Posts Tagged ‘blog

10
Feb
13

2.10.13 … in this world, but not of this world …

FPC, worship, sermon Transfiguration, epiphany,  labyrinth walks, “Solvitur ambulando” – it is solved by walking, Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth:  IMG_5491As I left FPC today (did anyone else notice the tulip trees blooming!), I headed to one of my favorite labyrinths.  I had a heavy heart, despite a very excellent sermon by Kirk Hall about  Transfiguration entitled,  “A Glimpse of Glory.”  I was also quite struck by the affirmation of faith …

We believe Christ gives us and demands of us lives in pilgrimage toward God’s kingdom. Like Christ we may enjoy on our journey all that sustains life and makes it pleasant and beautiful. No more than Christ are we spared the darkness, ambiguity, and threat of life in the world. We are in the world, but not of the world. Our confidence and hope for ourselves and other people do not rest in the powers and achievements of this world, but in the coming and hidden presence of God’s kingdom. Christ calls each of us to a life appropriate to that kingdom: to serve as he has served us; to take up our cross, risking the consequences of faithful discipleship; to walk by faith, not by sight, to hope for what we have not seen. (Declaration of Faith, 9.5) http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/bulletins/bulletin.pdf

But even my drive was uplifting …

 IMG_5492

IMG_5495  IMG_5493 IMG_5494 

And the walk was wonderful.  I came away feeling much better …

IMG_5496

IMG_5505  IMG_5503 IMG_5504

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IMG_5499 IMG_5500  IMG_5497

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I love the quote of Ms. Alexander painted at the “foot” of the labyrinth.

“With patience persistence and prayer, a God-filled spirit can bring a seed to fruit.” – Almetto Howie Alexander 2011

And so this afternoon, I  did a little research on the labyrinth …

.Labyrinth

Activities are often thought of as group-oriented, competitive sports, skill-oriented, performance or even pressure. The labyrinth provides a balancing activity, one which may best be pursued alone, in one’s own time of need, searching, or desire for peace and focus. Experiencing the solace of journey provided by a labyrinth brings peace, healing, and enlightenment — mental health — appropriate for people of any age. The labyrinth itself is a beautiful monument to heritage and history. The spiritual and actual presence of the labyrinth will fulfill the dreams of its founder — a person who spent her life working for her community in education and civil rights — and will offer the benefits and reminders of this continuing journey to the community’s next generations.

via Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth: The Labyrinth.

The study, design and installation of labyrinths has become an essential part of my work as an artist. From our research, we believe this may be the first Afro-Centric Labyrinth in the United States. This particular project has all the potential to become a great source of healing and education within the smaller community of Washington Heights as it interacts with the larger community of Charlotte. The unique design pays homage to the nearly lost origins of the labyrinth, and offers each individual the opportunity to metaphorically walk their life’s journey along a pattern that echoes the journey and philosophy of Mrs. Alexander.

— Tom Schulz

via Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth: The Labyrinth.

“Solvitur ambulando” – it is solved by walking:  I also did a little research on the term “solvitur ambulando.” I found this very interesting.

Solvitur ambulando (pron.: /ˈsɒlvɪtər ˌæmbjʊˈlændoʊ/)[1] is a Latin term which means:

it is solved by walking

the problem is solved by a practical experiment

Diogenes of Sinope, also known as “Diogenes the Cynic,” is said to have replied to the argument that motion is unreal by standing up and walking away.

The phrase appears early in Lewis Carroll’s “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles”. Achilles uses it to accentuate that he was indeed successful in overtaking Tortoise in their race to empirically test one of Zeno’s paradoxes of motion. This passage also appears in Douglas Hofstadter’s book Gödel, Escher, Bach.

The phrase appears in Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Clouds of Witness”. During the Duke of Denver’s trial before the House of Lords, the Lord High Steward suggests (to laughter) solvitur ambulando to determine whether the decedent crawled or was dragged to a different location, as this was a matter of dispute between the prosecution and the defense.

The phrase is also cited in “Walking” by H.D. Thoreau and in “The Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin in its first meaning.

The phrase is discussed multiple times and at some length in The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux.

The phrase was the motto of the Royal Air Forces Escaping Society.

via Solvitur ambulando – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Momastery, blog, meme: I loved this graphic and I enjoyed her blog as well.

You’re not screwing it up. Your baby is just completely wicked awesome.

via Momastery.

I’ve been both a “working” and a “stay-at-home” mom so I’ve experienced both sides of the internal and eternal debate moms endure all day, every day. When I worked outside my house, Mommy Guilt rode shotgun with me each morning, chiding me for dropping off my sick boy at day care instead of keeping him home and for rocking him the night before instead of preparing for work. When I got to work each day Mommy Guilt whispered that a good mom would still be at home with her son and when I returned home she’d insist that a better teacher would have stayed at work longer. When I’d visit girlfriends who stayed home, Mommy Guilt would say “See… this lady’s doing it right. Her kids are better off than yours are.” And Mommy Guilt certainly had a lot to say when Chase’s day care provider admitted that he had taken his first steps while I was working. Every night when I finally got Chase to sleep, finished grading papers, and collapsed into the couch, Mommy Guilt would snuggle up next to me and sweetly say “shouldn’t you spend some quality time with your husband instead of checking out?” And finally, before I fell asleep each night, Mommy Guilt would whisper in my ear, “YOU KNOW, THE ONLY WAY YOU’RE GOING TO BE A GOOD MOTHER AND WIFE IS IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AND STAY HOME.”

And so now I’m a stay-at-home mom. And the thing is that Mommy Guilt stays home with me.

via Momastery.

Davidson College basketball, Nik Cochran, multitasking, live blogging: Another great day to be a Wildcat (fan)!  Congrats to Nik.  I think it is great that I can multitask and pay attention to a game.  I often put on the live blog, even when I am watching a game.

Cochran Hits 1,000 Career Points; Wildcats Roll to Eighth Straight Win

Nik Cochran became the 44th player in program history to hit the 1,000-point plateau and Davidson shot 53.6 percent in a convincing 87-52 victory over Appalachian State in front of 5,090 fans Saturday evening at Belk Arena.

via Davidson College Athletics.

Davidson College Athletics – Live Blog for Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Game vs. ASU.

Davidson College, Baker Athletic Center, The Davidsonian:  So many things to be done …

“Baker was designed 25 years ago when athletes had one season of intensive practice and play. Now all sports practice year round,” Jim Murphy, Director of Athletics, explains. “This building [Baker] has had an incredible demand put on it. There are students in this building almost around the clock.”

With additional men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball practice courts, as well as a dance center with two studios, office space, and storage, the extra space will alleviate scheduling constraints, reducing the current inconvenience of athletes missing study groups, regular dinner hours, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to benefiting varsity athletes, this extra space will increase student participation in club and intramural sports by 60%, as well as accommodate an expanding academic and extracurricular dance program.

Not all of the additions will be about scheduling, however. Some are merely ways to improve both the athlete and the spectator experience. The renovation will include new locker rooms, team rooms, film rooms, and administrative offices for men’s and women’s basketball. All athletes will appreciate the expanded Basil Boyd Training room, and students, faculty, and staff will benefit from a new cardio/fitness room, as well as a classroom for health and wellness instruction. Baker currently sees 90,000 patrons annually. A new ticket office with internal and external windows and a new game day entrance facing the parking lot will streamline the spectator experience.

The planned Baker renovations are a reflection of Davidson’s impressive expansion over the past quarter century. “Being able to respond so positively to the growth we’ve seen in the student population is the most exciting aspect of this project,” says Murphy.

via $15 M renovation of Baker slated to begin in April – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Stonewall Riots, President Obama,  1.21.13 Inauguration Speech, Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, Christopher Park, public art, legal history, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights, 2013 Legal Festival of Learning, hetero-normative society:  Three weeks ago, if you asked me what I knew about the Stonewall Riots, I would not have been able to tell you anything, and when you told me about them, I would have had to admit that I really do not remember ever learning about the event. Well, President Obama referred to the riots in his 1.21.13 Inauguration Speech, I saw the Stonewall Inn on my 1.28.13 tour of Greenwich Village and the statues dedicated to the riots in Christopher Park (the park facing the Inn), and l learned about them in the context of the legal history of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights at the Legal Festival of Learning on 2.9.13 (Same-Sex Relationships: Recent U.S. Developments by Maxine Eichner and Holning S. Lau). Sometimes I am amazed at how un-knowledgeable I am, and wonder if my education will ever be complete. As a lawyer and lover of history, now I at least feel like I can enter into an honest and educated conversation of the topic.”

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I had not witnessed the use of the acronym LGBTQ ….

When most people see the acronym “LGBTQ” they are fairly certain what the first four letters stand for. “L,” of course, stands for “lesbian;” “G” is for gay; “B” stands for “bisexual” and “T” means “transgender.” But the “Q,” which represents the word “queer,” is harder to define.

So what exactly does it mean to be “queer?”

“Personally, I think ‘queer’ encompasses ALL in the community, whereas ‘gay’ is primarily used for only the homosexual male segment of the community,” says Kate Sherry, the editor of Queer Life News. “However, there some of us who do identify strictly as ‘queer’ instead of ‘lesbian’ or ‘trans,’ etc.”

Originally, the word “queer” meant unusual or strange, and later, it became a derogatory term for someone who is gay. At the end of the 20th century, members of the gay community reclaimed the word and in doing so, recycled the meaning once again, this time with the goal of empowerment.

The “grayness” of the word is part of its power because it breaks down the ability to label and categorize lifestyles that unfairly generate hate and oppression. Activists, people who strongly reject traditional gender or sexual identities, or anyone who feel oppressed by the pressure to conform to the heterosexual lifestyle often use the word.

According to Bill Serpe, the executive director of Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE), “queer” is a catchall word for anyone who is outside the societal norm, not just those who identify themselves as part of the gay community.

“Someone is queer when they have realized that they are not straight, heterosexual or born in the wrong body. Not all people who might fall in this category like being called queer, but would agree that they are living a lifestyle that is different from what is considered the social norm,” says Serpe.

