Posts Tagged ‘coffee

29
Jan
14

1.29.14 … “Snow days are our Sabbath days. They bring with them a commandment to pause, to curl up by a fire, stay in your pajamas or go outside and catch a snowflake and marvel at its tiny beauty. Or do nothing … Be Still.” … if I could choose a perfect birthday …

If I could choose a perfect birthday, it would include any combination of the following: time with or hearing from friends and family, snow, early daffodils outside and perfect timing for my forced paperwhites inside (I also love London for my birthday! :))

I am blessed to have some glorious combination every year, and this year has been no exception.  Thank you, family and friends, for making my day perfect!!

So as I went to sleep yesterday, this was my last thought … I can’t wait to check outside tomorrow. It will be magical.

So I had the chance to check at 4:50 am.  Thank you Old Dogs! And the report  … It was a wee bit icy, actually more ice than snow. So after a few minutes … we all agreed: we would be  happier in bed.

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A Gift From Above/Wrapped in White, snow day = Sabbath Day, Be Still, washingtonpost.com:

 One of the first things I discovered  on this snow day!

What a nice way to look at the the world this morning.

Snow days are our Sabbath days. They bring with them a commandment to pause, to curl up by a fire, stay in your pajamas or go outside and catch a snowflake and marvel at its tiny beauty. Or do nothing.

Snow Sabbath days are the kind of days when your mother can actually catch you on your home phone and ask, “Hey, can you talk? What are you doing?”

“And you say, ‘I’m doing nothing’ ” — this time, without exasperation. “How are you, mama? I have nothing to do, so tell me about every single thing that is happening at home.”

And she does.

And you listen as you look out the window and the snow is falling. And you have all the time in the world because the snow has given you permission to have nowhere to go.

Snow days are our Sabbath days. They remind you of the note you came across lying in the snow in Connecticut. The plain paper held down by a single, cold stone beckoned you to go inside the college chapel because, as the note promised, it was the most quiet place in the world. And you went inside because you had a few minutes before you had to rush to catch an airplane. And the silence inside was so thick it commanded you to “Be still.”

And you did.

And the snow, this snow in Washington, reminds you that we have been too much in a hurry, pulled along by our collars, stressing, trying to make the clock slow down, beat the light, “making more and more money, but not getting any peace,” as a friend’s grandmother in Louisiana said. “More and more money and ain’t getting no peace.”

The snow is a bookmark in a loud world. Ordering respite, quiet, poetry.

via A Gift From Above, Wrapped in White (washingtonpost.com).

And with the light of day … Winter magic!!

Photo: Winter magic!!

kith/kin, coffee, cities, urban planning, via Discovering Urbanism,  City: Rediscovering the Center, William Whyte: Great discussion about cities at coffee this morning with wonderful friends. Thanks for the birthday coffee. I think I did read some of his stuff in the 80’s. I would love to have the syllabus for my 1981 economics seminar on urban planning.

Discovering Urbanism: City: Rediscovering the Center

Great discussion about cities at coffee this morning with some very old friends, Davidson friends. Thanks for the birthday coffee. I think I did read some of his stuff in the 80’s. I would love to have the syllabus for my 1981 economics seminar on urban planning.

William Whyte was the foremost empiricist of cities in the 20th century. He sought to turn the planning and design process on its head – to start with detailed observations of how the smallest scale of an urban place is used by people and work outward from there, designing places and writing codes accordingly. City: Rediscovering the Center begins with lessons drawn from sixteen years of meticulously recording plazas, streets, small parks, and marketplaces with time-lapse video and scientifically parsing out the patterns of behavior. Once the basic observations of human nature have been identified, he launches into an evaluation of the health of downtowns in their entirety.

What jumps out right away from Whyte’s study is the attention he pays to the most basic human needs. How does the provision of food impact the life of a place? Where do people use the bathroom? How can one find light on a cool day and shade on a sunny day? In other words, he doesn\’t travel very far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which I find to be a refreshingly humble and practical disposition toward the power of physical space in our lives. He never reaches for transcendence by design; that’s reserved for what happens in these places.

