Posts Tagged ‘book club

26
Oct
11

10.26.2011 … Coffee with Bob and Joni … Again we will solve the problems of the world … John is on his way back from Kuwait … 26 hours in Kuwait City … 24 hours travel time each way!

travel, kith/kin:  24 hours to KWI … 26 hours in KC … 24 hours back …and now  eagle landed and is snoozing on the sofa … Poor thing … Off on the early bird to LGA in the AM.

Halloween, cartoons, viral videos:  Now for a little fun …

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Halloween Light Show 2011 – This Is Halloween – YouTube.

Steven Pinker, language, RSA Animate: I love these animated whiteboard videos!  And Steven Pinker is one of my new favorites (thanks katie!) – Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

RSA Animate Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

potatoes, food, history, changed the world:  Food history … also interesting …

When potato plants bloom, they send up five-lobed flowers that spangle fields like fat purple stars. By some accounts, Marie Antoinette liked the blossoms so much that she put them in her hair. Her husband, Louis XVI, put one in his buttonhole, inspiring a brief vogue in which the French aristocracy swanned around with potato plants on their clothes. The flowers were part of an attempt to persuade French farmers to plant and French diners to eat this strange new species.

Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus.

About 250 million years ago, the world consisted of a single giant landmass now known as Pangaea. Geological forces broke Pangaea apart, creating the continents and hemispheres familiar today. Over the eons, the separate corners of the earth developed wildly different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’ voyages reknit the seams of Pangaea, to borrow a phrase from Alfred W. Crosby, the historian who first described this process. In what Crosby called the Columbian Exchange, the world’s long-separate ecosystems abruptly collided and mixed in a biological bedlam that underlies much of the history we learn in school. The potato flower in Louis XVI’s buttonhole, a species that had crossed the Atlantic from Peru, was both an emblem of the Columbian Exchange and one of its most important aspects.

Compared with grains, tubers are inherently more productive. If the head of a wheat or rice plant grows too big, the plant will fall over, with fatal results. Growing underground, tubers are not limited by the rest of the plant. In 2008 a Lebanese farmer dug up a potato that weighed nearly 25 pounds. It was bigger than his head.

Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.

Equally important, the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture—the so-called agro-industrial complex. Not only did the Columbian Exchange carry the potato across the Atlantic, it also brought the world’s first intensive fertilizer: Peruvian guano. And when potatoes fell to the attack of another import, the Colorado potato beetle, panicked farmers turned to the first artificial pesticide: a form of arsenic. Competition to produce ever-more-potent arsenic blends launched the modern pesticide industry. In the 1940s and 1950s, improved crops, high-intensity fertilizers and chemical pesticides created the Green Revolution, the explosion of agricultural productivity that transformed farms from Illinois to Indonesia—and set off a political argument about the food supply that grows more intense by the day.

via How the Potato Changed the World | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

‘Inhalable’ Caffeine, inventions: Would you snort one?

Courtesy of AeroShot

Is caffeine addictive? Certainly, it produces tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped abruptly. But even though it is the most widely used drug in the world, few caffeine users exhibit signs of serious addiction — namely, compulsive drug-related behaviors despite negative consequences. That could be in part because caffeine is legal and easily and cheaply obtained. Or, it could be because the effects of caffeine use — especially in a hyperefficient society — are generally positive.

So, while previous products, like inhalable aerosolized alcohol, led to bans in multiple states, AeroShot seems more likely to garner praise (especially from employers — and editors).

The new product will hit stores in New York City and Boston in January and will be available online in several weeks, according to Edwards. The retail price is expected to be $2.99 per inhaler — cheaper than a Starbucks latte.

via What We’ve All Been Waiting For: Zero-Calorie, ‘Inhalable’ Caffeine – TIME Healthland.

Moammar Gadhafi, legacy: to many Africans he is a “martyr, benefactor, instigator.”  Leaves a conflicted image.

Moammar Gadhafi’s regime poured tens of billions of dollars into some of Africa’s poorest countries. Even when he came to visit, the eccentric Libyan leader won admiration for handing out money to beggars on the streets.

“Other heads of state just drive past here in their limousines. Gadhafi stopped, pushed away his bodyguards and shook our hands,” said Cherno Diallo, standing Monday beside hundreds of caged birds he sells near a Libyan-funded hotel. “Gadhafi’s death has touched every Malian, every single one of us. We’re all upset.”

Gadhafi backed some of the most brutal rebel leaders and dictators on the continent, but tens of thousands are now gathering at mosques built with his money and are remembering him as an anti-colonial martyr, and as an Arab leader who called himself African.

While Western powers heralded Gadhafi’s demise, many Africans were gathering at mosques built with Gadhafi’s money to mourn the man they consider an anti-imperialist martyr and benefactor.

Critics, though, note this image is at odds with Gadhafi’s history of backing some of Africa’s most brutal rebel leaders and dictators. Gadhafi sent 600 troops to support Uganda’s much-hated Idi Amin in the final throes of his dictatorship.

And Gadhafi-funded rebels supported by former Liberian leader Charles Taylor forcibly recruited children and chopped off limbs of their victims during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

“Is Gadhafi’s life more important than many thousands of people that have been killed during the war in these two countries?” asked one shopkeeper in the tiny West African country of Gambia, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing recrimination.

“Gadhafi was a godfather to many Ugandans,” said Muhammed Kazibala, a head teacher at a Libyan-funded school in the country’s capital.

The Libyan leader also built a palace for one of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms. It was a fitting donation for a man who traveled to African Union summits dressed in a gold-embroidered green robe, flanked by seven men who said they were the “traditional kings of Africa.”

