Posts Tagged ‘google

03
Aug
13

8.3.13 … Kelly Clarkson and Jane Austen: Who knew? … Jane Austen’s Ring departure a “misfortune” …

Kelly Clarkson, Jane Austen’s Ring,  UK government intervention, U.K.’s Department for Culture Media and Sport, saved for the nation, misfortune, google+,  ABC News:  Never noticed anything on google+, but this one caught my eye.  My take … the Brits have stolen artifacts from every continent, and they won’t let someone export a ring legally bought??  I do think they have a valid point, but really?

Google+

We Buy Books

1 day ago Public

+1’d by

The government is trying to stop singer Kelly Clarkson taking Jane Austen’s ring out of the country after she bought it for £150,000! Should it stay in the UK? DL

via Google+.

A few more details from ABC …

Kelly Clarkson Blocked From Taking Jane Austen’s Ring From UK – ABC News.

AP kelly clarkson jane austen nt 130802 16x9 608 Kelly Clarkson Blocked From Taking Jane Austens Ring From UK

Replica of Jane Austen’s ring that Kelly Clarkson’s fiance reportedly had made for her. (Photo credit: AP Photo| U.K. Department for Culture, Media & Sport )

Aug 2, 2013 1:11pm

The British government is trying to stop Kelly Clarkson from taking a ring that belonged to novelist Jane Austen out of the country.

The chart-topping singer and “American Idol” winner bought the turquoise and gold ring at an auction last year for more than $230,000, according to the BBC.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey made the decision to defer granting an export license for the ring “on the grounds that it is so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune,” according to a statement from the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Thursday.

“Jane Austen’s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope that a U.K. buyer comes forward so this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation,” Vaizey said in a statement.

The ring is one of only three pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to the iconic English author of such classics as “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma” and “Persuasion.”

The ring was first passed on to Austen’s sister, Cassandra, who then gave it to her sister-in-law Eleanor Austen when she became engaged to Henry Thomas Austen. The ring has remained in the Austen family ever since, according to the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

“Jane Austen placed great significance on jewelry’s link to personal relationships both in her life and in her novels,” the Department of Culture said in a statement. “Often reflecting the characters of wearers in her novels, jewels were frequently much more than symbols of vanity and excess.”

Vaizey is offering U.K. buyers a chance to keep the ring in the U.K. Potential buyers have until Sept. 30 to match the $232,836 price tag. The deadline could be extended to Dec. 30 if”a serious intention to raise funds” is made. If someone does not come forward to match the price, the export license will be granted.

Kelly Clarkson’s fiance, Brandon Blackstock, a talent manager and Reba McEntire’s stepson, reportedly had a replica made for her.  Clarkson did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

via Kelly Clarkson Blocked From Taking Jane Austen’s Ring From UK – ABC News.

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.

02
Oct
11

10.2.2011 … I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina … Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event …

kith/kin: Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event.  Prime at Lenox Square was a great choice.  Great to be with the siblings and my wonderful eighty-something mom.  She has the best mind I know.  And we did not discuss the Braves.

gasoline prices, travel: I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina.

Occupy Wall Street Movement, bankers v. revolutionaries, Wall Street v. Main Street:  I hard on NPR that this movement was the liberal’s tea party before it gt politicized.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has taken over a park in Manhattan’s financial district and turned it into a revolutionary camp. Hundreds of young people chant slogans against “banksters” or corporate tycoons. Occasionally, a few even pull off their clothes, which always draws news cameras.

“Occupy Wall Street” was initially treated as a joke, but after a couple of weeks it’s gaining traction. The crowds are still tiny by protest standards — mostly in the hundreds, swelling during periodic marches — but similar occupations are bubbling up in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. David Paterson, the former New York governor, dropped by, and labor unions are lending increasing support.

I tweeted that the protest reminded me a bit of Tahrir Square in Cairo, and that raised eyebrows. True, no bullets are whizzing around, and the movement won’t unseat any dictators. But there is the same cohort of alienated young people, and the same savvy use of Twitter and other social media to recruit more participants. Most of all, there’s a similar tide of youthful frustration with a political and economic system that protesters regard as broken, corrupt, unresponsive and unaccountable.

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

Anwar al Awlaki, justified killing, war on terror, slippery slopes:  This killing of  a US citizen is going to be debated … “due process in war.”

Anwar al Awlaki’s rise from American-born cleric to key terror plotter had put him atop the U.S. terror “hit list.” Under the code name Objective Troy, intelligence tracked Awlaki for months near his hideout in Yemen.

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism – and a legal challenge – over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, “due process in war.”

The killing of a U.S. jihadist

“The administration has tried to make very clear that this was an act of self-defense, that Awlaki was part of not only al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, but he was the external operations chief. He was ongoing in his plotting against American citizens – not only having done so in the past, but continuing to do so in an imminent way,” said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate.

