular device overall, and the iPad second. RIM’s BlackBerry devices came in third, with 7.6 percent combined.

via Apple devices winning big in the Middle East and North Africa — Apple News, Tips and Reviews.

iPad:  iPad 3 on the way?

Now that Citi analyst Richard Gardner has kicked the rumor mill up a notch for those awaiting the next iPad, the speculation will likely being flying fast and furious.

Digitimes is reporting that the next Apple tablet will be coming out in three to four months — right about in line with Apple’s normal schedule for iPad releases. The Taiwanese tech site, which has a spotty record when it comes to predicting Apple’s next moves, has tapped into its supply line sources once again and reported that Apple will begin cutting back on iPad 2 production ins the first quarter of 2012. Why? To make way for the next generation, of course.

Apple is infamous for the control it exercises over its image — especially its retail stores. Customers often know Apple stores at a glance, since the company’s storefronts often employ the same stark, simple lines as its products while also reflecting the character of their surroundings.

Apple is known for having many successful product launches. But it had some unsuccessful ones too.

The report says that new iPads are expected to reach 9.5 to 9.8 million production units in early 2012.

The rumors could have a negative effect on Apple’s holiday sales, as consumers expecting an iPad3 to come soon may decide not to take the plunge and buy an iPad 2 now.

There was definitely some buyers’ remorse out there when Apple released the iPad 2 last March, adding cameras and slicing down the thickness. And, yes, there are some rumored features for the next iPad that would be nice to have, such as an HD screen and LTE connectivity. But, as is the nature of these kinds of rumors, there’s no guarantee than any of them is accurate.

via Report: New iPad coming this spring – The Washington Post.

 myths, all women’s colleges, lists:

1. We are all major feminists who are concerned with women’s issues

3. For fun, we have late night pillow fights in our underwear

5. We are all lesbians

via Top ten myths about all women’s colleges | USA TODAY College.

Penn State Scandal, Mike McQueary:  Key Witness’ Story Changes …

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 9:00 AM EST – ABC News 2:33 | 4,558 views

Questions raised about Mike McQueary

Penn State Scandal: Key Witness’ Story Changes

Questions raised about Mike McQueary, an eyewitness in the case.

via News Videos – Yahoo!.

‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, movies,  pregnancy handbook, romantic comedy:  Movie adapts pregnancy handbook into romantic comedy … go figure!

Lionsgate has released a trailer for the romantic-comedy adaptation of the pregnancy handbook, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

We’ve embedded the trailer in the video above–what do you think?

Here’s more from Indiewire: “[Pregnancy] makes Elizabeth Banks hysterical, Dennis Quaid embarassed and Brooklyn Decker…well, she stays hot. Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Matthew Morrison, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Lopez, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tom Lennon and Rob Huebel all round out the cast on this one.”

The film reportedly also contains celebrity cameos from Black Eyed Peas musician Taboo, reality starlet Whitney Port and UK singer Cheryl Cole. Director Kirk Jones helmed the project. Heather Hach and Shauna Cross wrote the script. The movie hits theaters in May 2012.

via ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ Trailer Released – GalleyCat.

 La Rochefoucauld, quotes, happiness:

“We are so accustomed to disguising our true nature from others, that we end up disguising it from ourselves.”
 La Rochefoucauld

lawyers, careers, Great Recession, internet, websites, Shpoonkle: A new site lets jobless young lawyers underbid their more-experienced competitors for work! Welcome to Shpoonkle! Where Lawyers and Clients Connect..

New Lawyers Hang a Shingle on Shpoonkle, to Some Colleagues’ Chagrin

via Recent Law Graduates Offer Cheap Legal Counsel on Web Site, to Lawyers’ Chagrin – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

websites, cooking, Cooking with Caitlin:  Another fun one…

Cooking with Caitlin (CWC) began Mother’s Day 2007, on Molly’s front porch, over a bowl of cherries. Caitlin was a brand new wife and mom, and had recently returned to Cincinnati having completed culinary school in Chicago. Molly and Kelly also had moved back to Cincinnati recently. Together they hatched a plan to be their own bosses in a food-focused business built around their growing families. The initial idea was simple: catering. A nights-and-weekends company that would give Caitlin the opportunity to play with food, Kelly would plan the parties, Molly would promote the business, and they would come together to make the events happen.

via Cooking with Caitlin.

toys,  retailing, Christmas:  No hit toys … another sign of the Great Recession?

