Posts Tagged ‘csr

06
Dec
11

12.6.2011 …. icbg … .. time for a second opinion … I think I will just go for the bg part … and don’t you think Jane looks lovely :)

yoga, Ayn Rand:  Makes you think …

The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing something selfish and virtuous at the same time. You are sweating and suffering and honing a “watchful mind,” but also taking a break from your daily burdens and acquiring fantastic-looking abs. And that’s the genius of Ayn Rand: She made egoism the ultimate good. What Christianity labels as the unfortunate consequence of original sin, Rand saw as man’s natural and best state. (Interestingly, while Ayn Rand’s atheism bothers conservative evangelicals, it seems to bother some of them less than does yoga, which they view as paganism parading as a health movement. John Galt, at least, would have shared their hatred of Obamacare.)

— Slate on the Who Is John Galt quasi-meme and what Aynd Rand and yoga have in common

via curiosity counts – The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing….

eternal youth, Tony Bennett, music, kudos:  Never liked him, but kudos!

In a youth-oriented industry, Tony Bennett is enjoying some of his greatest successes at the age of 85.

In September, the acclaimed vocalist scored his first-ever No.1 album on the Billboard 200, becoming the oldest living person to top the chart. Last week, he garnered three Grammy nominations for his hit album “Duets II.” And when he stopped by the Wall Street Journal’s acoustic music showcase the WSJ Cafe he talked about collaborating with such stars Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse, the British vocalist who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.

via Tony Bennett: How To Be No.1 Your Whole Life (WSJ Cafe) – Speakeasy – WSJ.

apps, NPR:  Mu local station  has an app … which is great … now I can just pull up NPR.

NPR News: The ultimate portable NPR experience for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Follow local and national news and listen to your favorite NPR stations wherever you are and whenever you want to.

via App Store – NPR News.

Campbell Soup Company, csr, kudos: Idealistic Realistic …

Instead of making lethal cuts, we decided that our dream — our vision — was to transform Campbell into a place where employees wanted to be…and wanted to stay. You can’t have an organization that consistently delivers high performance unless you have a consistently high level of engagement predicated on trust. We needed to restore both — trust and engagement. If we could do that, then we were sure the profits would follow. There were a lot of things we changed, from the leadership team to package design — you’ve read about those. But what took the momentum at Campbell to an even higher level in terms of employee engagement happened more recently.

One of the primary things that makes Campbell a place where people want to come to work is the company’s earnest and ongoing commitment to our communities around the globe. We forged an ambitious plan to make Camden, our hometown for more than 140 years, a better place. That is what is helping employees feel more fulfilled despite even this latest economic crisis.

As a food company, working hand-in-hand with a cadre of strategic local and national partners, we centered our efforts on health and nutrition. The project, still in its infancy, is focused on cutting the BMI (Body Mass Index) of Camden’s 23,000 children in half over the next decade. It includes bringing nutritionists into schools and having Campbell’s chefs help parents think about ways to serve healthy food at home. And that is just the beginning: Today, Campbell is working to attract food retailers to Camden’s food desert — the city has only one supermarket — and helping to build neighborhood gardens to get children closer to the food supply. Campbell is also sponsoring activities for youth to increase physical fitness in schools and to help them remain active and occupied when school is not in session. And the company is developing the areas all around its world headquarters — leveling run-down buildings to attract commerce.

It is an ambitious agenda but it is right in Campbell’s sweet spot. And why not? It has advanced our corporate agenda. Focusing these efforts on food and nutrition has allowed us to smartly leverage our resources. Another part of the corporate social responsibility plan — committing to cut Campbell’s carbon footprint by half — has saved money and lowered costs. Campbell is earnestly and sincerely helping to build a better world within the scope of what the company does well. But even more than that, employees are proud to be associated with a company that is doing this kind of work, and consumers in the community and beyond have supported our efforts and our business.

The flywheel effect is astounding and ongoing: Winning in the community leads to winning in the workplace and winning in the marketplace. The more the Company takes care of the world, the more the world responds. The more the company leans into building a better society in a strategically focused way, the better the company performs.

Gallup, the polling and research firm, studied the engagement levels of Campbell’s managers back in 2002 and found that for every 2 people actively engaged in the business, 1 was actively disengaged. Anecdotally, those numbers were the worst for any Fortune 500 firm at the time. As of 2011, the story is far different: 17 Campbell employees are actively engaged for every 1 employee who is actively disengaged. Gallup considers twelve to one to be world-class.

via The Idealistic Realistic: What Really Helped Elevate Campbell Soup Company – Douglas R. Conant – Harvard Business Review.

short film:

Beautiful animated short film about a racist barber in 1930s New York, who moves away from bigotry after a magic trumpet arrives at his shop

via curiosity counts – Beautiful animated short film about a racist….

Christmas, cake balls:  This is my life for the next few weeks!

Easy to make and delicious to eat, cake balls can be made out of any of your favorite cake recipes.  All you do is make the cake, crumble it up and mix it with frosting or cream cheese then roll the cake mixture into balls, bake and dip.  But, don’t take our word for it, look at  Bakerella‘s video below.

Karen Chiumento uses only fresh, all natural ingredients in her hand made cake balls. Yes, they ship! Photo by Jacqueline Marque

Bakerella explains it very easily.  She also wrote the Cake Pops book (below) with recipes and decorating ideas. Cake Pops are Cake Balls with a lollipop stick in them!

Christmas Cupcakes, Cake Balls and Mini-Pies Baking Supplies | The Daily Basics.

journalists, media:  As a lawyer, I often feel “attacked” … never thought about the journalists feeling that way!

Writers from around the country have posted pictures and life stories at the ‘We Are Journalists‘ blog on Tumblr.

Launched  by St. Petersburg Times reporter Emily Nipps (pictured, via) the site gives journalists a place to share why they keep writing despite a challenging economy and a rapidly changing profession. Why do you keep writing?

Here’s more from the site: “We are journalists. We are proud of what we do. We are tired of bad press about the press. We are trying to be ‘team players.’ We are terrified of more layoffs and paycuts. We would like to produce quality work without ‘obamasux99′ posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”

via Writers Proudly Post at ‘We Are Journalists’ Blog – GalleyCat.

design, dichotomies, makes you think …:  Excellent essay … makes you think …

We’re at the apex of our power, but the nadir of our potency. Let’s start with the biggest heartbreaker of them all: We are at a moment in history when, as designers, we are at our most powerful. There is almost nothing we cannot make, enjoying the triumphs of research and development in materials science, manufacturing technology, and information systems. We can get any answer we seek through social networks, peer communities, or hired guns. We have sub-specialties at unimaginably thin slices of expertise—from ubiquitous computing to synthetic biology—and a plumbing system in the Internet that is simultaneously unprecedented in human history and entirely taken for granted.

At the same time, unbelievably, we have never been in worse shape: We are witnessing the collapse of every natural system on earth. Take your pick—on the ground we’ve got clear-cutting, desertification and agricultural run-off. Underneath we’ve got fracking and groundwater contamination. In the air, greenhouse gasses; in the oceans, ice sheet melting, acidification and Pacific trash vortices; in space we have the ghastly and ultimately impossible problem of space debris (we won’t be able to leave even when we’re ready to, and nobody will be able to get in to help us if they wanted to). We carry body-burdens of toxic chemicals leached and outgassed from our homes, our cars, our food packaging. The consequences of industrialization metastasize out to slave factory labor, massive river diversions, obesity, malnutrition, gender inequality, rampant poverty, minefields. We tax our economies with war machinery instead of fueling healthcare and education provision. We feel helpless on the one end and hopeless on the other.

How can we be so strong and yet so weak? How can it be that we, as a species, are at the absolute height of our power at exactly the same moment that we are on the precipice of self-annihilation?

via 1000 Words: The Critical Dichotomies of Design – Core77.

psychology, the mind, makes you think…: Another good essay …

If someone asked you to describe the psychological aspects of personhood, what would you say? Chances are, you’d describe things like thought, memory, problem-solving, reasoning, maybe emotion. In other words, you probably list the major headings of a cognitive psychology text-book. In cognitive psychology, we seem to take it for granted that these are, objectively, the primary components of “the mind” (even if you reject a mind/body dualism, you probably accept some notion that there are psychological processes similar to the ones listed above). I’ve posted previously about whether the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive even makes sense. But, here, I want to think about the universality of the “mind” concept and its relationship to the modern view of cognition.

In fact, this conception of the mind is heavily influenced by a particular (Western) cultural background. Other cultures assign different characteristics and abilities to the psychological aspects of personhood. Wierzbicka (2005) delves into this problem in detail. She argues that speakers of a particular language make assumptions about what must be universal based on their own ability to imagine doing without a certain concept. Important cross-cultural differences in meaning become lost in translation. For instance, Piaget’s “The moral judgment of the child” was translated to English by substituting the French “juste” with the English “fair.” So, English readers think they are reading about the development of fairness in children, when this was not the author’s intention.

via Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists: How Universal Is The Mind?.

Christmas, Christmas carols, history:  this is a great history of Christmas carols in particular and Christmas generally.

At face value, the Christmas carol may be the least captivating style of occasional song. While other popular tunes arise from passion or desire, heroism or defeat, the Yuletide songbook is a catalog of modest thrills and postindustrial neuroses. A quick survey turns up portraits of manic stress release (“Jingle Bells”), overwrought hallucination (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”), complex Freudian trauma (“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), desperate midlife lechery (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), forced enthusiasm (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”), and thinly veiled xenophobia (“Dominick the Donkey … the Italian Christmas donkey!”). It was apparently decided long ago that we can overcome these demons by frightening them away with feckless vocalization. Carol-singing, like drinking, accounts for a large part of boisterous group behavior in this country. If a large posse of merrymakers rings your doorbell in the quiet suburban night, there is an equal chance that you should call the cops or offer them a nutmeg-flavored snack.

Consider, too, that Christmas carols have no obvious counterparts among the other holidays. Large group odes are not sung in anticipation of Memorial Day.

