Posts Tagged ‘bookstores

12
Sep
12

9.9.2012 … Football … Oh, my … it may be a long fall …

#FMSphotoaday, Panthers: 

9. “something you do most weekends”

Well, I watch football against my will … Well, not against my will. If the Panthers are away, I am at home on the sofa; if Panthers are at home, Bank of America Stadium, row 5.

My funny friend asked if I wanted her to take a picture of me sleeping. Zzzzzzzz

#FMSphotoaday

Being Green, Viral, FaceBook:  This one hit home …

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f

or future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

via Dennard Lindsey Teague.Photo: Being Green</p><br /> <p>Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. </p><br /> <p>The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." </p><br /> <p>The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f<br /><br /> or future generations." </p><br /> <p>She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. </p><br /> <p>Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled. </p><br /> <p>But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. </p><br /> <p>Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. </p><br /> <p>But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then. </p><br /> <p>We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. </p><br /> <p>But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. </p><br /> <p>Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. </p><br /> <p>But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day. </p><br /> <p>Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. </p><br /> <p>But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then. </p><br /> <p>We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. </p><br /> <p>But we didn't have the green thing back then. </p><br /> <p>Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. </p><br /> <p>But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then? </p><br /> <p>Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person. </p><br /> <p>We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

The White House, FLOTUS, Kids’ State Dinner, Kudos:

The challenge: Come up with a healthy lunch recipe that includes all the food groups and tastes delicious. The reward: a once-in-a-lifetime trip to our nation’s capital to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. More than 1,200 creative junior chefs ages 8 to 12 submitted recipes for Epicurious’s first-ever Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest, and on August 20, 2012, we met the 54 talented winners from across the American states and territories.

via The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner at Epicurious.com.

Bookstores:  Interesting!  Flavorwire » 10 Awesome Bookstores Repurposed from Unused Structures.

News, Public Safety:  Speed Limit Hits 85 MPH on Texas Highway – WSJ.com.

American Chef Corps:  i like this … wouldn’t it be  a great job for a recent grad.

 Clinton is enlisting top-rated chefs from across the nation to join an effort to forge cultural exchanges over the dining table worldwide.

On Friday, more than 80 chefs are being inducted into the first American Chef Corps. These food experts could help the State Department prepare meals for visiting dignitaries, travel to U.S. embassies abroad for educational programs with foreign audiences or host culinary experts from around the world in their U.S. kitchens.

via State Department Enlists 1st American Chef Corps To Serve As Culinary Diplomats.

HOPE, law, criminal law:  Stupid …

A New York judge has sentenced artist Shepard Fairey to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service for lying and destroying evidence relevant to the Associated Press’ complaint that he’d used one of its images of Barack Obama as the basis for his iconic “HOPE” poster. Fairey admitted in 2009 he’d “submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings.” He pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in February.

via Shepard Fairey gets probation for actions in AP photo case | Poynter..

culture, women’s movement:  The end of men?

The result, Ms. Rosin painstakingly shows, is virtually a reversal of the psychological landscape of the 1960s and 1970s. Then, men wondered why they should give up freedom and sex for marriage, child care and the burden of financial responsibility; now it is women asking that question. Then, men complained of clinging, freeloading wives; now Ms. Rosin hears repeatedly from women that, in the words of one executive, women should “be very careful about marrying freeloading, bloodsucking parasites.” Then, it was women who tamped down their aspirations, knowing the objective unlikelihood of attaining them; now it’s the men who have “fear of success” and a “why bother?” attitude. Then, if women had casual sex it was to keep the guy happy; now many have casual sex for their own pleasure and to keep from being derailed from their career goals with something “serious.”

via Book Review: The End of Men – WSJ.com.

TS Eliot, poetry: Just liked this one …

I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

via I said to my soul, be still and wait without… • literary jukebox.

Things to Ponder:

“To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?”

“Generating interesting connections between disparate subjects is what makes art so fascinating to create and to view . . . we are forced to contemplate a new, higher pattern that binds lower ones together.”

via Why emotional excess is necessary to creativity, Hitchens on mortality, the science of why we cry, and more.

ObamaCare, US:  

As the country ages and more than 30 million new patients enter the health care system under the Affordable Care Act, experts predict that soon, there won’t be enough doctors for everyone who wants to see one—a shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. To meet the demand, a surging class of almost-but-not-quite-doctors known as physician assistants, are stepping up to fill the M.D.’s shoes.

via The doctor won’t be seeing you now – MarketWatch.

movies, film and lit:  Any you’d like to see?

Still, there are a few literary big-hitters that have yet to make their way to film. Franzen’s “The Corrections” is a prime example – although the National Book Award-winning novel was optioned by Scott Rudin, HBO announced in May of this year that they wouldn’t turn the pilot until a full series.

via Book Movies: 7 Novels That Should Be Adapted.

Downton Abbey:

“Downton Abbey” fans, there’s a new trailer for season 3, which airs on television soon in the U.K. but doesn’t hit these shores until January.via New ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3 Trailer Arrives – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Oprah, Twitter, quotes:

“All things are lessons that God would have us learn”. Such a great teaching if you look at your whole life that way.#SuperSoulSunday

27
Oct
11

10.27.2011 … Yoga at the Y with the Molls … Namaste …

Northern Lights, GA:  My son has seen the Northern Lights in Canada … It’s on my list.  Never would have thought I could see them in North Georgia.

A solar storm on Monday led to a rare and impressive overnight display of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, that was seen as far south as north Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“A big geomagnetic storm caused the rare Aurora this far south,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

The website spaceweather.com reported that a coronal mass ejection hit Earth at about 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, sparking the intense geomagnetic storm that left a red hue in the northern sky far south of areas that normally experience the Northern Lights.

The website said that Monday night’s Aurora was seen in more than half of all U.S. states.

“Many observers, especially in the deep South, commented on the pure red color of the lights they saw,” the website said. “These rare all-red auroras sometimes appear during intense geomagnetic storms.”

<iframe src=’http://widget.newsinc.com/single.html?WID=2&VID=23541662&freewheel=69016&sitesection=ajc&#8217; height=’320′ width=’425′ scrolling=’no’ frameborder=’0′ marginwidth=’0′ marginheight=’0′>

via North Georgians treated to rare view of Northern Lights  | ajc.com.

Condoleezza Rice, Arab Spring, immigration, education: I really like Rice. Wish I had seen her in Charlotte.

3. The Arab Spring is up there with 9/11 and the global financial crisis as great shocks shaping the world. The average American knows the movement against Middle East dictators is important, but few, we bet, would put that up with 9/11 and the recession.

2. America is wrong to be so anti-immigrant. Immigrants have made this country great, and can continue to do so, she said. A top Russian official boasted to Rice that it had the best minds in technology. “Yes,” Rice said, “unfortunately, they’re all working in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv.” She told the Observer earlier that her biggest regret from her time in the Bush administration was the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to pass. “Sometimes I don’t understand the conversation we’re having about immigration,” she said Tuesday. “When did immigrants become the enemy?”

1. The greatest national security crisis facing the United States? Not al-Qaida. Not Iran. Not North Korea. It’s the crisis in K-12 education.

via O-pinion: Top 5 most surprising things Condi Rice said in Charlotte.

Supreme Court, Freedom of Speech, social networking, education, MySpace Case:

Blue Mountain School District officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a ruling for a student disciplined for a MySpace parody of the middle school principal.

In a petition filed Tuesday and docketed Thursday by the nation’s highest court, district officials asked the court to hear their arguments in favor of overturning the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 13 decision overturning the 2007 suspension of a student identified only as J.S.

The petition asked the court to issue a writ of certiorari, which is the official order indicating that it will hear the case.

By an 8-6 vote, the circuit court ruled that the parodies J.S. and a friend posted were protected by the First Amendment because they were created off school grounds, and that they were unlikely to cause significant disruptions in the school.

via Education Week: School District Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear MySpace Case.

faith and spirituality, The Church:  “Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.”

As Jesus was one human person among many, the Church is one organization among many.  And just as there may have been people with more attractive appearances than Jesus, there may be many organizations that are a lot better run than the Church.   But Jesus is the Christ appearing among us to reveal God’s love, and the Church is his people called together to make his presence visible in today’s world.

Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.

via Daily Meditation: The Church, God’s People.

NFL, Redskins, black fans, DC, history:  Redemption story?

Fifty years ago this fall, civil rights groups protested the opening of D.C. Stadium, whose most important tenants — the Washington Redskins — were the last National Football League team to remain segregated. A half-century after many area sports fans boycotted the team for racial reasons, the Redskins have an unrivaled hold on Washington’s black community.

The affinity for the team is seen at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church on fall Sundays, when the Rev. Joseph Gilmore Jr., dismisses his parishioners at 12:30 so he can get situated in his “man cave” before kickoff.

The deep relationship between the Washington area’s black sports fans and the Redskins is supported by a new Washington Post poll , which found that two-thirds of African American fans have a favorable view of the team and four in 10 feel that way “strongly.” Less than half of white fans have an overall favorable view. The racial differences concerning Daniel Snyder, the team’s owner, are even starker. Black fans are fairly evenly divided on Snyder, but 72 percent of white sports fans in the area give Snyder negative marks, compared with 9 percent positive.

via Black fans have grown to love the Redskins – The Washington Post.

zombies, apps, games: Think John needs a Zombie game?

iPhone

The very concept of escape when it comes to zombies has become, from an entertainment perspective, next to impossible. They’ve saturated media and spread their virus across the public consciousness, and like the shambling hordes themselves, their appearances just keep coming. The outbreak of their pop-cultural contagion is a grim allegory to how things would probably go down if flesh-eaters suddenly invaded more than just our minds and wallets.

