Posts Tagged ‘groupon

16
Mar
14

3.16.14 … “I had this sense that if I wasn’t really careful, that could be me: that my first kiss could be in somebody else’s clothes. And my experiences could all belong to someone else.” – Emma Watson

The Fall of France, Huguenots, economics, socialism, Edict of Nantes, entrepreneur, taxes:  Very interesting article.  An article like this makes me want to spend some time researching both the modern-day economics and French history.

It’s a stretch, but what is happening today in France is being compared to the revocation of 1685. In that year, Louis XIV, the Sun King who built the Palace of Versailles, revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had protected French Protestants – the Huguenots. Trying to unite his kingdom by a common religion, the king closed churches and persecuted the Huguenots. As a result, nearly 700,000 of them fled France, seeking asylum in England, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa and other countries.

The Huguenots, nearly a million strong before 1685, were thought of as the worker bees of France. They left without money, but took with them their many and various skills. They left France with a noticeable brain drain.

Since the arrival of Socialist President François Hollande in 2012, income tax and social security contributions in France have skyrocketed. The top tax rate is 75 percent, and a great many pay in excess of 70 percent.

As a result, there has been a frantic bolt for the border by the very people who create economic growth – business leaders, innovators, creative thinkers, and top executives. They are all leaving France to develop their talents elsewhere.

And it’s a tragedy for such a historically rich country. As they say, the problem with the French is they have no word for entrepreneur. Where is the Richard Branson of France? Where is the Bill Gates?

via The Fall of France.

Down Syndrome: A Year of Grief and Joy, ABC News:  A wonderful read.  I would hope I could be the person that says, “Who better than us?”

And at some point, Ryan’s question changed from “Why us?” to “Why NOT us?” After all, we had beautiful life, a wonderful marriage, a daughter we adored and plenty more love to give. Who better than us?

via Down Syndrome: A Year of Grief and Joy – ABC News.

‘Live From Space’: Nat Geo,  ISS, Globalnews.ca: I recorded this show Friday night.  As I was watching the news and following twitter I noticed this tweet from fellow Davidsonian.

Thomas H. Marshburn @AstroMarshburn 6m

Watching colleagues Koichi and Rick right now on #LiveFromSpace on the Natl Geo channel. Almost feels like I’m back on-board!

I had not thought that a former ISS resident would watch. So I watched last night.  It was an awesome show.  If  NatGeo reboadcasts the show, watch it!

National Geographic Channel is targeting a subject that’s literally over our heads, bringing it down to Earth in an ambitious two-hour special.

Airing Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific, Live From Space will originate from the International Space Station with American astronaut Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata, who’s Japanese, as on-board correspondents.

Veteran reporter Soledad O’Brien will anchor from NASA Mission Control in Houston.

O’Brien said she’s excited about the special, and particularly happy to be hosting Live From Space from a comfortable distance.

via ‘Live From Space’: Nat Geo to air special from the space station – National | Globalnews.ca.

gap year, colleges, Tufts University: Wow … some colleges  offer to pay students to take year off.

Colleges are paying students to take a year off after high school to travel, volunteer or do internships so that students of all income brackets can benefit from “gap years.”

A new program at Tufts University and existing ones at a handful of other schools aim to remove the financial barriers that can keep cash-strapped students from exploring different communities and challenge their comfort zones before jumping right into college.

The gap year program starting this fall at Tufts will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Although gap years are more popular in Europe, they have started to gain traction in the United States. About 40,000 Americans participated in gap year programs in 2013, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2006, according to data gathered by a nonprofit called the American Gap Year Association.

In 2009, Princeton University began offering applicants gap-year aid based on need. Nearly 100 students have participated, volunteering in Brazil, China, India, Peru and Senegal.

The University of North Carolina offers $7,500 to gap year applicants, while students at Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College can receive financial aid based on need, although airfare isn’t covered.

via College offers to pay students to take year off.

news, media:  news pays …

It has become a water cooler topic, with several social media references to the downed jet that kicked off the popular television series “Lost.”

Cooper’s show, which has averaged 444,000 viewers this year, reached 972,000 people on Wednesday, Nielsen said. On both of the last two nights, Cooper achieved the highly unusual feat of topping Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly among the 25- to 54-year-old age demographic. O’Reilly easily won among viewers of all ages.

So far, the plane story has meant less for Fox and MSNBC, which have a heavier concentration on political stories. Fox’s full-day average of 1.26 million people on Thursday beat the 1.1 million it has been typically drawing this year. MSNBC had 370,000 viewers, lower than its non-Olympic average of 405,000 this year, Nielsen said.

via AOL.com Article – Missing Malaysian Airlines jet nets high ratings on cable news.

Kissing Sailor in WWII-Era, RIP, ABC News:

PHOTO: U.S. Navy sailor Glenn Edward McDuffie kisses a nurse in Times Square in an impromptu moment at the close of World War II, after the surrender of Japan was announced in New York, Aug. 14, 1945.

But his life became more exciting about six years ago when Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson was able to identify him as the young man leaning over the woman in his arms to kiss her.

By taking about 100 pictures of McDuffie using a pillow to pose as he did in the picture taken Aug. 14, 1945, by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gibson said, she was able to match the muscles, ears and other features of the then-80-year-old McDuffie to the young sailor in the original image.

“I was absolutely positive,” Gibson said of the match. “It was perfect.”

The identification remained controversial, partly because other men also claimed to have been the sailor in the image, but also because Life magazine, whose photographer had died years earlier, was unable to confirm that McDuffie was in fact the sailor, noting Eisenstaedt had never gotten names for those in the picture.

Yet for McDuffie, Gibson’s word was enough. A well-respected forensic artist who was in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records for helping police identify more suspects than any other forensic artist, Gibson said McDuffie was ecstatic when she told him the results he had waited 62 years to hear.

And so began a whirlwind lifestyle of going to air shows, gun shows, fundraisers and parties to tell his story. Women would pay $10 to take a picture kissing him on the cheek, Gibson said.

“He would make money and kiss women,” Gibson said. “He had the most glamorous life of any 80 year old.”

via Man Known as Kissing Sailor in WWII-Era Image Dies – ABC News.

Davidson College Alumnus, Zillow Chief Economist “Zestimates” the Value of His Liberal Arts Education, Davidson College, Stan Humphries ’90:

Real estate is not rocket science.

Or is it?

Ask Stan Humphries ’90. He’s responsible for Zillow’s “Zestimate,” an estimated market value on every U.S. home, which is integral now to all things real estate-related on the internet since its introduction a few short years ago.

In the late ’80s, Humphries was an aerospace engineering student at Georgia Tech. He loved the academic work, but as time passed he found he did not want to become an engineer after all. He transferred to Davidson, studying political science and economics through an interdisciplinary major, with an eye toward science and technology policy.

The Davidson years were formative, personally and professionally. He met his future wife, Katherine Bagby Humphries ’90.

“It’s not just a cliché, what they say about the liberal arts,” said Humphries. “In my case, it gave me a way of thinking about the world and a critical faculty for thinking about issues and breaking down problems. It also gave me an enlarged worldview in terms of what I should be thinking about. I left Davidson thinking about life being a continual learning exercise.”

via Alumnus Focus: Zillow Chief Economist “Zestimates” the Value of His Liberal Arts Education – Davidson College.

Banksy Is #WithSyria — Are You?, TopDailyInfo.com:

Banksy, Idris Elba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Elbow are just some of the stars who are supporting the #WithSyria campaign that will see thousands of people across the world, from Moscow to Washington, standing together in a global vigil to mark the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday, March 13.

“#WithSyria,” a stunning animated film, will be shown around the world, from an inflatable cinema in Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan to the big screen in Times Square, and iconic locations will be bathed in light by candlelit vigils, a Banksy light projection of his famed “girl with a red balloon” — which he has redesigned to feature a young Syrian refugee — and the release of red balloons carrying messages of hope to Syrians.

The #WithSyria coalition is made up of 120 humanitarian and human rights groups from 24 countries, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Hand in Hand for Syria and the International Rescue Committee. The campaign is calling for urgent action to ensure Syrians in need –- including civilians in areas under siege — can access aid and for the voices of ordinary Syrians to be heard and heeded in reconvened peace talks.

via Banksy Is #WithSyria — Are You? (VIDEO) | TopDailyInfo.com.