If anything, their legitimacy as tradition has only increased in recent years. Today’s carols are one of our few genuine access points to the history of Western pop music, the centuries of mainstream fare buried beneath our own.

via The Long, Strange History of Christmas Carols – Slate Magazine.

flash sites, fashion, GILT:  I have never bought anything from a flash fashion site … new term for me … but have bought from groupon, etc.

It’s not surprising that fashion deal sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, which often offer designer merchandise discounted up to 80%, have garnered more than 5 million members in just a few short years. Known for “flash sales”—deals that typically last just 36-48 hours—these members-only websites feature excess inventory from more than 1,000 brands at steeply reduced prices.

Gilt Groupe launched in fall 2007, and the industry has quickly become packed with competitors, with Amazon.com’s MyHabit launching in May. “There are lots of outlets that offer consumers huge assortments that take a lot of time to shop,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The beauty of the flash business is that we’re perfect for that time-starved consumer. You can shop our site for five minutes every day. It’s a very specific, curated assortment, and we help to pick the right things for you.”

But the bargain sites aren’t just booming among consumers. In May, CNN Money reported that flash sites made $1 billion in sales in 2010, with a projected $6 billion revenue figure by 2015. As these retailers expand to include travel, home and culinary deals, TIME Moneyland asked the presidents and CEOs of the top five fashion flash sites about making the most of the online deal-hunting experience.

via Taking Advantage of Flash Fashion Sites | How Online Shoppers Can Make the Most of Fashion Flash Sites | Moneyland | TIME.com.

Jane Austen:  New picture … changed perception … This discovery reminds me of the movie Possession …

Jane Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne claims to have discovered a lost portrait of the author which, far from depicting a grumpy spinster, shows a writer at the height of her powers and a woman comfortable in her own skin.

The only accepted portraits of Austen to date are her sister Cassandra’s 1810 sketch, in which she looks cross, and an 1870 adaptation of that picture. But when Byrne, biographer of Evelyn Waugh and Mary “Perdita” Robinson and with an Austen biography due out in 2013, was given a portrait of a female author acquired by her husband, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, at auction, she was immediately struck by the possibility that it could be a lost drawing of Austen.

The portrait drawing, in graphite on vellum, had been in a private collection for years, and was being auctioned as an “imaginary portrait” of Austen, with “Miss Jane Austin” written on the back. “When my husband bought it he thought it was a reasonable portrait of a nice lady writer, but I instantly had a visceral reaction to it. I thought it looks like her family. I recognised the Austen nose, to be honest, I thought it was so striking, so familiar,” Byrne told the Guardian. “The idea that it was an imaginary portrait – that seemed to me to be a crazy theory. That genre doesn’t exist, and this looks too specific, too like the rest of her family, to have been drawn from imagination.”

Byrne pointed out that Austen did not become famous until 1870, 50 years after her death, and the portrait has been dated to the early 19th century, around 1815, on the basis of the subject’s clothes. “Why would someone have wanted to draw her from their imagination, when she was not popular at that time?” she asked.

via Jane Austen biographer discovers ‘lost portrait’ | Books | guardian.co.uk.

media:

One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been

via The Influencing Machine: A Brief Visual History of the Media | Brain Pickings.

 Kathryn Schulz, psychology, regret, TED: TED provides me with some of my favorite information.

My friend Kathryn Schulz, who penned the excellent book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest, bravest, most thoughtful journalists working today, recently gave a TED talk about regret. As the new owner of ink that makes me very happy, what got me to pay even closer attention was Kathryn’s extended example of her own tattoo as a lens for examining the psychology of regret, a vehicle for her characteristically potent formula of universal wisdom channelled through personal anecdotes and hard data.

Make sure you watch to the very end, it’s well worth it.

via Kathryn Schulz on the Psychology of Regret and How to Live with It | Brain Pickings.

Twitter, ideal life:  I follow a couple of these …. Martha Stewart Wannabees …

 For more holiday ideas and inspirations, pop over to the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts today and discover what the experts are decorating, cooking and planning for a festive December.  And then join us on Twitter Thursday 8 December at 8pm EST for the popular #HolidayHQ tweet chat for even more holiday ideas.

http://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

Christmas, salt dough ornaments:  Add another to the list?

 

My fondest Christmas memory is sitting around our kitchen table watching my mother turn dough into works of art, she effortless hand crafted a jointed Santa Clause, an ornate rocking horse and many other keep sake ornaments while I fiddled around with gingerbread cookie cutters wondering why I did not inherit her creative gene.  While those around me are turning their kitchens into cookie factories, churning out confections for countless recipients, parties and hostess gifts, I am recreating my favourite Christmas memory and creating the most delightful decorations for our holiday tree, gift toppers and garlands.  While many of us think of salt dough crafts as the back bone of elementary school projects (and granted mine do have that air about them), artisans have been working with salt dough for centuries creating elaborate works of art using the most basic of ingredients:  salt, water, flour and paint.

viahttp://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

16
Nov
11

11.16.2011 … On the megabus :) — at I 85 … mega-glad that I made it safely to mega-ATL … and safely to Lenbrook for Veggie plate including vegetarian egg rolls and then bingo … Nice evening with the Lenboook ladies — with Mary-Stewart and Mamma at lenbrook square.

Megabus, Atlanta, bingo, kith/kin:  First day of Megabus service to Atlanta … a little slow … but arrived safely and had a great visit with the Mom.

.

via http://stageus.megabus.com/routemap.aspx

holidays, photos, tips: Get Creative! … I am certainly glad imperfection is perfectly OK!!

Imperfection Is Perfectly Okay

Capturing a technically good image takes a lot of learning and practice. That said, I like to grab seasonal shots even in their imperfection — like this scene through a bus window during a New York City downpour on Central Park West. Shoot as many pictures as you want, because with digital — unlike when I started shooting two decades ago — there’s no film to process, and you’re not burning through a lot of film (or through your wallet) every time you take a dozen photos. Mind you, the downside is that you might not think through your shots as clearly as you do when you have to manually focus and change film cartridges every 36 pictures.

via Holiday Photo Tips: Get Creative! – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

college students, human memory, learning:  Great article…

I expect that most of us can identify personally with the connection between cues and memories. The power of cues helps explain why a particular song may remind you of a memorable afternoon in Paris, or why, for me, the smell of stale beer always draws up vivid memories of my first-year dorm room.

Further reflection is likely to yield more-intellectual examples. One long afternoon over winter break in my sophomore year in college, I sat in a chair in my parents’ living room and had my life changed by Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. Whenever I sat in that chair, for many years afterward, detailed memories of O’Neill’s play and its impact on my life would return to me. And I can walk into certain classrooms on my campus and immediately recall formative experiences I had in my development as a teacher.

But while we may be able to draw up endless examples of how our minds have created such connections between learned information and the contextual cues that accompanied our first encounter with that information, those examples don’t translate very easily—as Miller points out—into concrete pedagogical practice.

If it turns out that the greatest memory challenge our students face is retrieving information from their long-term memories when they need it to perform on exams and assignments, and if that retrieval ability depends on the use of contextual cues during the information-encoding process, what does that mean for our job description as teachers? Do we have any control over the cues that accompany the encoding of information in our students’ brains? Can we help them develop effective cues?

via Teaching and Human Memory, Part I – Do Your Job Better – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

NBA lockout, college hoops, Pat Forde:  Enjoyed this article!

A long-lost friend is knocking on your front door, sports fan.

Open up and let him in.

Look who’s there – it’s college basketball. You remember him – used to be a lot of fun to be around, especially in March. Amid the more serious entities on the sporting cocktail circuit – college and pro football, the NBA, Major League Baseball – he was the life of the party. A weeknight at the gym (or just watching on TV) was always a good time.

The return of UNC’s Harrison Barnes and others is among the many reasons college basketball is flying high so far this season.

Then the old friend got wayward. He became irresponsible, with scandals cropping up constantly. He hung around sketchy characters – greasy third parties who attached themselves to star players. And then even the stars themselves became transient properties, just passing through on their way to the NBA, never sticking around long enough to develop a bond with the fans.

After a while, the product just wasn’t very good – not the players, not the teams. As problems kept surfacing, the credibility went the way of boxing. And all those other sports looked like better alternatives.

College basketball hit the skids.

But like the prodigal son and Britney Spears, college hoops is back after some rough years. And not looking too bad.

This is the chance to reacquaint with your old friend, sports fan. What else are you going to do, watch the NBA?

That league appears intent on alienating its fan base with a prolonged lockout that could eradicate the entire season. Already, 26 percent of the games have been canceled. The players union and ownership are at the breaking point. So is the faith of the customers.

You won’t see LeBron and Kobe and Dirk on Friday nights anytime soon – maybe not until next fall. So if you love hoops, what’s the alternative?

Let in your old friend.

The college game still has tremendous problems – cheating, hypocrisy and a corrosive cult-of-the-coach mentality among them. But this 2011-12 season is college hoops’ big chance to regain its seat at American sports’ main table.

The opportunity is there, and the product should be good enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

The talent on the floor – individually and from a team perspective – is as good as it’s been since 2008 at least.

When Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Terrence Jones of Kentucky all said no to the NBA draft and came back to school, the game got a jolt of star power. Casual fans who like watching pro-level talent perform have something to tune into.

The return of those players helped guarantee that the Tar Heels, Buckeyes and Wildcats all would be better than they were last year. In fact, all three programs are probably better than any team was last year.

Let’s face it: if the talent level weren’t massively down in 2010-11, we wouldn’t have had both Virginia Commonwealth and Butler in the Final Four. They were great stories, not great teams. We wouldn’t have had the ninth-place team in the Big East (Connecticut) winning the national title while scoring 109 points in two games – the lowest Final Four total for the national champion since 1946.

When that fetid Final Four ended with Jim Calhoun – facing personal NCAA sanctions for violations within his program – holding up the national championship trophy after a weekend of horrible hoops, college basketball might have reached its nadir.

Now the game is climbing back up.

via NBA lockout opens door for college hoops – College Basketball – Rivals.com.

The Insanely Great History of Apple, posters, infographics: pretty cool …

The Insanely Great History of Apple is a cool new poster from PopChartLabs.com, where you can purchase the $25, 18”x24” poster for yourself (and many other great ones).