So, can a straight person be queer? Sure. For some, the “Q” stands for “questioning,” which includes people living the straight lifestyle but questioning their sexuality, someone who isn’t sexual at all because they are unsure of their identity or a person who is sexual, but doesn’t fit into any particular box.

“Anyone who feels they don’t or can’t conform to a hetero-normative society are eligible for queer status!” says Sherry.

via OnMilwaukee.com Milwaukee Buzz: What does the “Q” in LGBTQ really mean?.

2013 Northeast Blizzard , Storm Nemo, Nemo memes:  It is amazing th pictures and videos that are coming out of the NE.  Apart of me would love to be there and a part is glad I am looking at tulip tree blossoms! FYI —  10 Things To Know About The Northeast Blizzard. I just love this picture of Beacon Hill from the WSJ …

EASTON, Mass.—A historic blizzard pummeled the Northeast, dumping up to three feet of snow across New England and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in New England.

via Storm Sweeps Through Northeast U.S. – WSJ.com.

And then there are the Nemo memes. 🙂

The 15 Funniest Blizzard Nemo Memes

The 15 Funniest Blizzard Nemo Memes

Nemo in the Snow | Complex.

Cool Tools, Boing Boing: Just found this  interesting …

We’ve already come up with a lot of ideas for Cool Tools projects, and some are very ambitious. As Kevin said, “Let’s turn Cool Tools into a butterfly, not just a better caterpillar.” That’s a terrific goal to have, and it’s one that can be achieved while staying true to Cool Tools’ original statement of purpose:

Cool tools really work. A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We only post things we like and ignore the rest.

I love learning about what people make and do, and the tools they use. Do you have a tool you love? Tell us about it at Cool Tools.

via Mark joins Cool Tools – Boing Boing.

Mason-Dixon Knitting.

 English grammar,  NFL,  Tweets, Chris Culliver, Wes Welker, 2d graders: 🙂

A class of 2nd Graders show off their corrections to a number of tweets from top NFL sports stars, including this one by San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver.

A group of 2nd graders have corrected  a number of NFL tweets; handing out a lesson in spelling and grammar to a number of top NFL stars.

The second grade students from Elmwood Franklin Elementary in Buffalo, N.Y. were given a challenge by faculty at the school to correct the grammar and spelling mistakes in a number of Twitter postings from top NFL players.

The young children went to work on tweets from Chris Culliver, Wes Welker and Titus D Young Sr. on Friday, correcting errors in grammar the stars had made in the world of Twitter.

In one tweet by Chris Culliver in which the San Francisco 49ers player tweeted, “I pray to God I’m never dieing broke”

Chris Culliver has been in the news a lot this week as the San Francisco 49ers prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans this Sunday for Super Bowl 47.

However, despite the pressure that must be on Culliver in preparing for the big game, the kids were still unforgiving on his spelling and grammar.

via 2nd Graders Correct NFL Tweets: Chris Culliver, Wes Welker Twitter Accounts Given English Lesson.

blogs, knitting:  I don’t knit, but I liked the blog because of the dialogue between the two writers … Mason-Dixon Knitting.

weddings, destination weddings, Travel + Leisure: When I first started hearing about destination weddings (and I will attend my first this spring), I asked my teenage daughter  if she would ever want a “destination wedding” … the beach where she grew up going, for example.  She looked at me like I was crazy … so I was astounded to read this article  …  “For many couples, I think, it’s the weirder the better.”

“People don’t want their big day to be cookie-cutter,” says Anja Winikka, editor of TheKnot.com, a popular wedding-planning website. “First, the crazy new thing was destination weddings”—which these days represent about 20 percent of ceremonies. “And now, just in the past five years, we’re noticing many more couples seeking unusual settings, from treetops to airplane hangars. For many couples, I think, it’s the weirder the better.”

via Worlds Strangest Places to Get Married – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

twitter, HuffPostHome:  HuffPostHome … I will not trust you again.  This one was really stupid and definitely not  “one of the coolest things … ever seen.”

HuffPost Home 

@HuffPostHome

This laundry trick is one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen huff.to/12BrQFE

04
Feb
11

2.4.2011 …. 35 and raining … winter in the South like I remember it!

winter, The South:  I prefer snow to rain … 🙂 .. “singing in the rain” … but I agree with Tim … least favorite weather ..

NASA, Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords, prayers: Godspeed, Mark Kelly!  And Prayers for a continued miraculous recovery, Gabrielle Giffords!

“I am looking forward to rejoining my crew members and finishing our training for the mission,” said Mr. Kelly. “We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Sepectrometer to the International Space Station and compete the other objectives of the flight.”

via Gabrielle Giffords’ Husband Mark Kelly to Command NASA Shuttle | Politically Illustrated.

followup, tweets, Chinese new year, politically correct:  So is it incorrect to say Chinese New Year?

@BarackObama

I send my best wishes for peace, prosperity, and good health to all who celebrate the Lunar New Year across the U.S. and around the world.

via Twitter / @Barack Obama: I send my best wishes for ….

community service, boy scouts, Loaves & Fishes, tweets, tomorrow 2/5:

Trying to gather a record 10,800 grocery bags of donated food in one morning (at an estimated 10 pounds per bag) would pretty much take a battalion of men and a convoy of SUVs.

But that’s the goal of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from St. Matthew Catholic Church, for Saturday’s Scouting for Food drive to benefit Loaves & Fishes.

via Events & News – Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry – Groceries for Neighbors in Need – Charlotte, NC.

Scouting for Food is tomorrow! Please don’t rain!

via Loaves & Fishes (loavesfishesnc) on Twitter.

tweets, LOL: My brother-in-law sent me this one. 

12:22 PM Jan 29th: Slipped on ice last night. Out of commission. Meds in control. Strange political dreams. And SpongeBob makes sense.

via Larry Sabato (larrysabato) on Twitter.

A comprehensive website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball features detailed and frequently updated analysis for elections across the country. The Crystal Ball keeps tabs on presidential elections, along with every Senate and gubernatorial race, as well as the tightest campaigns for the House.

via Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball » About.

man caves, ESPN:  Loved this article …

In part because it’s rarely discussed in mixed company, ESPN may be the most under-acknowledged media powerhouse in the United States. Since its debut in 1979, ESPN has ridden round-the-clock highlights, live events and testosterone-infused commentary into a 3D juggernaut of television, radio, print and digital that arguably constitutes the single greatest cultural force in male identity today.

Consider these facts: ESPN is the third-rated network on cable, according to Nielsen ratings. Half of all Americans, age 12 to 64, encounter one of its platforms every week, the network’s research shows. That figure includes two-thirds of men age 18 to 34, who stay an average of 56 minutes a day. Your husband, your neighbor, your boss may be spending one hour a day on ESPN. That loyalty adds up. ESPN’s revenues last year totaled $8.65 billion, according to Morgan Stanley, making up 23 percent of the total revenues of its parent, the Walt Disney Company.

“Nothing reaches men like sports,” said Michael Wilbon, a co-host on ESPN for “Pardon the Interruption,” “and nothing has branded sports like ESPN.”

The height of the new jock vanity is ESPN’s infatuation with male bodies. Commentators drool over other men’s abs, thighs and guns. ESPN The Magazine’s response to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is its Body issue, which features entirely naked men (and some women). The magazine even sells posters of the Knick superstar Amar’e Stoudemire dunking nude or the United States soccer goalie Tim Howard diving au naturel.

All of this talk of New Manhood does have an undercurrent of Old Manhood: how women are treated. On the one hand, ESPN deserves credit, after decades of negligence, for finally featuring women. “When I first started doing sports,” said Dana Jacobson, a co-host of “First Take,” “my dad said, ‘I think you’re really good, but I’d still rather watch a guy.’ After a couple of years, he finally changed his mind. And he’s not alone.”

But women are still the company’s sore spot. The network has experienced a rash of scandals involving sexual misconduct, workplace affairs and inappropriate language that at times makes ESPN the subject of as much gossip and lawsuits as the athletes it covers. This pink cloud has made covering the misconduct of superstars, like the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, more challenging.

“I would hope that if we really are reaching that many young men,” Ms. Beadle said, “that we make sure we send a message.” She loved “celebrating the great stuff,” she said, but became upset “when you hear one dumb story after another about what men are doing.”

“Sometimes I think we don’t report those stories as much as other companies because of our relationship,” she said. “I want to make sure we don’t always make those guys heroes. What happens is that for the 17-, 18-year-old kid, the message is that he’s good at a sport, so it doesn’t matter how much of a pig he is.”

In a world where men do everything fast, from driving to parenting to flipping channels, ESPN is one place that forces them to stop, respect the clock at the center of most games, and connect to the men in their past. ESPN is the ultimate time machine. It takes men back to their boyhoods, and delivers them back to their sons, all in just under an hour.

via Dominating the Man Cave – This Life – NYTimes.com.

James Joyce, LOL:  Happy belated (2-2)birthday, Jim! Frank Delaney: Re: Joyce, Episode 34. The Re: Joyce Rap.

Jane Austen, icons:

It also led to an outcry of “Why now?” In a blink, Austen was everywhere on the silver screen. After a dry spell that lasted more than a half century, we were hit with three films hit in just two years. (The third being the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring ‘Emma.’) ‘Jane Austen in Hollywood’ discusses how Time Magazine ran a headline asking: “Sick of Jane Austen yet?” Wall Street declared the mania to be “cash driven.” Her immediate impact was so far-reaching, in fact, that ‘Austen in Hollywood’ details how the Socialist Workers’ Party Marxism ’96 Conference featured a session on “what is so great” about the author. Austen had become not only a cinematic icon, but also a social force to be reckoned with.

Essentially, it seems that Austen offers enough of any world that either the most conservative and traditional figure, or the most liberally modern-minded one, can thrive in Austen’s writing. Those who yearn for traditional values cling to the notions of romance and place — the quest to find love, financial security and someone with the appropriate lifestyle. For the more progressively minded, Austen offers an alternative glimpse of women during a time when they had little freedom, her pen having created a diverse roster of heroines, even if they were all romance-minded. To quite firmly grasp moviegoers on both sides of the spectrum, Austen becomes just about the most relevant creative source for women there is today.

