Posts Tagged ‘G.K Chesterton

09
Jan
13

1.9.13 first walk …

labyrinths, walking, notes from the path:

“Solvitur Ambulando”

– It is solved by walking.

I’m feeling a little guilty since I have not walked since December 31. I think I may have broken a New Year’s resolution.

As I left my house, I was thinking what an ugly day for my first walk. But by the time I reached Avondale Presbyterian Church, the sun was out, and I am so glad I came because it is now a beautiful winter day.

Thoughts as I walked:

Labyrinth keepers have been hard at work on the labyrinth and it is in great shape today. A few weeds are here, but they are part of the labyrinth today.

Chimes are singing softly and they become a part of my walk. As I walk out, i make the decision to pause when the chimes paused, and to pace myself to the chimes as well. I begin thinking what a wonderful site it would be to see classical ballerinas dancing to some Gregorian chants on a labyrinth. It would be really beautiful ballet.

I am tired today. My husband has a new addiction. It is the tv show and related books of Dexter. Dexter is a serial killer. I am wondering why we can all sit there and watch this. It has a transformative effect.

The bright sunshine is blinding. If it were 15° colder it would be a perfect winter day. Unfortunately it is about 70°. Amazing.

Do you like my new boots? Perfect for labyrinth walking in the winter!

Blessings to you!

bicentennials, anniversaries, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, bookshelf:  Just so you know … 19 days ’til the bicentenary of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! What shall I read this month. 🙂

youtube, LOL:  how to stay positive …

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg]

winter, vacations, bucket list:  Oddly, just about every place on this list is already on my bucket list. 🙂

And so,with 2013 just beginning, I got to thinking of my favorite places to spend a winter week

via Where to Spend a Week This Winter – Intelligent Travel.

Gretchen Rubin, Steve Martin,  G. K. Chesterton, quotes, memoirs, bookshelf:

Last week, I read Steve Martin’s memoir of his time learning and doing stand-up comedy, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life. I loved it.

It’s a terrific example of one of my favorite kinds of books: someone coming into his or her vocation. I love reading about why people become interested in particular subjects or skills, and how they master them.

Reading Steve Martin’s memoir reminded me of one of my favorite quotations, from G. K. Chesterton: “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” Although Steve Martin’s comedy looks wild and crazy, it’s the product of a tremendous amount of serious thought, rehearsal, and experiment.

via What I Learned About Myself from Steve Martin. « The Happiness Project.

Congress,  polls: colonoscopy?

In a poll released Tuesday, Public Policy Polling found that Americans have a higher opinion of traffic jams (56%-34%), colonoscopies (58%-31%) and cockroaches (45%-43%) than Congress. Ditto for love-‘em or hate-‘em band Nickelback (39%-32%), used-car salesmen (57%-32%), root canals (56%-32%) and NFL replacement refs (56%-29%).

via Poll Finds Congress Ranks Lower Than Colonoscopy – Washington Wire – WSJ.

technology, the future: The Jetsons!

The PAL-V ONE, which looks like a cross between a three-wheeler and a helicopter, uses a rear-mounted propeller to take off and a free-spinning rotor on top for lift. Made by PAL-V in the Netherlands, it needs about 200 meters to take off and costs nearly $300,000. If the price comes down and a reasonable way can be found to keep skyborne vehicles separated, we may at last see a world that is somewhat akin to the one depicted in the futuristic cartoon.

via A Land-Air Hybrid Vehicle: Commute to Work Like The Jetsons [Video]: Scientific American.

20
Sep
11

‎9.20.2011 … to Davidson, to Davidson … for dinner and to hear Sebastian Junger (2011 Reynolds Lecture) … I wonder if I ever went to a public lecture while there (actually I remember one: former President Gerald Ford) … and btw Junger’s lecture was excellent … however, I was not gLeeful after gLee …

Sebastian Junger, Davidson College – Reynolds lecture:  When I saw that he had written The Perfect Storm I was excited to have an invite from Davidson’s new President Carol Quillen to join her and others for the dinner and the lecture.  Mr Junger walked in casually and comfortably to the President’s Home and engaged willingly with everyone at dinner … a few professors, students (mostly those interested in journalism or ROTC) , and several alum couples.  I enjoyed meeting him.  At the lecture he was introduced with a pretty full bio, but I remembered two things, he was a cultural anthropology major at Wesleyan College and he was named by People magazine and the most attractive writer.  His talk was thoughtful and thought-provoking and focused on themes from his latest book War and documentary Restrepo.  He willingly took questions.  He often focused on the young adult male psyche and how that plays into a soldier’s life.  Having a nephew a West Point made me really think about this.  Great talk.  If you have the opportunity to hear him speak, I highly recommend making the effort.

