Posts Tagged ‘business

27
Feb
13

2.27.13 … If I hate being late, why am I always late …

Van Cliburn, RIP,  Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor Op.30, YouTube:  What a life!  RIP, Van Cliburn.

Pianist Van Cliburn died Wednesday at the age of 78 in Forth Worth, after battling bone cancer.

In 1958, Van Cliburn won the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow — he became an international classical music star.

via Van Cliburn Dead at 78: His Great Performances (Video) – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 (Van Cliburn) in D minor Op.30 – YouTube.

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten labyrinth walks,  Avondale Presbyterian Church, 2013 FPC Charlotte Lenten Devotional, 2013  NAPC Lenten Devotional:

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Beautiful day …  as I opened the car door I hear the chimes ringing softly in the wind.  What a great way to start my walk.
Things I thought about …
From FPC’s Wes Barry:
I had a professor in Seminary say that anytime the word “bread” shows up in scripture we should take notice, because it is by this earthly substance that we are told by our Lord to remember him.  So when God asks us “why spend money on what is not bread,” he is asking us why would we spend our resources on things that do not satisfy?  In the end, it is only Jesus Christ, his body broken for us, which satisfies our longings.
From NAPC’s devotional …
Life is like this; just a little seed of an evil desire can cause us to go down another path. James is encouraging us to endure temptation and to stand the test so that we will receive a blessing beyond our imagination.
And from Henri Nouwen …

Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance.Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.

via Daily Meditation: Creating Space for God.

TED Talks, business, Harvard Business Review:

It’s happening right now.

Thousands of very lucky individuals are seated in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center are at TED 2013. TED has become a brand name as they have uploaded their archive of 18-minute presentations from their exclusive annual event to TED.com. Originally available only online, the speeches are now distributed and broadcasted on TV, radio, podcasts and even on Netflix. I have been fortunate to have attended the annual conference since 2008, and I’ve found TED an experience that helps businesspeople unlock a new way to think about the work that we do, where we are going as leaders, and our collective role in the evolution of the world. In the spirit of TED 2013, here are 10 amazing TED Talks that have helped me think differently about what business can be, how to be a better leader, and how to become a better global citizen

via 10 TED Talks to Help You Reimagine Your Business – Mitch Joel – Harvard Business Review.

The Cloisters, The Cloisters’ 75th Anniversary, WSJ.com:  I love it that my husband sent this to me. 🙂

Set on a hill overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan, the Cloisters museum and gardens were designed to give visitors the impression they are stepping back in time, wandering through what feels like an old-world monastery.

But as America’s only medieval-art museum approaches its 75th anniversary this spring, its curators are stepping gingerly into the modern world.

This year, the Cloisters will for the first time present a contemporary-art installation. The museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is developing new digital content for visitors to view on iPods. And after decades of displaying the same permanent collection, the museum is making a bid to attract return visitors with more special exhibitions, made possible by climate-control improvements in recent years.

Change is a delicate issue at the Cloisters, where curators are looking to draw a broader audience without alienating those who cherish the spot’s timeless quality.

via The Cloisters Opens Up – WSJ.com.

 Vatican, Pope Benedict’s new title, CNN.com, fyi:

Pope Benedict XVI will keep the title “his holiness” once he retires and will be called “pontiff emeritus,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican on Tuesday.

via Vatican reveals Pope Benedict’s new title – CNN.com.

BofA,  Warren Buffett, Brian Moynihan, gaffes, Bloomberg:  Worth reading …

“Brian certainly doesn’t show up on anyone’s list of most- admired bankers,” Miller says. “If he’s successful, he will have a lot more stature than is now the case.”

Buffett, who stands to become Bank of America’s largest shareholder, says he has little doubt Moynihan will succeed.

“I’ve been around other companies that have great underlying strengths, where some huge event has gotten them into major trouble,” the 82-year-old billionaire says. “Sometimes, you can make a very good investment when that happens.”

via BofA Affirms Buffett Bet as Moynihan Recovers From Gaffes – Bloomberg.

Colm Toibin,  “Summer of ’38” , The New Yorker, bookshelf:  Colm Toibin: “Summer of ’38” : The New Yorker.

poems,  Rudyard Kipling, NPR:  I love lost works …

Fifty previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book and Just So Stories, were discovered by Thomas Pinney, an English professor at California State Polytechnic University. The lost works by Kipling, whose most famous poems include “If” and the notorious “White Man’s Burden,” are to be published next month. Kipling was widely derided as an apologist for British colonialism — George Orwell called him “a jingo imperialist” — though he was also a respected novelist who won the Literature Nobel in 1907.

via Book News: 50 Poems From Rudyard Kipling Discovered : The Two-Way : NPR.

Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren,   Martha Stewart, J.C. Penney, lawsuits:  Ah, intigue in retail …

Lundgren, 60, said Stewart sounded like she was reading from a document prepared by lawyers when they spoke, and that he cut off the conversation when the home goods doyenne claimed her deal with J.C. Penney would be good for Macy’s.

“I think that’s when I hung up,” said Lundgren. “The thought this was going to be good for Macy’s was so far from anything I could comprehend.”

Lundgren said that at the time he considered Stewart a friend, and he has not spoken to her since.

via Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren ‘Shocked And Blown Away’ Over Martha Stewart’s Alliance With J.C. Penney.

Swiss watchmakers, The Economist:  I met someone a few years back whose ex worked with a swiss watchmaker … very interesting …

No one buys a Swiss watch to find out what time it is. The allure is intangible: precise engineering, beautifully displayed. The art of fine watchmaking has all but died out elsewhere, but it thrives in Switzerland. “Swiss-made” has become one of the world’s most valuable brands.

In the popular imagination, Swiss watches are made by craftsmen at tiny firms nestled in Alpine villages. In fact, the industry is dominated by one big firm. The Swatch Group’s stable of brands Breguet, Blancpain, Omega and a dozen others generated watch and jewellery sales of SFr7.3 billion in 2012. That is up by 15.6% over the previous year and accounts for one-third of all sales of Swiss watches. In January Swatch announced the purchase of Harry Winston, an American jeweller which also makes watches in Geneva.

via Swiss watchmakers: Time is money | The Economist.

YMCA, ballene:  I attended my second ballene class in a month … I like it!

Ballene: A unique blend of core, strength and flexibility exercises using the stability ball

via Exercise Class

gay marriage, GOP, NYTimes.com:

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

via Prominent Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage – NYTimes.com.

Secretary of State John Kerry,  Free Speech, only in America, NYTimes.com: “In America, You Have a Right to Be Stupid.”  If you want to see the clip … Kerry Defends American Liberties.

In a robust defense of free speech during a meeting with young Germans in Berlin on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry explained just how far the limits of tolerance extend in blunt terms. “In America,” the country’s top diplomat explained, “you have a right to be stupid.”

That remark, at a forum hosted by the United States Embassy in Berlin, went completely unmentioned in German newspaper and television reports on the event, but it was gleefully seized upon by Mr. Kerry’s critics back home, and bored journalists everywhere, hungry for a gaffe.

via ‘In America, You Have a Right to Be Stupid,’ Kerry Says in Defense of Free Speech – NYTimes.com.

North Avenue Presbyterian Church, Dr. Frank M. Eldridge:  I spent a day with Frank while my mother was having surgery in 2008.  What a blessing he is to NAPC … and what an accomplishment  … by title alone …

Name with titles: Hon. Rev. Dr. Frank M. Eldridge, Sr., JD, LL.M., M. Div., Th.M., Associate for Congregational Care, Senior Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia.

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via North Avenue Presbyterian young adults, Who’s Who at NAPC?.

Ben Affleck’s Oscar Speech, marriage, truth:  I thought this deconstruction of his speech very interesting …

Did you see Ben Affleck’s speech accepting the Best Picture award last night? If not, he made a moving and authentic statement about marriage. Read more about it here.

The part that has people in a tizzy is this:

I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.

The criticism centers around this statement as lacking in cuteness, and focusing on the negative. It wasn’t the “right forum” for this type of declaration, it was a possible indicator that “something is wrong” in the marriage, he should have just stuck to “I love you and adore you and you’re perfect” — basically whining that a major Hollywood star was uncomfortably honest about his relationship and said overly blunt things about marriage in one of the most public forums on the planet.

Anyone who actually agrees with the above criticism doesn’t get marriage.

A fundamental reality of human relationships is that two people are not meant to be in a single monogamous partnership for all eternity (or even until the end of their lives). Humans crave sexual novelty. We get bored. We lose interest after just two years. We find our intimacy crushed by the weight of daily routines. Marriage is a voluntary commitment that flies in the face of all scientific research and human evolution.

We enter this voluntary (some say insane, and they’re not entirely wrong) pact because we do a cost-benefit analysis and decide that the benefits of getting married (or otherwise partnering for life) outweigh the potential costs — breakups, emotional pain, financial disarray, the list goes on. We make just about the biggest emotional leap of faith a person can make, because we think, feel, and hope that the rewards will be great.

via Ben Affleck’s Oscar Speech Revealed A Truth About Marriage.

The Silver Linings Playbook, bookshelf, film/lit:  I need to read the book and see the movie!

Paper or Plastic, games, icebreakers, app:  There’s an app for that?

Paper or Plastic App | A Simple Game to Break the Ice.

Kayla loves the moon, YouTube: Endearing .. to the tune of 300,000 hits in the first week!

That doesn’t make her attempts any less endearing.

In this swoon-worthy YouTube video, the pink-clad, stuffed-animal-toting toddler converses with her dad, who encourages her to reach for the moon before eventually agreeing with her that it’s a lost cause, and she should say “goodbye.”

Since being uploaded on Friday, the clip — which denmoff77 posted alongside links to the Lunar and Planetary Institute and its moon-themed site, MyMoonspace.com — has racked up almost 300,000 views.

via Kayla Loves The Moon So Much, She Wants To Catch It (VIDEO).

@amandapalmer, human connection, mutual dignity of gift economies,  TED2013, Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker:  I can’t wait to watch this 2013 TEDTalk.

Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker

“Asking makes you vulnerable.” @amandapalmer makes a beautiful case for the human connection and mutual dignity of gift economies #TED2013

via (73) Twitter.

bikes, cycling, training, Bicycling MagazineIndoor Bike Trainer Tips, Tricks & Strategies | Bicycling Magazine.

22
Jan
13

1.22.13 … MegaBus … Varsity …

MegaBus, Atlanta:  MegaBus today. Charlotte-Atlanta Bus waited for the DC bus … for folks returning from the inauguration. So the bus was crowded, but folks were sleepy. I am sitting backwards which is not my favorite. On the road again …

Man never took off shield from face, sunglasses, hat, coat or gloves … I have been watching too many Dexters … My sister thinks he is the invisible man ..

 Atlanta, V, Varsity:  Lunch! Thinking inside the box today! — with Mary-Stewart Lindsey at The Varsity Drive-In.

Photo: Lunch! Thinking inside the box today!Photo: Lunch! Thinking inside the box today!

art, fine art, public art, charity art: Art created for charity v. Fine art … Which would you prefer in your home ? Buckhead v. Minotaur?

.Photo: Art created for charity v. Fine art ... Which would you prefer in your home ? Buckhead v. Minotaur?Photo: Art created for charity v. Fine art ... Which would you prefer in your home ? Buckhead v. Minotaur?

 man’s best friend, spirituality:

business, sleep, sleep therapy, health issues: I’m a big believer in sleep.

Turns out a good night’s rest is good for business.

One-third of American workers aren’t sleeping enough to function at peak levels, and that chronic exhaustion is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School.

Sleep-deprived American workers ultimately cost their employers $63 billion in lost productivity, according to a 2011 Harvard Medical School study. Lauren Weber joins The News Hub with a look at some companies making a business case for a better-rested workforce. Photo: Reuters.

Managers at a growing number of companies, among them Procter & Gamble Co., PG +1.06% and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS -0.27% are waking up to the problem, investing in programs from sleep-hygiene courses to melatonin-regulating lighting to help employees improve their slumber.

via Making a Business Case for Bedtime – WSJ.com.

Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice 200: FYI …

Jane Austen is one of the most popular and important novelists that England has ever produced. This site will coordinate all the details of all the events which are being held in 2013 to celebrate Pride and Prejudice’s bi-centenary, wherever they are being held in the world.

via Pride & Prejudice 200.

19
Jan
12

1.19.2011 … To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray …

graying of America, kith/kin, me: To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray … 🙂

faith and spirituality, Henri Nouwen:

Thursday January 19, 2012

Creating Space to Dance Together When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.

via Daily Meditation: Creating Space to Dance Together.

Davidson College, terquasquicentennial:  Happy 175, alma mater!

“Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial!” What a great word, terquasquicentennial.

via Daybook Davidson » 1837–2012: Happy New Year! Happy Old Years! Happy… Terquasquicentennial!.

historic church labyrinths, England, travel:  Preparing for my next labyrinth adventure!

The historic labyrinths situated in English cathedrals, churches and chapels mostly date from the late 19th century, a period when renewed interest in labyrinths combined with a wave of church building and restoration during the Victorian era. Only two examples, the splendid gilded roof-boss in St.Mary Redcliffe Church and the tiny labyrinth on the Hereford Mappa Mundi are from the medieval period, when many labyrinths were created in the cathedrals of France and Italy.

Situated largely in the south and east of England, these labyrinths are always a pleasure to visit, located as they are in everything from simple chapels and churches to grand cathedrals. Their construction and design range from the relatively simple to some of the most fascinating examples from their period.

The majority are relatively easy to find, although obviously some are subject to limited opening hours and others will require the finding of a key or caretaker to gain admission. And therein lies the joy of tracking them down. While several are in large towns and cities, a number are beyond the reach of regular public transport and will require some planning to visit.

Within the last few decades, several modern examples have been constructed, most notably at Batheaston (1985), Norwich Cathedral (2000), and the Church of St. Michael, Abingdon (2008)

via Historic Church labyrinths – England.

The Taj Majal, icons, India: On my bucket list …

I think that, for several reasons, the term iconic is very important in any consideration of this edifice.  First, as I previously mentioned, it serves as an iconic demonstration of love.  Second, it serves as a cultural icon.  For much of the world’s population, the Taj Mahal is India.  Third, we associate cultural icons with the Taj.  Lady Di’s 1992 visit to Agra is forever ingrained in our conscience, as a result of her iconic photo in front of the Taj Mahal.   Finally, the representation of the building, in our collective consciousness, is iconic.     When we imagine the Taj Mahal in our mind’s eye, we represent it in one form:  from a distance, straight-on, and from the front.

via The Taj Majal: From a rare angle | Wonders & Marvels.

The Empathic Civilization, Jeremy Rifkin, culture, RSA Animate:  Lots to think about …

http://dotsub.com/media/cefe3990-0ee4-4617-a3db-f5edf766c189/embed/

Best selling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. This ‘working location’ is currently open for translation into all languages.via RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilization – 24 Translation(s) | dotSUB.

 Apple, Newton “Scribble Thing”:  …  15 Years Ahead of Its Time …

“Newton was probably 15 years too early,” Sculley told the BBC. “I’m not a technologist. I didn’t have the experience to make that judgment, but we were, I think, right on many of the concepts. The product clearly failed in terms of taking on such an ambitious goal. I think, in hindsight, there is a lot of good legacy there with the Newton. Even if the product itself never survived, the technology did.”

Specifically, ARM, which is still in wide use today.

Said Scully, “ARM not only was the key technology behind the Newton, but it eventually became the key technology behind every mobile device in the world today, including the iPhone and the iPad.”

via Former Apple CEO: Newton “Scribble Thing” 15 Years Ahead of Its Time – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

electric bikes, Pulse, green:

Micah Toll is no stranger to entrepreneurship.

With only five months left until graduation in April, Toll, 22, has spent his days at the University of Pittsburgh like every other student: Going to classes, becoming involved in clubs, hanging out with friends and, oh yeah, starting his own electric bike company called Pulse Motors.

Pulse Motors is a Pittsburgh start up business designed to provide two-wheeled electric vehicles to the students and the public.

“Americans are fed up with the inconveniences of this conventional transportation being expensive, dirty and unreliable,” said Toll. “Now we are simply giving them an alternative in the form of cheap, affordable and fun transportation. It’s a no-brainer.”

Toll grew up in a household surrounded by science. His mother being a nurse and his father a biological oceanographer, science has always played a big part in his life. But while he didn’t evolve a love for biology like his parents, Toll instead took the engineering route and started building things.

via Student entrepreneur Micah Toll pedaling in the right direction | USA TODAY College

….

Developed with a goal of increasing bicycle commuting and creating a class of new transportation, the “Pulse” by industrial designer Timothy Daw is a hybrid bicycle that backs the pedal power with electric propulsion to boost zero-emission commutation with minimum physical efforts. Housing a rechargeable battery system, two 26V lithium-ion batteries for 75 miles of assisted biking, within the rear frame to preserve the aesthetics of the bicycle, the hybrid bike also includes streamlined traffic indicators, headlight and break light to ensure complete safety on cramped city roads. The throttle-controlled 250W motor adds an assisted pedaling experience when biking uphill or into a strong headwind. Moreover, the Pulse folds into a compact size for easy storage and transportation, which makes it a characteristic modern urban vehicle.

via Pulse pedal electric hybrid bicycle ushers in a new class of transportation.

free, The Guggenheim, digital books, free:   65 Modern Art Books Online … FREE!

 

In recent days, the museum has made 65 art catalogues available online, all free of charge. The catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Now let me give you a few handy instructions to get you started. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org, which lets you download books in multiple formats – ePUB, PDF and the rest.

via Free: The Guggenheim Puts 65 Modern Art Books Online | Open Culture.

London, maps, songs:  🙂

Song Map – London remapped in song names

via curiosity counts – Song Map – London remapped in song names   (via).

business, culture, novels:  The smartest people I know are all well-read.

I’ve been a devoted, even fanatical reader of fiction my whole life, but sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time if I spend an evening immersed in Lee Child’s newest thriller, or re-reading The Great Gatsby. Shouldn’t I be plowing through my in-box? Or getting the hang of some new productivity app? Or catching up on my back issues of The Economist? That slight feeling of self-indulgence that haunts me when I’m reading fake stories about fake people is what made me so grateful to stumble on a piece in Scientific American Mind by cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley extolling the practical benefits to be derived particularly from consuming fiction.

Over the past decade, academic researchers such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness. For instance, in fMRI studies of people reading fiction, neuroscientists detect activity in the pre-frontal cortex — a part of the brain involved with setting goals — when the participants read about characters setting a new goal. It turns out that when Henry James, more than a century ago, defended the value of fiction by saying that “a novel is a direct impression of life,” he was more right than he knew.

via The Business Case for Reading Novels – Anne Kreamer – Harvard Business Review.

MLK Memorial, quote, misquote:

Five months ago, in this space, I wrote that something was wrong with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. The quotation inscribed on the monument’s left flank had been so badly excerpted that a modest statement of King’s was turned into a boast.

At the time, it wasn’t clear how or why this had happened, but what seemed likely, at least to me, was that nothing would be done about it. Things that are etched in stone seldom are changed, especially in Washington, which is not famous for admitting error, righting wrongs, getting things done in a timely fashion, or getting things done at all.

It turns out I was right about the error but wrong about Washington. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told The Post today that the quote will be corrected. He has given the National Park Service 30 days — because “things only happen when you put a deadline on it” — to consult with the King Memorial Foundation, family members and other interested parties and come up with a more accurate alternative.

“This is important because Dr. King and his presence on the Mall is a forever presence for the United States of America, and we have to make sure that we get it right,” Salazar said.

Some important people who hadn’t seen the quote yet read the op-ed and agreed. The poet Maya Angelou, who knew and worked with King, said the truncated quote made King seem like “an arrogant twit.” Roy Peter Clark, an expert on the use of words, wrote for CNN, “Everything I’ve learned about the language of enshrinement suggests that the inscription on the King monument should be revised.” Martin Luther King III told CNN: “That was not what Dad said.”

Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert noted that it was “to the point. Not Dr. King’s point, but still. Brevity is the soul of saving money on chiseling fees.”

via MLK Memorial’s ‘drum major’ quote will be corrected, Interior secretary says – The Washington Post.

Facebook, personality, me:  The Real Me?

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpg

If you think you’re different on Facebook than you are in real life, you’ve got some explaining to do.

A 2011 study from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Psychology called “Manifestations of Personality in Online Social Networks: Self-Reported Facebook-Related Behaviors and Observable Profile Information” published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that Facebook users are no different online than they are offline. The study also revealed strong connections between real personality and Facebook-related behavior. Social and personality processes, the study says, accurately mirror non-virtual environments.

via Study: Your Facebook Personality Is The Real You.

blogging, lists, advice:

 Five Ways to Boost Your Blog

What does it take to move your blog up to the next level? Obviously you need a regular supply of useful content to attract readers and keep your audience happy, but here are a few extra tips on increasing interest in your blog in 2012.

via Tech Journal: 5 Ways to Improve Your Blog – India Real Time – WSJ.

02
Oct
11

10.2.2011 … I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina … Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event …

kith/kin: Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event.  Prime at Lenox Square was a great choice.  Great to be with the siblings and my wonderful eighty-something mom.  She has the best mind I know.  And we did not discuss the Braves.

gasoline prices, travel: I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina.

Occupy Wall Street Movement, bankers v. revolutionaries, Wall Street v. Main Street:  I hard on NPR that this movement was the liberal’s tea party before it gt politicized.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has taken over a park in Manhattan’s financial district and turned it into a revolutionary camp. Hundreds of young people chant slogans against “banksters” or corporate tycoons. Occasionally, a few even pull off their clothes, which always draws news cameras.

“Occupy Wall Street” was initially treated as a joke, but after a couple of weeks it’s gaining traction. The crowds are still tiny by protest standards — mostly in the hundreds, swelling during periodic marches — but similar occupations are bubbling up in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. David Paterson, the former New York governor, dropped by, and labor unions are lending increasing support.

I tweeted that the protest reminded me a bit of Tahrir Square in Cairo, and that raised eyebrows. True, no bullets are whizzing around, and the movement won’t unseat any dictators. But there is the same cohort of alienated young people, and the same savvy use of Twitter and other social media to recruit more participants. Most of all, there’s a similar tide of youthful frustration with a political and economic system that protesters regard as broken, corrupt, unresponsive and unaccountable.

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

Anwar al Awlaki, justified killing, war on terror, slippery slopes:  This killing of  a US citizen is going to be debated … “due process in war.”

Anwar al Awlaki’s rise from American-born cleric to key terror plotter had put him atop the U.S. terror “hit list.” Under the code name Objective Troy, intelligence tracked Awlaki for months near his hideout in Yemen.

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism – and a legal challenge – over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, “due process in war.”

The killing of a U.S. jihadist

“The administration has tried to make very clear that this was an act of self-defense, that Awlaki was part of not only al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, but he was the external operations chief. He was ongoing in his plotting against American citizens – not only having done so in the past, but continuing to do so in an imminent way,” said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate.

“So based on the rules of self-defense, based on the principles that we’re at war with al Qaeda and the fact that he was a part of the group, self-professed, all of that suggests that it’s lawful and appropriate to go after him and to kill him,” Zarate said.

When asked if the drone attack against a U.S. citizen – in effect, execution without trial – sets a precedent, Zarate said, “It’s a good question – you run the risk of a slippery slope here. I think people are asking very appropriate questions about what the limits of the government’s power can be in terms of going after Americans who are part of al Qaeda, and we’ve seen in the recent past that Americans have formed more and more part of the al Qaeda network – not just Anwar al-Awlaki, but others. There are important questions to ask about what the process is and what the procedures are to determine who is an imminent danger to the United States.”

via Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki – CBS News.

Former President Bill Clinton, President Obama, history:  They always say history repeats itself.  I am amazed how Bill Clinton seems to keep himself in the press. … “vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.”

