Posts Tagged ‘design

26
Mar
13

3.26.13 … a little of this … a little of that …

water fountain, evolution,  WSJ.com:

The basic drinking fountain—requiring you to bend over, press a button and slurp—was a steady seller for decades. Then, nearly 10 years ago, executives of Elkay Manufacturing Co. started noticing what they call “the airport dance.”

More people were toting plastic water bottles. Rather than drinking from the fountain, they wanted to refill those jugs. It wasn’t working.

“We were really changing what a water cooler was,” says Rod Magnuson, a product director at Elkay.

Water is more popular as Americans reduce consumption of high-calorie soft drinks. Tap and bottled water accounted for around 30% of the typical American’s liquid intake last year, up from 16% two decades before, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a consulting firm. Nearly half of that water came from taps, including drinking fountains.

But Americans are picky. Many consider fountains unsanitary. Though Elkay added antimicrobial agents to the mouth guards, fear of germs lingered.

One of the most inspired features is a digital counter, showing how many bottles have been filled. “I thought that was a dumb idea,” says Jack Krecek, who spearheaded the EZH2O project before leaving Elkay to run another company. But the counter ended up helping “make this thing go viral,” he says. College students liked showing how green they were by tracking how many plastic bottles had been kept out of landfills. Some held intra-campus competitions to see who could reuse the most bottles.

Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., began buying Elkay fountains after students campaigned against what they saw as plastic-bottle waste. The college has installed 49 of the devices and says more than 1.4 million plastic bottles have been refilled by them over the past two years. Incoming freshmen receive a free stainless-steel water bottle. David Rabold, capital projects manager at Muhlenberg, says sales of bottled water on campus have fallen 90% since EZH2O fountains were installed.

via With Bottle-Fillers in Mind, the Water Fountain Evolves – WSJ.com.

Justice Antonin Scalia, Andy Borowitz, LOL,  The New Yorker:  Andy Borowitz is a hoot …

SCALIA SAYS MARRIAGE VIEWS NOT AFFECTED BY LIFELONG FEAR OF GAYS

POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ

via Scalia Says Marriage Views Not Affected by Lifelong Fear of Gays : The New Yorker.

Plainsong:  Since I didn’t know exactly what it was, I thought you might be interested.

History

A sample of the Kýrie Eléison (Orbis Factor) from the Liber Usualis, in neume notation. Listen to it interpreted.

Plainchant is believed to originate from the 3rd century A.D. Gregorian chant is a variety of plainsong named after Pope Gregory I (6th century A.D.), although Gregory himself did not invent the chant. The tradition linking Gregory I to the development of the chant seems to rest on a possibly mistaken identification of a certain “Gregorius”, probably Pope Gregory II, with his more famous predecessor.

For several centuries, different plainchant styles existed concurrently. Standardization on Gregorian chant was not completed, even in Italy, until the 12th century. Plainchant represents the first revival of musical notation after knowledge of the ancient Greek system was lost. Plainsong notation differs from the modern system in having only four lines to the staff and a system of note shapes called neumes.

In the late 9th century, plainsong began to evolve into organum, which led to the development of polyphony.

There was a significant plainsong revival in the 19th century, when much work was done to restore the correct notation and performance-style of the old plainsong collections, notably by the monks of Solesmes Abbey, in northern France. After the Second Vatican Council and the introduction of the New Rite Mass, use of plainsong in the Catholic Church declined and was mostly confined to the monastic orders[1] and to ecclesiastical societies celebrating the traditional Latin Mass (also called Tridentine Mass). But, since Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, use of the Tridentine rite has increased; this, along with other papal comments on the use of appropriate liturgical music, is promoting a new plainsong revival.[verification needed]

Interest in plainsong picked up in 1950s Britain, particularly in the left-wing religious and musical groups associated with Gustav Holst and the writer George B. Chambers. In the late 1980s, plainchant achieved a certain vogue as music for relaxation, and several recordings of plainchant became “classical-chart hits”.

[edit]

via Plainsong – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

design, history, childhood, Brain Pickings:

“Children help us to mediate between the ideal and the real.”

“Every child is an artist,” Picasso famously proclaimed. “Every child is a scientist,” Neil deGrasse Tyson reformulated. But, as it turns out, every child is also a designer — so argues Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (public library), the impressive companion book to the MoMA exhibition of the same title, which explores “children as design activists in their own right, pushing against imaginative and physical limitations and constantly re-creating the world as they see it, using whatever equipment they happen to have at hand.”

via A Design History of Childhood | Brain Pickings.

Rome, museums, travel, serendipity, Fodor’s Travel Guides:  Definitely into the off the beaten path!

Whether it’s your first trip or your fifth, there are plenty of good reasons to stray from the beaten path a bit in Rome. Yes, see the Spanish Steps, but then check out the Keats Shelley Memorial House. Sure, tour the Vatican, but add a trip to the Museo Ebraico before the day’s done. And between that mouthwatering lunch and your wine-soaked dinner, pack in a trip to the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, which will make for some solid dinner conversation.

via Rome’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums | Travel News from Fodor’s Travel Guides.

21
Feb
13

2.21.13 … labyrinthine evolution … “with its sinful eleven tracks” … sounds mysterious …

labyrinths, history, labyrinthine evolution, Loyola University Chicago: “with its sinful eleven tracks” … sounds mysterious … and why have a chosen this as my Lenten Practice two years in a row?

Simply put, eleven was seen as a stigmatized number from the time of Saint Augustine of Hippo and throughout much of the Middle Ages because it signified the fallen nature of humanity.  Eleven was perceived as equating to sin and dissonance with God, being one more than the Commandments yet one short of the Apostles.  Eleven, like humanity, was flawed.[3]  Despite this corrupted number, the enlarged labyrinths were geometrically perfect.  During the Middle Ages the cosmos, as a product of God, was seen as being without flaw and as such the circle symbolized divine unity for it has no beginning nor end.[4]

Having been enlarged to become perfectly circular, there was still one more significant alteration to labyrinths which made them entirely Christian, and that was the superimposition of the Cross.[5]  Around the year 900 CE, an otherwise nameless monk probably from the Benedictine monastery of Auxerre, ingeniously placed the cross within the confines of the labyrinth.[6]  He accomplished this by dividing the full circles into halves and quarters.

With its sinful eleven tracks and the incorporation of the Cross, the labyrinth in Western Europe not only looked Christian, but became truly Christian, symbolizing important aspects of the faith.[9]   When the labyrinth was finally put back into stone, the two regions which would build them most extensively would be found in Northern France and Northern and Central Italy. Click on either to find examples from each country!

via labyrinthine evolution: Loyola University Chicago.

pomegranates: Love pomegranates!

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via Uses of pomegranates

ailurophobia, The Cat-Hater’s Handbook, Tomi Ungerer, Brain Pickings:

I learned a new word … and I found two used copies, one for each of my favorite ailurophes!

An ailurophobe’s delight circa 1982

via The Cat-Hater’s Handbook: A Subversive Vintage Gem Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer | Brain Pickings.

Paula Broadwell, CharlotteObserver.com, local news:  Because I can drive by her house, I really hate this story … I feel sorry for her children and husband.  I feel sorry for her … Human beings do such stupid things.

Paula Broadwell’s promotion in the Army Reserves has been revoked by military officials because of the investigation into whether she might have been storing classified information at her Charlotte home without permission, according to a report Thursday by CNN.

Broadwell became a national figure last year after her affair with David Petraeus, director of the CIA and former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, became public. Broadwell, 40, had co-authored a book on Petraeus.

CNN’s story says an unnamed military official said Broadwell’s promotion from major to lieutenant colonel, which had been approved last August, has been revoked until the investigation has been completed.

via Paula Broadwell’s promotion revoked, CNN says | CharlotteObserver.com.

MINI Backflip [Landed], YouTube:  I find myself holding my breath … even though I know the mini made it …

The French champion skier and stuntman Guerlain Chicherit took the death-defying backflip challenge and nailed it in the hills of Tignes, France. The Mini Countryman John Cooper Works SUV was modified enough to make the flip and land without falling apart. This is the first time a backflip such as this has been pulled off. 360 degrees in anything that heavy is a tall task. There is less of a chance I can do this myself,  jumping off a diving board.

via MINI Backflip [Landed] | Guerlain Chicherit | The Crosby Press – BETA

Wray Herbert,  order, disorder, chaos, creativity, good, evil:  God created the world out of chaos … so can we …

Vohs wanted first off to explore the effects of order and disorder on socially desirable behaviors, so in the first experiment she looked at healthy eating and charitable giving. These are both things that, by common agreement, are good. She recruited volunteers and, unknown to them, had some work in a tidy room and the others in a messy space. They filled out questionnaires that weren’t really relevant to the study, and afterward were given the opportunity to donate privately to charity — specifically, to help pay for toys and books that would be given to children. Then, as they were departing, they were offered the choice of an apple or chocolate.

The results were unambiguous. Those who had been working in an orderly workspace were more generous. Not only were they more likely to donate anything to the kids, collectively they donated more than twice as much money to the charity. They were also more likely to make the healthy food choice.

The results confirmed what Vohs had predicted. As described in a forthcoming article in the journal Psychological Science, the volunteers who worked in the untidy room were much more creative overall, and they also produced more “highly creative” ideas. In other words, they were more likely to break away from tradition, order and convention in their thinking. In a third study, those in a messy environment were more likely to select an option labeled “new” over one labeled “classic” — further supporting the link between order and tradition, disorder and novel thinking.

Taken together, these findings challenge the well-entrenched view of order and disorder as too simplistic. It’s misleading to conclude that messiness promotes wild, harmful and morally suspect behavior, or that order leads to honesty and goodness. A more nuanced view would add that disorder also inspires breaking from tradition, which can lead to fresh insight, and that order is linked to playing it safe. Vohs concludes with the example of Albert Einstein, who famously quipped: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

via Wray Herbert: What a Mess: Chaos and Creativity.

U.S. Postal Service, clothing line, TIME.com:  It worries me that I know some folks that might actually buy and wear this …:)

Postal service workers may stop delivering first-class mail on Saturdays, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have style. Soon everyone will be able to dress like a postal worker seven days a week.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that it is launching a clothing and accessory line called “Rain Heat & Snow,” due out in department and specialty stores nationwide in 2014. According to a news release, the name is meant to signify resilience — inspired by the agency’s unofficial motto “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

via U.S. Postal Service to Launch Clothing Line | TIME.com.

kith/kin, restaurants,  Atlanta, Yahoo! News:  Reading this list is like walking down memory lane … with my dad.  I’ve actually never been to Greenwood … but I will add it to my list … all the others I have regularly frequented during my lifetime …

The Colonnade

1879 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta

As you might have guessed, Colonnade is best known for its Southern dishes. That means fried chicken, beef ribs, and chicken-fried steak. Then we hit the sides, and there are about 30 of them each day. From apple sauce to mac and cheese, and it wouldn’t be a Southern favorite if it didn’t have that staple, fried okra.

As is tradition in the South, a basket of yeast rolls and cornbread muffins comes with your meal. Also a tradition, the servers are well-trained and attentive, and the atmosphere is relaxing and positive.

The Varsity

61 North Ave., Atlanta

It’s nothing fancy, and part of the building standing today is the original structure. The food is addicting in a good sort of way. Naked dogs, burgers, onion rings, and frosted oranges — the menu is pretty simple, but nerve-racking when it comes time to make that decision.

“We are what we are,” said Gordon Muir, whose grandfather, Frank Gordy, opened the restaurant after going to school at nearby Georgia Tech. “The food hasn’t changed.”

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

224 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta

Mary Mac’s Tea Room represents the “old guard” of Atlanta’s restaurants, and they do it well. …

Like The Varsity, Mary Mac’s is one of those “must eat” places when in Atlanta. Unlike The Varsity, Mary Mac’s offers comfort food with fresh cooked vegetables, and that includes the likes of picked beets and something called pot liquor, which apparently is the droppings from all the cooking going on in the kitchen. The servers will bring you some so you can dip your cornbread or muffin in for a special treat.

At Mary Mac’s, there is a pencil on every table, and you fill out your own order. Is that tradition in the South?

Greenwood’s Restaurant

1087 Green St., Roswell

“Greenwood’s was doing farm-to-table before farm-to-table was cool,” stated Melissa Libby of the popular Atlanta blog Atlanta Dish.

via A Look at Some of the Oldest Restaurants Around Atlanta – Yahoo! News

President Obama, media, the liberal press, technology, POLITICO.com:  Just thought this an interesting read …

President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.

Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated. Instead, the mastery mostly flows from a White House that has taken old tricks for shaping coverage (staged leaks, friendly interviews) and put them on steroids using new ones (social media, content creation, precision targeting). And it’s an equal opportunity strategy: Media across the ideological spectrum are left scrambling for access.

The results are transformational. With more technology, and fewer resources at many media companies, the balance of power between the White House and press has tipped unmistakably toward the government. This is an arguably dangerous development, and one that the Obama White House — fluent in digital media and no fan of the mainstream press — has exploited cleverly and ruthlessly. And future presidents from both parties will undoubtedly copy and expand on this approach.

via Behind the Curtain: Obama, the puppet master – POLITICO.com.

Obamacare layoffs:  I saw a nasty post on FB where an employer fired employees who had voted for Obama …

Firing workers based on political affiliation may land employers in hot water. “It’s possible that employees could have some protection under various laws that exist,” said Risa Lieberwitz, professor of labor and employment law at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Federal law offers fines and imprisonment for anyone who “intimidates, threatens, coerces” someone “for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”

In the weeks leading up to the election, several employers sent notices to workers urging them to vote for Romney, or warning of potential problems if Obama won. Courts would have to determine whether such letters constitute “intimidation.” The Supreme Court specifically protected employers’ rights to distribute political information to workers in its Citizens United decision.