sebastian Junger

Author Sebastian Junger, 7:30 p.m., Davidson College Duke Family Performance Hall – Sebastian Junger, author of “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont,” and “Fire,” will give the 2011 Reynolds Lecture at Davidson. His topic: “From the Front Lines: 20 Years of Reporting from the Around the World.” Tickets free, available at Alvarez Student Union Box Office beginning Monday, Aug. 22. http://www.davidson.edu/tickets

via  Sebastian Junger | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

You can learn some more at his website: Sebastian Junger’s Community – The official Sebastian Junger community.  asked him afterward why he did not use twitter.  His response was when he did, he paid someone to run it for him.  Basically he did not have time.  I also asked him how his degree in cultural anthropology played into his career as a journalist, and he said it gave him a perspective from which he view the world.  He said distinctions between brotherhood and friend are anthropological distinctions.

Here is a quote from a recent article.

It doesn’t matter that most civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were caused by insurgent attacks; if our soldiers died for freedom there — as presidents are fond of saying — then those people did as well. They, too, are among the casualties of 9/11. Nearly a decade after that terrible day, what a powerful message we would send to the world by honoring those deaths with our grief.

via Why Would Any Soldier Miss War? – NYTimes.com.

Someone asked him about this book …

Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but entire societies, corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting the most basic human desires. Mixing hard-nosed realism with profound moral and philosophical insight, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is a work of terrible power and redemptive clarity whose truths have never been more necessary.

via War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges – Book – Random House.

fracking, followup, NPR, Quest,  book:  This NPR story/interview gave me more insight into fracking.

A television ad running in upstate New York has been warning residents that the state’s water supply is headed for ruin.

“New York tap water has always been the best in the world,” it says. “In places where gas companies are already using a dangerous process called fracking, like Pennsylvania, the water is cloudy and full of toxic chemicals.”

The ad is part of an intensifying debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the process energy companies use to get a certain kind of natural gas out of the ground. Fracking is also one of the many subjects energy expert Daniel Yergin covers in his new book, The Quest. Yergin tells NPR’s David Greene that the type of natural gas obtained through fracking, the gas found in shale, only recently became a serious energy source for the U.S.

“Shale gas really has been a revolution that’s happened extremely rapidly,” Yergin says. “Up until 2008, it really wasn’t recognized and then it just took off, and it’s gone from being virtually none of our natural gas production to about 30 percent of our total natural gas production.”

via Daniel Yergin Examines America’s ‘Quest’ For Energy : NPR.

CMS, education,  Broad Prize, kudos: Congratulations to CMS on winning the Broad Prize.

The Broad Prize, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, comes with a $550,000 award that will be distributed as college scholarships for the district’s high school seniors. The three other districts that were finalists—the Broward County and Miami-Dade systems in Florida and the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas—will each receive $150,000 in scholarships for their students.

The 133,600-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, which was recognized by the foundation for its work in reducing achievement gaps, is about 33 percent white, 41 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic, and 10 percent Asian, American Indian, or multiracial. About 53 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, a commonly used measure of student poverty, and 10 percent are designated as English-language learners.

Like the other districts that were finalists this year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg had been singled out by the award program before. The district was a finalist in 2004 and 2010.

Hugh Hattabaugh, the district’s interim superintendent, said in an interview before the announcement was made that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district had made strides on more than two dozen education indicators, including improved graduation rates, SAT scores, and scores on end-of-course exams.

The nomination “really says wonders about our teachers and their commitment to excellence,” said Mr. Hattabaugh, who has served as interim superintendent since July.

via Education Week: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Wins Broad Prize.

The Playboy Club, tv, Norah Ephron, reviews, kith/kin:  I love Norah Ephron …  Anybody watched the Playboy Club?  My mother, yes my mother, has a great story she tells of her first visit to The Playboy Club in Chicago … shortly after my birth in 1960  … and it concludes with “and I never drank another martini.”