Gadhafi used Libya’s oil wealth to help create the AU in 2002, and also served as its rotating chairman. During the revolt against Gadhafi, the AU condemned NATO airstrikes as evidence mounted that his military was massacring civilians.

Gadhafi’s influence even extended to Africa’s largest economy: The Libyan leader supported the African National Congress when it was fighting racist white rule, and remained close to Nelson Mandela after the anti-apartheid icon became South Africa’s first black president.

via Across Africa, Gadhafi remembered as martyr, benefactor, instigator in the continent’s wars – The Washington Post.

rhinos, South Africa, endangered species: A group of rhinos is called a “crash.”  But why do people destroy animals for human rituals … craziness.

Black rhino in Kenya

Johannesburg’s bustling O. R. Tambo International Airport is an easy place to get lost in a crowd, and that’s just what a 29-year-old Vietnamese man named Xuan Hoang was hoping to do one day in March last year—just lie low until he could board his flight home. The police dog sniffing the line of passengers didn’t worry him; he’d checked his baggage through to Ho Chi Minh City. But behind the scenes, police were also using X-ray scanners on luggage checked to Vietnam, believed to be the epicenter of a new war on rhinos. And when Hoang’s bag appeared on the screen, they saw the unmistakable shape of rhinoceros horns—six of them, weighing more than 35 pounds and worth up to $500,000 on the black market.

Investigators suspected the contraband might be linked to a poaching incident a few days earlier on a game farm in Limpopo Province, on South Africa’s northern border. “We have learned over time, as soon as a rhino goes down, in the next two or three days the horns will leave the country,” Col. Johan Jooste of South Africa’s national priority crime unit told me when I interviewed him in Pretoria.

You might also wonder why they bother. The orneriness of rhinos is so proverbial that the word for a group of them is not a “herd” but a “crash.” “The first time I saw one I was a 4-year-old in this park. We were in a boat, and it charged the boat,” said Bird. “That’s how aggressive they can be.” Bird now makes his living keeping tabs on the park’s black rhinos and sometimes works by helicopter to catch them for relocation to other protected areas. “They’ll charge helicopters,” he added. “They’ll be running and then after a while, they’ll say, ‘Bugger this,’ and they’ll turn around and run toward you. You can see them actually lift off their front feet as they try to have a go at the helicopter.”

via Defending the Rhino | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine.

twitter, women, Occupy Wall Street:  Where are the women?

Twitter is still the social media outlet of choice for Occupy Wall Street, but new analysis into the #OWS tweets has found a surprising gender imbalance in those who’re talking about the protests: Fewer women seem to be doing so, despite Twitter being a female-dominated service overall.

According to analysis by Attention released yesterday, only 30% of tweets mentioning Occupy Wall Street were from female users, even though over 64% of all Twitter users are believed to be female as a result of a 2010 Pew survey. That number is actually up from where it was a month earlier; by mid-September, fewer than 20% of Occupy Wall Street tweets were from women.

via Why Aren’t Women Tweeting About Occupy Wall Street? – Techland – TIME.com.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Will Ferrell, FYI:  Never heard of this award … have to look it up.

Actor and comedian Will Ferrell jokingly gives the thumbs-down during his introduction as the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoree at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At left is his wife, Viveca Paulin.

via The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: The red carpet – The Washington Post.

The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr. The Kennedy Center established The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October 1998, and it has been televised annually. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), and Tina Fey (2010).

via The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

Gabrielle Giffords, therapy, Asheville NC:  Must be a pretty good therapist in Asheville!

TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in North Carolina for two weeks of intensive therapy sessions as she continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.

Giffords’ office says in a statement Sunday that the Arizona congresswoman is expected to spend time with a therapist who has worked with her in Houston for the last several months and has been extensively involved in her therapy.

Giffords will work with the therapist from Monday through Nov. 4 in Asheville, N.C. No other specifics on her therapy were given.

Her staff says the trip is strictly rehabilitation-related and has been planned for several months. No public appearances or events are scheduled.

Giffords is recovering from a brain injury suffered on Jan. 8 in Tucson. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded, including Giffords.

via Gabrielle Giffords In Intensive Therapy For Two Weeks.

time:

What the second law of thermodynamics has to do with Saint Augustine, landscape art, and graphic novels.

Time is the most fundamental common denominator between our existence and that of everything else, it’s the yardstick by which we measure nearly every aspect of our lives, directly or indirectly, yet its nature remains one of the greatest mysteries of science. Last year, we devoured BBC’s excellent What Is Time? and today we turn to seven essential books that explore the grand question on a deeper, more multidimensional level, spanning everything from quantum physics to philosophy to art.

via 7 cross-disciplinary books to understand time, Steve Jobs in 200 timeless quotes, and more.

Chemistry: A Volatile History, tv, BBC:  I just love the BBC shows!

Now, thanks to the fine folks at BBC Four — who previously pondered such captivating issues as the nature of reality, the age-old tension between science and religion, how music works, and what time really is — you can refresh and enrich your understanding of this complex world with Chemistry: A Volatile History, a fascinating three-part series by theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, exploring everything from the history of the elements to the rivalries and controversies that bedeviled scientific progress to the latest

via BBC’s Volatile History of Chemistry | Brain Pickings.

Mitchell International Airport, Mitchell International Airport, “recombobulation area”:  I have to ask my Milwaukee friend Donna if she’s utilized the “recombobulation area.”