Retaliation for a vote may not qualify as intimidation. But employers who fire workers or cut their hours based on their vote could face additional legal threats from a few state and local laws, which specifically ban retaliating against employees based on their voting preferences.

via Obamacare Layoffs: Georgia Businessman Claims He Fired Workers Because Obama Won.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, law blogging, blawging:  Enjoyed this session … don’t like the term “blawging” …

Law Blogging in the 21st Century

Tamar R. Birckhead, Associate Professor of Law, UNC School of Law

You are an expert in your field and you’d like to start a legal blog. this session will explore how to use social media to establish your presence in the blogosphere.

Festival of Legal Learning.

kitchen islands, design, WSJ.com:  thinking about my next kitchen …

[D]

Once-concealed preliminaries to a formal dinner, food prep and cooking are now the main event. It’s part of the fun for guests to mingle around the hostess-chef and help out. In this context, the island becomes “a stage where you perform cooking in front of your friends,” says Elizabeth C. Cromley, author of “The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating and the Architecture of American Houses.”

“I call it the lighthouse,” says Joseph Tralongo, lead designer at Leeds Custom Design, in West Palm Beach, Fla. “When someone walks into the kitchen, they immediately gravitate towards leaning or touching or putting their stuff on the island. It’s like a law of nature.” And the island is a design element that helps balance interior space—especially in a big, open home. “It keeps everything in scale,” Mr. Tralongo says.

via Kitchen Islands Get More Built-In Appliances, Storage and Features – WSJ.com.

 

20
Feb
13

2.20.13 … diamond hydrangeas …

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

Well, nature played a funny trick on me today. It was absolutely perfect day this morning sunshine. The trick was but I did not realize how cold it was.
I walked with my friend Cheryl who I met at the labyrinth conference hosted by Avondale Presbyterian Church last April when Lauren Artress spoke. Cheryl and I have walked several times since we met.  She is supporting me in my quest to walk labyrinths during Lent. We walked last week, and again this week. We hope to walk again next week.
Cheryl had arrived a few minutes before I did.  When I entered the Sacred Garden, I immediately was drawn to the dead hydrangea bushes. Cheryl had already seen them.  These bushes were so beautiful all last summer and into the fall. They are one of the Southern flowering bushes that I love because my grandmother had two blue ones right next to her back door … great memories.
But these dead ones, and I mean really dead, were  absolutely gorgeous this morning because the dew/frost  had frozen as tiny droplets in the brown/dead flowers.  In the morning light the frozen droplets  looked like tiny diamonds.  I had never seen anything like it …
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As we approached the labyrinth,  we both noticed the same frozen droplets on a tree overlooking the labyrinth.  Cheryl and I talked a few minutes before walking. I realized that I had a great deal of angst surrounding events going on in my personal life. It was nice just to talk about them and then cathartic to give them up as I walked. I think it helped to express them out loud to another human being prior to walking. Thanks, Cheryl.
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After my walk, I commented  to Cheryl that I had learned several things about labyrinths this last week that I had not known before.  These include …
1. The first Christian labyrinth is in Algeria and was built around 400 BC. This I learned from the brochure at Sardis Baptist Church.  Here is  little info on that labyrinth for you:

Labyrinths—their history and their mystery—are featured in St. Anthony Messenger’s August cover story, “Labyrinths: The Inward Journey.” Author and labyrinth enthusiast Gerilyn Wartonick Herold writes of these spiral patterns and how they have aided the faith journeys of many Christians over the centuries. After July 20, the article will be found at: AmericanCatholic.org.

Labyrinths are not a new phenomenon. Archaeologists believe they date back 4,500 years, though no physical evidence survives. Different versions of the spiral pattern have been discovered in Egypt, India, Russia and Peru. The first Christian labyrinth, discovered in the fourth century Basilica of Reparatus in Orleansville, Algeria, contains the words “Sancta Eclesia” inscribed in the middle, indicating its use for religious purposes.

Labyrinths can vary greatly in design. The shapes range from circular to square, spade or octagonal. They may be simple or complex and span from 13 to 44 feet. All are designed with a single meandering path that leads to the center.

This journey inward appeals to many people. Julie McAfee, a nondenominational Christian, has grown quite fond of walking labyrinths. “The labyrinth really gives me a sense of God,” she says. “The message for me is that God is present.”

via American Catholic | Press Room | Labyrinths: Exploring Their History and Mystery.

2. Mini – Chartres labyrinths, of which there are many, have two circuits that are 360° circuit. A true  Chartres has no is no circuit longer than 180°.  It’s very interesting,  and I think goes to my dissatisfaction walking the mini –  Chartres  because they go  too fast,  and if you can have a long circuit like that then it quickens your pace noticeably.
The walk was great and so far I am enjoying my daily walks.
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Blessings!

NASA, International Space Station, Astronaut  Tom Marshburn:  Oh, no ….

Communication was restored less than three hours later, Byerly said”Weve got our command and control back,” he said.Station commander Kevin Ford was able to briefly radio Moscow while the station was flying over Russia.Normally, NASA communicates with and sends commands to the station from Houston, via three communications satellites that transmit voice, video and data. Such interruptions have happened a few times in the past, the space agency said.If there is no crisis going on, losing communication with the ground “is not a terrible thing,” said former astronaut Jerry Linenger, who was on the Russian space station Mir during a dangerous fire in 1997. “You feel pretty confident up there that you can handle it. Youre flying the spacecraft.”Not only should this boost the confidence of the station crew, its good training for any eventual mission to Mars because there will be times when communications is down or difficult during the much farther voyage, Linenger said.In the past few weeks the space station had been purposely simulating communications delays and downtimes to see how activity could work for a future Mars mission, Byerly said. This was not part of those tests, but may prove useful, he said.

via NASA & International Space Station Regain Contact, Officials Say.

exercise, WSJ.com:  I knew there was a reason …

Hard-Wired to Hate Exercise? – WSJ.com.

street paving, random, technology:  When we lived in Wilmette, the village redid our street, i.e., they took up all the original brick, dug down six feet, replaced all the sewer and water pipes, then relayed the original brick street.  It took 5 months … I wonder if this machine could have helped?

STREET PAVING: A ‘Tiger-Stone’ paved a road in IJmuiden, Netherlands, Tuesday. The Dutch-made machine uses gravity and an electric motor to lay stone and brick roads and is capable of laying 300 square meters (about 360 square yards) of road a day.

via Photos of the Day: Feb. 19 – WSJ.com.

Tolstoy, quotes, families:

…  old quote from Tolstoy: Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families have kids under five or teenagers.

via Explore – This reminds me of the old quote from Tolstoy:….

CIA, Cyber war,  Amanpour, CNN.com:  It is scary how vulnerable we are …

Sanger and two colleagues reported in the New York Times on Tuesday that a secretive unit of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese military, is responsible for most of the many Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. corporations and infrastructure.“This is, diplomatically, I think one of the most complicated problems out there,” Sanger said. “The fact that your adversary would know that you could get into their systems and turn them on or off at any time – whether it was cell phones or air traffic control or whatever – might well affect your future behavior. So it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it, or there’s out-and-out war, but it does mean that they have a capability to do this by remote control.” The New York Times reported last month that the newspaper was the victim of Chinese hackers – brought on, they believe, by a report on the finances of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.An internet security firm hired by the paper to investigate that attack has released a new report on Chinese hacking, and that report alleges the deep involvement of the Chinese military.In fact, the security company, Mandiant, says that the attacks originate from a single 12-story building on the outskirts of Shanghai.“It’s got thousands of people working in it,” Sanger said. His colleague, David Barboza visited the site, but was not allowed inside.The Chinese government hotly denies all the allegations in the Mandiant report, calling them “baseless,” “irresponsible and unprofessional.”“If it’s not coming from this building,” Sanger said, “then you’ve got to believe it’s coming from the noodle shops and restaurants that surround this building.”Chad Sweet, a former CIA and Homeland Security official who now runs his own global security firm, said that the standoff between the U.S. and China envisages a bleak future.“We’re essentially facing a new Cold War – a cyber Cold War,” he told Amanpour. “The destructive capacity is equal to that of a nuclear warhead… But what makes it more sinister than the nuclear age is that there’s no easily identifiable plume.”In other words, it is very difficult to attribute a cyber attack to a source or exact retribution.

via Fmr. CIA official: Cyber war ‘more sinister than nuclear age’ – Amanpour – CNN.com Blogs.

George Orwell, writing, motivation, creation, Brain Pickings: Why do you write?

I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

(i) Sheer egoism. …

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. …

(iii) Historical impulse. …

(iv) Political purpose. …

It can be seen how these various impulses must war against one another, and how they must fluctuate from person to person and from time to time.

via Why I Write: George Orwell’s Four Motives for Creation | Brain Pickings.

Palace Malice,  Dogwood Farms, Derby Fever:  Always fun to have a horse to watch …

Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 at South Florida’s Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center Sunday morning in preparation for his upcoming appearance in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and the move has Dogwood president Cot Campbell looking ebulliently forward to the final local prep for the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.

“I’m a New Orleans boy – I was born there and it’s going to be great coming back there,” said Campbell, speaking from his South Carolina headquarters. “I also came back there in the early ‘50s to work for an advertising agency there, but I haven’t been back for a few years now. We’ll have about seven people in our party besides me and we’ll be getting in Friday morning. It’s a wonderful town with a wonderful race track and a lot of wonderful people live there.

“We’re starting to get into a very exciting time of year,” said Campbell. “With all the Kentucky Derby preps coming up around the country everybody in the nation starts to get interested in horse racing and I think that’s a wonderful thing for our sport.

via Sunday Notes: Palace Malice Giving Dogwood Derby Fever | Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Louisville, Ohio River, NYTimes.com:  Interesting that this bridge story was significant enough to merit coverage by the NYT …

Although friction about some aspects of the project still reverberates, including over its tolls and environmental impact, construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and the two new bridges linking Kentucky and southern Indiana are expected to open in 2016.

“If we didn’t build this, we would become the bottleneck for the Southeastern United States,” said Chad Carlton, the project spokesman. “We think it could become the shape of things to come for infrastructure across Middle America.”

About $1 billion of the project will be financed by the two states, mostly through gas taxes. There is some federal support, although not much, reflecting a nationwide trend of dwindling federal money for state transportation projects. Tolls over the next 40 years are expected to generate around $10 billion.

“There’s not a major bridge project in the country that doesn’t involve the use of tolls and other creative financing mechanisms,” Gov. Steven L. Beshear of Kentucky said in an interview. “The project will employ thousands, and it’s going to let the metropolitan areas of Kentucky and southern Indiana grow much faster and help jobs grow much faster.”

The project comes at a time when some cities are moving in the opposite direction, dismantling downtown bridges and expressways in favor of public transportation.

Hank V. Savitch, a professor of urban and public affairs at the University of Louisville, said that while some cities were shifting away from accommodating cars, Louisville’s project signaled a declaration of faith in suburban-style growth.

via Like the Ohio River, a Bridge Project Divides a Community – NYTimes.com.

man’s best friend, YouTube, LOL: 🙂

you will love this dog – YouTube.

internet addiction, the Mail Online:  The Web’s Most Ruthlessly Addictive Site … what makes theMail online the most “ruthlessly addictive site?

During the average workday, I allow myself to take a couple “Internet breaks,” little bursts of Tumblr and Gawker and other forms of web candy that tug at my attention span like a needy kid. There’s one web threshold I never step over on a weekday, though: the Mail Online. The online outlet of the British tabloid is a one-way ticket to an hours-long surfing spree of celebrity gossip and moral outrage. It’s not web candy–this is web crack.

via 4 Lessons From The Web’s Most Ruthlessly Addictive Site | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

mobile phones, sleep:  Guilty …

Most people who own iPhones use them as their alarm clock — making it all too easy to check email one last time before falling asleep and hard to ever feel unplugged from work and social networks.

Several years ago my boss, Arianna Huffington, passed out from exhaustion after staying up late to catch up on work. She banged her head on the way down and ended up with five stitches — and became what she calls a “sleep evangelist.” Now she leaves her phone charging in another room when she goes to bed and encourages friends to do the same.

“I sent all my friends the same Christmas gift — a Pottery Barn alarm clock — so they could stop using the excuse that they needed their very tempting iPhone by their bed to wake them up in the morning,” she said.

via How Mobile Phones Affect Sleep (INFOGRAPHIC).

Downton Abbey:  🙂  Personally, I think we all would look a little better in Edwardian garb …

Hugh Bonneville (Robert, Earl of Grantham)

Hugh Bonneville looks a lot more relaxed when he’s not in character as “Downton’s” Lord Grantham. Maybe that Edwardian ascot is tied a little too tight.

C S Lewis, Narnia, Speakeasy: Some interesting thoughts on CS Lewis …

C.S. Lewis’s death was – understandably – overshadowed because it happened on the same day as one of the most traumatic events of the last century, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Lewis is a good case of someone who hasn’t been well served by some of his admirers: we can get the false impression that he is of interest only to a particular kind of conservative Christian.  When I admitted to some of my friends that I was publishing a book about Lewis, there were some raised eyebrows: wasn’t he a misogynist/fundamentalist/ homophobe?  Didn’t his books reinforce a cerebral and narrow dogmatism?  Isn’t he at best just a bit too – well, English and tweedy?

At the heart of his thinking and writing, both in his imaginative books of fiction and in his more concept-heavy works, lies one recurring theme.  We are so successful in telling ourselves stories about ourselves that it takes a major revolution to expose us fully to the truth.  And we are so successful at conjuring and nourishing our own pictures of what makes us happy that we miss actual joy when it taps us on the shoulder.  I can’t think of any other modern religious writer who diagnoses so accurately our habits of self-deception.  Two of his works, “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce” analyze ruthlessly what it might be like to be stuck in a position of systematic denial of reality – being forever incapable of seeing what’s in front of our noses.  This is Hell, says Lewis.  But his genius is to make this analysis memorably comic as well as tragic.