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the toy industry has no runaway hit — leaving many toy shoppers bored and complicating how stores sell holiday inventory.

“We are not seeing people clamor for any single item,” Stephanie Lucy, vice president for toys at Target, said by e-mail.

The hitless season has retailers stocking less, leaning on classic items rather than new ones and possibly discounting less in the final days before Christmas. And with no Tickle Me Elmo or Zhu Zhu Pets to draw crushing crowds to the toy aisles, most retailers are being careful not to get stuck with unsold toys.

“As retailers look at consumer confidence numbers, they are skeptical about consumers’ willingness to spend this holiday season, and they are trying to avoid getting caught with too much inventory,” said Josh Green, chief executive of Panjiva, a supply-chain data company.

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer, Hot Wheels Wall Tracks, Lalaoopsy Silly Hair dolls and some Lego sets are sold out or hard to find in many parts of the country, but that is mainly because of consistent demand rather than growing waves of frenzied shoppers.

via No Hit Toy to Brighten Retailers’ Christmas – NYTimes.com.

Christmas, Go-To Gift, Soul by Ludacris:  Since I have never heard of SOUL … must not be that big of a hit.

SOUL by Ludacris headphones are featured as the perfect gift for the audiophile in Newsweek Magazine‘s December article, “Tech for One, Tech for All: Stocking Stuffers for the Gadget Guru” by Brian Ries.  Along with SOUL he plugs the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire as this season’s go-to gifts.  (on newsstands now)

via Newsweek Magazine’s, “This Season’s Go-To Gift” [feature] | Soul by Ludacris.

science, biology, leaproach:  Yuck … Leaping cockroach discovered!

Cockroach haters beware: scientists have discovered a roach that jumps.

The newly discovered leaproach, which looks like a cockroach but acts like a grasshopper, is described in the journal Biology Letters.

via Leaping Cockroach Discovered – NYTimes.com.

Zoran Milich, NYC, photojournalism, Gothamatic, LIFE :  I love how LIFE has returned on the web!

Gothamatic: 12.12.11 – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

law school, education, practical applications:  Very well written … “The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.”

This week marks the last sessions of my Yale law school class on law, liberalism and religion. In the course of the semester my students have learned how to read religion clause cases against the background of long-standing debates in philosophy and theology about the relationship between religious imperatives and the obligations of democratic citizenship. They have become adept at recognizing the arguments behind the arguments the justices are making explicitly. They can see how a case ostensibly about vouchers or school prayer or Christmas trees on courthouse steps is really about whether principle or history should inform a court’s decisions. They can see how a case about head coverings or beards in the military (a topic that has surfaced once again) turns on the distinctions set down in John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689), a tract the justices may never have read. They can see how the majority and dissenting opinions in a free exercise case often reflect a tension between negative and positive liberty as these terms are defined by Isaiah Berlin, an author the justices will likely not have referenced. They can see how the entire history of religion-clause jurisprudence at once illustrates and is an extended critique of John Rawls’s attempt in “Political Liberalism” to devise a form of government that will be fair to religion while at the same time keeping it at arm’s length.

The question asked by an article and an editorial published recently in this newspaper is whether what my students have learned will be of any help to them when they enter practice. At first glance the answer seems to be “no,” if only because Berlin, Locke, Rawls, Hobbes, Kant, Unger and Rorty (writers whose work took up half the semester) are not currency in legal arguments; citing them in front of a court or in a memorandum is likely to be regarded at best as window dressing and at worst as showing off. (Not to mention the fact that few practicing attorneys are likely to be engaging with religion-clause issues anyway.)

In his response to Segal’s essay, Brian Leiter, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, rejects the question of whether what one learns in law school is of any help: “The criterion of scholarly inquiry is whether it makes a contribution to knowledge and understanding, not whether it ‘helps.’” Leiter adds that what he calls “genuine” knowledge often does help with “a host of concrete and practical problems.” But he refuses (rightly, I think) to justify the academic study of law on that basis, for, he explains, “it is the central premise of a research institution that the measure of its achievement is the quality of the scholarship, i.e. its contribution to knowledge — whether of law or biology or literature — not its practical payoff in the short-term.”