The world’s most comprehensive mapping of Apple products, this print shows every computer released by Apple in the last thirty years, from the original Mac through the MacBook Air. Products are sorted according to type, including the connections between various form factors which have arisen as Apple has invented—and reinvented—insanely great products.

via Cool Infographics – Blog – The Insanely Great History of Apple.

 college students, “Occupy Generation”, Occupy Wall Street:  Passing of the mantle?

As of today, Occupations are occurring in nearly 500 cities worldwide, according to Occupy Wall Street’s website. The protests have already been successful in one sense. The country is talking about ‘income inequality’ like never before. Since the protests began, the media has used the term 400% more this week than the week before the Occupation began according to a Politico metric.

So then, what next? In the words of Tom Hayden: “What happens next will be a collective judgment based on what they’ve been through. History awaits their decision.”

The country is waiting on these young people to act. They wanted to start a conversation, and they did. The question remains how they will be able to fix anything.

Will they form a political movement or continue changing the system from the outside? Will leadership emerge or will the difficult process of leaderless general assemblies succeed without it?

The answer might be found in Iowa. On January 4th, 2012, Occupiers from around the country will travel to Iowa to demonstrate at the First-In-The-Nation caucus. That is, if they can get organized. Much like Chicago, the cameras will be rolling in Iowa starting in early December. The demonstrators have a chance to affect the grassroots political process in historic fashion, if they are willing to engage it at all.

via Passing the mantle: The new Occupation Generation | USA TODAY College.

Benetton, advertising, controversial advertising: Benetton has the Pope kissing an imam, and Obama kissing Hugo Chavez in ad campaign. Doesn’t make me want to buy their clothes …

“Twenty-five years ago, Italian fashion label Benetton rode its controversial “United Colors of Benetton” ad campaign to global fame,” write the Journal’s Christina Passariello and Jennifer Clark.

Now, after having lost speed to competitors such as Inditex’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz’s H&M, Benetton is trying for a second publicity coup.

On Wednesday, the house unveiled its first major brand advertising campaign in more than a decade, titled “Unhate.”

The images are of global leaders kissing: U.S. President Barack Obama locks lips with China’s Hu Jintao and with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

A picture of the Pope embracing one of Islam’s leading figures, Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, the imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, was hung from a bridge near the Vatican early Wednesday.

Alessandro Benetton anticipated that this ad would be the most controversial. “We could be excommunicated,” he said, only half-joking.

via Benetton’s Controversial Ad Campaigns, Featuring Obama, Chavez and the Pope – Heard on the Runway – WSJ.

Maria Popova, theoatmeal.com:  Another find from Maria Popova … Old but gold – top tweets illustrated …

I drew some tweets – The Oatmeal.

Coco-Cola, Arctic Home Coke Commercial, WWF, csr:   Protect the polar bears  … nice ad … but is this csr or just an advertising ploy.

This is the Arctic. This vast area of tundra, jagged peaks and frozen seas is the only place where the polar bear can live, hunt and breed. And it needs our help. Check this out, then join us at ArcticHome.com to learn about these amazing animals through video, pictures and bear facts from World Wildlife Fund. Together, we can help make sure the polar bear has a place to call home. http://CokeURL.com/ArcticHome

via Arctic Home Coke Commercial | Protect the Polar Bears – YouTube.

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, “journey for enlightenment”:

I don’t think it was just a question of liking him. I admired him, respected him, and found him unbelievably compelling even though he’s not your usual role model. I mean, he wasn’t the sweetest person I’ve ever met. But he was certainly the most interesting and, in some ways, mesmerizing person I’ve met.

SQ: If Jobs hadn’t been successful, would people still admire him?

WI: I tried to make it all come together in the book, which is the passionate perfectionism that causes him to be hard-driving and not put up with things that he considered mediocre. It’s what led him to create great products, but also to gather around him a loyal and talented team. So, to say that you can separate that passion for perfection and that demanding nature from the fact that he kept driving them like crazy to make the iPod perfect, is wrong. His personality is integrated into his success just like Apple products have the software and the hardware integrated with one another.

via Steve Jobs’s ‘journey for enlightenment’ – Under God – The Washington Post.


20
May
11

‎5.20.2011 … Meck Dec Day! …

Meck Dec Day, Charlotte, history:  A little local history for you … and now a “Charlotte Liberty Walk” is planned.  Maybe next year …

The anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775 has been celebrated locally, state wide, and even nationally through the years.  In Charlotte, 49 anniversary celebrations have been documented, including every year since 1995.  In times past children were let out of school for Meck Dec day and sometimes for the entire week.  Four sitting US Presidents and countless Governors, Senators and US Representatives have appeared at these celebrations.  The centennial celebration in 1875 brought 40,000 people on special trains to this town of 6,000 souls.

For more detail on the Meck Dec celebrations, see The Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at the Charlotte Library web site http://www.cmstory.org/meckdec

via The Celebrations | MeckDec.org.

At noon on May 20, 1775, Thomas Polk stood at the Mecklenburg Courthouse and read aloud the declaration to the public: “… the citizens of Mecklenburg County do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown…” By this act, Mecklenburg declared itself “a free and independent people,” more than a year prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Original copies of the Mecklenburg Declaration were lost in a fire in 1800, causing some historians to question the validity of the document, even while many point to sources such as newspaper articles to prove its existence. As a proud descendant of Thomas Polk, I don’t need a document to prove the “Meck Dec” existed. The independent spirit of our local forefathers proves its existence.

It is this spirit and our fierce determination for freedom that caused English General Cornwallis to call Charlotte a “hornet’s nest” during the Revolutionary War. It is this same spirit that led us to name our streets “Independence Boulevard” and “Freedom Drive,” and a school “Independence High.” It is this spirit that moved state leaders to put May 20, 1775, on our state flag, and why it remains there today.

We should be proud of our history and independent spirit, teaching it to our children and to newcomers. Only by knowing where we come from can we know who we are and the great things we are capable of accomplishing as a community.

via The spirit of ‘Meck Dec’ still lives on | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

On the eve of today’s Meck Dec Day observance, a Charlotte history group unveiled plans for the Charlotte Liberty Walk, an interactive tour that celebrates the city’s role in the Revolutionary War.

The one-mile uptown tour, which begins and ends at Trade and Tryon streets, would consist of 18 sites that commemorate Charlotte’s role in the war for independence, said Scott Syfert, a Charlotte lawyer and vice chairman of The May 20th Society.

via High-tech tour would tout city’s Revolution role | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

politics, human sin, Newt Gingrich, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Human sin is a constant, none are free, and anyone who is shocked by it is a fool or lying. Even so, what a week, full of human surprises. But we wouldn’t be so surprised if we paid more attention to what we know, and built our expectations from there.

via A Week of Shocks but Few Surprises – WSJ.com.

immigration, green card lottery:  I knew the lottery existed, but don’t know anyone who has won … interesting take on its symbolism for America as a “land of equal opportunity.”

Despite the recent setbacks, the green card lottery is a shrewd way for the United States to honor a history of open immigration that lasted until the late 19th century, and win over hearts and minds along the way.

While the completely open borders of yore are sadly not feasible today, the lottery, in its limited way, helps America to remain a land of equal opportunity.

via Losing (but Loving) the Green Card Lottery – NYTimes.com.

random acts of violence, Charlotte, animal cruelty, Misty meadows, kith/kin:  Misty Meadows is a wonderful place and provides a wonderful service to handicapped kids.  Molly volunteers there. Just like all random acts of violence, senseless violence really show a shortcoming in humans …

Police are asking the public’s help to identify who shot a horse at close range at Misty Meadows Farm on Providence Road in Weddington on May 1.

A projectile from an air gun lodged in one of the horse’s eyes, and the eye had to be removed.

Misty Meadows Farm is home to the Mitey Riders, a nonprofit organization serving children who have special needs.

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the identity of the shooter or shooters. Call Charlotte-Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. JOE MARUSAK

via Misty Meadows horse shot with air gun | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Girl Scouts, culture, csr:  Our children are advocates and a activists.  It’s interesting how a Girl Scout project turned on the organization and the organization is struggling to deal with the change.

To earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award four years ago, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva set out to study orangutans.

Instead, they wound up investigating Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas.

What they uncovered soured them on the sweets and has put the Michigan teens at odds with Girl Scouts of the USA. Now they’re on a march to change the recipe for Girl Scout cookies.

Their target: palm oil, which can come from places the primates live.

The girls, who have been scouts since they were five, have rallied troops across the country. Scouts sold 198 million boxes of cookies last year, but now some say they’re done. Scouts and leaders have criticized their nonprofit organization on Facebook and Twitter.

via Cookie Crumbles for Girl Scouts as Teens Launch Palm-Oil Crusade – WSJ.com.

tv, The Office, Catherine Tate:  I like Catherine Tate … well, I think she is funny … we’ll see.

Catherine Tate, one of several comedy all-stars that have been drafted

Catherine Tate opposite David Tennant on an episode of “Doctor Who.” (BBC) for tonight’s season finale of “The Office,” is reportedly the front-runner for the job of replacing Steve Carell.

The Hollywood Reporter says the producers of the comedy consider her their top choice for manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, but it’s unclear whether Tate can commit to the role because she has already signed on to star in a London production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”

Brits may be more familiar with Tate’s work than Americans are. She’s become a star in Britain thanks to her sketch comedy series, ”The Catherine Tate Show” and her work on the perenially popular “Doctor Who,” where she starred opposite David Tennant, also her co-star in that aforementioned Shakespeare production.

Is it a good idea to cast Tate, who is very talented and, in the eyes of most U.S. viewers,a fresh face? Or should “The Office” go with a name Americans are more familiar with — a James Spader, who is reportedly also still being considered, or one of the current stars of the show?

via Catherine Tate could be Steve Carell’s replacement on ‘The Office’: Are you pro or con? – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

random, consumer products:  So the pocket seat gets a C … Infomercial Products As Seen on TV: ‘GMA’ Tries Before You Buy! – ABC News.

cities, urban development, Pittsburgh, lists: Very interesting article …

The most recent surveys, from Monocle magazine, Forbes, Mercer and The Economist, concur: Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen and Munich dominate the top. What, you might ask, no New York? No London? No LA or HK? None of the cities that people seem to actually want to emigrate to, to set up businesses in? To be in? None of the wealthiest, flashiest, fastest or most beautiful cities? Nope. Americans in particular seem to get wound up by the lack of US cities in the top tier. The one that does make it is Pittsburgh. Which winds them up even more.