Dead Escape, then, is just another in the zombie ranks, with its only real differentiation being that it looks pretty nice for an iOS game. Interestingly, it’s not a combat game; in fact it only carries a “9+” rating on the App Store. Instead, it takes the familiar third-person horror genre perspective and combines it ever so slightly with a point-and-click adventure approach. This doesn’t always work, however. There’s little fear when the game refers to a zombie as an “obstacle” that you have to “get rid of,” which may involve simply finding an alternate escape route. And the zombies all inexplicably just stand there; a probable cost-cutting measure in the game’s design that makes Dead Escape one of the least thrilling infection scenarios we’ve seen to date.

via Dead Escape Review | Mac|Life.

Japan earthquake/tsunami 2011, followup, photo gallery:  Great cleanup.  I do not think the US would be nearly as far along.

Last Sunday was the six-month anniversary of the day the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s northeast coast.

Some 20,000 people are dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society estimates that 400,000 people were displaced.

Half a year later, there are physical signs of progress.

Much of the debris has been cleared away or at least organized into big piles.

via The Frame: Japan marks 6 months since earthquake, tsunami.

Tawakkol Karman, Yemen, Arab Spring:

Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Yemen, says that she is frustrated by what she sees as the “ambiguous” policies of the Obama administration toward the Arab Spring.

On one hand, she says, President Obama has made speeches supporting a transition to democracy in the Arab Middle East, and the administration appears to have backed popular movements for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt.

But in Yemen, Karman said in an interview Thursday, the perception is that the administration still has not detached itself from the authoritarian regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, which it has regarded as an ally in the war against terrorism.

….

Karman said that she traveled to Washington to make the argument to the Obama administration that it should break definitively with Saleh. It can do this, she said, by taking two steps: supporting the strongman’s referral to the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges and freezing his personal assets and those of his family. The United States adopted both measures in the case of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

“It is the obligation of the international community and the United States as the leader of freedom and democracy to stand on the side of the Yemeni people,” she said. “Saleh’s regime is over. It is just a matter of time. We, the young people, are the future, so it is in your interest to stand with us.”

via A Nobel Peace Prize winner questions Obama – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.

 

Three-Line Novels: Precursor to twitter?

Artist, anarchist and literary entrepreneur Félix Fénéon was the one-man Twitter of early 20th-century France. Between May and November of 1906, he wrote 1,220 succinct and near-surrealist three-line reports in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, serving to inform of everything from notable deaths to petty theft to naval expedition disasters. In Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, artist Joanna Neborsky captures the best of these enigmatic vignettes in stunning illustrations and collages, inspired by Luc Sante’s English translation of Fénéon’s gems for the New York Review of Books. Sometimes profound, often perplexing, and always prepossessing, these visual snapshots of historical micro-narratives offer a bizarre and beautiful glimpse of a long-gone French era and a man of rare

via Illustrated Three-Line Novels by the One-Man Twitter of 1906 France | Brain Pickings.

The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, books:  Sounds interesting …

The prison library counter, his new post, attracts con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. There’s an anxious pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing a memoir. A passionate gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle. A disgruntled officer who instigates a major feud over a Post-it note. A doomed ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son, himself an inmate. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves — a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor. But when the struggles of the prison library — between life and death, love and loyalty — become personal, Steinberg is forced to take sides.

via Amazon.com: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (9780385529099): Avi Steinberg: Books.

Steve Jobs, bookstores, random:  Steve is watching …

As you can see by the photo embedded above, bookstore employees photographed Walter Isacsson‘s book in various locations around the store in a playful memorial to the late Apple CEO.  What do you think?

via Steve Jobs Watches Over Bookstores – GalleyCat.

RIP, places, lists:  Can you guess who is on the list?  Rest in Peace (and Mystery): Top 6 Secret Burials – TIME NewsFeed.

Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs:  Who will be our net visionary?

Bezos has an opportunity to become a very strong innovator, because there is a vacuum left by the tragic death of Steve Jobs, and I’m sure he sees that as an opportunity. He sees an opportunity and he is going to jump on it. It will be interesting to see the direction he takes Amazon going forward. I’m sure he’s going to continue to surprise us with new features and new products.

via Can Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Fill the Void Left by Steve Jobs? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

nostalgia, ’90s tv, millenials:  I can’t stand the 90’s show!!

This summer, some of the television shows that defined the ‘90s started airing again…some simply as reruns, but others as updated versions.

In July, Nickelodeon began airing The ‘90s Are All That, a program beginning at midnight that features popular series from the ‘90s such as All That, Kenan and Kel, Clarissa Explains It All, and Doug. Since TeenNick brought the shows back, they have averaged a 50% ratings increase among viewers 18-34.

On Thursday, Beavis and Butt-Head will make its much-anticipated return to MTV, but with certain revisions. For example, the notorious twosome will now be watching Jersey Shore.

Millennials (those born after 1980 and before 2000), often accused of being lazy and spoiled, are now facing unemployment (even though most are well-educated and highly qualified for positions) and high stress levels. In this time of uncertainty, they find these shows comforting. Experts explain the trend as “instant nostalgia.”

“I guess I have comfort in familiarity I forgot I had,” Margolis said. “Seeing an episode of Kenan and Kel that I hadn’t watched in 10 years, but finding that I remember every single word! It’s the best era of TV because the plots were unrealistic but rooted in real-life issues.”

via Nostalgic ’90s television offers escape for Millenials | USA TODAY College.

stink bug invasion, GA: Ughh!

Entomologist Rick Hoebeke tells the Athens Banner-Herald that swarms of brown marmorated stink bugs are probably going to be seeking wintertime refuge inside Georgia homes.

He said the bugs, about a half-inch long, have been known to show up in such numbers that homeowners in Pennsylvania have used buckets and brooms to sweep them off porches.

via UGA researcher warns of stink bug invasion  | ajc.com.

viral videos, LOLJazz for Cows – YouTube.

The “New Hot 5” plays for a herd of cows in Autrans, France.   I’ve never seen cows look so enthused.

via Jazz for Cows.

The Royal Society, archives:  60,000 papers online!   Issac Newton … Ben Franklin …

60,000 peer-reviewed papers, including the first peer-reviewed scientific research journal in the world, are now available free online. The Royal Society has opened its historical archives to the public. Among the cool stuff you’ll find here: Issac Newton’s first published research paper and Ben Franklin’s write-up about that famous kite experiment. Good luck getting anything accomplished today. Or ever again. —

via Royal Society Opens Online Archive; Puts 60,000 Papers Online | Open Culture.

Occupy Wall Street, violence:

New Post polling shows the Occupy Wall Street movement could be a boon for Democrats in 2012. But violent clashes with the police at Occupy Oakland, along with arrests elsewhere, raise questions about how long the movement can last — and whether its message will be muddled by violence.

Oakland police fire tear gas as they prepare to move in to Frank Ogawa Plaza to disperse Occupy Oakland protesters on Tuesday. (JANE TYSKA – AP)

As police start ousting protesters, a disparate movement — one that has been embraced by many Democratic politicians and labor organizations — is struggling to respond.

Protesters in other cities are worried about suddenly finding themselves in a clash with police. And even if the vast majority of protesters are peaceful, violent provocateurs could tarnish the movement’s image in the eyes of the public.

Just as Democrats tried to tie Republicans to the most extreme tea party activists, the Massachusetts Republican Party is already attacking Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren as the “Matriarch of Mayhem” for saying she helped create an intellectual foundation for the protests.

via Occupy movement could be damaged by violent clashes – The Washington Post.

Storify, social news experience:  Interesting concept … social news experience …

Today Storify launched its new editor interface, featuring slicker, easier-to-use tools for fast content curation.

The new foundation flip-flops the search and editor sides of the interface, and places a higher priority on each content curator writing their own text for the story. Photo searches are big and bright, and the results are displayed in a handy gallery format that mimics a slick, white cube art space. The drag-and-drop functionality makes story curation more user-friendly. Previously, Storify didn’t have a logo – now it does. Storify has its own login system now, too.

via Storify Update Feels Like a Cleaner Social News Experience.

visual storytelling: These are fun.

Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling — we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employed animation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of the pictorial superiority effect.

via Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age | Brain Pickings.

viral videos, LOLContrex – Ma Contrexpérience – 97s – YouTube.

college application process, college major:  Good advice on defining yourself.

At the College Board’s annual conference on Wednesday, I listened to an intriguing discussion of how a student’s choice of major may shape her college experience, not to mention her odds of gaining an admission offer in the first place.

Robert Springall, dean of admissions at Bucknell University, described how he weighs information about an applicant’s intended major, or the lack thereof. Mr. Springall, who brings in about 920 new students each year, said that such information is crucial to meeting a variety of enrollment goals.

“I can’t have 920 students who all want to do the same thing, and I can’t have 920 students who all come in undecided,” he said. “I can’t over-enroll engineering and have no classics majors.”

Such are the demands of shaping a class, an act that one might liken to doing a jigsaw puzzle while balancing on a tightrope. Mr. Springall must ensure that there will be enough—but not too many—students to fill each of the university’s four clusters: arts and humanities, natural and physical sciences, the school of management, and the school of engingeering.

On many campuses, the failure to spread the wealth of students among different disciplines might incur the wrath of faculty members, cause scheduling headaches, and perhaps even jeopardize an institution’s accreditation. Moreover, if a student isn’t interested in, say, engineering on day one of his freshman year, he might have problems getting on the engineering track later.

This is why Mr. Springall looks for applicants whose academic interests are at least somewhat defined. “We’re seeing the importance of starting these conversations at the high-school level and, yes, at the middle-school level,” he said.

via What’s Your Major? – Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cape Town SA, World Design Capital 2014, kudos:  One of my favorite cities in the world!