Austen’s worlds are rife with diverse females, yes, from the mirth of Emma Woodhouse to the strict decorum of Elinor Dashwood. But they’re always so focused on their men and lives, that it’s easy to be pushed away. Yet we must remember our modern sensibilities, and also the wry commentary Austen — a woman who never experienced this literary love — relays. The women ultimately fit into society, but they also hint at something more, while chastising the world they must live in.

Austen’s women are completely foreign, yet ultimately relatable.

Are we clinging to the past? Does Austen offer a sense of release? Why is Jane Austen so beloved today?

via Girls on Film: Why Is Jane Austen So Popular Today? – Moviefone.

health, research, ALS, progress:

This imprecision has hindered the search for drugs that could slow or block the disease’s progress. But now a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here has won a $1 million prize — reportedly the largest ever for meeting a specific challenge in medical research — for developing a reliable way to quantify the small muscular changes that signal progressive deterioration.

The winner, Dr. Seward Rutkove, showed that his method could cut in half the cost of clinical trials to screen potential drugs for the disease, said Melanie Leitner, chief scientific officer of Prize4Life, the nonprofit group that created the competition.

via $1 Million Prize to Inventor of a Tracker for A.L.S., Lou Gehrig’s Disease – NYTimes.com.

media, new terms:  blogazine!

An online daily blogazine on Home Style, Life Style & You Style! Editor is Better Homes & Gardens Field Editor, Cynthia Bogart. (We’re not a BHG affiliate)

The THE DAILY BASICS Daily.

recycle:  loved the creativity here.

Just when you thought there were no uses for wire coat hangers other than for angling to get your locked car door open or using it to coax a wooden spoon out from under the stove, the creative folks at Anthropologie took a fantastical swipe at that perception.

via The Elegant Thrifter: Vintage and Thrift Shopping, Decorating and Entertaining with Elegant Flair: Reuse & Repurpose: Yes to Wire Coat Hangers.

economy, The Great Recession, parallel universes:  2011 and 1983 …

The unemployment rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point in one month. There had not been a monthly decline that large in many years, but economists were unimpressed. After all, the decline was caused in no small part by a surprising reduction in the labor force, which could be an indication that more workers were discouraged and no longer looking. That would hardly be an encouraging development.

President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. Bush in January 1983, when the unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent from 10.8 percent, the first decline that large in five years.

Anyway, it was said, the unemployment rate is based on a survey of only 60,000 households, some of whom cannot be reached in any given month. It can be volatile, so you should not pay much attention to it. The president took heart from the figures, but critics said there was no real improvement.

The above describes what happened a month ago, when the unemployment rate for December came in at 9.4 percent. It was the first time in more than 11 years that the rate had declined that much in a single month, but the headline in The Chicago Tribune read, “U.S. jobs picture gets darker; Unemployment rate dips, but only because workers apparently are giving up.”

As it happened, those paragraphs also describe the situation 28 years ago. In January 1983, with President Ronald Reagan reeling from his large setback in the midterm elections the previous November, the unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent from 10.8 percent. It was the first such decline in five years, but few thought it significant.

via From 1983, Hints of Strong Job Growth in 2011 – NYTimes.com.

blog, food, recipes: Another interesting blog/column

Providence Journal: A nice wrap-up of Super Bowl recipes from food sections around the nation. – Sam Sifton

via What We’re Reading – NYTimes.com.

college, students, The Beatles:  Always something fun on the ecollege scene.

A new class at Syracuse University this semester offers students probably the closest thing to a history lesson from Paul or Ringo. “The Beatles” (course number RAE 400) is a dive into the band’s impact on business, technology and culture, featuring guest lecturers with first-hand knowledge of the Fab Four and their empire.

The class kicked off last week with speaker Peter Asher, whose resume includes talent scouting for Apple Records, the label launched by the Beatles in 1968. Back then, Asher brought a young James Taylor to the label and produced his debut album. His lecture touched on the strengths and weaknesses of the label as a business, but he also doled out some choice “I-was-there-when” nuggets. Example: his memory of being the first non-Beatle to hear “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” when McCartney and Lennon worked up the song in the basement room used by Asher’s mother as an oboe studio.

via Meet the Beatles — For Two College Credits – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Egypt Uprising:  Another perspective … Naïveté on Egypt Is Dangerous. – By Kathryn Jean Lopez – The Corner – National Review Online.

media, icons, Nelson Mandela, South Africa, prayers:  Prayers for a quick and peaceful recovery.

As rumors of Mr. Mandela’s death echoed across the Internet, media coverage intensified. Ms. Wiener says some in the media were accused of being “vultures” in their coverage.

She and others disagree. “The truth is … in a way, Mandela belongs to the country. That’s why everyone was so concerned; they wanted to know because they were family,” said Ms. Wiener.

The outcry over poor communication subsided when Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe held a press conference with Mr. Mandela’s doctor a few days after he was admitted to hospital, assuring members of the public that there was “no reason to panic” but also admitting that communication could’ve been better.

Given Mr. Mandela’s revered political status, his retirement from public life in 2004—five years after he stepped down from the presidency—was difficult for a country that had grown accustomed to seeing him at public events in brightly colored shirts, occasionally dancing and often telling humorous anecdotes.

“Somehow, he’s become that god to South Africans,” said Ndivhuho Mafela, a journalist for local news channel e.tv. “He’s become an avatar of ours. [In] everything, we refer to him, saying ‘Are these his ideals? Are we not going wrong?’ He’s something we can no longer explain in words. The only word that can explain it is just ‘Mandela.'”

Mr. Mafela laughed and pointed to Mr. Mandela’s house, which is painted in a bright mustard color, partially hidden by large high walls. “One cannot stop hoping to see him standing there and saying, ‘Hi!'”

via Stakeout Mandela: Media Vigil for Aging South African Icon – WSJ.com.

teenagers, culture, risk-taking, science:

In studies at Temple University, psychologists used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on 40 teenagers and adults to determine if there are differences in brain activity when adolescents are alone versus with their friends. The findings suggest that teenage peer pressure has a distinct effect on brain signals involving risk and reward, helping to explain why young people are more likely to misbehave and take risks when their friends are watching.

For parents, the study data reinforce the notion that groups of teenagers need close supervision.

“All of us who have very good kids know they’ve done really dumb things when they’ve been with their friends,” Dr. Steinberg said. “The lesson is that if you have a kid whom you think of as very mature and able to exercise good judgment, based on your observations when he or she is alone or with you, that doesn’t necessarily generalize to how he or she will behave in a group of friends without adults around. Parents should be aware of that.”

via Teenagers, Friends and Bad Decisions – NYTimes.com.

quotes:  From one of my favorite writers who sends a quote a day … The Happiness Project, Moment of Happiness …

“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.”
Sarah Bernhardt

technology, White House:  Seems strange that the White House could lose it e-mail service ...

Shortly before 8 a.m. the unclassified e-mail system that top advisers and the president himself rely on to communicate with each other went dark.

Reporters left hanging by unanswered e-mails were told of the blackout by a press assistant who said, “If you need to get in touch with anyone, you have to go up and see them because e-mail is down.”

At 11:54, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer made a formal announcement via Twitter.

“FYI: WH unclassified e-mail went down shortly before 8 AM.’ he tweeted. “Verizon is working to solve the problem. Pool reports will be avail in press office.”

Not long after that an overhead intercom system sounded out a familiar announcement to those who worked in the White House during the dark ages. Pool reports, normally sent around electronically, were available on paper.

That’s how it went for several hours. The podium where spokesman Robert Gibbs normally stands during his briefings was carpeted with pool reports and a transcript of an earlier gaggle by Gibbs aboard Air Force One.

via White House e-mail blackout – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

Super Bowl  XLV, random:

For the first time since the game’s inception, both teams playing in the Super Bowl lack cheerleading squads. The Steelers stopped having cheerleaders in 1970, and the Packers got rid of their cheerleaders in 1988 after market research indicated they didn’t mean much to fans.

via The Super Bowl Without Cheerleaders: How Will We Know To Cheer? – TIME NewsFeed.

internet, Egypt Uprising:  Could our government cut us off?  Good question.

It seemed so easy for Egypt. Just order a shutdown of the country’s internet connections and — bam — it happens.

But is such an authoritarian action transferable? Could the U.S. government shut down American internet connections? And is it possible for the global internet to be toppled?

Technically, yes, internet experts said Wednesday, shortly after Egypt’s government restored internet connections there as violent political protests continued. But it’s highly unlikely.

“Could you break the internet? Yeah. Can you shut it down? No. Shutting down the entire internet would be pretty much impossible at this point,” said Jim Cowie, co-founder of Renesys, an worldwide internet tracker.

Cowie spoke of the internet as if it were a giant, adaptable worm.

“The funny thing about the internet is even if you break it in half, the two halves will function as [separate] internets,” he said.

via Could the U.S. shut down the internet? – CNN.com.

music, culture, urban legends, Joshua Bell:  This is not an urban legend but it is old news, but still very entertaining.

“It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington,” Furukawa says. “Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn’t do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?”

When it was over, Furukawa introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that — it was tainted by recognition — the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.

“Actually,” Bell said with a laugh, “that’s not so bad, considering. That’s 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn’t have to pay an agent.”

These days, at L’Enfant Plaza, lotto ticket sales remain brisk. Musicians still show up from time to time, and they still tick off Edna Souza. Joshua Bell’s latest album, “The Voice of the Violin,” has received the usual critical acclaim. (“Delicate urgency.” “Masterful intimacy.” “Unfailingly exquisite.” “A musical summit.” “. . . will make your heart thump and weep at the same time.”)

Bell headed off on a concert tour of European capitals. But he is back in the States this week. He has to be. On Tuesday, he will be accepting the Avery Fisher prize, recognizing the Flop of L’Enfant Plaza as the best classical musician in America.

via Pearls Before Breakfast – washingtonpost.com.