Here and in other works (including the three science fiction novels he wrote), the target is often the idea that we could live in a totally managed world.  Long before the ecological crisis was recognized, he castigated those who thought of “colonizing” space so that we needn’t worry about polluting and exhausting the earth’s resources.  He presents a world where animals and humans actually talk to each other, where community extends to the whole environment – and a world where death is not the worst thing that can happen.  We love the world best when we know we can’t ‘have’ it for ever for ourselves – something that St Augustine and Shakespeare would have understood perfectly – not to mention Czeslaw Milosz, with his book, “Proud to be a Mammal.”

That’s part of what makes Lewis more than a knee-jerk modern conservative – that richly skeptical and amused perspective, resting on deep cultural reserves which teach us that the world is both wonderful and fragile.  Deny this and you lose all chance of enjoying your real humanity.  Lewis’s God wants us to be spiritually settled as physical beings, not to think either that all our important hopes are material or that we just need to get through earth quickly so as to get to Heaven sooner.

Sit light, then, to some of the 1940’s or 1950’s attitudes – though he is no worse than most and better than many in much of what he writes about women or even gay people.  His world is both a lighter and also a more morally challenging one than a lot of what we find in religious writing, liberal or conservative, these days.  He is still able to reacquaint us with the meaning of joy and the strange excitement of honesty.

via Why You Can’t Get to Narnia By Turning Left or Right – Speakeasy – WSJ.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, Lawyers on Nonprofit Boards:  All the reasons not to be … in one hour …

Lawyers on Nonprofit Boards

Marty Martin, Martin Law Firm

Nonprofit boards are in the news because of high profile failures with nonprofit boards of directors and management. Lawyers frequently are asked to serve on nonprofit boards of directors, but with limited substantive background in the law related to nonprofit organizations. Using a case study, the class will discuss legal and ethical issues that confront the lawyer serving on a nonprofit board of directors.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

mobile phones, unlimited phone plan, Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD:  Every member of my family has an iPhone … I might as well give AT&T my first child … I would love options …

A typical smartphone costs around $200, but it’s usually shackled to a two-year contract that often costs $70 or more monthly and includes limits on data consumption, voice minutes and texts. Even prepaid smartphones, without a contract, can cost $30 to $50 a month and carry limits.But I’ve been testing an Android smartphone from an upstart carrier that charges just $19 a month for unlimited data, voice and texts—with no contract. That’s right: $19 a month, unlimited.Motorola’s Defy XT is the only phone that works with Republic’s network.This carrier is called Republic Wireless, a private firm in Raleigh, N.C., which launched its service in December. The sole phone that works with the company’s technology is a Motorola model, the Defy XT. The phone costs $249—partly to help offset the low monthly price.

via For $19, An Unlimited Phone Plan, Some Flaws – Walt Mossberg – Personal Technology – AllThingsD.

Cynaps, Thrillist Nation:  I like this one.  But I don’t wear hats …

CynapsBone-conducting headphones discreetly hidden in a hat

via Cynaps – Own – Thrillist Nation.

 

LOL:

Whew, scientific proof. What a relief to learn this !

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was ? Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an Event Boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It’s not our age, it’s that damn door !

Antarctic penguins,  New Zealand:  Awww ..

The original "Happy Feet" ready for release aboard The New Zealand research vessel Tangaroa in Aug. 2011.

Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition ‘Touch And Go’

via Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition ‘Touch And Go’ : The Two-Way : NPR.

millionaires, philanthropy, The Technology Chronicles, disease, cure, kudos: You rock, nerds!

A group of tech and investment luminaries gathered on Wednesday to announce the Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize, a competition for the biology research community to develop cures to the world’s toughest diseases and solve the life science’s most complicated problems.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Art Levinson, chairman of both Apple and Genentech, Anne Wojcicki, genetic mapping startup 23andMe co-founder (and wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin) and investment guru Yuri Milner sat alongside one another to announce the new $3 million cash prizes.

via Tech heavyweights announce million dollar prizes for curing diseases | The Technology Chronicles | an SFGate.com blog.

Mophie Juice Pack Helium,  iPhone 5, TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog: Unfortunately, I need one …

During the time that I owned my iPhone 4 and 4S, those phones spent most of their lives in a Mophie Juice Pack Air. That battery pack got me through some of those scary situations where I had spent a couple of hours geocaching, making calls and sending texts, only to find that I was down to 5 percent of charge capacity and was nowhere near a power outlet. So when the iPhone 5 came out last fall, my first thought for a case was a Mophie product. It took a few months, but now the Mophie Juice Pack Helium (US$79.95) is available to protect and power the iPhone 5.

via Review: Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Bottles Up Glass Water Bottle, design:  It’s a water bottle,  stupid … but a very pretty one … $34.95 at Amazon …

it’s art.

Our challenge was to blend beauty + utility. We’ve created an everyday object that combines the magic and clarity of glass with sophisticated, practical design.

via BottlesUp Glass – Your Reusable Glass Bottle Resource – Reusable Water Bottles.

Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander MD, consciousness, Life Beyond Death:  I read his book … very interesting …

Can science and spirituality co-exist? Are we more than we appear to be in this physical universe? Does any part of us survive death? Is there a God? Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD, New York Times best-selling author of Proof of Heaven, was certain the answer to these questions was “No,” until something he had thought was impossible happened to him: a transcendental Near-Death Experience.  While in a near-fatal coma in 2008, Dr. Alexander entered a realm of unconditional love and profound awareness of the nature of the universe, populated by angelic beings and a resonant, omnipotent and omniscient presence that he called “Om” (and whom many would call God). This radiant state of total acceptance of who we are, says Dr. Alexander, is our birthright, and we can tap into it from this earthly plane. Now fully recovered and determined to share his experience with the world, Dr. Alexander offers this four-part online course, the first of its kind, courtesy of Sounds True.

via Next Steps in the Proof of Heaven: Delving into the Mysteries of Consciousness | Life Beyond Death.

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Jan
12

1.14.2012 …Movie night at home. Any recommendations? … Moneyball … great suggestion …

 

movie night, Moneyball:  Movie night at home. Moneyball!  What a great movie … sports, underdogs, against all odds, relationships, money, greed …

 

social venture,  Charlotte,  SEED20 Class of 2012, kudos:

SEED20, the nonprofit social entrepreneur competition launched by Social Venture Partners Charlotte, has just announced the inaugural SEED20 Class of 2012:

CARS Inspiring Youth

The Center for Community Transitions

Charlotte Community ToolBank

Charlotte Teachers Institute

Circle de Luz

Easter Seals UCP

Exodus Foundation

Friendship Gardens

Inspire the Fire

Julie Jones

Let Me Run

McClintock Partners in Education

Mothers Raising Sons

The Relatives

Second Helping of Charlotte

Silent Images

Sow Much Good

Street Soccer 945

Sustain Charlotte

Urban League of Central Carolinas

 

These 20 innovators – selected from an applicant pool of 82 – have compelling ideas for creating positive social change that can have real impact in the Charlotte region. Now, SVP Charlotte and over 40 volunteer coaches – made up of business and nonprofit leaders from across the region – will work with the SEED20 Class of 2012 over the next several weeks to hone their messages and presentation skills. At the end of this coaching period, SVP Charlotte will choose 10 finalists who will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience at SEED20Unleashed! on the evening of March 6, 2012.

via Social Venture Partners Charlotte Announces SEED20 Class of 2012 | SEED20 from Social Venture Partners Charlotte.

design, Chinese-Takeout container, American:  Uniquely American?

The Chinese-takeout container, with its Japanese-influenced origami folds, is a uniquely American invention. On Nov. 13, 1894, in Chicago, the inventor Frederick Weeks Wilcox patented a version of what he called a “paper pail,” which was a single piece of paper, creased into segments and folded into a (more or less) leakproof container secured with a dainty wire handle on top. The supportive folds on the outside, fastened with that same wire, created a flat interior surface over which food could slide smoothly onto a plate.

07
Jan
12

1.7.2012 … Rest in Peace, Nancy Wells Johnson … There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember … Another labyrinth walk at the African American themed labyrinth at Charlotte’s McCorey YMCA … The Debt …

Nancy Wells Johnson, RIP, Celebration of Life, rosemary, Shakespeare:

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember …

from Hamlet

Quote given with a sprig of rosemary at the celebration of life of Nancy Wells Johnson.

.

labyrinth, Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth:  Very nice labyrinth … and unique.  Another labyrinth walk at the African-American themed labyrinth at Charlotte’s McCorey YMCA.

With patience persistence and prayer, a god-filled spirit can bring a seed to fruit. – Almetto Howey Alexander 2011

In 2002, Almetto Howey Alexander — a lifelong educator who served her community and received repeated recognition for her efforts for civil rights — was first inspired to build a labyrinth in her neighborhood of Washington Heights in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Having spoken with people who benefited from the healing, focus, spiritual meditation and peace of mind engendered by walking a labyrinth, she searched for a way to bring this source of peace to her community. She sought help in bringing her vision to fruition, reaching to the people she had always served and to other community leaders with whom she had worked.

Response from The McCrorey Family YMCA was enthusiastic, resulting in approval to install a labyrinth at its location on Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In November 2007, Almetto Alexander attended the opening of the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth Courtyard, where she met Tom Schulz, the artist who designed and built the labyrinth and prayerwall located at Presbyterian Hospital’s center courtyard.

Mrs. Alexander established the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth Foundation to raise the funds to build the labyrinth and its surrounding environment as a gift to her community. Although we still have a way to go inraising the funds (see “donate” for a current report), we are making progress and invite you to be part of it! There are many ways to donate and treat yourself to a representation of this important project in culture and history.

via Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth.

French, YouTube, LOL:  I’m not even good at faking it!  How To Fake French – YouTube.

The Debt, movies:  very enjoyable …

friendship, faith and spirituality:

The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly. Blessed are those who lay down their lives for their friends.

via Daily Meditation: The Gift of Friendship.

media, print media, digital media, design:  Maybe not gone yet ….

Danny Miller, the 31-year-old managing director of cutting-edge publishers the Church of London, surveys the completed pages. They capture a love of print that runs through his company’s illustrated film magazine Little White Lies and its surf, snow and skate bimonthly Huck. That passion is so infectious, digital giants like Google and Sony PlayStation have asked Miller’s team to help them make statements in this supposedly moribund medium. “Print certainly isn’t dead,” Miller says. “It’s just that you have to work harder and make something better and more beautiful for it to get noticed.”

The best place to feel the buzz of the new print scene is Printout, a regular event held at London’s Book Club bar that attracts a large crowd of 20-somethings in vintage glasses and skinny jeans. Speakers share tips on distribution and when to quit your day job. The event is organized by blogger Leslie and Steve Watson, founder of Stack, which sends subscribers a different new mag each month — from Dubai’s stereotype-defying style guide Brownbook to Melbourne’s quirky Wooden Toy Quarterly.

New York City will soon have its own Printout-style event organized by Jamin Brophy-Warren of Kill Screen magazine and Andrew Losowsky, Huffington Post books editor and Stack America’s curator. Losowsky is also planning magCulture exhibitions with Leslie for New Delhi and other cities. The Internet, he says, has simply forced would-be publishers to think harder. “It’s the best thing that ever happened because it means print can now focus on what it does well.”

via Think Ink: Why Print is Being Embraced By Designers – TIME.

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.

15
Oct
11

10.15.2011 … RIP, Dr. Partin, a most beloved Davidson professor … and missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Dr. Malcolm Partin, RIP, Davidson College faculty:  So many friends consider Dr. Partin their favorite Davidson professor.  Rest in peace, Dr. Partin. I never had Dr.Partin but his  “Catherine the Great” lecture was well-known in Davidson lore  … and everyone would try to get in to hear it.  I listened in once.  🙂

During the funeral service, the Rev. Jody Seymour had reminded us all of Malcolm’s insistence that people made history, not social forces like the economy and political ideology. And the people in attendance to celebrate Malcolm today at Davidson United Methodist Church were a living history of Davidson.

It is tempting to think in a crowd like this of the Davidson of yore—”old Davidson” as someone else in the receiving line said. It is a comforting thought, in its way, attached as it is to more youthful days. Look, over there are Sam and Ava and John and Missy and Will and Sue and Hansford and Earl and Leland…. Of course, Leland. I’ve never laughed as much as I did when Malcolm and Leland would get on a roll. I hear Leland laughing even now in the receiving line, sharing happy memories of his friend with all who reach out to shake his own hand.

This is a solid group of good people, I think, and I’m honored to be in it. And when I back up a few steps (away from some very delicious homemade cookies), I see that there is no real distinction here of old or new. Just flow, here we all are right now. You never jump in the same river twice, and that. Someone is always arriving or leaving. It is Davidson in its terquasquicentennial glory, the Davidson of people who’ve gone before for nearly 175 years and who are here now and who are yet to come here, that matters….

via Daybook Davidson » Malcolm Overstreet Partin: May 24, 1936–October 12, 2011.

He engaged students with anecdotes and insights, inviting them to join him in discovery of two centuries of triumphs and tragedies that ultimately helped explain their own circumstance in history. He began one segment by saying, “Dig in your heels now, because we’re about to tackle the ‘Eastern Question’ in all its dreadful splendor…”

The benevolent dictatorship of his classroom was balanced by his behavior outside that personal domain. Students stopped by his office regularly in the afternoons for conversation and help, and he frequently dined with them. “He’s a friend an confidant who takes time to know you as a person, and not just as a student,” wrote one admirer.

via Davidson College News Archives.

empty nesters, kith/kin:  I hate experiencing the empty nest vicariously! Missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Constitution, Second Amendment, Gene Weingarten: Enjoyed Weingarten rewrite of the Second Amendment … look forward to reading more of his rewrites!

The old version: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What a mess! It’s got mangled syntax, extraneous punctuation, and, above all, mealy-mouthed caveats and qualifiers. If you are going to allow arms, allow arms.