Ethan Alban,  Karsyn Folds, 2012 Nationals Friday Night, shag dancing, , YouTube:  Mercy, mercy, mercy … One friend say this and noted that  karsyn was leading!  And to that I say, you rock, Bossy Girl!

via ▶ Ethan Alban and Karsyn Folds – 2012 Nationals Friday Night – YouTube.

Apps, Will Allow You To Read Novels In Under 90 Minutes, speed reading, Elite Daily:

The reading game is about to change forever. Boston-based software developer Spritz has been in “stealth mode” for three years, tinkering with their program and leasing it out to different ebooks, apps, and other platforms.

Now, Spritz is about to go public with Samsung’s new line of wearable technology.

Other apps have offered up similar types of rapid serial visual presentation to enhance reading speed and convenience on mobile devices in the past.

However, what Spritz does differently (and brilliantly) is manipulate the format of the words to more appropriately line them up with the eye’s natural motion of reading.

The “Optimal Recognition Point” (ORP) is slightly left of the center of each word, and is the precise point at which our brain deciphers each jumble of letters.

The unique aspect of Spritz is that it identifies the ORP of each word, makes that letter red and presents all of the ORPs at the same space on the screen.

In this way, our eyes don’t move at all as we see the words, and we can therefore process information instantaneously rather than spend time decoding each word.

via This Insane New App Will Allow You To Read Novels In Under 90 Minutes | Elite Daily.

Emma Watson,  Elle Magazine, TopDailyInfo.com:  I like this actress.  I truly hope she has a good her on her shoulders.

“I remember reading this thing that Elizabeth Taylor wrote. She had her first kiss in character. On a movie set. It really struck me,” she said. “I don’t know how or why, but I had this sense that if I wasn’t really careful, that could be me: that my first kiss could be in somebody else’s clothes. And my experiences could all belong to someone else.”

via Emma Watson Reveals Why She’s Jealous Of Other Actresses To Elle Magazine | TopDailyInfo.com.

Colin Powell’s 60-Year-Old Selfie,  The Wire:  Love this selfie! “Eat your heart out Ellen!”

This selfie is a truly great selfie, and a good reminder that these images existed and were all over the place way before they became a thing we discussed during major news events (or as a way to sell mobile phones.) Basically, as long as there have been cameras.

We’ve always had the impulse to use technology at hand for self reflection: Jerry Saltz noted in his “History of the Selfie” that Van Gogh’s series of self portrait paintings feel really darn selfie-like, a sort of “proto selfie” that has “the same intensity, immediacy, and need to reveal something inner to the outside world in the most vivid way possible.” Professional and amateur photographers have been taking self portraits since the invention of the camera. Add Young Colin Powell to the list of those who did it early, and best.

via Colin Powell’s 60-Year-Old Selfie Is Everything You Could Ever Hope For in a Selfie – The Wire.

Adobe hardware,  iPad Pen and Ruler,  Personal Tech News – WSJ:

Adobe—the software company that brought the world iconic creative apps such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign—is forging into hardware. Sometime this year, AdobeADBE -1.44% will bring its first hardware products to market, starting with a digital pen and ruler set built specifically for AppleAAPL -1.11%’s iPad.

“When people hear that Adobe is getting into hardware, for many the first reaction is ‘why?’,” explained Michael Gough, Adobe’s vice president of experience design, at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. “But, this really is within our wheelhouse. We’ve always built creative tools and these products are really just another example of that. This isn’t just another stylus.”

Adobe’s pen currently wears the codename Mighty, while the ruler is going by the name Napoleon—because “it’s a short ruler,” Gough said.

The two products, which Gough demoed at SXSW, as you can see in the video above, are built with clean lines and shod in aluminum and white plastic. They look not mistakenly like something Apple would design.

Adobe

The two devices work in tandem with an iPad drawing app that Adobe is also developing, one that enables the hardware to mimic an architects ruler and wide array of drafting templates—the greenish, flat pieces of plastic you’ve seen if you’ve been down the art aisle in any office supply store.

via Adobe Bets on an iPad Pen and Ruler in Hardware Debut – Personal Tech News – WSJ.

Frat Bros, SeaWorld, OutsideOnline.com: I’m a little worried about the 23-year-old. 😦

At 2 a.m. Thursday, five University of Houston frat brothers allegedly broke into SeaWorld San Antonio in search of ice cream and animals to take pictures with.

Their results were decidedly mixed. According to Huffington Post and San Antonio Express-News reports, the bros climbed a tree near a perimeter fence to enter the park. Once they got in, they embarked on a quest for ice cream. Somewhat surprisingly, the guys were successful, breaking into a storage container and stealing Dippin’ Dots.

That’s when things went awry. As the frat bros searched for animals to pose with, police arrived—they had been called by security guards who spotted the trespassers. Three of the intruders escaped, but authorities apprehended a 23-year-old and an 18-year old, subsequently charging them with criminal trespassing and theft under $500. Police have still not confirmed whether the students obtained the pictures they so fervently sought.

via Frat Bros Break into SeaWorld | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

The Coastal Explorer, Coastal Carolina University, Georgetown SC:  I’ll have to check out the docks next time I’m in Georgetown.

Coastal Carolina University christened their new research vessel, The Coastal Explorer, this afternoon. From her home in the Georgetown Harbor, graduate and PhD students will be doing research of the marine environment of the SE coast.

Quiznos, bankruptcy, Groupon:

Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy: http://on.wsj.com/1kRNEX5

There’s more than $67,000 worth of Quiznos gift certificates out there, plus another $350,670 in Groupons. The sandwich chain says it will honor them.

Credit: Kevin Hagen for The WSJ

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.

16
Jul
11

‎7.16.2011 … to ATL … and tomorrow to the FOX Theater to see the Sound of Music Sing-a-long … I know you are jealous!

movies, Sound of Music, sing-a-longs, Fox Theater, Atlanta:  

The smash hit interactive screening of the classic Julie Andrews film is in glorious, full screen Technicolor, complete with subtitles so that the whole audience can sing a long!

via The Fox Theatre – Atlanta, Georgia – Sound of Music Sing-A-Long.

icons, Simpson Syndrome:  🙂

For much of this week Marilyn Monroe’s legs stood astride a plaza in Chicago, like the bottom half of some giant jitterbugging mannequin. The rest of the statue is scheduled to be unveiled Friday, a 26-foot rendering of Ms. Monroe fighting a losing battle with her pleated skirt—the iconic image from the film “The Seven Year Itch.”

Let’s stipulate that public statuary derived from movie scenes is at best dubious. (The less said about A. Thomas Schomberg’s bronze “Rocky” statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the better.) But worse is the endless recycling of images, whether from film, photos or art, that have become—and here’s that dreaded word again—iconic. What is an icon these days but a cliché on stilts?

How clichéd is the subway-grate Marilyn? A trailer for this summer’s Smurf movie features a little blue cartoon blonde giggling as her dress flies up.

via Simpsons Syndrome: Overused Cultural Icons Trigger Gag Reflex | Postmodern Times by Eric Felten – WSJ.com.

music, lists:  Funny, most are pretty old …

Cathartic Tunes for the Heartsick

The 10 Best Breakup Songs

Doesn’t matter if you’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken, one of the best ways to shake off a bad relationship is to burst into song. Try one of these classic breakup anthems.

via The 10 Best Breakup Songs – Emotional Health Center – Everyday Health.

Paris, quizzes:  I have a lot to learn:)

Paris, Perfume, and Pranksters

The City of Light’s beauty draws tourists in, and the rest of the country’s charms keep them captivated. Know your France facts? Find out.

via France Quiz — National Geographic.

music: Another recommendation … The Morning Benders – Excuses Yours Truly session ‏ – YouTube.

random, Bubble Tea, Groupon, Paris:  Since I am planning a trip to Paris, I signed up for the Paris Groupons.  They are of course in French! … But I did recognize Bubble Tea, something i had never heard of before a few weeks ago.  I guess i am behind on the times.

coupon de Vita In Paris extra
Mettez-vous au thé tendance ! 2 Bubble Tea et 2 pâtisseries pour 10 euros au lieu de 21 chez Vita In

via Vita In : Economisez 52.38% à Paris Sud Est.

doctors, professionals, fairy tales, Brothers Grimm:  Nice story …

Fairy tales are, at their core, heightened portrayals of human nature, revealing, as the glare of injury and illness does, the underbelly of mankind. Both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic. And the terrifying things that go bump in the night are what doctors treat at 3 a.m. in emergency rooms.