Taking off your shoes and pulling out your laptop at airport security may leave you feeling discombobulated.

The Mitchell International Airport staff has set up some chairs and a sign just past one of the security checkpoints to help you out.

They’ve labeled it the “recombobulation area.”

Yes, it’s a joke. At airport security.

The sign has been hanging at the Concourse C security checkpoint for about a month. Some passengers get it immediately. Some take a few steps, then laugh. Others look up and say, “Huh?”

“See? You’re getting recombobulated right now,” Melissa Fullmore said Tuesday morning to another traveler who was putting on his belt.

via Airport draws smiles with ‘recombobulation area’ – JSOnline.

gender differences, economic hardship, Great Recession:

Measured in terms of absolute job loss, men bore the brunt of the Great Recession, hence the term “mancession.” On the other hand, men have fared better than women in regaining jobs during the slight rebound sometimes called the recovery.

Interesting comparison, but gender differences in economic hardship reach beyond employment statistics.

Many people – even those who live alone – share a portion of their earnings or devote unpaid hours of work to family members, including children and others who are dependent as result of age, sickness, disability or unemployment. Measures of economic hardship should take responsibility for dependents into account.

Women tend to be more vulnerable in this respect than men, primarily because they are more likely to take both financial and direct responsibility for the care of children.

via Nancy Folbre: The Recession in Pink and Blue – NYTimes.com.

Lake Lanier GA, Atlanta, FYI:  Lake Lanier to within 9 feet of historic low … 😦

Authorities say Lake Lanier has dropped below 1,060 feet above sea level and is now just nine feet above the historic low it reached during Georgia’s devastating drought of 2007-2009.

The lake has been on a downward trend for months now, away from the full pool of 1,071 feet and stirring memories of the drought.

The lake’s historic low water level of 1,051 feet was set on Dec. 26, 2007.

Business owners tell The Times of Gainesville (http://bit.ly/oVGFJi) that the low water level has drained some tourism.

Bob Benson, a lake guide, said there are stumps everywhere sticking out of the water, and many people aren’t going out on the lake.

via Lake Lanier drops to within 9 feet of historic low  | ajc.com.

Aftershock Survival Summit, books, Global Recession:  Not pretty!

At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Ben Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.”

This wasn’t the first time Wiedemer’s predictions hit a nerve. In 2006, he and his team of economists accurately predicted the four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer spending markets that almost sunk America.

Regardless of his warnings and survival advice, Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.

As the warnings went unheeded, and America suffered the consequences, Wiedemer penned his latest prophetic work, “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”

Once again his contrarian views ruffled feathers and just before the book was publicly released, the publisher yanked the final chapter, deeming it too controversial for newsstand and online outlets such as Amazon.com.

Despite appearances, “Aftershock” is not a book with the singular intention of scaring people, explains DeHoog. “The true value lies in the sound economic survival guidance that people can act on immediately. I was able to read the original version with the ‘unpublished chapter,’ and I think it’s the most crucial in the entire book. After contacting Wiedemer, we [Newsmax] were granted permission to share it with our readers. In fact, viewers of the Aftershock Survival Summit are able to claim a free copy of it.”

In the Aftershock Survival Summit, Wiedemer reveals what the publisher didn’t want you to see. Citing the unthinkable, he provides disturbing evidence and financial charts forecasting 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market collapse, and 100% annual inflation.

“I doubted some of his predictions at first. But then Robert showed me the charts that provided evidence for such disturbing claims,” DeHoog commented.

via Aftershock Survival Summit Predicts the Unthinkable.

coffee, cities, lists:  It seems surprising to me that the home of the chain Starbucks is “the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters.”  But I have been there ad it is true!

No surprise—the home of Starbucks is the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters. But there is more than just that familiar logo here—you’ll find plenty of indie coffeehouses all over the city, as well as espresso shacks and carts on street corners and in parking lots. All that caffeine gives the locals an edge, but in a good way: they ranked No. 2 for smartest locals in the AFC. And while colder months seem like a great time to enjoy that hot cup, the Emerald City took last place for winter visits.

via America’s Best Coffee Cities- Page 2 – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

books, media, viral, discourse:  All I can say is interesting …

There is something both ridiculous and refreshing about all this. Ridiculous because 90 percent of Morozov’s criticisms are wildly unfair (and also because, you know, http://bit.ly/AnsweringMrGrumpy)…and refreshing because here is a work of book-bound nonfiction — chock full of claims to be assessed and arguments to be discussed — that is actually being assessed and discussed. In a public forum! Discourse, and everything!

That shouldn’t be an anomaly, but it is. Books both e- and analog — the kind that exist not to tell a tale, but to advance an argument — face a fundamental challenge: The interests of books-as-artifacts and books-as-arguments are, in general, misaligned. Books are great, definitely, at capturing ideas. Books are great at claiming cultural ownership of ideas. Books are great at generating speaking gigs based on ideas. Books are great at getting authors paid for ideas. But books are much, much less great at actually propagating ideas — particularly ideas of the relative nuance that Morozov’s “Internet intellectuals” tend to favor.

Which is a flaw that’s easy to forget, given books’ cultural status. A book deal is a big deal; those who have gotten one will make a point, as they should, of highlighting the achievement. A writer and an author.

via ‘Public Parts’ and its public parts: In a networked world, can a book go viral? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

vertigo farming, Queens NY, organic produce, locavore:  Innovation … got to love it.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is at the forefront of urban agriculture in the United States. Operated by four young entrepreneurs on an acre of rooftop in Queens, New York, the farm grows organic produce that is sold to local restaurants, co-ops and farmers markets across New York City. Business is growing quickly, with a second location opening in the Spring of 2012 and booming demand for rooftop vegetables, herbs and honey. To educate urban dwellers about the food systems upon which they rely, the farm hosts regular educational tours, workshops and field trips for schools and community groups.

via World Challenge 2011 – 2011 Finalist – Vertigo Farming.