My new Second Amendment:

“You have the right to bear arms, including but not limited to handguns, tommy guns, assault rifles, bazookas, zip guns, grease guns, blunderbusses, howitzers, flamethrowers, grapeshot cannons, shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, medieval-style catapults that can launch a putrifying, disease-ridden horse carcass over a castle wall, and Al Pacino’s ‘lil’ fren’ from ‘Scarface.’ This amendment should not be construed to rule out ordinarily, non-lethal devices that might be weaponized, such as plowshares, pitchforks, and handheld, riled-up roosters.”

via Gene Weingarten: Get me rewrite – The Washington Post.

history, Great Depression, Great Recession:  Is history repeating itself?

Toward the end of his book, Allen sums up the mood of the country. By 1939, people were weary of hard economic times, but they were also weary of Roosevelt’s endless experiments. Many modern historians believe that Roosevelt’s biggest problem was not that he’d done too much, but that he’d done too little — that the Depression required a response bigger than even Roosevelt’s New Deal. Implicitly, Allen agrees with that.

Still, he writes, “Despite all the miseries of the Depression and the recurrent fears of new economic decline and of war, the bulk of the American people had not yet quite lost their basic asset of hopefulness.”

He concludes: “A nation tried in a long ordeal had not yet lost heart.” When our current long ordeal finally ends, will we be able to say the same?

via The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar – NYTimes.com.

The Phantom Tollbooth, children’s/YA literature:  Did you like The Phantom Tollboth?  It’s 50!

It’s a commonplace of scholarship to insist that children’s literature came of age when it began to break away from the authoritarian model of the moralizing allegory. Yet “The Phantom Tollbooth” is an old-fashioned moralizing allegory, with a symbolic point at every turn. Milo finds that the strange land on the other side of the tollbooth is sundered between words and numbers, between the land of Azaz the Unabridged, the King of Dictionopolis, and his brother the Mathemagician, the ruler of Digitopolis. The only way to reunite the kingdoms is for someone—why not Milo?—to scale the Mountains of Ignorance, defeat the demons, and release the banished princesses of Rhyme and Reason from their prison. (They were banished because they refused to choose between words and numbers, thereby infuriating the kings.) Along the way, each new experience makes funny and concrete some familiar idea or turn of speech: Milo jumps to Conclusions, a crowded island; grows drowsy in the Doldrums; and finds that you can swim in the Sea of Knowledge for hours and not get wet. The book is made magical by Juster’s and Feiffer’s gift for transforming abstract philosophical ideas into unforgettable images. The thinnest fat man in the world turns out to be the fattest thin man; we see them both. We meet the fractional boy, divided in the middle of his smile, who is the “.58 child” in the average American family of 2.58 children. The tone of the book is at once antic and professorial, as if a very smart middle-aged academic were working his way through an absurd and elaborate parable for his kids. The reality is that when Juster wrote “The Phantom Tollbooth” he was a young architect in Brooklyn, just out of the Navy, unmarried and childless, and with no particular background in writing or teaching, working out a series of jokes and joys for himself alone.

via Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” at 50 : The New Yorker.

Breast Cancer Awareness, “pinking of America”:  Too much media hype  … does it do any good?  Actually pinking seems far less pervasive this year here in Charlotte.

THE Dallas Cowboys just got “pinked.”

And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.

In case you haven’t noticed, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the entire nation gets painted pink. This is also when “pink” becomes more than a color: It becomes, for better or worse, a verb.

In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.

via In the Breast Cancer Fight, the Pinking of America – NYTimes.com.

piracy:  Modern piracy is not glamorous … makes you rethink 18th century piracy.

SOMALI pirates can be persistent. They have attacked the Maersk Alabama, a container ship owned by an American subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk Line, no fewer than five times, most recently in May. In the first attack, in 2009, the captain was held hostage until the US Navy rescued him. Then Maersk put private armed guards on the ship. Since then, it has successfully repelled all boarders.

Maersk says it is only arming a few ships plying the pirate-infested waters off East Africa. But the practice is spreading rapidly among shipping firms despite the cost, which can run to $100,000 per voyage for a four-man team. That is because the number of attacks, off Somalia and elsewhere, has kept growing despite the strengthening of naval patrols (see chart). The European Union’s NAVFOR task-force, NATO warships and other navies patrol the waters off Somalia, but this has only pushed the pirates out into the open ocean, extending their attack zone towards India’s coast and as far south as Mozambique’s. This has forced the shipping industry, its insurers, and the national and international authorities that oversee them to accept that private armed guards are a necessity.

viaPiracy: Prepare to repel boarders | The Economist.

politics, what ifs …:

Hillary Clinton is going to swap jobs with Joe Biden at some point between now and the 2012 election, okay? I can just tell.

Yes, I understand that I should rightly be embarrassed for making this claim. But no, it’s not because of the obvious fact that both Biden and Clinton have repeatedly claimed that they want no part of such a swap, or that there isn’t any indication that the White House would do such a thing, or that even if the White House and Biden and Clinton wanted to it would be treated by the media as a fundamental sign of desperation and by their opponents as a sign of weakness. It’s not because of the unambiguous absence of any compelling reason to make a change like this. And it has nothing to do with the fact that such a change-up would not result in a single needle being moved in the White House’s favor.

via Here Are Some Thoughts I Had For America!: This Week In Pundit Pontifications.

iPhone 4S, SIRI, LOL: OK I laughed … Shit That Siri Says STSS

violence, Christianity:  Interesting analysis … an issue that has come up several times recently.

There was a simple lesson we learned that day: skepticism is good; because life is far more interesting and complex than our assumptions would have us believe, especially those assumptions about other people.

But at a deeper level, what we learned was our faith is a resource, the deepest of deep wells. It is not only a tool for coping with difficulties, but it provides some sense of both meaning and direction.

That is where I’d like to address the question for this panel today. And as a way to talk about what Christianity says about peace, I’d like to do so from the side by answering this question: What is the Christian response to violence?

There are typically two answers to this question from the Christian tradition that many of us would be familiar with.

First, there is what is known as the “just war” theory, first developed in a Christian sense by St. Augustine in the 4th and 5th centuries. Without going into too much detail, it is the theological rationale that there is such a thing as permissible violence, but within a very clearly prescribed set of circumstances that limit behavior during war and also limit the reasons for going to war. In short, the good must outweigh the bad.

Second, there is pacifism, which roots itself in Christ’s teaching to “turn the other cheek”. It had its proponents in the early church, and has continued as a Christian way of thought. We know it best in the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who employed it as both a strategy and a way of life.

But in both cases, what is not an option is revenge. It is not a Christian value. There is no justification, from a Christian perspective, for getting even.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ response to the crowd: “Do you think these suffered in this way because they were worse sinners? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

In that, I hear Jesus issuing a warning: lives lived without repentance – without the humility and honesty of acknowledging wrongdoing – are destined for tragedy. And not in the sense that either Falwell or Robertson might believe.

Repentance is, after all, a turning to face God. It is a shining of light on that which is shrouded in darkness. It is painful, but it is restorative. Before anything else, there is the need to confront our brokenness, our imperfections, the evil we harbor within ourselves. And repentance is not confined to the individual. It is a collective responsibility. How are we complicit? How do we participate in systems which allow violence to flourish?

It is my conviction that it is the asking of these difficult questions that begins the Christian path to peace. It is the moral consequences of the answers that give us direction.

via What Is the Christian Response to Violence? Reflections for an Interfaith Panel « i feast therefore i am.

Louisville KY, river cities:  I love this description of Louisville!

I love cities on rivers. They always remind me of the great Raymond Carver poem, Where Water Comes Together With Other Water … and the lines “I love the places where water comes together with other water… They stand out in my mind like holy places. . .”

The mighty Ohio River from our hotel room

Louisville isn’t quite holy, but it is a quiet, likeable city of beautiful old brick facades, lots of fountains, and the KFC Yum! stadium, picturesquely situated on the banks on the mighty Ohio. Our hotel room overlooks the river, where we can watch coal barges floating by, loaded up with great mounds of black grit. When I drove in Monday night, I missed my turn and ended up driving across the river into what I thought was Ohio but was actually Indiana (and yes, I am directionally and geographically challenged).

via My new Kentucky home. | What Gives 365.

‘The Rosie Show”: I am not sure I will ever like Rosie again … she just got mean and ugly …

On the premiere of her show on Monday, Ms. O’Donnell performed a mock cabaret number with her own lyrics to “The Night Chicago Died.” (“Remember my problems on ‘The View’/I told Hasselbeck a thing or two.”)

She also discussed rehab with Mr. Brand, a former drug addict, and breast cancer with Ms. Sykes, who caught hers early and is in full recovery. But serious issues don’t get in the way of what Ms. O’Donnell does best: amiable, free-floating conversation that seems unscripted and unpretentious.

“The Rosie Show” is an OWN program that doesn’t ask viewers to look inside themselves; it just entices them to watch.

via ‘The Rosie Show’ and ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ on OWN – NYTimes.com.

White House, President Obama, BlackBerry messages,  Solyndra, Executive Privilege:  New area … blackberry communications … Solyndra is getting bigger …

President Barack Obama won’t be sharing his BlackBerry messages with House investigators seeking communications about Solyndra, the White House told Hill Republicans on Friday.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders that they should still be happy with the trove of Solyndra-related documents they’re getting from federal agencies including DOE, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

But Ruemmler said the investigators’ request for all internal White House communications about Solyndra — dating back to the first day of the Obama administration — “implicates long-standing and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Obama had to fight his lawyers just to be able to become the first president to use a BlackBerry, and so far no one has successfully gotten access to the messages.

via White House won’t turn over Obama’s BlackBerry messages on Solyndra – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com.

Google, Steve Yegge,  “Jerry Maguire moment”:

I’m not sure if Yegge interrupted his fervent writing spree to assume yoga positions, as Jerry Maguire did, but his memo about Google+ shook the tech community as much as Maguire’s memo shook the fictional sports agency world.

The only difference: Yegge does not seem in danger of being fired and forced to start up his own tech company with a spunky sidekick/secretary. (At least not yet). But his missive left me cheering for Yegge, imaging a Hollywood symphony swelling to a crescendo when I reached the final line: “But we’ve gotta start doing this right.”

To recap for the non-tech-obsessed: An engineer at Google, Yegge poured out his angst about the struggling Google+ on Google+. His diatribe was meant for Google employees only, but even Yegge can’t figure out how to use the platform and he mistakenly made it public. He took it down, but nothing dies on the Internet, so copies are still posted all over Google+. (He also has an archive of long posts around the Web, most amusingly “Stevey’s Drunken Blog Rants” about his time at Amazon.)

His Google+ post is a fascinating glimpse inside the world of one of the largest tech companies. It’s long, but worth reading — even if you don’t understand half the tech jargon (I write about the Internet, and there were parts I stumbled over). By the time you reach the end, you’ll be cheering for Yegge too.

While there’s plenty for the tech crowd to enjoy (especially the inside gossip on Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, or “Dread Pirate Bezos,” in Yegge’s words), what stuck out to me were the simple rules he laid out for thinking about how a company should be run.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, for all his complaints about the company, Yegge does a pretty great job making Google seem like an incredible place to work.

via Google engineer Steve Yegge has his Jerry Maguire moment – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

 ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out, Web: Way too public to me.

LIKE a lot of people who post videos of themselves on YouTube, Kristina Cecil wants the world to know a few personal facts:

She is an avid hiker.

She is a Minnesota Vikings fan.

She is a member of the United States Air Force, which is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve in the military.

And she is gay.

“It’s really nice to say that now, because the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed,” Ms. Cecil, a 22-year-old with short-cropped blond hair and a tattoo on her right arm, said excitedly to the camera. “I’m just really happy to say that I’m gay, and I’m an American airman.”

Ms. Cecil’s on-screen declaration, shot in her disheveled bedroom, is one among a wave of coming-out videos posted by gay soldiers on YouTube in recent weeks. With National Coming Out Day this past Tuesday, less than a month after the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed, the genre of military coming-out videos gained force this week.

via After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out on the Web – NYTimes.com.

Philip Johnson, Glass House, architecture, design, icons, bucket list: Glass House is on my bucket list … but isn’t a glass house counterintuitive to the idea of a house?

The architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House is one of the most important icons of modern architecture. For nearly five decades, Johnson and the art collector David Whitney lived in the 47-acre grounds in New Canaan, CT, sculpting the landscape and adding new buildings.

In 2007, two years after both men had died, the site opened up to the public as a National Trust Historic Site.

via Is Philip Johnson’s Glass House The Most Beautifully Designed House In The World?

social media ads, politics:  clicks = votes ….

The other problem with television: Live viewers are diminishing rapidly. A recent poll by the advertising company SAY Media reported that one in three voters had not seen any live television during the previous week. And politicians want to go where the conversation is.

Romney, for example, records short video messages and pushes them out on social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube. “You need to have digital embassies on every one of those sites,” Moffatt said.

Whether this form of advertising will be effective, or whether it will fall prey to the same arguments Malcolm Gladwell made about the efficacy of social media influencing world events (he disowned Twitter’s role in the Arab Spring), remains to be seen. There have been no major studies proving the success of online political advertising.

And in social media, all users — not just politicians — wield influence. New tools are allowing voters to tout their favored politicians. Votizen launched an endorsement tool last month on Twitter and Facebook to help people publicly vouch for candidates — and solicit their friends to get behind them.

via Will clicks on social media ads translate into votes? – The Washington Post.

pictograms, graphic design, Jesus, LOL:  Famous lives in minimalist pictograms!  Even, Jesus!

From Milan-based creative agency H-57 comes this brilliant series of minimalist pictogram posters for the life-and-times of famous characters, both fictional and historical, from Darth Vader to Marie Antoinette to Jesus — part Isotype, part Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, part something entirely and ingeniously its own.

via From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms | Brain Pickings.