14
Oct
10

10.14.2010 … welcome home, Chilean miners!

news, kudos: Yeah!!!

MOST TRANSFIXING GLOBAL TV NEWS SINCE 9/11 – WashingtonPost.com: “Misión cumplida: All 33 miners pulled to safety.” … First miner came out at 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, after 69 days underground; last out at 8:55 last night. … AP, “Chile Miners-World Watches”: “From Australia to the coal fields of Appalachia, people in seemingly every corner of the world followed the Chilean miners’ rescue Wednesday on TV and the Internet, and many were uplifted by the experience.” … AP’s “Chile-Mine Collapse” mainbar went through 50 writethrus yesterday; 42 the day before. … IHT: “The rescue thrust Chile into a spotlight it has often sought but rarely experienced. While lauded for its economic management and austerity, the nation has often found the world’s attention trained more on its human rights violations and natural disasters.”

via Mike Allen’s Playbook 24/7 – POLITICO.com.

news, US, capitalism, kudos:

The miners’ rescue is a thrilling moment for Chile, an imprimatur on its rising status. But I’m thinking of that 74-person outfit in Berlin, Pa., whose high-tech drill bit opened the earth to free them. You know there are tens of thousands of stories like this in the U.S., as big as Google and small as Center Rock. I’m glad one of them helped save the Chileans. What’s needed now is a new American economic model that lets our innovators rescue the rest of us.

via Daniel Henninger: Capitalism Saved the Miners – WSJ.com.

random, silly news, man’s best friend, UGA:  Silly humans …

With the pomp and circumstance befitting royal succession, Uga VIII, the newest prince in a line of bulldogs that stretches back to 1956, will take his place as monarch of the Bulldog Nation on Saturday afternoon.

Uga VIII — his registered name is Big Bad Bruce — is the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the original Uga and will ascend to the throne in a “collaring” ceremony before kickoff at the University of Georgia’s homecoming game against Vanderbilt.

During that ceremony University President Michael Adams, athletic director Greg McGarity and Uga’s owners, the Seiler family of Savannah, will stride onto the field as the public address system booms with the the story of Uga’s lineage.

via All you wanted to know about Uga VIII  | ajc.com.

parenting, culture, technology:

Clever kids will just work around it and use acronyms that are impossible to decipher, but at least there is a deterrent out there to remind them that this content can lead to grave consequences. Yes, some teens will be outraged and claim their right to free speech has been trampled on, but when the alternative is a law suit, school suspension and the degradation of someone’s character this isn’t a bad trade as long as parents don’t have the right to control and read all of their child’s communications.

via Apple Patents Parental Controls for Sexting – Techland – TIME.com.

education, economics, Davidson: One of the last things I learned as an economics major at Davidson was that water resource management wold be the single most significant economics issue in my lifetime.  And it is ..

The two deals follow a UN resolution in 2008 on creating a legal regime for aquifers (it may become a full convention next year). Lifting sanctions on Libya has had an effect, too. The Libyans say they may stop growing wheat using water from the NWSAS and the Nubian sandstone aquifer system, the world’s largest fossil aquifer, which they share with Egypt, Chad and Sudan. An agreement in 1992 set up a body to run this but it has stayed largely dormant. Now sampling and monitoring have resumed, under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency (which has a sideline in environmental monitoring).

Such scientific work is crucial because aquifers are still poorly understood. Until a UNESCO inventory in 2008, nobody knew even how many transboundary aquifers existed. Experts are still refining the count: the American-Mexico border may include 8, 10, 18 or 20 aquifers, depending on how you measure them. Defining sustainability vexes hydrologists too, particularly with ancient fossil aquifers that will inevitably run dry eventually. Estimates for the life of the Nubian sandstone aquifer range from a century to a millennium.

via Aquifers: Deep waters, slowly drying up | The Economist.

economy:  Calling the next era “the age of austerity”  makes it sink in …

We have entered the Age of Austerity. It’s already arrived in Europe and is destined for the United States. Governments throughout Europe are cutting social spending and raising taxes—or contemplating doing so. The welfare state and the bond market have collided, and the welfare state is in retreat. Even rich countries find the costs too high, but the sudden austerity could perversely trigger a new financial crisis.

Europe’s plight is now the most obvious threat to the already lackluster global recovery. The International Monetary Fund forecasts the world economy will expand about 4 percent in 2011. Although this sounds respectable, the underlying growth predictions for the United States (2.3 percent) and Europe (1.8 percent) are so low that there would be little, if any, reduction in the 38 million unemployed in these two major economies.

Austerity can’t be fun, but how painful it will be is still partially up to us.

via The Age of Austerity – Newsweek.

excess, random:  Funny that this follows an article on the age of austerity!

The world’s most expensive incarnation of the Monopoly board game is headed to Wall Street.

An 18-karat gold version of the famous Parker Brothers board game will be on display beginning Friday at the Museum of American Finance. The gold and jewel-encrusted Monopoly is estimated to be worth roughly $2 million.

The set dice of dice alone is valued at $10,000 alone, with 42 full-cut diamonds for the number dots.  All of the properties that make up the game board are also set in gems, with some 165 gemstones in total. The “Chance” and “Community Chest” cards are photo-etched.

The notion of creating a blinged-out version of the board game came about in 1988, when San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell heard about a Monopoly tournament taking place in London. He called Parker Brothers (now part of Hasbro Inc.) for permission and then set to work creating the golden game, working every day for a year straight.

via Monopoly Board Game Made of Gold, Jewels Head to American Museum of Finance – Metropolis – WSJ.

deals, technology, internet: I love getting the daily deals.  But have only acted once … and it was ok … I would never buy a big ticket item!

Consumer advocates are concerned. Impulsively signing up for discounted yoga is one thing, but buying LASIK on a whim? “People make bad decisions when there are short-term, really tight deadlines,” says Scott Crawford, CEO of DebtGoal, which helps consumers unload debt. High-dollar social commerce hasn’t caught fire quite yet; Groupon attracted only six buyers for the surgery, for example. But if the housing crisis proved anything, it’s that Americans will go out on a limb, especially if they see their neighbors doing it. When prices reach the thousands, think for yourself.

via Social-Commerce Sites Try Big-Ticket Items – Newsweek.

food:  This maybe going too far …

The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic.

When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation.

Inventor Mark Zable said it had taken him three years to come up with the cooking method and a patent for the process is pending. He declined to say whether any special ingredients were involved.

His deep-fried beer will be officially unveiled in a fried food competition at the Texas state fair later this month.

via Deep-fried beer invented in Texas – Telegraph.

writing, Harry Potter: Fun to see the thought process …

J.K. Rowling’s Plot Spreadsheet [PIC].

writing, bookshelf, blog: Really like her blog  … Holly Tucker — Blood Work: A Tale of Murder and Medicine in the Scientific Revolution … and here is a great example why …

I realized that the book appealed to me at a number of levels. The story, of course. It’s gruesome, fascinating, and compelling. But I was also intrigued by the architecture of the story-telling too. Larsen’s attention to the details of the story’s construction leap from the page. But, there, on page 25, it all came together:

“[Root] envisioned digging down to the first reasonably firm layer of clay, known as hard-pan, and there spreading a pad of concrete nearly two feet think. On top of this works would set down a layer of steel rails stretching from one end of the pad to the other, and over this a second layer at right angles. Succeeding layers would be arranged the same way. Once complete, this grillage of steel would be filled an discovered with Portland cement to produce a broad, rigid raft that Root called a floating foundation.”

I didn’t realize it as I was reading…but I had just learned how to build a skyscraper! And now, when I visit my family in Chicago, I never look up at those gargantuan buildings the same way.

I think Cynthia Crossen, who writes the Wall Street Journal’s “Book Lover” column, explains it even better than I do. Take a look at her recent article “Learning While You Read.”

I try to focus at every turn on compelling storytelling in my own writing.  And frankly, I’ve always wondered why more of us in higher education don’t craft more accessible stories. After all, in my classes, I tell stories all the time to lure my students into history (in my case, the history of medicine).

So now one of my favorite quotes is this one, again from Larsen:

“I write to be read. I’m quite direct about that. I’m not writing to thrill colleagues or to impress the professors at the University of Iowa; that’s not my goal….I want to be accessible and I want to convey something

via On Historical Writing, or How to Build a Skyscraper.

08
Oct
10

10.8.2010 … lunch with friend … then visit family for the weekend … hope fall weather continues … think pink …

random, party ideas, re-invention, Davidson:  I heard of having the old-fashioned photo booth at weddings and parties, but this is the first one I have seen … fun idea!

Think Pink:  Well, it is silly … but now everyone on FB knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and while breast cancer is most certainly a disease worthy of awareness and fund-raising, sometimes attempts at raising awareness are a little… peculiar.

Remember last year’s Facebook campaign where all of your lady friends suddenly had status updates like “Black,” “Red,” or “Polka dots” and no one had any clue what was up? Oh, but then word got around that the updates were the bra colors of choice and the updates were meant to pique interest of those left out of the joke (read: males) in order to raise awareness about breast cancer. Um, ok?

While the logic of the trend didn’t quite connect–does titillating (no pun intended) men lead to cancer awareness? Or does it just titillate men?–it did raise a lot of speculation for a few days and at least the updates were breast-related.

(See TIME.com’s Faces of Breast Cancer.)

This year’s Facebook awareness mission, however, is even more unusual.

You may have noticed several status updates in the past few days with phrases such as “I like it on the couch,” or “I like it on the floor.” These status updates aren’t referencing creative places the updater likes to, well, you know. Instead these locations are the places that the updater likes to keep their… purse.

Seriously.

But by updating their status with such a mysteriously evocative statement, women are, um, arousing attention to the breast cancer campaign. Right?

To reiterate, there is nothing wrong with campaigning for breast cancer awareness (or any disease, for that matter). In fact, quite the opposite is true–the effects of successful campaigning for the disease has led to a significant reduction in the disease. Yet what exactly does provocatively saying where you like to keep your purse have to do with a horrible disease that has challenged millions of lives?

