Posts Tagged ‘electric cars

02
Sep
11

9.2.2011 … a little pomp and circumstance … CLS seniors march in their gowns … encouraged to give back …

Charlotte Latin School, Fall Convocation, Seniors, kith/kin:  Being a high school senior is a special time.  CLS does a great job of focusing and celebrating its seniors.

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Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, Constitutional Law, The Supreme Court, The Tea Party, health care reform:  I read a review of the New Yorker article the other day, which was very good.  The article, although very long, is also very good … read it if it interests you.

It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas. In January, he was compelled to amend several years of the financial-disclosure forms that Supreme Court Justices must file each year. The document requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses, and Thomas had failed to note that his wife, Virginia, who is known as Ginni, worked as a representative for a Michigan college and at the Heritage Foundation. The following month, seventy-four members of Congress called on Thomas to recuse himself from any legal challenges to President Obama’s health-care reform, because his wife has been an outspoken opponent of the law. At around the same time, Court observers noted the fifth anniversary of the last time that Thomas had asked a question during an oral argument. The confluence of these events produced the kind of public criticism, and even mockery, that Thomas had largely managed to avoid since his tumultuous arrival on the Court, twenty years ago this fall.

These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

via The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health-Care Plan : The New Yorker.

book clubs, opportunities:  I have pasted the whole article.  What a great opportunity!

Randall: An exceptional book club

Sometimes when you least expect it, life opens a door you never dreamed you’d enter. It’s enough to make you want to wake up each morning just to see what will happen next.

Anything is possible as long as you keep waking up.

Some months ago, a reader of my column (a man I’ve not met but hope to do so) sent me a story from The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer by columnist Kay McSpadden, about an unusual book club that meets each week at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Book clubs are not often called “unusual.” But Turning Pages is exceptional for two reasons: First, most of its members are homeless. Some are housed. Others are in “transition.”

Second, and just as rare, is a very pregnant woman in a purple dress and high heels — a self-described community volunteer who read two years ago about a similar program in Boston, and saw no reason why it couldn’t happen in Charlotte.

Candace Curlin Vance is the kind of friend you want on your side in a fight — fearless and tireless. And, as the folks at Turning Pages have learned, you can count on her to have your back.

Also, she talks faster than most normal people can think, which is handy for getting publishers to donate books.

The same reader who sent me that story suggested to Candace that Turning Pages ought to read “Birdbaths and Paper Cranes,” a collection of columns I published 10 years ago that includes stories set in my home state of North Carolina.

Candace wrote at once to ask how she might obtain 25 copies.

I replied that the book is out of print and, unfortunately, I didn’t have 25 copies. She thanked me anyhow, and that was that.

The next day I found two big boxes of books I didn’t know I had. When I told Candace, she laughed. As a woman of faith and persistence, she has often seen “no” turn into “yes.”

And that’s how I ended up flying to Charlotte last week to meet the members of Turning Pages, who had just finished reading, of all things, my book.

We sat around a big table — different races, genders, backgrounds and walks of life — talking, laughing, eating biscuits from Bojangles’, drinking sweet iced tea. It was very Southern. I never felt more at home.

They asked excellent questions, offered insightful observations and convinced me they’d actually read the book.

One woman, now housed after years of living on the streets, presented me with a gift, a blue-and-white-spattered painting.

“It’s called ‘Falling Water,’ ” she said, smiling. “I signed my name on the back so it will be worth something someday.”

Little did she know how much it was already worth to me.

Afterward, when we’d eaten all the biscuits, shaken all the hands and gone our separate ways, I asked Candace about the future of Turning Pages.

“It’s my baby,” she said. “I really want to see it continue.”

But with another “baby” on the way (her first child is due in October), she hopes someone will step up to fill her high heels.

So do I.

Reading is the great equalizer. A book never asks who we are or what we do or where we sleep at night. It asks only that we read and try to understand.

When we come together with open hearts and open minds to discuss what we’ve read, we discover that we are more alike than we are different.

We create community, a sense of belonging, a sense of home.

We turn the hopeless “no” into the “yes” of possibility.

Anything is possible, as long as we keep reading. Just ask the readers of Turning Pages.

via Randall: An exceptional book club | ScrippsNews.

Michael Vick, second chances, prayers:  I believe in second chances.  But with that kind of money he could so easily fail again.  Prayers …

Vick said that experience and maturity have taught him patience. “You never know what’s going to happen. You just live in the moment and take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given. You know what kind of talent you have, you know what you can do. You just have to be patient and that’s something I’ve learned over the years and unfortunately while I was away. Everything in life happens for a reason and it taught me patience and I think that’s part of the reason I’m here today. Being patient.”