Condoleezza Rice,  Freedom Agenda, The Freedom War, books: “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.”

“We pursued the Freedom Agenda not only because it was right but also because it was necessary,” Rice writes in her book. “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.” So there’s no sense dwelling on the final demise of tyrants, whether Gaddafi or, for that matter, Saddam Hussein, whose hanging turned into a hideous spectacle as well. “Time to move on,” says Rice.

But the fascination of Rice’s memoir, and it is fascinating, is less in the broad vision put forth for a more democratic world than in the gritty description of the way decisions were made in the White House and the State Department as the Bush administration sought to adapt to a universe radically changed by Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States in 2001.

Rice’s account of the immediate aftermath, as seen from inside the halls of the White House, is both vivid and disturbing. The threat of a second wave of attacks was real. The possibility that biological or other weapons might be used seemed imminent: some lunatic had put anthrax in the mail; one report received at the White House said many of the people there might have been poisoned with botulinum toxin; another report said a plot was afoot to disseminate smallpox. The intelligence was rarely definitive, and it took a toll on everyone involved.

Rice is honest enough to say that at one point she was just about burned out. While attending a ceremony on the White House lawn soon after she became secretary of state, she saw an airliner approaching. It was on a normal route to land at Reagan National Airport, but for a few moments she thought it was coming straight toward the executive mansion. “Tomorrow I am going to tell the President that I want to leave at the end of the year,” she thought. “I can’t do this anymore.”

But she soldiered on, and key to Rice’s role was the confidence of the president, who emerges from her book as sharper than the clichés indulged in by his critics, but perhaps too familiar, too folksy with those he likes and relies on.

The wars launched by the Bush administration have cost the United States more than $1 trillion and many thousands of lives. Were they worth it? The Middle East has been a volatile region, with countless wars at countless cost, Rice said as we talked in Stanford. “I don’t think you put a price on a Middle East that will look very different without Saddam Hussein and with movement toward freedom.”

via Condoleezza Rice Memoir: The Freedom War – The Daily Beast.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, book club:  My book club is reading this book this week.  I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks or of the book.  I have not read it and cannot go, but I am intrigued after reading this review.

When Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), an African-American mother of five who migrated from the tobacco farms of Virginia to poorest neighborhoods of Baltimore, died at the tragic age of 31 from cervical cancer, she didn’t realize she’d be the donor of cells that would create the HeLa immortal cell line — a line that didn’t die after a few cell divisions — making possible some of the most seminal discoveries in modern medicine. Though the tumor tissue was taken with neither her knowledge nor her consent, the HeLa cell was crucial in everything from the first polio vaccine to cancer and AIDS research. To date, scientists have grown more than

via 5 Unsung Heroes Who Shaped Modern Life | Brain Pickings.

Bob Pierpoint, RIP:  Another from a different era of broadcast journalism is dead.  Don’t you love this picture?  Rest in peace, Bob Pierpoint.

Pierpoint_White_House_large.jpg

Bob Pierpoint was a mainstay of CBS News during the golden age of that organization. He was part of the Murrow team and covered the Korean War while in his 20s. He became a White House correspondent during the Eisenhower Administration and stayed on that beat through the time of Jimmy Carter and beyond. It was some time in the 1970s that the picture above, which delighted him, was taken. He was an avid tennis player and had just come from a match on the White House court when he had to do a standup, obviously framed from mid-torso upward. I first saw that picture in Barney Collier’s book Hope and Fear in Washington (The Early Seventies), and I believe it was the jacket photo on Bob’s own book, At the White House. I got it from the collection of his papers at his alma mater, the University of Redlands.

When I was growing up, Bob Pierpoint was the most glamorous product of my home town in California. (That was before Redlands’s own Brian Billick went on to win the Super Bowl, and Landon Donovan became Mr. Soccer USA.) He would come back and tell our public school assemblies what it was like to cover the Kennedy or Johnson Administrations; this was as close as we came to first-hand contact with national politics. He was patient, generous, and non-big-shot-ish in a way I noticed then and admire more in retrospect. He was two days older than my father, and a good friend to my parents and tennis rival to my father when he was in town. When my wife and I first moved to Washington he and his wife Patty served in loco parentis for a while.

He will be remembered, and should be, as a connector to a different, prouder era in broadcast news. But he was also a good friend, husband, and father. Our sympathies to his family.

via Bob Pierpoint – James Fallows – National – The Atlantic.

time: I have always wanted a chiming clock in the house … it keeps you conscious of and accountable for time.

Each hour when my watch, computer, or phone beeps, I stop whatever I’m doing, take a deep breath, and ask myself two questions:

1. Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

2. Am I being who I most want to be right now?

At first it seemed counterintuitive to interrupt myself each hour. Aren’t interruptions precisely what we’re trying to avoid? But these one-minute-an-hour interruptions are productive interruptions. They bring us back to doing what, and being who, will make this a successful day.

This isn’t all about staying on plan. Sometimes the beep will ring and I’ll realize that, while I’ve strayed from my calendar, whatever it is I’m working on is what I most need to be doing. In those situations I simply shift items on my calendar so my most important priorities still get done and I make intentional choices about what I will leave undone.