The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.

via Teaching Law – NYTimes.com

Christmas, Christmas album, Christmas traditions, history:  Love this …

I’m a Christmas music traditionalist. Whereas I happily seek out new bands and explore new music throughout the year (and not just because it’s my job), around the holidays I become so conservative, so unyielding in my song choices — it’s Bing Crosby and Dean Martin or nothing — that the very mention of a contemporary Christmas album confuses and alarms me. Michael Bublé’s new Christmas record? Why don’t you just shave off Santa’s beard while you’re at it.

I just don’t approach Christmas songs the same way that I do regular ones. I’m not looking to broaden my musical horizons with a new rendition of “Jingle Bells.” I just want to listen to the same old songs (and watch the same old movies and drink the same old eggnog) that I always have. I’m probably doing it in a futile attempt to recapture some sense of childhood wonder. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Besides watching the A Christmas Story marathon on TV, that is.

But this year marks the first time that I’ve fallen for a new Christmas collection: A Very She & Him Christmas. The album — which came out in October because bandmembers Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have fallen prey to the diabolical “Christmas creep” marketing machine — is a compilation of classic Christmas tunes that have been stripped down and injected with just the right amount of contrived nostalgia to trick me into into thinking that I’ve been listening to it all my life. Their version of the Beach Boys’ “Little St. Nick” deserves to be a new holiday standard. I’ve finally entered the world of the annual Christmas album and what a big, scary world it is. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I might as well start at the beginning.

Christmas music as we know it today didn’t really get going until the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria married her German cousin, Prince Albert. Suddenly, England had an excuse to adopt all of Germany’s fun Christmas traditions, like that of the decorated tree laden with presents. The customs were also picked up by the United States, which had only recently invented the concept of Santa Claus. All of this newfound holiday cheer helped revive the practice of group caroling. Carols had existed for centuries, though their popularity waxed and waned as different governments and religious movements periodically declared them sinful. (I’m look at you, Puritans). But in the 1800s they finally had their heyday. Between 1840 and 1870, the following carols were written: “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Away in a Manger, and “We Three Kings.” Those are just the ones that have stuck around; there are plenty of others that have long been forgotten.

via Music Monday: The Rise of the Christmas Album | Entertainment | TIME.com.

Steve Jobs,  Computer History Museum: Wonderful retrospective!

The “Blue Box” was a simple electronic gizmo that bypassed telephone company billing computers, allowing anyone to make free telephone calls anywhere in the world. The Blue Box was illegal, but the specifications for hacking into the telephone network were published in a telephone company journal and many youngsters with a flair for electronics built them. The “two Steves” had a great deal of fun building and using them for “ethical hacking,” with Wozniak building the kits and Jobs selling them—a pattern which would emerge again and again in the lives of these two innovators. (Wozniak once telephoned the Vatican, pretended to be Henry Kissinger and asked to speak to the Pope—just to see if he could. When someone answered, Woz got scared and hung up.)

via Computer History Museum | Steve Jobs: From Garage to World’s Most Valuable Company.

Illustrated Histories and the American Imagination, 1840-1900, online exhibition:  So much neat stuff out there!

In this online exhibit, explore and contrast the production histories of two mid-19th-century pictorial history projects.

Through interactive graphics, magnified images and text, come to understand the personal agendas and the two-way and three-way collaborations at work in the making of pictorial histories; that is, the relationships among publishers, artists and historians.

via Clio: Picturing the Past – American Illustrated Histories Online Exhibit.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas feast, recipes, history:  A Victorian Christmas Feast!

“Nothing pushes the nostalgia button at Christmastime more than Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with its warming images of a candlelit tree and Victorian plenitude. Yet prior to the 19th century, Christmas was a very different holiday, and it was only in the Victorian era that our concept of Christmas as a child-centered family holiday arose. After reviewing the evolution of Christmas holidays, we will use 19th-century English cookbooks, such as Charles Francatelli’s The Modern Cook and Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families, to create a groaning board of Victorian delights, including Jerusalem Artichoke Soup; Lobster Fricassée; Baked Goose with Chestnuts; Roasted Filet of Beef à l’Anglaise; Endives with Cream; Christmas Pudding; Gingerbread; and Twelfth Night Cake.”