And Vick knows that the way others see him may never change. It isn’t easy to get past what he did. “I’m just trying to be the best person I can be. I can’t control what people think, their opinions, their perception. That’s personal and that’s for them. The only thing I can control is what I can control and that’s trying to be the best person I can be, the best citizen I can be, the best father I can be. I think that speaks for itself. That’s not by force, that’s by choice. Some things may never change. I may never change in certain facets of my life, but it is what it is.”

via Michael Vick, the $100 million man, says, ‘I never thought this day would come again’ – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

Romare Bearden, Charlotte NC:  One of my favorite artists.  I love the recognition he is getting on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.

Romare Bearden Turns 100

Charlotte Native and well-known artist Romare Bearden would have been 100 years old this Friday, and to celebrate the artistry and influence of this world-renown, critically praised Charlottean, we’ll be joined by a panel of Bearden experts who will talk about his life, his influences, his art and his legacy here and elsewhere.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

9/11, New World Trade Center:  Worth watching the interactive to see the future of the 9/11 site.

Ground Zero Now – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney : “Scorched earth runs in the family.”  Again, I think he may be senile.

 WHY is it not a surprise to learn that Dick Cheney’s ancestor, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was a Civil War soldier who marched with Sherman to the sea?

Scorched earth runs in the family.

Having lost the power to heedlessly bomb the world, Cheney has turned his attention to heedlessly bombing old colleagues.

Vice’s new memoir, “In My Time,” veers unpleasantly between spin, insisting he was always right, and score-settling, insisting that anyone who opposed him was wrong.

A person who is always for the use of military force is as doctrinaire and irrelevant as a person who is always opposed to the use of military force.

Cheney shows contempt for Tenet, Colin Powell and Rice, whom he disparages in a sexist way for crying, and condescension for W. when he won’t be guided to the path of most destruction.

He’s churlish about President Obama, who took the hunt for Osama bin Laden off the back burner and actually did what W. promised to do with his little bullhorn — catch the real villain of 9/11.

via Darth Vader Vents – NYTimes.com.

books, digital age:  It’s not over until it’s over …

But let’s not overdo things. Let’s not lose sight of the data we have, and let’s not invent data when we only have anecdotes. And finally, let’s not forget the wonders this new world opens up. Being able to download a book to read instantaneously wherever you are is a thing of wonder, after all (and there is some anecdotal suggestion that people are coming back to books via new digital platforms).

For authors, the chance to reach out to readers, instantly and effectively, is changing the way titles are marketed and delivers a glorious independence that comes with having your own digital presence to curate and to shape. There are new creative opportunities offered by interactive technologies. There is the chance to play in a world where books and stories can be either the private, cherished experience of old or a public, shared conversation with other readers from across the world.

via The death of books has been greatly exaggerated | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Video Time machine, apps:  What year would you pick?

Pick a year and watch specific categories including TV, Music, Advertisements, Trailers, Video Games, Sports, and more!

via App Store – Video Time Machine.

Hurricane Irene, natural disasters, Waffle House, the Waffle House Index: The “Waffle House Index!”

When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.

First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the “Waffle House Index.”

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

The mobile command center, above, went to Havelock, N.C., during Irene.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

via Waffle House Index Measures Hurricane Recovery – WSJ.com.

Life Above All, movies, South Africa:  Adding it to the list.

Life, Above All is the moving story of a 12-year-old South African girl, Chanda (stunningly played by newcomer Khomotso Manyaka), who’s forced to care for her younger siblings while trying to find her mother, who has fled their home in a village near Johannesburg in the face of local prejudice and rumors.

The powerful drama tackles the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa head-on, not just in medical and health terms, but in showing how superstition and gossip can create an atmosphere of secrecy and shame that makes dealing with the issue even more difficult.

(In many ways–its strong, young female protagonist, the way it portrays a small, rural community’s fears and secrets, the sense of hope it still manages to foster–Life, Above All may remind viewers of last year’s Winter’s Bone.)