“So based on the rules of self-defense, based on the principles that we’re at war with al Qaeda and the fact that he was a part of the group, self-professed, all of that suggests that it’s lawful and appropriate to go after him and to kill him,” Zarate said.

When asked if the drone attack against a U.S. citizen – in effect, execution without trial – sets a precedent, Zarate said, “It’s a good question – you run the risk of a slippery slope here. I think people are asking very appropriate questions about what the limits of the government’s power can be in terms of going after Americans who are part of al Qaeda, and we’ve seen in the recent past that Americans have formed more and more part of the al Qaeda network – not just Anwar al-Awlaki, but others. There are important questions to ask about what the process is and what the procedures are to determine who is an imminent danger to the United States.”

via Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki – CBS News.

Former President Bill Clinton, President Obama, history:  They always say history repeats itself.  I am amazed how Bill Clinton seems to keep himself in the press. … “vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.”

Bill Clinton is using the 20th anniversary of the launch of his presidential bid to offer a vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.

Clinton told a crowd of about 5,000 people gathered outside the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock that Obama faces a different set of challenges than he did in 1992. But Clinton says Obama faces the same debate over the role of government.

Clinton spoke at an event marking the anniversary of his 1991 announcement that he’d run for president. He told the crowd that he decided to run because he believed the country needed a new kind of politics and a new economics.

via Clinton: Obama faces same debate from ’92 bid – CBS News.

Groupon, deal sites, marketing:   “Fading allure?”

Shopping coupons have a long history, and they will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in local merchants’ efforts to attract customers. But what has become apparent is a basic contradiction at the heart of the daily deals industry on the Internet.

The consumers were being told: You will never pay full price again. The merchants were hearing: You are going to get new customers who will stick around and pay full price. Disappointment was inevitable.

Some entrepreneurs are questioning the entire premise of the industry. Jasper Malcolmson, co-founder of the deal site Bloomspot, compares the basic deal offer with lenders’ marketing subprime loans during the housing boom.

Even worse from the merchants’ point of view, the popularity of the coupon sites fed a relentless bargain-hunting mentality among customers that did not use them. “Every day, we get an e-mail or phone call saying, Can we match someone else’s price?” said Ms. Bengel of Wellpath. “We’re not Wal-Mart.”

And the long-term reputation of the merchant may be at risk, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Harvard that analyzed thousands of Groupon and Living Social deals. The researchers found that fans of daily deals were on average hard to please. After they ate at the restaurant or visited the spa, they went on Yelp and grumbled about it. This pulled down the average Yelp rating by as much as half a point.

“Offering a Groupon puts a merchant’s reputation at risk,” said John Byers, a professor of computer science at Boston University who worked on the project. “The audience being reached may be more critical,” he said, “than their typical audience or have a more tenuous fit with the merchant.”

Even Amazon, the retailing juggernaut, has found quick riches are elusive. Its response in New York has been tepid. A subscription to The New York Observer had 84 takers, as did a “Sex and the City” tour. A Latin cooking class attracted 61 people, an Asian bistro 109.

Kevin Walters, manager of the Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club on Third Avenue in Manhattan, said he was “very, very surprised” to sell only 77 deals through Amazon. “It should have been huge,” he said. Amazon declined to comment.

Despite the lackluster response, Mr. Walters will probably try another coupon. “I’m in East Harlem,” he said. “If the rest of the economy is shaky, then East Harlem is depressed. One way or another, I need to get people here.”

via Deal Sites Have Fading Allure for Merchants – NYTimes.com.

John F. Kennedy, Cold War, bomb shelters, Peanut Island, FL, history: I have toured the shelter for Congress at the Greenbriar and it was very interesting.  If I were nearby, i would probably go see this one.

President John F. Kennedy, who was facing a series of nail-biting face-offs with the Soviets, even recommended a fallout shelter for all Americans “as rapidly as possible” in an October 1961 speech. Two months later, Kennedy was presented with his own top-secret tropical bomb shelter off Palm Beach, Fla., on an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.

Few even know it is here, but some area residents believe that the bunker is a must-see attraction that could put Peanut Island, a manmade islet, on the map.

Termed the “Detachment Hotel” in documents, the fallout shelter here was built by Navy Seabees in less than two weeks at the end of December 1961 and sits a short stroll from a rambling colonial-style house that doubled as a United States Coast Guard station. Deftly camouflaged by trees, it was hard to spot. If people asked, they would be told it was a munitions depot, nothing more. Kennedy visited the bunker twice during a drill.

“The government never declared it existed until 1974,” said Anthony Miller, a member of the executive board of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, a nonprofit organization that leases part of the land on Peanut Island and runs a charter school and gives tours of the bunker and the former Coast Guard station. “But it was the worst-kept secret in Palm Beach.”