Cathy continued, “This is upper class food that we’re making tonight, that took a large staff in the kitchen to prepare, with no expenses spared, using the most luxurious ingredients. It’s also infusion cuisine made with expensive stocks, showing the French influence in this period. There’s also a fair amount of cream in many dishes with a touch of cayenne pepper, an influence of the British colonials in India. The French at this time would have just used nutmeg. There were many women cooks in the kitchens of the wealthy in England, and in France there were more men in the kitchens.”

via A Victorian Christmas Feast « Jane Austen’s World.

websites, design, Colossal:
If you haven’t seen Colossal, don’t worry: you will. It’s an art and design blog which is, well, what it says it is. It’s getting mentioned everywhere, including here on Hyperallergic. It so happens that the blog’s creator, Chris Jobson, and I have known each other for years, and we live about three blocks from each other on Chicago’s north side. So I thought I would see if the guy who’s responsible for bringing such cool stuff to the world’s attention would overcome his modesty and talk about himself for a few minutes.via An Interview with Chris Jobson, Creator of the Art and Design Blog Colossal.
 Zombie Borders, Germany, history:  My favorite article of the day … Read on …
Now defunct by just over two decades, the border between the two Germanys already seems like a surreal relic from a much more distant past. Was there really ever a 540-mile Strip of Death separating the two halves, from the Czech border to the Bay of Lübeck? There was – and it was quite hermetical, and very deadly [2] – but today a visitor might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

These days, the so-called innerdeutsche Grenze is almost completely erased from the landscape, marked only by the occasional memorial placard along the Autobahn. The fences, the spotlights, the guard dogs and the tanks have all been withdrawn. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone. The line that separated the Federal Republic of (West) Germany from the (East) German Democratic Republic is a zombie border: it’s been dead a few times in the past, and that hasn’t stopped it coming back. The line between east and west existed long before the postwar split.

The Iron Curtain that divided Europe (and Germany) is gone. The European Union now includes much of Eastern Europe, and indeed some bits of the former Soviet Union. In Angela Merkel, Germany has its first chancellor raised in the former East Germany. Although many socio-economic indicators for the ex-GDR are still not up to par with the western half of Germany, the border itself has been thoroughly erased from the landscape.

So is that the end of Henry the Fowler’s thousand-year-old border? Maybe not. Erased borders are like phantom limbs – sometimes it feels like they’re still there, even when they’re manifestly not.

via Zombie Borders – NYTimes.com.

11
Dec
11

12.11.2011 … Game face on (but wearing red socks:) ) — with John at Bank of America Stadium … A good day to be a Panthers Fan … until halftime … socks won …

Panthers:   Cold and sunny, playing Atlanta … great day to go to Panther’s stadium … first half rocks …. well, you know the story …

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Donna Morris, Paris, travel, tour guides:  We loved Donna!

Donna Morris, 51, is a professional trip planner in Paris (www.bestfriendinparis.com), where she has lived for five years. Morris is originally from Granite Falls.

via Paris warms during chill winter days | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ , retailing,  at-home sales business, business trends: So I have never been to a Tupperware or Mary Kay Party , but have been to a Pampered Chef … love their stuff.  Love  chocolate … so maybe …

It’s a Party…Literally.

Following the business model of Mary Kay, Tupperware, and other pioneers of home party businesses, DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products are sold by aspiring entrepreneurs. They provide the impetus for people to then host chocolate tasting parties in their own homes. Invited friends and relatives gather to sample an exclusive line of chocolate products not sold in any store. Who can resist an evening among friends tasting heavenly chocolate treats?

“It doesn’t even feel like selling,” says chocolatier Jill Young. “I don’t have to twist any arms. Even in tough times, people still want to treat themselves to a little chocolate.”

The wide array of DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products includes ready-to-eat chocolate treats, smoothie and martini mixes, chocolate chai tea, brownie and cookie mixes, baking chocolate, mousse mixes, even special tools for creating decadent desserts and fancy homemade chocolate candies.

Chocolate Is Hot. Home Entertaining Is Cool Again.

Last year 17 billion dollars worth of chocolate was sold in the U.S. and the fastest-growing brand of premium chocolate is DOVE®. !(border right)/files/0002/2312/dove-cupcakes_medium.jpg!Plus, the state of the economy has led to more people entertaining at home today—one more factor that may benefit DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ home sales venture.

via DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ Dips Into At-Home Sales Business in News & Trends on The Food Channel®.

physics, biology, photosynthesis:  This one is over my head!