08
Oct
11

10.8.2011 … off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte … amazing leaves and unbelievably funny signs to this Southerner …

road trip, college search, New England, fall leaves, road signs:  Off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte.

On I-95 in Connecticut on a big yellow road hazard sign:

Do Not Stop

Correctional Facility Area

Now my question … How often do the inmates get loose?  I am not the only one concerned. DO NOT STOP [Correctional Facility Area] – Goatload.com. And I now understand that in some states they don’t care if you stop, just don’t pick up any hitchhikers … Correctional Facility: Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers photo – Paul Marcus photos at pbase.com.

Todays colleges:

Brown … Thanks to Ashley  and Justine for a great tour, lunch and Nutella milkshakes!  Yale: Thanks Katie and Carolyn … what a great place … the colleges, bladderball, master’s teas,  weddings … and Thai food …

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and loved this public art at Yale …

 

 

The Women’s Table, 1993

Maya Lin (b. 1959; B.A. 1981, M.Arch. 1986, D.F.A. 1987)

Location: Rose Walk, by Sterling Memorial Library

Maya Lin’s monument-making began during her undergraduate years at Yale, with her 1981 design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Like the black wall of names cutting into the grassy Mall, the simple granite blocks of Lin’s Women’s Table organically emerge from the pavement as both a lament and a tribute. A string of figures marks the number of female students at Yale each year since its founding in 1701. These numbers grow with time as they spiral out toward the table’s edge, swelling like the rings of water that bubble from the central spring and spill over on all sides. Anonymous gift, commissioned in 1989 and installed in 1993

via Public art at Yale – The Women’s Table.

Rural America, USPS, kith/kin, Pineview GA:  Growing up visiting my grandparents in Pineview GA, I know how important a post office is.  Not only does it provie services connecting a community to the world, it also provides identity and is a “meeting up” place.  In my opinion, rural post offices should be subsidized before many other entitlements.

Many here note that the people who would be hurt most by the closings — the rural elderly — often do not use computers or e-mail.

Susan Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, defended the proposed closings. “Regarding rural America, the fact is that our network of post offices was established decades ago to serve populations that in many, many cases moved on years ago,” she said. “The residents in these communities already go to neighboring towns to shop for food, go to the drugstore, purchase gas, go to the bank — they can take care of their postal needs there.” Postal authorities have also proposed installing branches in some retail stores, with Ms. Brennan suggesting that the move might buoy ailing small-town shopkeepers.

Inside Neville’s post office building, which was once a grocery store, the Postal Service’s notice of “possible closing or consolidation” remains tacked to the bulletin board. Citing a “declining workload,” the Postal Service letter noted that the branch’s “walk-in revenue” declined to $15,487 in fiscal 2010, down from $21,806 the previous year. A closing, it estimated, would yield savings of $347,126 over 10 years — almost all from eliminating Ms. Blackburn’s job.

The letter stated, “Savings for the Postal Service contribute in the long run to stable postage rates and savings for customers.”

Ms. Blackburn is anything but a faceless bureaucrat — she plays community booster, historian and newscaster, telling people why that ambulance came to town a day earlier and warning people to lock their doors when an escaped convict was in the area. She also played an important role in arranging a paddleboat excursion to mark Neville’s bicentennial in 2008. (The Postal Service has ordered local postmasters not to grant interviews about the proposed closing.)

Mr. Burke said that to avoid shutting rural post offices, the Postal Service should first pare the number and salaries of upper managers and close more urban post offices. (Postal officials say they have been making such moves, but they would not save nearly enough money to avert rural closings.)

Some residents here also argue that just as the federal government subsidizes oil companies and other industries, it should subsidize rural post offices. Right now, the Postal Service, which is financed through sales of postage, receives no direct federal appropriations, although it is exempt from most taxes.

Townspeople also say the threatened closing insults the region’s lore. Six miles north lies Point Pleasant, the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. And these river towns served as havens for the underground railroad.

Shelby Lucas, who has lived all of his 64 years in Neville, complained about the inconvenience that would accompany a closing. “It may save money for the post office, but it will cost us money, and it’s a hassle for us,” he said. “I’ll have to drive four miles each way to the post office in Moscow, but with the price of gas, that can really cost. It won’t be easy for retirees like me.”

Currently Neville has no mail delivery to homes or to curbside boxes, but the Postal Service says it might begin making deliveries to “cluster post boxes” of six or eight if the building is shuttered.

“I get retirement checks,” said Mr. Lucas, who used to work at Cincinnati Milacron, a machinery manufacturer. “If you put those post boxes on the street, I worry my retirement checks would disappear. There’ll be vandals. That’s happened before.”

Shirley Keller, 75, Chilo’s mayor, gets weepy about the post office. As a girl, she used to cross to Kentucky by rowboat with the postman to help him collect mailbags.

“There are quite a few old people here” said Ms. Keller, the mother-in-law of Chilo’s postmaster. “I don’t drive. It’ll be real hard to get to the post office in Felicity,” nearly five miles away.

Many rural residents have heard how the rise of e-mail and electronic bill-paying has caused the Postal Service’s volume and revenue to plummet.

“Everything is going to be the Internet,” said Carolyn Breisler, who is protesting the threatened closing in Decatur, Ohio. “Well, half the people in rural areas don’t have access to high-speed Internet. We’re not the ones putting the post office out of business. Yet we’re becoming the victims.”

via In Rural America, Fears That Beloved Post Offices Will Close – NYTimes.com.

death penalty, redemption:  There are so many facets to this complex issue.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a quarter century on death row, Gaile Owens walked out of prison Friday with a few belongings and a simple wish: to walk in the park with her family.

The 58-year-old Memphis woman came within two months of being executed last year before her sentence was commuted — not because she was innocent, but because then-Gov. Phil Bredesen thought her punishment was excessive.

Owens admitted to hiring a hit-man in 1985 to kill her husband and the father of her two children. Supporters who tirelessly made the case to release her say she was an abused wife who has rehabilitated herself in prison.

via Woman inmate who came within 2 months of being executed leaves Tennessee prison on parole – The Washington Post.

Steve Jobs, Apple, Afghanistan, media, global issues:  I am guilty.  Steve Jobs’ death has occupied my space … and there really are more important issues.

There are many good reasons to mourn Jobs. He helped  transform communications and inspired many. Amid the gloom of the present, the brainy, bespectacled Californian represented the possibility of the future. He was, as Alexis Madrigal writes for the Atlantic, “the white wizard in the black turtleneck holding the forces of decline at bay.” Only a small fraction of the world could afford his wares,  but that didn’t stop a not-so-small fraction from coveting them—or from admiring him. As Madrigal put it, “We could all want to be Steve Jobs.” For most of us, though, “the occasional glimpse of our better selves in the reflection of an iPad is enough.”

To catch that glimpse, we’re willing to forget. We forget the harsh realities of globalized labor that lurk just beneath those brushed metallic surfacs. We pretend that it was the iPod and the iPad, not war, that defined the  decade. Steve Jobs and the iPhone may be the American dream, but Afghanistan is American reality.

via With All Eyes on Apple, It’s Easy to Forget Afghanistan – Global Spin – TIME.com.

design, architecture, form v. function, advertising, random, landmarks, icons:  Any in your area?  Saw the Hood milk jug recently  and the chest facade is in my state.

This one’s a Boston institution. In 1933, Arthur Gagnon wanted to open an ice cream stand in nearby Taunton, and he designed his new business to look like a giant milk bottle. After several changes in ownership (and a sail from Quincy to Boston proper), the structure is now known as the Hood Milk Bottle and resides at the Children’s Museum. It’s 40 feet tall and could hold 58,000 gallons of milk.

Furnitureland South’s 85-Foot Tall Highboy is more statue-attached-to-building than building itself, but the North Carolina landmark is still worth a mention

via mental_floss Blog » 10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell.

Skype, Facebook, Apple iPod, Amazon, cloud computing, personal computers, Foxconn City,  globalised supply chain, consumerisation, cloud-based “ecosystems”, global economy:  Very interesting article.  Read on …

ANYONE WANTING TO get a better idea of the scale of the changes taking place in the world of consumer electronics should take a look at Foxconn’s giant factory complex in Shenzhen, in southern China. Known as Foxconn City, it covers an entire square mile and is crammed with manufacturing operations and company-managed housing, medical facilities and educational centres. About 400,000 people work there, roughly as many as live in Oakland, California.

Like several other Taiwanese firms that operate factories at home and in China, Foxconn churns out electronic devices on behalf of a number of Western companies. By tapping into cheap Asian labour, Apple, Samsung and other consumer-electronics giants have been able to drive down the prices of their phones and other gadgets, broadening their appeal to consumers. A handful of insurgent Asian firms, including China’s Huawei and Taiwan’s HTC, which make devices that run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, are using their cost advantage to build their own global brands.

A globalised supply chain is not the only thing helping consumer-electronics companies to cut costs. They are also benefiting from economies of scale as the incomes of more and more people in more and more countries rise to the point at which gadgets are affordable.

Technologically impressive as all this is, the biggest change that the new devices have wrought is to transform many people’s experience of computing. The PC may have been personal; a smartphone or tablet, held in your hand rather than perched on your desk, is almost intimate, and you can take it almost anywhere. This shift has been driven by Apple, which likes to boast that most of its revenue now comes from “post-PC” devices such as iPods and iPhones rather than from its Macintosh computers. This is partly marketing talk: crack open an iPhone and you will find many of the paraphernalia—including a motherboard and microchips—that make up the guts of a PC too.

The Gucci of gadgets

Yet Apple has indeed ushered in a new era in which personal technology is finally living up to its name. That is because the technology is starting to adapt to the people who use it rather than forcing them to adapt to it. The most obvious manifestations of this are the touch-screens and intuitive operating systems on many tablets and smartphones that have allowed even toddlers to take to them with gusto. It is also reflected in the way that phones can now be tweaked to reflect people’s increasingly connected lives by, say, bringing up a friend’s latest Facebook posts when he calls. “The PC is personal but nowhere near as customisable as the smartphone,” says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a consultancy.

Pioneers such as Amazon have built cloud-based “ecosystems” that make content such as its electronic books widely available. Even though the firm has its own e-reader, the Kindle, and has hatched a tablet computer too, it has also created apps and other software that let people get at their digital stuff on all sorts of devices, including PCs.

The rise of the cloud has also created an explosion of other consumer-focused web services. These include the big social networks such as Facebook, which has over 800m users, and a host of smaller firms such as Foursquare, which was created specifically to let people tell their pals where they are. This combination of social networking, location-signalling and mobile computing—nicknamed “SoLoMo” by John Doerr, a prominent venture capitalist—has given birth to outfits such as Badoo, a site for people wanting to chat, flirt and date. Mobile computing is also encouraging people to use web services more often than they would on a PC. Facebook reports that people who visit its network via mobile devices are twice as active on it as those who tap into it via other means.

Like many other technology executives, Mr Bates is convinced that consumerisation is an unstoppable force and that it has raised people’s expectations hugely. “It used to be that the best IT experiences people had were in the office,” he says. “Now that technology has been democratised, they have become used to doing new and exciting things themselves.” For their employers, this is creating both opportunities and headaches.

via Consumerisation: The power of many | The Economist.

07
Oct
11

10.7.2011 … grocery, grocery store or HT, Kroger, etc? … Christmas in October? … Since I mentioned Christmas – Amy Grant … Pez dispensers … OK a very random day!

words, local customs, retailing, Christmas, Amy Grant, PEZ dispensers, random, holiday traditions:  Ok … It’s October 7 … I went to the grocery (do you say grocery, grocery store or call it by its franchise name… Harris Teeter, for me?), and I smelled cinnamon. Looked up and saw a display of McCormick holiday spices, next to that display Christmas tree shaped Little Debbie cakes, next to that fake Oreos filled with peppermint cream, and finally Christmas cookie cutters. Has someone gone mad??

Speaking of Christmas, I just saw a e-mail which lists Amy Grant’s Christmas holiday tour, and I  have to admit Amy Grant’s early Christmas album is still my first to listen to every Christmas season … old habits die hard. Thank you Mary Phil  for introducing me to her a million years ago.

And while I am discussing holidays … found this fun quiz … HowStuffWorks “PEZ Quiz”. ‎:) … I wish I had saved 21 years of PEZ dispensers from my children’s Christmas stockings, Easter Baskets, Halloween surprises and birthdays …

Steve Jobs, RIP, tributes, speaking ill ... :

Gizmodo Tribute Video To Steve Jobs – YouTube.

When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple in August, 7,000 miles away in Hong Kong, graphic design student Jonathan Mak Long, “shocked” by the CEO’s departure, did what he knew best: He created a design to honor the Apple co-founder.

The 19-year-old posted the image, the Apple logo with the bite changed to a profile of Jobs, to his Tumblr blog. Known as Jonathan Mak, he initially received about 80 notes on the image. Then word came this past Wednesday that Jobs had died, after a long battle with cancer. Mak reposted the homage, which this time caught fire on the Web, attracting an almost immediate response of 10,000 likes and reblogs on his Tumblr site and surging to 180,000 — in one day. Comments included “awesome invention like steve jobs.” One thought it should be the “new Apple logo.” Another wanted to “use it as a tattoo.”

Speaking in fluent English (which he said he learned from watching the TV show “Friends”), the Polytechnic University School of Design student told Yahoo! in a Skype interview that the image was a tribute to Jobs’s contributions to the world: “I wanted to commemorate him. He’s such an integral part of Apple. I thought it would be fitting to include him in the Apple logo.” Long added, “With Jobs gone, Apple is literally missing a piece.”

via Apple tribute logo a Web hit | Today in Tech – Yahoo! News.

Everybody fails. It’s what comes next that counts.

Jobs wormed his way back into Apple, first as an adviser, then as interim chief executive, then by dropping the “interim.” What followed must be among the greatest comebacks in business.

He proved himself to be the Thomas Edison of our age: prickly, yes, but adept at combining technology and business to change peoples’ lives.