This leads to Whyte’s most important insight of all, one that really underscores each chapter of the book, that is: people want to be around other people. We are inherently social beings. As simple as this insight seems, it actually ran head on against the prevailing notion in planning at the time that people want as much space for themselves as possible. Whyte noticed that not only did friends clump together when sitting in a plaza, but even strangers tended to take seats in reasonable proximity to each other rather than evenly disperse themselves throughout the space. Well-used places were safer, both in perception and reality. People who stopped for conversation on sidewalks would typically not step out of the way, preferring to be in the center of movement. Parks and sidewalks that were outsized for their activity tended to swallow up its life and repel visitors. People like to be crowded, but not too much.

via Discovering Urbanism: City: Rediscovering the Center.

southern winter storms,  2 Inches=traffic nightmare, Atlanta, Atlantic Mobile:  Amazing events in Atlanta …

How much money do you set aside for snowstorms when they’re as infrequent as they are? Who will run the show—the city, the county, or the state? How will preparedness work? You could train everyone today, and then if the next storm hits in 2020, everyone you’ve trained might have moved on to different jobs, with Atlanta having a new mayor and Georgia having a new governor.

Regionalism here is hard. The population of this state has doubled in the past 40-45 years, and many of the older voters who control it still think of it as the way it was when they were growing up. The urban core of Atlanta is a minority participant in a state government controlled by rural and northern Atlanta exurban interests. The state government gives MARTA (Atlanta’s heavy rail transportation system) no money. There’s tough regional and racial history here which is both shameful and a part of the inheritance we all have by being a part of this region. Demographics are evolving quickly, but government moves more slowly. The city in which I live, Brookhaven, was incorporated in 2012. This is its first-ever snowstorm (again, 2 inches). It’s a fairly affluent, mostly white, urban small city. We were unprepared too.

The issue is that you have three layers of government—city, county, state—and none of them really trust the other. And why should they? Cobb County just “stole the Braves” from the city of Atlanta. Why would Atlanta cede transportation authority to a regional body when its history in dealing with the region/state has been to carve up Atlanta with highways and never embrace its transit system? Why would the region/state want to give more authority to Atlanta when many of the people in the region want nothing to do with the city of Atlanta unless it involves getting to work or a Braves game?

The region tried, in a very tough economy and political year (2012), to pass a comprehensive transportation bill, a T-SPLOST, funded by a sales tax. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an attempt to do something. The Sierra Club opposed it because it didn’t feature enough transit. The NAACP opposed it because it didn’t have enough contracts for minority businesses. The tea party opposed it because it was a tax. That’s politics in the 2010’s. You may snicker, but how good a job has any major city done with big transportation projects over the past 30 years?

via How 2 Inches of Snow Created a Traffic Nightmare in Atlanta – Atlantic Mobile.

Emergency Update: APS will ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of evening 1/28/14:  Just curious: Has this ever happened before?

January 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools has called an emergency “shelter in place” for all students and staff who remain in schools due to inclement weather and adverse road conditions. We will continue to transport students who are already enroute on buses, and parents will still be permitted to pick up students. For students who are sheltered in our schools, we will ensure proper security, supervision, and food. District leadership will continue to monitor the weather to provide additional updates as they become available.

The district is contacting all parents of students impacted by this decision.

via Emergency Update: APS will ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of evening 1/28/14 | Talk Up APS.

And the answer is … yes …

that’s exactly what happened in 1982. My sister (class of 1984) got home, but there were lots of kids who spent days at the school.

Drifting Snow On The Outer Banks, WUNC:

Caption from Twitter: Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, beautiful even when surrounded by snow. 9:32 a.m. 1/29/14

Caption from Twitter: Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, beautiful even when surrounded by snow. 9:32 a.m. 1/29/14

via VIDEO: Drifting Snow On The Outer Banks | WUNC.

Bank of America Stadium:  Ice up, son, ice up!

Solvitur ambulando, The Christian Century:  Great article …

It is hard to walk toward some things. We may have dangerous things to face in life: illness, divorce, dementia, death, tragedy of all sorts. We also have wonderful things to face: birth, marriage, graduation, new jobs, new starts. Life after illness; life after divorce. The good news is that we do not walk alone. We have each other: family, friends, coworkers, doctors, therapists, classmates, neighbors. And most of all. we have Jesus—who has already been wherever we are going, and who will walk with us. Solvitur ambulando.

via Solvitur ambulando | The Christian Century.

Artist Simon Beck, intricate snow art:  It is created by walking … for miles!