What is WDC2014?

This prestigious status is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.

via World Design Capital Bid 2014 | Cape Town.

Cape Town – World Design Capital 2014 – YouTube.

Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town, South Africa and the African continent.

In her acceptance speech De Lille said: “It is an honour for me to be addressing you here today as mayor of the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. A city belongs to its people and it must be designed for and with them and their communities. For many years, people have been applying innovative solutions to our challenges. They have been using design to transform various aspects of life. But they have often been working without an overarching social goal in mind.

“The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.

via Cape Town Awarded World Design Capital 2014 – A Win For Cape Town, South Africa and The African Continent | World Design Capital Bid 2014.

compassion, faith and spirituality, authority:

There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion.   Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.

via Daily Meditation: The Authority of Compassion.

Condoleezza Rice, Moammar Gaddafi: So strange …

Rice describes a 2008 meeting between the pair that ended with Gaddafi showing her photos of Rice with world leaders — and the performance of a song he had composed in her honor.

“What was going through my head was ‘How long do I have to sit here and how quickly can I get out of here?’ You know, it was funny because when he said, ‘I have a video for you,’ I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this going to be?’ But it was actually just a bunch of pictures of me with Vladimir Putin, me with Hu Jintao,” Rice tells ABC News in an interview set for next week. “And then he said, ‘I have Libya’s best composer, most famous composer write this song for you,’ and it was called ‘Black Flower in the White House.’”

Rice called Gaddafi’s scrapbook “eerie” and labeled the exchange one of the strangest of her tenure.

Asked if the Bush administration grew too close to Gaddafi after he agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Rice said no: “I think what we did was to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction, or the most dangerous ones,” she said.

“We weren’t ever really going to get very close to Gaddafi,” Rice added. “And the most important thing was to try and open up this place that had been closed for so long, to get him out of terrorism, to get him away from weapons of mass destruction, to make it a little bit safer. But it’s far preferable that he’s gone.”

via When Condoleezza Rice met Moammar Gaddafi – The Federal Eye – The Washington Post.

charms, fashion – accessories, Anthropologie:  I did not think charm bracelets would be popular again … 🙂

Charms – Accessories – Anthropologie.com.

faith and spirituality, spiritual master: Who would be mine …

What figure would you choose to be your spiritual master? It might be obvious to you; it might take you some serious reflection. Once you’ve identified a spiritual master, try to learn more about his or her life; think about why you picked that particular figure; and, most important, how to incorporate the lessons of that life into your own life.

For example, when I was annoyed when the woman working next to me at the library kept sighing noisily, I was inspired by St. Thérèse: she tells the story of how she once broke into a sweat at the effort to conquer her annoyance when a fellow nun made maddening clicking noises during evening prayers. I could relate.

I’m curious to know what spiritual masters other people have adopted. Have you found someone whose life or teaching has captivated you? If you’ve identified your spiritual master, please post it—I, and I’m sure other people, would be very interested to see the range of choices.

via The Happiness Project: Your Happiness Project: Imitate a spiritual master..

Occupy Wall Street, ‘Getting Arrested’ app, LOL:

Occupy Wall Street protesters now have a free app to alert others if they’re about to be arrested.

The Daily News (http://nydn.us/uIbKWq ) says the creator of the “I’m Getting Arrested” app is Jason Van Anden, a Brooklyn software developer. It’s available at Android Market.

Van Anden is working to make it available on iPhone.

Here’s how it works: Users write a text message in advance and program a list of recipients. As they’re about to be arrested, users can hit one button and alert everyone on their list.

via AP News: Wall Street protesters get ‘Getting Arrested’ app.

thermostat, Nest Labs:  Remake  of the lowly thermostat …

Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who led iPod and iPhone development from 2001 to 2009, helped transform consumer products used by millions of people. Next up: the humble household thermostat.

The device’s temperature  is set by moving its outer ring.

A boring wall fixture and an unlikely target for innovation? Not to Mr. Fadell, his team of 100 computer hardware and software experts and the venture capitalists backing his Silicon Valley start-up, Nest Labs.

They see the conventional thermostat as a dumb switch that can be changed into a clever digital assistant that saves homeowners money and reduces energy consumption and pollution.

“We’ve built the world’s first learning thermostat — a thermostat for the iPhone generation,” Mr. Fadell said.

Nest Labs, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded last year, is announcing its offering on Tuesday, and plans to begin shipping the $249 thermostat by the middle of November.

Outsiders who have tried out the product are impressed by its stylish design, ease of use and advanced features, like motion-tracking sensors that detect whether people are present and adjust room temperatures accordingly. But it remains to be seen whether consumers and contractors will pay more for a high-tech thermostat, when good enough has been good enough for decades.

via At Nest Labs, Ex-Apple Leaders Remake the Thermostat – NYTimes.com.

Steve Jobs, textbook market, education:  “[T]he Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.”

“Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform,” says a passage in the new book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. It notes that Jobs said he had met with several major textbook publishers, including Pearson. It appears that his primary focus was on the K-12 textbook market. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” Mr. Jobs is quoted as saying. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Mr. Jobs was less keen on the power of his products to change other aspects of education, according to the book. Rupert Murdoch said that during a dinner he had with Mr. Jobs recently, the Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.

via Steve Jobs Had Hopes of Disrupting Textbook Market – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Davidson College, college basketball, SoCon:  Hoping for a good season.

The Davidson men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Southern Conference South Division by the league’s 12 head coaches, the conference announced today, and juniors Jake Cohen and JP Kuhlman were named to the preseason all-conference team.

Davidson earned 10 first-place votes and finished the balloting with 65 points in the South Division. College of Charleston earned the final two first-place votes and finished with 56 points. Georgia Southern was tabbed third (42) ahead of Furman (34). Wofford (32) was selected fifth with The Citadel (17) rounding out the South Division.

via Davidson College Athletics – Men’s Basketball Picked First in SoCon Coaches Poll.

 Jackson Pollock, “Dripped”, animated homage:

Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his distinctive art, his volatile personality and and his unusual creative process the subject of much curiosity and debate. Dripped is a wonderful and beautifully animated French short film by director Léo Verrier, paying homage to the great artist. Set in 1950s New York, the film follows Pollock’s ecstatic, passionate quest for truth, beauty and art as he finds the creative voice that catapulted him to the top of the art world — a mid-week treat of the finest kind

via Dripped: French Animated Homage to Jackson Pollock | Brain Pickings.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/24455397″>Dripped – Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/chezeddy”>ChezEddy</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

BONES, season 7:  next week …

“Do I want to tell you this?” Hanson questioned. “No, there will not be a time jump after the baby is born. We will continue on. There’s no time jump. We’re going to see it through as a cohesive story from the time we come back in the beginning of the season to the end of the season. There will be no time jumps.”

But that doesn’t mean the lab will be sans Brennan for any sort of traditional maternity leave.

“Do you think Brennan would take maternity leave?” he laughed. “I don’t consider a couple days [away] a time jump…the audience should not feel a time jump [when she comes back to work].”

Looking forward to the episodes airing in 2012, Hanson teased that in addition to the return of the new serial killer, Booth and Brennan will be struggling to figure out the latest shift in their relationship.

“The personal stuff will be how does a couple have a child, work together and deal with each other, while maintaining the fact that we’re a murder show,” Hanson said. “We’re still going to solve a murder each week. So it’s going to be a murder show each week, for that segment of the audience, and we’re going to see how are they going to [balance their relationship]. That’s what the last 7 [or so] episodes of the season will be. How does that work [for them]?”

via BONES: Hart Hanson Teases Season 7 | Give Me My Remote.

Pink flash mob, Breast Cancer Awareness:

A pink flash mob broke out in Reston Town Center to raise breast cancer awareness this weekend.

About 100 people, decked out in pink T-shirts emblazoned with the words “In It Because I Care,” danced for about three minutes to promote breast cancer awareness month and the 2012 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

via Pink flash mob raises breast cancer awareness – The Buzz – The Washington Post.

Avon Walk Mob Dance 2011 – YouTube.

Megabus, Atlanta:  Already have two overnights booked.  Yeah!!

Starting Nov. 16, it plans to begin daily departures from a curbside bus stop at the Civic Center MARTA station in downtown Atlanta to Birmingham, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Gainesville, Fla., Jacksonville, Knoxville, Memphis, Mobile, Montgomery, Nashville and Orlando.

The company, like other new-fangled exp

via Megabus to launch express bus service in Atlanta.

college application process, scholarship:  More good advice … Have to search for the left-handedness one!

The key to getting a scholarship is research. Start with your guidance counselor and college financial aid offices. Beyond traditional scholarships for academic achievement, there are literally thousands of special and unusual scholarships out there, each with its own requirements.

These scholarships may emphasize community service, leadership or work experience. Others are for students with very specific interests and talents. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers $5000 each to two students who promote vegetarianism in their school and community; the American Association of Candy Technologists offers $5000 to one lucky student interested in a career in the candy industry. There are even scholarships for left handedness, twins, knitters and skateboarders.

Make sure to do your homework; look at all the details. Pick those scholarships that match your interests and qualifications. Proofread your application. Then, proofread it again. And most importantly, don’t miss the deadline!

via Unigo Expert Network: Scholarships 101 What are the craziest college scholarships? | USA TODAY College.

John McCarthy, RIP, artificial intelligence: Rest in Peace, John McCarthy … you sound like a phenomenal person.