Bill Clinton is using the 20th anniversary of the launch of his presidential bid to offer a vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.

Clinton told a crowd of about 5,000 people gathered outside the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock that Obama faces a different set of challenges than he did in 1992. But Clinton says Obama faces the same debate over the role of government.

Clinton spoke at an event marking the anniversary of his 1991 announcement that he’d run for president. He told the crowd that he decided to run because he believed the country needed a new kind of politics and a new economics.

via Clinton: Obama faces same debate from ’92 bid – CBS News.

Groupon, deal sites, marketing:   “Fading allure?”

Shopping coupons have a long history, and they will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in local merchants’ efforts to attract customers. But what has become apparent is a basic contradiction at the heart of the daily deals industry on the Internet.

The consumers were being told: You will never pay full price again. The merchants were hearing: You are going to get new customers who will stick around and pay full price. Disappointment was inevitable.

Some entrepreneurs are questioning the entire premise of the industry. Jasper Malcolmson, co-founder of the deal site Bloomspot, compares the basic deal offer with lenders’ marketing subprime loans during the housing boom.

Even worse from the merchants’ point of view, the popularity of the coupon sites fed a relentless bargain-hunting mentality among customers that did not use them. “Every day, we get an e-mail or phone call saying, Can we match someone else’s price?” said Ms. Bengel of Wellpath. “We’re not Wal-Mart.”

And the long-term reputation of the merchant may be at risk, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Harvard that analyzed thousands of Groupon and Living Social deals. The researchers found that fans of daily deals were on average hard to please. After they ate at the restaurant or visited the spa, they went on Yelp and grumbled about it. This pulled down the average Yelp rating by as much as half a point.

“Offering a Groupon puts a merchant’s reputation at risk,” said John Byers, a professor of computer science at Boston University who worked on the project. “The audience being reached may be more critical,” he said, “than their typical audience or have a more tenuous fit with the merchant.”

Even Amazon, the retailing juggernaut, has found quick riches are elusive. Its response in New York has been tepid. A subscription to The New York Observer had 84 takers, as did a “Sex and the City” tour. A Latin cooking class attracted 61 people, an Asian bistro 109.

Kevin Walters, manager of the Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club on Third Avenue in Manhattan, said he was “very, very surprised” to sell only 77 deals through Amazon. “It should have been huge,” he said. Amazon declined to comment.

Despite the lackluster response, Mr. Walters will probably try another coupon. “I’m in East Harlem,” he said. “If the rest of the economy is shaky, then East Harlem is depressed. One way or another, I need to get people here.”

via Deal Sites Have Fading Allure for Merchants – NYTimes.com.

John F. Kennedy, Cold War, bomb shelters, Peanut Island, FL, history: I have toured the shelter for Congress at the Greenbriar and it was very interesting.  If I were nearby, i would probably go see this one.

President John F. Kennedy, who was facing a series of nail-biting face-offs with the Soviets, even recommended a fallout shelter for all Americans “as rapidly as possible” in an October 1961 speech. Two months later, Kennedy was presented with his own top-secret tropical bomb shelter off Palm Beach, Fla., on an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.

Few even know it is here, but some area residents believe that the bunker is a must-see attraction that could put Peanut Island, a manmade islet, on the map.

Termed the “Detachment Hotel” in documents, the fallout shelter here was built by Navy Seabees in less than two weeks at the end of December 1961 and sits a short stroll from a rambling colonial-style house that doubled as a United States Coast Guard station. Deftly camouflaged by trees, it was hard to spot. If people asked, they would be told it was a munitions depot, nothing more. Kennedy visited the bunker twice during a drill.

“The government never declared it existed until 1974,” said Anthony Miller, a member of the executive board of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, a nonprofit organization that leases part of the land on Peanut Island and runs a charter school and gives tours of the bunker and the former Coast Guard station. “But it was the worst-kept secret in Palm Beach.”

With the Soviets intent on shipping nuclear warheads to nearby Cuba, Kennedy was assured a radiation-proof haven a mere five-minute helicopter hop from his oceanfront winter home on millionaire’s row in Palm Beach. Peanut Island sits just between Palm Beach and its ritzy companion, Singer Island. It was intended to be used as a terminal for shipping peanut oil; that never happened, but the name stuck.

To ensure the president’s safety during the summer, when he visited the Kennedy compound on Hyannis Port, Mass., a sister shelter was built on Nantucket Island in 1961; it has never been open to the public.

The Florida bunker, which fell into disrepair in the 1990s, was cleaned up and has been open for tours since 1999, shortly after the museum leased the land. Buried under layers of concrete and built with quarter-inch-thick walls of steel and lead, the bunker looks like something out of the television show “Lost.”

via For Kennedy, a Secret Shelter Was a Cold War Camelot – NYTimes.com.

Gov. Mitt Romney, politics, political strategy, 2012 Presidential Election:  Maybe his strategy is to play both sides … and to me closing loopholes seems like a fair way to solve the tax shortfall because loopholes are usually geared to a special interest group.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

via Romney’s Strategies as Governor Bucked His C.E.O. Image – NYTimes.com.

culture, Great Recession, waste, Halloween:  Halloween used to a home-made holiday … a sheet and a pillowcase … $& Billion???

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend $6.9 billion this year for Halloween. To put that number into context, the same NRF survey found that Americans planned to spend $3.3 billion as recently as 2005.

This biggest chunk of this money — $2.5 billion of it — will go to costumes. Of that total, a little more than $300 million will be spent on costumes for pets. We’ll also drop $2 billion on candy and just under that on decorations.

This year isn’t an anomaly, either. Halloween spending did decline in 2009, when it dropped by about $1 billion to $4.8 billion. But by last year, it had bounced back to $5.8 billion.

via Now That’s Creepy: Americans Will Blow $7 Billion on Halloween | Moneyland | TIME.com.

NYT, food, drink, media:  I actually enjoyed this interactive issue and especially this article on food cravings.

This Food and Drink Issue of the magazine — the fourth annual — is full of questions. I have two of my own, and they’re the same questions I’ve been asking myself since I began cooking 40 years ago. How can food change my life? And how can food change the world?

I grew up during a time when the awareness of the quality of food was practically nil. It’s true that in the ’50s and even the ’60s people still cooked, even if much of the food was “convenient,” like Jell-O mold or tuna tetrazzini. It’s also true that pigs were still raised on farms, most vegetables were seasonal and hyperprocessed junk hadn’t yet achieved hegemony. But back then we took the good stuff for granted and never thought it would get anything but better.

The ’70s and ’80s were a more optimistic era, because cooking was in the news and the American food revolution was in full swing. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t a revolution but a civil war. Our side featured good people arguing for real, mostly simple cooking done with fresh, well- raised ingredients, a retreat from convenience and overly fancy stuff and a return to the basics. Arrayed against us in this fight — a struggle for the American palate and ultimately the global diet — was Big Food, spreading like the Blob.

It was hardly a fair fight: we were naïve, optimistic and unprepared, armed with spatulas, good food and journalism. The bad guys had nuclear weapons like scientific marketing and advertising, billions of dollars and, worst of all, government support.

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

But can cravings for sweet or salt or fat be classified as actually, legitimately addictive? The processed-food industry doesn’t much like the A-word, preferring its own coinage: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction. (Among other examples, fasting — the food equivalent of needing a hit — doesn’t result in enhanced cravings.) The American Beverage Association paid for a 2006 review that makes a similar argument about caffeine. While some may ingest the stimulant to suppress withdrawal symptoms, the study declared, caffeine “does no harm to the individual or to society, and its users are not compelled to consume it.”

The junk-food industry may have a point. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that drugs can set off brain responses that are far more powerful than those caused by even the most luscious food. On the other hand, she notes, “clearly, processed sugar in certain individuals can produce these compulsive patterns of intake.” The difficulty of trying to kick a food habit, however, is that you can’t just go cold turkey from all food. Still, the best strategy for the afflicted, according to Volkow, is to mimic drug programs and completely avoid foods that cause the most trouble. “Don’t try to limit yourself to two Oreo cookies, because if the reward is very potent, no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it.”

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former President  Bill Clinton, Back to Work, books:   Everybody want in on the solution …

“Back to Work” addresses the subject Mr Obama has been weakest with: job creation. Mr Clinton sounds some classic themes from the 1990s with a bit of fashionable greenery flown in. The private and public sector should be partners, not antagonists: anti-government rhetoric may be good for politics (and TV ratings) but it is bad for policy-making. A modern economy requires a government that is active but smart rather than one that is active but driven by vested interests. But the blurb also promises some “specific recommendations” on how to put people back to work and create new businesses—and even double America’s exports. It is impossible to judge whether this is just flannel or serious argument until the book is released next month. It is also far easier to make recommendations from the comfort of retirement than it is to govern. But a president who presided over America’s Indian summer—a period of sustained growth and disciplined government—should at least have something to say to a new generation of politicians who live in a far stormier time.

via Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work”: Missing Bill | The Economist.

architectural styles, polls: Well, how well do you know your architectural styles?

Colonial-style houses are best-sellers in the Washington area, comprising 40 percent of all home sales in the area.

How do you know if your house is one of those, and why does it matter?

As Susan Straight reports in this week’s Real Estate section, “real estate professionals say that knowing your Colonial from your Federal- and Tudor-style home really matters when it comes to buying and selling. That’s because certain styles are more popular than others, and a home’s style can factor into its resale value, agents say.”

via How well do you know your architectural styles? – Post User Polls – The Washington Post.

street art, websites, lists: From a postsecret tweet: Street Anatomy,   Wooster Collective and  Banksy – Outdoors.

NBA lockout,Stephen Curry, Davidson College:  You go Steph …

It was an awkward moment, that first day of class at history of education, when the professor did a roll call.

“Wendell Curry?”

“Actually, my name is Wardell,” the student replied. “But people call me Stephen.”

And with that, any hope of blending in was also history. The other students, mostly freshmen, stared and pointed because this was not your usual Davidson classmate.

via NBA lockout opens door for Stephen Curry’s education | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

business, management, lists:  The Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say  … this one struck me … most big firms close off access to such sites on the internet.  I agree that if they require you to be accessible 24/7, you should be allowed a little freedom 9-5 in exchange.

I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.

Decent managers have figured out that there is no clock, not for white-collar knowledge workers, anyway. Knowledge workers live, sleep, and eat their jobs. Their e-mail inboxes fill up just as fast after 5:00 p.m. as they do before. Their work is never done, and it’s never going to be done. That’s O.K. Employees get together in the office during the daytime hours to do a lot of the work together, and then they go home and try to live their lives in the small spaces of time remaining. If they need a mental break during the day, they can go on PeopleofWalmart.com or Failblog.org without fear of managerial reprisal. We are not robots. We need to stop and shake off the corporate cobwebs every now and then. If a person is sitting in the corner staring up at the ceiling, you could be watching him daydream—or watching him come up with your next million-dollar product idea. (Or doing both things at once.)

via Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say – BusinessWeek.

bike messengers, culture,  NYC, random:  You never know what you will find …

The scene, more reminiscent of a garage-band festival than a bicycle event, captured the spirit of the East Coast Messenger Stage Race, Mr. Horse’s hastily arranged, informal competition for a small group of hardy riders — mostly bicycle messengers — from across the country. The five-day race, through a tangled network of roads from Boston to Washington, was the latest project for Mr. Horse, a competitive cyclist and bike advocate who has emerged in recent years as one of the best-known figures in the city’s brigade of professional messengers.

Mr. Horse, 29, has raced against a sport utility vehicle from Harlem to Brooklyn in a Web advertisement for Mercedes-Benz, worked as a producer and cameraman on a reality series about bicycle messengers for the Travel Channel and performed stunts for more than two months for “Premium Rush,” a bike-centered action movie to be released next year. He has won national and international messenger competitions, as well as sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Oakley sunglasses and the urban bike-wear company Outlier.

But there is a paradox at work here: just as corporate brands and Hollywood try to harness the increasing visibility of urban cycling through its most recognizable character, the grease-grizzled New York City messenger, that subculture is dwindling in the face of higher-tech competition.