It’s possible you’ve never heard of Simon Beck, but after today, you won’t be able to forget him or his wintry works of art. Simon is an artist and is most well-known for making incredibly delicate and detailed art in the snow, just by walking over a fresh snowfall. He literally walks miles in the snow to create these pieces. And the part that blows our minds? He could spend hours upon hours creating one design, just to have it be covered by snowfall or blown away by the next day. But he still makes them.

Simon walks over layers of fresh snow in special shoes to create his mind-boggling art.

via Artist Simon Beck Creates Intricate Snow Art by Walking for Miles.

LOL, inclement weather and heavy traffic:

Due to inclement weather and heavy traffic on my street, (see photo) I’m closing the studio early and headed downstairs. Please go back home to your families. There’s not enough hot chocolate for everybody.

lavender labyrinth,  Mt. Shasta:  And I will close with this … one of my favorite birthday greetings! … sending love and lavender from Mt. Shasta …

11
Jun
13

6.11.13 … coffee, ah, coffee …

coffee:  Ah, coffee …

For hundreds of years, coffee has been one of the two or three most popular beverages on earth. But it’s only recently that scientists are figuring out that the drink has notable health benefits. In one large-scale epidemiological study from last year, researchers primarily at the National Cancer Institute parsed health information from more than 400,000 volunteers, ages 50 to 71, who were free of major diseases at the study’s start in 1995. By 2008, more than 50,000 of the participants had died. But men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount had 13 percent less risk of dying during the study. It’s not clear exactly what coffee had to do with their longevity, but the correlation is striking.

Other recent studies have linked moderate coffee drinking — the equivalent of three or four 5-ounce cups of coffee a day or a single venti-size Starbucks — with more specific advantages: a reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer), prostate cancer, oral cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

Perhaps most consequential, animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia.

via This Is Your Brain on Coffee – NYTimes.com.

18
Jan
13

1.18.13 … shotcakes … poptarts … lobster, shrimp, oysters, wedge salad, filet oscar, coconut cake …

ShotCakes:  OK, so on every other street corner are signboards for    …

ShotCakes© is founded on a simple concept: combining a fresh baked cupcake with creamy soft serve ice cream. By utilizing its patented & revolutionary ice cream technology, ShotCakes© is able to serve its customers ice cream cupcakes, baked fresh and filled fresh!

via http://m.shot-cakes.com/?_escaped_fragment_=About%7Cabout_page

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Boston, Walking/T Tours, Flour Bakery:   I always start at Flour … and now there is a new one in Back Bay … 131 Clarendon Street Boston MA 02116.  I prefer the feel of the Farnsworth Street location which I have visited plenty of times before. I am hopeful that the homemade pop tarts are just as good. The sun is streaming, and I’m looking out the window. There are beautiful but almost dead flowers.  Did I mention the homemade poptarts are HUGE! — at Flour.

Photo: Did I mention they are HUGE!

Boston, Walking/T Tours, Financial District, Robert Burns, public art, dogs:  Okay, I had to stop by Starbucks to recharge the miserable iPhone five, and recalculate my path to the labyrinth. On my way I look over and see some public art, a statue of Burns with his dog. I am both a big fan of public art as well as public art that contains dogs. So here’s a picture. And by the way, I am surrounded by pigeons chirping or whatever they do. — at Downtown Boston.

Robert Burns was a poet 1759-1796 in Scotland. He was known worldwide for his own poems, and the folk songs that he collected and sometimes adapted. His most famous song is “Auld Lang Syne.”One of his poems was, “The Twa Dogs”, which is about the differences between living rich and poor in Scotland. Though the poem is not about his dog, “Luath”, the description of one of the dogs in the poem is his dog. He named his dog after Cucullins dog in Ossians Fingal–Luath means “swift” or “fleet” in Gaelic.The statue was made in 1920 by Henry H. Kitson and was erected in the Fenway section of Boston before it was moved to its present location in the Financial District.

via Robert Burns and His Shepherd Dog, “Luath” – Boston, MA – Dog Statues on Waymarking.com.