He remained an independent thinker throughout his life. Some years ago, one of his daughters presented him with a license plate bearing one of his favorite aphorisms: “Do the arithmetic or be doomed to talk nonsense.”

via John McCarthy, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 84 – NYTimes.com.

twitter:

RT @aaltman82 Amy Winehouse’s alcohol poisoning is poetically rendered by coroner as “death by misadventure.” Brits do have a way with words

public colleges, economy:

Tuition increases at public colleges have been a source of concern across the country as states grapple with budget cuts, and “there’s a tendency to look at national numbers,” said Sandy Baum, an independent policy analyst for the College Board and an author of the reports, who also contributes to a Chronicle blog. Yet, she said, the price increases facing students vary significantly from state to state. In Connecticut and South Carolina, for example, tuition at public four-year colleges grew by only about 2.5 percent; and in Montana and North Dakota, tuition and fees at public two-year colleges grew by less than 2 percent.

via Rise in Sticker Price at Public Colleges Outpaces That at Private Colleges for 5th Year in a Row – Admissions & Student Aid – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Apple, Maiden NC,  solar farm, green, kudos: Kudos, Apple!

The Charlotte Observer and the Hickory Daily Record report that Apple is clearing about 100 acres of land to build a solar farm adjacent to their Maiden, NC data center.

via Apple building solar farm at Maiden, NC data center | CLT Blog.

random, art, NYC: Very weird … performance artist gives birth in museum.

Marni Kotak has given birth to her first child — inside a New York City art gallery.

The 36-year-old performance artist gave birth to a healthy 9-pound, 2-ounce, and 21-inch-long baby boy at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn. Kotak had set up a home-birth center at the gallery, turning her space into a brightly decorated bedroom with ocean blue walls and photo-imprinted pillows.

“Baby X” was born at 10:17 a.m., according to a statement from the museum.

via NYC performance artist gives birth in museum  | ajc.com.

Litfy, e-books: free e-books …

Read all the novels you want, anywhere, anytime, on any device, for free.

via Litfy – All the free e-books you can muster.

GOP, war on science and reason:  Great intro … LOL

Last month, Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein wrote that if you wanted to come up with a bumper sticker that defined the Republican Party’s platform it would be this: “Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.” With their unrelenting attempts to slash Social Security, end Medicare and Medicaid and destroy the social safety net, Republicans are, indeed, on a quest of reversal. But they have set their sights on an even bolder course than Pearlstein acknowledges in his column: It’s not just the 20th century they have targeted for repeal; it’s the 18th and 19th too.

via The Republicans’ war on science and reason – The Washington Post.

Great Recession, unemployment, careers:

Everybody’s heard the complaints about recruiting lately.

Even with unemployment hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can’t find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting.

Employers are quick to lay blame. Schools aren’t giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn’t letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on.

But I believe that the real culprits are the employers themselves.

With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time.

In other words, to get a job, you have to have that job already. It’s a Catch-22 situation for workers—and it’s hurting companies and the economy.

via Why Companies Can’t Find the Employees They Need – WSJ.com.

philosophy:  Just read it … times have changed?

For years I have been making use of a plane crash example to illustrate the moral distinction between killing people and letting people die and the results have always been the same, at least until this past week. Before getting to that, I will briefly present the examples.

I usually open my discussion of utilitarianism by noting that people tend to have utilitarian intuitions in many cases, such as those involving emergency medial treatment. My stock example is as follows:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with six people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. Examining the people, you know that if you try to save the badly injured pilot, you will lose 3-4 of the others for sure. But, if you allow the pilot to die, you are certain you can save at least four of the passengers, maybe even five. What do you do?”

As you might suspect, everyone always says something like “save the five because five is more than one.”

When transitioning to my discussion of rule-deontology, I make the point that sometimes our intuitions seem to steer us away from just the consequences to also considering the action itself. To illustrate this intuition, I change the story just a bit:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with five people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. To save them, you need a lot of blood and you need it fast. Coincidentally, Ted the hermit has come in for his yearly checkup. Ted has no friends or relatives and no one checks up on him. By a truly amazing coincidence Ted’s blood type means that he can donate to all five people. Unfortunately, getting enough blood to save all five will kill Ted. What do you do?”

For years, my students have said that killing Ted even to save five people would be wrong and I fully expected my current students  to give the same answer. But, rather than the usual “that would be wrong”, I was met with silence. So, I asked again and two students said that they’d drain Ted. When I said that this was the first class that ever said that, the reply was “times have changed.”

I’m not quite sure what the significance of this might be, but it was certainly interesting.

via Talking Philosophy | Example Failure.

Princess Bride, movies:  Not my favorite movie but I found this “history” interesting.   ‘Princess Bride’: An Oral History | Inside Movies | EW.com.

war crimes, Moammar Gaddafi: This will be interesting.

Gaddafi’s family plans to file a war crimes complaint against NATO with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alliance’s alleged role in his death, the family’s lawyer said.

Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Gaddafi’s regime and now represents his family, told AFP news agency on Wednesday that a complaint would be filed with the Hague-based ICC because NATO’s attack on the convoy led directly to his death.

“The wilful killing (of someone protected by the Geneva Convention) is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute,” he said.

He said he could not yet say when the complaint would be filed, but said it would target both NATO executive bodies and the leaders of alliance member states.

via Libya – Oct 26, 2011 – 12:05 | Al Jazeera Blogs.

Robert J. Zimmer, liberal arts education:

And yet, in a roundabout, academic fashion, the university president did imply that liberal arts skills are both translatable and necessary to all things in life.

“Not all students want or need the same education,” Mr. Zimmer said. “But even students who are being trained in a very particular area will have to confront the issue of how what they’re doing connects to what others are doing.”

He then went on to define liberal arts learning as, among other things, an education in “how to integrate multiple perspectives.”

Mr. Zimmer warned against viewing the workplace as a “collection of buckets or isolated specializations,” and he emphasized the interconnectedness of different fields and skills.

“There are arguments about the value of liberal arts education. Tuition costs are a major concern. There are financial and political pressures on institutions to show immediate value,” Mr. Zimmer conceded.

But, ultimately, he said, such concerns should not obscure the mission of liberal arts institutions: “to help students lead fuller lives and be better citizens.”

At the conclusion of Mr. Zimmer’s remarks, an audience member jumped up and asked, “People who were products of liberal arts educations at the best institutions in the country led us into the Iraq war. How do you explain that?”

“Not everybody agrees on what to do,” Mr. Zimmer responded. “It’s a good question.”

via Robert J. Zimmer on the Value of a Liberal Arts Diploma – NYTimes.com.

income gap, poverty, The South, Atlanta:

Atlanta has widest income gap between rich and poor of all the major U.S. cities, the U.S. Census reported on Wednesday. New Orleans ranked second, followed by the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. …

Rounding out the list of 10 big cities with the largest gaps between high and low income are Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville, all in Florida; Athens, Ga.; New York; Dallas; and Baton Rouge, La.

Cities in the South seem to have more than their share of inequality, don’t they? Maybe, this kind of thing happens when you’re pro-business, anti-union workers?

via LikeTheDew.com, Gap between U.S. rich, poor is widest in Atlanta – US news – Life – msnbc.com.

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Sep
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9.27.2011 … started a new bible study at FPC … and I loved it … Genesis … In the beginning …

FPC Tuesday Bible Study, Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation, Genesisfaith and culture: Great first class … creation.

TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY:  This weekly study meets on Tuesdays from 11:45- 1:00 in the Pattie Cole Room (S203). Led by Reverend Roland Perdue the group will study Jonathan Sacks’ recent book, Covenant and Conversation, Genesis: the Book of Beginnings. Using the text, Scripture and supplemental readings, we will examine current issues and concerns in the biblical context and discuss them from the vantage point of a dialogue between faith and culture.

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Steven Pinker, violence, history:  Great piece …

“How bad was the world in the past?”

Believe it or not, the world of the past was much worse. Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.

The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth. It has not brought violence down to zero, and it is not guaranteed to continue. But it is a persistent historical development, visible on scales from millennia to years, from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.

This claim, I know, invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger. We tend to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which we can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. There will always be enough violent deaths to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from its actual likelihood.

Evidence of our bloody history is not hard to find. Consider the genocides in the Old Testament and the crucifixions in the New, the gory mutilations in Shakespeare’s tragedies and Grimm’s fairy tales, the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.

For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment that we can savor—and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible.

via Steven Pinker: Why Violence Is Vanishing – WSJ.com.

teenagers, brain development, culture:  … what’s wrong with these kids?!  …

Through the ages, most answers have cited dark forces that uniquely affect the teen. Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that “the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine.” A shepherd in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale wishes “there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.” His lament colors most modern scientific inquiries as well. G. Stanley Hall, who formalized adolescent studies with his 1904 Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, believed this period of “storm and stress” replicated earlier, less civilized stages of human development. Freud saw adolescence as an expression of torturous psychosexual conflict; Erik Erikson, as the most tumultuous of life’s several identity crises. Adolescence: always a problem.

Such thinking carried into the late 20th century, when researchers developed brain-imaging technology that enabled them to see the teen brain in enough detail to track both its physical development and its patterns of activity. These imaging tools offered a new way to ask the same question—What’s wrong with these kids?—and revealed an answer that surprised almost everyone. Our brains, it turned out, take much longer to develop than we had thought. This revelation suggested both a simplistic, unflattering explanation for teens’ maddening behavior—and a more complex, affirmative explanation as well.

via Teenage Brains – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine.

Herman Cain, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Florida Straw Poll:  This process is a nightmare … who cares about these straw polls …

Herman Cain, Ex-CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, pulls stunning upset over Rick Perry.

via GOP in Disarray After Shocking Florida Straw Poll | Video – ABC News.