The big cities it seems, the established megacities of the US, Europe and Asia are just too big, too dangerous, too inefficient. So what do these top cities have in common? How exactly do you measure “liveability”?

“We also have to acknowledge that these cities that come top of the polls also don’t have any poor people,” he adds. And that, it seems to me, touches on the big issue. Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s hugely influential book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (2009) seems to present an obvious truth – that places where the differential in income between the wealthiest and the poorest is smallest tend to engender a sense of satisfaction and well-being. But while it may be socially desirable, that kind of comfort doesn’t necessarily make for vibrancy or dynamism. If everybody is where they want to be, no one is going anywhere.

via FT.com / House & Home – Liveable v lovable.

16
Apr
11

4.16.2011 … It was a dark and stormy morning …

design,neighborhoods, cities, urban development, New Urbanism, pocket neighborhoods, quotes, Brookwood Hills, Atlanta, CAGE, Wilmette, Chicago:  “‘Biology is destiny’, declared Sigmund Freud. But if Freud were around today, he might say “design is destiny”—especially after taking a stroll through most American cities.” … And I still think BH is the perfect neighborhood … with the CAGE in Wilmette coming in a close second.

Biology is destiny, declared Sigmund Freud.

But if Freud were around today, he might say “design is destiny”—especially after taking a stroll through most American cities.

The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives. Neighborhoods built without sidewalks, for instance, mean that people walk less and therefore experience fewer spontaneous encounters, which is what instills a spirit of community to a place. That’s a chief cause of the social isolation, so rampant in the modern world, that contributes to depression, distrust, and other maladies.

You don’t have to be a therapist to realize all this creates lasting psychological effects. It thwarts the connections between people that encourage us to congregate, cooperate, and work for the common good. We retreat into ever more privatized existences.

Commons can take many different forms: a group of neighbors in Oakland who tore down their backyard fences to create a commons, a block in Baltimore that turned their alley into a pubic commons, or the residential pedestrian streets found in Manhattan Beach, California, and all around Europe.

Of course, this is no startling revelation. Over the past 40 years, the shrinking sense of community across America has been widely discussed, and many proposals outlined about how to bring us back together.

One of the notable solutions being put into practice to combat this problem is New Urbanism, an architectural movement to build new communities (and revitalize existing ones) by maximizing opportunities for social exchange: public plazas, front porches, corner stores, coffee shops, neighborhood schools, narrow streets and, yes, sidewalks.

But while New Urbanism is making strides at the level of the neighborhood, we still spend most of our time at home, which today means seeing no one other than our nuclear family. How could we widen that circle just a bit, to include the good neighbors with whom we share more than a property line?

That’s an idea Seattle-area architect Ross Chapin has explored for many years, and now showcases in an inspiring and beautiful new book: Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating a Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World.

He believes that groupings of four to twelve households make an ideal community “where meaningful ‘neighborly’ relationships are fostered.” But even here, design shapes our destiny. Chapin explains that strong connections between neighbors develop most fully and organically when everyone shares some “common ground.”

That can be a semi-private square, as in the pocket neighborhoods Chapin designed in the Seattle area. In the book’s bright photographs, they look like grassy patches of paradise, where kids scamper, flowers bloom, and neighbors stop to chat.

via How to Design a Neighborhood for Happiness by Jay Walljasper.

iPhone, kith/kin:  Edward will be so happy.

Since the initial announcement of the iPhone 4, many users have been clenching onto the opportunity of purchasing the elusive white variant. Plagued by manufacturing challenges such as peeling paint and bleeding of light, Apple has apparently managed to remedy those causes. According to Bloomberg, multiple sources have gleaned information that point to a release within the coming weeks for both carriers. Stay tuned for more information

via Rumor: White iPhone 4 Coming Soon | Hypebeast.

places, great stories, Greenbriar:  One of my favorite places is the Greenbriar.  I hope it gets its 5th star back!

The story since then, of how a coal miner returned the legendary resort to near-profitability in 18 months, with record occupancy rates, a PGA golf tournament and a glitzy casino, is partly a story about daring, financial risk and business vision. But mostly, it’s a story about one man and the little postage stamp of America he calls home.

“I knew I just couldn’t mess this up,” Justice mused one day in his office, with a gesture to the hotel. “I mean, the employees know where I live.”

The Greenbrier has been everything to the rural area since the resort’s mineral springs began drawing the well-heeled and socially connected before the Civil War. It employs about 1,850 in a county of 35,000. Everybody has a family member who works there or has dinner with someone who does.

But the grand dame lost her prestigious fifth star from the Mobil Travel Guide in 2000, and not even $50 million in upgrades by the hotel’s longtime owner, CSX Corp., could keep a slow decline from turning into a death spiral.

By 2009, the place was losing nearly $1 million per week. Half of the staff, about 600 workers, was laid off. It was declared bankrupt. There were nights when as few as 40 guests roamed the vast hallways, the ballrooms, the chandeliered restaurants. West Virginia’s then-governor and now U.S. senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was so desperate to save the state’s “marquee attraction” that he called Donald Trump and asked the real-estate mogul to take it on.

Ah, no, said the Donald.

There was only one offer to keep the hotel alive. It required CSX to lend Marriott $50 million to take it over – against a sale for as much as seven years down the line that might net CSX as little as $60 million. The future was diminishment or dismemberment on the auction block.

via Reaching for the stars: W.Va. billionaire Jim Justice’s mission to restore the Greenbrier resort to glory.

art, collage, Romare  Bearden, Charlotte, public parks, public art: An artist worthy of a new park!

It’s no secret that Uptown Charlotte lacks green space, specifically a park where people can  lunch, exercise, or relax. Romare Bearden Park has been planned for over 10 years and due to delays construction hasn’t started. The park will be a full city block located at the corner of S. Church and 3rd St. right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.  It will be a signature park for Uptown Charlotte.

via Romare Bearden Park in Uptown | CLT Blog.

Romare Bearden is recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the 20th century.  His work is currently on display in New York City’s  Michael Rosenfield Gallery to celebrate the centennial of Bearden’s birth. Read a recent article from the NY Times. There is a good biographical post of Bearden’s life on the Romare Bearden Foundation website.

via Romare Bearden Park in Uptown | CLT Blog.

Romare Bearden (1911-88) spent more than 30 years striving to be a great artist, and in the early 1960s, when he took up collage in earnest, he became one. A small exhibition at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, organized to celebrate the centennial of Bearden’s birth, delivers this message with unusual clarity. It contains only 21 collages, all superb, in an intimate context that facilitates savoring their every formal twist and narrative turn, not to mention the ingenious mixing of mediums that takes them far beyond collage.

via Romare Bearden at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery – Review – NYTimes.com.

To see a slide show of his work  click here: ‘Romare Bearden Collage’ – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

random, technology, culture:  So, have you ever stolen a towel?

THIS will not be of any relevance to honest readers of The Economist, of course, but a company in America has come up with a way to stop hotel guests from stealing linens. The radio-frequency identification chips designed by Linen Technology Tracking can be put in towels, sheets and bathrobes to keep track of stock and, more importantly, to ensure their return when light-fingered guests forget their manners.

The market for such items sounds well developed. CNN quoted William Serbin of Linen Technology Tracking saying, “Any given month, [hotels] can lose 5 to 20 percent of towels, sheets and robes.” And the economies to be made from the tags, which will work through 300 washes, also sound rather impressive. One of the three hotels using them is reportedly saving $16,000 a month by reducing the number of pool towels stolen from 4,000—an almost unbelievable 130 a day—to 750.

via Hotel linen: The towel thieves’ comeuppance | The Economist.

random, entertainment, LeBron James:  Serials, like on tv, on YouTube … I guess I knew they were out there, but I never paid any attention.  Episode One of “The LeBrons” Hits YouTube | The Sporting Rave.

technology, culture, law, csr, apps, Apple, Google:  Found this very interesting … and the responses or lack thereof by Apple and Google.

FRIENDS don’t let friends drive drunk. If they can’t take their friend’s keys away, they take their smartphone. Why? The phone may have an app that can help them avoid sobriety checkpoints.

Enlarge This Image

A handful of smartphone apps, like Buzzed, track the locations of sobriety checkpoints so drivers can reroute around them.

Last month, Senators Harry Reid, Charles E. Schumer, Frank R. Lautenberg and Tom Udall asked Apple, Google and Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerrys, to remove apps from their online stores that help drunken drivers evade sobriety checkpoints.

On March 23, the day after the letter went out, the group said BlackBerry agreed to pull the apps and thanked the group for bringing them to its attention.

Apple and Google? Nothing.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company would not comment. A Google spokesman said the apps did not violate the company’s content policies.

via Apps for Avoiding Sobriety Checkpoints Stir Controversy – NYTimes.com.

09
Feb
11

2.9.2011 … only my hairdresser knows for sure … otherwise a very random day.

Davidson College, changes: Hooray for another new dorm … congrats to 7 new profs … but no SNU Lake.:(  … Board of Trustees Discusses Building Plans, Tuition Increases and Promotes 7 Professors – The Davidsonian – News.

gLee, Katie Courid, UVA:  Katie Couric went to UVA. I bet that is where she learned the crazy moves like the pretzel!  YouTube – GLEE – Katie Couric is a GLEEk!.

… “We did a little dance. I was supposed to lead, but she ended up leading me around, and showing me all these crazy moves like the pretzel. Shes good. Shes a good little dancer.”  Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester, gLee)

Jules Verne, inventions, birthdays: Happy 183, JV!

Jules Verne 183rd birthday picture: Similar to Jules Verne's imagined Nautilus submarine, the underwater submersible Alvin explores the seafloor.