Boston, Walking/T Tours, Labyrinth, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Armenian Heritage Park:  The labyrinth in the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway (On top of the big dig, I think) and  is a key feature of Armenian Heritage Park located on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway between Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Christopher Columbus Park. The labyrinth is a full Chartres type labyrinth, which makes me very, very happy. I think that there is a fountain in the middle as well as a fountain on the Armenian statue. Around the perimeter of the labyrinth are additional features – in each quadrant a stone walk – art , science, commerce and service. The dedication on the sculpture reads as follows:

Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts have offered hope and refuge for immigrants seeking to begin new lives. This park is a gift to the people of the Commonwealth and the City of Boston from the Armenian-American community of Massachusetts. The sculpture is offered in honor of the one and one million victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915 – 1923. May it stand in remembrance of all genocides that have followed, and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in the safety of these shores.

Boston, Walking/T Tours:  Did I mention it was 21°.    My iPhone touchscreen does not work even with the special touchscreen gloves when it is that cold. And after a long walk to the South station, i took at the redline to the green line. The green line feels like you’ve walked back 50 years. It sounds like it too. Anyway, I always love experiencing the past. Don’t even have to go to a museum for it here. Along the way, I saw a fire call box, a pay phone, a woman listening/rocking out to “Single Ladies” (via earbuds … very loudly) and a convenience kiosk right next to the green line tracks. My hands are almost thawed so back out I go …

Boston, Smith And Wollensky: I can’t believe … whatever … Dinner: lobster, shrimp, oysters, wedge salad, filet oscar, coconut cake  — at Smith And Wollensky.

Dave Barry, quotes, coffee:  Just liked this one …

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04
Jun
12

6.4.2011 … 9th anniversary of my father’s death … 50-something birthday of my lifelong friend … RIP, Richard Dawson aka Captain Peter Newkirk … loved hogan’s heroes as a kid … never watched Family Feud (may be a good thing!)

anniversary: Today is one of those strange days, the birthday of one of my closest friends and the 9th anniversary of the death of my dad.  Bittersweet.

innovation, new, coffee: new coffee? …plus 31 others. 32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

libraries, blogs, twitter, Salman Rushdie:  ditto,  Mr. Rushdie!  Zadie Smith’s beautiful, important piece about what’s happening to libraries. Please read.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/…

All libraries have a different character and setting. Some are primarily for children or primarily for students, or the general public, primarily full of books or microfilms or digitized material or with a café in the basement or a market out front. Libraries are not failing “because they are libraries.” Neglected libraries get neglected, and this cycle, in time, provides the excuse to close them. Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.

via The North West London Blues by Zadie Smith | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.

economy: “But, for now at least, the outlook is far darker than it seemed to be only a couple of months ago.” via In Economic Deluge, a World That Can’t Bail Together – NYTimes.com.

workplace, misfits, Azberger’s Syndrone:

IN 1956 William Whyte argued in his bestseller, “The Organisation Man”, that companies were so in love with “well-rounded” executives that they fought a “fight against genius”. Today many suffer from the opposite prejudice. Software firms gobble up anti-social geeks. Hedge funds hoover up equally oddball quants. Hollywood bends over backwards to accommodate the whims of creatives. And policymakers look to rule-breaking entrepreneurs to create jobs. Unlike the school playground, the marketplace is kind to misfits.

via Schumpeter: In praise of misfits | The Economist.

10
Dec
11

12.10.2010 … “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup! … Actually not Folger’s … but love BF’s quote!

coffee, quotes, Ben Franklin:  🙂

Coffee Quote: “Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility.” — Benjamin Franklin

Davidson College, honor code, self-scheduled exams: … only a question if you have self-scheduled exams! …  🙂

Davidson College

What was your finals strategy? Take them early and get it over with? Wait ’til the last possible minute? One a day? Or…?

via What was your….

 food, restaurants, Kickstand, Charlotte, kith/kin:  Great dinner with Joni Bob and John at Kickstand Charlotte Burgers -n- Bar | Charlotte, NC | Best Restaurant.  We had:

FRIED PICKLES

Served with marinara sauce. Pickle spears fried and served with Ranch.

via Kickstand Charlotte Burger Bar Appetizers | Charlotte, NC Restaurant.

BLEU BURGER SALAD

Mixed greens, herb baked goat cheese, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, and cherry tomatoes tossed with Apple Vinaigrette dressing. Field greens mixed with corn relish, cherry tomatoes, red onions, crispy bacon and chopped walnuts. Tossed with creamy Horseradish Vinaigrette and topped with a burger patty with melted Gorgonzola crumbles. via Kickstand Charlotte | Best Veggie Burger Bar & Salads | Charlotte, NC

HUNG OVER CYCLIST

Burger and tomato sandwiched between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. Meatloaf style burger with sundried tomatoes, garlic, and basil, topped with Brie, caramelized onions, and fig spread. via Kickstand Charlotte | Burgers, Sandwiches & Hot Dogs.