Based on Allan Stratton’s 2004 novel Chanda’s Secrets, the film is directed by Oliver Schmitz, who was born to and raised in South Africa by German parents. Life, Above All is also the acting debut of 14-year-old Khtomosto Manyaka who was noticed by talent scouts during a choir performance at her high school in Elandsdoorn, South Africa.

via Interview: Life, Above All’s Star Khomotso Manyaka and Director Oliver Schmitz | Redblog.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, lists:

This is the second year in a row that Facebook’s Zuckerberg takes home the crown, which I guess makes him slightly less “new establishment.” Just “establishment” should do.

In any case, keep on winning those magazine awards, Zuck. They’re worth more to you than the errant billion stuffed in your mattress, though I hear $10,000 bills are actually quite soft.

via Mark Zuckerberg is Totally the Establishment, Man – Techland – TIME.com.

libraries, librarians:  I wish I knew one well to nominate.

The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

via The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries: Who Loves Their Librarian??.

Caiaphas, ossuary, archeology, history, Biblical figures:

An ancient burial box recovered from antiquities looters three years ago contains a mysterious inscription that could reveal the home of the family of the figure Caiaphas, who is infamous for his involvement in the biblical story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The burial box, also called an ossuary, was discovered in 1990, but the inscription was just recently verified as legitimate (and not the result of forgers trying to increase an artifact’s value) by Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University and Boaz Zissu of Bar Ilan University. The box is made of limestone, is covered in decorative rosettes and has an inscription.

In the Bible story of Jesus’ crucifixion, a Jewish high priest named Caiaphas is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus.

What is special about the inscription on this ossuary is that the deceased is named within the context of three generations; the inscription also includes a potential residence.

via Ossurary turns up new clues to Caiaphas – CBS News.

green, electric cars, electrical vehicle charging stations, Davidson NC: Filler Up!

Electric vehicles could become a viable option for motorists in the coming years, but not without a place to charge up. Add South Main Square to the list of places to plug in. Thanks to a federal stimulus grant awarded through the state of North Carolina, the South Main Street shopping center is getting one of the region’s first electric vehicle charging stations.

“It’s Davidson’s first electric vehicle charging station that will be available for public use,” said Kathleen Rose, who owns South Main Square and also runs the Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability (PiES), a “green” business incubator based there. Ms. Rose worked with Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies to bring the charging station to Davidson.

via Drive an electric? Fill ‘er up at South Main Square | DavidsonNews.net.

9/11 anniversary, Where Were You When?:  

Sept. 11, 2011, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Washington Post wants to know how the attacks may have affected your life and your views. In what ways do the attacks still resonate? How have the attacks affected your way of seeing the world? We’ll take your submissions and consider using them as part of an anniversary project on the impact of Sept. 11. Please include your age, as well as where you lived when the attacks occurred and where you are now.

via Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary: Share your story – Checkpoint Washington – The Washington Post.

Bones:

literary locations, Book Map, Google Maps:  Where would I like to go?

Ever wish you could visit the locations in your favorite novels?

In our new Book Maps feature, we will interview an author or biographer about locations in their book. We will also create a special Google Map about the interview so you can take a walking or driving tour through the book in real life. Email GalleyCat if you have other Book Map suggestions.

For our first installment, we asked Joe Woodward to share the places where novelist Nathanael West lived and worked in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Woodward took us on a book tour of Alive Inside the Wreck: A Biography of Nathanael West. The Google Map is embedded above–click on the blue pins for more details about a specific location.

via Book Map: Nathanael West & Los Angeles – GalleyCat.

food, recipes, lamb, rosemary:

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

via Grilled Lamb on Rosemary Skewers – Video – The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

social networks, Newseum, twitter: I found this one on twitter …
Newseum (@Newseum)
9/1/11 3:59 PM
Great infographic on the development of social networks.http://t.co/5gtWh9p

However, the great writer who has really been portrayed this way most frequently in recent times is one who hasn’t yet been visited by the jaunty Gallifrean: Jane Austen. Both in the film Becoming Jane and the TV movie Miss Austen Regrets, Austen was depicted as a waspish cynical tomboy, clever with words if not so clever with men: a sort of Regency Sue Perkins. In the TV movie, there was a greater stab at complexity, as the character grew bitter with age – an Elizabeth Bennett who never nabs Mr Darcy – but in both there was, I would hazard, an incipient underlying sexism, based on the notion that Austen’s work was underpinned by her own failures in love.

Because here’s the thing about Jane Austen. She was a very great genius. She is possibly the greatest genius in the history of English literature, arguably greater than Shakespeare. And her achievement is not that much to do with love, although that was her subject matter. It’s to do with technique. Before her there are three strands in English fiction: the somewhat mental, directly-reader-addressing semi-oral romps of Nashe and Sterne and Fielding; the sensationalist Gothic work of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe; and the romances of Eliza Haywood and Fanny Burney.