As made interactively evident by a retro-futuristic Google doodle, Tuesday would have been the 183rd birthday of Jules Verne. Had he lived to see 2011, the French science fiction writer also would have seen many of his fanciful inventions made real—more or less.

In perhaps his most famous novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verne’s Captain Nemo travels the world’s oceans in a giant electric submarine, the Nautilus—the inspiration for the portholed Jules Verne Google doodle.

8 Jules Verne Inventions That Came True (Pictures).

business, csr, politics, Mitt Romney:  It’s interesting that this article seems to support indirectly that  the bottom line is the only that that should govern corporate decision-making.

But there does seem to be a method to Marriott’s madness. Politico’s Ben Smith explains that Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a presumptive candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, recently left the Marriott board. The chain’s owners are “longtime Romney supporters”, Mr Smith notes. And social conservatives, apparently, hit Mr Romney hard on the porn “issue” during the ex-governor’s 2008 campaign for the GOP nomination. (One critic called Mr Romney a “major pornographer.”) So in some sense, Mr Smith argues, Marriott appears to be doing Mr Romney a “costly favor.” Then again:

Another person familiar with the workings of the industry, though, cast doubt on the connection: The in-room movie business has been hit hard by wifi, Netflix, iPads, and laptops, and the structure of contracts with providers could well have made it a solid economic decision.

Labour unions, at least, seem convinced that Marriott is throwing Mr Romney a bone. Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, emailed reporters last week to mock the Marriott-Romney-smut connection (via Mr Smith):

Now when it comes to folks who actually work for a living—and negotiating on their wages, benefits, etc—we always hear the mantra ‘we must maximize revenue and value for the shareholders’. Interesting how this pillar of corporate philosophy seems to have gone right out the window when it comes to helping their billionaire buddy’s presidential campaign.

Are Mr Vale and Mr Smith on to something? Or is Marriott just making a normal business decision?

via Hotel pornography: Marriott, Mitt Romney, and porn | The Economist.

pets, inventions: Funny, but if my dogs figured this thing out, they would be FAT!  Amazon.com: The Amazing Treat Machine Interactive Dog Toy: Kitchen & Dining.

urban planning, Jane Jacobs, Davidson College, kith/kin:  Ran across this and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed Jane Jacobs work as a student and talking about her works with my husband’s grandfather, Dali Walte

The 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal Nomination Form

Thank you for your interest in the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal. Please fill out the form below to submit your nomination. The Jane Jacobs Medal will be given each year to two living individuals – one for Lifetime Leadership and the other for New Ideas and Activism – whose creative vision for the urban environment has greatly contributed to the vitality of New York City and who exemplify the following values and ideas:

* Open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city

* Challenge traditional assumptions and conventional thinking

* Advance a creative use of neighborhood knowledge

* Promote Jacobsean principles of dynamism, density, diversity and equity

* Take a common-sense approach to solving complex problems

* Generate new principles for the way we think about development and preservation in New York City

* Demonstrate activism and innovative cross-disciplinary thinking

* Provide leadership in solving common problems

* Generate creative uses of the urban environment

* Make New York City a place of hope and expectation that attracts new people and new ideas.

via Jane Jacobs Medal :: The Rockefeller Foundation.

random, politics, kith/kin: I read this and it just reminded me of my father’s friendships with many “liberals”; he was conservative.  They were able to remain love and respect for each other despite very different political and social views.  Why does this not seem possible now?  The death of Daniel Bell, sociologist of capitalism: Daniel Bell, non-neocon | The Economist.

travel, Hollywood, Los Angeles, history: I would so do this!

As he drove he shared a little history of the Hollywoodand area. It was established as a housing development in early 1920s and specialized in building storybook fantasy houses: castles, Tudor homes, and the like. The Hollywood sign was erected as an advertisement for the development project and read “Hollywoodland.” It was meant to stay up for just a year, but people liked it and it soon became a symbol for the motion picture industry, not just the housing development. The neighborhood has been the home of many famous folks, including Aldous Huxley, Bugsy Siegel, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Swanson, and James M. Cain.

via Hiking up the outdoor staircases of Hollywoodland – Boing Boing.

business, groupon:  Same article as above … but this tidbit included … anyone tried Groupon, yet?  I have and have been very pleased.

But then he offered a deal on a Groupon-like site I can’t remember which one and 1700 people signed up for tours. Now he’s very busy, conducting 2-3 tours per day.

via Hiking up the outdoor staircases of Hollywoodland – Boing Boing.

iPad, Apple:  OK, I want one …

Apple Inc. has started manufacturing a new version of its iPad tablet computer with a built-in camera and faster processor, said people familiar with the matter.

The new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, these people said. It will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features like video-conferencing, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad, these people said. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, they said.

..The one feature in the new iPad that may disappoint consumers will be the lack of significant improvement in the resolution of the device’s display. People familiar with the situation said Apple has had trouble improving the display technology, in part because of the iPad screen’s larger size compared with the iPhone.

via Apple’s New iPad in Production – WSJ.com.

Internet:  I have put up the white flag …

That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented. It isn’t just that we’ve lived one technological revolution among many; it’s that our technological revolution is the big social revolution that we live with. The past twenty years have seen a revolution less in morals, which have remained mostly static, than in means: you could already say “fuck” on HBO back in the eighties; the change has been our ability to tweet or IM or text it. The set subject of our novelists is information; the set obsession of our dons is what it does to our intelligence.

via How the Internet Gets Inside Us : The New Yorker.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, Detroit:  As I said this was my favorite.  I am glad it was successful.

If you haven’t seen the two-minute commercial that Chrysler Group LLC ran during the Super Bowl on Sunday, it’s worth taking a look.

The spot, featuring a brief appearance by Detroit-based rapper Eminem, has gone viral, racking up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube and occupying hours of sports-talk time on radio stations across the country. According to market researchers who tracked the impact of Super Bowl commercials, the Chrysler ad sparked a dramatic spike in online shopping for the company’s models.

via Eminem Super Bowl Ad Sparks Lasting Buzz For Chrysler – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Supreme Court, Constitutional Law, health care, Justice Kennedy, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan:  Good question …

Maybe it all does come down to whether Justice Kennedy eats chicken or fish for dinner one evening in 2012. But isn’t it a little presumptuous, perhaps even a mite sexist, to suppose we already know the minds of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, and that nothing anyone might write or say from now through the time the question is considered by the Supreme Court could change them?

via Judges and ideology: Telepathic Supreme Court vote counting | The Economist.

culture, Lindsay Lohan:  She was so cute in Parent Trap. Enough said.

The actress Lindsay Lohan can now add the prospect of a grand theft charge to her legal woes.

via Lohan Faces Felony Theft Charge – NYTimes.com.

politics, Egypt Uprising, The President, President Bush:  Another interesting perspective …

That possibility now faces Mr Obama as the old order in Egypt changes. What if the new one eventually delivers the greatest of the Arab nations into the patient hands of a hostile Muslim Brotherhood? That fear gives even some neocons pause. And such questions will continue to plague America for as long as it aspires to be both a superpower and a champion of democracy and self-determination. It is a riddle to which neither Mr Bush nor Mr Obama nor any president has found a neat answer.

via Lexington: Was George Bush right? | The Economist.

random, internet auctions:  I get this spam all the time.  It is nice to have it explained.

Anybody who has a computer and an Internet connection has probably seen ads touting deals like those above. They come from “penny auction” sites, a Web phenomenon that has spurred hundreds of start-ups over the past year.

As consumers eager for deals help fuel the rise of these sites, consumer advocates stress the adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Users can actually spend hundreds of dollars on these sites without winning a thing.

Penny auctions, believed to have started in Europe, operate very differently from other auction sites such as eBay.

via Penny auctions promise savings, overlook downsides – USATODAY.com.

green, wind farms: The first picture is of the wind farm in the English Channel.  I flew over it in September and it is truly massive.  I had no idea how big an area they covered or how big the “wind mills” are.

The world’s largest offshore wind farm officially opened today in the English Channel 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from Foreness Point, off England’s southeast coast.

Owned and operated by the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm has 100 turbines and covers an area of 35 square kilometers (13.5 square miles).

Boat cruises past the new Thanet wind farm in the English Channel. (Photo courtesy Vattenfall)

With 300 megawatts of generating capacity, the wind farm will generate electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 200,000 British households.

via World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens in English Channel.

green, wind farms, USA:  So it will be interesting to see them off the US coast.

The Interior Department said it will expedite environmental reviews for four wind projects off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. This spring, it expects to identify other wind energy areas off Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the South Atlantic region, notably North Carolina.

“This initiative will spur the type of innovation that will help us create new jobs, build a clean energy future and compete and win in the technologies of the 21st century,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in the announcement, which notes President Obama’s goal of generating 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

Wind advocates called for a streamlined process after it took eight years for the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Mass., to obtain a lease as the nation’s first offshore wind farm. That project faced opposition from Indian tribes, some environmentalists and residents, who argued it threatened marine life and ruined ocean views.

Salazar said the wind farms identified Monday — all off major tourist destinations, including Atlantic City, N.J.; Ocean City, Md.; and Virginia Beach, Va. — would be 10 to 20 miles offshore so they shouldn’t mar vacationers’ views, according to the Associated Press.

via Obama fast-tracks Mid-Atlantic offshore wind energy – Green House – USATODAY.com.

 

02
Feb
11

2.2.2011 … Punxsutawney Phil: No shadow. Early spring! … Happy Groundhog Day (a strictly secular holiday :) )… and Candlemas, too.

Groundhog Day:

Punxsutawney Phil has been prognosticating about when spring will come since the 1880s, and he’s developed quite a legend in the meantime.

via Punxsutawney Phil tweets: five little-known facts about Groundhog Day 2011 – There is only one Punxsutawney Phil – CSMonitor.com.

Punxsutawney Phil: No shadow. Early spring!

via Facebook.

 

Candlemas Day, Groundhog Day, worship:  I’ll give it to the Episcopalians for making sure I know that Groundhog Day is a “strictly a secular holiday!”

FEAST OF THE PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN

CANDLEMAS DAY (FEB 2)

The events commemorated today are recorded in Luke 2:22-39.