So as well-intentioned as some of these updates might be, they seem a little misguided. My guess is that interest in breast cancer isn’t exactly what you’ll be piquing.

via Breast Cancer Awareness: “I Like It On My Status Update” – TIME NewsFeed.

… and byt the way … “I like it on the kitchen table … I must remember that … I am very inconsistent.” via Facebook | Dennard Lindsey Teague.

culture:  I just got rid of two today!

Still trying to squeeze into those size 8 jeans or that sea foam bridesmaid dress from your cousin’s wedding back in 1997? Ladies, it might be time to clear out your wardrobe. A recent U.K. study found the average woman has 12 items of clothing worth $459 gathering dust in their closet because they are either too big or too small for them to wear, reports the Telegraph. That’s a total of $8.5 billion worth of clothes waiting for the day when they might fit again.

via Study: Women Own 12 Ill-Fitting Outfits – TIME NewsFeed.

blog, history: Intersting post in a blog I have been following.

Appropriately, therefore, we start with a football shirt.

Football – or association football to give it its proper title – may have evolved on the public school fields of nineteenth century Britain, but today it’s a global giant.

We live in a world more connected than at any other time in history and what else unites disparate, discrete and geographically remote parts of the world in the same way as football? Go anywhere and you could probably find someone who’ll discuss with you not just the game itself, but teams and people playing it on the other side of the world.

But this isn’t just any football shirt: it bears the name of Didier Drogba, an African who grew up in France and whose skills have led to his global fame. Through television, radio, magazines, billboard posters, the Internet, Drogba’s face and tremendously gifted feet are known the world over. And Didier plays for Chelsea, a team based in London and owned by a Russian.

via BBC – A History of the World.

random, community service, kith/kin:  A freind sent me this about a creative project in the Black Belt region of Alabama …

More significant, it seemed to work in the Black Belt, a region that a New York Times writer, in the days before the cotton economy went bust, described as a “garden of slavery.” Poverty rates may register higher in other counties in the region, and racial disparities have proved wider, but Hale County has long been the Black Belt’s front porch. Hale was where James Agee and Walker Evans drew their famed portrait of Depression-era tenant farmer life, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” a book that has served as a primary text for students of rural America in the decades since. And Hale was where Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth established the Rural Studio, a design-and-build program for Auburn University architecture students, focused on creating high-concept, low-cost homes for indigent residents. Don’t be “house pets to the rich,” Mockbee told his charges, sounding a clarion that inspired, among others, John Bielenberg.

All this attention to social ills did not come without social costs. Almost 75 years have passed since Agee and Evans traveled the county to document the lives of poor white folk, but their work still has the power to inflame residents. If outsiders see Evans’s photos and Agee’s text as a candid examination of an ailing region, insiders often see the book as the product of crusading interlopers, the sort of people who parachute into the region today with little understanding of local concerns.

via Pop-Up Community Center – The Healing Powers of a Pie Shop – NYTimes.com.

random, gift ideas: What do you carry in your saddlebag?

Saddleback Gadget Pouches

Just because you need to carry and protect your gadgets doesn’t mean you have to look like a tool doing so. Saddleback Gadget Pouches ($31-$55) are crafted from rugged boot leather that develops a fine patina over time, held together with industrial marine grade thread, with pigskin lining, and a 100 year warranty — no joke. Made in sizes to store anything from an iPhone all the way up to that shiny new iPad.

via Saddleback Gadget Pouches | Uncrate.

random: Calling all ninjas … ok, very random. 🙂

Private Ninja Lessons

We love ninjas, pirates, robots, and zombies here at Uncrate HQ, but there’s only one of those that we’d actually consider becoming. Private Ninja Lessons ($200) can help you on your way to becoming a stealth assassin or just improving your self-defense skills. The 90-minute sessions — held in Bronxville, NY — are led by an actual Shidoshi, and include history, tradition, and philosophy lessons before the ninjutsu-based self-defense, awareness, and combat strategy practice begins, possibly including some weapons training, but most likely not teaching you how to effectively throw a ninja star.

via Private Ninja Lessons | Uncrate.

food/drink:  No surprise here …

Below is a list of worst beers in the world as rated by the thousands of beer enthusiasts at RateBeer.com. Dare to try them? We don’t advise it. We provide this list in the name of beer education. We aren’t picking on the fat kid as much as we’re making a few big brewers accountable for their products that are more about beer hype and marketing than substance. Often the pitch of mass marketing campaigns work against them among craft beer enthusiasts.

If you’re interested in how good real beer can be, we can certainly help you out! Try a link or two in the right hand column.

score count style

1 Olde English 800 3.2 0.96 52 Malt Liquor

via The Worst Beers In The World | RateBeer.com.

history, random, culture, travel:  interesting history of tipping.

To understand how tipping got here, a little bit of history might be on the menu. The etymology of tipping is just as widely misunderstood as the practice itself. It’s commonly accepted that the origin of “tipping” or “tip” comes from the British (who eschew tipping more than we do) in the early 19th century, who used to hang signs in pubs with the word “TIP” as an acronym of “To Insure Promptitude,” when in fact, it actually first appeared as a verb in George Farquhar’s 1707 The Beaux’ Stratagem after being used in criminal circles as a word meant to imply the unnecessary and gratuitous gifting of something somewhat taboo, like a joke, or a sure bet, or illicit money exchanges. That feeling of being robbed by having to tip for bad service? Now you know: the word tipping came from criminals.

Tipping started to mature in the 16th century, when currency was given out of gratitude or compassion outside of religious establishments. But now it’s less compassion and gratitude than fear of embarrassment or social shame, driven by what publisher William Rufus Scott called a capital-S “Social Convention” in 1916. Scott wrote an infamous polemic against the contemporary practice of tipping entitled The Itching Palm, in which he described tipping as “the price of pride…what one American is willing to pay to induce another American to acknowledge inferiority.” Scott stuck at the heart of the issue: “The ‘what will people say’ mania holds the average person in an iron obedience to a custom which is innately loathesome. It makes you conspicuous to be a dissenter. The serving persons understand this psychology perfectly.”

But speaking of the supposed meritocracy: there isn’t one. Dare to learn what might be the dirtiest secret of American tipping? In a totally random sample, it’s racist.

Here’s a dinner conversation you’ll never have: in 2008 Ian Ayers published a study in the Yale Law Review collecting data from taxicab rides in New Haven. Ayers found that black cab drivers were tipped one-third less than white ones, and that black passengers tipped one-half less than white passengers, noting that if tipping were mandated, it’d reduce both the tendency of black drivers to receive less than their white counterparts, and the tendency of white drivers to eschew picking up black passengers for fear of bad tips.

Why should tipped professionals be discriminated against by race, or beauty? Endless studies note time and time again that attractive Americans tend to make more money than unattractive Americans in the same fields. Just last June, Newsweek reported that attractive women and men earn four and five percent more than their less-attractive counterparts, respectively. In the world of tipped economies, equal opportunity loses to the reinforcement of prejudices dangerous to society. Even the Supreme Court thinks so: in 1971’s Griggs v. Duke Power, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ruled to prohibit businesses with discriminatory practices against those protected under it, even if that effect is unintended. Tipping, which has been proven to be discriminatory, could be downright unconstitutional.

via App Exclusive: The Death of Tipping — Gourmet Live.

Asheville, places, travel: Well, I wilh I had seen this one 5 weeks ago … I say visit the Grove Park … but don’t stay there … Enjoying the Crafts—and Rafts—in Asheville, N.C. – WSJ.com.

religion, God, US, culture:  Very interesting …

If you pray to God, to whom — or what — are you praying?

When you sing God Bless America, whose blessing are you seeking?

In the USA, God — or the idea of a God — permeates daily life. Our views of God have been fundamental to the nation’s past, help explain many of the conflicts in our society and worldwide, and could offer a hint of what the future holds. Is God by our side, or beyond the stars? Wrathful or forgiving? Judging us every moment, someday or never?

via Americans’ views of God shape attitudes on key issues – USATODAY.com.

Boulder, places, travel:  Next week … maybe i will try the Dushanbe Teahouse …

Where to eat: One of the more-exotic restaurants in Boulder is the Dushanbe Teahouse (1770 13th St.; 303-442-4993; boulderteahouse.com), an ornate structure given to Boulder in the 1990s by one of its sister cities, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

via In Boulder, Colo., Bring Your Dog – WSJ.com.

05
Oct
10

10.5.2010 … bsf Isaiah today … The Song of the Vineyard … Woe … then errands …

nature, North Carolina: Just may have to drive up to see this one myself.

A unique annual phenomenon is about to take place again on a North Carolina mountainside where the autumn light creates a shadow shaped like a bear.

The shadow of the bear shows up from mid-October through early November as the sun sets behind Whiteside Mountain in southern Jackson County. It’s best seen on clear days around 5:30 p.m., with the show lasting for about a half-hour. Tourists and photographers hoping to see it often gather at the Rhodes Big View overlook along Highway 64, a little more than 4 miles from the town of Cashiers.

via Autumn light creates unique bear shadow in NC – Yahoo! News.

Continue reading ‘10.5.2010 … bsf Isaiah today … The Song of the Vineyard … Woe … then errands …’

12
Aug
10

8.12.2010 … it’s a Gray day! … ET packs …

events, kith/kin, Gray: My nephew is heading off to GCSU and I am really excited that the State of Georgia has made the decision to invest in a small public liberal arts college.  All the press goes to UGA.  But really its about the education.  Take a look …

Classes are small at Georgia College. Better yet, 100 percent of them are taught by men and women who love teaching. Some 80 percent have Ph.D.s from top universities.

You can choose from more than 40 majors from the liberal arts to business, from health sciences to education to pre-professional programs.

We combine classroom knowledge with real-world experience. So, learning doesn’t stop after class. In fact, it has just begun at that point. Service learning, study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, and leadership organizations are some of the ways we bring together knowledge and life.