With the Soviets intent on shipping nuclear warheads to nearby Cuba, Kennedy was assured a radiation-proof haven a mere five-minute helicopter hop from his oceanfront winter home on millionaire’s row in Palm Beach. Peanut Island sits just between Palm Beach and its ritzy companion, Singer Island. It was intended to be used as a terminal for shipping peanut oil; that never happened, but the name stuck.

To ensure the president’s safety during the summer, when he visited the Kennedy compound on Hyannis Port, Mass., a sister shelter was built on Nantucket Island in 1961; it has never been open to the public.

The Florida bunker, which fell into disrepair in the 1990s, was cleaned up and has been open for tours since 1999, shortly after the museum leased the land. Buried under layers of concrete and built with quarter-inch-thick walls of steel and lead, the bunker looks like something out of the television show “Lost.”

via For Kennedy, a Secret Shelter Was a Cold War Camelot – NYTimes.com.

Gov. Mitt Romney, politics, political strategy, 2012 Presidential Election:  Maybe his strategy is to play both sides … and to me closing loopholes seems like a fair way to solve the tax shortfall because loopholes are usually geared to a special interest group.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

via Romney’s Strategies as Governor Bucked His C.E.O. Image – NYTimes.com.

culture, Great Recession, waste, Halloween:  Halloween used to a home-made holiday … a sheet and a pillowcase … $& Billion???

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend $6.9 billion this year for Halloween. To put that number into context, the same NRF survey found that Americans planned to spend $3.3 billion as recently as 2005.

This biggest chunk of this money — $2.5 billion of it — will go to costumes. Of that total, a little more than $300 million will be spent on costumes for pets. We’ll also drop $2 billion on candy and just under that on decorations.

This year isn’t an anomaly, either. Halloween spending did decline in 2009, when it dropped by about $1 billion to $4.8 billion. But by last year, it had bounced back to $5.8 billion.

via Now That’s Creepy: Americans Will Blow $7 Billion on Halloween | Moneyland | TIME.com.

NYT, food, drink, media:  I actually enjoyed this interactive issue and especially this article on food cravings.

This Food and Drink Issue of the magazine — the fourth annual — is full of questions. I have two of my own, and they’re the same questions I’ve been asking myself since I began cooking 40 years ago. How can food change my life? And how can food change the world?

I grew up during a time when the awareness of the quality of food was practically nil. It’s true that in the ’50s and even the ’60s people still cooked, even if much of the food was “convenient,” like Jell-O mold or tuna tetrazzini. It’s also true that pigs were still raised on farms, most vegetables were seasonal and hyperprocessed junk hadn’t yet achieved hegemony. But back then we took the good stuff for granted and never thought it would get anything but better.

The ’70s and ’80s were a more optimistic era, because cooking was in the news and the American food revolution was in full swing. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t a revolution but a civil war. Our side featured good people arguing for real, mostly simple cooking done with fresh, well- raised ingredients, a retreat from convenience and overly fancy stuff and a return to the basics. Arrayed against us in this fight — a struggle for the American palate and ultimately the global diet — was Big Food, spreading like the Blob.

It was hardly a fair fight: we were naïve, optimistic and unprepared, armed with spatulas, good food and journalism. The bad guys had nuclear weapons like scientific marketing and advertising, billions of dollars and, worst of all, government support.

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

But can cravings for sweet or salt or fat be classified as actually, legitimately addictive? The processed-food industry doesn’t much like the A-word, preferring its own coinage: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction. (Among other examples, fasting — the food equivalent of needing a hit — doesn’t result in enhanced cravings.) The American Beverage Association paid for a 2006 review that makes a similar argument about caffeine. While some may ingest the stimulant to suppress withdrawal symptoms, the study declared, caffeine “does no harm to the individual or to society, and its users are not compelled to consume it.”

The junk-food industry may have a point. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that drugs can set off brain responses that are far more powerful than those caused by even the most luscious food. On the other hand, she notes, “clearly, processed sugar in certain individuals can produce these compulsive patterns of intake.” The difficulty of trying to kick a food habit, however, is that you can’t just go cold turkey from all food. Still, the best strategy for the afflicted, according to Volkow, is to mimic drug programs and completely avoid foods that cause the most trouble. “Don’t try to limit yourself to two Oreo cookies, because if the reward is very potent, no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it.”