Physicists have found the strongest evidence yet of quantum effects fueling photosynthesis.

Multiple experiments in recent years have suggested as much, but it’s been hard to be sure. Quantum effects were clearly present in the light-harvesting antenna proteins of plant cells, but their precise role in processing incoming photons remained unclear.

In an experiment published Dec. 6 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a connection between coherence — far-flung molecules interacting as one, separated by space but not time — and energy flow is established.

“There was a smoking gun before,” said study co-author Greg Engel of the University of Chicago. “Here we can watch the relationship between coherence and energy transfer. This is the first paper showing that coherence affects the probability of transport. It really does change the chemical dynamics.”

The new findings are the latest in a series that have, piece by piece, promised to expand scientific understanding of photosynthesis, one of life’s fundamental processes. Until a few years ago, it seemed a straightforward piece of chemistry.

via More Evidence Found for Quantum Physics in Photosynthesis | Wired Science | Wired.com.

End Of Ze World, YouTube, viral videos, LOL:  This one I got from my daughter … LOL.

retailing, business trends, chain dollar stores,  drugstores, Great Recession: I must admit  have gone to a dollar store twice in the last week …

The family-run drugstore on Main Street has been dying for decades. Now, the big national chain pharmacies—which helped push those family operations to the brink of extinction—are being surpassed in terms of total locations by dollar stores. What does this say about how people shop nowadays? And about the state of the economy?

One of the hottest retail trends in recent years has been the rise of the dollar store. During a period when many retailers have struggled as a result of consumers scaling back, dollar stores boomed for obvious reasons—one way consumers cut expenses was by spending more time in dollar stores.

Surveys have shown that today’s shoppers are more likely to make purchases in dollar stores lately, and chains such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar have experienced outstanding sales growth as a result.

Riding the wave of newfound popularity and better-than-ever sales figures, dollar stores have naturally been expanding to new locations all over the country.

Now, according to a study by retail research firm Colliers International, dollar store locations outnumber drugstore locations in the U.S. Specifically, Colliers added up the number of locations for four national dollar store chains (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, 99 Cents Only), and compared that figure to the total number of locations for the country’s three biggest drugstore chains (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens).

via More Chain Dollar Stores Than Drugstores in the U.S., Says Study | Moneyland | TIME.com.

MIT, “Platform Wars”, MBAs, gaming,  free online simulator,  education, teaching methods:  I think this might be fun to try …

Want to learn MBA management skills and strategies for free?  Thanks to “Platform Wars,” a video game simulator created by MIT’s Sloan School of Management, anyone can learn elements of a business school education by portraying an executive at a video game console manufacturer online.

The simulator has been used for the past four years in business management classes taught by professor John Sterman. A user playing an executive Nintendo, for example, might be tasked with figuring out how how to help the Wii beat out competition from Microsoft’s XBox. The ultimate goal is to strategize against your competitor to maximize cumulative profit over 10 years. The player has to make all the applicable decisions to win the market—everything from setting the price of the console to determining the royalties video game makers will pay for the right to produce games for the platform.

“Platform Wars” proved to be so popular at the business school that in late November, MIT—the home of the renowned OpenCourseWare program—decided to make the simulator available to the public on the MIT Sloane Teaching Innovation Resources website. Users can play as an individual or as a class. To fully equip gamers, Sterman is also providing free case studies and video explanations for both students and teachers.

Platform markets “are increasingly common in settings besides video games,” so Sterman says that the skills users can learn through Platform Wars are “applicable in many markets.” Figuring out how to ensure your product’s price, features, and complementary products stay competitive is in every business’ best interests. After all, we all know what happened in the real-world platform war between VHS and Betamax.

via MBA by Gaming: MIT Launches Free Online Simulator – Education – GOOD.

Consumer Reports:  Going Strong at 75 … “It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.”

BORN in 1936, Consumer Reports had a very happy 75th birthday this year. Its business has never been better.

Well, “business” is not the right word, as there are no profits or losses to track: it’s a nonprofit. But the magazine and Web site generated $182 million in revenue in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended May 31. That pays for a lot of professional testing — of cars and trucks, washers and dryers, televisions, children’s car seats, mattresses, treadmills and cellphone plans — all told, more than 3,600 products and services a year.