However great these writers are, none could be read now and considered modern. When Austen gets into her stride, which she does very quickly with Sense and Sensibility, suddenly, you have all the key modern realist devices: ironic narration; controlled point of view; structural unity; transparency of focus; ensemble characterisation; fixed arenas of time and place; and, most importantly, the giving-up of the fantastical in favour of a notion that art should represent life as it is actually lived in all its wonderful ordinariness. She is the first person, as John Updike put it: “to give the mundane its beautiful due”, and her work leads to Updike as much as it does to George Eliot.

I have no idea how a mainly home-educated rector’s daughter came by all that, but I know that imagining her as a kind of acerbic spinster flattens out this genius. It becomes all about the subject matter and not at all about the huge creative advance her work represents. When the Tardis does land in Hampshire in 1815, I imagine there will be witty banter between Jane and the Doctor and some men in britches; if it’s still David Tennant there might even be some flirtation, perhaps a sad, chaste goodbye. But what there should be is a moment when he says “I’m 900 years old, I’ve got a brain the size of a planet, and I’ve still no idea how you single-handedly created the modern English novel”. At which point Jane Austen will rip off her bonnet to reveal the tiny figure of Davros, king of the daleks, sitting in a small glass dome in her skull.duhduhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduhduh,weeeoooo…weee-weeooo…

via David Baddiel wonders what Dr Who would make of Jane Austen – Times Online.

Jane Austen: 

All of them point to Austen’s inimitable humor, incisive observations of human nature and unwavering moral stance that make her works still relevant two hundred years later today.

via Why We Read Jane Austen.

Children’s/YA literature, Gretchen Rubin:  This list has quite a few that I am not familiar with …

If you want some ideas of books to read, for a group or just for yourself, here are a few of my favorites. It pains me to list so few! But this is a good start.

Because they’re already so widely known, I’m not going to list some very obvious ones, like the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, the The Lord of the Rings books, or my beloved Little House books.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Half Magic, Edward Eager

The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg

Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright

Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron

Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

This list represents a big range — some are meant for ten-year-olds, some for seventeen-year-olds. But they are all so good that they can be enjoyed by an adult.

via The Happiness Project: Looking for Some Reading Suggestions in Children’s or Young-Adult Literature?.

Manitoba, Canada, polar bears, travel:  I think I would like to see the polar bears.

The iconic polar bear is a must-see for every wildlife lover and Churchill, Manitoba is the best place in the world to see them! Each fall, hundreds of polar bears naturally migrate through this cozy northern town and it is easier than you think to get there. Don’t miss out on these special offers for October and November, 2011 which include limited-time* promotions.

via Travel Manitoba: Polar Bears.

fashion, coats:  Glad we are moving away from the puff stuff.

But the fall runway collections made a fairly convincing case for rethinking the role of outerwear in our wardrobes. Designers like Vera Wang, Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra put parkas front and center in their shows, while hybrid styles of bombers, blanket coats, ponchos, peacoats, toggle coats and toppers appeared just about everywhere else. It was as if the fashion world was making a collective stand against those ubiquitous puffer jackets that make most of us look as if we’re wearing bubble wrap. “You can have on whatever you want underneath, but this year the coat is the statement piece,” said Tanya Spivey, the executive vice president for design and merchandising at Andrew Marc, a division of the apparel conglomerate G-III that makes coats for companies like Calvin Klein, Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole. That said, there are a lot of coats to sort out. And since it has been a while since some common outerwear lingo has been put to use, here is a little refresher course.

via A Field Guide to Outerwear – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

28
Aug
11

8.28.2011 ‎… Have i mentioned that the man can cook … :)‎… Heading to Amelie’s to see if American-made French macaroons are worthy of the drive … Scratch that, Amelie’s is always worth the drive :)

home, food, kith/kin, Amelie’s, Charlotte, macaroons:  Last night John tried an old favorite (which I buy frozen) Chicken Cordon Bleu.  The kids actually rebel and call it Chicken Cordon Bleh … well, homemade by Chef JBT is definitely better.  And then today Molls and I headed to  Amelie’s French Bakery and Cafe for macaroons … they were good … but not as good as Parisian macaroons … pistachio was definitely better than raspberry.  I guess we are still on a French food kick. 🙂

Dr. Martin Luther King, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA):  I have never been a great fan of John Lewis.  I respect what he did during the civil rights movement, but in some ways he historically has ignored his white constituents in Atlanta … not completely, but that is another issue.  Nor have I ever thought he spoke well … too vituperative. But his commentary here is excellent.  And even if you do not agree, this is worth reading because it sums up MLK’s dream.