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former President  Bill Clinton, Back to Work, books:   Everybody want in on the solution …

“Back to Work” addresses the subject Mr Obama has been weakest with: job creation. Mr Clinton sounds some classic themes from the 1990s with a bit of fashionable greenery flown in. The private and public sector should be partners, not antagonists: anti-government rhetoric may be good for politics (and TV ratings) but it is bad for policy-making. A modern economy requires a government that is active but smart rather than one that is active but driven by vested interests. But the blurb also promises some “specific recommendations” on how to put people back to work and create new businesses—and even double America’s exports. It is impossible to judge whether this is just flannel or serious argument until the book is released next month. It is also far easier to make recommendations from the comfort of retirement than it is to govern. But a president who presided over America’s Indian summer—a period of sustained growth and disciplined government—should at least have something to say to a new generation of politicians who live in a far stormier time.

via Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work”: Missing Bill | The Economist.

architectural styles, polls: Well, how well do you know your architectural styles?

Colonial-style houses are best-sellers in the Washington area, comprising 40 percent of all home sales in the area.

How do you know if your house is one of those, and why does it matter?

As Susan Straight reports in this week’s Real Estate section, “real estate professionals say that knowing your Colonial from your Federal- and Tudor-style home really matters when it comes to buying and selling. That’s because certain styles are more popular than others, and a home’s style can factor into its resale value, agents say.”

via How well do you know your architectural styles? – Post User Polls – The Washington Post.

street art, websites, lists: From a postsecret tweet: Street Anatomy,   Wooster Collective and  Banksy – Outdoors.

NBA lockout,Stephen Curry, Davidson College:  You go Steph …

It was an awkward moment, that first day of class at history of education, when the professor did a roll call.

“Wendell Curry?”

“Actually, my name is Wardell,” the student replied. “But people call me Stephen.”

And with that, any hope of blending in was also history. The other students, mostly freshmen, stared and pointed because this was not your usual Davidson classmate.

via NBA lockout opens door for Stephen Curry’s education | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

business, management, lists:  The Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say  … this one struck me … most big firms close off access to such sites on the internet.  I agree that if they require you to be accessible 24/7, you should be allowed a little freedom 9-5 in exchange.

I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.

Decent managers have figured out that there is no clock, not for white-collar knowledge workers, anyway. Knowledge workers live, sleep, and eat their jobs. Their e-mail inboxes fill up just as fast after 5:00 p.m. as they do before. Their work is never done, and it’s never going to be done. That’s O.K. Employees get together in the office during the daytime hours to do a lot of the work together, and then they go home and try to live their lives in the small spaces of time remaining. If they need a mental break during the day, they can go on PeopleofWalmart.com or Failblog.org without fear of managerial reprisal. We are not robots. We need to stop and shake off the corporate cobwebs every now and then. If a person is sitting in the corner staring up at the ceiling, you could be watching him daydream—or watching him come up with your next million-dollar product idea. (Or doing both things at once.)

via Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say – BusinessWeek.

bike messengers, culture,  NYC, random:  You never know what you will find …

The scene, more reminiscent of a garage-band festival than a bicycle event, captured the spirit of the East Coast Messenger Stage Race, Mr. Horse’s hastily arranged, informal competition for a small group of hardy riders — mostly bicycle messengers — from across the country. The five-day race, through a tangled network of roads from Boston to Washington, was the latest project for Mr. Horse, a competitive cyclist and bike advocate who has emerged in recent years as one of the best-known figures in the city’s brigade of professional messengers.

Mr. Horse, 29, has raced against a sport utility vehicle from Harlem to Brooklyn in a Web advertisement for Mercedes-Benz, worked as a producer and cameraman on a reality series about bicycle messengers for the Travel Channel and performed stunts for more than two months for “Premium Rush,” a bike-centered action movie to be released next year. He has won national and international messenger competitions, as well as sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Oakley sunglasses and the urban bike-wear company Outlier.

But there is a paradox at work here: just as corporate brands and Hollywood try to harness the increasing visibility of urban cycling through its most recognizable character, the grease-grizzled New York City messenger, that subculture is dwindling in the face of higher-tech competition.

The contradictions don’t end there — what kind of grunt job garners brand sponsorships? — but such is the changing state of the messenger’s role as it has morphed from job to lifestyle. The Stage Race, too, is more about messengering as a rugged cowboy ideal than as an efficient way to shuttle important documents between corporate offices. Surely, few — if any — have sent a package from Boston to Washington by bicycle.

Amid this shift, Mr. Horse has become a symbol for a group that prides itself on standing apart.

via The Bike Messenger Goes Hollywood as a Culture Dwindles – NYTimes.com.

David Gerbi – “revolutionary Jew”,  Libya, synagogue, post- Arab Spring, restoration, history: “What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

David Gerbi is a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, but to Libyan rebels he was the “revolutionary Jew.” He returned to his homeland after 44 years in exile to help oust Muammar Qaddafi, and to take on what may be an even more challenging mission.

That job began Sunday, when he took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall. Behind it: the door to Tripoli’s crumbling main synagogue, unused since Qaddafi expelled Libya’s small Jewish community early in his decades-long rule.

Gerbi knocked down the wall, said a prayer and cried.