The contradictions don’t end there — what kind of grunt job garners brand sponsorships? — but such is the changing state of the messenger’s role as it has morphed from job to lifestyle. The Stage Race, too, is more about messengering as a rugged cowboy ideal than as an efficient way to shuttle important documents between corporate offices. Surely, few — if any — have sent a package from Boston to Washington by bicycle.

Amid this shift, Mr. Horse has become a symbol for a group that prides itself on standing apart.

via The Bike Messenger Goes Hollywood as a Culture Dwindles – NYTimes.com.

David Gerbi – “revolutionary Jew”,  Libya, synagogue, post- Arab Spring, restoration, history: “What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

David Gerbi is a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, but to Libyan rebels he was the “revolutionary Jew.” He returned to his homeland after 44 years in exile to help oust Muammar Qaddafi, and to take on what may be an even more challenging mission.

That job began Sunday, when he took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall. Behind it: the door to Tripoli’s crumbling main synagogue, unused since Qaddafi expelled Libya’s small Jewish community early in his decades-long rule.

Gerbi knocked down the wall, said a prayer and cried.

“What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

The Star of David is still visible inside and outside the peach-colored Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s walled Old City. An empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept still reads “Shema Israel” — “Hear, O Israel” — in faded Hebrew. But graffiti is painted on the walls, and the floor and upper chambers are covered in garbage — plastic water bottles, clothes, mattresses, drug paraphernalia and dead pigeon carcasses.

via Libyan “revolutionary Jew” to restore synagogue – CBS News.

cities, urban development, homebuilding, suburbs:  Very interest article about homebuilding and what need to happen with the next generation of homes…

While we obsess over the new in terms of what we keep in our houses — the ever-increasing speed and functionality of our Smartphones, entertainment options built into refrigerators, sophisticated devices that monitor, analyze and report on our sleep cycles, even the superior technology of the running shoes we put on before heading out the flimsy fiberboard door — we’re incredibly undemanding of the houses themselves. These continue to be built the same way they have for over a century, and usually not as well. Walls and windows are thin, materials cheap, design (and I use the term loosely) not well-considered. The building process is a protracted affair, taking far too long and creating embarrassing amounts of building waste (over 50 percent of all waste produced in the United States, in fact).

Then there’s a company like Blu Homes, which has demonstrated a clear commitment to merging housing and high tech — to the tune of a $25 million investment, in fact. They recognized the tremendous inefficiencies in home-building and have developed 3D technology that allows for personal customization (clients can click a mouse to alter floor plans, choose green features and select finishes), as well as a proprietary building process and innovative steel-framing technology that allows their homes, as their Web site explains, “to be built to the highest aesthetic and environmental standards and be delivered quickly and economically nationwide.”

But following a long line of V.C. types dabbling in housing, Blu has set its sights on a small slice of an already niche market — high-end modern prefab, which accounts for maybe half of a percent of the less than 5 percent of architect-designed homes in the country. Devoting this much R&D and software development to so few homes feels akin to installing a $250,000 solar array on a garden shed. Why not devote that energy to transforming cookie-cutter developer homes?

Chang writes, “The disconnection between the rising diversity of housing needs and the monotony of housing production speaks to the tenacity of the postwar American dream — the enduring allure of the detached house with front lawn and backyard patio — as well as to the profitability of catering to these aspirations.”

Chang sees this moment — with millions of houses now in foreclosure, many deteriorating or abandoned — as one to seize, and I couldn’t agree more. It is possible, he considers, that once the economy revives we will simply return to home-building-as-usual:

But right now we have an opportunity to rethink suburban housing: to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but rather to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population — not only to the so-called traditional households but also to the growing ranks of those who prefer to rent rather than buy, who either can’t afford or don’t want a 2,000-square-foot-plus detached house, who are retired and living on fixed incomes and maybe driving less, who want granny or nanny flats, who want to pay less for utilities and reduce their carbon footprint, and so on.

Housing can’t be equated with high-tech: a home is, or was, a long-term investment not beholden to the dizzying speeds of change and innovation that drive say, Apple, which must continually reinvent and redefine its product to meet consumer demand. But housing is woefully behind the times, and now it needs to see opportunity in crisis, not wait it out by launching pop-up shops and interactive Web sites that empower consumers to such revolutionary things as customizing bathroom tile and kitchen backsplashes.

We’re beyond the point of a fresh coat of paint and a new sales pitch. If we’re going to continue to hold on to the single-family home, we need to transform it. There is a demand for smaller, more energy-efficient homes in less car-dependent neighborhoods; all aspects of the industry, from designers to lenders to planners to consumers, should meet it. In this era of anti-government fervor, subsidizing the American Dream isn’t an option; transforming it is the only one we’ve got.

via Shifting the Suburban Paradigm – NYTimes.com.

cities, photo gallery:  Great photo gallery/slide show of a city and its geometry, as seen from above … unfortunately I can’t pull the pictures.

“New York reveals itself only at a certain height, a certain distance, a certain speed!” Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a half-century ago, before the city grew even higher. The ideal perch, Sartre suggested, is not at the pedestrian’s height, distance or speed, but in the sky. Here, benches and mounds of shrubbery combine to form an urban oasis of curlicues, now being redesigned, at the Jacob K. Javits Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

via City Geometry, Seen From Above – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

Supreme Court , 2011 term, criminal cases,  First Amendment cases:  It will be an interesting year.

“The docket seems to be changing,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told reporters at a judicial conference in August.

“A lot of big civil cases are going to arbitration,” he said. “I don’t see as many of the big civil cases.”

Still, the shift in focus toward criminal and First Amendment cases will soon be obscured if, as expected, the justices agree to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law. That case promises to be a once-in-a-generation blockbuster.

In the meantime, the justices will hear an extraordinary set of cases that together amount to a project that could overhaul almost every part of the criminal justice system.

The court will decide whether the police need a warrant to use advanced technology to track suspects, whether jails may strip-search people arrested for even the most minor offenses, whether defendants have a right to competent lawyers to help them decide whether to plead guilty, when eyewitness evidence may be used at trial, and what should happen when prosecutors withhold evidence.

“The Supreme Court has positioned itself to improve the quality of the criminal justice process from beginning to end,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University.

The court will continue its intense engagement with the First Amendment. But where earlier cases involved quirky issues like dog fights, funeral protests and the Seven Aphorisms of a fringe church called Summum, the marquee First Amendment cases this term involve issues of sweep and consequence.

In one, the court will rule on whether the government may ban swearing and nudity on broadcast television. In another, the justices will decide for the first time whether there is a “ministerial exception” to employment laws that allows religious institutions to discriminate in ways others employers cannot.

The health care case is not the only juggernaut looming on the horizon. In the next term or two, the court may well address same-sex marriage, affirmative action and illegal immigration. For now, the justices are focused on criminal cases, especially ones concerning the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a fair trial.

via Supreme Court Turns to Criminal and First Amendment Cases – NYTimes.com.

Google, advertising, developing countries, Global economy, internet access, corporate social responsibility, India:  OK, Google doe they need internet access before clean water, medicine, healthy supply of food?

LIKE the travelling fairs that still roam India, a snazzy white bus trundles along the subcontinent’s B-roads, stopping in small towns for a few days at a time and inviting locals into another world. But in place of tightrope-walking girls and performing monkeys, its main attraction is access to the internet. For some visitors, it is their first time online.

The Google Internet bus is a free, mobile cybercafe dreamed up by the search giant and run in association with BSNL, a large state-owned internet service provider (ISP). It has covered over 43,000km and passed through 120 towns in 11 states since it hit the road on February 3rd, 2009. Google estimates that 1.6m people have been offered their first online experience as a result. Of those, 100,000 have signed up for an internet connection of their own. Like a high-school drug dealer, though admittedly less nefarious, the idea is to hook them young and keep them coming back. In return for its efforts, Google says it gains a better understanding of their needs. That, in turn, lets it develop products for the potentially huge local market.

via Internet in developing countries: Hailing the Google bus | The Economist.

iPhone, psychology, love, addiction:  OK, I love my iPhone, literally.

WITH Apple widely expected to release its iPhone 5 on Tuesday, Apple addicts across the world are getting ready for their latest fix.

But should we really characterize the intense consumer devotion to the iPhone as an addiction? A recent experiment that I carried out using neuroimaging technology suggests that drug-related terms like “addiction” and “fix” aren’t as scientifically accurate as a word we use to describe our most cherished personal relationships. That word is “love.”

As a branding consultant, I have followed Apple from its early days as a cult brand to its position today as one of the most valuable, widely admired companies on earth. A few years back, I conducted an experiment to examine the similarities between some of the world’s strongest brands and the world’s greatest religions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests, my team looked at subjects’ brain activity as they viewed consumer images involving brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson and religious images like rosary beads and a photo of the pope. We found that the brain activity was uncannily similar when viewing both types of imagery.

This past summer, I gathered a group of 20 babies between the ages of 14 and 20 months. I handed each one a BlackBerry. No sooner had the babies grasped the phones than they swiped their little fingers across the screens as if they were iPhones, seemingly expecting the screens to come to life. It appears that a whole new generation is being primed to navigate the world of electronics in a ritualized, Apple-approved way.

Earlier this year, I carried out an fMRI experiment to find out whether iPhones were really, truly addictive, no less so than alcohol, cocaine, shopping or video games. In conjunction with the San Diego-based firm MindSign Neuromarketing, I enlisted eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 25. Our 16 subjects were exposed separately to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone.

In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects’ brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects’ brains didn’t just see the vibrating iPhone, they “heard” it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also “saw” it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia.

But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

In short, the subjects didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction. Instead, they loved their iPhones.

As we embrace new technology that does everything but kiss us on the mouth, we risk cutting ourselves off from human interaction. For many, the iPhone has become a best friend, partner, lifeline, companion and, yes, even a Valentine. The man or woman we love most may be seated across from us in a romantic Paris bistro, but his or her 8GB, 16GB or 32GB rival lies in wait inside our pockets and purses.

My best advice? Shut off your iPhone, order some good Champagne and find love and compassion the old-fashioned way.

via You Love Your iPhone. Literally. – NYTimes.com.

Paying the Grace Forward, Kent Matlock, culture, Jerry Richardson, Denny’s, kudos: I don’t think this side of the story has been told.  Kudos to Mr. Matlock for telling this story.

Dr. Gloster bestowed his grace on me. Early in our careers, we all have people who are kind and considerate to us, and I learned to treasure them for two reasons: They’re rare, and their actions inspire you to pay that grace forward.

In the early 1980s, I was an advertising manager at Georgia-Pacific. I had worked for a few ad agencies before that, and wanted to return to that side of the industry. I couldn’t find a job with an agency, however, so I decided to start my own. My mother, Jean, who had taught accounting, joined me a few years later as our accountant. At the time we started, minority companies in Atlanta often partnered with larger organizations, which gave the smaller companies more opportunities. We experienced much of our growth that way.

My mother taught me loyalty, and I learned several lessons from clients. Jerry Richardson, C.E.O. of the restaurant company TW Services, then parent of Denny’s, taught me about doing the right thing. We were working on crisis communications for Denny’s after it was accused of racial discrimination in the early 1990s. Jerry didn’t just write checks to settle lawsuits; he asked me what the company could do to improve its practices. He instituted a thorough review and worked with the N.A.A.C.P. on new corporate policies.

Some people criticized me and called me names for working with Denny’s, but Jerry taught me never to let anyone define you. We emerged as an even stronger firm, and Denny’s is still here today.

via Matlock Advertising’s Chief, on Paying the Grace Forward – NYTimes.com.

Bruce Ivins, anthrax mail suspect, Kappa Kappa Gamma – UNC Chapter:  I was in KKG at UNC in the late 70s … very strange. “Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect.”

The Kappa connection

Haigwood had met Bruce Ivins in the mid-1970s during graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She recalled his incessant questions about her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Having joined the sorority as an undergraduate, Haigwood stayed involved as the adult adviser at the UNC chapter. Ivins, she says, always asked her for information about Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Nancy Haigwood says Bruce Ivins was obsessed with her sorority.