For me, a once-an-hour reminder, one deep breath, and a couple of questions, has made the difference between ending my day frustrated and ending it fulfilled.

via The power of an hourly beep | Daniel Pink.

summer jobs, internships, college, summer camps:  I think there i something here …

For the most part, interns do work that is wholly unrelated to any sort of day-to-day task that full-time employees fulfill. Indeed, not only do most offices give interns mundane tasks that the aforementioned employees would never do, but they are also given tasks that will only be taken over by another intern. In short, interning in any office, regardless of the field, will likely mean you will be performing more secretarial duties than industry-specific ones. Anyone thinking that taking an internship with Goldman Brothers will give him or her a better shot at becoming a full-time employee is misguided. As such, taking an internship for the sake of career advancement is an unwise decision.

As alluded above, internship experience rarely parallels relevant work experience. Moreover, a student with (all else equal) an internship experience — indeed, even two — will not receive a substantive boost in the hiring process. The dirty secret of the professional world is that everyone knows that internships are vehicles through which companies can unload their undesirables onto unsuspecting college students.

Given this, it is reasonable to conclude that internships provide few potential benefits for their laborious components. Not only are interns wasting time in their respective offices by performing arcane duties, they also are allowing their last free summers to go by the wayside. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, college summers are the last ones for which we will have a legitimate array of choices. Accordingly, students would be well advised to engage in activities that they would enjoy, as opposed to activities that they misguidedly believe will yield long-term benefits. To this end, there are more efficacies in volunteering, working in non-profits or even taking classes than doing an internship. However, the most benefit comes from being a camp counselor.

At my particular summer camp, Four Winds Westward Ho, I have learned many workplace skills that are more relevant than what I could obtain from an internship. For example, at Four Winds, located on tiny Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, I am fully integrated into the aforementioned professional hierarchy. I am given great responsibility; indeed, I am responsible for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of up to seven children for two four-week sessions.

via Opinion: Skip the internship, go to camp | USA TODAY College.

D.C., Georgetown, urban planning: Shooting itself in the foot?

IMAGINE A CITY telling its largest private employer — one that pays millions in taxes and salaries, strives to hire local residents and voluntarily does community service — that it can’t grow anymore, that it might have to cut back. That seems far-fetched in light of today’s scary economy, but it’s essentially what D.C. officials are telling Georgetown University by insisting it either house all its students or cut back enrollment. The District seems distressingly disinterested in promoting a knowledge-based economy.

Georgetown’s 10-year plan for its 104-acre main campus, the subject of hearings before the D.C. Zoning Commission, would cap the undergraduate population at current levels while increasing graduate students by about 1,000. Enrollment in 2010 was 14,033, of whom 6,652 were undergraduates. The plan is modest: It contains no major new building, no additional parking and an offer to reduce the main campus enrollment by moving some graduate students to satellite locations. Still, adjacent neighborhoods — particularly Burleith and Foxhall — are up in arms, and they seem to have city officials on their side.

via It’s D.C. vs. Georgetown in urban planning – The Washington Post.

Lululemon killing:  Too weird.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Monday began selecting a jury in the trial of Brittany Norwood, a 29-year-old charged with killing her co-worker in an upscale Bethesda yoga shop.

via Lululemon killing trial begins Monday – Crime Scene – The Washington Post.

social media,  police,  gangs, antisocial side:  Darwin Award?  Why is social media so hard to resist?

Gangs are just following societal trends,” said a federal law enforcement official who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss how agents use social media to target gangs. “Facebook and Myspace are now some of their primary methods of communication.”

via Antisocial side of social media helps police track gangs – The Washington Post.

economics, unrest: “… relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. ”

Growth that undermines existing social institutions and dislocates workers is also likely to generate instability. In China mass migrations associated with rapid catch-up growth and urbanisation are often blamed for causing instability. Instances of “mass disturbances” have risen steadily since 1993, even as the Chinese economy has enjoyed scorching growth. Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University similarly argues that Egypt’s steps towards economic liberalisation stimulated an appetite for greater opportunity that fuelled discontent with the ruling regime.

Research by MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Harvard’s James Robinson finds that relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. A study by Patricia Justino of the University of Sussex examined inequality and unrest in India and found that redistribution can quell an outcry. That may well be the outcome of the current turmoil, too.

via Economics focus: Unrest in peace | The Economist.

skywatching, Aurora Australis:  Aurora seen from the ISS in Orbit – YouTube.

Check out this awesome video captured from the International Space Station as it flew over the Aurora Australis. Stunning!

via Flying above the Aurora Australis | Go Make Things.

recipes, scrambled eggs, chopsticks:  Scramble with chop sticks!

And last but not least, ditch that fork! Scramble your eggs with a heat-proof spatula, a flat-topped wooden spoon, or for the perfect curd, chopsticks.

via 5 Common Scrambled Eggs Mistakes : BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

09
Aug
10

‎8.9.2010 Jack finishes his class on medical anthropology … what do you bet he pulled an all-nighter … then packs up apartment and moves his gear … then comes home on the redeye … chaos x2 …

movies, travel:  I am a big fan of movies … and I would go see Jane Austen’s England … but I don’t think I would be a “fan on a pilgrimage” to the Dirty Dancy film sites.  Would you?

ROANOKE, Va. — For a handful of Dirty Dancing fans on pilgrimage to Mountain Lake Hotel, something wasn’t right.

Sure, the Giles County retreat has the tour of film locations for the 1987 classic, the “Time of my Life” karaoke event and the Patrick Swayze monument. Yet guests this past weekend said the grass was a little too high, the paint a little too chipped, and the lake — that’s nearly gone.