But Hefner himself, now 85, is a whack-a-mole, popping up from his life on the D list to give interviews about his pajamas and his little blue pills and his cadre of surgically enhanced women. Why does anyone read about him? Why do I? I can’t explain it. Last year, when news of his impending marriage was epidemic, I actually found myself wasting 30 seconds hoping that his fiancée, Crystal, 25, would have the courage to break it off. She did! Way to go, Crystal! Crystal then turned around and disappointed me by giving several television interviews denying that she’d been responsible for the breakup. “It was mutual between Hef and I,” she said.

I mention all this because NBC is about to put a series about a Playboy Club on the air. Inspired by the success of Mad Men, it has gone back to the early 1960s, to that golden moment just before the women’s movement came along and ruined everything. It’s about several Bunnies, an ambitious Chicago lawyer, and the mob. The show (or at least the opening episode) is not unlike Playboy magazine in the early years: it has its moments, but it’s mostly an excuse to show women’s breasts, which (in this version, because it’s on a network) are usually encased in fabulous pointy period bras or shoved upward in satin-polyester Bunny costumes. Hefner doesn’t appear except as a shadowy figure, like a masked mafioso in the Federal Witness Protection Program. But he does provide a weird, creepy voice-over, on which he says that Bunnies “were the only women in the world who could be anyone they wanted to be.”

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.

Paris, travel, puces, flea markets:  I did not get to hit the puces … next time. 🙂

Given a little more than 30 hours in the City of Light, jet lag was ignored and a whirlwind trip to the famous puces, or flea markets, was a must. Toma made the most of my brief stay. Her boutique business offers private tours to visitors to Paris and six other European countries.

Most antique shoppers head straight for Clingancourt, the gigantic flea market to the north of Paris. With limited time and the desire to hunt for kitchen tools, cutlery, linens and other trappings of the French home, we began at the Puces des Vanves (Metro: Portes des Vanves).

via A French connection: MrsWheelbarrow goes to Grrl’s Meat Camp – All We Can Eat – The Washington Post.

college life, culture, define: “hooking up” :…”a way of divulging information — which, yes, could still be considered gossip — but also provides an element of mystery about the encounter, which could protect privacy in some cases. And in today’s social media-obsessed, oversharing culture, that’s not a bad thing.”  BTW, my kids would define it as intercourse.  Makes the term “hooker” have similar back ground.  I no longer tell a friend … “let’s hook up for lunch.”

Don’t expect co-eds to help clarify the situation, either. A new study has examined the modern lingo often used by college students to describe a sexual encounter, and found that while 94% of the study’s sample knew and used the phrase “hooking up,” its definition is more a little hazy.

GOOD reports that the study, published in the journal Health Communication, found that college students thought hooking up could refer to a wide variety of sexual activities, covering “kissing, intercourse, and all the bases in between.” Further complicating the definition is that “activities can involve acquaintances, friends, or potential long-term partners, and can unfold over the course of one night or many months.” Pretty much the only certain aspect of a hookup is that sexual activity of some sort takes place.

If this all sounds frustratingly vague, it’s probably because it’s supposed to. The study also found that even though college students were often willing to discuss their hook ups with friends, they notably kept the details out of the discussion. Talking about who hooked up with whom was common, but what that exactly entailed, less so. It seems the phrase offers

Don’t expect co-eds to help clarify the situation, either. A new study has examined the modern lingo often used by college students to describe a sexual encounter, and found that while 94% of the study’s sample knew and used the phrase “hooking up,” its definition is more a little hazy.

GOOD reports that the study, published in the journal Health Communication, found that college students thought hooking up could refer to a wide variety of sexual activities, covering “kissing, intercourse, and all the bases in between.” Further complicating the definition is that “activities can involve acquaintances, friends, or potential long-term partners, and can unfold over the course of one night or many months.” Pretty much the only certain aspect of a hookup is that sexual activity of some sort takes place.

If this all sounds frustratingly vague, it’s probably because it’s supposed to. The study also found that even though college students were often willing to discuss their hook ups with friends, they notably kept the details out of the discussion. Talking about who hooked up with whom was common, but what that exactly entailed, less so. It seems the phrase offers a way of divulging information — which, yes, could still be considered gossip — but also provides an element of mystery about the encounter, which could protect privacy in some cases. And in today’s social media-obsessed, oversharing culture, that’s not a bad thing.

via No One Knows What ‘Hooking Up’ Entails — Not Even Those Who Are Doing It – TIME NewsFeed.

apps, ScatterBrain:  I could probably use this!