Among those leaders, I know he would take a special interest in President Obama — not only because he is the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office, but because Dr. King recognized the power of one man to transform a nation. He would say that the president has the capacity to unify America, to bring us together as one people, one family, one house.  He would say that a leader has the ability to inspire people to greatness, but that to do so he must be daring, courageous and unafraid to demonstrate what he is made of.

As a minister, never elected to any public office, Dr. King would tell this young leader that it is his moral obligation to use his power and influence to help those who have been left out and left behind.  …

Dr. King would say that a Nobel Peace Prize winner can and must find a way to demonstrate that he is a man of peace, a man of love and non-violence.

He would say that Obama’s election represents a significant step toward laying down the burden of race, but that this task is not yet complete. The election of 2008 was a major down payment on Dr. King’s dream, but it did not fulfill it. When one member of Congress calls the president a “tar baby” on a radio show and when another cries out “You lie!” during a State of the Union address, it is more than clear that we still do not understand the need to respect human dignity despite our differences.

Dr. King would tell this young president to do what he can to end discrimination based on race, color, religious faith and sexual orientation. He would say that righteous work makes its own way. … The people of this country recognize when a leader is trying to do what is right. Take a stand, he would say. Go with your gut. Let the people of this country see that you are fighting for them and they will have your back.

There will be opposition, and it might become ugly. … He often quoted the notion that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And the reason it does is because of the central goodness of humankind.

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that once people heard the truth, their tendency to bend toward what is right would pave the way for goodness to prevail. And it still can.

via What would MLK say to President Obama? – The Washington Post.

Libya Uprising, Qaddafi, Middle East stability, NATO:  Getting your arms around all the issues in the April Sring is very difficult.  This article is helpful with regard to Libya.

The toppling of Colonel Qaddafi—no matter whether he is eventually tried, killed or exiled—will be a boon to the Middle East and Western powers that supported the rebels. The implications for Libya itself are less clear and in part depend on whether Qaddafi loyalists will disperse and keep their weapons or agree to disarm. To become a rule-based democracy—the stated goal of all the various rebel groups—Libya must avoid an Iraqi-style insurgency, as well as disputes among the new rulers.

Helpfully, Libya has no sectarian divide. Its society is relatively homogeneous but grievances abound after four decades of oppression. Revenge killings loom, as well as tribal conflicts and large-scale looting, given the lack of physical security at the moment. The fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan showed that a temporary power vacuum can lead to long-term instability and undermine the formation of a functioning state.

The impact of Libya’s liberation on the rest of the Arab world looks clearer. What counts there is the dethronement of a tyrant. It will lift spirits in Syria, where another reformist revolt is under way. It will also give renewed drive to Egyptians and Tunisians who toppled their dictators several months ago but have since been grappling with constitutional change. Libya will inject new momentum into the Arab spring—raising hopes that decades of stagnation and repression can be ended.

Libya will have an impact on NATO too. The military alliance that faced down the Red Army might have been expected to crush the clumsy forces of Colonel Qaddafi in days. Instead it took five months of fighting and 17,000 air sorties. An embarrassment for NATO? Not at all. The alliance has had a good war so far (who said “stalemate” not long ago?) and is winning the best kind of victory given the circumstances: one achieved mostly by Libyans themselves. Rebels entered the capital without a single Western soldier visible on the ground (though there were some special forces). NATO air attacks, as well as weapons supplied by friendly Gulf states, aided the rebels. But they alone manned trenches, which will give them added legitimacy in months to come.

via End-game in Libya: Going, going… | The Economist.

Neil Gaiman, heroes, LOL, twitter:  Never meet your heroes!  But this goy got a retweet by his hero!

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself)
8/28/11 12:41 PM
Very funny… RT “@barryhutchison: Blog post about meeting @neilhimself at @edinbookshop last night:http://t.co/3QHUgm3

You might not have heard of Neil Gaiman. At least, you might not have heard of him if you’re deaf and blind, and have spent the last 20 years living in a ditch. On the moon. Just in case this describes you, here’s a quick summary of his career. Much more detailed information can be found on Wikipedia. You can also read Neil’s blog.