Troy Davis, death penalty: Another voice against the death penalty …

Last Wednesday, as the state of Georgia prepared to execute Troy Davis despite concerns about his guilt, I wrote a letter with five former death-row wardens and directors urging Georgia prison officials to commute his sentence. I feared not only the risk of Georgia killing an innocent man, but also the psychological toll it would exact on the prison workers who performed his execution. “No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt,” we wrote in our letter.

via Ordering Death in Georgia Prisons – The Daily Beast.

war: This article reminds me of last week’s clip about Sebastian Junger’s talk at Davidson. “The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb …”

It’s just life or death: the simplicity of it,” said Cpl. Robert Cole of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which ends a seven-month deployment in the southern region of Sangin in October. “It’s also kind of nice in some ways because you don’t have to worry about anything else in the world.”

The dominant narrative about war in a foreign land says its practitioners yearn for home, for the families, the comforts, and the luxury of no longer worrying about imminent death or injury. It applies to young American troops in Afghan combat zones, but it’s not the whole truth.

Combat can deliver a sense of urgency, meaning, order and belonging. There is the adrenaline-fueled elation of a firefight, and the horror of rescuing a comrade wounded by a bomb on patrol. It is magnified, instantaneous experience. An existence boiled down to the essentials mocks the mundane detritus, the quibbles and bill-paying and anonymity, of life back home.

Various books, films and television series address the theme of troops liking aspects of war, or missing it when they get home. Many focus on the sacrifice, the brotherhood, or the bloodshed, or some combination. Norman Mailer’s novel, “The Naked and the Dead,” and the 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” are among works that explore the psychological impact of intense combat on its protagonists.

Some who come from rural areas in the United States feel a curious affinity with Afghanistan and its web of sparsely populated villages and farmland. Capt. Brian Huysman of Delphos, Ohio — “Good luck finding Delphos on the map,” he said — sees parallels between the “small town mentality” and rivalries back home and the jostling for advantage among local leaders in southern Afghan settlements.

“It’s very eerie,” said Huysman, Weapons Company commander for the battalion.

When these men are retired veterans, many will look back on Afghanistan as a place of loss, but also a place that made them better than they were, whether the U.S. military succeeds in its long-term goals or not. The cult of sacrifice finds expression in a shrine to the missing in action of past wars in the dining hall at Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

via The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb: US Marines enjoy some aspects of Afghan war – The Washington Post.

photography, photo gallery, LIFE:  I love these … The beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things— Seeing Shadows

50656806.jpg

To think of shadows,” Victor Hugo wrote in his great novel, Les Miserables, “is a serious thing.” Hugo, of course, was addressing vast concepts — justice, memory, vengeance — both in the book and in that particular quote. But the beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things: symbols, suggestions, riddles, jokes, threats. They can be anything, or they can simply be themselves — which is a central reason why they’re so cool. Pictured: A handmade Shaker basket sitting on the floor amid a grid of shadows in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.

via Seeing Shadows – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

mens rea, Federal Criminal Code, legal history: Originally 20 federal crimes … now over 4500.

For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

Back in 1790, the first federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 federal crimes. Today there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s.

One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.

Under English common law principles, most U.S. criminal statutes traditionally required prosecutors not only to prove that defendants committed a bad act, but also that they also had bad intentions. In a theft, don’t merely show that the accused took someone’s property, but also show that he or she knew it belonged to someone else.

Over time, lawmakers have devised a sliding scale for different crimes. For instance, a “willful” violation is among the toughest to prove.

Requiring the government to prove a willful violation is “a big protection for all of us,” says Andrew Weissmann, a New York attorney who for a time ran the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Enron Corp. Generally speaking in criminal law, he says, willful means “you have the specific intent to violate the law.”

A lower threshold, attorneys say, involves proving that someone “knowingly” violated the law. It can be easier to fall afoul of the law under these terms.

via ‘Mens Rea’ Legal Protection Erodes in U.S. as Federal Criminal Code Expands – WSJ.com.

Ford Motor Company, marketing, politics, White House, President Obama, automotive bailout: Marketing and politics don’t mix.

As part of a campaign featuring “real people” explaining their decision to buy the Blue Oval, a guy named “Chris” says he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” according the text of the ad, launched in early September.

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”

That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

via Columnists | Ford pulls its ad on bailouts | The Detroit News.

Amanda Knox, criminal cases, Jessica Rabbit: I don’t follow these big cases daily, but how could I not click when her lawyer says Knox “more like Jessica Rabbit.”

A defense lawyer has told a court to see Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her roommate, not as the “femme fatale” her accusers describe but rather as a loving young woman.

Giulia Bongiorno even compared Knox to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, saying Tuesday she is faithful like the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” character.

Amanda Knox called “she-devil” in court

Anxiety grips Amanda Knox as appeal wraps up

Prosecutors compare Amanda Knox to Nazis

Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, a British student in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Bongiorno, Sollecito’s lawyer, paraphrased a famous line from the movie saying Knox “is not bad, she’s just drawn that way.”

“Jessica Rabbit looks like a man-eater, but she is a faithful and loving woman,” Bongiorno said.

via Amanda Knox lawyer: She’s no “femme fatale” – CBS News.

 Banned Books Week, Virtual Read-Out, Gossip Girl:  A reading from Cecily von Ziegesar’s GOSSIP GIRL – YouTube.

Professor Jim Miller, University of Wisconsin, criminal charges, free speech, constitutional law: Sigh …

A professor has been censored twice, reported to the “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller’s poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

via ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus – FIRE.

digital photography, organization, tips:

That’s where a good photo organizer comes in. There are many available, but I’ll concentrate here on Google’s Picasa. It’s not my personal favorite (that would be Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery, which handles tags much better than Picasa), but it’s popular, free, and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

via How to Organize Your Digital Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Troy Davis, RIP: I honestly never thought about his or any executed individual’s funeral … makes me feel less human.  Maybe that is my issue with the death penalty … it takes away my/our humanity.

The family of Troy Davis has scheduled his funeral for Saturday in his hometown of Savannah.

Davis’ younger sister, Kimberly Davis, said Tuesday the public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. funeral service at Jonesville Baptist Church.

Davis was executed in Georgia’s death chamber last week for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insisted he was innocent, but courts ultimately upheld his conviction. Thousands of supporters worldwide protested Davis’ execution, saying the case raised too many doubts about his guilt.

Because some people recanted their testimony, the Davis case has added to the debate over eyewitness reliability.

via Troy Davis funeral set for Saturday in Savannah  | ajc.com.

recipes, chicken:  Just looking at the pictures makes me want chicken! Recipes for Chicken Dishes – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

bookstores, end of an era, Oxford Books, Atlanta, kith/kin:  Friday nights in Atlanta my mom and dad always went to the local bookstore Oxford Books … sad when things change.

In a gloomy post, TechCrunch predicted that bookstores will be virtually extinct by 2018.  The Future Of Books: A Dystopian Timeline also imagined a “great culling of publishers” in 2019.

What do you think? Extrapolating from the rapid growth of eBooks and declines in print sales, the post took a dark view of print books. Here are a few excerpts:

“2015 – The death of the Mom and Pops. Smaller book stores will use the real estate to sell coffee and Wi-Fi. Collectable bookstores will still exist in the margins.”

“2018 – The last Barnes & Noble store converts to a cafe and digital access point.”

“2019 – B&N and Amazon’s publishing arms – including self-pub – will dwarf all other publishing.”

via TechCrunch Predicts Bookstores Will Disappear by 2018 – GalleyCat.

dating methods, media, Christianity, BBC:  BBC dropped the B.C./A.D. dating method and outraged Christians … I saw this happening in my children’s history books …  and I wondered who makes these decisions …

British Christians are incensed after the state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E. and C.E. in historical date references.

The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) in its television and radio broadcasts.

The BBC said in an official statement that since it is “committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.”

It described the terms B.C.E. and C.E. as “a religiously neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.,” although critics quickly pointed out that the new terms, like the old, were anchored around the birth of Jesus Christ.

via BBC Drops B.C./A.D. Dating Method: Christians Outraged (UPDATE).

BofA, shareholder lawsuits:  $50 billion shareholder lawsuit … this one will be interesting …

But if it is true that Mr. Price, with Mr. Lewis’s assent, kept this information from Mr. Mayopoulos in order to avoid disclosure, this is a prima facie case of securities fraud. Would Bank of America shareholders have voted to approve this transaction? If the answer is no, then it is hard to see this as anything other than material information.

Plaintiffs in this private case have the additional benefit that this claim is related to a shareholder vote. It is easier to prove securities fraud related to a shareholder vote than more typical securities fraud claims like accounting fraud. Shareholder vote claims do not require that the plaintiffs prove that the person committing securities fraud did so with awareness that the statement was wrong or otherwise recklessly made. You only need to show that the person should have acted with care.

This case is not only easier to establish, but the potential damages could also be enormous. Damages in a claim like this are calculated by looking at the amount lost as a result of the securities fraud. A court will most likely calculate this by referencing the amount that Bank of America stock dropped after the loss was announced; this is as much as $50 billion. It is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream.

via Bank of America Faces a $50 Billion Shareholder Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.

“Prohibition”,  tv documentaries, history, Ken Burns, history:  DVR is set …

It’s a subject that violently polarized the nation, pitting “wets” against “drys,” Catholics against Protestants, city folk against small-towners, and immigrants against native-born citizens.

Prohibition’s story, like Burns’ film, starts almost 100 years before the ban on alcohol took effect in 1920.

For much of the 19th century, a sizable percentage of the U.S. population made the cast of “Jersey Shore” look like lightweights. Male-only saloons and taverns were everywhere. Alcohol abuse was destroying families and, in some people’s eyes, the very fabric of society.

Women who’d never had a political voice began leading a crusade against the evils of booze — a crusade that was championed further by the Anti-Saloon League, a lobbying group that grew so powerful “it makes the NRA look like they’re still in short pants,” Burns said.