ScatterBrain — Collect your thoughts. Quickly. Simply. Beautifully.

BofA, job cuts, kith/kin:  Machete?

Current job cuts by U.S. lenders such as Bank of America are insufficient and they will likely need to slash even more before they can get their costs under control, a prominent U.S. banking analyst said on Tuesday.

“U.S. banks are using a pocket knife when what they really need is a machete,” CLSA banking analyst Mike Mayo. “I’m not saying to use the machete at one go, but more drastic measures are needed.”

Mayo, speaking at CLSA’s annual investor conference in Hong Kong, is famous for being a strong critic of Citigroup, a feud that began shortly after the 2008 financial crisis.

Banks in the United States are shedding jobs as stricter regulations and a tough second quarter for trading income take their toll on investment banking units in particular.

Bank of America said earlier this month it would cut 30,000 jobs to save up to $5 billion. It currently has a expense-to-revenue ratio of about 57 percent, and is trying to bring that down to 55 percent.

Outside of the United States, banks such as HSBC are also trying to bring down costs, with Europe’s biggest bank saying it wants to bring its expense ratio down to 48-52 percent by 2013 from about 57 percent currently. The bank says it plans to cut 30,000 jobs.

via US banks need headcount machete, not pocket knife-CLSA’s Mayo.

Google Doodles, Google, kith/kin:  What a great job for an artist … at least for a little while.  🙂

A few times a year Chronicle’s design department closes up shop early and heads out in search of inspiration. This fall we went to Google headquarters in Mountain View to meet the Google doodlers.

First we met up with head doodler Ryan Germick, who gave us a tour of the campus and answered all our incredulous questions. (Yes, that’s a beach volleyball court. Yes, people really use it.) The Google campus is pretty mind-boggling. Some of the highlights: Lush grounds with patio furniture galore. A van offering haircuts. On-site laundry. Beach volleyball. Free lunches and snacks. Did I mention you can bring your dog to work?

Then we got to the heart of the visit—getting to know the Google doodlers. The doodlers reconfigure the Google logo to commemorate everything from Thanksgiving to Freddie Mercury’s birthday. They’ve done more than 300 doodles for the U.S. and more than 700 doodles internationally. Considering their output, the doodlers are a surprisingly small bunch—I counted five illustrators and two engineers.

via Chronicle Books Blog » Blog Archive » From the Design Desk: Visit to Google.

economics, Great Recession, class warfare, religion v. economics, surveys:   Survey says, “”They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work .”

About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith.

“They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work,” says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

BLOG: What do you think?

MORE: Entrpreneurs more likely to pray, meditate

“They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It’s a new religious economic idealism,” with politicians “invoking God while chanting ‘less government,'” he says.

“When Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann say ‘God blesses us, God watches us, God helps us,’ religious conservatives get the shorthand. They see ‘government’ as a profane object — a word that is used to signal working against God’s plan for the United States. To argue against this is to argue with their religion.”

Most (81%) political conservatives say there is one “ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work,” Froese says.

via Baylor Religion Survey reveals many see God steering economy – USATODAY.com.

economics, Great Recession, class warfare, religion v. economics: “It’s not ‘class warfare,’ it’s Christianity”

President Obama just drew the economic battlelines more clearly in his call to raise $1.5 trillion in new revenue primarily through increased taxes on the wealthy, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and closing tax loopholes.

“Class warfare!” countered the Republicans.

Americans sharing more equally in the burden of pulling our country out of massive debt, and using tax revenue to stimulate the economy and create jobs isn’t “class warfare,” it’s actually Christianity.

Many Christians are starting to find the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few very rich people to be an enormous moral and ethical problem. Catholic theologians and ethicists took pains recently to challenge Speaker Boehner on Catholic values in regard to his views, particularly on the economy.

But not all Christians agree with those perspectives. Today, not only is economics a political battleground, it is a faith battleground particularly in Christianity. According to some Christian conservatives, unregulated capitalism, with all its inherent inequalities of wealth, is God’s plan.