THE MORNING RIDE

Burger stuffed with bacon, Swiss cheese, and Cremini mushrooms and topped with horseradish mayo. Burger topped with a fried egg, bacon, American cheese, and hollandaise sauce served on an English muffin. via Kickstand Charlotte | Burgers, Sandwiches & Hot Dogs.

… and I would highly recommend Kickstand!

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, UNC Charlotte:  Love reading the Game Notes … Time to put the game face on … And take it off … Not the ‘cats night… 84-61 … 😦

Susan Dennard, Something Strange and Deadly, zombies, blogging:  One of the more interesting things about keeping a blog is that is show you the search that people used to get to you.  Someone searched “how do you pronounce Dennard in French.”  Since I did not know the answer … I decided to do the search and see what I came up with … and I found Susan Dennard’s blog … an American writer from the South who is married to a Frenchman and lives in France.  So I sent her a note … below is her answer … as well as her story about her new zombie Young Adult novel.  I just love the internet!

“My family pronounces it “Din nerd” as well, though according to my French father-in-law, it IS a French name (from the north of France). He pronounces it “Du Nar” with a slightly stronger emphasis on the second syllable.”

-e-mail from Susan Dennard 12.10.2011

My debut, Something Strange and Deadly, will be available in 2012 from HarperCollins Children’s!

via Susan Dennard | will write for cookies.

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

via Books.

Ted Dennard, Savannah Bee, Pineview GA:  While I performed the above search I found this about Ted Dennard, a distant cousin with roots to Pineview GA, and thought I would do a plug for his honey/honey products.  It really is good!

 

Ted Dennard’s company, Savannah Bee, ranks as one of the most vibrant small companies in the honey industry. Since 2002, Ted’s Savannah Bee continues to expand and diversify by producing some of the purest honey-based products in the country.

St. Simons Island, Georgia, native, Ted Dennard has traveled to New Zealand, Vietnam, Ireland and France to learn various beekeeping practices through the years. Ted’s work ethic, and indelible products earned Savannah Bee a 2010 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur nomination. Recently, Savannah Bee was featured on CNN’s Small Business Spotlight. Savannah Bee products have been exposed in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, Vogue, Better Homes & Garden, Southern Living and Rachel Ray’s Body & Soul to name a few periodicals.

Ted studied and graduated from Sewanee, The University of the South. In the 90s, Ted lived in Jamaica for over a year–serving a 27-month tour of duty in the Peace Corps–where he taught  virtues of beekeeping to school children and church groups in St. Mary Parish. Ted wrote this as Savannah Bee’s continual earthy ethic:

“Honeybees truly weave magic out of sunshine. These creatures of light continue to enrich their surroundings as they recite their timeless hum. In addition to appreciating the miraculous role played by honeybees, we humans should do whatever we can to live an environmentally-responsible lifestyle and promote a clean and healthy planet. We must do our part to support these wondrous creatures, in gratitude for their many contributions.”

via Swampland:The Buzz Around Savannah Bee: The Ted Dennard Interview.

26
Oct
11

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

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

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

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Halloween Light Show 2011 – This Is Halloween – YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of AeroShot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black rhino in Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Gabrielle Giffords In Intensive Therapy For Two Weeks.

time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They’ve labeled it the “recombobulation area.”

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

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

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

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

gender differences, economic hardship, Great Recession:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Aftershock Survival Summit Predicts the Unthinkable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via World Challenge 2011 – 2011 Finalist – Vertigo Farming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pierpoint_White_House_large.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via The power of an hourly beep | Daniel Pink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lululemon killing:  Too weird.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Economics focus: Unrest in peace | The Economist.

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

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

via Flying above the Aurora Australis | Go Make Things.

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

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

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

14
Mar
11

3.14159 … oops … 3.14.2011 … Happy pi day!

events, pi day, recipes, apple pie:  And below I have selected what i think looks like a pretty good pi day recipe!

Celebrate Pi Day!

Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. Pi is an irrational and transcendental number meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating. The symbol for pi was first used in 1706 by William Jones, but was popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737.

via Pi Day.

A simple, old-fashioned dessert called apple pandowdy promises apple pie appeal with none of the fuss. Is it time for an apple pie makeover?

via Rethinking Apple Pie – Cooks Illustrated.

internet, Groupon, new:  I have fallen in love with Groupons … it is a great way to learn about local restaurants and new products ….   i saw this today … didn’t buy it … but  thought about it … Dali Decals Deal of the Day | Groupon Charlotte.

Chalkboard :: Dali Wall Decals.

favorites, recipes, French Onion Soup:  I have loved Cook’s Illustrated ever since Zach Smith left an early issue in the break room and they had brining turkey recipe for the November issue … which we still do twenty years later … this sounds really good to me!

Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet. Be patient when caramelizing the onions in step 2; the entire process takes 45 to 60 minutes. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the heating element to obtain a proper gratinée of melted, bubbly cheese. If using ordinary soup bowls, sprinkle the toasted bread slices with Gruyère and return them to the broiler until the cheese melts, then float them on top of the soup. We prefer Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth. For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.

via Best French Onion Soup – Cooks Illustrated.

ice cream, follow-up, Jeni’s, artisan foods, Charlotte:  The other day I mentioned Jeni’s … 3.10.2011 … If they call it “artisan,” I will come … especially if it involves ice cream or chocolate … or both … « Dennard’s Clipping Service. … Well the only place in NC tat has Jeni’s is Dean & DeLuca at Phillips Place … very close to my house … so I stole away for a secret dessert for the evening and they had two flavors … I was not in a brave/adventurous/artisan mood … next time …

RIESLING POACHED PEAR SORBET

The striking aroma, pure flavor and delicate, buttery texture of whole poached Bartlett pears in perfect harmony with sweet Riesling wine. One of Jeni’s Signature Flavors, it’s completely refreshing every day of the year.

via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams / Buy Now / Swanky Sorbets / Made in Columbus Ohio.

Olive Oil with Sea-Salted Pepitas

Sicilian single-estate olive oil. Sea salted pumpkin seeds. Jeni has just returned from Sicily where she helped press the very oil that flavors this grassy, verdant ice cream. Very clean, bright notes with the nutty crunch of toasted, sea salted pepitas. The combination of high-caliber olive oil, butterfat and cream melts in your mouth and opens up beautifully. A graceful tribute to Old World flavors.

via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams / Flavors / Seasonal / Made in Columbus Ohio.

March Madness, fundraisers, great ideas, Chicago:  OK, I want a t-shirt ….

It’s Draft Madness! Don’t sit on the bench and miss the best event in town. Join the Young Professionals of Chicago and ChicagoBIGTEN alumni for a night of basketball and brews at the hottest venue in Chicago – Public House. For only $10, attendees will receive complimentary appetizers and drink specials, as well as a $10 gift certificate to Public House to use on your next visit!

For an additional $15 ($25 total), you will also get a t-shirt (tanktop for girls) to show your spirit around town. These shirts are sweet (click here for a picture)! Just include your gender and t-shirt size in the comment section of the registration form. Space is limited, and this event will sell out – get your ticket today!

Additional information: 64 Teams. 64 Beers. Public House introduces its beer centric March Madness concept. 64 beers will be randomly paired with each of the 64 March Madness teams. As teams accelerate, the price of the beer goes down. Prices will decrease proportionate to the beers price. All beer and team pairing will be chosen at random at “The Draft of Drafts”.

Draft “hosts” will be invited from participating schools to “draft their draft”. Many of these hosts either graduated from, played for or have a personal connection to the schools they’re representing. This will ensure the draft picks are chosen fairly and the draft can’t be manipulated in any way. Once a draft is chosen, the host will assign that beer to its partner team.