“What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

The Star of David is still visible inside and outside the peach-colored Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s walled Old City. An empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept still reads “Shema Israel” — “Hear, O Israel” — in faded Hebrew. But graffiti is painted on the walls, and the floor and upper chambers are covered in garbage — plastic water bottles, clothes, mattresses, drug paraphernalia and dead pigeon carcasses.

via Libyan “revolutionary Jew” to restore synagogue – CBS News.

cities, urban development, homebuilding, suburbs:  Very interest article about homebuilding and what need to happen with the next generation of homes…

While we obsess over the new in terms of what we keep in our houses — the ever-increasing speed and functionality of our Smartphones, entertainment options built into refrigerators, sophisticated devices that monitor, analyze and report on our sleep cycles, even the superior technology of the running shoes we put on before heading out the flimsy fiberboard door — we’re incredibly undemanding of the houses themselves. These continue to be built the same way they have for over a century, and usually not as well. Walls and windows are thin, materials cheap, design (and I use the term loosely) not well-considered. The building process is a protracted affair, taking far too long and creating embarrassing amounts of building waste (over 50 percent of all waste produced in the United States, in fact).

Then there’s a company like Blu Homes, which has demonstrated a clear commitment to merging housing and high tech — to the tune of a $25 million investment, in fact. They recognized the tremendous inefficiencies in home-building and have developed 3D technology that allows for personal customization (clients can click a mouse to alter floor plans, choose green features and select finishes), as well as a proprietary building process and innovative steel-framing technology that allows their homes, as their Web site explains, “to be built to the highest aesthetic and environmental standards and be delivered quickly and economically nationwide.”

But following a long line of V.C. types dabbling in housing, Blu has set its sights on a small slice of an already niche market — high-end modern prefab, which accounts for maybe half of a percent of the less than 5 percent of architect-designed homes in the country. Devoting this much R&D and software development to so few homes feels akin to installing a $250,000 solar array on a garden shed. Why not devote that energy to transforming cookie-cutter developer homes?

Chang writes, “The disconnection between the rising diversity of housing needs and the monotony of housing production speaks to the tenacity of the postwar American dream — the enduring allure of the detached house with front lawn and backyard patio — as well as to the profitability of catering to these aspirations.”

Chang sees this moment — with millions of houses now in foreclosure, many deteriorating or abandoned — as one to seize, and I couldn’t agree more. It is possible, he considers, that once the economy revives we will simply return to home-building-as-usual:

But right now we have an opportunity to rethink suburban housing: to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but rather to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population — not only to the so-called traditional households but also to the growing ranks of those who prefer to rent rather than buy, who either can’t afford or don’t want a 2,000-square-foot-plus detached house, who are retired and living on fixed incomes and maybe driving less, who want granny or nanny flats, who want to pay less for utilities and reduce their carbon footprint, and so on.

Housing can’t be equated with high-tech: a home is, or was, a long-term investment not beholden to the dizzying speeds of change and innovation that drive say, Apple, which must continually reinvent and redefine its product to meet consumer demand. But housing is woefully behind the times, and now it needs to see opportunity in crisis, not wait it out by launching pop-up shops and interactive Web sites that empower consumers to such revolutionary things as customizing bathroom tile and kitchen backsplashes.

We’re beyond the point of a fresh coat of paint and a new sales pitch. If we’re going to continue to hold on to the single-family home, we need to transform it. There is a demand for smaller, more energy-efficient homes in less car-dependent neighborhoods; all aspects of the industry, from designers to lenders to planners to consumers, should meet it. In this era of anti-government fervor, subsidizing the American Dream isn’t an option; transforming it is the only one we’ve got.

via Shifting the Suburban Paradigm – NYTimes.com.

cities, photo gallery:  Great photo gallery/slide show of a city and its geometry, as seen from above … unfortunately I can’t pull the pictures.

“New York reveals itself only at a certain height, a certain distance, a certain speed!” Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a half-century ago, before the city grew even higher. The ideal perch, Sartre suggested, is not at the pedestrian’s height, distance or speed, but in the sky. Here, benches and mounds of shrubbery combine to form an urban oasis of curlicues, now being redesigned, at the Jacob K. Javits Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

via City Geometry, Seen From Above – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

Supreme Court , 2011 term, criminal cases,  First Amendment cases:  It will be an interesting year.

“The docket seems to be changing,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told reporters at a judicial conference in August.

“A lot of big civil cases are going to arbitration,” he said. “I don’t see as many of the big civil cases.”

Still, the shift in focus toward criminal and First Amendment cases will soon be obscured if, as expected, the justices agree to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law. That case promises to be a once-in-a-generation blockbuster.

In the meantime, the justices will hear an extraordinary set of cases that together amount to a project that could overhaul almost every part of the criminal justice system.