“Every time I talked to him, nearly, he would mention it,” says Haigwood. “And finally I said, ‘You know, Bruce, that’s enough!'”

Ivins’ obsession with Haigwood and her sorority continued years after they graduated from UNC. Ivins had started his job at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases — USAMRIID — at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 1980. Haigwood, too, was living and working in suburban Washington.

One day in 1982, she came home to find her sidewalk, fence and car spray-painted with red graffiti: “K K Γ” — the Greek letters of her sorority.

“Because of the Kappa connection, I immediately thought of Bruce Ivins,” Haigwood said.

via Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect – CNN.com.

headlines, War on Terror, drones, modern warfare: That one jumped out at me …

Wall Photos.

25
Sep
11

9.25.2011 …‎ Sitting in a sea of BIG Newton fans at Bank of America Stadium … (OK, we bolted at the half due to the rain deluge … and it was sunny with no sign of rain at home … not a drop) … But nonetheless it was a panther day!

Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton:  Great day to be a Panther fan … Nice to have a QB to cheer for.

The Carolina Panthers slipped up in the rain that pelted Bank of America Stadium in the second quarter Sunday, but they refused to let it rain on their parade, rallying for a 16-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the large majority of fans having retreated for cover, a defensive gaffe gave Jacksonville a touchdown and a 10-5 lead as the clock expired on an opening half otherwise dominated by the Panthers.

The fans came back when conditions improved after halftime, and so did Carolina. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and the offense navigated treacherous field conditions for a game-winning drive capped by tight end Greg Olsen’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 4:20 left.

With that, the Panthers earned their first victory of the season, and Ron Rivera got his first victory as head coach.

via Panthers reign in the rain.

Rin Tin Tin, legends: My dad always talked about Rin Tin Tin …  ‘Yo, Rinty,’

This Rin Tin Tin is heir to a dynasty of celebrity canines. After all, a lot of us still remember “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” on TV back in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The number of people who declared ‘Yo, Rinty,’ which was the sort of signature phrase of the TV show, was heartening, said Susan Orlean – heartening enough to inspire her to write a whole book about the legend of Rin Tin Tin.

“I think he’s a wonderful symbol of something innocently heroic, Orleans said, “a living being who has embodied qualities that we have always thought of as American – of being independent, of being tough and brave.”

It’s a story that may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that the first Rin Tin Tin was a star in silent movies in the ’20s, celebrated as an athlete AND an actor?

via The legend of Rin Tin Tin – CBS News.

writing, tips, lists:  I like lists … so far I am at #1.

One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips that I’ve found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day;

via The Happiness Project: Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done..

gLee, Sesame Street, letter G, parody, LOL: Enjoy the  letter G!

Get ready to learn all about the letter ‘G’ with Sue, Rachel, Finn, and er, Mr. Guester. Sesame Street‘s 42nd season premiere airs Monday, and it features a killer parody of Glee that is sure to delight children and parents alike (the episode also includes a significantly more manly parody of The Deadliest Catch, if you balk at musical television but dig puppets)

via Flavorwire » Watch Sesame Street’s Hilarious ‘Glee’ Parody.

Sesame Street: G – YouTube.

cartoon, pirate cartoon, New Yorker, LOL:

Cartoons from the Issue of September 26th, 2011 : The New Yorker.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, heroes, Supreme Court, photo essays:  As a female law student in the 80’s, she was a role model … a hero.

The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor

A look back at the rise and tenure of the first female Supreme Court justice, sworn in thirty years ago, September 25, 1981.

via The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor – Photo Essays – TIME.

Planet Word , books, Stephen Fry: “The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you” – Stephen Fry

Planet Word

“The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you”. (Stephen Fry). From feral children to fairy-tale princesses, secrets codes, invented languages – even a language that was eaten – “Planet Word” uncovers everything you didn’t know you needed to know about how language evolves. Learn the tricks to political propaganda, why we can talk but animals can’t, discover 3,000-year-old clay tablets that discussed beer and impotence and test yourself at textese – do you know your RMEs from your LOLs? Meet the 105-year-old man who invented modern-day Chinese and all but eradicated illiteracy, and find out why language caused the go-light in Japan to be blue. From the dusty scrolls of the past to the unknown digital future, and with (heart) the first graphic to enter the OED, are we already well on our way to a language without words? In a round-the-world trip of a lifetime, discover all this and more as J.P. Davidson travels across our gloriously, endlessly intriguing multilingual Planet Word.

via Planet Word (Book) by J. P. Davidson, et al. (2011): Waterstones.com.

Frank Warren, PostSecret: I am a big fan of PostSecret … although sometimes they are tiring because so many secrets are sexually related … or maybe I am just really boring.

It began simply enough seven years ago, when Germantown resident Frank Warren decided to embark on an experiment: He distributed postcards around the Washington area to complete strangers. Warren inscribed the postcards with the following instructions: “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”

Warren’s initial idea became PostSecret, a Web site which now receives millions of hits a week. The ongoing project fills Warren’s mailbox with hundreds of postcards every week, from which he chooses a few to post on his blog. PostSecret has produced five books to date, and last week Warren launched his newest project: an app for mobile devices. The PostSecret app takes Warren’s project to an entire different level of connectivity, allowing users to create and share secrets on the go. Within three days, the app had processed over 50,000 submitted secrets, and it’s currently the bestselling social networking iPhone app in the country.

via Q&A with Frank Warren, Founder of PostSecret – Capital Comment Blog (washingtonian.com).

Apple, Steve Jobs, business, growth:  Worth reading …

Finding that first market — a few customers willing to pay for your early product — is hard enough. But there’s one thing that may be even harder. And that’s finding the second market. Especially because companies are often so focused on protecting what they already have.

In 1996 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, I was in charge of an industry-recognized channel program for the company that was responsible for growing a $2M business to $180M business in 18 months. By working with a few dedicated partners — some were called “value-added-resellers” and some were national retailers such as Best Buy — Apple was able to grow its sales exponentially.

So, as I went into the full business review, it never occurred to me that Jobs wouldn’t appreciate the channel program. It was the most profitable part of Apple’s business at the time and a needed source of revenue. But Steve’s take on it (in his words, not mine): “Fuck the channel; we don’t need the fuckin’ channel.”

And he was right. Getting to that next growth market takes more than being unhappy with your current results (in this case, abysmal sales margins and underperforming stock), and it takes more than being willing to change. You have to be willing to do what feels unnatural.

As you become successful in something, you develop a feel for how to do it. You know when something is “right.” You’ve built up the equivalent of a hand callus in response to the friction and pressure of what it has taken to get to that first-market success. So, when you try to replicate that in a new context — a second market in this case — all courses of action just feel…off.

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, a good channel strategy made the key difference between a $100M and a $2B company in the tech world. If you had enough money, you could buy distribution and thus sales. The channel, therefore, had a powerful position in relationship to the brand.

via What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Growth – Nilofer Merchant – Harvard Business Review.

reality of fiction, naturalism: Very interesting article … “Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.”

Literature has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

In his contribution to The Stone last week, Alex Rosenberg posed a defense of naturalism — “the philosophical theory that treats science as our most reliable source of knowledge and scientific method as the most effective route to knowledge” — at the expense of other theoretical endeavors such as, notably, literary theory. To the question of “whether disciplines like literary theory provide real understanding,” Professor Rosenberg’s answer is as unequivocal as it is withering: just like fiction, literary theory can be “fun,” but neither one qualifies as “knowledge.”

Though the works of authors like Sophocles, Dante or Shakespeare certainly provide us with enjoyment, can we really classify what they have produced as “fun”? Are we not giving the Bard and others short shrift when we treat their work merely as entertainment? Does their fictional art not offer insights into human nature as illuminating as many of those the physical sciences have produced?

As a literary theorist, I suppose I could take umbrage at the claim that my own discipline, while fun, doesn’t rise to the level of knowledge. But what I’d actually like to argue goes a little further. Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

via ‘Quixote,’ Colbert and the Reality of Fiction – NYTimes.com.

college search, fit:  If I were a high school senior, I would be pulling my hair out.

Not too long ago in my office, I counseled a student distraught because the extensive spring break college tour from which he had just returned hadn’t yielded a discovery of “the right fit.” This seemed to be defined as El Dorado in college form, where everyone would share this young person’s worldview and interests—and the food was great. Each fall counselors have some tough talks with teenagers insistent that super-selective, name-brand colleges are the right fit for them, even if the admission profile of those colleges would suggest otherwise. We also see young people who earnestly struggle to identify the factors that will define fit for them, but who get derailed by “lifestyle” selling points of the colleges, like the ubiquitous gleaming athletic facility with climbing wall, touted in viewbooks and in admission officers’ seemingly interchangeable information sessions. From the student perspective, the Quest for Fit can be elusive, stressful, and frustrating.

There is a popular slogan posted in many college counseling offices: “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.” This statement has become a mantra we repeat to families as an antidote to the media-driven obsession with rank, reputation, and prestige. The notion of “fit” or “match” once seemed to offer a metaphorical goal that would lead our conversations to more productive ground—to what my colleague Jeff Durso-Finley calls the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy, College Edition. What college attributes will contribute to your success and give you the support you need to meet your goals? What do you bring to a college community? What are some realistic parameters for your search? Increasingly, though, Fit showed up as a factor in student experiences that were counterproductive to the reflective, student-guided college search we want to support.

A few years ago, I was comparing notes with my colleagues Carl Ahlgren, of Baltimore’s Gilman School, and Jeff Durso-Finley, of The Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey, when we recognized the emergence of the “mid-sized urban school with great school spirit” (or MSUSWGSS) as the Holy Grail of Generation Fit. A by-product of our abuse of Fit, simultaneously one-size-fits-all and highly customized, this perfect college is academic, but fun, not too big, not too small. Its campus is, of course, reminiscent of Hogwarts; its dorms, spacious. The largest cross-section of our counselees described this mythic ideal as their “right fit,” usually assuming it was found in the far off lands where admit rates fall to single digits. Strange as it may seem, this is where Don Quixote rode into the conversation. Quixote’s tasks of knight-errantry are undertaken in the name of his beloved Dulcinea, of whom he proclaims, “all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her.” In fact, he has never seen her and she may or may not even exist; he has heard her name and ascribed attributes; she sounds a lot like the elusive MSUSWGSS.

Our colleague Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, once captured the frustration of a conversation about the whole business of Fit when she exclaimed, “Fit happens!” Happily, this tongue-in-cheek phrase nails it. We hope it can become the new counseling office motto, opening our kids to unexpected possibilities and a more authentic, empowering and reflective transition to the next phase of their lives.

via Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), media, President Obama, politics,  black/race card:  Don’t like or respect Joe Walsh … but I am really tired of the race card being thrown out … from both sides.

A recent crop of bad press has not stopped U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) from making his usual media rounds this week. On Wednesday, after being named among Congress’s thirteen “most corrupt” representatives, Walsh sat down with the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell to discuss the mainstream media’s alleged “protection” of President Obama, claiming the president’s race protects him from criticism.

Bozell, a conservative talk show host, brought up the Tea Party’s love for African American GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain before accusing the Obama administration of “playing class warfare and race warfare games.” He went on to say that the national media is “aiding and abetting” that agenda, and Walsh agreed, referring to the president as “this guy.”

“This guy pushed every one of the media’s buttons,” Walsh said. “He was liberal, he was different, he was new, he was black. Oh my God, it was the potpourri of everything. They are so vested in our first black president not being a failure that it’s going to be amazing to watch the lengths they go to protect him. [The media], I believe, will spout this racist line if some of their colleagues up here aren’t doing it aggressively enough. There is going to be a real desperation.”

via Joe Walsh: Media Will Protect Obama Because He Is Black (VIDEO).

Troy Davis, final words, death penalty:  Troy Davis maintained his innocence in killing of officer … Never a advocate of the death penalty, I can justify it in certain circumstances … but cases like this make more and more actively against it.

Georgia inmate Troy Davis maintained his innocence until the very end, saying he did not kill an off-duty officer in 1989.