So I now find comfort in fairy tales. They remind me that happy endings are possible. With a few days of rest and proper medication, the bewildered princess left relaxed and smiling, with a set of goals and a new job in sight. The endoscopy on my cross-eyed confidante showed she was cancer-free.

They also remind me that what I’m seeing now has come before. Child endangerment is not an invention of the Facebook age. Elder neglect didn’t arrive with Gen X. And discharge summaries are not always happy; “Cinderella” originally ended with a blinding, and Death, in his tattered shroud, waits at the end of many journeys.

Healing, I’m learning, begins with kindness, and most fairy tales teach us to show kindness wherever we can, to the stooped little beggar and the highest nobleman. In another year, I’ll be among the new doctors reporting to residency training. And the Brothers Grimm will be with me.

via Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work – NYTimes.com.

travel, airport clubs, independent airport clubs:  Interesting.

For decades airlines plied premium customers and road warriors with fancy airport clubs, often charging annual membership fees of $400 or more, or daily rates of $50. International first-class and business-class passengers have enjoyed clubs with showers, buffets and other perks.

Independent lounges have replaced clubs abandoned by cost-cutting airlines or opened up new spaces in New York; Baltimore; Miami; Dallas-Fort Worth; Los Angeles; Green Bay, Wis.; Manchester, N.H.; and Savannah, Ga. Small airports find offering such niceties can sway travelers from driving to big-city airports for cheaper tickets. Bigger airports can provide for international travelers who want lounge access, but can’t get into airline-operated clubs without business- or first-class tickets.

via And Now, an Airport V.I.P. Lounge for the Rest of Us – WSJ.com.

internet shopping, Etsy:  I love to look on Etsy … but I never buy.

The site provides an outlet to many sellers who previously relied on local craft fairs and flea markets to peddle their wares. Sheryl Okin, a maker of handpainted children’s furniture who lives on New York’s Long Island, says using Etsy has allowed her to keep up her income while significantly cutting back on the number of crafts fairs she attends. Now, she says, she is thinking about hiring a few workers to help her meet the growing demand for her desks, chairs and other furniture.

Etsy makes money in three ways. It charges 20 cents per item for a four-month listing. Etsy also takes a 3.5% cut of each sale. And it sells advertising, but only for product listed on the site, which it says had almost 1 billion page views last month.

Etsy’s base of active sellers has doubled since last August’s fund raising to about 800,000. Sales of goods through the site totaled $314 million last year, up 74% from 2009. Growth has continued this year, with $225 million in gross sales through June.

The tone at the company is set by CEO Rob Kalin, who is also a furniture maker, and was once described by a company investor as an “accidental business person.”

Handmade goods, including a giant owl-like creature made of cardboard, adorn the company’s office, and a large rack of bicycles fills the entry way. Employees get a handbuilt desk when they join. The staff of 200 lunches together twice a week on a free meal of locally grown food.

via Etsy Knits Together a Market – WSJ.com.

internet, Spotify, LOL:  “hot friend with benefits”

Spotify, though, joins a growing number of streaming music services now targeting music consumers who throw away (i.e. quit listening to) digital downloads faster than you can say “Gucci Gucci.” (Phrase you won’t hear: “Kreayshawn isn’t really writing songs, she’s writing albums.”) Meanwhile, music collectors find fewer things they want to actually own in the scrap bin of pop singles. Streaming services let both types listen to tons of music without the commitment of buying. Sometimes, users will even commit to paying a monthly fee for that service.

In other words, music consumers want to fool around before they settle down. And Spotify is a hot friend with benefits.

via How Spotify’s Casual Encounters Seduce Young U.S. Music Lovers | Fast Company.

astronomy, neptune: One Neptune year = 164.79 earth years …

Astronomers will celebrate a remarkable event on 11 July. It will be exactly one year since the planet Neptune was discovered. Readers should note a caveat, however. That year is a Neptunian one. The great icy world was first pinpointed 164.79 years ago – on 23 September 1846. And as Neptune takes 164.79 Earthly years to circle the sun, it is only now completing its first full orbit since its detection by humans. Hence those anniversary celebrations.

via Neptune’s first orbit: a turning point in astronomy | Science | The Observer.

Shuttle Program, NASA, end of an era, photography:  What a neat experience for this father and son!

Father and Son Recreate Space Shuttle Launch Photo 30 Years Later.

travel, frequent flyers:

EVEN frequent flyers get their 15 minutes of fame. Thomas Stuker, a car salesman from Chicago, has just completed 10m miles of flying with United Airlines, an achievement for which he has been roundly feted ( see video). It took him 29 years and 5,962 flights, but he has a plane named after him, he will never have to queue and, most remarkably perhaps, his wife hasn’t left him. (They do go on four or five honeymoons a year.)

via Frequent flyers: The ten-million-mile man | The Economist.

YA/Children’s literature, parody:  This does nothing for me … not funny.

“GO THE F*** to Sleep” is an expletive-laced cry of adult rage disguised as a child’s book of lullabies that is now a smash bestseller. Go, as they say, figure. The book consists of page after page of more or less conventional two lines of nursery rhyme, and flat-footed ones to boot—“The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle./The sparrow has silenced her cheep.”— followed by another two lines, which are crude, angry pleas for the resistant child to immediately make himself unconscious. “F*** your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you s—./Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.”

via Parenthood: Give me a f*** break | The Economist.

Harry Potter, memory lane:  I enjoyed this journalist/mother’s perspective.

The moments in the company of the kids stand out. Maybe it’s the mom in me. As most reporters will attest, interviewing children can be difficult. They give one-word answers, or a nod or shake of the head. Attention wanders, it’s hard to get quotable material. It’s a variation on the W.C. Fields trope: Kids and dogs — adorable scene-stealers, surely, but not reliable interviews.

But something about these kids was charming from the start. And as they matured, it was fascinating to watch their development and see how they changed or, in some cases, stayed the same.

As our recent interview wound down, I told Radcliffe how much I’d enjoyed speaking with him over the years.

His response harked back to our earliest encounter. “You’re very kind. It’s been a pleasure.”

The pleasure has been all mine.

via Critic spins Time-Turner back through ‘Potter’ years – USATODAY.com.

15
Jun
11

6.15.2011 … yesterday was pretty cool (see below) … and today will be lunch at the Capitol with the Cousin … touring, touring and more touring … touring


photo tours, photography, Washington, DC, Groupon:  I used a great Groupon yesterday for an Architecture & Art on The Mall tour by Stu Estler.  Great way to see a different aspect of a city.  Highly recommend Premier Photo Tours!

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Davidson College friends, kith/kin, facebook:  One nice thing about facebook is you can reconnect with folks easily.  I shared a great lunch at Union Station with fellow Davidsonian Catherine Siewick.  Thanks, CHS for making the effort!

Washington, DC, Central Union Mission, Cosmos Club, Madmen, history, kith/kin:  Great visit with wonderful  friend Cary.  First we served dinner at the Central Union Mission and then Madmen dinner … see next entry … I truly nourished my soul by reaching out … then I nourished my heart and body by sharing an evening with great friends at the Cosmos Club.  Read the history … very interesting.  I felt like I was going back in time to the 60’s/70s, the look and feel of Madmen … surrounded by the names of the great men and women of that time, including 32 Nobel Prize winners, 56 Pulitzer Prize winners and 45 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In addition, they had a display of postage stamps which honored members … Pretty cool.

Central Union Mission is the oldest social service agency in the District of Columbia. It was founded in 1884 by the Reverend Latham Douglass, a young man filled with compassion for the thousands of homeless, neglected men who wandered Pennsylvania Avenue, many of whom were Civil War veterans.

For the past 126 years, the Mission has continuously operated an emergency shelter for homeless men and been a place for spiritual uplift and recovery. It has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, 24 presidential administrations, neighborhood transitions, and numerous relocations.

via About Us – Central Union Mission.