Edison has the more impressive portfolio — you can get by without your iPod more easily than you can without lightbulbs. No, really, you can.

But Jobs has the more impressive following.

For many people who heard the news of Jobs’ death, there was an immediate lurch of sadness.

On the sidewalk beside the Apple Store along Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, Jobs’ fans on Thursday created a shrine to his memory. They left flowers, lit candles and placed fresh apples on the concrete. The same spontaneous tributes occurred at Apple Stores in London, Paris, Tokyo and elsewhere around the world.

“I promise to always take the next big step,” said one message left for Jobs in Chicago.

“Let’s go invent tomorrow,” said another, invoking a Jobs quote.

via The amazing reaction to the death of Steve Jobs – chicagotribune.com.

mike10072011

Political Cartoons from Mike Luckovich.

 

“Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance who, in Mr. Jobs’s final weeks, was rebuffed when he sought an opportunity to say goodbye. “He created all these layers to protect himself from the fan boys and other peoples’ expectations and the distractions that have destroyed so many other companies.

“But once you’re gone, you belong to the world.”

Mr. Jobs’s biographer, Mr. Isaacson, whose book will be published in two weeks, asked him why so private a man had consented to the questions of someone writing a book. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr. Jobs replied, Mr. Isaacson wrote Thursday in an essay on Time.com. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

Because of that privacy, little is known yet of what Mr. Jobs’s heirs will do with his wealth. Unlike many prominent business people, he has never disclosed plans to give large amounts to charity. His shares in Disney, which Mr. Jobs acquired when the entertainment company purchased his animated film company, Pixar, are worth about $4.4 billion. That is double the $2.1 billion value of his shares in Apple, perhaps surprising given that he is best known for the computer company he founded.

Mr. Jobs’s emphasis on secrecy, say acquaintances, led him to shy away from large public donations. At one point, Mr. Jobs was asked by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates to give a majority of his wealth to philanthropy alongside a number of prominent executives like Mr. Gates and Warren E. Buffett. But Mr. Jobs declined, according to a person with direct knowledge of Mr. Jobs’s decision.

Now that Mr. Jobs is gone, many people expect that attention will focus on his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, who has largely avoided the spotlight, but is expected to oversee Mr. Jobs’s fortune. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mrs. Powell Jobs worked in investment banking before founding a natural foods company. She then founded College Track, a program that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who help them earn college degrees. That has led to some speculation in the philanthropic community that any large charitable contributions might go to education, though no one outside Mr. Jobs’s inner circle is thought to know of the plans.

Mr. Jobs himself never got a college degree. Despite leaving Reed College after six months, he was asked to give the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.

In that address, delivered after Mr. Jobs was told he had cancer but before it was clear that it would ultimately claim his life, Mr. Jobs told his audience that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.”

The benefit of death, he said, is you know not to waste life living someone else’s choices.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

via With Time Running Short, Steve Jobs Managed His Farewells – NYTimes.com.

Personally, I think this person should have just stopped “talking.”  I was taught not to speak ill of the dead …

In the days after Steve Jobs’ death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He’s been hailed as “a genius” and “the greatest CEO of his generation” by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.

We mentioned much of the good Jobs did during his career earlier. His accomplishments were far-reaching and impossible to easily summarize. But here’s one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It’s the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in one industry. Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones to animation to music to publishing to video games. He was a polymath, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman, and a gifted strategist.

via What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs.

food, comfort food, chicken pot pie, recipes, kith/kin:  I cooked for a friend’s family following surgery the other night.  When I asked my husband asked what I should cook, he recommended ordering pizza … he doesn’t like my cooking … so I cooked my favorite no recipe comfort food … Chicken pot pie. Enjoy!

Dennard’s Chicken Pot Pie

3 large chicken breasts, cooked at 350 until done, then cut into bite size pieces.

line 9×9 glass baking dish or tall round baking dish with ready made pie crust, reserving enough crust for top … bake 10 minutes

in saucepan, add two cups cream, 1 can cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt and pepper, a little white wine  … simmer to slightly thickened

cook/thaw carrots in bite size pieces, peas and corn … frozen is fine, as much as you like … add any others that you like

put chicken pieces in bottom of pre baked pastry pan

add veggies

add cream mixture

cover with pastry dough

cook at 350 for 40-45 minutes!

 

 

 

Great Recession, IMF, Olivier Blanchard,  fiscal policy: Interesting interview – Olivier Blanchard on fiscal policy: A complicated game | The Economist.

Pat Robertson, Mitt Romney, faith and politics:  I just wish religious affiliation were not the issue in US politics … high moral character is what matters …not the source of your high moral character.

Robertson’s non-endorsement of Romney, for those who have ears to hear, trumpets two critical things to the Republican evangelical base: affinity and electability. At first glance, Robertson’s comments may seem like faint praise for a candidate who is currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and for one who unsuccessfully lobbied Robertson for an endorsement in 2008. But it could make an enormous difference for Romney, not only when he addresses the annual “Values Voter Summit” this weekend, but also on the longer campaign trail.

Most critically, by pronouncing Romney part of the Christian fold, Robertson signals that Romney’s faith is not so different from that of the white evangelical Protestants who form a strong core of the Republican base. The declaration that Romney is an “outstanding Christian” is a dramatic upgrade from Robertson’s more tepid comments in the last presidential campaign. In 2007, Robertson dubbed Romney an “outstanding American,” while his Christian Broadcasting Network Web site also declared-under the heading “How Do I Recognize a Cult?”-that “when it comes to spiritual matters, the Mormons are far from the truth.”

This Christian embrace should be a godsend for Romney, given that Americans generally want president’s with strong religious values, and that a significant portion of the electorate still holds reservations about the Mormon faith.

via Why Pat Robertson’s ‘endorsement’ of Mitt Romney matters – Figuring Faith – The Washington Post.

marijuana, food, food – drink, Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, US Government Programs:  Odd … Gourmet magazine online article about eating/drinking marijuana and a US Government Program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, provides free reefers!

Her description pretty neatly sums up the common expectation of eating marijuana: a bit of psychoactive Russian roulette with a strange aftertaste.

Beer probably has the most natural affinity with marijuana; after all, hops and marijuana are botanically speaking, kissing cousins. Boutique brewers in Europe and home brewers in the U.S. have been known to use cannabis tincture and plant matter to create THC-infused beer. Within the bounds of American law, Nectar Ales in Paso Robles, California, makes Humboldt Brown Ale with denatured hemp seeds (containing no measurable THC). The toastier, nuttier quality of the seed is highlighted rather than the herbal, funky character one would get from the plant itself. It is an interesting, unexpected expression of hemp, enjoyable even without its famous effects.

Jeremiah Tower, seminal in the creation of New American cuisine, first during his time as a chef/owner at Chez Panisse (1972–78) and later at Stars, knows a thing or two about letting ingredients speak for themselves, and letting them kick, if that’s what they want. He gives cannabis a clear, though not overpowering, voice in his Consommé Marijuana, recalled (with recipe!) in his 2004 memoir California Dish. The consommé was created in the spring of 1969 as the third course of a “self-consciously decadent” 11-course meal he prepared in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Made with 1 cup of marijuana stems steeped in 6 cups of rich chicken stock, it was strained and served over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers and basil. As Tower recalls, the dish: “provided another level of stimulation. But not stoned. The brew takes forty-five minutes to reach the brain, by which time (as the menu planned) we were on to dessert, tasting strawberries and cream as we’d never tasted them before.”

There is, after all, the Bloody Maryjane, based on another drink attributed to him—the Bloody Mary—with a marijuana tincture replacing the vodka.

All of these applications point to a far richer culinary legacy than Alice B. Toklas’ brownies might lead us to expect. If legalization of marijuana comes at the same pace as smoking continues to get marginalized, we could be entering the age of ingested marijuana.

When that age comes, it could appear, rather than with a puff of smoke, in a glass, on a plate, or maybe even poured over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers.

via Beyond Pot Brownies: Food + Cooking : gourmet.com.

Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four

Uncle Sam a drug pusher? It’s true. For the past three decades, a handful of Americans have been getting regular deliveries of high-grade marijuana, courtesy of the federal government. It’s all part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, a little-known initiative that grew out of a 1976 court decision that created the nation’s first legal pot smokers. Of the 14 people who were in the program initially, four are still alive. Keep clicking to meet the government-sanctioned marijuana mavens and learn more about the program – including where the government gets the pot in the first place…

via Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four Pictures – CBS News.

Appalachia, Berea College: I absolutely loved this article about the US region Appalachia and the people who are Appalachians.  And the picture that illustrates the article is great … reminds me of “Song of the Lark.”

Color Me Appalachian 1

As a native Kentuckian, I thought that I knew the state. But the first time I heard traditional mountain music, I was awestruck—I had never heard anything like it before. A student, Ashley Long, was singing “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble. Darrell Scott’s lyrics and Long’s haunting voice brought tears to my eyes. The song tells the story of a man’s great-granddaughter, who sings about the family lineage in the “deep, dark hills of eastern Kentucky,” where the “sun comes up about 10 in the morning and the sun goes down about 3 in the day,” and “you spend your life just thinking how to get away.” The pain and the despair were palpable in the lyrics and in the style of singing.

When I came to Berea College four years ago, I accepted employment as a college professor; but I quickly realized that I had embarked on something more than just a job or career path. I was drawn to Berea because of its 150-year history and its commitment to African-American students. But I did not want to live in what I regarded as the mountains (in reality, the foothills), so I commuted from Lexington the first year, not telling my family that I had taken a job in the region. I knew they would worry about my living there because of all the negative stereotypes of racist white mountain people.

I didn’t know, but would soon learn, that Appalachian people represent a distinct cultural group. I didn’t understand that their music, traditions, and values were rooted in a way of life I knew very little about; my family and I had accepted as truth all the stereotypes. Over time, I came to know that the rich culture of Appalachia extends beyond Kentucky, including 13 states from Mississippi to New York, with West Virginia the only state entirely in the region.

After a year of commuting, I decided to move. I had found the people in town friendly, and there was a vital black community.

My experience at Berea was different from any other job I had had as a college professor. My first surprise was that, in my first class, there were more African-American students than I had taught in 13 years of my being a professor in Kentucky. The college’s minority enrollment has ranged between 17 percent and 23 percent over the last 10 years, in a state whose African-American population is only about 8 percent.

While it was wonderful working at a predominantly white institution with a significant number of African-American students, even more surprising were the white students. Most of them—60 percent of the 1,500 students on campus—identify themselves as Appalachian. As the semester progressed and I got to know them a little, I found them different from other white people I had encountered. I had worked with working-class whites before, but these students’ differences existed apart from socioeconomic status. Aside from the cultural differences, they were devoid of “white entitlement”; there was a humility and respect that I had never experienced from white students before. They were outspoken about some things and shy about others; they were smart, but not savvy—I found contradiction after contradiction.

Talking with them about their homes in rural Appalachia was similar to talking to international students about their lives in developing countries. I simply did not understand their culture—I hadn’t realized that although these people were white, they were not part of mainstream white culture. That first semester was challenging because I was working with a group that I knew very little about. But I wanted to know more.

In my second semester, I took the college’s weeklong Appalachian Seminar and Tour. I thought it would answer all my questions about the region, but within minutes, I realized that nothing was straightforward. My first question was: “Is it pronounced “Ap-uh-lay-chuh” or “Ap-uh-lach-uh?” (I had been taught the former in grammar school.) Chad Berry, director of Berea’s Appalachian Center, explained that those outside the region said the former, while those inside the region said the latter. I decided to use the regional pronunciation. This was a place where I wanted to belong. I had already begun to feel connected, and I wanted to explore those feelings in more depth.

via Color Me Appalachian – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

UNC Basketball, college basketball:  Kinda fun … UNC  to play Michigan aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

This Veterans Day, the UNC men’s basketball team will kick off the season against Michigan State in unfamiliar territory — on an aircraft carrier.

And on Nov. 11, the Tar Heels will have an ally in the captain’s chair.

Captain Bruce H. Lindsey, commanding officer of the USS Carl Vinson, leads almost 5,000 crew members with a UNC basketball jersey draped over his captain’s seat.

His daughter, senior Blair Lindsey, gave him the jersey after UNC won the 2009 NCAA National Championship.

Lindsey said he fought to have the inaugural Carrier Classic played on the USS Carl Vinson.

“When I heard that they were thinking about playing the game onboard an aircraft carrier, I thought it would be an awesome way to show a little recognition of the Carl Vinson crew for all of their sacrifices protecting our great country’s freedoms,” Lindsey said in an email.

“This game will really boost the morale of the crew — especially since we will be deploying again soon afterward for six months.”

Lindsey added the fact that the Tar Heels will be playing on the Carl Vinson is an added bonus. He said he has been a UNC fan since he moved to Reidsville, N.C., during high school.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC men’s basketball to play aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

zombie genre, tv,  The Walking Dead:  Anybody a fan of ” The Walking Dead?”

You’ve been hearing about the show for a year or more, the much-ballyhooed second season starts on cable TV in a few weeks, and now all of The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is available on a single disc from redbox. (Episodes 1-4 are on Side A–flip it over and episodes 5-6 are on Side B).

If you’re already a fan of AMC’s terrific horror-drama series The Walking Dead, you probably don’t need much convincing to give that first season a quick re-watch before Season Two starts.

But if you’ve heard the hot, undead buzz and are curious what all the fuss is about, or if you’re not a hardcore zombie fan and wonder why you should bother with yet another “silly zombie thing,” let’s get you up to speed and fully on board.

via Zombie 101: 5 Things You Need to Know About The Walking Dead | Redblog.

Occupy Wall Street, revolution: “Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement?”

If you stopped by Zuccotti Park in New York and asked 10 protesters what their goals were for Occupy Wall Street, you might get 10 different answers. This has led some reports to call the group unfocused, but that may be normal for an emerging movement: would 10 young Egyptians in Tahrir Square in January have been any more unanimous?