The fight culminated in 1919 with the passage of the 18th amendment, which made the sale and manufacturing of “intoxicating beverages” illegal.

“It was meant to eradicate an evil,” says “Prohibition” narrator Peter Coyote. “Instead, it turned millions of law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers.”

And it turned run-of-the-mill hoodlums into rich and ruthless bootleggers.

via Ken Burns’ ‘Prohibition’ tackles hot topic that polarized nation – Chicago Sun-Times.

food – slow food:   I am a prepared food, fast food junkie … all sorts of reasons this is bad …

This year, Slow Food USA, which defines “slow food” as good for its eaters, its producers and the environment — a definition anyone can get behind — set out to demonstrate that slow food can also be affordable, not only a better alternative to fast food but a less expensive one. The organization issued a $5 Challenge with the inspired rallying cry of “take back the ‘value meal’,” which in most fast food restaurants runs somewhere around five bucks.

Under the leadership of its president, Josh Viertel, Slow Food has moved from a group of rah-rah supporters of artisanal foods to become a determined booster of sustainability and of real food for everyone. Last month it called for people to cook pot luck and community dinners for no more than $5 per person. “We gave ourselves a month to launch the first big public day of action in what we hoped would become an ongoing challenge,” says Viertel. “In those four weeks we hoped to organize 500 people to host meals on Sept. 17. Our dream was to have 20,000 people participate.”

Slow Food believes that the very best way to build the kind of social movement needed to produce the systemic changes that they seek is to start small: to share knowledge and to share meals. What’s wrong with that?

via Slow Food: Shared Meals, Shared Knowledge – NYTimes.com.

criminals, hijackers: On the run for 41 years!  “Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.”

Now, after a manhunt spanning three continents that often appeared to run cold, the FBI has finally found George Wright.

At age 68, he was living quietly in the resort of Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal when he was arrested Monday.

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for murder. Portuguese judicial authorities could not be reached Tuesday for details of the extradition process.

Wright is fighting extradition, a U.S. federal agent said, and his next court appearance in Portugal is in about two weeks.

Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.

via On the run for 41 years, hijacker traced to Portugal – CNN.com.

citizen journalism, politics, global issues:  Very good article about empowering people through citizen journalism.

Before the American Revolution, journalism, if you could call it that, was an elite practice heavily censored by the colonial government. So when Thomas Paine and John Peter Zenger published their defiant tracts, fellow American colonists yearning for freedom did not question their credentials to write. Instead, they enshrined their right to do so in the First Amendment.

“We are the first nation – arguably the only nation – in which top-down control of the flow of information never was seriously attempted,” AOL Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman writes in his 2008 book, The Thirteen American Arguments .

He notes that Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense anonymously, yet “It was the most influential pamphlet of our time, and perhaps even in world history.”

Meet Kimberley Sevcik, Media Relations Manager for Camfed, an international educational organization with offices in Cambridge (U.K.) and San Francisco, who just returned from three weeks in East Africa. There, as she did on two previous trips (to Zambia and Tanzania), she trained women in basic communications techniques, empowering them to talk and write about what most impacts their lives and what they would like to see done about it. In other countries such as Zambia and Ghana, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education) previously hired professionals to teach filmmaking as a communication tool, resulting in deeply affecting documentaries about previously taboo topics such as AIDS and domestic violence. The latter was the topic of their latest film, “Hidden Truth,” which just won the Prize for Best Documentary at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

If you think about it, “People are always speaking for African woman,” Sevcik observed. “Isn’t is better to ask them, ‘What are you experiencing?’ – and let them find their own voices?”

via Laura Paull: In The Beginning, There Were Citizen Journalists.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election:  I’d like to write him off.

If anyone is seriously willing to argue that a handful of Republican activists in Florida are predictive of the broader electorate, please unmask yourself in the comments and accept the teasing you deserve.

As I’ve said before, I think Mr Perry is beatable, by Mr Romney or Mr Obama (or perhaps by another Republican, should it come to that). He has two serious liabilities. The first is that he doesn’t particularly play well with others. He explicitly rejects moderation and bipartisan behaviour, even though his behaviour is occasionally quite temperate, as on the tuition issue. This truculence is slightly unusual in a national politician, at least a winning one. Mr Perry’s second major liability is that he has no record of leading people places they don’t want to go, on politics or on policy. He usually doesn’t even try. This isn’t a thoroughgoing drawback in an elected leader—it forestalls crusading—but it does challenge his ability to form coalitions, electoral or otherwise. These are the overarching reasons that I think Mr Perry can be beaten. However, many of his critics, being apparently unable to take a balanced view of the situation, tend to ignore such substantive complaints or obscure them with a barrage of flimsier complaints about how he has a Texas accent. At some point they’re going to realise that’s not going to work.

via Rick Perry’s problems: The need for new narratives | The Economist.

depression, “Supermoms”:  I bet  “Supermoms” who accept their limitations and drink lots of coffee are never depressed. 🙂

So I was intrigued to come across a new study reporting that women who recognize that something has to give when it comes to juggling a job and family tend to have fewer depressive symptoms than those who think they can truly have — and handle — it all.

“It’s really about accepting that combining employment and family requires that trade-offs be made, and then feeling okay about letting certain things go, either at home or at work,” says the study’s leader, Katrina Leupp, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

via Depression is less common among ‘Supermoms’ who accept their limitations – The Washington Post.

economics, cities, Great Recession, families: An interesting take …  “The Gated City”: Moving toward stagnation | The Economist.

18
Sep
11

9.18.2011 … Worship at FPC was great … I love it when the sermon stretches me …

on this day, The Cotton States and International Exposition, Atlanta, kith/kin: My great grandfather, JJ Denard, attended the Exposition, and my sister has a copy of his pass which had his picture on it.  Send it to me MS 🙂

 September 18, 1895

The Cotton States and International Exposition opened in Atlanta.

via Atlanta History Center, September 18, 1895.

The 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
U.S. President Cleveland

The most ambitious of the city’s cotton expositions was staged in 1895. Its goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe. These objectives found expression in the official name of the event—the Cotton States and International Exposition. There were exhibits by six states and special buildings featuring the accomplishments of women and blacks. Also showcased was the latest technology in transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and other fields. Amusements such as the “Phoenix Wheel” and an early version of the motion picture were set up as part of a midway to attract visitors.

On opening day, September 18, military bands played, followed by speeches from political, business, and other leaders, including the prominent African American educator Booker T. Washington. In a speech that came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech and that was greeted enthusiastically by white advocates of the New South, Washington did not challenge

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

the prevailing ideas of segregation held by advocates of the New South; putting aside all claims to political power and social equality, he urged blacks to make progress as agricultural and industrial laborers. In spite of lavish promotion, fewer than 800,000 attended the three-month exposition, which was plagued by constant financial problems. The Cotton States Exposition did showcase Atlanta as a regional business center and helped to attract investment. Although most of the 1895 exposition’s buildings were torn down so that the materials could be sold for scrap, the city eventually purchased the grounds, which became the present-day Piedmont Park.

via New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cotton Expositions in Atlanta.

animals, lifelong love:  Just watch it …

Elephants Reunited After 20 Years

via Elephants Reunited After 20 Years.

USPS, stamps: Earthscapes are beautiful.  Am I the only one that loves commemorative stamps?

The U.S. Postal Service plans to release a set of 15 “forever” stamps in October 2012 that will celebrate the American landscape. The set, called Earthscapes, features aerial photographs of a variety of scenes.

via USPS stamps: Earthscapes – The Washington Post.

DC earthquake , natural disasters, National Cathedral, earthquake damage, DC:  Why so much damage? “It is made of stone, and it is very, very tall.”

When a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Washington area last month, what seemed like one of the city’s strongest buildings turned out to have some of the worst damage: the National Cathedral.

Several slender carved pinnacles on top of the cathedral, which are 45 feet tall, were cracked or damaged. “It’s hard to see, but a lot of them just rotated,” said Joe Alonso, who manages the cathedral’s stonework.

One four-ton section of a pinnacle fell onto the roof of the cathedral’s 301-foot-tall central tower, as did several finials, which are pieces at the very top of a pinnacle. All the pinnacles on the main tower will have to be removed and fixed, Alonso said.

Why the cathedral?

Throughout the city, the damage caused by the earthquake was fairly mild. But the cathedral is different from your house in two important ways: It is made of stone, and it is very, very tall. Both of those factors exaggerated the impact of the shaking earth. The Washington Monument, another tall stone structure, was also damaged by the quake.

“The cathedral is a big, heavy building, and it’s stiff — it’s not made to be flexible,” said Bill Leith, a seismologist (earthquake scientist) with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Modern skyscrapers and steel buildings are made to be flexible . . . and not be damaged” by most quakes. Work on the cathedral began in 1907 and was completed in 1990.

via Earthquake damage at the National Cathedral will take years to repair – The Washington Post.

pop ups, NYC:

The Blue Bottle setup is temporary — there’s a pipsqueak GS3 for espresso drinks, a drip bar for brewed coffee – but it’s a preview of things to come. Blue Bottle signed a lease for the room and will open a coffee shop later this year to be designed by Hiromi Tsuruta and Swee Phuah, the team behind Design & Construction Resources. Tsuruta and Phuah are known for elegant minimalism executed with slender budgets: the two are behind Blue Bottle’s coffee shop and roaster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where cheap floorboards are used to great effect as wall paneling, and the Blue Bottle kiosk on the High Line, which is down the block and up a flight a stairs from Milk Studios. The plans for the loading dock call for a stripped-down room, a serene space on a street heavily trafficked with forklifts and Town Cars.

via Ristretto | Some Coffee in Your Milk – NYTimes.com.

2012 Presidential Election, politics, libertarianism, health care:  Was any one else shocked during this part of the debate?