Hard times have come to the Mountain Lake resort.

via ‘Dirty Dancing’ resort falls on hard times – USATODAY.com.

Book Club: Next month: The Lonely Polygamist … anyone read it?

Starred Review. A family drama with stinging turns of dark comedy, the latest from Udall (The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint) is a superb performance and as comic as it is sublimely catastrophic. Golden Richards is a polygamist Mormon with four wives, 28 children, a struggling construction business, and a few secrets. He tells his wives that the brothel he’s building in Nevada is actually a senior center, and, more importantly, keeps hidden his burning infatuation with a woman he sees near the job site. Golden, perpetually on edge, has become increasingly isolated from his massive family—given the size of his brood, his solitude is heartbreaking—since the death of one of his children. Meanwhile, his newest and youngest wife, Trish, is wondering if there is more to life than the polygamist lifestyle, and one of his sons, Rusty, after getting the shaft on his birthday, hatches a revenge plot that will have dire consequences. With their world falling apart, will the family find a way to stay together? Udall’s polished storytelling and sterling cast of perfectly realized and flawed characters make this a serious contender for Great American Novel status. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

via Amazon.com: The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel (9780393062625): Brady Udall: Books.

children’s/YA lit: Did I mention I reread all of Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s and YA work when i studied for the bar … great stress reliever.

While au fait literary types around town await the buzzed-about new novels from Jonathan Franzen and Nicole Krauss, other former English majors have spent the summer trying to get hold of “Mockingjay,” the third book in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian trilogy, so intensely under wraps that not even reviewers have been allowed a glimpse before its airtight Aug. 24 release. What fate will befall our heroine, Katniss Everdeen? My fellow book club members and I are desperate to know. When will the Capitol fall? And how can Collins possibly top the first two installments, “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire”?

Oh, did I mention? “Mockingjay” is for teenagers. I am well into my 30s.

When Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project,” started up her Kidlit book club in 2006, it was a furtive, underground pursuit. “I always knew that I loved children’s literature but had shoved it to the side because it didn’t fit my idea of myself as a sophisticated adult,” Rubin, a former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, told me. “So I read it on the sly, when I was stressed out. If I found myself rereading ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ it meant I was really anxious.”

via Essay – The Kids’ Books Are All Right – NYTimes.com.

art, poetry, public art, events: Is the reading of a poem or scripture at a wedding or other public event make it public art?  This poem was read at the Clinton-Mezvinsky weeding.  The history of this poem is very interesting:

Leo Marks’s poem “The Life That I Have,” read as part of Chelsea Clinton and Mark Mezvinsky wedding ceremony, seems on the surface to be the perfect wedding poem. It’s straightforward and employs simple language–easy for the guests to understand and appreciate with one listen–and it comes across as genuinely emotional with its incantatory and almost pleading repetition of “yours and yours and yours.” Here’s the full text of the poem:

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours
And yours

There’s something beautiful and uplifting in seeing Marks’ poem freed from its tragic context and put to its original use as a statement of love and devotion in such a public forum (Clinton and Mezvinsky were apparently unaware of the poem’s history when they selected it). But perhaps now, we should remember the pain and the sacrifice tied to it.

via John Lundberg: The Tragic History Of Chelsea’s Wedding Poem.

happiness:  These are good questions … what are your rules of thumb and are there any conflicts?

My adventures in the lands of happiness research led me to the concept of heuristics. Heuristics are “rules of thumb,” the quick, common sense principles people apply to solve a problem or make a decision. They aren’t “rules for living” that you consciously try to apply; rather, they’re deeply embedded, often unconscious rules that you use to make decisions, answer a question or decide a course of action.

Usually heuristics are useful, though sometimes they lead to cognitive bias. Take the availability heuristic: people predict the likelihood of an event based on how easily they can come up with an example. This is often helpful (is a tornado likely to hit Manhattan?) but sometimes people’s judgment is skewed because the vividness of examples makes an event seem more likely than it actually is. People become very worried about child abduction, say, when in fact, it’s a very rare occurrence.

I realized that I have my own idiosyncratic collection of “heuristics” for making decisions and setting priorities. Well, maybe these don’t fit the precise definition of “heuristics” — but they’re rules of thumb I apply when deciding what to think or how to act, mostly without quite realizing that I’m using them. They flicker through my brain so quickly that I had to make a real effort to detect them, but I identified a handful:

My children are my most important priority.

Exercise every day.

People don’t notice my mistakes and flaws as much as I think.

My husband is my top priority.

“Yes” comes right away; “no” never comes.

via Gretchen Rubin: Reconsider the Rules of Thumb You Use in Everyday Life.

Apple,iPad, iPhone:

Apple is rumored to be planning an event to announce a new iPod touch and iOS 4 for iPad on August 16—earlier than the traditional September iPod event.

via Apple is rumored to be planning an event to announce a new iPod touch and iOS 4 for iPad on August 16—earlier than the traditional September iPod event..

food, travel, NYC:  PopTarts are a staple at our house … frosted brown sugar cinnamon, please … I bet John pops his head in here on his next visit to new york.

James Estrin/The New York Times

Now the Pop-Tarts brand is demanding some attention for itself, and it is doing so with a store on one of the world’s most attention-grabbing stages, Times Square.

Its promoters are calling it Pop-Tarts World. Inside, one can find a cafe selling Pop-Tarts “sushi,” an hourly light show that simulates the look of frosting, a create-your-own-variety-pack vending machine.