“Christian Captialism” in their view, isn’t an oxymoron, it’s God’s will as revealed in the Bible. God wants you to own property and make money, and if some make a lot more money than others, that’s okay. In fact, it’s God’s will too.

These competing views are very influential in our current public debates. The Christian conservative viewpoint, however, has been more instrumental in shaping our political shift to the right in recent years, not only on social issues, but also on economic issues. You can see this display in the “God Hates Taxes” signs carried at Tea Party rallies.

Let me be clear as I can be. We need to understand the so-called “Christian” underpinnings of the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-the-poor, “let him die” approach to economics and public policy today as completely un-Christian, as well as un-American. What we need to do is re-establish our national values of fairness, equality and opportunity for all, values that I believe are actually the core of the Christian faith, (as well as of other religious traditions and of humanist values).

via It’s not ‘class warfare,’ it’s Christianity – – The Washington Post.

cloud computing, technology, economy:  “Cloud computing isn’t revolutionary because it’s changing the mode of technology delivery. The real revolution that is underway is that it is opening up new lines of business in information technology or service delivery — even among non-IT businesses.”

Economists and pundits have long feared the emergence of what they called “hollow corporations,” or businesses that don’t actually produce actual goods or services themselves, but instead act as brokers or intermediaries relying on networks of suppliers and partners. But now, thanks to technology, successful businesses surprisingly are often brokers of services, delivered via technology, from providers and on to consumers.

Where are these services coming from?  Look to the cloud.

Yes, cloud computing enables cost savings — as companies can access technology and applications on-demand on an as-needed basis and pay for only what they use. And yes, this fosters greater agility, with less reliance on legacy IT assets. But the changes go even deeper that that. Consider the ways cloud computing is altering our business landscape:

“Loosely coupled” corporations

Blurring of IT consumers and providers

Startups on a dime

More software innovation

Rise of “micro-outsourcing”

Cloud computing isn’t revolutionary because it’s changing the mode of technology delivery. The real revolution that is underway is that it is opening up new lines of business in information technology or service delivery — even among non-IT businesses.

via Cloud Computing May be a Shot in the Arm our Economy Needs – Forbes.

G.K Chesterton, authors, books:  Must read some Chesterton … With a cartoon drawing as attractive as the one below, he must be great.

Rethinking Chesterton 1

It has been over half a century since Maisie Ward’s major biography of G.K Chesterton (1874-1936) appeared in 1943. Since then, Chesterton has largely been a darling of Anglophiles, conservatives, and orthodox Roman Catholics, the sort of writer often invoked in the pages of the National Review. And oh, yes, read by mystery-story lovers everywhere for his Father Brown series.

More recently, however, he has begun to find a sympathetic audience in wider literary circles, as evidenced by G.K. Chesterton, Ian Ker’s detailed and compelling new biography from Oxford University Press, and a generous collection of his writings this year from Everyman’s Library, selected by Ker, a senior research fellow at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University. From my viewpoint, it’s time Chesterton was taken seriously as a major critic and biographer, a thinker of sharp wit and deep learning.

Chesterton’s work includes nearly every type of writing—poetry, philosophy, literary criticism, biography, political and social argument, playwriting, detective fiction, and Christian apologetics. Yet he was, in the main, a journalist at heart, pumping out weekly columns for a variety of papers, especially The Daily Mail, on every conceivable subject, and his devoted audience included the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, who was “thunderstruck” by Chesterton’s fierce independence of thought.

Chesterton was a lifelong Christian who, as Ker shows, moved gradually but inexorably from the Anglo-Catholicism of his childhood to Rome (he was received into the Roman Church in 1922). Even then, he remained complicated and ironical, reassessing such major figures in the history of Christianity as Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi—an unlikely duo, drawn from opposite ends of the Catholic temperament.

In truth, Chesterton was a natural democrat who identified more with the beer-drinking masses than snobs with glasses of sherry in their Oxford college gardens. His lifelong interest in the Middle Ages was less about a love of feudalism and hierarchy than a warm identification with peasants and craftsmen. As Ker notes, he held in high regard the idea of “self-government,” which he saw in the medieval guild system, of which Britain’s “attenuated and threatened” trade unions were but “a ghost.”

It is the quality of wonder that so many readers and critics have lost sight of in the priggish, conservative Chesterton they seem to prefer. This man was an eagle, flying high over the barren landscapes of modernism, and his astute challenges to mundane views challenge us to rethink thoughtless positions on a variety of subjects.