The Cosmos Club is a private social club, incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1878 by men distinguished in science, literature and the arts. In June, 1988 the Club voted to welcome women as members.

Since its founding, the Club has elected as members individuals in virtually every profession that has anything to do with scholarship, creative genius or intellectual distinction.

Among its members, over the years, have been three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners, 56 Pulitzer Prize winners and 45 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

via About the Club.

NYC, sightseeing:  I’d rather go to the top …

It is pretty much compulsory on any tourist’s to-do list. You ascend to the 86th-floor Observatory of the Empire State Building and soak in the big city in all its dizzying splendor, and probably get dizzy yourself.

Or, for those otherwise inclined, you can stop at the second floor of the building and witness the skyline from there. Do not eat beforehand. That is where the New York Skyride is, a roughly 15-minute simulated helicopter ride. The stomach-churning tour around the city is narrated by Kevin Bacon, whom you just about never run into at the Observatory.

Skyride has offered this bumpy aerial possibility since 1995, and says that more than 10 million people have taken it. Yet its current owner claims that it is caught in a nasty war for survival against the Malkin family, which owns the Empire State Building.

The two sides have long feuded over just about everything: the electric bill, what bathrooms Skyride customers can use, whether Skyride can have a gift shop. Matters, however, moved in a new direction in April, when the police began handing out summonses and arresting the street vendors who promote and sell most of the tickets to Skyride.

via Feud Over Views From the Empire State Building – NYTimes.com.

2012 Presidential Election:  Well, i pretty much quoted the whole article … interesting thoughts.

SINCE the day in 2008 when John McCain selected a poorly-insulated container of nitroglycerine named Sarah Palin as his running mate, Republican politics have been a never-ending series of shocks and explosions. This week, it seems, Republican politics have taken the most shocking turn possible at this juncture: they’ve become reasonable. My reaction to campaign-trail events of the last few days is similar to those of my colleagues: it certainly looks as though Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, a pair of intelligent and qualified pragmatists, are the likeliest candidates to win the Republican primaries. And I think Jacob Weisberg is right that Barack Obama, who a few weeks back looked like he could coast to victory against a Republican field composed of reality-show contestants and unprincipled charlatans, now has reason to worry.

I’m left wondering, however, what happens to the tea-party constituency in a scenario in which Mr Romney wins the nomination. As I’ve said before, I have no instinctive understanding of what tea-party supporters think about anything; their worldview makes no sense to me. But going by what I see on their websites, most of them (though by no means all) seem to be currently convulsed in hatred for the orgy of RINOness that Mr Romney represents. Can they reconcile themselves to voting for him? My guess would be yes, easily. If Mr Romney becomes a serious challenger to Mr Obama, people who today consider themselves irrevocably opposed to both RomneyCare and to Mr Romney’s weaselly attempts to distinguish it from the president’s reforms will figure out some plausible-to-themselves arguments for supporting him after all. Partisanship is far and away the most powerful force in America politics, trumping all other substantive or ideological concerns.

And if Mr Romney wins, after a year or two, no one will identify as a tea-party supporter or remember what their goals were, or be outraged that they were never satisfied. The chief legacy of the tea-party movement will be the damage it wreaked on Mr Obama, on the Democratic Party, and, by destroying any political possibility for stronger fiscal and monetary stimulus or for using this window of low bond yields to launch a major infrastructure upgrade, on America’s economy and society as a whole

via 2012: Will the tea-party movement be irrelevant? | The Economist.

history, places, lists:  This is a very odd list …

A Civil War fort, a Chicago hospital and a Chinese neighborhood are among the sites listed as America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

via Most endangered historic places named – CNN.com.

sleep:  I like these … especially number 1 … may try it tonight.

ABC News spoke with Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan,” for these suggestions:

1. Count Backwards from 300 by 3s

via 9 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster – ABC News.

28
May
11

‎5.28.2011 … I wonder how many people take the megabus to dc and then stay at the Willard …

travel, transportation, DC:  I am taking the megabus to and from dc … anybody tried it?  Then I will join John who is flying in on US Air 🙂 … and stay at the Willard … anybody stayed there?  Will make for an interesting rendezvous!

labyrinths, Charlotte, quotes:  I enjoyed my Labyrinth Walk #2 at Presbyterian Hospital while waiting for ET to wake from his liver biopsy on 5.26.  Anyone know the source of the quote, “yet also: Be still for healing most likely whispers”?

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“I knew something good could come out of such pain. The new labyrinth will provide a point of focus to help people collect their thoughts during the grieving process,” said Linda Matney, donor and founder of the Jack and Linda Matney Family Foundation.

Dating back to the 14th century, a labyrinth is a geometric, flat surface with winding, circuitous paths. A labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful course. Walking a labyrinth has been effective in reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and breathing rates, in addition to reducing chronic pain. Often people find peace, solace, release and a deep sense of joy as they reach the center of the labyrinth’s circuitous paths.

Designer, Tom Schultz, nationally recognized for his unique labyrinth designs, has patterned the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth after the 14th Century labyrinth at Chatres Cathedral in France.

The Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth is supported by ongoing financial gifts from the community. In addition to the Labyrinth endowment, fundraising efforts continue for phase II of the labyrinth, projected to include a memorial prayer wall.

“My impetus in creating the labyrinth was to give patient’s families and caregivers the opportunity to focus on a spiritual connection, prayer or whatever could bring peace to each person.”

via New Presbyterian Hospital Labyrinth Puts Caregivers on Path to Peace.

Facebook, twitter, privacy:  Facebook is not my friend … Facebook is not my friend …

 

Attention, humanity: We seem to be suffering from an acute case of stupidity.

There’s a viral misconception making its way through our Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles and injecting itself into our brains. And it’s leading those infected to believe these social sites are looking out for us.

Yesterday, we wondered if Twitter should actually hand over user information to officials when it’s subpoenaed. The day before, a report that even Facebook content marked “Friends-Only” could be used against you in court sent us spiraling into rants about the company’s lack of integrity on issues of user privacy. (The horror!) Well, Facebook’s integrity isn’t on today’s discussion menu. But yours is.

There will never be an easier way to break this to you other than to just say it: Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business. Repeat this to yourself until it begins to sink deep within in your social-loving brain cells. “Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business.”

Laws on Internet activity and speech are just beginning to manifest in court, and nine times out of ten, companies will comply with authorities. (Yes, this means handing over your account’s info.) Some rulings have required Facebook to turn over user password information, other courts have thrown out similar requests. It’s all the more reason to consider what you post online fair game inside our legal system.

Of course, when I say “Facebook,” I really mean every social media site you’ve hitched to your digital identity: Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. Facebook seems to take the brunt of the backlash because of its size, but that hasn’t changed our silly new idea that all of these companies have our best interests in mind. They don’t. They’re businesses. They want our personal information to dangle in front of advertisers. And no, Facebook isn’t inherently evil for not really giving a damn about you. It’s business.

The problem is that this reality doesn’t fit our modern consumer expectations, which, some would argue could be described as profound laziness. We’re living in the age of blaming companies for everything we don’t like about ourselves. Smoke too much? Blame big tobacco. Eat too much? Blame fast food. Sign up for a website that craves your personal information, then do something stupid? Surely it’s not your fault.

via Facebook, Twitter Aren’t Responsible For Your Online Behavior – Techland – TIME.com.

Apple, music, cloud computing, iCloud:  Well, I for one, hope this works … our family has music spread over to many computers.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this whole online music thing is heating up. First Amazon rolled out its Cloud Player, then Google Music came along, and now Apple is expected to announce its own online music service—the big money’s on something called “iCloud” that’ll be unveiled on June 6th.

The difference between Apple’s offering and offerings from both Amazon and Google is that Apple has apparently gotten the blessing of three of the four major record labels, with the fourth said to be right around the corner. But why should Apple care about playing nice with the record labels when Google and Amazon have already thumbed their noses at the music industry?

If what Businessweek is reporting turns out to be accurate, Apple’s service will behave differently than Google’s and Amazon’s in that you won’t have to actually upload your entire music collection to Apple’s servers.

via Apple’s Online Music Locker: A Great Idea (That’s 10+ Years Old) – Techland – TIME.com.