Neil Gaiman is very busy man. He has written adult novels, children’s novels, graphic novels, short stories and picture books. He has also written movie screenplays and scripts for TV programmes, most notably BABYLON 5 and DOCTOR WHO, as well as his own original series, NEVERWHERE, for the BBC.

It was only during the three hour drive home that I realised I’d made a mess of the little message I’d written to him inside the book. I thanked him for inspiring me to become an author myself. At least, that’s what I meant to write, but I’m pretty sure in my semi-coherent state I actually thanked him for ‘encouraging’ me to become an author, as if he himself had popped round my house back in the late 80s/early 90s and personally egged me on. After reading that, I’ll be surprised if he bothers going any further.

And that, I think, is why they say you should never meet your heroes. You’ll only end up making a dick of yourself if you do.

via Meeting Neil Gaiman | BarryHutchison.com.

Hurricane Irene, twitter, quotes:  Harsh! Re: NY … NC got in the way …

CNN Video (@CNNVideo)
8/28/11 12:31 PM
New Yorkers should be thanking the state of North Carolina for a weakened #Irene. Chad Myers explains. Video:http://t.co/oS3971b
WSJ Greater New York (@WSJNY)
8/28/11 11:56 AM
“A wet day in London seems worse than this.” Tourists in Times Square react to Irene:http://t.co/bjUJG2h
Eric Holthaus (@wxrisk)
8/28/11 10:40 AM
Def historic. first landfalling TS or Hurr in 5 boroughs since 1893. @rap584 So was #Irene of “historical proportions” as we were told?

Apple, iPad, tablet market:  I like my iPad …

More than anything else, the announcement showed that the firm had finally seen the light about the tablet market—namely, that there is no such thing.

What exists instead is a rip-roaring market for iPads. Tablets based on Google’s Android, Hewlett-Packard’s webOS, Microsoft’s Windows, and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating systems—have failed dismally to capture consumers’ hearts and minds the way Apple has with its iconic iPad.

You only have to look at the numbers. Apple’s share of the tablet market is over 61% and growing, while all the Android tablets together make up barely 30% and are being squeezed. According to Strategy Analytics of Newton, Massachusetts, Windows tablets account for 4.6% and Research in Motion’s 3.3%. Sooner or later, the rest of the iPad wannabees are going to realise that, just because Apple has a runaway success on its hands, they cannot charge Apple prices for their hastily developed me-too products and expect consumers to clamour for them.

via Tablet computers: Difference Engine: Reality dawns | The Economist.

Paris, France, guides, private guides, Donna Morris:  Small is good; private is better … I found this website and it looked wonderful – France…Off the Beaten Path.  I will give a BIG plug for our private guide in Paris, Donna Morris.  If you need a great way to get oriented, give her a call … Best Friend in Paris France.

World of Coca-Cola, Asa Candler, business cards, end of an era, random:  Are business cards on the way out … I loved seing this old card of Asa Candler … and had not realized business cards had been around since the 1890s or before.

Twitpic – Share photos and videos on Twitter.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former Vice President Dick Cheney:  I like Colin Powell; I do not like Dick Cheney … enough said.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” in his forthcoming memoir, and that he was taking his aggressive promotional techniques “a bit too far.”

Powell, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” targeted Cheney’s claim that the book, “In My Time,” would “make heads explode.”

“My head isn’t exploding, I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding in Washington, D.C.,” Powell pointed out. “From what I’ve read in the newspapers and seen on television it’s essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago.”

In fact, Powell suggested, the most notable thing about the book was Mr. Cheney’s characterization of it.

“What really sort of got my attention was this way in which he characterized it: it’s going to cause heads to explode,” he said. “That’s quite a visual. And in fact, it’s the kind of headline I would expect to come out of a gossip columnist, or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It’s not the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former Vice President of the United States of America.”

He added: “I think Dick overshot the runway.”

Powell also took issue with Cheney’s claim that, during his tenure as Secretary of State, he declined to fully present his positions to former President George W. Bush.

“Mr. Cheney may forget that I’m the one who said to President Bush, ‘If you break it you own it,'” Powell said, referencing the administration’s actions in Iraq. “I gave the president my best advice.”

via Powell: Cheney “overshot the runway” in book – CBS News.

green, electric cars, standards:

Indeed, charging the car’s battery pack at home, or topping up at the office or shopping mall, will work fine for most drivers. But what about trips that are beyond the range of a single battery charge? Couldn’t a driver in need simply pull up to a charging kiosk and plug in for a rapid refill?