The court will decide whether the police need a warrant to use advanced technology to track suspects, whether jails may strip-search people arrested for even the most minor offenses, whether defendants have a right to competent lawyers to help them decide whether to plead guilty, when eyewitness evidence may be used at trial, and what should happen when prosecutors withhold evidence.

“The Supreme Court has positioned itself to improve the quality of the criminal justice process from beginning to end,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University.

The court will continue its intense engagement with the First Amendment. But where earlier cases involved quirky issues like dog fights, funeral protests and the Seven Aphorisms of a fringe church called Summum, the marquee First Amendment cases this term involve issues of sweep and consequence.

In one, the court will rule on whether the government may ban swearing and nudity on broadcast television. In another, the justices will decide for the first time whether there is a “ministerial exception” to employment laws that allows religious institutions to discriminate in ways others employers cannot.

The health care case is not the only juggernaut looming on the horizon. In the next term or two, the court may well address same-sex marriage, affirmative action and illegal immigration. For now, the justices are focused on criminal cases, especially ones concerning the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a fair trial.

via Supreme Court Turns to Criminal and First Amendment Cases – NYTimes.com.

Google, advertising, developing countries, Global economy, internet access, corporate social responsibility, India:  OK, Google doe they need internet access before clean water, medicine, healthy supply of food?

LIKE the travelling fairs that still roam India, a snazzy white bus trundles along the subcontinent’s B-roads, stopping in small towns for a few days at a time and inviting locals into another world. But in place of tightrope-walking girls and performing monkeys, its main attraction is access to the internet. For some visitors, it is their first time online.

The Google Internet bus is a free, mobile cybercafe dreamed up by the search giant and run in association with BSNL, a large state-owned internet service provider (ISP). It has covered over 43,000km and passed through 120 towns in 11 states since it hit the road on February 3rd, 2009. Google estimates that 1.6m people have been offered their first online experience as a result. Of those, 100,000 have signed up for an internet connection of their own. Like a high-school drug dealer, though admittedly less nefarious, the idea is to hook them young and keep them coming back. In return for its efforts, Google says it gains a better understanding of their needs. That, in turn, lets it develop products for the potentially huge local market.

via Internet in developing countries: Hailing the Google bus | The Economist.

iPhone, psychology, love, addiction:  OK, I love my iPhone, literally.

WITH Apple widely expected to release its iPhone 5 on Tuesday, Apple addicts across the world are getting ready for their latest fix.

But should we really characterize the intense consumer devotion to the iPhone as an addiction? A recent experiment that I carried out using neuroimaging technology suggests that drug-related terms like “addiction” and “fix” aren’t as scientifically accurate as a word we use to describe our most cherished personal relationships. That word is “love.”

As a branding consultant, I have followed Apple from its early days as a cult brand to its position today as one of the most valuable, widely admired companies on earth. A few years back, I conducted an experiment to examine the similarities between some of the world’s strongest brands and the world’s greatest religions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests, my team looked at subjects’ brain activity as they viewed consumer images involving brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson and religious images like rosary beads and a photo of the pope. We found that the brain activity was uncannily similar when viewing both types of imagery.

This past summer, I gathered a group of 20 babies between the ages of 14 and 20 months. I handed each one a BlackBerry. No sooner had the babies grasped the phones than they swiped their little fingers across the screens as if they were iPhones, seemingly expecting the screens to come to life. It appears that a whole new generation is being primed to navigate the world of electronics in a ritualized, Apple-approved way.

Earlier this year, I carried out an fMRI experiment to find out whether iPhones were really, truly addictive, no less so than alcohol, cocaine, shopping or video games. In conjunction with the San Diego-based firm MindSign Neuromarketing, I enlisted eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 25. Our 16 subjects were exposed separately to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone.

In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects’ brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects’ brains didn’t just see the vibrating iPhone, they “heard” it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also “saw” it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia.

But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

In short, the subjects didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction. Instead, they loved their iPhones.

As we embrace new technology that does everything but kiss us on the mouth, we risk cutting ourselves off from human interaction. For many, the iPhone has become a best friend, partner, lifeline, companion and, yes, even a Valentine. The man or woman we love most may be seated across from us in a romantic Paris bistro, but his or her 8GB, 16GB or 32GB rival lies in wait inside our pockets and purses.

My best advice? Shut off your iPhone, order some good Champagne and find love and compassion the old-fashioned way.

via You Love Your iPhone. Literally. – NYTimes.com.

Paying the Grace Forward, Kent Matlock, culture, Jerry Richardson, Denny’s, kudos: I don’t think this side of the story has been told.  Kudos to Mr. Matlock for telling this story.

Dr. Gloster bestowed his grace on me. Early in our careers, we all have people who are kind and considerate to us, and I learned to treasure them for two reasons: They’re rare, and their actions inspire you to pay that grace forward.