Groupon, jobs, creative writing:  I actually thought about applying for a job as a Groupon writer …

Groupon has nothing so special. It offers discounts on products and services, something that Internet start-up companies have tried to develop as a business model many times before, with minimal success. Groupon’s breakthrough sprang not just from the deals but from an ingredient that was both unlikely and ephemeral: words.

Words are not much valued on the Internet, perhaps because it features so many of them. Newspapers and magazines might have gained vast new audiences online but still can’t recoup the costs from their Web operations of producing the material.

Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay.

IN 177 North American cities and neighborhoods, 31 million people see one of the hundreds of daily deals that Ms. Handler and her colleagues write, and so many of them take the horseback ride or splurge on the spa or have dinner at the restaurant or sign up for the kayak tour that Groupon is raking in more than a billion dollars a year from these featured businesses and is already profitable.

There used to be a name for marketing things to clumps of people by blasting messages at them: spam. People despised it so much it nearly killed e-mail. The great achievement of Groupon — a blend of “group” and “coupon” — is to have reformulated spam into something benign, even ingratiating.

via Groupon Counts on Writers and Editors to Build Its Audience – NYTimes.com.

Experience is a plus, but not necessarily required if you have compelling samples. We’ll work with anyone who can write succinctly, persuasively, and intelligently. Groupon writers are held not only to a high quality standard, but must also show a willingness and ability to generate a high volume of copy on a daily basis. Fast typing and web savvy are critical. Salary is $37K and includes full benefits. For the right candidate, Groupon will pay a relocation allowance.

via Groupon Jobs.

international politics, G8, economics: G8 irrelevant?

 

And that’s not a bad thing because, as a global conclave, the G-8 has become almost entirely irrelevant. It was originally formed in 1975, in the wake of an alarming international oil crisis, as a forum for the West’s greatest economies to meet and steer global policy without the burdensome nuisance of the U.N. or other more democratic international institutions. For a long time, the annual summit seemed the place from which the world was truly governed — a resurrection of an older Western imperial guard (plus Japan). Not surprisingly, it was hated by many. Just a decade ago, the G-8 summit in Genoa was the site of truly epic scenes of rioting and mayhem as anti-globalization protesters attempted to storm the gathering, targeting what they thought was the progenitor of all the world’s capitalistic injustices. Fast forward ten years later: at Deauville, there was greater fury in the waves of the placid English Channel. How things have changed.

 

In the age of the BRICs — a Goldman Sachs monicker that has stuck for the combined rising clout of Brazil, Russia, India and China — it’s not controversial to suggest the G-8 has gone past its shelf-life. President Obama has already hailed the G-20, where all the BRICs are in attendance (only Russia is in the G-8), as the “premier forum for global economic coordination.” (Incidentally, the G-20 is also meeting in France later this year, in Cannes.) Sensing the change in the winds, then Brazilian President Lula da Silva declared in 2009 that the G-8 “doesn’t have any reason to exist.” By any metric, he’s right: the G-8 no longer accommodates the world’s biggest or most dynamic economies; the G-8 no longer accounts for all the world’s nuclear weapons; the G-8 doesn’t speak for any particular identity or values — with Russia in the fold, it’s hardly a champion of democracy. So what is it for?

 

via Why the G-8 Should Never Meet Again – Global Spin – TIME.com.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  I think I used the term slime bag … This writer uses “pond scum” and  “jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale” … but asks a fair question …  did he commit a crime?  Part of me hopes yes … but his family has suffered immeasurably, and if he didn’t, then let the man just wallow in his sin.

As far as I’m concerned, John Edwards is pond scum. Last I checked, that’s not a crime.

We can stipulate, I think, to the pond scum part. The man cheated on his wife — and defended himself by noting that her cancer was in remission at the time. Even after the affair was disclosed, Edwards lied about whether he fathered a daughter with the woman. He had a loyal aide falsely claim paternity and turned to wealthy friends to support the woman.

But being a jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale, is not a felony, which is what federal prosecutors have been pursuing for more than two years. The original theory of the case was that Edwards misused campaign funds to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter. That would have been a serious matter, except the theory fizzled.

Some prosecutors would have stopped there. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, George Holding, did not.

The current case against Edwards, the one for which he is on the verge of being indicted, rests on a novel and expansive reading of what constitutes a campaign contribution.

The crux of the case is that during the 2008 campaign, Edwards, directly or indirectly, approached two of his biggest financial backers, the late trial lawyer Fred Baron and heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, to solicit financial support for Hunter. Baron and Mellon, motivated at least in part by a desire to fuel Edwards’s presidential ambitions, anted up, to the tune of more than $750,000.

Was that a contribution to the Edwards campaign, in which case it would be illegal because it was not reported as such and exceeded the allowable contribution limits? That’s a stretch.

via John Edwards: A jerk, not a felon – The Washington Post.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  New tag … slime bags … Go for it US Justice Department.

via 2011 May 26 « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

business, data, technology, changes:  Data and harnessing that data is changing business … a whole new world.

As usual, the reality of the digital age is outpacing fiction. Last year people stored enough data to fill 60,000 Libraries of Congress. The world’s 4 billion mobile-phone users (12% of whom own smartphones) have turned themselves into data-streams. YouTube claims to receive 24 hours of video every minute. Manufacturers have embedded 30m sensors into their products, converting mute bits of metal into data-generating nodes in the internet of things. The number of smartphones is increasing by 20% a year and the number of sensors by 30%.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has no Borges-like qualms about the value of all these data. In a suitably fact-packed new report, “Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity”, MGI argues that data are becoming a factor of production, like physical or human capital. Companies that can harness big data will trample data-incompetents. Data equity, to coin a phrase, will become as important as brand equity. MGI insists that this is not just idle futurology: businesses are already adapting to big data.

Companies are assembling more detailed pictures of their customers than ever before. Tesco, a British retailer, collects 1.5 billion nuggets of data every month and uses them to adjust prices and promotions. Williams-Sonoma, an American retailer, uses its knowledge of its 60m customers (which includes such details as their income and the value of their houses) to produce different iterations of its catalogue. Amazon, an online retailer, has claimed that 30% of its sales are generated by its recommendation engine (“you may also like”). The mobile revolution adds a new dimension to customer-targeting. Companies such as America’s Placecast are developing technologies that allow them to track potential consumers and send them enticing offers when they get within a few yards of a Starbucks.

via Schumpeter: Building with big data | The Economist.

Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy, crime and law, constitutional law, cruel and unusual punishment:  This is a serious problem, and one that will not go away.  We are fortunate to have a constitution that respects human dignity, even that of criminals.

So it was no surprise that Mr Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 decision by the court this week that orders California to reduce its prison overcrowding. Full capacity is defined as one inmate per cell, which in California currently means 80,000 prisoners. But California’s prisons have at times housed twice as many, with inmates stacked in bunk beds in gymnasiums. At the moment, the prisons are about 175% full. The court order requires that ratio to go down to a slightly less egregious 137.5% within two years.

Overcrowding has meant not only more violence but woefully inadequate health and mental care, with more deaths and suicides. “When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their faeces for days in a dazed state?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor testily demanded of a lawyer representing California last November. Mr Kennedy, in his opinion this week, referred to an inmate who had been held “in a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic.”

Such conditions are, in Mr Kennedy’s words, “incompatible with the concept of human dignity” and amount to unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment”. The four judges who are considered liberal agreed; the four conservatives did not. For Justice Samuel Alito, the case was a matter not of dignity but of public safety. The decision, he said, will force California to release “46,000 criminals—the equivalent of three army divisions”.

via Prison overcrowding: A win for dignity | The Economist.

random, Widespread Panic, John Bell, energy room, Clarksville GA, places:  I need an energy room!

Clad in jeans and cowboy boots, musician John “JB” Bell reclined in a green fabric and metal chair on a Saturday morning, surrounded by 16 computers sitting on shelves about a foot from the ceiling. The computer screens glowed blue behind multicolored static, generating so much heat air-conditioning was needed to cool the room.

A Wellness Center at Home

When he’s not on tour, musician John “JB” Bell of the southern rock jam band Widespread Panic spends much of his time at a home in Clarkesville, Ga., a tiny mountain town.