Pop-Tarts were introduced by Kellogg’s in 1964 to compete with a similar product from Post called Country Squares. The Kellogg’s version took off, in part because of its name, which reflected the growing Pop Art movement.

There is no 100-foot sign, but Pop-Tarts is wrapping its 50-foot storefront in Pop-Tarts branding, and taking over the six-story billboard above the store. “It gives them a visibility that they can’t get anywhere else,” Ms. Consolo said.

via Pop-Tarts Brand Plants Its Times Square Flag – NYTimes.com.

Snippets from ZA Molly:  Molly and friends at the Form 5 Formal.  Many of the St. Anne’s girls have their dresses custom-made … Beautiful girls. I look forward to meeting them in September!

– and –  food:  I found the chocolate milk drink.  I think we will be bringing cans of this back for friends. 🙂

Milo is added to hot or cold milk to make a malted chocolate beverage. It does not dissolve in cold milk, and so retains the gritty texture of its raw state. Milo can be stirred into steamed milk or hot water to make a drink akin to hot chocolate or cocoa. Another possible use is making a normal cup of cold Milo and microwaving it for approximately 40–60 seconds. This gives the Milo drink a biscuity cover on top.

via Milo drink – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

13
Mar
10

THE WEEK/My Week 3.13.2010

3.13.2010

This has been a fun week.  I enjoy architectural icons and how they evoke memories and symbolize a place.  So my favorite stories this week involved the demolition of the Gwinnett is Great twin water towers and the death of Bruce Graham, the architect responsible for many of Chicago’s icons, including the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Tower.

And next week … pi/pie day, and March Madness is beginning … got to love that!

Enjoy my week in review!

Continue reading ‘THE WEEK/My Week 3.13.2010’

06
Mar
10

LIFE is good 3.6.2010

This was a week with lots of things I enjoy.  We had a touch of snow and then beautiful warm sunshine.  A friend lost and found her adored labs.  I enjoyed some intellectual nourishment and the company of good friends on two occasions. Edward and Molly, my son and daughter at home, seem happy and thriving, and Jack in Colorado is loving classes this semester and excited for spring break. And my husband was doing work for Davidson and seems energized.  Life is good.

So here’s the roundup  … there is a lot this week.

Continue reading ‘LIFE is good 3.6.2010’

20
Feb
10

Dennard’s CLT OBSERVER – Mostly Local Section 2.20.2010

2.20.2010

This week was filled with personal things.  Valentine’s day, Presidents’ Day and Mardi Gras and Lent.  It made me think of winter and food and chocolate and religion.

Architecture:  “After the success of the Guggenheim in Bilbao [Spain], people have been talking about the so-called “Bilbao Effect,” the effect of a sculptural building helping a small town. I wanted to design a museum that is monumental but also functional as a museum.”  Japan’s Shigeru Ban has designed Centre Pompidou-Metz, a new contemporary art museum in northeastern France.

Wow, Shigeru Ban “created temporary shelters in disaster zones from paper tubes in 1995, building short-term housing for earthquake survivors in Kobe, Japan. Since then, he has used tubes to build schools in Sichuan, China (after the earthquake there in 2008), and a music hall in L’Aquila, Italy (following an earthquake last year).”

(source:  Architecture – WSJ.com)

Buildings made with paper tubes … Just found this fascinating.

Life:  I don’t follow haute couture, but Alexander McQueen’s death and the related press coverage has been interesting.  “The twisted tale of two larger-than-life eccentrics at the pinnacle of haute couture who committed suicide within three years of each other is more like something out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel than the Twitter era.”

(source: Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow Were a Star-Crossed Pair – AOL News)

When an article references F. Scott Fitzgerald, muses, twitter, suicide … it has to be edgy.

Davidson – Steph Curry: Knock on wood …

“When comparing the three players, there’s one thing that stands out between them: The fact that Jennings and Evans still have major growth to do with their games.Curry, on the other hand, has proven that he’s the most complete rookie so far. His numbers may not reflect this in terms of the points per game average, but his ability to score in a variety of ways and his tremendous court vision Curry is far from a one dimensional player.At the end of the regular season, it shouldn’t be a surprise when the Rookie of the Year is announced and it’s Curry walking home with the award.”  (source: bleacherreport.combleacherreport.com)

My Davidson and sports fans liked this (LBB and JSM).  But EWP, one of my oldest friends,  challenged my interest in basketball.  So I had to respond  … I’m just like my mom. I get attached to certain personalities. If it weren’t for Curry I could care less. But I have always liked college basketball, then braves and baseball, then college and pro football. Pro basketball is not really on my list. But I like Curry. So I will watch for him. …

If you are not a Curry fan, I am sorry … because I will continue to post updates.

But I have always liked college basketball, then braves and baseball, then college and pro football. Pro basketball is not really on my list. But I like Curry. So I will watch for him.

Winter Olympics 2010: No curling til the 26th! 😦  My new favorite winter olympic sport.

Olympic Schedules | Winter Games | 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics | Today’s Schedule

Political Cartoons: This one IMO hit both  Palin and Obama.

(Source – February 13, 2010 – February 19, 2010 – Cartoons of the Week – TIME.com)

Davidson – Steph Curry: It’s going to be fun to follow his career!

Curry finishes 2nd, one-ups dad – CharlotteObserver.com

ASG and BK   … what’s not to like!