One protester, in an interview that Fox News has not aired, said he and others were calling for “more economic justice, social justice — Jesus stuff — as far as feeding the poor, health care for the sick.” Another protester, a former Marine who was elected by Occupy Wall Street participants to speak for them, told NPR that he wanted to overthrow the government and reconstruct it. Will these big ideas get lost now that labor unions and other established interests are joining forces with Occupy Wall Street, bringing their more concrete demands?

The protest already is more popular than Congress. So what are the demonstrators doing right, and what could they be doing better? Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement? What are they missing?

via Can Occupy Wall Street Spark a Revolution? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession:  US a third word nation?  moral failure? read on …

Is the United States a Third-World Nation? 10/7/2011 6:30:00 AMMichael Lewis, author of the new book “Boomerang,” says the United States and many European nations suffered a moral failure which lead to economic collapse. Lewis insists that the U.S. economic situation will get much worse before it gets better.

via Video – Author Michael Lewis States That the United States has Suffered a Moral Failure – WSJ.com.

social networking, over 55, dating sites:

If you think online dating is the domain of the young, maybe it’s time to check in with your mother. Now, people 55 and older are visiting American dating sites more than any other age group — up 39 percent in the last three years, according to the Internet tracking firm Experian Hitwise. The No. 2 group? Singles 45 to 54. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, and the United States Census Bureau, about 37 percent of people 50 and older are unmarried. And the divorce rate among the 50-plus demographic is high. With so many older Americans unattached, living independently into their later years, and increasingly comfortable using the Internet, they, too, are logging on for love.

And they may be better at finding it than their younger cohorts. Dating industry professionals say that singles in their 20s and 30s are typically focused on marriage and starting a family, while older singles (many of whom have been married before) have a more relaxed approach and are careful to pick companions who share their interests.

“Baby boomers have been one of the fastest-growing demographics for a lot of online dating companies,” said Caitlin Moldvay, an analyst for IBISWorld. The growth comes at the same time that some younger singles (18 to 34) are moving away from dating sites to social networking sites like Facebook as “a proxy for online dating,” said Bill Tancer, the general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

Greg Liberman, the president and chief executive of Spark Networks — which owns specialty dating sites including JDate, ChristianMingle, BlackSingles, SilverSingles — said that for the first eight months of this year, Spark had a 93 percent increase in new members 50 and older across all of its dating sites, compared with the same span of time last year. “We’re seeing significant growth,” Mr. Liberman said.

He’s also observed that, while it’s been common for parents to buy dating site memberships for their adult children, now adult children have begun buying memberships for their widowed and divorced parents. Gone is the heyday of personal ads in The New York Review of Books.

via For Those 55 and Over, Love at First Click – NYTimes.com.

fonts, design, Fortune Magazine: Just thought this interesting …

Two-time National Magazine Award winner John Korpics has a lengthy editorial design resume that includes Premiere, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, InStyle, Fortune, and now ESPN The Magazine where he just joined as Creative Director. One of his final acts at Fortune was the annual “500” issue. It’s always a hefty production, but this year’s is a particularly typographic feast.

via Fonts In Use – Fortune Magazine, “500” Issue.

21
Sep
11

9.21.2011 … Jane Austen and Christian Ethics … at FPC Wednesday nights … I am happy …

Jane Austen, FPC, Wednesday Connect:  Loved the first seminar on Jane Austen and Christian Ethics  at Wednesday Connect … join us for two more!

Jane Austen and Christian Ethics – Jane Austen’s novels are to be read and enjoyed for their own sake. The world she depicts, however, is narrated in clear moral terms. During this three week course we will look at three of Jane Austen’s novels to examine the nature of self-knowledge, “happiness,” and the “constancy” such a life calls us to embody.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/FirstNews/fn.20110911.pdf

Mount Tambora, natural disasters, Indonesia, history:  “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”   … 1815 …

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn’t wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes.

“It was like a horror story, growing up,” said Hasanuddin, who joined hundreds of others in refusing to return to their mountainside villages for several days despite assurances they were safe.

“A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”

The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide and half a mile (1 kilometer) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.

It was several times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.

In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.

Tambora is different.

People here are jittery because of the mountain’s history — and they’re not used to feeling the earth move so violently beneath their feet. Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.

Soon after the ice core findings, scientists started studying Tambora in earnest.

In 2004, Icelandic vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson and a team of American and Indonesian researchers uncovered remnants of a village in a gully on Tambora’s flank that had been pulverized in the fast-moving pyroclastic flow.

Sigurdsson heralded it as a “Pompeii of the East,” and local researcher Made Geria says archaeologists have expanded the dig every year since then.

No one expects a repeat of 1815 just yet — it takes much more than 200 years for that type of huge pressure to build up again, said de Boer, who teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The present activity could be part of the birth of Tambora’s so-called child, he said, a process whereby magma still being pushed upward from the original massive blast forms a new volcano in its place.

But that’s little consolation for those confronted with the mountain’s new burst of activity.

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

“Tens of thousands of people, animals and rice fields disappeared,” the 15-year-old said, adding that a veil of ash blocked out the sun for years.

“There was no life here,” he said quietly from the village of Doropeti, 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater. “I know that from my parents.”

via History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers – The Washington Post.

food- restaurant:  Why do you choose a restaurant?  I think that it is combination of food and x factor.

But my class in Food Entrepreneurship this semester is forcing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. The class focuses on the restaurant as the pinnacle of food business.

Restaurants are important. The best ones are reserved for special occasions, and our memories of birthdays and anniversaries are made there. Think about the best meal you’ve ever had out. Does that not stick with you? I was 18 when I ate the best meal of my life, on a tiny patio in Arles, France. I can remember the vegetable gratin and rosé like it was yesterday. But while it’s natural to wax nostalgic this way, our professor reminds us that restaurants have two basic goals: to make money and to feed people. He has identified four basic reasons one chooses a restaurant.

1. The food: From the taste of the dishes themselves to the way each ingredient is sourced.

2. The service: For this one, I think about my favorite bartender, or the owner who brought me edamame hummus while I waited for a table.

3. The design: From David Rockwell-designed wall fountains to easily accessible parking.

4. The X-factor: This can be anything from shrimp-flipping hibachi cooks to sheer exclusivity.

Maybe the best restaurants have all of these things going for them, but more often than not, just one is enough.

The more I think about this, the more true it seems. My family eats at this tiny Italian restaurant in North Newark almost religiously. It has a screen door, awful wine selection, and waitresses who are abrupt at best—but the food is astounding. There are family-style bowls of hand rolled cavatelli with house-made pot cheese and the world’s most perfect Chicken Savoy. Nothing else matters.

What’s your favorite restaurant? What is it about that place that brings you back, either literally or through memory? And does that reason (or reasons) fit into my professor’s list, above?

via Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant – Food – GOOD.

2011 London Riots,  moral decay, culture v. religion:  Does religion really improve culture and prevent moral decay and such evidence of moral decay as rioting?  Read on …

Nearly 200 years later, the Tocqueville of our time, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, made the same discovery. Mr. Putnam is famous for his diagnosis of the breakdown of social capital he called “bowling alone.” More people were going bowling, but fewer were joining teams. It was a symbol of the loss of community in an age of rampant individualism. That was the bad news.

At the end of 2010, he published the good news. Social capital, he wrote in “American Grace,” has not disappeared. It is alive and well and can be found in churches, synagogues and other places of worship. Religious people, he discovered, make better neighbors and citizens. They are more likely to give to charity, volunteer, assist a homeless person, donate blood, spend time with someone feeling depressed, offer a seat to a stranger, help someone find a job and take part in local civic life. Affiliation to a religious community is the best predictor of altruism and empathy: better than education, age, income, gender or race.

Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives. Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent. Alexis de Tocqueville saw it then, Robert Putnam is saying it now. It needs religion: not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good.

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book “Civilization,” in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

It was the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave the West its restless pursuit of a tomorrow that would be better than today. The Chinese have learned the lesson. Fifty years after Chairman Mao declared China a religion-free zone, there are now more Chinese Christians than there are members of the Communist Party.

China has learned the lesson. The question is: Will we?

via Reversing the Moral Decay Behind the London Riots – WSJ.com.

James Taylor, Italy Tour – March 2012:  I would go … but I would rather see him in NC..

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

On March 6, 2012, in Napoli, James and his legendary band will begin a series of unforgettable concerts in Italy. Starting today, the JamesTaylor.com Store has your presale tickets!

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Store immediately in order to get the best tickets!

The full calendar of upcoming tour dates can be seen on the Schedule page.

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

So young, so promising. It was in its prime, and stood to reap the rewards of all of Facebook’s flaws—and in a weird twist, made Facebook copy Google+ for some of its newest “changes.”

But the fact of the matter is, public posts on Google+ have decreased 41 percent since the social networking service launched a few months ago. Even Larry Page, you know – Google’s CEO – last updated one month ago. And I thought something was wrong with me when I forced myself to post something on Google+ so my friends didn’t think I’d virtually disappeared.

via Why Have People Stopped Posting on Google+? – Techland – TIME.com.

food, foodies, DC, places:  Culinary capital … I wish them luck. I have never lived in a clinary capital, but I think it would be great fn.

It’s “Change Season” in D.C. — a peculiar phenomenon that recurs on a regular four-year schedule. Funny thing is, all those politicos calling for “change” in the culture of Washington haven’t a clue how much the nation’s capital is already changing.

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

For one thing, we eat differently, and better. No slap at the Monocle — for decades the place to eat on the Hill (literally), but today we don’t only have change. We have choice.

Just ten years ago, buildings were designed so residents wouldn’t have to look down on the 14th street corridor. Now, it’s the hottest restaurant district in the city and young professionals are clamoring to move there. New culinary playgrounds — like the H Street corridor — continue to blossom even in the areas once decimated by the riots of ’68.

D.C. is undergoing a transformation. Some call it a renaissance. The flow of people towards the suburbs has reversed course. The transient city par excellence is putting down roots. No longer do foreign hirelings reckon D.C. as a four-year hardship posting. We’ve become the place where young people flock to start their lives. And with them comes a whole new cast of creative thinkers, movers and doers — many of whom discover a natural affinity with the wide world of gastronomy.

Bold new restaurant concepts supplant stodgy steak houses. Foragers graze the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And culinary entrepreneurs bring dynamism to the market with novel concepts that broaden the scope of ambition. This change exemplifies the new Washington. Problem is, this change is in no way all-encompassing.

To honor the history and tradition of this city, we need to ensure that progress of the dining scene extends to everyone who calls the District home. People across the city are working on food access with great urgency. D.C. Central Kitchen is stocking corner stores with fresh produce as part of their recently launched Healthy Corners Program. Less known chefs like Teddy Folkman are working tirelessly at after school cooking programs to empower young students through food. And Bread for the City is growing food on its roof to line its pantry shelves. This change is just as important as the opening of a new three-star restaurant as we work to become a great twenty-first century food city.

The District is quickly becoming a culinary capital. The characters who are driving this movement — pushing food forward in a town once known for only rum buns, Old Bay and half-smokes — are part of a broader narrative of renewal that few outside “this town” rarely hear.

So while the rest of the nation fixates on their quadrennial obsession with bringing change to Washington, those who actually call this city home know that change has arrived. Change that improves people’s lives, creates new jobs, and tastes good too.

via Nick Wiseman: Transforming D.C. Into a Culinary Capital.

Wrigley Building,  Chicago, architectural icons: I just hope they don’t try to change the name!.

A joint venture including investor Byron Trott and the co-founders of Groupon Inc. confirmed Monday that it has bought the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Trott’s firm, Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners, is leading an investor group that includes Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon investors and directors, and Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago-based office landlord.

“The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city’s rich history and growth,” Mr. Trott, managing partner and chief investment officer for BDT Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago’s future economic progress.”

via Wrigley Building purchase announced | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.

science v. religion,faith and spirituality, God,  evolution:  I have no problem with the two.

I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

via Can You Believe in God and Evolution? – TIME.

9/11, follow-up:  This kid remembers where he was … and it changed his life forever.

Until the second plane hit, few knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Most were still hoping it could have been a terrible air-traffic-control mistake. But, somehow, I didn’t. I knew it was terrorism from the first moment. I knew it because what I did that morning had been something of a premonition. I had been reminded of war. I had been reminded too of tremendous patriotism and valor. And I wasn’t worthy of any of it.

There was no reason at all for me to suspect that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were behind the attack, nor any reason to suspect that it was motivated by Islamic extremism. Yet in my social cowering — feeling like my entire class was judging my morning escapade — I instinctively concluded in the depths of my consciousness that whoever performed these attacks probably looked more like me than anyone else in the room. And now I was a target.

The following months of high school were occasionally intimidating. I was not Muslim, I was not Arab, but I looked close enough to the part to serve as the punching bag for a few of my community’s less tolerant citizens. The most frustrating name-calling came when other groups who used to be the target of such ethnic scorn (Hispanic and African-American kids) would snarl their turban-teasing remarks as a means of countering any advance I made in the classroom or on the playing field. I needed a community. I needed an identity. So when I received the phone call from an Army recruiter, I asked to meet him for coffee, whereas most Indian kids went back to their math books. He told me to think about West Point.

It amazes me that it has been only 10 years since that horrific morning. That day changed the trajectory of my life so greatly, I can’t imagine where I would be had it not occurred. Ten years later, I’m a West Point graduate, a captain in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who served 12 months in Kandahar. I wear a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge proudly on my uniform. And 10 years later, I’m still overcome with guilt. Not for what I did on 9/11, but for who I was. I am guilty that it took the death of 3,000 people for me to change my outlook on the blessings of this country.

via Class of 9/11: How a School Prank Helped Change My Life – TIME.

Food – Chinese, Jewish culture, Pastrami Egg Rolls:   I just thought they ate it at Christmas because that was all that was open.  🙂  I loved this story!