Counting forward from December 25 as Day One, we find that Day Forty is February 2. A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son, and accordingly it is on February 2 that we celebrate the coming of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus to the Temple at Jerusalem (1) to offer sacrifice on behalf of Mary to mark the end of her seclusion (see Le 12:1-8), and (2) to ransom or redeem (buy back) Jesus as a first-born male (see Ex 13:11-13; 22:29; Nu 18:15-16; Dt 15:19). As they did so, they were greeted by the aged Simeon. In a Sunday-School pageant, I once saw, the narrator said, “And now Simeon bursts into a spontaneous song of praise, assisted by the Temple Choir.” His song, called the Nunc Dimittis, has always had a prominent role in Christian worship. It has often been rendered in verse. I append one example.

Because an old reading for this festival contains the line (Zephaniah 1:12), “I will search Jerusalem with candles,” the day is also known as Candlemas, and sometimes observed with a candle-lit procession. On the other hand, Groundhog Day (“If the groundhog (or woodchuck, a kind of marmot, which burrows and hibernates) sees his shadow on 2 February, there will be six more weeks of winter.”) is strictly a secular holiday, brought to the United States and Canada by German immigrants.

via Feast of the Presentation (Purification of the Virgin Mary; Candlemas Day).

RIP, Willie B, childhood,  Atlanta: Oh, I didn’t know … One of my favorite childhood memories was going to see Willie B.  I even took my kids to see him in his new habitat in the 90s.

On this day in 2000, Willie B., Zoo Atlanta’s famous resident gorilla, passed away.

By: Atlanta History Center

CU – Boulder, students, kith/kin:  So now I know what Boulder students do after graduation!

The University of Colorado at Boulder is ranked the No. 1 school recruiting undergraduate students to serve in the Peace Corps.  According to a CU news release, 117 students are serving around the world this year.

In the CU news release, Chancellor Philip DiStefano said he is glad CU is contributing to the global community.

“I am delighted that our emphasis on civic engagement as part of the learning experience at CU-Boulder has resulted in service-oriented graduates contributing to their global community,” DiStefano said in the news release. “Service learning and civically engaged graduates are a cornerstone of our Flagship 2030 strategic plan and it is gratifying for the university community to realize that our vision is becoming a reality.”

via CU ranked No. 1 for graduates serving in the Peace Corps | CU Independent.

Super Bowl, sex trafficking, culture:  Yesterday I posted a friend’s blogpost about the feasting aspect of the Super Bowl … I guess the fans feast in other ways, too.

While football fans are eagerly anticipating the Feb. 6 Super Bowl showdown in Dallas, some state officials are gearing up for the big game’s dark side: the surge in human trafficking that tends to accompany major sports and entertainment events. “What we’ve learned is that sexual trafficking, sexual exploitation of children in particular, is all about supply and demand,” says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. With more than 100,000 fans descending on Dallas, that demand is going to be great. There is a “looming potential explosion of human trafficking around the Super Bowl,” says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is expecting hundreds of girls and women to be brought to the area.
Past Super Bowls have borne this out. In the wake of 2009’s game in Tampa, Florida’s Department of Children and Families took in 24 children who’d been trafficked to the city for sex work. Given that Texas, according to Abbott, is second only to California when it comes to trafficking, the figures for Dallas could be even worse.

via The Super Bowl of Sex Trafficking – Newsweek.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, kudos: … “beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building”  – we have some work to do … “few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics.” … I am not so sure about that one …. But kudos nonetheless to my home city!

“We’re honored that the Democratic National Committee chose Charlotte to host its 2012 convention,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. “Thanks to the hard work and support of so many throughout our community, we have an unmatched opportunity to show the world what a beautiful, energetic, innovative and diverse city we are building in Charlotte. As we tell the story of Charlotte, and what a great place our city, state and region are to live and do business, we also will tell the story of America to our fellow citizens and our neighbors around the world.”

Duke Energy Corp. CEO Jim Rogers, who co-chairs the Charlotte In 2012 organizing committee with Mayor Foxx, added, “Charlotte’s selection clearly elevates our city to a new level in national and world stature. Only a few singular events in the U.S. rival the domestic and worldwide media exposure of a major political convention: a presidential inauguration, a royal wedding, the Super Bowl and the Olympics. The economic and reputational significance of being chosen for this honor cannot be overstated.”

via Charlotte to Host 2012 Democratic National Convention | Charlotte in 2012.

Apple, apps, lists:  A new list for me to checkout! Full List – 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011 – TIME.

Great Recession, consumers, superlatives, Wilmington NC:  Thumbs down on this one Wilmington, NC:

Where are people most addicted to their plastic? Apparently it’s Wilmington, whose residents seem to love (or maybe just need) their credit cards more than anywhere else in the country.

That’s according to data from Equifax, one of the national companies that compiles credit reports on consumers. According to a just-released study from Equifax, people in Wilmington owe an average of 17.26 percent of their income to credit cards, more than any other U.S. city. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe it’s something in the water, but the seaside haven is also the hometown of two of the three N.C.-based banks that have failed during the financial crisis.

via Wilmington tops the list for U.S. credit card debt – CharlotteObserver.com.

blogposts, quotes, Winston Churchill, C.S. Lewis, graphics: Two of my favorite blogs have great quotes by great folks this week.

“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.”
Winston Churchill

The Happiness Project.

-and-

quote of the week – cs lewis – my blog – Ordinary Courage.  And don’t you like her graphics!

Great Recession, Financial Meltdown, BofA:  Well I think Moynihan came out ok given the Bank’s performance.

It was a tough year for Bank of America, what with the foreclosure mess and a sagging stock price. Its chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, nonetheless received $10 million in his first year on the job.

Mr. Moynihan will get a bonus of $9.05 million in the form of restricted stock, along with a base salary of $950,000, bringing his total pay to $10 million for 2010. In 2009, before Mr. Moynihan took over as chief executive, he received a total of $6.1 million in compensation.

Mr. Moynihan’s base salary did not go up, however, and he received no cash bonus, a reflection of Bank of America’s slow recovery from the financial crisis, when it received two bailouts from Washington totaling $45 billion. What is more, Mr. Moynihan will have to fulfill performance goals to earn the full $9.05 million.

Other top officers of the company did receive a cash bonus of $900,000, but it will be paid in monthly installments and is tied to the stock price.

“All of the year-end compensation was deferred and tied to some measure of stockholder value,” said Bob Stickler, a spokesman for the company.

via Brian Moynihan Gets $10 Million as Bank of America Chief – NYTimes.com.

icons, places, Athens GA, REM:

Wilmot Greene sat among charred remains of his iconic Georgia Theatre recalling the fire that reduced it from an alternative rock icon to rusted steel girders and walls of black bricks.

A year after an unexplained fire gutted the century-old musical cradle of bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s, Indigo Girls and Widespread Panic, Greene still kicks himself for missing Rockinwood play the last show before the fire. He says he’d missed only about 20 shows since buying the place in ’04.

via Alt-rock icon struggles to make a comeback after fire – CNN.com.

green, Great Recovery, history, recycling:  Actually recycling a town …

And that’s just the start. Sempra has big designs on being a major player in the green energy game. But as the wind whips through my hair and I study the immense emptiness all around, I can’t help but ask, “Why is this such a good location for such a thing?”

“First, there is a lot of available, flat land,” Crider says. “Second, it is incredibly sunny. This region gets about 330 days of sunshine per year. And third, there’s existing transmission lines which provide access to major markets throughout the western United States.”

Which, as is so often the case, raises another question: Why are those lines way out here?

To find that answer, you have to drive 20 minutes to struggling Boulder City, population about 16,000. The town is uniquely poised to cash in on the new energy boom precisely because it was built on old energy technology; during another time when the economy and energy collided; when thousands of jobless men came here during the Great Depression to undertake an unprecedented power-generating project.

“This town is here because it was a federal reservation to build Hoover Dam.”

via Struggling Nevada town sees sunnier times ahead – CNN.com.

globalization, poverty, social responsibility, solutions:  “Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack reliable access to electricity.”

The first decades of the 21st century will be remembered as the ones in which the world finally began to grapple with global development. The likes of Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono — TIME’s Persons of the Year in 2005 — have channeled funds to fighting malaria, TB and HIV, while supporting agriculture, infrastructure and even governance. But there’s one obstacle to development that has too often been forgotten, a blind spot that does more than almost anything to keep the poor poor: they don’t have electric power.

Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack reliable access to electricity. That means they don’t have electric lights for students to study by at night. They can’t easily charge cell phones — assuming they even have them — which means they can’t easily create markets or sell goods. Without regular power, their hospitals are severely limited — after all, you can’t even keep vaccines cold without a refrigerator. Agriculture is essentially peasantry if farmers lack powered machinery. As long as those hundreds of millions remain in the dark, they will remain poor — yet solving energy poverty isn’t even one of the U.N.’s ambitious Millennium Development Goals.

via Clean Energy: How It Can Help Light Up the Developing World – TIME.

art, google street view, art galleries:  I still would rather travel there, but I think this is a great idea. YouTube – Art Project – Preview.

Now that Google has conquered a majority of the earth’s major streets with its Google Street View project, the company is starting to move inside. It’s  creating the Google Art Project, a virtual equivalent of 17 major art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Britain and the National Gallery in London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among many others.

via Google Takes Street View Into Art Museums – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising, titles: “The Last Pharoah” …

Hosni Mubarak: The Last Pharaoh – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Egypt Uprising, media, twitter:

With Egypt’s last remaining internet service provider taken offline, the country’s citizens have resorted to old school telephone technology to establish limited connections to the outside world.

Several internet service providers outside of Egypt have established dial-up phone numbers that can be used for pokey-yet-usable connections like the ones that have slowly died out in many developed countries as broadband internet becomes more prevalent and less expensive.

And Google and Twitter teamed up to build a speak-to-tweet service that allows people inside Egypt to call one of three international phone numbers and leave a voicemail that’ll be transcribed and sent out over Twitter. The messages themselves can be heard at the Speak To Tweet Twitter page.

via Egyptians Sidestep Internet Blackouts with Landline Phones – Techland – TIME.com.