RIP – John Wayt, Jr. : A friend’s dad died last week. I always cry when an extended father or mother passes. Mr. Wayt was gruff and funny and down to earth. He was the original model for the cartoon character Mark Trail. To Marty, her mom and family, I want you to know how much those great memories mean to so many. We will miss you, Mr. Wayt.
Obituary for John Wayt – H.M. Patterson & Son, Funeral Directors, Atlanta, GA

Jane Austen: Pride & Prejudice in Emoticons … pretty funny … 🙂

-and –

Stephen Colbert’s take on Jane Austen and Baseball. Hilarious!

I am so glad there are other Janeites out there!

Holidays/Life/Apple iPad: As I sit with my laptop, watching tv and surfing, I am beginning to think Steve Jobs may be on to something with the iPad.  And JBT did not even comment on the ecard I sent him!   Hope you had a wonderful VD!


Nothing Steve Jobs ever creates could fully replace you in my life | someecards.com

Holidays: After seeing criticism about poor food choices for MLK Day, I researched what would Washington and Lincoln eat.  I am glad Presidents’ Day is not a food day!

Happy Birthday (actually 2-22), George!

Most holidays have a food association … maybe I am glad this is not the case!”According to Brookes, they sat down to a leg of boiled pork, a goose, roast beef, cold boiled beef, mutton chops, hominy, cabbage, potatoes, pickles, fried tripe and onions.”

So toast old George today –

“The hero whose birth we celebrate — may the virtuous principles which ever have influenced his conduct be preserved through succeeding generations.”


Source: Papers of George Washington

-and-

Happy Presidents’ Day, Abe!

When it comes to food, I think I am more in tune with Lincoln.
“President Lincoln did have two favorite dishes, Chicken_Fricassee with Biscuits and Oyster_Stew. Actually, he loved oysters just about any way they were served. His dessert tastes were simple as well with Apple_Pie being a favorite. His seldom drank alcohol of any sort. Water was his favorite beverage. On one occasion, a hamper of choice imported wines was sent to Mrs. Lincoln for use at White House functions. She sent it on to a military hospital saying, “I never use any and Mr. Lincoln never touches any.” Alcoholic beverages were seldom served at White House entertainments.”

Source: Lincoln’s Favorite Foods

I agree with EWP … Fried Tripe–yum, NOT

Children/Places:  It’s confirmed.  jack made a good choice.

“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.”

Boulder rated happiest, healthiest city in U.S. in new Gallup poll – Boulder Daily Camera

Basketball: Not a surprise … Larry Brown: Michael Jordan intent on buying Bobcats – CharlotteObserver.com

Davidson: Really neat story about a Davidson grad… » A School Grows in Brooklyn: ‘Saw 6′ v. Barnes & Noble

Architecture/Design: Slide show of design and architecture at the 2010 Olympics.  Designing the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics | Slideshows

Design: A little long … but definitely one of the coolest things have seen in a while.

The 9-Minute History of Charlotte, NC, in an Animated Pop-Up Map …

Media/Davidson ’82: Very interesting Admissions Video. Viral Video: Yale University’s Admissions Video | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Funny extra … If you go to the version below, you will see the daughter of a fellow Davidsonian. ” She’s wearing a blue. and white wide-striped shirt with a bright yellow cardigan. … pause the version below at 13:37 you’ll see her a couple rows back. ”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGn3-RW8Ajk

Education: New Plan Would Let High Schoolers Graduate Early – NYTimes.com. i agree with Mp that there is some value in spending four years in a place.

Movies: I wonder if John would do this??  Man Endures 30 Chick Flicks in 30 Days – Asylum.com

I joke that HIS “perfect” movie would have naked women shooting guns on horseback in a submarine/spaceship … and he jokes that HER perfect movie involves two people staring at each other never leaving the confines of 4 walls … but with a great view.

Religion: “Lent is a time for intentionality of care for the interior self. Not for self’s sake at all, but so that it will be “good soil” to receive the Resurrection Word.” Source: The Fast Track « Hopelens Blog

Life: Well, I can’t imagine life without a good library. More people check out their libraries – BackTalk

Local Eats: … had a delightful lunch (grilled cheese sandwich and cup of corn chowder at Mert’s) with delightful friends (Barb and Allison) … great recommendation ASG!  Mert’s Heart and Soul Restaurant Charlotte NC Merts Official Site

Bookshelf/Book Club:  … just finished this month’s book club selection – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Have you read it? What did you think?  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


I hope you had a week filled with good things. Thanks for sharing my week EWP, ARM, LHM, MP, CHS, EWM, ASG, BK, JSM, LBB.

-d

23
Jan
10

New Day/My Saturday Posts

Since my friends think I post way too much junk on Facebook, I decided to use a blog instead.  I hope you are will enjoy reading and discussing here!

So these are my posts for today …

— Book club last night: My Stroke of Insight ..

.

“Through the eyes of a curious neuroanatomist, she watched her mind completely deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. “

The book was very good.  See – http://www.mystrokeofinsight.com/

–Enjoyed this … WSJ’s Peggy Noonan  is good this week.  So, are you a nut or a creep? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575017503811443526.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_BelowLEFTSecond

noonan

— I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of slavery — do not have any other gods before me …



Source: http://www.fakesteve.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Moses-Jobs72.jpg

(fakesteve.net is a very funny site… )

— RIP Eric Segal …

Source: 

http://likethedew.com/2010/01/21/love-means-being-sorry-to-say-you’re-dead/

(Like the Dew is one of my favorite sites … may have to order a t-shirt)

— I just love political cartoons …

Political cartoons

Source: http://www.time.com/time/cartoonsoftheweek/0,29489,1956222_2028380,00.html

Aren’t Saturdays great?

-d




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