It’s not that simple.

Sure, there are already public charging stations in service, and new ones are coming online daily. But those typically take several hours to fully replenish a battery.

As a result, the ability for quick battery boosts — using a compatible direct current fast charger, the Leaf can refill to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes — could potentially become an important point of differentiation among electric models.

But the availability of fast charging points has in part been held up by the lack of an agreement among automakers on a universal method for fast charging — or even on a single electrical connector. Today’s prevalent D.C. fast-charge systems are built to a standard developed in Japan by Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru in conjunction with Tokyo Electric Power.

Called Chademo, which translates roughly to “charge and move,” it uses a connector that is different from the plugs in most electric cars. As a result, a Chademo-compatible car like the Nissan Leaf requires two separate sockets.

Overcoming the limitation of a short driving range is vital to achieving acceptance by consumers who want uncompromised, do-everything vehicles. The potential solutions all have drawbacks. Larger batteries are expensive and saddle the car with added weight. An onboard generator turned by a gasoline engine, as used in the Volt plug-in hybrid and similar future models, are another possible solution, but such systems add cost and pounds — and compromise the emissions-free image that attracts consumers to electric cars in the first place.

via Electric-Car Makers’ Quest – One Plug to Charge Them All – NYTimes.com.

23
Jul
11

7.23.2011 … gathering of the clan …

Davidson, 4th Rich, reunion, Tuxedo NC:  Our second great gathering of the 4th Rich clan … what a delightful evening.  Thanks, McGrady.  For a few pics … Gathering.

green, Dartmouth College:

In June 2010, faculty, staff and administrators at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire had their desk trash cans replaced with six-inch-tall cartons. One year later, Dartmouth has sent 200 less tons of trash to the landfill, and recycling is up by one third.

It’s a simple strategy. Every desk gets one large “zero sort” recycling box for paper, glass, aluminum and plastic and one tiny trash tub for whatever cannot be recycled, which at Dartmouth is essentially a few types of drink lids and certain types of plastic bags and packaging materials. When the trash tub reaches its meager capacity, the owner has to empty it at a disposal area.

via With Tiny Cans, a New Trash Equation – NYTimes.com.

Harry Potter:  In case you can’t remember, like me … “Harry Potter – A Look Back” – YouTube.

Google+:

Forget being friended on Facebook or followed on Twitter. What you really want now is to be Circled—or so Google hopes.

The company’s latest social-networking effort, Google+, lets users organize people into Circles of friends so you can choose what you share with each group. It offers multi-person video chats and a feature called Sparks that encourages users to plug into news that interests them. It integrates with Picasa, Google’s photo site.

Google+ is designed to compete with Facebook, but judging from my non-techie friends’ reactions over the past two weeks, the initial setup can be confusing. Plus, many of them aren’t eager to build another social network. This week, I’ll take a step back to explain Google+, how it differs from Facebook and just what’s with the Circles.

via Going in Google+ Circles. Review of Google+ – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

As virtual world expert Wagner James Au has chronicled on his blog New World Notes, this is posing problems not just for political dissidents but for many virtual world users who’d prefer to go by their avatar names. His post was a response to a Second Life user, Opensource Obscure, who had his account suspended for “violating community standards.”

Google spokesperson Katie Watson has confirmed that the company will require real names for Google Profiles, the requisite for people to establish their Google Plus accounts. There is a place in your Google Profile account where you can list nicknames, and that’s what Google suggests users do who are interested in listing their other online names and persona. Those who do establish Google Profiles under a pseudonym face account suspension.

via No Pseudonyms Allowed: Is Google Plus’s Real Name Policy a Good Idea?.

Looking for an easy way to move your photos from Facebook to Google Plus? So were we. That’s why we were happy to discover this Web application, available in the Chrome Web store, that does the work for you. Available only as a browser add-on for Google Chrome, Move2Picasa exports all your Facebook albums and photos and imports them into Picasa for you, for free. You can then share those pictures with your Circles on Google Plus.

via How to Move Your Facebook Photos to Picasa & Google Plus.

food, lobster rolls:  OK I had my first lobster roll in Boston, and I will admit it was pretty good.  I felt stupid paying $25; but honestly, it was so good it was worth it.