Egypt Uprising – getting out, students:

Hilliard said that although classes at the American University have not begun, four students are currently in Cairo awaiting the start of their semester. Three students will be leaving Cairo, while one is still deciding.

“We expect three of those students will return home within the next 24-36 hours, and to be in a safe location in Europe within the next 12-24 hours,” Hilliard said. “The fourth student is thinking over the option of staying or going, and has not made the decision yet.”

via CU-Boulder’s Study Abroad Program in Cairo cancelled | CU Independent.

Egypt Uprising – victims:

Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa has been missing in Egypt since last week, according to multiple news outlets.

Wael Ghonim, who has headed the company’s marketing in the region since January 2010 , has not been seen for several days as protests continue to swell in Egypt, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reports that Ghonim was a guest speaker at an Al Jazeera forum in Januray and that the news agency had been contacted by Ghonim’s family and friends.

“His wife is appealing for any information on his whereabouts,” said an Al Jazeera blog post on its English website.

Google declined to confirm to the Times if Ghonim was in fact missing. A spokeswoman told the newspaper: “We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don’t comment on the individually.”

via Google Exec Reported Missing in Egypt – World Watch – CBS News.

csr, Egypt Uprising – getting out:

Coca-Cola Co. closed its Cairo office starting Sunday. The office “will not reopen until security in the city improves,’’ said Kenth Kaerhoeg, a spokesman for the big beverage business in Atlanta.  “The safety of our employees is our primary concern and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Mr. Kaerhoeg declined to offer any details about possible evacuations or the exact number of Coke staffers in Egypt.  An Egyptian bottler operating as its local franchisee owns eight bottling plants there.

Egyptian operations of food giant Nestle SA “have been temporarily interrupted due to ongoing political unrest across the country,’’ said Nina Backes, a spokeswoman for the owner of brands such as KitKat, Gerber baby food and Nescafe coffee.  “The company is currently evacuating the families of around 20 expatriates,’’ she added.

Ms. Backes said its three Egyptian factories “have temporarily been shut down.’’  She declined to say how family members are being evacuated – nor whether Nestle might also evacuate expatriates.  “We continue to monitor the situation closely,’’ she added.

Nestle’s Egypt unit has three factories  and 3,000 employees.  It began factory operations there in 1988.  Nestle, based in Vevey, Switzerland,  is the world’s largest food company by sales.

Unrest in Egypt also is affecting U.S. companies without permanent offices there. An Occidental Petroleum Corp. spokesman said ten professionals on a temporary Egyptian assignment cut short their stay and left Cairo Sunday on chartered aircraft arranged by the company without difficulty. “They left sooner than anticipated,’’ he continued.

He declined to disclose why the Oxy Pete staffers went to Egypt several weeks ago.  “There was no definitive time frame” for their abbreviated business trip, the spokesman said.

via Coke, Nestle Report Egypt Shutdowns – Dispatch – WSJ.

Egypt Uprising – impact, Syria, Middle East:

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad may face mass protests this weekend from opposition groups.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Syrian opposition groups are organizing protests against the government
The calls are the latest call for demonstrations in the wake of Tunisian protests
Those protests helped topple the Tunisian government and spark widespread unrest in Egypt
(CNN) — What began as a popular uprising that toppled the Tunisian government before spreading into Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and, of course, Egypt, may now be headed for Syria.
Opposition movements in Syria are calling for mass protests on Saturday against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The groups are organizing on Facebook, with several pages promoting protests in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities.
Protest organizers want better living standards, human rights improvements and a greater voice for youth, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based organization that studies and translates news accounts and social-media postings.

It’s unclear how many people might join the protests. A few thousand people had expressed their support for the movement on the Facebook pages, some of them undoubtedly from outside the country, the research institute said.

via Unrest in North Africa and Middle East may spread to Syria – CNN.com.

Egypt Uprising  – “Youthquake”, new terms:

It’s 11:30 on Tuesday morning and the dusty office space around Adil is buzzing with the idealism of two-dozen young professionals, many of them juggling four cell phones at once. They’re lawyers, accountants and web designers. They wear jeans and flip flops, colorful headscarves, and the black and white checkered keffiyahs associated with the Palestinian intifadeh. Today they are among the country’s core activists who shoulder the responsibility for the largest Egyptian uprising in more than 50 years.

Welcome to the nerve center of the Arab world’s latest rebels. The 6th of April is one of several youth activist groups who have helped to bring the nearly three decade regime of President Hosni Mubarak to its knees. It was formed in the wake of a massive labor strike on the 6th of April 2008, becoming since then the group that made Egyptians under 30 a force to be reckoned with.

via Egypt’s Youthquake: At a Nerve Center of the Revolution – TIME.

art, Davidson, Davidson College, Herb Jackson, art galleries, NYC, kudos: Kudos to Herb Jackson!

Riding the Phoenix by Herb Jackson

Riding the Phoenix by Herb Jackson

In case you have your snow boots ready and are traveling to NYC, be sure to plan your trip for mid-February to catch Herb Jackson’s art exhibit at the Claire Oliver Gallery on 513 West 26th Street (just off 10th Avenue).  The opening will be Thursday, Feb. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery.  For a digital preview of Herb’s paintings, access http://www.claireoliver.com and select the heading “upcoming” before clicking on his exhibition.  Congratulations, Herb, on your continued artistic success.

via Rabbi and fiancee’s love story makes a Times Sq. billboard | DavidsonNews.net.

health, obesity, fad diets:  Another new fad diet?

For more than 25 years, De Vany has been an advocate of what he calls “evolutionary fitness”: a regimen of low-carb eating and interval- or cross-training workouts (with periodic fasting) aimed at controlling insulin. But he has also become the grandfather of the growing Paleo movement, a health philosophy built around the belief that modern life — dating from the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago — is simply alien to our genes. Believers say that only by returning to a diet of wild game and fresh produce, eliminating grains and dairy, and exercising in short, intense bursts, can we thrive in a world of escalators and cheese fries.

via Paleo Diet: ‘New Evolution Diet’ Author De Vany on Food and Exercise – TIME.

media, twitter:  I follow quite a few magazines and newspapers on twitter (where do you think I get my clips?), so I am very disappointed that the most followed is People magazine.

There are eight magazine brands with more than a million followers, and 14 with more than half a million, while the newspaper industry has just two: the New York Times (2,882,697) and Wall Street Journal (618,751). Inspired by a survey done by The Wrap last fall, we decided to take an updated look at the magazines with the most Twitter followers.

The following list of most followed magazines was culled at the end of January (follower counts were taken on Jan. 31). For about 50 titles, the follower counts were compared to a similar count conducted in October, to see how their counts grew over the last three months. Among the top 25, Rolling Stone (#25) and The New Yorker (#14) both grew about 30 percent in terms of followers, while the Economist (26 percent) was not too far behind.

via The Most-Followed Magazines on Twitter – emedia and Technology @ FolioMag.com.

health, obesity: You would think we could solve this one …

Obesity drugs are dead. Orexigen Therapeutics(OREX_) is done. Arena Pharmaceuticals(ARNA_) is a corpse. Vivus(VVUS_) is in an irreversible coma, waiting for someone to pull the plug.

The only silver lining from Tuesday’s outright and devastating rejection of Orexigen’s obesity drug Contrave is that investors need not waste time or money any longer speculating on which of these three companies will be the first to get their drug approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it crystal clear that it has serious problems with the entire obesity drug field and that none of these drugs — Contrave, lorcaserin or Qnexa — have weight-loss benefits that justify the safety risks.

via Obesity Drugs: The Road to Perdition – TheStreet.

20
Jan
11

1.20.2011 global connections at Davidson … sometimes it is fun to be back in school …

Davidson, globalization:  Attended a gathering at Davidson with John on Global Connections and so enjoyed being in the educational environment.  We heard from Chris Alexander on Tunisia, Shelly Ridder on China, a student panel of 4 current students (2 international students currently at Davidson and 2 US students who recently returned from India and Syria, respectively) and skyped with a student in the Dominican Republic and another in Egypt.  Fascinating.

Williams’ commitment to the best possible study-abroad experience for every student is front and center, especially now: this year’s campus theme is “Global Connections.”

via Global Connections | davidsonjournal.

… Here is a list of the topics I encountered at this gathering:

  1. Tunisia and it’s recent turmoil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisia
  2. McWorld
    The two axial principles of our age — tribalism and globalism — clash at every point except one: they may both be threatening to democracy by Benjamin R. Barber
    http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/374
  3. clash of civilizations … http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48950/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-of-civilizations
  4. Devolution of rights
  5. Wars of necessity v. Wars of choice
  6. Minutization, transnational travel, communication
  7. Warmaking values: great moral good v great moral evil (language of religion) or non religious. We use language of religion.
  8. Privatized predatory corruption.
  9. Power Transition theory … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_transition_theory
  10. Rising Power Theory … http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0034.pdf
  11. MIddle Kingdom Syndrome …

Some even say that the restoration of an international order where the Middle Kingdom gains supremacy in the region and beyond is on the agenda of the Chinese leadership.

An October article in the online edition of the U.S.-based ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine claimed that Beijing has abandoned its philosophy of a “peaceful rise”. It argues that China is harking back to a Sino-centric view of the world where it sits atop the political hierarchy and other sovereign states are seen as lesser entities in deference to the Middle Kingdom.

Disquiet about the revival of a Sino-centric mentality among the Chinese ruling elite has surfaced even in hardcore nationalistic media outlets like China’s ‘Global Times’ newspaper.

“China’s success is the result of reform and opening up but success has not brought a more open mind. On the contrary, it has caused the return of a self-centred ideology,” said a signed opinion piece on Oct. 11. “The cultures around China have, historically, worried about being engulfed by other powerful civilisations. Now they feel uncomfortable with …China’s over- emphasis on its own civilisation,” it said.

via Growing China Worries Neighbours – IPS ipsnews.net.

… and John and I kept looking around the room wondering if maybe the next college president was sitting with us.  🙂

Apps: While at Davidson I took notes on my iPad.  I think I will get this App and try it next time I am in that environment.