Davis made his final statement as he was strapped to a gurney. He was executed at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. Davis told the family of officer Mark MacPhail that he did not kill their son, father and brother.

He said the incident that happened that night was not his fault and he didn’t have a gun. Davis’ claims of innocence drew worldwide support from hundreds of thousands of people. Courts, however, consistently ruled against him.

via In his final words before execution, Troy Davis maintains his innocence in killing of officer – The Washington Post.

Facebook, social networks, media, marketing: Big Brother is watching …

Facebook, the Web’s biggest social network, is where you go to see what your friends are up to. Now it wants to be a force that shapes what you watch, hear, read and buy.

The company announced new features here on Thursday that could unleash a torrent of updates about what you and your Facebook friends are doing online: Frank is watching “The Hangover,” Jane is listening to Jay-Z, Mark is running a race wearing Nike sneakers, and so forth. That in turn, Facebook and its dozens of partner companies hope, will influence what Frank and Jane and Mark’s friends consume.

via Facebook’s New Strategy to Turn Eyeballs Into Influence – NYTimes.com.

Southern American English, Y’all: It may be ok to say y’all!!  And I never thought that there was a distinct name for my language … Southern American English!

DISCUSSIONS of Texas often turn to an exploration of the American South’s most distinctive regional locution, “y’all.” The common view, among outsiders, is that insofar as “y’all” is from the region specified, it’s also a bit sub-literate and redneck.

That’s a bit snooty. The fact is that “y’all” is pretty useful, as formal English doesn’t have a distinctly plural version of “you.” There is no “yous” (except in places like New York city and New Jersey, sometimes in the form of “youse guys”). This suggests that the referent is usually clear enough in context. But the existence of “y’all,” the related “you-all” and “all-y’all,” and other workarounds like “you guys” and “you lot” show that there is, in fact, room in the market for new second-person plural pronouns. Visitors to Texas typically realize the value of “y’all” within 48 hours.

via Southern American English: Y’all hear this | The Economist.

Navy SEALs, Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert, Davidson College Alums:  Some Davidson friends and I were talking about the Navy SEALs the other night and one friend said that a classmate was head of the recruiting and training (Although he may be retired now.)  So I looked it  … learned a little about the SEALs, too.

In a courtyard known as the Grinder, more than 200 young men are well into a 90-minute, high-intensity workout. They’re dressed in white T-shirts and camouflage pants. A shirtless and heavily tattooed instructor shouts out orders. Other instructors pace up and down the aisles with megaphones — making sure that on push-ups elbows are bent past 90 degrees and chests are hitting the ground. These SEAL recruits are in the last week of “in doc” — the ramp-up to the first phase of formal SEAL training.

This is a scene that makes Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert very happy. He oversees the recruiting and training of future SEALs.

“For the first time in years, I’ve got a full class out there,” he says. “We don’t usually see that. In fact, we have so many people in the class, they’re competing to get into first phase. This is a problem we’ve always wanted.”

It’s especially good news for the SEALs now. The Pentagon wants the force of just over 2,000 SEALs to expand by 500 by the year 2010. Herbert says it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s not just a spigot you can turn on and off,” he explains. “From the day that a guy gets here to the day that I give the guy his trident — the seal insignia — takes 59 weeks minimum, if he makes it through the first pass.”

The SEALs hope this mentoring will help recruits make it through the program, but Captain Herbert says the force will not compromise its standards.

“If we compromise our standards,” he says, “we are putting our troops in jeopardy. We are putting our mission in jeopardy.”

Herbert says the SEALs’ work during wartime is dangerous enough as is. He won’t tell parents of SEALs not to worry. Instead, he says this: “I can promise you he’ll be the best-trained man on the battlefield, the best-led man on the battlefield, the best-equipped man on the battlefield. But ultimately, he’s on the battlefield, and war is an uncertain thing.”

Herbert will disclose nothing about what SEAL commandos are doing overseas. He’ll only say they’re making contributions that Americans would be proud of. To date, 18 SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

via Navy SEALs Seek to Build Up Their Ranks : NPR.

Draw a Stickman, websites, random:  As one blogger said … what a great way to waste time. 🙂

careers, happiness, kith/kin:  My dad always whistled when he came in from work … he was a pretty happy guy.  He was a stock broker/bond peddler … #9 on the list: financial services sales agents.

Your therapist’s happiness level rises when you visit her couch. Firefighters are delighted to help you get Kitty out of a tree. Sins to confess to your priest or minister? He’s tickled to hear them.

Psychologist, firefighter, and clergy are included in the list of the “10 happiest jobs” based on data collected via the General Social Survey of the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “Since experts say that social interaction drives job satisfaction, it makes sense that clergy are happiest of all,” Christian Science Monitor writes. “Social interaction and helping people [is a] combination that’s tough to beat for job happiness.”

This formula explains why teachers and physical therapists are on the list, but also included are autonomous, creative professions like author and artist, and labor-intensive jobs like operating engineer. “Operating engineers get to play with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors,” says the Monitor. And, “with more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, no wonder they are happy.” The full list follows:

1. Clergy

2. Firefighters

3. Physical therapists

4. Authors

5. Special education teachers

6. Teachers

7. Artists

8. Psychologists

9. Financial services sales agents

10. Operating engineers

Interestingly, many of the occupations that fall at the bottom of the job-satisfaction list involve information technology, which can create isolating work, notes Forbes:

1. Director of information technology

2. Director of sales and marketing

3. Product manager

4. Senior web developer

5. Technical specialist

6. Electronics technician

7. Law clerk

8. Technical support analyst

9. CNC machinist

10. Marketing manager

Where does your job fall on the happiness scale? Are you bolstered by the helping hand you extend to others or satisfied by what you create—or should you pack it all in and learn to drive a bulldozer?

via Whistle While You Work – The Sweet Pursuit – Utne Reader.

Apple, Samsung, competition, intellectual property:  Samsung … you look pretty stupid.

Consider the wall of apps in this photo of the company’s new shop-in-a-shop in Italy’s Centro Sicilia, which appears to feature not only the iOS icon for Apple’s mobile Safari browser, but the icon for the company’s iOS App Store — three instances of it.

Embarrassing, particularly given Apple’s allegations that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of its iPhone and iPad devices. It’s hard to imagine there’s a reasonable explanation for this. Samsung phones don’t support iOS apps and I can’t imagine Apple is making the company a version of Safari.

Now it’s possible this was a display left over from some other event or product, but still.

via What Are Apple’s Icons Doing on Samsung’s Wall of Apps? – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

Jennifer Ehle,  “A Gifted Man”,  “Pride & Prejudice”:  Love Jennifer Ehle … I will add “A Gifted Man” to my dvr record list.

Many viewers will forever associate Jennifer Ehle with her career-making role as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice, the sumptuous adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. But the 41-year old actress, the daughter of the actress Rosemary Harris and the writer John Ehle and now a mother of two, has been producing a steady body of work for both the stage and film, since she first donned a curly black wig to play Austen’s outspoken romantic heroine back in 1995. On Broadway, she won a Tony award in 2000 for The Real Thing and another in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia.

Recently, Ehle starred alongside her Darcy, Colin Firth, in The King’s Speech, though the two only shared one brief scene together; she played Lady Catelyn Stark in the original pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but departed the role before it went to series. This month, she’s in Steven Soderbergh’s big-budget germaphobe’s-worst-nightmare flick, Contagion, in which she plays a CDC scientist, and next month she’ll appear as the wife of George Clooney’s politician character in The Ides of March.

Ehle also stars in CBS’s new supernatural/medical/personal journey drama, A Gifted Man, created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and launching tonight. She plays Anna Paul, the ghost of a free clinic doctor on a mission to improve the character of her arrogant ex-husband, Michael (Patrick Wilson), a brilliant neurosurgeon who has lost his way.

The Daily Beast sat down with Ehle, and in these excerpts we discussed A Gifted Man, why she left Game of Thrones, attachment parenting, why she’s never recognized on the street, and ghost sex.

Why did you decide to do a weekly series now?

Jennifer Ehle: I never thought in a million years that I would do a weekly series. I met Jonathan Demme when I’d auditioned for him for Rachel Getting Married. It hadn’t worked out, but I knew he liked me. Without Patrick being attached to this and Jonathan directing it I don’t think I would have even read it or looked at it. Then I just sort of started taking baby steps because if they’re both seeing something in this then maybe what I see is not an illusion.

via Jennifer Ehle on ‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ Colin Firth – The Daily Beast.

New York City Ballet “Ocean’s Kingdom,” Sir Paul McCartney,  ballet, New York City Ballet, costume design,  Stella McCartney:  What a great father daughter collaboration.  Now I need to find a review of the performance … not that I know anything about ballet.

Sir Paul McCartney’s first ballet score has premiered in New York.

Peter Martins, master-in-chief of the New York City Ballet, said it has been one of the greatest collaborations in his career.

Speaking ahead of the premiere, he told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz that the musician was engaged in “every aspect” of the project.

The ballet, choreographed by Martins, tells the story of an underwater romance.

via BBC News – Sir Paul McCartney ‘delivered’ to the ballet world.

When Paul McCartney announced earlier this year that he would create an original score for the New York City Ballet’s “Ocean’s Kingdom,” he had the perfect costume designer in mind—daughter Stella McCartney! The limited-engagement ballet premiered last night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Stella McCartney, Ocean's Kingdom

Stella McCartney’s Ballet Costumes: See the Sketches! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

R.E.M, music:  Love  REM … might actually have to  buy the set … christmas gift for me?

Recently disbanded alt-rock legends R.E.M. will release their first career-spanning retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 on November 15th. Few details of the set have emerged, but Rolling Stone has confirmed that the compilation will include a handful of tracks recorded this year after the completion of the band’s final album, Collapse Into Now.

Though R.E.M. have released a handful of compilations and hits collections over the years, the material on those sets has always been divided between their IRS Records years, which covers the Chronic Town EP on through Document in 1987, and their Warner Bros. catalog, which includes all of their material from Green through Collapse Into Now. Part Lies, presumably a multi-disc set to cover the sheer volume of the band’s hits, will be the first collection to provide an overview of their entire body of work.

via R.E.M. to Release Career-Spanning Hits Set in November | Music News | Rolling Stone.

“The Problem We All Live With” ,  Norman Rockwell,  paintings, civil rights paintings, kudos:  Since I was only 4 at the time, I never thought about how controversial “The Problem We All Live With” was.  Kudos to Norman Rockwell for using his work to portray this.

With the eyes of the nation this week on civil rights, let’s turn our focus to a painting inspired by a Louisiana event that astonished America when it came out 46 years ago.

In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell, the well-known illustrator of iconic images of the American dream, unveiled the first of his civil rights paintings, “The Problem We All Live With.” It’s very likely you have seen this painting that debuted in a two-page spread in Look magazine. It’s very different from most of Rockwell’s work.

The painting shows a full-length profile of a young black girl in a white dress and tennis shoes on a sidewalk. She’s sandwiched between two pairs of federal marshals. You can’t see the full bodies of the marshals – just from their shoulders to their shoes. Scrawled on a wall that serves as the painting’s background is the nasty word, “Nigger.” Scratched at another place is “K.K.K.” The only vivid color in the piece, marked mostly by its muted grays, tans and yellows, is the carcass of a red tomato. It lay on the ground, splattered just below where it hit the wall.

“The Problem” is a simple, but remarkable work. North Carolina artist Kenneth W. Laird, who did his master’s degree thesis on this and other paintings, calls Rockwell’s piece “arguably the single most important image ever done of an African American in illustration history.”

via Rockwell painting nudged nation by Andy Brack | LikeTheDew.com.

 “All My Children”, soap operas, end of an era, UGA Law School:  41 years … great memory of watching all my children at lunchtime as a first year law student and rushing to get to Louisville to see if Jenny married ???

The long-running soap opera aired its final episode on Friday, ending the show’s 41-year run.

The finale finished with a cliffhanger: It ended with most of the show’s characters gathered at the Chandler house for a party. J.R. lurked outside with a gun and fired it when the screen went black.