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Jeff Herr for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Bell seeks balance at his 1912 white colonial that he’s turned into a holistic wellness center.

Mr. Bell, 49, said he spends a few hours every night and day he’s home in this “energy room,” working on lyrics, reading, thinking or sleeping. He says the energy generated by the computers creates an “uplifting vibe very similar to the feeling when the band improvises into new territory, and the audience seems to be right there alongside you.” His wife Laura, 48, said, “We joke it’s the new way of catching a buzz.”

Come January, when Widespread Panic will take a break for at least a year, Mr. Bell plans to spend most of his time gardening and hanging out in Clarkesville. “Keeping your life balanced is very nurturing to music. The band can’t be my total identity. I still enjoy being on the road. It is still fulfilling,” he said. “But here it is more working in the garden, hanging out with Laura and working on music at a leisurely pace. I like to let songs come to me at their own pace. I try to stay calm about it.”

Fans do occasionally track Mr. Bell down at his house. When they do, Mrs. Bell quickly ushers them into the energy room.

“It turns the focus on them instead of John. It’s disarming to them,” she said. The Bells charge $44 for a two-hour session in the room, but said they don’t make a profit from the wellness center. Rates at the clinic are sliding scale depending on financial need, and most customers are from the local community.

Most members of Widespread Panic haven’t been to the house—and only their tour manager, Steve Lopez, is enthusiastic about the energy room. Recently, when on the road, Mr. Lopez and Mr. Bell spent time in an energy room in Hollywood. “We need it. There are times when our work makes us really stressed out,” Mr. Lopez said.

via The Georgia Home of Widespread Panic Lead Singer and Guitarist John ‘JB’ Bell – WSJ.com.

random, sports, quotes: OK, I like this quote: “‘a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.'”

My friend and mentor Michael Kinsley defined a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.” In my profile of Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ chief executive, this week, he apparently made several gaffes in describing several of his players. Wilpon said David Wright is “a very good player, not a superstar”; Carlos Beltran is “sixty-five to seventy per cent” of the player he was; Jose Reyes has had a lot of injuries:

“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to the Red Sox’ signing of the former Tampa Bay player to a seven-year, $142-million contract. “He’s had everything wrong with him,” Wilpon said of Reyes. “He won’t get it.”

In the Kinsley tradition, though, all Wilpon did was tell the truth.

I spend more of my time covering law and politics than I do writing about sports. Both fields have changed dramatically in recent years, largely for the better. Sportswriting used to be cheerleading; political journalism used to be stenography. (I generalize.) But both fields demand candor no less from our subjects than from us journalists. Wilpon shouldn’t be criticized for delivering it.

via The Sporting Scene: Honest About the Mets : The New Yorker.

Blackbeard, anthropology, pirates:  I love pirate lore …

Dead men tell no tales, but the sea does, as shown Friday when an anchor was recovered from the wreckage of pirate Blackbeard’s flagship.

An expedition off the North Carolina coast hoisted the nearly 3,000-pound anchor, one of three belonging to the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Crews were working in just 20 feet of water, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge is believed to have run aground in the shallow waters off Beaufort in 1718. The ship was discovered in 1996, with piecemeal recovery of artifacts intensifying only a few years ago.

via Anchor from Blackbeard ship recovered – CNN.com.

causes, Jeff McGonnell, Davidson, ultramarathons, kudos, kith/kin:  You go, Jeff … but I think you are a little crazy!

 

Don’t be alarmed if you see Davidson resident Jeff McGonnell running nonstop circles around the Green on Friday and Saturday, June 4-5. He hasn’t lost his mind. He’ll be running for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for the Batten Disease Support and Research Association.

 

The event, sponsored by the Town of Davidson and BirdNest Music, is called “24 hour Loopy for a Cause.”

 

McGonnell will be running a pre-determined loop on the Green, seven loops being equal to one mile. He hopes to run around 100 miles in the 24 hours.

 

While he runs, there will be live music. Musicians scheduled to play include Billy Jones, Rick Spreitzer, Rusty Knox, Rob McHale and more. There will also be food, games and other fun activities for kids.

 

McGonnell has been an ultra runner for more than 20 years, competing in more than 150 races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). For the right donation, this serious runner will run in a dress juggling pineapples and whistling pop tunes. Anyone can join in a few laps of the run for a small donation.

 

via He’ll run 24 hours on the Green, for a good cause  | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

music, technology, innovations, Mall music, Bluebrain, DC: Bluebrain launches ‘location-aware album’ … very cool.  I may add this to my next DC experience.

If a melody on the new Bluebrain album doesn’t move you, keep walking.

On Saturday, the Washington-based band of brothers, Hays and Ryan Holladay, will release what has been dubbed the world’s first location-aware album — an app designed for smartphones that uses Global Positioning System technology to trigger different swaths of electro-pop based on physical location. Titled “The National Mall,” the app-album can be heard only in Washington by iPhone-toting listeners strolling around the monuments and museums.

Sounds geeky, right? It is. But like the most fantastic collisions of music and technology, it feels magical. And in an iPod era, where bite-size MP3s have threatened to vanquish the traditional album format, Bluebrain is helping redefine what an album can actually be. Somewhere, Sgt. Pepper is smiling.

Musically, the pair set out to compose electronic soundscapes that would embellish that sense of aesthetic weirdness, divorcing, they hoped, many of the iconic vistas from their historical and cultural associations in the process.

“There’s this giant obelisk in the middle of a lawn,” Ryan says. “If you don’t think of that as a George Washington Monument, it’s just a really crazy-looking thing.”

Approach that crazy-looking thing while listening to “The National Mall,” and you’ll hear a keyboard weep. Get closer and digital cellos begin to trace a regal melody. Closer. There’s percussion. Keep going. The volume creeps up. The drums push toward anarchy. Walk right up to the monument, press your hand against the cool, smooth stone and listen, as if the obelisk were a giant radio needle receiving some riotous transmission from deep space.

It’s truly magical.

Remember to wear good headphones. And comfortable walking shoes.

via Bluebrain’s ‘The National Mall’: The first location-aware album – The Washington Post.

travel, NYC, lists:  Don’t you just love the term al fresco … makes me want to go to NYC and enjoy the out of doors … the NY way!

Now that the season has made it acceptable to wear cutoff shots and visibly sweat through your shirt, it’s time to take eating and drinking into the great outdoors. So whether it be on a sidewalk, a rooftop, or a beach, we’ve got you covered for the restaurants and bars with killer outdoor spaces. To kick off this weekend’s unofficial start of summer, here’s what opened earlier this spring, what’s opening this weekend, and what’s coming in the very near future. Have a happy Memorial Day, and see you Tuesday!

via Take It Outside: 42 Great Places for Going Alfresco This Summer — Grub Street New York.

14
Mar
11

3.14159 … oops … 3.14.2011 … Happy pi day!

events, pi day, recipes, apple pie:  And below I have selected what i think looks like a pretty good pi day recipe!

Celebrate Pi Day!

Pi, Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. Pi = 3.1415926535…

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. Pi is an irrational and transcendental number meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating. The symbol for pi was first used in 1706 by William Jones, but was popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737.

via Pi Day.

A simple, old-fashioned dessert called apple pandowdy promises apple pie appeal with none of the fuss. Is it time for an apple pie makeover?

via Rethinking Apple Pie – Cooks Illustrated.

internet, Groupon, new:  I have fallen in love with Groupons … it is a great way to learn about local restaurants and new products ….   i saw this today … didn’t buy it … but  thought about it … Dali Decals Deal of the Day | Groupon Charlotte.

Chalkboard :: Dali Wall Decals.

favorites, recipes, French Onion Soup:  I have loved Cook’s Illustrated ever since Zach Smith left an early issue in the break room and they had brining turkey recipe for the November issue … which we still do twenty years later … this sounds really good to me!

Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet. Be patient when caramelizing the onions in step 2; the entire process takes 45 to 60 minutes. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the heating element to obtain a proper gratinée of melted, bubbly cheese. If using ordinary soup bowls, sprinkle the toasted bread slices with Gruyère and return them to the broiler until the cheese melts, then float them on top of the soup. We prefer Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth. For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.

via Best French Onion Soup – Cooks Illustrated.

ice cream, follow-up, Jeni’s, artisan foods, Charlotte:  The other day I mentioned Jeni’s … 3.10.2011 … If they call it “artisan,” I will come … especially if it involves ice cream or chocolate … or both … « Dennard’s Clipping Service. … Well the only place in NC tat has Jeni’s is Dean & DeLuca at Phillips Place … very close to my house … so I stole away for a secret dessert for the evening and they had two flavors … I was not in a brave/adventurous/artisan mood … next time …

RIESLING POACHED PEAR SORBET

The striking aroma, pure flavor and delicate, buttery texture of whole poached Bartlett pears in perfect harmony with sweet Riesling wine. One of Jeni’s Signature Flavors, it’s completely refreshing every day of the year.

via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams / Buy Now / Swanky Sorbets / Made in Columbus Ohio.

Olive Oil with Sea-Salted Pepitas

Sicilian single-estate olive oil. Sea salted pumpkin seeds. Jeni has just returned from Sicily where she helped press the very oil that flavors this grassy, verdant ice cream. Very clean, bright notes with the nutty crunch of toasted, sea salted pepitas. The combination of high-caliber olive oil, butterfat and cream melts in your mouth and opens up beautifully. A graceful tribute to Old World flavors.

via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams / Flavors / Seasonal / Made in Columbus Ohio.

March Madness, fundraisers, great ideas, Chicago:  OK, I want a t-shirt ….

It’s Draft Madness! Don’t sit on the bench and miss the best event in town. Join the Young Professionals of Chicago and ChicagoBIGTEN alumni for a night of basketball and brews at the hottest venue in Chicago – Public House. For only $10, attendees will receive complimentary appetizers and drink specials, as well as a $10 gift certificate to Public House to use on your next visit!

For an additional $15 ($25 total), you will also get a t-shirt (tanktop for girls) to show your spirit around town. These shirts are sweet (click here for a picture)! Just include your gender and t-shirt size in the comment section of the registration form. Space is limited, and this event will sell out – get your ticket today!

Additional information: 64 Teams. 64 Beers. Public House introduces its beer centric March Madness concept. 64 beers will be randomly paired with each of the 64 March Madness teams. As teams accelerate, the price of the beer goes down. Prices will decrease proportionate to the beers price. All beer and team pairing will be chosen at random at “The Draft of Drafts”.

Draft “hosts” will be invited from participating schools to “draft their draft”. Many of these hosts either graduated from, played for or have a personal connection to the schools they’re representing. This will ensure the draft picks are chosen fairly and the draft can’t be manipulated in any way. Once a draft is chosen, the host will assign that beer to its partner team.

Celebrity draft hosts include:

Ryan Johnson (Chicago Blackhawks) – University of Arizona

Jason Franklin (Founder/President Sportiqe apparel) – University of Wisconsin

Ed Swiderski (former star of ABCs the bachelor) – Michigan State

Jarrett Payton (host of the Jarrett Payton Show) – Duke

Lindsey Schendel & Leah Berman (Loop Rock Girls 2010 & 2011)

Cameron Croft (President of the ChicagoBIGTEN) – Illinois

Jackie Kaweck (VP Gibson Consulting) – Florida

Ryan Preuett (VP of the ChicagoBIGTEN) – Michigan

Laura Faith – Purdue

Anderson Bell (CEO FanFueled.com) – Georgetown

Best of all, it’s for a great cause. 100% of apparel sales and entrance to the draft ($10) will benefit Alumni for Public Schools (http://facebook.com/APSChicago ) thanks to generous donations from our sponsors:

Gibson Consulting Group – looking for top talent interested in a consulting career

Goose Island 312

Sportiqe Apparel

Stella Artois

Event brought to you by: Public House, Chicago BIGTEN Alumni, Young Professionals of Chicago and Alumni for Public Schools.

via Draft Madness » Young Professionals of Chicago – Networking, Professional Development, Volunteerism.

quotes:

“Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
— Psalms 34: 12-14

health, diet, coffee:  Even smelling it is good for you!

There’s no need to feel guilty about your morning cuppa joe. On the contrary: Women who drink a cup or more of coffee daily have up to a 25 percent lower stroke risk than those who sip the dark stuff less often, according to a new study reported today in the journal Stroke. Researchers followed nearly 35,000 women ages 49 to 83 for an average of 10 years and found the reduced risk held up even after accounting for such factors as BMI, high blood pressure, diabetes risk, and smoking habits — indicating that coffee’s stroke-lowering ability was independent of these known heart disease risk factors.

But this study is hardly the first one touting good news for java junkies. “Coffee is incredibly rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for many of its health benefits,” says Joy Bauer, RD, nutrition and health expert for Everyday Health and The Today Show. Its caffeine content may also play a protective role in some health conditions, but many of coffee’s health perks hold up whether you go for decaf or regular.

Beyond lowering stroke risk, you may be surprised to learn that coffee can also decrease your odds of developing the following health issues:

1. Diabetes. Women who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee daily were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers, UCLA researchers found. The beverage is rich in the minerals magnesium and chromium, which may help control blood sugar levels.

2. Skin cancer. Rutgers University researchers found that when sunburnt mice drank caffeinated water and then exercised in a running wheel, their risk of developing skin cancer decreased. The caffeine-and-cardio combo caused damaged skin cells to die before they had a chance to become cancerous, explain study authors. Capping off your sweat session with a cup of coffee (iced works too) may help protect your skin from sun damage.

3. Stress. You know how the mere aroma of a rich French roast seems to wake you up on a sluggish morning? Turns out that whiff can help minimize the effects of too little sleep on your body. Researchers found that when stressed-out, sleep-deprived rats simply smelled coffee, it triggered gene activity known to protect nerve cells from stress-related damage.

4. Cavities. Although this doesn’t mean you can ditch your dental floss, coffee may even help fight cavities. According to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, coffee’s compound trigonelline (responsible for its flavor and aroma) has antibacterial properties that may keep cavity-causing germs, such as Streptococcus mutans, from invading tooth enamel.

5. Parkinson’s disease. Here’s some good news if Parkinson’s disease runs in your family: People with a family history who drank coffee were less likely to develop the debilitating neurological disease, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. Although scientists are still trying to understand why, evidence suggests that the caffeine in coffee (as well as caffeinated tea) may act on a gene called GRIN2A to help lower risk.

6. Breast cancer. Women who drank boiled Scandinavian coffee, which is similar to stronger French press or Turkish or Greek varieties, more than four times a day had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who had it less than once a day, found a study in the journal Cancer Causes & Control. An important point: Because the coffee wasn’t filtered, it contained up to 80 times as many coffee-specific fatty acids, which have been linked to slower growth of cancerous cells.

7. Heart disease. Dutch researchers found that people who drank coffee in moderation — two to four cups a day — lowered their heart disease risk by 20 percent, compared to those who had more or fewer cups. Coffee’s antioxidants may have a protective effect, says Keri M. Gans, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

8. Head and neck cancers. Although some of the data on coffee’s cancer-fighting capabilities have been mixed, Italian researchers found that the caffeinated kind guards against head and neck cancers. Compared with coffee abstainers, those who drank about four or more cups daily reduced their risk of certain mouth and throat cancers by nearly 40 percent.

via 9 Healthy Reasons to Indulge Your Coffee Cravings – Diet and Nutrition Center – Everyday Health.

13
Feb
11

2.13.2011 … a day of Rest … great Sunday School and Worship at FPC …

headlines, Newseum, websites, DC: On my last visit to DC, I visited the Newseum … a great place in DC.  It was the day after President Obama had made his conciliatory speech to the muslims in Cairo.  It was fascinating to see how papers around the country and around the wold covered the story.  I now check their website whenever there is a big story.  So with Mubarek’s resignation, I checked again.  Newseum | Today’s Front Pages | Top Ten.

Apple, iPhone, MobileMe: Mini iPhones!  Free MobileMe!

Apple also is exploring a major revamp of its MobileMe online storage service, the people familiar with the matter said. The service, which lets users store data in a central location and synchronize their calendars and contacts among computers and other devices, currently has an individual annual subscription fee of $99. Apple is considering making MobileMe a free service that would serve as a “locker” for personal memorabilia such as photos, music and videos, eliminating the need for devices to carry a lot of memory, the people familiar with the situation said.