PaperDesk for iPad ($1.99)

If you want a fully featured do-everything inking app, PaperDesk for iPad is the one for you. It has all of the basic features you’d expect to find in an inking app, such as five different paper types, plus a rainbow of ink color choices and full control over brightness, opacity, and pen size. But there’s a lot more to PaperDesk than that: it allows you to combine text, sketches, and audio recordings on the same page. That means that you can record your class lectures and take notes at the same time!

This app also solves the problem I mentioned with Penultimate, because it slightly shrinks the drawing area and minimizes the toolbar when in landscape mode. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it greatly reduces the amount of scrolling necessary while still offering a large drawing surface.

You can sync your notes with myPaperDesk.com, ensuring that all of your notes will always be accessible. Notes can also be shared via email. At just $1.99 for the full version in the App Store, this is a must-buy app for anyone who takes notes by hand. If you’re still not sure, a free lite version is available, which limits you to three notebooks.

via Best Student Organizer and Notetaking Apps for the iPad.

college, application process, UNC-CH:  Using the Common App increases applications 15-20 percent!

More than 400 universities currently use the Common Application in an effort to simplify the college admissions process.

“It allows the student to fill out an application one time and then to choose the colleges among those members of the group to submit the application to,” said Barbara Polk, deputy director of undergraduate admissions.

UNC would expect an increase of 15 to 20 percent in total applicants if the Common Application were enacted, Polk said, adding that peer institutions such as the University of Virginia and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor experienced similar increases when they adopted the application.

Triangle-area schools such as Duke University and Meredith College in Raleigh have already adopted the Common Application.

“Most of the top-tier colleges in the country use the Common Application, and we’re one of the few that don’t,” Polk said. “That isn’t necessarily good for the positioning of the University.”

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC may switch to the Common Application.

education, Davidson:  Interesting history of courses at Davidson.

In the spring of 1911, the college issued a new college catalog – one that contained a small but significant shift. The course listings for 1909-1901o catalog included a heading for Mental and Moral Philosophy.  The new catalog listed Philosophy and Psychology.

The name change signals a shift in ideas about classical education and the acceptance of new academic fields. Davidson College had offered a course in Mental Philosophy since its beginnings, usually offered only to seniors and as part of a collection of “philosophies”–moral, natural, mechanical, and mental -using readings from classical authors to explain the wonders of the natural world and humankind.  Three years earlier, the February 1908 catalog carried the first listing for a class in Biology.  Seven years earlier than that (taking us back to 1901), the college had its first president with a Ph.D.

via From Mental Philosophy to Psychology — Around the D.

iPhone:  Edward has been holding out for a white one.

You probably hear a rumor about the white iPhone 4 once a week, but it seems this time the news might be true. Macrumors has received a screenshot of what supposedly is a Best Buy inventory database showing that the mythical product will be available in stock February 27, just in time for a late Valentine’s Day present. It could be a well thought out prank, but the SKU and model numbers match the ones that Best Buy issued when the white iPhone was available for pre-order last year before Apple delayed the release.

via Best Buy: Nothing To Share or Announce This Time About White iPhone 4 – Techland – TIME.com.

media, technology, changes: It’s definitely changed how and when I read.

Printed media used to allow us to read in the places we found most comfortable.  When you imagine yourself reading the newspaper it’s probably in your favorite chair, at the breakfast table, or at the cafe with an orange mocha frappuccino in your hand.

Unfortunately, as news and media moves online, it moves us away from these places and into our desk chairs.  Even worse, consuming content is no longer on our own schedule.  The flood of content disrupts us all day as if we have an maniacal paperboy throwing new editions on our doorstep every 15 seconds.

However, after studying Read It Later’s own data, it seems that this trend is being reversed.  I’ve found that as devices become more mobile, it’s not only changing where we read, but when.  Today, I’d like to show you some of the data behind this movement.

via Is Mobile Affecting When We Read? « Read It Later Blog.

Apple:  I hate to admit it but I am part of the cult.

The difference, and the reason for the near-hysteria and the mammoth market reaction, is that Apple isn’t just any old stock, it is the quintessential cult stock. One of the reasons that Apple is a cult stock is what we’re seeing today: an unhealthy obsession with its founder and CEO.

Now don’t get me wrong. I share the high regard that everybody seems to have for Steve Jobs, just as I understand why the company’s products seem to engender such fanatical, cult-like loyalty. He is certainly one of the truly outstanding figures of our time, and his products are said to be pretty darn good too.

The cult factor, however, is something that is beyond the control of this or any company. Shareholders need to get a grip. They need to realize that, whether the company says so or not, the CEO of this company may very well be a very sick man. They also need to realize that even if they aren’t cultists themselves, this company has a fanatical following, and that its share price is subject to rapid and severe movement — particularly, as happened today, when the reason is Steve Jobs.

via Apple’s Cult Factor Emerges as Drawback – Newsweek.

etiquette, politics, diplomacy:

But what to do with the Clintons, Bill and Hillary?

Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for the State Dinner.Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for the State Dinner.

Should the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, be listed as the invited guest, with Mr. Clinton as her “plus one”?

Or does that honor automatically go to former presidents, with Mrs. Clinton as the tag-along?

Alas, neither would do. And so the pair are simply listed separately:

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, Secretary of State; the Honorable William J. Clinton, former President of the United States.

Ah, diplomacy.

via The Etiquette of Inviting Two Clintons – NYTimes.com.

csr, globalization, business models: Interesting perspective.

COMPANY towns used to be common in the West. The Cadburys and Rowntrees built them in England, as did William Hesketh Lever, founder of what is now Unilever. At one point the United States had more than 3,000 of them. They were particularly popular in the South and West, and in the mining and lumber industries. But they have long since disappeared, destroyed by the motorcar, the cult of corporate focus, and the general maturing of the economy.

As so often, what is dying in the West is surviving or being reborn in the emerging world. New company towns are being constructed from nothing, most notably in China. And old ones are being given a new lease of life. But even with all this new activity Jamshedpur, the corporate headquarters of Tata Steel and home of its biggest steel plant, continues to lead the pack.

The Western doctrine of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) has also given the founder’s very Victorian vision a new lease of life.

via Company towns: The universal provider | The Economist.

technology, viruses, history:

Has it been 25 years already? Jump in the Wayback Machine and check out this TIME article that details the first ever PC virus.

Brothers Amjad and Basit Alvi of Lahore, Pakistan ran a neighborhood computer shop specializing in PC repair and software sales. After Amjad caught wind that one of the programs he’d written was being pirated, he leaked copies containing “a self-replicating program that would ‘infect’ an unauthorized user’s computer, disrupt his operations and force him to contact Amjad for repairs,” according to the article.

And with that, the first PC virus was born. It was January of 1986.

via Happy Birthday, Jerk: First PC Virus Born 25 Years Ago – Techland – TIME.com.

random, literature, end of an era, RIP: Rest in Peace, Poe Toaster!

 

Culture

The Man Who Leaves Roses on Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave Every Year Has Disappeared

One of the best pieces of arcana of American letters is the man known as the “Poe Toaster.” Every year on January 19 (Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday), the toaster appears in the Baltimore graveyard where the author is buried and leaves a half-empty bottle of cognac and four roses. No one knows his identity or his motives. Last year, for the first time in 60 years, the mysterious man did not show up. Last night, he failed to show up again, leaving many to think that the tradition is now over.

I like to imagine the sons of the Poe Toaster feeling incredible guilt and meeting some sad punishment for not carrying out their father’s legacy, as would befit people tied up in a Poe story. As is, you have to imagine the impostors will continue. Perhaps we can anoint one of them the new Poe Toaster, as this tradition is simply too poignant for us to give up. And, really, the poor soul needs his cognac.

via Poe Toaster a No Show in 2011 – Culture – GOOD.

technology, business:  I tried to buy one …

And on Wednesday LivingSocial is making waves with a deal for another major, national retailer; it is selling $20 Amazon.com gift cards for $10.

But LivingSocial’s Amazon discount has an unusual wrinkle. Unlike with other deals, LivingSocial might be losing money selling the Amazon coupons.

Typically, retailers sell the coupons directly to consumers for the discounted price, and LivingSocial takes a cut, generally 30 percent. But for this deal, LivingSocial bought the gift cards from Amazon and is selling them itself.

LivingSocial declined to say how much it paid Amazon for the gift cards. Amazon also said it would not disclose the terms of the deal.

If LivingSocial paid Amazon $20, then LivingSocial is absorbing the losses. If it paid Amazon less, then Amazon is losing money.

via LivingSocial Gets Attention for Amazon Discount – NYTimes.com.

random, technology: toasters … and the winner is a Kalorik Aqua 2-Slice Toaster … a brand I have never heard of!

Today, even the simplest toasters come with fancy features like digital countdown timers, bagel buttons, “hi-lift” levers to remove hot toast, and defrost functions. But have more than 80 years of innovations accomplished the basic goal of producing golden-brown toast, fast? We gathered seven 2-slot toasters priced from $30 to almost $70 and tested them on bagels, toaster pastries, frozen waffles, and, above all, bread.

Two of the toasters couldn’t even fit a slice of our favorite supermarket white bread, Arnold. We had to bend the bread to make it fit, scorching it on the side where the slice curved too closely to the heat. When we tried turning the slices to their short sides, the last inch stuck out.

via Two-Slot Toasters – Cooks Illustrated.

high school, education, parochial schools, Charlotte:  When parachochial schools are closing down in many parts of the country, Charlotte’s diocese  is adding a new high school.  Definitely refects the changing character of Charlotte.

The new Christ the King Catholic High School, which is scheduled to open this fall at a temporary location in Huntersville, will host a meeting Thursday to update families on progress on the new school.Newly hired project director Daniel Dolan will lead the meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. at St. Therese Catholic Church, on Brawley School Road in Mooresville.The new school will be run by the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Mr. Dolan came to the diocese recently after many years of service to the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Richmond and Arlington, Va.

via New Catholic H.S. hosts meeting Thursday | DavidsonNews.net.

 




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