In 2008, his campaign manager, a healthy-but-uninsured 49-year-old, died from pneumonia and left his family with $400,000 in medical debt.

I want to be delicate in how I write this post. Kent Snyder was a friend of Paul’s, and a remarkable organizer on behalf of the causes he believed in. His early death was tragic. But I want to make a policy observation that applies to millions of cases just like Snyder’s.

Health-care services are somewhat unique in that they’re a rare form of consumption that you often get and get charged for, even if you haven’t asked for them. If you collapse on a street, an ambulance will rush you to a hospital. If you get into a car accident, you’ll wake up in intensive care. If you start suffering from dementia, your family will ask the doctors to help you.

Perhaps you would have preferred that it was otherwise. Perhaps you believe so deeply in personal responsibility that you would sacrifice your life to demonstrate that individuals must suffer for their bad decisions. But it may not be up to you, and whether you get billed or your family gets billed or society gets billed, someone will pay the bill.

It’s all well and good to say personal responsibility is the bedrock of liberty, but even the hardest of libertarians has always understood that there are places where your person ends and mine begins. Generally, we think of this in terms of violent intrusion or property transgressions. But in health care, it has to do with compassion.

We are a decent society, and we do not want to look in people’s pockets for an insurance card when they fall to the floor with chest pains. If we’re not going to look in their pockets, however, we need some answer for who pays when they wake up — or, God forbid, after they stop breathing — in the hospital. And though it sounds nice to say that charities will pick up the slack, any hospital system in America will tell you that even with Medicare and Medicaid assuming much of the burden for the most intractable and expensive cases, charities are not capable of or interested in fully compensating the medical system for the services needed by the un- or underinsured.

via Why libertarianism fails in health care – The Washington Post.

 Maj. Heather “Lucky” Penney, 9/11, follow-up:  Wow, this gives the story another perspective.

When we chronicled the little-told Sept. 11 history of Maj. Heather “Lucky” Penney, one of the first fighter pilots in the air over Washington that morning, we knew that she and Col. Marc Sasseville had been ordered airborne out of fear that a hijacked plane was heading to the capital. We knew that in the scramble, they had to launch without live ammunition or missiles. We knew they were prepared to ram that 757, at the likely cost of their own lives as well as those of everyone on board.

The Washington Post’s Anqoinette Crosby talks with reporter Steve Hendrix about one of the first fighter pilots to scramble after the attacks of Sept. 11. With no ordinance on board her jet, she was faced with the possibility of ramming her plane into one of the hijacked passenger jets.

With solemn gestures, Americans across the country mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia, the World Trade Center in New York and the plane crash in Shanksville, Pa..

What we didn’t know until Penney’s mother e-mailed us, with a request to mail a copy of the story to her in Colorado, was this additional Penney-family fact about that day: “We were thankful that Heather was able to put her emotions aside and not even consider that her father might have been flying on United 93,” Stephanie Penney said as an aside in her e-mail.

How’s that?

“Yes, John [Penney] was a captain for United Airlines at that time,” she elaborated later by phone. “He flew 757s and had been flying trips into and out of the East Coast the month before. Heather would not have known for sure that her dad wasn’t the captain on United 93.”

No, Heather Penney hadn’t mentioned that the extraordinary “kamikaze mission” she was ready to execute that day might well have been directed at a plane that carried the man who had once tucked her in, driven her to school and taught her to love fast airplanes.

via F-16 pilot was ready to down plane her father piloted on 9/11 – The Washington Post.

zombie genre, movies, Shaun of the Dead:  Anyone heard of this one? Maybe I will get it from Netflix before I give up the DVD service.

Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British romantic zombie comedy directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and written by Pegg and Wright. Pegg plays Shaun, a man attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he deals with his girlfriend, his mother and stepfather. At the same time, he has to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of zombies.

The film is the first of what Pegg and Wright call their Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy with Hot Fuzz (2007) as the second and The World’s End (TBA) as the third.[1

via Shaun of the Dead – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

James Carville, advice, President Obama:  I don’t like Carville, but I do like his candor.

This is what I would say to President Barack Obama: The time has come to demand a plan of action that requires a complete change from the direction you are headed.

via What should the White House do? Panic! – CNN.com.

NASA, Deep Space Exploration System:  The dream continues.

NASA is ready to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System — an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. The Space Launch System will give the nation a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching beyond our current limits and opening up new discoveries from the unique vantage point of space.

via NASA – NASA Announces Design for New Deep Space Exploration System.

apps, photography, Smilebox:

Description

Snap photos and instantly make them memorable by personalizing them with stickers, swipes, captions and frames. Then share with family and friends – and enjoy their reactions!

via App Store – Smilebox.

books, bookstores, changes:

Few people will mourn publishers’ losses from increased price competition and new technology like e-readers. The question is whether these trends undermine the quality of books which are being published, by breaking a business model that has let firms focus on variety and range. Publishers have good reason to shiver at the decline of traditional bookshops. To fund the discovery and promotion of new authors, they have relied on books that sell steadily over a number of years. Yet mass retailers stock a few hundred new blockbusters.

At first sight there is no reason for concern. New works are abundant—40% more titles came out in Britain in 2010 than in 2001. But this obscures a starker trend: “mid-list” titles are selling in smaller numbers in America and Britain. This matters for cultural life, because most literary fiction and serious non-fiction falls into that bracket and much of it could become uneconomical to publish.

via Bookselling: Spine chilling | The Economist.

Go Red For Women ™:  Go Red For Women ™ presents: ‘Just a Little Heart Attack’ – YouTube.

time banks, communities, NYC:  

The two families met because of a bank — a time bank, where the unit of currency is not a dollar, but an hour.  When you join a time bank, you indicate what services you might be able to offer others: financial planning, computer de-bugging, handyman repairs, housecleaning, child care, clothing alterations, cooking, taking someone to a doctor’s appointment on the bus, visiting the homebound or English conversation. People teach Mandarin and yoga and sushi-making. Castillo-Vélez earns a credit for each hour she spends tutoring José.  She spends the credits on art classes.

A time bank is a way to make a small town out of a big city.

Time banks — more than 300 of them — exist in 23 countries.  The largest one in New York City is the Visiting Nurse Service of New York Community Connections TimeBank.

It has more than 2,000 members and is most active in three places — Upper Manhattan (Washington Heights and Inwood), Lower Manhattan (Battery Park City, Chinatown and the Lower East Side) and parts of Brooklyn (Sunset Park and Bay Ridge).    Members come from all over New York City, but exchanges are easiest when people live in the same neighborhood — like Castillo-Vélez and José.

There is something old fashioned about a time bank.  Home repair, child care, visiting shut-ins and taking someone to the doctor are now often commercial transactions; a time bank is a return to an era where neighbors did these tasks for each other.  But a time bank is also something radical.  It throws out the logic of the market — in a time bank, all work has equal value.  A 90-year-old can contribute on an equal basis with a 30 year old.  Accompanying someone to the doctor is as valuable as Web design.

The idea comes from Edgar Cahn, a legendary anti-poverty activist.  (Cahn and his late wife, Jean Camper Cahn, established the Antioch School of Law to train advocates for the poor, and were instrumental in founding the federal Legal Services Corporation.)  In his book “No More Useless People,” Cahn writes that time banks were a response to cuts in social programs during the Reagan years.   Cahn wrote: “If we can’t have more of that kind of money, why can’t we create a new kind of money to put people and problems together?”

Time banks also owe much of their development to Ana Miyares, who in the 1980s gave up a lucrative position in international banking to join the time bank movement in its infancy. She has founded time banks in various countries, and today is the manager of the Visiting Nurse Service’s time bank. Miyares sees time banking a little differently than Cahn does.  “I would like to see social justice — but in a different way, using social capital, energizing social capital to be responsible citizens,” she said.

via Where All Work Is Created Equal – NYTimes.com.

Coca-Cola, advertising icons, twitter: 🙂

Doc Pemberton (@docpemberton)
9/15/11 8:00 PM
My polar bear roommate has been pacing for days. He was nominated for The Advertising Walk of Fame & needs your votes!http://t.co/ixYDz81q

Pick Your Favorite Advertising Icon.

news, heroes, motor cycling accident:  Watch the video … there are still heroes!

CBS News correspondent John Blackstone spoke with Wright’s girlfriend, Michelle Fredrickson. She said there is no doubt he’ll ride again.

“We couldn’t stop him if we wanted to,” she said Thursday. If the accident didn’t put him off motorcycles, “nothing will.”

Wright said he was aware of the entire accident, from when he started to slide under the BMW to the moment people pulled him to safety. He vividly recalled the color of the shirt worn by a rescuer, who was talking to him during “the scariest moment, when I didn’t know if I would live or be paralyzed.”

Wright, who hasn’t yet spoken to any of his rescuers, said they need to get used to being called heroes.

“That car could have blown up at any time,” Wright said. “They’re very brave.”

Wright has multiple fractures in his right leg and pelvis, burns on his feet and a “pretty gnarly road rash.” But he didn’t suffer any head injuries, and doctors said he will likely make a full recovery within a few months.

via Biker pulled from fiery wreck thanks “heroes” – CBS News.

recipes, Egg Rolls:  These are good – Best Egg Rolls Recipe – Allrecipes.com.

USPS, history:  🙂

The troubled Postal Service — facing losses that may top $10 million by the end of the month — proposed new cost cutting measures Thursday, including the closing or consolidation of more than 250 processing facilities and the slashing of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Letters of Note, a Web site that gathers interesting letters throughout history, gave some insight today on how far the USPS has come from its good old days. (Read: late 19th and early 20th century.)

For one, post offices were open seven days a week until 1912. Religious leaders put the kibosh on the Sunday post when post offices became busier than churches.