Academically motivated students are encouraged to seek external scholarships, fellowships, and grants to pursue their longer term academic and professional goals. Successful scholarship applications early in one’s college career can be used to leverage future scholarship and other opportunities.

via Academics Overview | Georgia College.

anthropology, blog:  Since Jack is now considering majoring in anthropology, I have decided that I need to understand what it is and what he will be able to do with it.  I enjoyed this student’s blog post.

Anthropology’s enormous scope has its greatest appeal as it also has its greatest setback. How could one subject possibly study humans not only in the present but through the past as well? Anthropology endeavors to and uses a four-field, holistic approach incorporating archaeological, linguistic, biological, and cultural sub-disciplines. The breadth of the anthropology major is incredibly appealing to me as a mostly indecisive individual who finds it troublesome to stay loyal to one subject when university offers an array of painfully fascinating courses.

Anthropology is not just a discipline of study, but it is one of application as well. Watching many films exposing the hardships of human beings locally and globally due to ecological, social, economic, political or various other factors has struck and continues to strike at my empathetic core. Learning of the dismal literacy rates, food insecurity, malnutrition, social, political, and religious subjugation and exploitation of peoples, especially among females, around the world was particularly shocking during my first course in anthropology. Over several semesters of anthropology courses I was moved to tears repeatedly due to the plight of humans in lesser developed countries as well as developed countries. Watching was simply not enough for me and I felt a silent call to action in the classroom a few weeks into my introductory course. But before I could delve into any sort of real world application, I knew I had to obtain a proper education in what I wanted to pursue.

The discipline of anthropology is now and from now on will be a permeating influence in my life and career. Anthropology is no longer a concept bound by classroom walls; it has transferred itself to my daily life and my relationships with family, friends, and strangers. The exact point in which this happened is unclear, but I was made aware of how fused I was with what I have learned from this major and how I wish to apply it most clearly midway through my final spring semester at university. Before this moment of clarity, it was unconsciously active in the way I approach understanding the other as well as the self. Hopefully, my anthropological studies will not end here.

via A Self-Reflexive Review As An Anthropology Major « Jenka Potente’s meandering mind..

movies, art: Jack taught me to like Jackson Pollack’s work.  I have been meaning to watch this movie and ran across Ebert’s review.  Anyone seen it?

Reporter from Life magazine: “How do you know when you’re finished with a painting?” Jackson Pollock: “How do you know when you’re finished making love?” Pollock was a great painter. He was also miserable and made everyone around him miserable a lot of the time. He was an alcoholic and manic-depressive, and he died in a drunken car crash that killed an innocent woman. What Ed Harris, in an Oscar-nominated turn, is able to show in “Pollock” is that when Pollock was painting, he got a reprieve. He was also reasonably happy during those periods when he stopped drinking. Then the black cloud would descend again.

via Pollock :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews.

literature, chick lit:  Interesting analysis of the genre.

Let me suggest that Chick Lit is what we used to call the “Beach Book” and that it is its own genre, like mysteries or sci-fi: interesting to a specific audience primarily because of the nature and form of the genre itself. Some good stuff, some bad, no doubt. As in all genre writing, you come across an Ed McBain every now and then. But crossover is not the point, if the targeted reader simply wants a light little fantasy with some kissing scenes and a few pairs of Jimmy Choos.

Still, if Tom Wolfe had written “The Recessionistas,” he would have noted the brands of shoes, the Birkin bags and the personal trainers. And he would have been praised for his attention to detail. That Lebenthal’s book or my book were not intended to be seen as Chick Lit just makes the gulf between books by men and women more personal. At least to me.

But my concern is larger, for the issue is insidious: the way Chick Lit has been used to denigrate a wide swath of novels about contemporary life that happen to be written by women.

via Chick Lit? Women’s Literature? Why Not Just….Literature? | Head Butler.

history, archeology: very interesting…

JERUSALEM (AFP) – A rare gold coin dating back more than two millennia to the year 191 BC has been found at a dig in northern Israel, the antiquities authority said on Wednesday.

“The coin is beautiful and in excellent preservation. It is the heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel,” Dr Donald T. Ariel, head of the authority’s coin department, said in a statement.

The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), whereas most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams, he added.

It was minted in Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy V in 191 BC and bears the name of the wife of Ptolemy II, Arsinoe Philadephus (II).

via 2,200-year-old gold coin found in Israel – Yahoo! News.

random: Q: Why does the SyFy channel have wrestling on at 10 pm … or at any time for that matter?

postsecret, blogs:  I love PostSecret (although I get tired of the emphasis on sex), and this is a great blog post by the former mail carrier for Frank Warren, the creator of PostSecret.

While casing one of Frank’s post cards one fell out of my hands and landed upside down on the floor. I gasped when I read in huge bold letters I LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH STRANGERS. You can imagine my shock. That’s all it said. It had bright coloring underneath the letters. I’ll never forget it. I immediately ran around showing my close friends what I had found in the mail. One guy was so shocked he said, “Did a girl write it?” I was like, “how the heck do I know, who cares?” I looked on the address side of the card and read the preprinted instructions next to Frank’s address. It invited you to participate in a group art project by writing a secret (that no one else knows) on the other side of the card and mailing it anonymously to the printed address. I don’t have to tell you that I pulled the few postcards that were in his address slot that day and began reading them immediately! From that day forward, me, (and a few friends at work who I had showed the postcard to) began reading all the cards daily. I still didn’t really know what was going on, but was intrigued.

via fromUKtoUSwithlove.

to good to be true:  But fun while it lasted.  Really funny is that this great hoax was trumped by the JetBlue real life story …

Resig still has another media announcement planned for 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow. And he is not sad that the meme is essentially dying with this post, “A hoax has two lives, the initial hoax and the story of how it happened. Even though this is a hoax, people want to see a walking/talking Jenny, the people want Jenny.“

via Confirmed: HOPA Dry Erase Girl Is A Hoax, Identity Revealed.

random:  Remember AAA Triptiks … I just ordered them for et and his travel buddy … plus maps from AAA. GPSs are great, but I still like to hold a map!

politics, Georgia, Palin:  Georgia’s Republican supporters of Ms. Handel would have preferred Sarah Palin stay in Alaska.

Of the candidates Palin has already endorsed, 15 of them still have upcoming primary elections. And as November draws closer, she’ll be expected to hit the campaign trail again for those mama and papa grizzlies who are still around for the general election. On top of all of this, there is little reason to believe that Palin is close to quitting the endorsement game, as much as some might like her to. Be prepared to see a growing list of Palinites, and with it, most likely a continuing rollercoaster ride of successes and failures.

Take a look back at some of Sarah Palin’s most spectacular flops and vote on the biggest fail.

Despite a last-minute campaign appearance by Sarah Palin, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel conceded her primary battle for Georgia governor to Rep. Nathan Deal Wednesday after a close race.

Deal will meet Democrat Roy Barnes in November.

via Sarah Palin’s Endorsement FAILS Of The 2010 Election Season.

technology, Apps: Game changer?

The founding of the iPhone App Store set off an earthquake in the tech world. Suddenly, the humble cellphone could be just about anything — a game, a store, a musical instrument, a strobe, a pet, a database, a medical tool. A new portable-computing era was born, along with a thriving tech economy.

Last month, Google promised to shift the tech landscape again with Android App Inventor. It’s a software kit that’s supposed to let average people, not just programmers, create their own apps for the growing number of phone models that use Google’s Android software.

“You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor,” says Google in its announcement. “You do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.”

Do-it-yourself software? You just drag building blocks around? That would change everything. No wonder this tech-news item made headlines even in general-interest newspapers like this one.

If App Inventor delivers, it would give wings to thousands of people with great ideas but no coding chops.

via State of the Art – Call It ‘Creating Apps for Dummies’ – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, politics, quotes:  “JetBlue election” = “Everyone’s hurling invective and they’re all taking the emergency exit.”

Underpinning the gloom: Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January.

Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the “JetBlue election,” Mr. Hart said: “Everyone’s hurling invective and they’re all taking the emergency exit.”

“The Republicans don’t have a message as to why people should vote for them, but it’s pretty clear why you shouldn’t vote for the Democrats,” said poll respondent Tim Krsak, 33, a lawyer from Indianapolis and independent who has been unemployed since January. “So by default, you have to vote for the other guy.”

via Picture Darkens for Americans, Poll Finds – WSJ.com.

business, management:

Tom says that if you’re really interested in engaging your workforce, you’ll use four simple words.

………………………………………..What do you think?

tompeters! management consulting leadership training development project management.

random, NC:  Back to SHCOOL!

Photo: N.C. road crew misspells SCHOOL – CharlotteObserver.com.

college: We have a lot of shopping to do!

From Twin XL Sheets, to the Best Computers, What a College-Bound Teen Should Bring

via Your College Dorm Room Shopping List.

movies, Children’s/YA lit, events, google doodles:  I cannot think of this movie without thinking of my Dad.  He always cried when he watched it!

Happy Anniversary, The Wizard of Oz!

Today’s Google doodle celebrates The Wizard of Oz, which had its first premiere screening 71 years ago today.

Google’s scene depicts the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, Dorothy and the Tin Man heading down the yellow brick road to Emerald City. The word “Google” is written into the landscape. The artwork is similar to a scene depicted below.

via Happy Anniversary, The Wizard of Oz! – TIME NewsFeed.

politics, Georgia:  Well said, brother, well said.

A Time to Heal — and to Unite!

Dear Fellow Republicans and Friends:

As a long time friend of Karen Handel, I congratulate Congressman Nathan Deal on his hard fought campaign in the runoff. If the automatic recount confirms his victory, he will be my Republican Party’s nominee for Governor. So be it. It will be a hard pill for some to swallow after such a difficult campaign, but we must unite behind our nominee for Governor– and the rest our ticket — in order to prepare for the upcoming fall battle.

The people are counting on us to move Georgia forward along the sure path of sound fiscal policy and personal responsibility. To do that, we simply cannot allow the Democratic Party to turn the clock back to the failed policies of the Roy Barnes’ regime, or to allow his Democratic allies in the Georgia General Assembly to place the future of this great state in peril.