In the early 1980s, I was an advertising manager at Georgia-Pacific. I had worked for a few ad agencies before that, and wanted to return to that side of the industry. I couldn’t find a job with an agency, however, so I decided to start my own. My mother, Jean, who had taught accounting, joined me a few years later as our accountant. At the time we started, minority companies in Atlanta often partnered with larger organizations, which gave the smaller companies more opportunities. We experienced much of our growth that way.

My mother taught me loyalty, and I learned several lessons from clients. Jerry Richardson, C.E.O. of the restaurant company TW Services, then parent of Denny’s, taught me about doing the right thing. We were working on crisis communications for Denny’s after it was accused of racial discrimination in the early 1990s. Jerry didn’t just write checks to settle lawsuits; he asked me what the company could do to improve its practices. He instituted a thorough review and worked with the N.A.A.C.P. on new corporate policies.

Some people criticized me and called me names for working with Denny’s, but Jerry taught me never to let anyone define you. We emerged as an even stronger firm, and Denny’s is still here today.

via Matlock Advertising’s Chief, on Paying the Grace Forward – NYTimes.com.

Bruce Ivins, anthrax mail suspect, Kappa Kappa Gamma – UNC Chapter:  I was in KKG at UNC in the late 70s … very strange. “Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect.”

The Kappa connection

Haigwood had met Bruce Ivins in the mid-1970s during graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She recalled his incessant questions about her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Having joined the sorority as an undergraduate, Haigwood stayed involved as the adult adviser at the UNC chapter. Ivins, she says, always asked her for information about Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Nancy Haigwood says Bruce Ivins was obsessed with her sorority.

“Every time I talked to him, nearly, he would mention it,” says Haigwood. “And finally I said, ‘You know, Bruce, that’s enough!'”

Ivins’ obsession with Haigwood and her sorority continued years after they graduated from UNC. Ivins had started his job at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases — USAMRIID — at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 1980. Haigwood, too, was living and working in suburban Washington.

One day in 1982, she came home to find her sidewalk, fence and car spray-painted with red graffiti: “K K Γ” — the Greek letters of her sorority.

“Because of the Kappa connection, I immediately thought of Bruce Ivins,” Haigwood said.

via Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect – CNN.com.

headlines, War on Terror, drones, modern warfare: That one jumped out at me …

Wall Photos.

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.

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.

10
Sep
11

9.10.2011 … watched THE WORST movie last night … glad it was a redbox night … contemplating the 9/11 anniversary.

The President, USA Today editorial, 9/11:  Unity … that is one that describes the days and weeks following 9.11.2001.  But what also jumped out at me from his editorial is that Barack Obama was barely on the political spectrum 10 years ago.

Like every American, I’ll never forget how I heard the terrible news, on the car radio on my way to work in Chicago. Yet like a lot of younger Americans, our daughters have no memory of that day. Malia was just 3; Sasha was an infant. As they’ve grown, Michelle and I faced the same challenge as other parents in deciding how to talk with our children about 9/11.

One of the things we’ve told them is that the worst terrorist attack in American history also brought out the best in our country. Firefighters, police and first responders rushed into danger to save others. Americans came together in candlelight vigils, in our houses of worship and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Volunteers lined up to give blood and drove across the country to lend a hand. Schoolchildren donated their savings. Communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing. We were united, as Americans.

This is the true spirit of America we must reclaim this anniversary — the ordinary goodness and patriotism of the American people and the unity that we needed to move forward together, as one nation.

via Obama: Let’s reclaim the post-9/11 unity – USATODAY.com.

Bending All the Rules, movies, caveat emptor:  Sometimes a title catches your attention and you think that sounds cute.  It was not worth the $1.15 or my time to watch it … now that is bad!

Madden 12, video games, Great Recession:  We have an economy that produces entertainment.  No wonder we are in a recession.

U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories fell 21 percent in August to $649 million, according to market researcher NPD Group, partly because the popular “Madden NFL 12” released later in the month than usual.

via Late ‘Madden’ saps August video game sales  | ajc.com.

careers, assessment, current generation:  Instant feedback … instant gratification … hmmm

With many younger workers used to instant feedback—from text messages to Facebook and Twitter updates—annual reviews seem too few and far between. So companies are adopting quarterly, weekly or even daily feedback sessions.

Not surprisingly, Facebook Inc. exemplifies the trend. The social network’s 2,000 employees are encouraged to solicit and give small nuggets of feedback regularly, after meetings, presentations and projects. “You don’t have to schedule time with someone. It’s a 45-second conversation—’How did that go? What could be done better?” says Lori Goler, the Palo Alto, Calif., social-networking company’s vice president of human resources. More formal reviews happen twice a year.

For most companies, employee reviews are still an annual rite of passage. Some 51% of companies conduct formal performance reviews annually, while 41% of firms do semi-annual appraisals, according to a 2011 survey of 500 companies by the Corporate Executive Board Co., a research and advisory firm.