Even better, there was this: At least two children were sent by parcel post service after it was introduced in 1913. The children rode with railway and city carriers, with stamps attached to their clothing, to their destination.

When the Postmaster General found out about the young cargo, he was furious, and on June 13, 1920, the U.S. Postal Service ruled that children may not be sent via parcel post.

via Postal Service proposes cost cutting measures, a far cry from its healthy early days – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

app,  education and outreach app, UN: 

The United Nations is launching its first education and outreach app for the iPhone on Thursday in an effort to streamline its mobile presence and encourage users to take action on key global issues.

Aaron Sherinian, a UN Foundation spokesman, said that point of the app, called UN Foundation, is to help users “learn, act and share.”

The app pulls in information from the UN’s many social media feeds and campaigns and combines that with social media aspects and action items — such as ways to donate money to your pet causes — all in one place.

Users can organize feeds by region (e.g., Latin America or Africa) or by issue for a more tailored experience, and easily share news they see with their friends. The app will also incorporate elements of gaming, with a daily photo scramble called “Pieces of Peace” that will feature a photo related to a UN Foundation issue.

via United Nations to launch app for education, action – Faster Forward – The Washington Post.

31
May
11

5.31.2011 … End of May … School is almost out!

Mount Vernon, travel, DC, history, historic preservation:  Mount Vernon is one of my favorite places … what does it take to make a 18th century garden historically accurate?As she surveys the fruit orchard, boxwood parterres and flower borders, a couple of gardeners plant clumps of golden-flowered calendulas near the grapevine trellises. They are putting the final touches on a fundamental reworking of Washington’s pleasure garden. Begun last August and now virtually complete, the new garden re-creates what experts believe is a far closer representation of the one Washington knew in the late 18th century.

Gone is the tall boxwood edging, along with the crescent flower beds at the apex of the garden. The paths are wider, the garden beds fewer but much larger. Bands of decorative plants wrap around what is essentially a vegetable garden — the area devoted to veggies has grown fivefold and occupies a quarter of the space. Even though the “high garden” was the landscape jewel of the estate, Washington “wasn’t about to let something beautiful take away from something that was necessary,” said Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture.

via George Washington’s Mount Vernon pleasure garden revamped for authenticity – The Washington Post.

bookstores, eBooks, technology:  Maybe the two will work together … there is a certain pleasure in walking around a bookstore.

250 independent bookstores around the country now sell Google eBooks on their websites. However, it takes some tech savvy and effort to educate customers about these new resources.

via QR Code Tools for Independent Bookstores – GalleyCat.

random, missing persons, hiking the Appalachian Trail:  There is no such thing as disappearing for a few days for personal reasons.  Blessings to the family for the safe reurn of Mr. Hill.

A Matthews man missing since early last week in Washington, D.C., was found early today in Asheville, D.C. Metro police said this morning.

Lt. Ralph Neal, watch commander for the 2nd District, told the Observer that his department got a lead that Matthew Hill, 26, who was last seen Tuesday morning, was safe and had been found in Asheville.

“He apparently didn’t let anyone know where he was at,” Neal said. “We asked the police in Asheville to make contact with him there.

“He just left on his own — for personal reasons. I guess he just wanted to get away.”

via D.C. police: Matthews man found alive in Asheville | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

American auto industry, subcompacts, Great Recession, Recovery?:  I want a subcompact hybrid for my next car .

After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-

By refocusing on small cars and de-emphasizing the gas-guzzlers that had long sustained the industry, General Motors and Ford in particular are preserving jobs and positioning themselves to prosper. Their efforts are already paying off in the marketplace. Ford’s tiny Fiesta is the best-selling subcompact in the United States this year, and G.M.’s Chevrolet Cruze outsold every other compact car in America last month except the segment-leading Honda Civic.

Nearly one in four vehicles sold in the United States in April was a compact or subcompact car, compared with one in eight a decade ago. Of the small cars sold in April, about 27 percent were American models, compared with 20 percent a year earlier. Data on sales in May will be released on Wednesday.

via American Compacts Gain Ground as High Gas Prices Change Tastes – NYTimes.com.

middle east uprisings, natural human rights, philosophy:  A lot to think about here …

Revolutions are based upon complaints.  These complaints can arise from practical concerns, like having food at an affordable price, or from more theoretical or social concerns, such as being able to publicly speak one’s mind.  Both are grounded in an understanding of what people ought to be able to enjoy as citizens of a country.  This expectation of fundamental entitlements is what we talk about when we talk about human rights.  But whether or not every person on earth has certain rights just by virtue of being a person alive on the planet — a concept I will refer to here as natural human rights — is a question of some controversy.  In these times, when new questions of rights, complaints and subsequent conflicts seem to arise anew each week, it’s worth knowing where we stand on the matter.

The way we think about the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa is also conditioned by the way we understand human rights.  If natural human rights exist, then the autocrats in charge that suppress them are wrong and they should either create a constitutional monarchy or a democratic republic.  If natural human rights do not exist, then the whole process is one of political negotiation that on the one hand involves peaceful protests and on the other involves bloody civil war.  Our entire understanding of these events requires us to take sides.  But how can we do this?

via Are There Natural Human Rights? – NYTimes.com.

YouTube, media, education:  So now they have a school on how to create a viral video … please explain how you make money for this?

Vanessa Wilson was back in class last week for the first time since law school. Only this time, she said, she wasn’t bored.

Ms. Wilson, 27, was one of the winners of a recent talent search sponsored by YouTube. Her prize was a boot camp at Google’s Manhattan offices, where some of YouTube’s most successful stars led sessions on how to create a viral video, build an audience and bolster a brand.

Some of the tips that, with luck, might one day lead to a six-figure income? Don’t upload videos on Friday afternoons. Send e-mails to at least a dozen key bloggers and ask them to post a link. Surprise your audience. Don’t forget: there is key light, front light, flood light. And never, ever put the word sex in a title or tag. It could cost you some of the advertising revenue that YouTube shares with its content creators.

The boot camp is part of YouTube’s campaign to find its own original high-quality video content. Facing fierce competition from Web video services like Hulu, iTunes and Netflix, YouTube is looking to increase the range of content and improve the quality of its channels as it continues to try to make more money, even after doubling revenue, according to Google’s last quarterly report.

via At YouTube Boot Camp, Future Stars Polish Their Acts – NYTimes.com.

random, health, pests:  I am definitely a mosquito magnet!

Some folks seem to be magnets for mosquitoes, while others rarely get bitten. What makes the little buggers single you out and not the guy or gal you’re standing next to at the Memorial Day backyard barbecue?

The two most important reasons a mosquito is attracted to you have to do with sight and smell, says Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida in Vero Beach. Lab studies suggest that 20 percent of people are high attractor types, he says.

Mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision, explains Day. People dressed in dark colors — black, navy blue, red — stand out and movement is another cue.

Once the mosquito keys in on a promising visual target, she (and it’s always “she” — only the ladies bite) then picks up on smell. The main attractor is your rate of carbon dioxide production with every exhale you take.

via The Body Odd – Why some people are mosquito magnets.

technology, health, alternative medicine, electronic pain relief, TENS:  Not to get to personal, but my broken humerus is not healing and the pain is increasing … today I was given this to device, a TENS, and I hope it works!

Nerve pain can become a chronic and frequent nightmare for many people. Although there are medications to take, some people would rather opt for a non-drug treatment. Electronic pain relief options can be used to a varying degree of relief. These systems interrupt the pain signals reaching the brain.TENS UnitThe transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, also known as TENS, uses small battery operated devices to block pain signals. Electrodes are placed on the skin where the pain is originating. High-frequency electrical pulses are then sent to nerve fibers and pain signals are then prevented from reaching the brain. When no pain signal reaches the brain, then no pain is felt. Accompanying the unit will also be the self-adhering electrodes that can be reused, towelettes to clean the skin and gel to help with any irritation if you have sensitive skin.

via Electronic Pain Relief | eHow.com.

Wikipedia, college, education:  Very fascinating use of technology and online resources in an educational environment.

A Virginia Tech graduate student hit save on her overview of the state workers’ compensation commission one spring day, but before her professor could take a look at it, someone else began deleting entire sections, calling them trivial and promotional.

It wasn’t a teaching assistant on a power trip — it was a Wikipedia editor known only as “Mean as custard.”

“I had worked on it for almost an entire day,” said Amy Pearson, a public administration master’s student. “It was kind of shocking.”

This school year, dozens of professors from across the country gave students an unexpected assignment: Write Wikipedia entries about public policy issues.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which supports the Web site, organized the project in an effort to bulk up the decade-old online encyclopedia’s coverage of topics ranging from the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to Sudanese refugees in Egypt. Such issues have been treated on the site in much less depth than TV shows, celebrity biographies and other elements of pop culture.

Many students involved in the project have received humbling lessons about open-source writing as their work was revised, attacked or deleted by anonymous critics with unknown credentials.

In the fall, Rochelle A. Davis, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, told undergraduates in her culture and politics course to create a Wikipedia page about a community they belonged to, then use that research to develop a thesis for an academic paper.

“Collectively, they were the best papers I’ve ever read at Georgetown,” Davis said. She said students benefited from vetting their ideas with a wider community — a practice that could help academics at all levels. “This is where we are going,” she said. “I think that’s a good thing.”

via Wikipedia goes to class – The Washington Post.

31
Aug
10

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

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

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

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

colleges, green:

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

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

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

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

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

Great Recession:

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

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

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

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

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

Great Recession:

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

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

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

Retail, bookstores: Guilty.

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

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

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

random:

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

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

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

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

Great Recession, banking:

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

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

religion, culture:  OK, this one fascinated me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous? : NPR.




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