Whether anyone was shot could still be revealed – ABC licensed the show to production company Prospect Park, which hopes to keep the show going online and on other “emerging platforms.”

The series, which debuted in 1970, featured Susan Lucci as villain Erica Kane, and helped launch the careers of actors including Kelly Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Melissa Leo, Amanda Seyfried, Mischa Barton, Christian Slater and Michelle Trachtenberg.

ABC announced it was pulling the plug on the show back in April, along with the soap opera “One Life to Live,” which will end its run in January.

via “All My Children” ends after 41 years – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

“Buffett Rule”, Warren Buffet, taxes, politics:

WHAT percentage of your annual income do you pay in taxes — as much as Warren Buffett’s secretary? If not, what is the likelihood that you will soon?

Wealthy investors and their advisers pondered these questions this week, after President Obama included the “Buffett Rule” in the budget plan he sent to Congress. The rule stipulates that people who make more than $1 million a year should pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-class Americans.

The prospects of the rule ever becoming law are poor — there is strong opposition to it among Republicans in Congress. But some variation is possible. And that prompted David Scott Sloan, co-chairman of private wealth services at the law firm Holland & Knight, to spend his lunch hour earlier this week trying to calculate how much Mr. Buffett’s secretary would have to make to pay a higher percentage of her income than one of the richest men in the world. Assistants to high-powered financiers often make six-figure salaries, which put them in a top tax bracket (and presumably out of the middle class).

But Mr. Sloan gave up. “It’s so nonsensical,” he said. “It’s not rich, poor. It’s source of income.”

As Mr. Buffett explained last month, “What I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.” His income comes mostly from his investments, which are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. His secretary is most likely paid a salary and bonus, which would be taxed as ordinary income, at a rate that goes as high as 35 percent.

Yet behind the entertaining political theater, some complicated tax questions are being raised. Here is a look at a few.

via ‘Buffett Rule’ Is More Complicated Than Politics Suggest – NYTimes.com.

dictionaries, words, culture:   Outrage?  Don’t ususally think of a dictionary as evoking such strong emotions.

But it was widely denounced for what critics viewed as a lax admissions policy: it opened its columns to parvenus like “litterbug” and “wise up,” declined to condemn “ain’t,” and illustrated its definitions with quotations from down-market sources like Ethel Merman and Betty Grable. That was reason enough for The Times to charge that Merriam had “surrendered to the permissive school” and that the dictionary’s “say as you go” approach would surely accelerate the deterioration already apparent in the language. In The New Yorker, Dwight Macdonald wrote that the editors had “made a sop of the solid structure of English,” and in an Atlantic article called “Sabotage in Springfield,” Wilson Follett called the Third a “fighting document” that was “out to destroy . . . every obstinate vestige of linguistic punctilio, every surviving influence that makes for the upholding of standards.” (The dereliction that most appalled Follett was the Third’s refusal to reject “that darling of the advanced libertarians,” the use of “like” as a conjunction.)

Gove was naïve to imagine that the dictionary could be purged of all subjective value judgments. Yet the Third wasn’t the radical manifesto critics made it out to be. Mmes. Merman and Grable notwithstanding, its three most frequently cited sources were Shakespeare, the Bible and Milton. And the editors insisted — quaintly, by modern lights — on including only words that had been documented in respectable venues. In a letter responding to the Times editorial, Gove pointed out that “double-dome” had been used by John Mason Brown and Alistair Cooke, and that “finalize” could be found in “highly reputable places” like The New Republic and The Times itself.

Still, the controversy signaled a turning point in Ameri­can attitudes about language. It introduced the words “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” into the cultural conversation, and fixed the battle lines for the ritualized squabble over standards that persists across media old and new. The keening indignation, the dire prophecies of imminent cultural disintegration — it’s easy to have the impression that little has changed over the past 50 years.

But the furor over Webster’s Third also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-­century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.

via When a Dictionary Could Outrage – NYTimes.com.

fads,  photo gallery, LIFE:  I really enjoy these LIFE photo galleries … What fads do you remember?  Duncan yo-yos …

Fads. They come and go. Some, like the hula hoop, have a kind of staying power, a certain quirkiness or kitsch that makes us love ’em even more as time goes on. Others definitely have their moment in the sun and then vanish, exiled to the cultural dustbin where so many pet rocks and beanie babies currently reside. In need of a fad refresher? Come take a scroll down memory lane.

via Freaky and Fabulous: A Tour of Fads – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Mitch Daniels, GOP/Republican Party, 2012 Presidential Election, politics:  There is still time …

Daniels, a leading voice within the GOP on the need for radical fiscal reforms in government, disappointed legions of activists by ruling out his own bid for president this year. In town through Tuesday to promote his new book, “Keeping the Republic,” Daniels said he is hoping his views can remain in the conversation and guide the nomination process.

In his remarks Friday, Daniels said he did not watch Thursday night’s GOP debate in Orlando, nor any of the debates, for that matter. It’s his way of dodging a question he’s constantly asked: what he thinks of the current field.

Daniels did say that he would support the GOP nominee, whoever it turns out to be, and he qualified his view that there’s still time for someone else to jump in by saying, “I didn’t say there was a need.”

via Mitch Daniels: There’s still time for more GOP hopefuls – The Washington Post.

college applications, application essay, advice:  Another approach to the essay …

Stanford University’s application for admission includes a prompt directing students to write a letter to their future freshman roommates. The exercise is a good one for all applicants – regardless of their interest in Stanford – as a fun, fresh jumping-off point in the essay writing process, Rebecca Joseph, a professor of education at California State University, said on Friday.

“It’s all about loosening up,” said Ms. Joseph, who was on a panel called “Communicating Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Essays,” part of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors conference in New Orleans.

She quoted various students’ “Dear Roommate” pieces:

“If you want to borrow my music, just ask. If you want to borrow my underwear, just take them.”

“I eat ice cream with a fork, and I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth just for the sour taste.”

“If you have anything other than a Dodgers poster on the wall, I will tear it down.”

“Using ‘I’ is scary,” Ms. Joseph said, but students must get comfortable with their first-person voice on paper in order to craft successful, resonant essays.

Erica Sanders, an admissions officer at the University of Michigan, stressed that writing style – something students may obsess over – is less important than “psychedelic” three-dimensionality and shows of authentic personality.

“We can fix that a student’s a comma fiend, that they don’t have verb-tense structure,” she said.

via Crafting an Application Essay That ‘Pops’ – NYTimes.com.

grammar, grammatical errors, lists:  Don’t want anybody to look dumb!

One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when blogging and writing web copy.

via Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb | Copyblogger.

alumni relations, technology:  

Alumni, analyzed: Collecting and analyzing data on alumni browsing habits—which newsletters they click on, how many times they visit the college’s Web site—can be a big help to fund raisers, write Peter Wylie and John Sammis on the CoolData Blog. They recommend that colleges push back against vendors who are reluctant to provide such data.

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), princess school, The Princess Diaries, movies:  Sounds a great deal like Kate Middleton is a real life Mia Thermopolis.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Kate Middleton (ahem, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), is getting some private briefings on Britain’s august national institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of shaking hands royal duties.

It’s been remarkably quiet for Middleton in recent weeks, since she and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, returned from their tour of Canada and the U.S. But behind the scenes, it transpires that experts in the areas of government, the arts and media have visited St James’s Palace to give the Duchess one-on-one tutorials.

A royal source said, “The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better and learning more about organizations such as the arts, the media and the government. It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately.”

NewsFeed was particularly taken by the notion that Middleton is “spending time carrying out private research of her own,” which one might call, you know, reading.

If this comes across as slightly extreme behavior, the Telegraph suggests that the Royal Family (or “The Firm,” as some refer to them) are keen to avoid the mistakes made in the case of William’s late mother, Princess Diana. According to the paper, she “told friends that no forethought had been given to her future role when she married the Prince of Wales, and that Palace staff ‘basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.'”

To that end, William insisted that a support network be established to guide his bride through the potential pitfalls of public life. We have no doubt that she’ll do just fine, and hope that if we’re ever a player short for a pub quiz team, the Duchess will be available to take part.

via A Royal Education: Kate Middleton Goes to Princess School – TIME NewsFeed.

 Coca-Cola, memorabilia, collecting, UNC-CH, exhibits:  I want to the Stonehenge!

Stephen and Sandra Rich’s collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia began with just a few serving trays.

Now an unknown number of pieces whose dates of origin span more than 100 years make up one of the largest private collections in the country.

The couple, both UNC alumni, will display a portion of their artifacts beginning tonight at the Love House and Hutchins Forum in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola.

Stephen Rich worked as an executive with the Coca-Cola Co. at its headquarters in Atlanta for 30 years.

As an Atlanta native, Rich said he inherited his collecting gene from his mother.

“What company better reflects our country and the south?” he said.

The couple’s memorabilia — including a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan holding a Coke, a 1904 oval plate of the St. Louis World’s Fair and a miniature model of Stonehenge with Coca-Cola products in place of rocks — is housed in their downstairs den.

Stephen said every piece has a story.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Coca-Cola memorabilia to be displayed on UNC campus.

10
Sep
11

9.10.2011 … watched THE WORST movie last night … glad it was a redbox night … contemplating the 9/11 anniversary.

The President, USA Today editorial, 9/11:  Unity … that is one that describes the days and weeks following 9.11.2001.  But what also jumped out at me from his editorial is that Barack Obama was barely on the political spectrum 10 years ago.

Like every American, I’ll never forget how I heard the terrible news, on the car radio on my way to work in Chicago. Yet like a lot of younger Americans, our daughters have no memory of that day. Malia was just 3; Sasha was an infant. As they’ve grown, Michelle and I faced the same challenge as other parents in deciding how to talk with our children about 9/11.

One of the things we’ve told them is that the worst terrorist attack in American history also brought out the best in our country. Firefighters, police and first responders rushed into danger to save others. Americans came together in candlelight vigils, in our houses of worship and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Volunteers lined up to give blood and drove across the country to lend a hand. Schoolchildren donated their savings. Communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing. We were united, as Americans.

This is the true spirit of America we must reclaim this anniversary — the ordinary goodness and patriotism of the American people and the unity that we needed to move forward together, as one nation.

via Obama: Let’s reclaim the post-9/11 unity – USATODAY.com.

Bending All the Rules, movies, caveat emptor:  Sometimes a title catches your attention and you think that sounds cute.  It was not worth the $1.15 or my time to watch it … now that is bad!

Madden 12, video games, Great Recession:  We have an economy that produces entertainment.  No wonder we are in a recession.

U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 21 percent in August to $649 million, according to market researcher NPD Group, partly because the popular “Madden NFL 12” released later in the month than usual.

via Late ‘Madden’ saps August video game sales  | ajc.com.

careers, assessment, current generation:  Instant feedback … instant gratification … hmmm

With many younger workers used to instant feedback—from text messages to Facebook and Twitter updates—annual reviews seem too few and far between. So companies are adopting quarterly, weekly or even daily feedback sessions.

Not surprisingly, Facebook Inc. exemplifies the trend. The social network’s 2,000 employees are encouraged to solicit and give small nuggets of feedback regularly, after meetings, presentations and projects. “You don’t have to schedule time with someone. It’s a 45-second conversation—’How did that go? What could be done better?” says Lori Goler, the Palo Alto, Calif., social-networking company’s vice president of human resources. More formal reviews happen twice a year.

For most companies, employee reviews are still an annual rite of passage. Some 51% of companies conduct formal performance reviews annually, while 41% of firms do semi-annual appraisals, according to a 2011 survey of 500 companies by the Corporate Executive Board Co., a research and advisory firm.

And increasing frequency may not make much of a difference if the performance appraisals are ineffective to begin with, say some. One academic review of more than 600 employee-feedback studies found that two-thirds of appraisals had zero or even negative effects on employee performance after the feedback was given. “Why is doing something stupid more often better than doing something stupid once a year?” asks Samuel A. Culbert, a professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles and the co-author of the book “Get Rid of the Performance Review!”

via Once-a-Year Review? Try Weekly, Daily… – WSJ.com.