Celebrity draft hosts include:

Ryan Johnson (Chicago Blackhawks) – University of Arizona

Jason Franklin (Founder/President Sportiqe apparel) – University of Wisconsin

Ed Swiderski (former star of ABCs the bachelor) – Michigan State

Jarrett Payton (host of the Jarrett Payton Show) – Duke

Lindsey Schendel & Leah Berman (Loop Rock Girls 2010 & 2011)

Cameron Croft (President of the ChicagoBIGTEN) – Illinois

Jackie Kaweck (VP Gibson Consulting) – Florida

Ryan Preuett (VP of the ChicagoBIGTEN) – Michigan

Laura Faith – Purdue

Anderson Bell (CEO FanFueled.com) – Georgetown

Best of all, it’s for a great cause. 100% of apparel sales and entrance to the draft ($10) will benefit Alumni for Public Schools (http://facebook.com/APSChicago ) thanks to generous donations from our sponsors:

Gibson Consulting Group – looking for top talent interested in a consulting career

Goose Island 312

Sportiqe Apparel

Stella Artois

Event brought to you by: Public House, Chicago BIGTEN Alumni, Young Professionals of Chicago and Alumni for Public Schools.

via Draft Madness » Young Professionals of Chicago – Networking, Professional Development, Volunteerism.

quotes:

“Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
— Psalms 34: 12-14

health, diet, coffee:  Even smelling it is good for you!

There’s no need to feel guilty about your morning cuppa joe. On the contrary: Women who drink a cup or more of coffee daily have up to a 25 percent lower stroke risk than those who sip the dark stuff less often, according to a new study reported today in the journal Stroke. Researchers followed nearly 35,000 women ages 49 to 83 for an average of 10 years and found the reduced risk held up even after accounting for such factors as BMI, high blood pressure, diabetes risk, and smoking habits — indicating that coffee’s stroke-lowering ability was independent of these known heart disease risk factors.

But this study is hardly the first one touting good news for java junkies. “Coffee is incredibly rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for many of its health benefits,” says Joy Bauer, RD, nutrition and health expert for Everyday Health and The Today Show. Its caffeine content may also play a protective role in some health conditions, but many of coffee’s health perks hold up whether you go for decaf or regular.

Beyond lowering stroke risk, you may be surprised to learn that coffee can also decrease your odds of developing the following health issues:

1. Diabetes. Women who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee daily were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers, UCLA researchers found. The beverage is rich in the minerals magnesium and chromium, which may help control blood sugar levels.

2. Skin cancer. Rutgers University researchers found that when sunburnt mice drank caffeinated water and then exercised in a running wheel, their risk of developing skin cancer decreased. The caffeine-and-cardio combo caused damaged skin cells to die before they had a chance to become cancerous, explain study authors. Capping off your sweat session with a cup of coffee (iced works too) may help protect your skin from sun damage.

3. Stress. You know how the mere aroma of a rich French roast seems to wake you up on a sluggish morning? Turns out that whiff can help minimize the effects of too little sleep on your body. Researchers found that when stressed-out, sleep-deprived rats simply smelled coffee, it triggered gene activity known to protect nerve cells from stress-related damage.

4. Cavities. Although this doesn’t mean you can ditch your dental floss, coffee may even help fight cavities. According to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, coffee’s compound trigonelline (responsible for its flavor and aroma) has antibacterial properties that may keep cavity-causing germs, such as Streptococcus mutans, from invading tooth enamel.

5. Parkinson’s disease. Here’s some good news if Parkinson’s disease runs in your family: People with a family history who drank coffee were less likely to develop the debilitating neurological disease, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. Although scientists are still trying to understand why, evidence suggests that the caffeine in coffee (as well as caffeinated tea) may act on a gene called GRIN2A to help lower risk.

6. Breast cancer. Women who drank boiled Scandinavian coffee, which is similar to stronger French press or Turkish or Greek varieties, more than four times a day had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who had it less than once a day, found a study in the journal Cancer Causes & Control. An important point: Because the coffee wasn’t filtered, it contained up to 80 times as many coffee-specific fatty acids, which have been linked to slower growth of cancerous cells.

7. Heart disease. Dutch researchers found that people who drank coffee in moderation — two to four cups a day — lowered their heart disease risk by 20 percent, compared to those who had more or fewer cups. Coffee’s antioxidants may have a protective effect, says Keri M. Gans, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

8. Head and neck cancers. Although some of the data on coffee’s cancer-fighting capabilities have been mixed, Italian researchers found that the caffeinated kind guards against head and neck cancers. Compared with coffee abstainers, those who drank about four or more cups daily reduced their risk of certain mouth and throat cancers by nearly 40 percent.

via 9 Healthy Reasons to Indulge Your Coffee Cravings – Diet and Nutrition Center – Everyday Health.




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