Let’s take a moment and look at the facts.

….

via Facebook | Edward Lindsey.

Fall, Back to School, quotes:  I  love buying school supplies … and so I have always loved this movie quote.

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, … this not knowing has its charms.”

Anyone know who said it? What movie?

07
Aug
10

8.7.2010 … definitely dog days of summer …

summer:

“Dog Days” (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. In the southern hemisphere they are usually between January and early March. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.

Food, travel, Asheville:  Another rec … Old World Bakery …  “a genuine, wonderful French bakery in Asheville. On Hendersonville Rd at St John Square, Fletcher. Complete with all variety of bread, fruit tarts, petit pain au chocolat, napoleons, etc. yum.” Thanks, Dinah.

Great Recession:  Surprise, surprise … there are differing opinions.

When the latest unemployment figures are announced on Friday, all of Wall Street will be watching. But for Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley and Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, the results will be more than just another marker in an avalanche of data.

Instead, the numbers will be a clue as to which of the two economists is right about where the American economy is headed. Their sharp disagreement over that question adds yet another twist to the fierce rivalry between the firms, Wall Street’s version of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Mr. Hatzius is arguably Wall Street’s most prominent pessimist. He warns that the American economy is poised for a sharp slowdown in the second half of the year. That would send unemployment higher again and raise the risk of deflation. A rare occurrence, deflation can have a devastating effect on a struggling economy as prices and wages fall. He says he may be compelled to downgrade his already anemic growth predictions for the economy.

For months, Mr. Berner has been sticking to a more optimistic forecast, despite growing evidence in favor of Mr. Hatzius’s view. Last week, Mr. Berner was caught by surprise when the federal government reported that the economy grew at a 2..4 percent pace in the second quarter, well below the 3.8 percent he had forecast a month before. Mr. Hatzius came closer to hitting the mark, having projected a 2 percent growth rate.

via 2 Top Economists Differ Sharply on Deflation – NYTimes.com.

invention, bookshelf:  One of my favorite book is Longitude by Dava Sobe. I remember thinking that giving a prize to the discoverer  was really interesting.  But maybe they are more common than I realized.

A CURIOUS cabal gathered recently in a converted warehouse in San Francisco for a private conference. Among them were some of the world’s leading experts in fields ranging from astrophysics and nanotechnology to health and energy. Also attending were entrepreneurs and captains of industry, including Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, and Ratan Tata, the head of India’s Tata Group. They were brought together to dream up more challenges for the X Prize Foundation, a charitable group which rewards innovation with cash. On July 29th a new challenge was announced: a $1.4m prize for anyone who can come up with a faster way to clean oil spills from the ocean.

The foundation began with the Ansari X Prize: $10m to the first private-sector group able to fly a reusable spacecraft 100km (62 miles) into space twice within two weeks. It was won in 2004 by a team led by Burt Rutan, a pioneering aerospace engineer, and Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. Other prizes have followed, including the $10m Progressive Automotive X Prize, for green cars that are capable of achieving at least 100mpg, or its equivalent. Peter Diamandis, the entrepreneur who runs the foundation, says he has become convinced that “focused and talented teams in pursuit of a prize and acclaim can change the world.”

This might sound like hyperbole, but other charities, including the Gates Foundation, have been sufficiently impressed to start offering their own prizes. An industry is now growing up around them, with some firms using InnoCentive, an online middleman, to offer prizes to eager problem-solvers. Now governments are becoming keen too. As a result, there is a surge in incentive prizes (see chart).

Lost at sea

Such prizes are not new. The Longitude Prize was set up by the British government in 1714 as a reward for reliable ways for mariners to determine longitude. And in 1795 Napoleon offered a prize to preserve food for his army, which led to the canned food of today. In more recent times incentive prizes have fallen out of favour. Instead, prizes tend to be awarded for past accomplishments—often a long time after the event. As T.S. Eliot remarked after receiving his Nobel prize, it was like getting “a ticket to one’s own funeral”.

Is this a good thing? Prizes used to promote a policy are vulnerable to political jiggery pokery, argues Lee Davis of the Copenhagen Business School. Thomas Kalil, a science adviser to Barack Obama, acknowledges the pitfalls but insists that incentive prizes offered by governments can work if well crafted. Indeed, he argues that the very process of thinking critically about a prize’s objectives sharpens up the bureaucracy’s approach to big problems.

One success was NASA’s Lunar Lander prize, which was more cost-effective than the traditional procurement process, says Robert Braun, NASA’s chief technologist. Another example is the agency’s recent prize for the design of a new astronaut’s glove: the winner was not an aerospace firm but an unemployed engineer who has gone on to form a new company.

When the objective is a technological breakthrough, clearly-defined prizes should work well. But there may be limits. Tachi Yamada of the Gates Foundation is a big believer in giving incentive prizes, but gives warning that it can take 15 years or more to bring a new drug to market, and that even AMC’s carrot of $1.5 billion for new vaccines may not be a big enough incentive. No prize could match the $20 billion or so a new blockbuster drug can earn in its lifetime. So, in some cases, says Dr Yamada, “market success is the real prize.”

via Innovation prizes: And the winner is… | The Economist.

green, Made in the USA:

WASHINGTON — The United Steelworkers and two Chinese companies announced Friday that they had signed an agreement assuring that major components of machines for a $1.5 billion wind farm in Texas would be made in the United States.

The deal potentially defuses a conflict over American stimulus dollars being used to subsidize foreign companies.

Without releasing full details, the union said that the steel for the wind towers, enclosures for working parts atop the towers and reinforcing bars for the bases would be sourced in the United States. So will the blades, which are not made of steel but are often made by steelworkers, the union and the two companies said.

via Wind Farm Deal Assures Bigger U.S. Role – NYTimes.com.

Jane Austen, Bollywood:  I can’t wait!

The fun in Jane Austen’s Emma and its subsequent adaptations has been the relationship dynamics between its characters. Two of the unlikeliest people fall in love; confused folks mistake infatuation for love; friendship remains a vague term.

Even if you have seen the Hollywood adaptation Clueless, you’ll still enjoy Aisha for its expert desi spin on the story. It’s a world where the travelling-to-Mumbai gang may shop on the street but will lunch at The Taj and dine at Tetsuma.

It’s so rare for a film to get it all together: from the story, to the performances, to the atmospherics, to the music and more. This one goes perfectly with the popcorn; don’t miss it.

via Movie Review : Aisha review: This one goes perfectly with the popcorn.

law school, economics,UGA Law:  A senior partner at King & Spalding, Atlanta, advised me to go to UGA over Emory or Vanderbilt.  He said he saw better lawyers coming out of UGA.  I followed his suggestion and saved a lot of money.  I think I got an excellent legal education.

Go to the best law school you get into.

It’s advice that’s been passed down through the ages, from generation to generation. Law is a profession that trades, the thinking goes, on prestige. Clients like prestigious names like Wachtell and Cravath; the wealthiest firms like names like Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Get into one of those schools, and up go your chances of going to a big firm, kicking tail, making partner and grabbing that brass ring.

Or so the conventional wisdom has for decades dictated.

But is it true? In a new paper, UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn law professor Jane Yakowitz argue no. “Eliteness” of the school you attended matters much less, they found, than your GPA.

The work is part of a continuing effort to examine preferences and law school, specifically, whether affirmative action actually hurts those it’s most supposed to benefit. Sander has previously argued that minority law students will often do better academically (and on the bar) if they attend a less-competitive school.

As part of that effort, Sander and Yakowitz set out to uncover whether this notion could be applied more broadly. That is, whether someone who finishes at the top of the class at, say, the University of Iowa, might face better career prospects than one who finishes in the middle of the class at, say, a place like Harvard.

via New Study: Forget the Rankings, Just Bring Home Straight A’s – Law Blog – WSJ.

blogs, happiness:  Thanks, Cary;  I am sitting down and enjoying your blog entry!

So it’s with humility and a certain sense of pleasure in just letting myself be me, instead of being embarrassed that I’m not more athletic or more something or other, that I wear my “Fastest Typist in Camp” award on my favorite charm necklace, a reminder of my nerdy ways and a reminder that nothing’s wasted.

via Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down « Holy Vernacular.

green, health:  Makes you think … The Story of Cosmetics.

random, tv:  Poor Eddie Munster still looks the same … I always assumed  he was made to look that way … best of luck.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Forty-five years after a Pennsylvania woman sent a fan letter to her favorite TV star, they’ve made a Munster match.

Donna McCall was a 10-year-old with a crush on Butch Patrick, who played boy werewolf Eddie Munster in the mid-’60s sitcom “The Munsters.”

In her letter, she asked Patrick how tall he was because girls at the time were making gum wrapper chains long enough to match the height of their boyfriends. To her delight, the young actor responded and included his height — 5 feet, 4 inches.

Like many childhood projects, however, the wrapper chain wasn’t completed. Decades passed.

via Munster match: ’60s TV star falls for patient fan  | accessAtlanta.

Justice Kagan: If swearing is bad, why is swearing-in good?  Congrats to our new justice.

Elena Kagan will be sworn in as the 100th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday, August 7, at 2 p.m. at the Supreme Court of the United States. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., will first administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony in the Justices’ Conference Room attended by members of the Kagan family. The Chief Justice will then administer the Judicial Oath in the West Conference Room before a small gathering of Elena Kagan’s family and friends.

via SCOTUSblog » Court statement on Kagan confirmation.

Culture, materialism:

Sheryl Crow gets to the crux of the matter in her song Soak Up The Sun: “It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Relatedly, the video The Story of Stuff Project notes that the point of an advertisement is to make you feel bad about what you have.