Neptune Oyster- Boston Lobster Roll

Leave it to the World Financial Center to host its pumped-up opposite. At Ed’s Lobster Bar Kiosk on the waterfront, 225 Vesey Street (Liberty Street); (917) 364-3787, lobsterbarnyc.com, Ed McFarland’s six-ounce celery-and-chive-dotted blob of musky mayonnaise-y lobster meat bobs atop its butter-drenched roll like one of the sprawling yachts in the adjacent marina ($25). It’s an object of conspicuous consumption as befits the captains of finance.

via New Lobster Rolls – NYC – Restaurant Review – NYTimes.com.

random, Chinese fakes: Guo Meimei: The TIME Cover Girl Who Wasn’t – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Civil War, history, random, quotes: The article was interesting on lots of levels … but the closing quote just made me laugh!

“At Gettysburg, I had one woman who said to me, ‘I don’t understand how they fought this battle with all these statues here,’ ” Chaney said.

via Whatever Happened to … the statue of Gen. Lee at Antietam – The Washington Post.

technology, education: Whole new world …

Cathy Davidson spotted the gorilla but only because, as a dyslexic, she gave up immediately on trying to count the tosses. That shock of seeing what others missed became the germ of her remarkable new book, Now You See It, which offers a fresh and reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change: “Distraction is your friend,” she says.

Davidson is a Duke University English professor, part of a tribe that’s not known for embracing the future. But she is a cofounder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), an international network of academics inspired by new technology, which administers the annual Digital Media and Learning competition with the MacArthur Foundation. Davidson believes that true conceptual innovation is needed to reinvent our homes, schools, and workplaces for the demands of the digital age. She calls her approach “technopragmatism,” or “technorealism.”

In the book, Davidson tells the story of her extensive arm rehab, which includes a fascinating insight from her physical therapist, who found that her patients who sustained injuries toward the end of a decade in their lives — at 29, 39, even 69 — tended to recover more quickly and completely than those who had just passed that milestone, who felt too old. Davidson, then in her early fifties, was determined to be an exception. “What was very interesting was how little relationship there was in rehab between physical damage and healing. Much more important was attitude — not some goofy optimistic thing, but almost some kind of stubbornness about possibility,” she says.

That very stubbornness is what Davidson models. Even as she works with her students to help rewrite the rules, she’s not going to let people of her own generation off the hook for turning their backs on the new reality. “When I hear from those 40-year-old, 50- year-old Luddites, I’m thinking, What else is wrong in your life that you have to make such a wall? If you’re that worried about distraction, something else is going on.”

via Duke’s Cathy Davidson Has A Bold Plan for Change | Fast Company.

NASA Shuttle Program, end of an era, photojournalism:  I really enjoyed this photo essay.

When the end of the program was announced, my father and I knew we had to do something special. We have spent the past three years securing access and photographing scenes few people have ever witnessed. It has been quite a bit of work, but I have felt humbled and privileged every minute I have been at the space center.

In the simplest terms, these photographs tell a story of the work of men and women who showed up every day and launched spaceships. By doing their jobs well, these workers — from much-hailed astronauts to Harley-riding technicians — have made the extraordinary task of spaceflight seem mundane.

via The space shuttle: Portrait of an American era – The Washington Post.

cars, Volvo, green, electric cars, hybrid cars:  OK, I want one.

Volvo is taking a shotgun approach to vehicle electrification, essentially blasting away with a whole lot of concepts to see what hits the bullseye.

The Swedish automaker’s already wowed us with the slick C30 Electric, a car that it really ought to go ahead and sell already. Volvo keepts telling us we’ll see the C30 electric (pictured) in 2013. Then it wheeled out the diesel-electric V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which could be in (some?) showrooms next year.

Now it’s experimenting with extended-range electrics, which are another way of saying plug-in hybrids that use gasoline engines to boost electric range. One is a straight-up riff on the Chevrolet Volt, a car Volvo vp of business development Paul Gustavsson told us is “a milestone in the industry.”

Although range-extended drivetrains are more complex than either internal combustion or electric systems, they offer the flexibility of a conventional car, the efficiency of an EV and the reduced greenhouse gas emissions of a hybrid.

via Volvo Packs More Buckshot in Its Electric Shotgun | Autopia | Wired.com.

National Geographic Traveler,  apps, Above France:  Enjoyable app for someone planning a trip.

Today, National Geographic Traveler and app developer Fotopedia are launching a brilliant new iOS app for wanderlust enthusiasts, called “Above France.” The new app provides a bird’s eye view of France’s beauty including a stunning collection of more than 2,000 photographs taken by helicopter pilot and professional photographer, Frank Mulliez.

via National Geographic Travelers new app: Above France – TNW Apps.

 




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