His good cheer was not baseless optimism: It arose from a deep conviction that the human imagination is glorious, has its origins in divine realities, and refuses to lie down. He believed, in a strange way, in belief itself as the ground of experience. As he once said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

via Rethinking Chesterton – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

apps, Instagram 2.0:  I never mastered Insatagram 1.0 … and now I have  live filters and higher resolution photos.

The best gets better: Instagram 2.0 adds live filters and higher resolution photos |

It’s hard to believe that Instagram launched only about a year ago. In a mere three months it accumulated its first million users, and now supports over eight million pocket photographers.

Its success is in no small part due to its easy-to-understand value proposition: instantaneous photo sharing with a creative mix of filters. As founder and CEO Kevin Systrom told Fast Company back in February: “You have to explain everything you do, and people have to understand it, within seconds.”

The challenge, of course, is innovating upon the existing app without cutting into its simplicity. And yet, Instagram 2.0 manages to succeed at this beautifully.

via The Best Gets Better: Instagram 2.0 Adds Live Filters, Higher Resolution Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Google+:  Since they never gave me an invite … yes my feelings were hurt … I may just pass.

Google Inc. has opened up its Google Plus social network to everyone after testing it with a limited audience for 12 weeks.

Google said in a blog post Tuesday that it will now let anyone sign up for Google Plus. Previously the service was only available by invitation, though it got easier to join in recent weeks.

The company also added a search capability to Google Plus that will let users sift through posts on the site.

Google Plus is the online search leader’s attempt to compete with Facebook, by far the world’s most populous online social network with more than 750 million users. Tuesday’s upgrades come two days ahead of Facebook’s f8 conference in San Francisco, where the company is expected to unveil several new features.

Google also made Plus’s “Hangouts” feature —which lets users video chat with multiple people at a time— available on smartphones with front-facing cameras. The feature currently works with phones running Google’s Android system. Google says support for Apple devices is coming soon.

A new service called “Hangouts On Air,” meanwhile, lets users broadcast their videos online or view these videos as spectators. Google said it’s starting off with a limited number of broadcasters. Google plans to host its first such hangout with Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am. on Wednesday night.

via Google opens Plus social network to everyone  | ajc.com.

American Girl, Chicago, travel, kith/kin:  So, the The Talbott Hotel in Chicago is offering an American Girl Package … comes with  a Keepsake American Girl® doll-sized travel bed … Oh, if only Molly was still that age!

American Girl Place Package – Spirit

Package rates start at $185

Personalized welcome letter

Milk and two Sprinkles cupcakes at turndown

Keepsake American Girl® doll-sized travel bed

Access to the “girl blog @ the talbott”

Complimentary continental breakfast for two

via Packages & Gift Certificates at The Talbott Hotel | The Talbott Hotel.

apps, social networking: I don’t think I want a “nightclub” on my smartphone.

If social networks such as Facebook are about keeping in touch with friends, and online-dating sites about finding a long-term relationship, Badoo is about something in between: meeting people spontaneously. Some call it “nightclub-as-a-service”.

When users sign up, they upload photos of themselves and provide such details as age, sex and interests. Other users can discover them based on this information as well as by browsing the photos. Originally the service was only available on the web, but the firm now also offers applications on Facebook and for smartphones. The mobile application, for instance, lets users adjust how widely they fancy casting their net. If they set the dial to one mile, say, and find somebody they would like to meet, they can strike up an online chat and then get together.

Even more intriguing is how Badoo makes money. The basic service is free. But if users want to increase the chances of being discovered, they can pay £1.50 ($2.36) or a similar amount in their country’s currency to rise to the top of the list. Their ranking drops as others put down money—which can create somewhat of a bidding war for the top slots. Users can also take out a subscription for £5, which gives them “super powers”, such as being able to view others’ profiles anonymously.

Without any marketing, Badoo has managed to become one of the most popular online meeting services worldwide. It is available in 35 languages and boasts 124m registered users—a number that is growing by about 125,000 a day. Its Facebook application has more than 16.4m monthly active users, making it one of the most popular applications on the social network. And although only about 5% of users pay, the firm claims to be on its way of exceeding $100m in annual revenues.

via Social networking: A nightclub on your smartphone | The Economist.




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