The notion that material goods don’t bring lasting contentment is hardly some left-wing anti-capitalist rant. The first to leave us with a writings on this perspective were a group of philosophers known as the Stoics, starting with Zeno in the early third century BC and continuing through to the marvelous Marcus Aurelius several centuries later.

via 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

Wilmette, Chicago, culture:  Our blocks,  13 hundred block of Ashland and Richmond Lane (we lived on a corner), threw the BEST block parties … nothing like it in the South.   The Ashland party is the first Saturday after the 4th  and Richmond’s is in September … I will drop in some day …

If the words “block party” conjure up images of warm Jell-O, loud neighbors and a smattering of lawn chairs, you’re in for a surprise. Nowadays, neighborhoods are putting together street-wide festivals complete with DJs, outdoor movies, bake-offs and talent contests. Interested in organizing an event without breaking the bank?

via Here’s how to host a 21st century block party :: Mommy on a Shoestring :: PIONEER PRESS ::.

art, Dali:  I have a special affinity for Dali … that was my husband’s grandfather’s “grandfather name” … we saw Dali’s (the artist’s, not the grandfather’s)  art in London and were amazed at the many levels of complexity … Dali: The Late Work | High Museum of Art – Atlanta.

Wilmette, Chicago, flooding:  Chicago is flat … and we lived a mile from the lake … but the storm sewers would overflow and you could end up with a foot of water in your basement.  We lived there 4 years and we thought we were lucky.  Our basement never flooded until the last year … and then twice … amazing.  Now I know why.  Seems like a good use of stimulus funds.

After all, the Deep Tunnel and Reservoir Project (aka TARP) was first announced in 1972. Digging began in 1975. Yet here we are, some 38 years into what has been called the most ambitious public works project since the pyramids, and still we are mopping up basements and dumping mass quantities of you-know-what into Lake Michigan.

I am witness to the latter catastrophe for I live near the North Shore Sanitary Channel in Evanston. After a really heavy cloudburst I’ll walk to a footbridge near my house, look down at this man-made extension of the Chicago River’s North Branch, and watch as the, uh, “effluent” of Chicago’s sewer system rushes north to Wilmette harbor and Lake Michigan.

TARP was supposed to stop this from happening. And maybe some day it will. But as of now, after more than three decades and $5 billion in public expense, The San still has to open those floodgates and dump millions of gallons of sewage into the lake, fouling the water, closing beaches, forcing water treatment plants to jack the chlorine. If they don’t open the gates, or wait too long, the river will overflow and cause serious property damage, not unlike what happened recently to the River City condos south of the Loop.

So what’s taking so long with the big one — the 10.5 billion-gallon reservoir that’s to be located east of LaGrange Road near McCook, the one that’s supposed to alleviate flooding across Cook County from Wilmette to Lemont?

Well, it has been delayed. And delayed again. Why? There are so many reasons it would take a book. But one reason — the one that galls me most — is that our journalism has let us down. The delays have been, by my lights, one of the biggest environmental stories in the Chicago region for the past 20 years. But you’d never know it from what little has been written or broadcast.

There were funding delays involving Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers; there was local NIMBY resistance to earlier plans to use an already-dug Vulcan Materials quarry, and more recently, to quarrying a new reservoir.

via Flooded basement? Better get used to it – chicagotribune.com.

Great Recession, Flash Crash:  Great analysis of the May Flash Crash … The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake.”

The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake,” Mr. Vasan told several clients.

When the quake hit on the afternoon of May 6, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its biggest, fastest decline ever, and hundreds of stocks momentarily lost nearly all their value. So many things went wrong, so quickly, that regulators haven’t yet pieced together precisely what happened.

Journal Community

A close examination of the market’s rapid-fire unraveling reveals some new details about what unfolded: Stock-price data from the New York Stock Exchange’s electronic-trading arm, Arca, were so slow that at least three other exchanges simply cut it off from trading. Pricing information became so erratic that at one point shares of Apple Inc. traded at nearly $100,000 apiece. And computer-driven trading models used by many big investors, apparently responding to the same market signals, rushed for the exits at the same time.

via Legacy of the ‘Flash Crash’ – WSJ.com.

Apple, iPad, new blog:  I think Apple has more things coming.  I can’t wait.

Traditionally, first-year medical students are awarded white coats to signify their entry into the medical community. But at an Aug. 6 ceremony, each member of the UC Irvine School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2014 will find an iPad pre-loaded with everything necessary for the first year of course work in their coat pocket.

As part of its new iMedEd Initiative, the medical school has developed a comprehensive, iPad-based curriculum, reinventing how medicine is taught in the 21st century and becoming the first in the nation to employ a completely digital, interactive learning environment for entering students, says Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UCI School of Medicine.

via Macsimum News – Incoming UCI medical students to receive iPads.

random, art, blog:  Would a company consider this fair use  now or stop such use?  Interesting blog, too.

As product marketing manager for Campbell’s, William MacFarland must have been overjoyed with the incredible public reaction to Andy Warhol’s first exhibition as a fine artist in 1962, as present at the gallery was his now world-famous Campbell’s Soup Cans piece: 32 silkscreened portraits, each representing a different variety of the company’s soup product, all arranged in a single line. The work provoked huge debate in all corners of the art world and helped bring the Pop art movement to the masses; all the while holding a certain brand in the limelight.

via Letters of Note: I hear you like Tomato Soup.

health, ADHD, the mind: very interesting.

A team of European researchers recently assessed nearly 8,000 Finnish children and showed that mixed-handed children are at increased risk for linguistic, scholastic and attention-related difficulties. At age eight, mixed-handed kids were about twice as likely to have language and academic difficulties as their peers. By the time the children were 16, they also were twice as likely to have symptoms of ADHD—and their symptoms were more severe than those of right- or left-handed students.Ambidexterity is not causing these problems. Rather “handedness is really a very crude measure of how the brain is working,” says Alina Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist at King’s College London and the study’s lead author. In typical brains, language is rooted in the left hemisphere, and net works that control attention are anchored in the right—but brains without a dominant hemisphere may be working and communicating differently.

via Ambidexterity and ADHD: Are They Linked?: Scientific American.

history, architecture, San Francisco:  Listen to the story … a very interesting piece.

When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, it was a story of ‘Man harnessing Nature’ for the greater glory of both. Then the world’s longest suspension span, a feat of engineering several times over, it took 21 years to build and came in under budget. It has hovered ever since like a feather above a vast surge of water pouring into the Pacific. Beautiful and orange, it looks today like it was built yesterday. And somehow, in a world that can seem too jaded for wonder, it still harnesses our dreams.

This hour, On Point: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge.

via The Golden Gate’s Long History | WBUR and NPR – On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

football, NFL:  Game on, Falcons!

Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010

via Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010 – USATODAY.com.

invention, green: I don’t know about this one.

Rather than shelves, the non sticky, odourless gel morphs around products to create a separate pod that suspends items for easy access. Without doors, draws and a motor 90% of the appliance is solely given over to its intended purpose. At the same time, all food, drink and cooled products are readily available, odours are contained, and items are kept individually at their optimal temperature by bio robots. The fridge is adaptable – it can be hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling.

via In the Future, Your Refrigerator Will Be Made of Green Jelly | The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

Apple, bikes, green:  Will it change the gears for me??

A patent filed last year but just uncovered Thursday shows that Apple is at least considering a “Smart Bicycle System” that would use iPods or iPhones to track cyclist data and help teams communicate on the raceway. Similar to Nike + iPod, the small fitness device that recorded a runner’s pace and distance, Apple’s new technology will enable bikers to measure “speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, [and] wind speed,” according to Patently Apple. Clearly, the Smart Bike is squeezing everything it can from Apple’s accelerometers and gyroscopes (which allow the iPhone to track the biker’s exertion, based on acceleration, and altitude, by recording tilt relative to the ground).

via Apple’s “Smart Bike” Could Squash All Other Bike Tech | Co.Design.

random, high risk adventure, RIP:  He planned to ski down K2, but died on the way up.  Rest in peace.

Swedish mountaineer and professional skier Fredrik Ericsson died Friday while trying to summit K2 in Pakistan, his friend David Schipper told CNN in a telephone interview.

The incident occurred between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as Ericsson was attempting to become the first man to ski from the summit to base camp, said Schipper, who said he learned of the accident on the world’s second-tallest peak in a satellite call from fellow climber Fabrizio Zangrilli.

via Skier Fredrik Ericsson dies in accident on K2 – CNN.com.

environment:  Iceberg is 4x the size of Manhattan!  I love that word “calved”.

A giant ice island has broken off the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.

A University of Delaware researcher says the floating ice sheet covers 100 square miles – more than four times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island.

Andreas Muenchow, who is studying the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, said the ice sheet broke off early Thursday. He says the new ice island was discovered by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.

Not since 1962 has such a large chunk of ice calved in the Arctic, but researchers have noticed cracks in recent months in the floating tongue of the glacier.

via Greenland Iceberg Four Times Bigger Than Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier.

education, travel, Arab world, study abroad:  Our world is getting smaller.  I love that our youth are embracing it.

In what educators are calling the fastest growing study-abroad program, American college students are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional junior year abroad in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, wanting to experience the Arab world beyond America’s borders and viewpoints.

via More Students Choose a Junior-Year Abroad in the Mideast – NYTimes.com.

travel:  I have always thought it would be fun to exchange homes or rent someone’s home in another city.

For frequent Manhattan visitor Ken Velten there’s no place like (someone else’s) home.

The Southern California retiree and his family of up to five have traveled to the Big Apple five times over the past five years, staying a week or two and trading the expense and anonymity of a hotel room for the space and convenience of a rented apartment in Midtown East. But after May 1, when a ban on most New York City apartment rentals under 30 days is scheduled to take effect, Velten probably won’t be back.

via More destinations shut the door on vacation rentals – USATODAY.com.

lists, travel Seattle:  I like lists … Top Things to Do in Seattle, Washington — The Vacation Gals.

travel, First Lady, politics:  She can’t win.  But it is an interesting comparison to Laura Bush’s more modest vacations.

The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, and the image of the president’s wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her “a modern-day Marie Antoinette” and the blogosphere has been buzzing.

Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush’s presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip’s is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.

via First Lady’s Trip to Spain Draws Criticism – NYTimes.com.




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