Consumer Reports started its Web site in 1997; by 2001, it had 557,000 subscribers. That number has grown to 3.3 million this year, an increase of nearly 500 percent in 10 years. It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.

via Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75 — Digital Domain – NYTimes.com.

 BBC Sleep Profiler, health and wellness:  I did pretty well for my age … 🙂

Your sleep is fairly well optimised, scoring 57 %.

You said you have a problem with sleep, but you are not very sleepy during the day, which indicates your body is probably getting the sleep it needs. Quality of sleep is more important than quantity. There’s room to improve your score. You may find your personalised advice below useful.

Body and Health

You can expect to sleep less at night now you are older.

Now that you’re over 50, your natural sleep pattern has changed. You may find yourself napping during the day but sleeping less at night. In reality, you’re sleeping as much as you need to, but at different times of the day.

via BBC – Science & Nature – Human Body and Mind – Sleep Profiler.

 ‘New Year’s Eve’, ensemble romantic comedy, box office , holiday movies, Great Recession:  Why the downturn at the box office and what’s an ensemble romantic comedy, one that throws ever romantic comedy star in it …

“New Year’s Eve” came early to the multiplex this year, but couldn’t help the film industry escape its lowest-earning weekend of the year.

In total, all films at the box office grossed $76 million this weekend, a 17.2% drop from the same weekend last year. It was the lowest weekend take since Sept of 2008.

Leading the tepid pack was “New Year’s Eve,” an ensemble romantic comedy starring Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles. Made for a budget in the low $50 million range and distributed by Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros. Pictures, the film grossed $13.7 million from 3,505 theaters according to early estimates, below the studio’s expectations.

The weekend’s new limited release films, meanwhile, got off to solid starts. “Young Adult,” a dark comedy starring Charlize Theron as YA book novelist, earned $320,000 from eight theaters in five cities. The $12 million film is being released by Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures, which will open the film wide on Dec. 16 to 1,000 locations.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a well-reviewed adaptation of the John le Carre novel starring Gary Oldman, grossed $300,737 from four theaters, giving it a high per-screen average of $75,184. The thriller, which is being released by Comcast Corp’s Focus Features, will expand to four new markets and seven theaters next week.

via ‘New Year’s Eve’ Tops the Weekend Box Office – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Tweet of the Day, Post Secret, libraries:

PostSecret (@postsecret)

12/11/11 1:51 PM

“I work in a library. Today I heard a mom tell her child to be quiet because the ‘books are sleeping’. I wanted to give her a high-five!”

food – desserts, food – art, baking, random, gingerbread typewriter:

Patti from Baked Ideas made this amazing edible gingerbread typewriter for benefit of City Harvest, and it is displayed at NYC’s Parker Meridien Hotel.

via Gingerbread typewriter is entirely edible – Boing Boing.

UNC – Charlotte,  Davidson College Davidson, Davidson basketball:  We did not even look like the same team.  I hope it wasn’t just the effect of having Curry around … now that he’s back to the NBA.

Javarris Barnett opened the door to a Charlotte 49ers victory.

The rest of his teammates then slammed it shut on the Davidson Wildcats.

Barnett made five 3-pointers – four during a key second-half run – as the Charlotte 49ers reclaimed the Hornet’s Nest Trophy with a convincing 84-61 victory over rival Davidson on Saturday night.

In as much as Barnett’s long-range bombs broke open a tight game in the 49ers’ favor, it was Charlotte’s unrelenting, stifling defense that provided the opportunity.

“We were down one at halftime and we said we needed to come out and punch them in the mouth, and I think we held them scoreless the first four minutes,” said Barnett, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

via Barnett, Charlotte 49ers leave no doubt in win over Davidson | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

19
Nov
11

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

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

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

And then stumbled upon this on S. Tryon …

So here is what happened after he heard the news…

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

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

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

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

??? Georgia Historical Commission 19??

via Georgia Marker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECIPES:

ROASTED SWEET TEA BRINED TURKEY

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

art, photo mosaic:

Smile-one / Guinness World Records

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

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

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

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

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

fashion, Versace, H&M:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘sleep texting’:  Oh, my …

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

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

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

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

graphics, web typeface:  for the real computer nerds …

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

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

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

via Web Symbols typeface.

street art, 3D street art: 🙂

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

3D street art around the world – in pictures

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

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

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

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

“Happy Feet Two”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Hugo”

“The Muppets”

“The Adventures of Tintin”

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




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