And increasing frequency may not make much of a difference if the performance appraisals are ineffective to begin with, say some. One academic review of more than 600 employee-feedback studies found that two-thirds of appraisals had zero or even negative effects on employee performance after the feedback was given. “Why is doing something stupid more often better than doing something stupid once a year?” asks Samuel A. Culbert, a professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles and the co-author of the book “Get Rid of the Performance Review!”

via Once-a-Year Review? Try Weekly, Daily… – WSJ.com.

Google, Zagat, mergers: Zagat used to be special.  Our law firm gave them as gifts to clients that travelled to NY frequently.  Will access to it via Google devalue it?

Zagat, whose pocket-sized maroon books rate restaurants, hotels and other local attractions with the help of 350,000 contributors world-wide, has a small online presence compared to Yelp Inc. and other review sites. The reviews and ratings it has accumulated are expected to be integrated with Google Places and Google Maps services, which provide people with information about local businesses through desktop PCs as well as mobile devices.

Google, Mountain View, Calif., is trying to make money by getting local businesses to spend money on Web ads—its main source of revenue—or offer special discounts to Google’s users via Google Offers, among other things. Zagat’s information also could be useful to Google’s planned online travel-search service.

Ms. Mayer and Zagat co-founders Nina and Tim Zagat said on Thursday they planned to continue printing the Zagat’s pocket guides for now, and implied that Zagat’s 30-point rating scale would live on under Google.

via Google Paid $125 Million for Zagat – WSJ.com.

Jacqueline Kennedy, oral history, politics: I am taping this one …

The comments offer a glimpse of a complex series of relationships that shaped 1960s Washington. Webs of loyalties and ambitions tangled Hoover’s FBI, Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, Rev. King’s civil rights crusade, and President Kennedy ambitious domestic agenda — with Jacqueline Kennedy overhearing much of it.

food – seasonal, fall:  The change in seasons are so much fun when it brings new smell and tastes into the house.

Cooking Melangery provides a double whammy of fall flavor with her recipe for Turkey Meatballs and Borscht (pictured above).

One whiff of Gourmade at Home’s Pumpkin Muffins will automatically put you in the autumn spirit.

Cooking in Sens packs on the protein with her  hearty recipe for Lamb Shanks with Les Mogettes de Vendee.

5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventure’s  Fennel and Apple Gratin, with its sweet and savory flavor, is the perfect post-summer side.

Versatile risotto gets a fall spin with Delicieux’s Pumpkin and Baby Spinach Risotto.

Brownie Bites’ warm and hearty Vegetable Beef Stew will keep the cold weather at bay.

Swapna’s Cuisine slices her potatoes paper thin in this version of a Baked Potato served with corn.

via Weekly Roundup: Hearty Fall Favorites — Gourmet Live.

Facebook v. Google+:  Since I cannot get a google+ invite, I have no idea which I prefer.  😦

Screenshots posted to Twitter indicate that Facebook is testing smart friends lists that will automatically let users sort their social networking contacts by category. The features is similar to Google+ Circles, which has been a major draw for the new social network.

The feature seems to offer three pre-sorted list recommendations — co-workers, classmates and friends who live nearby.

via Facebook reportedly testing smart friends lists – The Washington Post.

UGA, students, philanthropy, Great Recession, kudos:  Something I never thought about – college student hunger.

A student group at the University of Georgia has opened a food pantry on the campus in Athens.

UGA senior Abbey Warren says it’s also open to UGA staffers who may be having trouble feeding themselves or their families. Warren is on a student committee that’s been working for more than a year to get the food pantry launched.

Warren said nearly two dozen student organizations have joined together to start the pantry and keep it going.

“There really is a need on campus,” volunteer Mae Brennan told the newspaper.

That’s especially true lately, said Alan Campbell, assistant vice president for student affairs and head of UGA Student Support Services.

“We have quite a number of students who are struggling to get by right now,” Campbell said.

Campbell sees students whose parents have lost their jobs, students with expensive health costs for themselves or their families, even homeless students. And like other people struggling financially, some students sometimes have to make a choice between buying medicine doctors prescribe or buying food, he told the newspaper.

via UGA students open food pantry for students, staff  | ajc.com.

BofA, massive layoffs, restructuring:

The recent executive shakeup at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC – News) followed by reports of massive layoffs at the bank may leave you wondering what the turmoil means for you – either as a client of the banking colossus and Merrill Lynch, the brokerage firm it owns, or as a shareholder.

As experts ponder these moves – which include the departure of Sallie Krawcheck, head of the bank’s wealth management unit and Merrill’s public face – they see a rocky period in the days ahead for the company’s shareholders, but not necessarily its clients.

via What the Bank of America shake-up means for you – Yahoo! Finance.

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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