Google, Zagat, mergers: Zagat used to be special.  Our law firm gave them as gifts to clients that travelled to NY frequently.  Will access to it via Google devalue it?

Zagat, whose pocket-sized maroon books rate restaurants, hotels and other local attractions with the help of 350,000 contributors world-wide, has a small online presence compared to Yelp Inc. and other review sites. The reviews and ratings it has accumulated are expected to be integrated with Google Places and Google Maps services, which provide people with information about local businesses through desktop PCs as well as mobile devices.

Google, Mountain View, Calif., is trying to make money by getting local businesses to spend money on Web ads—its main source of revenue—or offer special discounts to Google’s users via Google Offers, among other things. Zagat’s information also could be useful to Google’s planned online travel-search service.

Ms. Mayer and Zagat co-founders Nina and Tim Zagat said on Thursday they planned to continue printing the Zagat’s pocket guides for now, and implied that Zagat’s 30-point rating scale would live on under Google.

via Google Paid $125 Million for Zagat – WSJ.com.

Jacqueline Kennedy, oral history, politics: I am taping this one …

The comments offer a glimpse of a complex series of relationships that shaped 1960s Washington. Webs of loyalties and ambitions tangled Hoover’s FBI, Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, Rev. King’s civil rights crusade, and President Kennedy ambitious domestic agenda — with Jacqueline Kennedy overhearing much of it.

food – seasonal, fall:  The change in seasons are so much fun when it brings new smell and tastes into the house.

Cooking Melangery provides a double whammy of fall flavor with her recipe for Turkey Meatballs and Borscht (pictured above).

One whiff of Gourmade at Home’s Pumpkin Muffins will automatically put you in the autumn spirit.

Cooking in Sens packs on the protein with her  hearty recipe for Lamb Shanks with Les Mogettes de Vendee.

5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventure’s  Fennel and Apple Gratin, with its sweet and savory flavor, is the perfect post-summer side.

Versatile risotto gets a fall spin with Delicieux’s Pumpkin and Baby Spinach Risotto.

Brownie Bites’ warm and hearty Vegetable Beef Stew will keep the cold weather at bay.

Swapna’s Cuisine slices her potatoes paper thin in this version of a Baked Potato served with corn.

via Weekly Roundup: Hearty Fall Favorites — Gourmet Live.

Facebook v. Google+:  Since I cannot get a google+ invite, I have no idea which I prefer.  😦

Screenshots posted to Twitter indicate that Facebook is testing smart friends lists that will automatically let users sort their social networking contacts by category. The features is similar to Google+ Circles, which has been a major draw for the new social network.

The feature seems to offer three pre-sorted list recommendations — co-workers, classmates and friends who live nearby.

via Facebook reportedly testing smart friends lists – The Washington Post.

UGA, students, philanthropy, Great Recession, kudos:  Something I never thought about – college student hunger.

A student group at the University of Georgia has opened a food pantry on the campus in Athens.

UGA senior Abbey Warren says it’s also open to UGA staffers who may be having trouble feeding themselves or their families. Warren is on a student committee that’s been working for more than a year to get the food pantry launched.

Warren said nearly two dozen student organizations have joined together to start the pantry and keep it going.

“There really is a need on campus,” volunteer Mae Brennan told the newspaper.

That’s especially true lately, said Alan Campbell, assistant vice president for student affairs and head of UGA Student Support Services.

“We have quite a number of students who are struggling to get by right now,” Campbell said.

Campbell sees students whose parents have lost their jobs, students with expensive health costs for themselves or their families, even homeless students. And like other people struggling financially, some students sometimes have to make a choice between buying medicine doctors prescribe or buying food, he told the newspaper.

via UGA students open food pantry for students, staff  | ajc.com.

BofA, massive layoffs, restructuring:

The recent executive shakeup at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC – News) followed by reports of massive layoffs at the bank may leave you wondering what the turmoil means for you – either as a client of the banking colossus and Merrill Lynch, the brokerage firm it owns, or as a shareholder.

As experts ponder these moves – which include the departure of Sallie Krawcheck, head of the bank’s wealth management unit and Merrill’s public face – they see a rocky period in the days ahead for the company’s shareholders, but not necessarily its clients.

via What the Bank of America shake-up means for you – Yahoo! Finance.

11
Jul
11

‎7.11.2011 PT and dentist in one morning … anxiety attack … :(

anxiety, dentists:  Actually the modern-day dentist is not so bad … but still it is engrained in me to be anxious.

consumer market, China, KFC:  Interesting thought … Chinese consumers … and very interesting as to why KFC is so successful.

Some Western consumer-goods firms that are also-rans at home do surprisingly well in China. Back in America, Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC, part of Yum! Brands is dwarfed by McDonald’s. In China it has 3,300 restaurants—more than three times as many as its rival—and opens a new one each day. The secret of its popularity is local managers with the freedom to adapt KFC’s offerings to the Chinese palate. That means fewer bargain buckets of wings and more congee, a rice porridge with pork, pickles or mushrooms.

Bernstein could have added: beware. The rules in China are still being written. Different arms of government may interpret them differently (see next article). And if someone in power changes his mind, there is not much you can do about it.

Will the Chinese government allow Nestlé to buy Hsu Fu Chi? In 2009 it rejected a $2.4 billion bid by Coca-Cola to buy Huiyan Juice Group, a drinks firm, for no apparent reason. Analysts say that this is unlikely to happen again, however. “The company is not strategically important and together Nestlé and Hsu Fu Chi would control only about 5% of the market,” says Jon Cox at Kepler Capital Markets in Zurich. As the world’s largest chocolate-maker Nestlé has high hopes for a market of more than a billion people who currently eat shamefully little chocolate.

Much could go wrong. Many economists think Chinese households save too much. Some fear a property bubble or a banking crisis. The risks of selling consumer goods in China are immense. But so is the opportunity cost of staying away.

via Consumer goods: The mystery of the Chinese consumer | The Economist.

tv, Bones:  Love Bones … can’t wait for next fall.

If you think Bones’ seventh season is just going to be about diaper-changing and nap time, think again: The show is introducing a new villain, TVGuide.com has learned.

“This is someone who is an extremely odd and fearless foe,” executive producer Stephan Nathan tells us, comparing the character to such past serial killers as Gormogon and The Gravedigger. “Only he’s going to be much more of a 21st-century, tech-savvy foe.”

Fox announced last week that Bones won’t premiere until Nov. 3, which will allow the network to air six episodes in the fall before star Emily Deschanel takes her maternity leave. Nathan says those six episodes will primarily focus on expectant parents Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Deschanel) preparing to raise their child together, but they will also introduce the new killer, who will take a while to subdue.

via Bones Exclusive: Who’s the New Gravedigger? – Today’s News: Our Take | TVGuide.com.

Civil War, history, journalism, Frank Law Olmsted:  I found this a very interesting historical tidbit.

Frederick Law Olmsted is rightly remembered as an eminent landscape architect, but in 1861 it was his work as a journalist and an administrator that brought him acclaim.

In February of that year, he agreed to edit his three earlier volumes, “A Journey in the Seaboard States” (1856), “A Journey Through Texas” (1857) and “A Journey in the Back Country” (1860) and reissue them as a two-volume work titled “The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller’s Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slaves States.”

The idea came from his London publisher, who assumed that the secession crisis would create great interest in such a work in England; Olmsted’s New York publisher quickly agreed. There was reason to believe they were right: one influential journalist and admirer later concluded that Olmsted’s writing “was more powerful and convincing than ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’” While that overstates the case, the book drew a wide readership keen to learn about the nature of Southern society.

via Frederick Law Olmsted’s Writing About the South – NYTimes.com.

ethics, business:  I was always told if I wasn’t willing to put my name on it, then I shouldn’t send it out.

Put your name on it

Is there a simpler way to improve quality and responsiveness?

If you can’t sign it, don’t ship it.

Easy to say, hard to do. Many people choose to work for a big organization precisely so they can avoid signing much of anything.

via Seth’s Blog: Put your name on it.

slime bags, perp walk:  I never thought about how they did this in other countries … but now that I am thinking about it, it does give the impression of guilt.

IT WAS one thing for the French public to hear that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been arrested. It was quite another to see him grim-faced, handcuffed and in the custody of New York detectives. To Americans, this was just the “perp walk”.

This practice gives the newspapers and television images for stories and lets police and prosecutors show off the big game they bagged. J. Edgar Hoover, first head of the FBI, paraded arrested mobsters before the cameras. Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, was killed during a perp walk. It was a favourite tactic of Rudy Giuliani when he was a federal prosecutor.

If she means adversarial, she is correct. American trials pit two lawyers and two narratives against each other; a jury decides which is more plausible. The French have juries only in the most serious cases (including rape). Defendants lack fifth-amendment protections. Adversarialism may mean Mr Strauss-Kahn was roughed up in a way he would not have been in France; but it also meant that, when his accuser was found to be unreliable, the case began to collapse.

Hence a final argument against perp walks: they can be risky for prosecutors. Contrary to many French objections, Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, has behaved well. He dealt fast with a serious allegation against a rich suspect who was about to leave the country for one with which America has only a limited extradition treaty. He also moved quickly when the case against that suspect began crumbling. As for pictures of Mr Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs, the French may see a famous politician treated like a common criminal. Mr Vance—and the New York voters who elect him—may see another high-profile suspect whom he failed to convict.

via America’s judicial system: That guilty look | The Economist.

LinkedIn, social networking:  Are you on?  Do you use it?  I am on … don’t use it except to monitor the postings by Davidson grads.

Professional networking service LinkedIn blasted through the 100-million-user mark in March, making it even more powerful for finding a job, keeping up with colleagues and promoting your resume.

LinkedIn is growing so quickly, it’s adding a new member each second. As the size of its network grows, LinkedIn is steadily getting more useful. But how are people really using the fast-growing service? Researchers at Lab 42 asked 500 LinkedIn users that question and many more, and came up with a variety of answers in this infographic.

Among the fun facts they uncovered: We found it interesting the way top level executives use the service in vastly different ways from entry-level workers. Let us know in the comments how you like to use LinkedIn, or if you don’t use the service, why not?

via How Are People Really Using LinkedIn? [INFOGRAPHIC].

Betty Ford, obituaries, RIP:  Rest in peace, Betty Ford:  When I think of you I think of courage and your hair … 🙂

Honesty in marriage, like in politics, can be a gift or a weapon. Betty Ford’s husband Jerry loved her fizzy candor, her firm commitment when she believed in something and her refusal to pretend when she didn’t. She wore a mood ring, but that was redundant; she wasn’t one to hide an attitude anyway, any more than she’d hide how much her psychiatrist had helped her or what she thought of her children’s sex lives or which of her breasts was removed by doctors when she got cancer. So as the U.S. wrestled with the role it wanted women to play, she marched with Betty Friedan in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. As the political stars realigned for a generation around Roe, she called the court’s abortion ruling “a great, great decision.” As the trauma of Vietnam lingered, she discussed amnesty for draft dodgers. When after six weeks in office she discovered the cancer, she bared her pain in public. She was unlike any other First Lady and yet perfectly suited to her time — 29 months in the White House, during which America was catching its breath and checking its pulse to see if basic institutions and assumptions could survive the shock of the Nixon presidency. Her long combat against addiction brought all kinds of suffering out of the shadows. When she died Friday, July 8, at the age of 93, America lost one of its most unlikely and unmatched healers.

via In Memory: Betty Ford, Former First Lady, Clinic Founder – TIME.

Apple, iPhone:  low-cost version … I’m ok with that.

Citing a source that has been reliable in the past, the report says Apple will introduce both a revamped iPhone 5 and a low-price iPhone that could work with prepaid networks.

The site’s Seth Weintraub is quick to point out that Apple already has two models of the iPhone on the market — the 3GS and the iPhone 4 — but writes that he believes the cheaper phone won’t simply be the iPhone 4 with slashed pricetag. The cheaper model, he thinks, could look more like the iPod Touch, which is also expected to get a refresh this fall.

via Apple will launch low-end iPhone this fall, report says – Faster Forward – The Washington Post.

 

 




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