The question as to why Jews are drawn so irresistibly to Chinese food is one I’ve often wondered about. Eddie Glasses (who gets his nickname from sporting all sorts of outlandish eyewear) could have attached himself to the Italian masters, or the French, or even gone off in some other exotic direction like Moroccan or Indian. But his existence as the Ultimate Jewish Chinese-Food Nerd has a kind of dynamic inevitability. Put any two Jews together, and we are likely to start arguing over who has the best scallion pancakes. Schoenfeld had the good fortune and intellectual curiosity to devote himself to some of the midcentury titans of Chinese cuisine — the cooking teacher Grace Yu, the restaurateur David Keh, the chefs T.T. Wang and “Uncle Lou” (Lo Hoy Yen) — and learn everything he could. So he gets the last word, which is a very Jewish thing to want to get. But why Chinese food?

The two groups have neither linguistic nor religious nor geographic commonalities. They aren’t known for intermarrying or for intermingling. Both groups are famously insular, and tend to regard themselves as chosen peoples. And yet, there’s a connection. There are lots of jokes about it. There’s even a restaurant in Los Angeles called Genghis Cohen. But the inroad made by Chinese food has been so profound that even sacred dietary laws are routinely broken for this cuisine. A Jewish household that wouldn’t countenance a single bacon bit at home will consume industrial quantities of spare ribs, roast-pork fried rice and shrimp dumplings. So what gives?

So here is my best guess. The thing to remember about Chinese food is that, besides being cheap, it is eminently suited to take out; at least three-quarters of the Chinese food I ate growing up was at home. And Jews love eating at home. We are intensely familial, home-loving and nuclear; and given that our own food is both bad and laborious (endlessly braised brisket, spattering latkes), Chinese food — varied, fatty and festive — is a better alternative in part because it’s always at hand. It’s a cheap lift; you can think of it as Jewish Prozac. And, beyond this, there is an even greater power of Chinese food in our lives, a sentimental tradition in a secular world. The China Teacup in Brooklyn Heights, where Schoenfeld used to eat as a kid, or Ling-Nam in West Miami and China Land in Atlantic City, N.J., my own egg-roll academies, have been serving essentially the same food for generations. The takeout menu currently on my refrigerator looks just like the one my father had on his, the one he used to stand there gazing at with a mix of puzzlement (maybe ribs and egg foo yong?) and something like adoration. I think that we, as a people, prize comfort above all else, both emotionally and physically. To sit in the living room with a plate of lo mein and half an egg roll is about as safe and stable as life gets for us. That, more than anything else, accounts for our odd abiding love of the most foreign — most domestic — of cuisines.

via Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food – TIME.

Life is stranger than fiction, astronomy,Tatooine, Star Wars:  Scientists found one planet with two stars, a ‘Star Wars’ World.  “When two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.”

The Star Wars movies weren’t especially big on subtlety. Their heroes and villains were cartoonishly one-dimensional, the aliens were grotesquely alien, and the action was over the top. One scene in the first film was a notable exception, though. It showed a sunset on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home world — with not one, but two suns sinking in tandem toward the horizon. The essential strangeness of that image made it quietly but profoundly clear that you were visiting an utterly foreign world.

When astronomers actually began finding such worlds almost two decades after that first Star Wars movie, though, they didn’t waste much time looking for places like Tatooine. Double-star systems are very common in the Milky Way — in fact, solitary stars like the sun are in the minority. But it wasn’t clear, said theorists, that planets could form and survive in their vicinity: when two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.

via One Planet, Two Suns: Scientists Find a ‘Star Wars’ World – TIME.

smileys, emoticons, history:  Never thought about who or why the smiley emoticon was created.  Thank you, computer geeks!

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts.  Or at least I’m one of the inventors.

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”.  These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing.  Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room.  Who does it belong to?”  Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion).  Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor).  The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in  response.  That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried.  In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.   After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone.  Various “joke markers”  were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based  computer terminals of the day.  So I suggested that.  In the same post, I also suggested the use of  😦  to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.  (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.)

So the message itself, and the thread that gave rise to it, are here.  The exact date of the smiley’s birth can now be determined: 19 September, 1982.  It was great to have this message back just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original post.

So, the smiley idea may have appeared and disappeared a few times before my 1982 post.  I probably was not the first person ever to type these three letters in sequence, perhaps even with the meaning of “I’m just kidding” and perhaps even online.  But I do believe that my 1982 suggestion was the one that finally took hold, spread around the world, and spawned thousands of variations.  My colleagues and I have been able to watch the idea spread out through the world’s computer networks from that original post.

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

students, design,  rural poor, globalizaton, International Development Design Summit: Putting our smarts to work!

The scene is vibrant and chaotic. A village grandmother who had never before seen the city turns the crank of a device constructed to extract oil from the seeds of a moringa tree. Other people crowd around tables to check out a mosquito-repelling, battery-powered lantern housed in an old plastic water bottle; farming implements fashioned out of treated bamboo; and a mobile-phone-based platform for providing farmers with information on crops and markets.

These are the fruits of the International Development Design Summit, a monthlong event conceived by Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has for the past five years brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services, and business models to serve the rural poor. Here, students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the United States work side by side with artisans, teachers, and village chiefs who hail from other countries and from surrounding villages, soaking up a very different sort of education.

While the technologies themselves are neither earth-shattering nor elegant (teams have only five weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and refine their products), what’s innovative about the summit, its organizers say, is its emphasis on design as a collaborative and creative process. It assumes that the farmers and chiefs in the villages for which these products are destined have at least as much to add to the designs as do engineers with Ph.D.’s.

via Students Design Low-Tech Ways to Help Improve Lives of Rural Poor – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Redbox: I do love Redbox … a business that seems outdated but delivers a product when, when and at a price point people want.

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

There’s a ton of ways to share your love for redbox,

but if you do it this way, you might win a big prize:

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

Netflix, mea culpa:  My bad … but the change stays …

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

via http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

 Proteus, direct feedback, business culture “FedEx Day”: I think I need a FedEx Day at home!

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

A. One other thing we do is called FedEx Day.  Pretty much anyone can apply for FedEx Day, or any group of people.  The deal is that you can take the whole day and go off and do something, but it’s FedEx, right?  So it has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight.  And you can break it down, because maybe you want four FedEx Days, but there has to be a deliverable for every day.  That’s also terrific because it’s everything from very simple little things — like improving the layout of the desks in the area — all the way through to fairly important things.

via Andrew Thompson of Proteus, on Direct Feedback – NYTimes.com.

apps, Nike BOOM: 

Nike BOOMBy Nike, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Description

Nike BOOM syncs your music to your dynamic training workouts, with the world’s most elite athletes and coaches motivating you along the way. Choose your type of workout, length of training, best workout music and favorite Nike athletes—then get to work.

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

chocolate bars, Paris, food- drink:  Another thing to add to my list … chocolate bars … but I think I will stay away from hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

On the menu at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new Paris chocolate bar: hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

Autumn visitors to Paris may feel that nothing beats a traditional chocolat chaud, but the city’s chocolatiers have been experimenting on the old tea room favourite, with surprising results

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

The bartender raised his eyebrows as I placed my order: “Not many people ask for that.” I was perched at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new chocolate bar, a modern gold-and-brown space where Parisians come to indulge in thoroughly adult versions of a traditional children’s drink. From the long menu I had chosen hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion, a mysterious concoction whipped up in the laboratoire at the back.

When the plain white cup arrived, the soft-spoken waitress advised me not to stir the pearly blobs of what looked like sea foam into the hot chocolate, in order to appreciate the contrast. The first couple of sips went down easily, the iodised taste bringing a welcome saltiness to the intense chocolate. But then I encountered my first lump: either a piece of oyster or some jellied reconstitution. The bartender threw me a sympathetic glance as I pushed the cup aside.

Hévin might have gone one step too far with his oyster drink, but he is one of several Paris chocolate makers who are reviving the art of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, hot chocolate so thick it pours like custard. If Italian hot chocolate relies on starch to obtain this texture, the French prefer a simple mixture of milk, chocolate and/or cocoa powder and sometimes cream. For Parisian chocolatiers, what counts most is the quality of the chocolate, which often comes from the celebrated Valrhona factory in the Rhône Valley.

For many Parisians and even more foreigners, the Holy Grail of hot chocolate is still the chocolat chaud à l’africain served at the Belle Epoque tea room Angelina. It’s certainly hard to find this drink served with more ceremony: here, it comes with water to cleanse your palate, a bowl of whipped cream to complement its pudding-like richness, and a dense almond financier. The best in town? Probably not, but if you can’t resist a brand name, it’s still worth experiencing at least once.

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

self-curation, happiness:  My clips and comments are my self-curation. 🙂

I read an excellent novel this weekend, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. Like any good novel, it’s about many things, but in particular, it made me think about the issue of self-curation.

In his “Chronicles,” the character Nik elaborately archives his work in music and an alternate autobiography. He tells his sister Denise, “Self-curate or disappear.”

As I was reading, I realized: I suffer from archive anxiety. Partly about my actual life, which is why I’ve adopted resolutions such as Keep a one-sentence journal and Suffer for fifteen minutes. They help me chronicle my life.

But for me, the greater worry is the archiving and curation of my observations — not my actual life, but my intellectual life. Even though taking notes on my reading and thinking is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also burdensome: it takes up a lot of time, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to find what I want later and whether I’m making good use of my materials. So much wonderful material! I want to write book after book after book, to think it all through.

Reading Stone Arabia has made me consider this theme of “self-curation” in a different light.

via The Happiness Project: Do You Think About “Self-Curation”?.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry :  Republican front-runners are from different worlds and appeal to very different parts of the GOP.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

via Republican front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry come from different worlds – The Washington Post.

college admissions, Middlebury College:  I am not sure I would want my essay “on stage!”

College applicants – and, in some cases, their advisers, friends and parents – spend incalculable time poring over the personal statement.

But once an essay is submitted, students rarely revisit it, burying those Microsoft Word files full of personal insights, goals and vulnerabilities within a series of “College Application” folders.

Not so students at Middlebury College.

Since the early ’90s, the college’s “Voices of the Class” program has brought to life the admissions essays of freshmen, with upperclassmen acting them out during new student orientation.

The program was fashioned by Matt Longman, a residential dean of the college and a Middlebury alumnus himself who oversees the show’s execution each year.

Some 20 years ago, as the college was considering introducing formal diversity workshops to its orientation, Mr. Longman spoke up and suggested something less institutional. “Why don’t we try something that lets the students’ own voices speak to each other?” he asked.

“I’d always been a big proponent of reading application essays closely because they provide such a wonderful, behind-the-scenes, in-depth picture of what really matters to people,” Mr. Longman said, praising the breadth and creativity in applicants’ writing and experiences.

Middlebury listened. Each year since, the school has mined fresh material from its admitted students, formally incorporating 10 to 20 essays into an orientation week performance.

via Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage – NYTimes.com.

Dar Al-Hijrah,  Imam Abdul-Malik:  Tough job … but needs to answer obvious questions.

But having defended Dar Al-Hij­rah for so long, Abdul-Malik knows what they’re really asking: What exactly is going on at this mosque? Is this a breeding ground for terrorists?

It is a suspicion that nearly all Muslim institutions have faced to some degree since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But none more so than Dar Al-Hijrah.

via Imam serves as public face of an embattled mosque – The Washington Post.

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro.

The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois — whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro — is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests.

At least one commissioner, Michael P. Flanagan of Michigan, who went to Helsinki, decided not to participate in future trips once he realized who was underwriting them.

“While he does not believe those trips are unethical, he did see that they could be perceived that way, and for that reason he chose not to attend,” said Mr. Flanagan’s spokesman, Martin Ackley.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, dismissed any ethical concerns about providing free trips to people his corporate cousin is pitching for business. “We categorically refute any suggestion or implication that the partnership is designed to enable Pearson ‘to win contracts,’ ” he said in a statement. Rather, Mr. Nieker said, the trips are “in pursuit of educational excellence.”

But Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a centrist group, compared the practice to pharmaceutical companies that run junkets for doctors or lobbyists who fly members of Congress to vacation getaways. “If we want that kind of corruption in education, we’re fools,” he said.

via Pearson Sends Education Commissioners on Free Trips – NYTimes.com.

60-Second Video Tips, Test Kitchen, tips:  useful …

60-SECOND VIDEO TIPS Test kitchen wisdom distilled into super quick video clips

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

women’s issues, women’s progress:  You’ve come a long way, baby … at least in some areas … in some places.

Just over a decade into the 21st century, women’s progress can be seen—and celebrated—across a range of fields. They hold the highest political offices from Thailand to Brazil, Costa Rica to Australia. A woman holds the top spot at the International Monetary Fund; another won the Nobel Prize in economics. Self-made billionaires in Beijing, tech innovators in Silicon Valley, pioneering justices in Ghana—in these and countless other areas, women are leaving their mark.

But hold the applause. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation. In the developed world, women lag behind men in pay and political power. The poverty rate among women in the U.S. rose to 14.5 percent last year, the highest in 17 years.

To measure the state of women’s progress, Newsweek ranked 165 countries, looking at five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care. Poring over data from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and consulting with experts and academics, we measured 28 factors to come up with our rankings.

via Newsweek Tracks Women’s Progress Around the World – The Daily Beast.

Moses, manna, Bible, tamarisk:  I never heard of  tamarisk –  “the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground”

The word “manna” means “What is it?” For centuries, people who live in the Sinai peninsula have gathered the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground; over 500 pounds of this manna is deposited on the Sinai peninsula each year. Loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, manna isnt tasty – except to the ants, who in fact consume whats on the ground by mid-day. Was this the “bread from heaven”? If so, is this manna any less a gift of God? God provides, often in simple, mundane ways.

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

‘The Playboy Club’, tv, review:  Controversy might make me watch it … just once.

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”So I would like to say this:1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.3. Playboy did not change the world.Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.




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