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new MobileMe file-storage and music service could be available as early as June, depending on the progress of licensing talks that are in their preliminary stages, the people familiar with the situation said. Apple had planned for the service to be available a year earlier.

via Apple Works on Line of Less-Expensive iPhones – WSJ.com.

health and fitness, strength training: I am starting strength training tomorrow!

Historically, strength training was limited to athletes, but in the last 20 years, its popularity has spread to the general public, said Jeffrey Potteiger, an exercise physiologist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “One can argue that if you don’t do some resistance training through your lifespan, you’re missing out on some benefits, especially as you get older or battle weight gain,” he said.

When we hit middle age, muscle mass gradually diminishes by up to about 1% a year in a process called sarcopenia. Women also are in danger of losing bone mass as they age, especially after the onset of menopause. Some studies have shown that moderate to intense strength training not only builds skeletal muscle but increases bone density as well.

via Strength training benefits more than muscles – latimes.com.

comfort zones, Brene Brown:  I had great conversations with a friend about stepping out of my comfort zones during the next phase of life … teaching Bible classes in India, doing work for the IJM (see below), traveling to emerging countries, pushing myself physically …

Choosing to leave our comfort zones is hard enough. But being forced out is even more difficult. And that is happening all too frequently, with jobs and entire professions disappearing.How do we cope with that? A. J. Schuler, a business consultant who has written about resistance to change, advised finding a core group of people — just two or three was enough — who would listen and understand how difficult this was.“I call that a personal life board, like a board of directors,” he said. “You need to obtain prior permission to just talk.”The advice on accepting change is pretty obvious, but difficult to carry out, he said, so “you can get down on yourself because you see yourself as stagnant. You need people who won’t get frustrated with that.”Ms. Brown, who as part of her research interviewed a large number of men affected by the recession in 2009, agreed. “I think the biggest mistake people make is not acknowledging fear and uncertainty.”Second, realize that you need to give yourself time and space to mourn your loss, Mr. Schuler said.Finally, he said, create a plan to find new opportunities regularly and keep working that plan. “That way you take some control back in an environment that feels out of control.”

“It’s an uncomfortable feeling imagining how much we love someone,” she said.

We all know people who seem to feel most happy being unhappy — always complaining or worrying about something. That’s their comfort zone.

So being slightly uncomfortable, whether or not by choice, can push us to achieve goals we never thought we could. But it’s important to remember that we don’t need to challenge ourselves and be productive all the time. It’s good to step out of our comfort zone. But it’s also good to be able to go back in.

via Tiptoeing Out of One’s Comfort Zone and of Course, Back In – NYTimes.com.

internet, Craigslist, politics, really stupid:  Has anything good come from personal ads on Craigslist? Ex-Rep. Chris Lee, Wife in Retreat While Craigslist Ad-Placer Yesha Callahan Speaks Out.

internet, Groupon: This behavior really makes you think about Groupons …

Groupon has canceled a voucher for $40 worth of flowers from FTD for $20 early after customers called it a scam, CNN reports. Groupon customers were directed to a different Web site, where prices were higher than at the regular Web site. Because of the well-documented confusion, FTD set up a hotline for those who bought the deal. FTD also altered terms of the deal, so that it could be combined with other offers. The snafu comes a day after Groupon decided to cancel its Super Bowl commercials, which some found offensive.

via Groupon Cancels Voucher Early After Customers Call It a Scam | Tricia Duryee | eMoney | AllThingsD.

economics, economists:  Who would you include on your list?

First among them is Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago, whose book “Fault Lines” argues that rising inequality led governments to facilitate credit growth, contributing to the crisis. Robert Shiller of Yale University has long warned of the dangers of irrational exuberance, and urges colleagues to consider “animal spirits” in assessing economic fluctuations. Kenneth Rogoff’s work on debt bubbles with Carmen Reinhart placed the crisis in an 800-year continuum of borrowing and collapse: his papers have earned the most academic citations of the table-toppers in our poll. Barry Eichengreen has written excellent works on the history of the gold standard and the danger of fixed-exchange-rate regimes. Nouriel Roubini earned the nickname “Dr Doom” for warning of an impending global crash.

via Influential economists: The contemporary Keynes | The Economist.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising:  OK, this one was REALLY cute. YouTube – Volkswagen Commercial: The Force.

 

hymns, FPC, Rev. Roland Purdue, race:  Last Sunday, 2/6, Rev. Purdue introduced me to a hymn I had never heard.  It is beautiful.  Have you ever sung this one?

1 O God, we bear the imprint of your face:

The colors of our skin are Your design,

And what we have of beauty in our race

As man or woman, You alone define,

Who stretched a living fabric on our frame

And gave to each a language and a name.

 

2 Where we are torn and pulled apart by hate

Because our race, our skin is not the same;

While we are judged unequal by the state

And victims made because we own our name,

Humanity reduced to little worth,

Dishonored is Your living face on earth.

 

3 O God, we share the image of your Son

Whose flesh and blood are ours, whatever skin,

In His humanity we find our own,

And in his family our proper kin:

Christ is the brother we still crucify,

His love the language we must learn, or die.

via Presbyterian Hymnal 385: O God, we bear the imprint of Your face | Hymnary.org.

anthropology, race: In light of the hymn above, I found this interesting.

Dr. Jonathan Marks, an Anthropologist at UNC Charlotte, says that humans are far more alike than different and that race is not a biological concept; it is a social, political and economic construct. Dr. Marks is working with Discovery Place on a new exhibit exploring the Science of Race. We’ll learn about the exhibit and the facts behind race and human variation with Dr. Marks and Discovery Place CEO, John Mackay.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

random, Disney, marketing: Disney is so pervasive, I really prefer to leave the littlest ones out of their reach.

Late last month, the company quietly began pressing its newest priority, Disney Baby, in 580 maternity hospitals in the United States. A representative visits a new mother and offers a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a variation of the classic Onesie.

In bedside demonstrations, the bilingual representatives extol the product’s bells and whistles — extra soft! durable! better sizing! — and ask mothers to sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby.com. More than 200,000 bodysuits will be given away by May, when Amazon.com is set to begin selling 85 styles for a starting price of $9.99 for two; Nordstrom and Target will follow with more Disney Baby items, including hats.

via Disney Looks to the Cradle to Expand Business – NYTimes.com.

Super Bowl XLV, technology:  Where will it end?  Do we really need a $ 40 million, world’s largest, high-definition video screen?

The stadium’s most visible piece of tech is what’s billed as the world’s largest high-definition video screen: a $40 million, 600-ton video board with 25,000 square feet of displays. It’s 72 feet tall and 160 feet long.

via Sunday’s Super Bowl the most high-tech ever – CNN.com.

random, Chinese New Year, history: It’s definitely time to jump start our economy … so let’s hope the year of the rabbit holds true.

Each year – according to the Chinese zodiac – is associated with an animal. It’s based on a legend: that Buddha once sent a call to animals to come celebrate the new year. Twelve animals responded. Every year – based on a 12-year cycle – is named after one of those 12 animals, and is believed to echo the traits of that animal. The coming year is the Year of the Rabbit – so it’s a year for you, like a rabbit, to jump ahead.

via Use Year of the Rabbit to jump ahead in business – USATODAY.com.

Stephen Curry: Go Steph!

Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a finalist to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during NBA All-Star Saturday in Los Angeles, and fans can help send him there. For the first time, the NBA and Taco Bell are giving fans the opportunity to determine participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the “Choose Your Squad” program. In addition to adding a fan vote, the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from four to five participants. Beginning today and running through 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 14, fans can log on to NBA.com/chooseyoursquad to choose from among eight players to determine four of the five participants in the 2011 event in Los Angeles. The players taking part in the “Choose Your Squad” vote include:

via WARRIORS: Stephen Curry Named Finalist to Compete in 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Challenger Tragedy, NASA, followup: This is a great Time video reflecting on the Tragedy and President Reagan’s very moving response.  The Challenger Tragedy and the Mourner in Chief – Video – TIME.com.

random:  Eight shots seems like a little too much in one 12 ounce can …

 

A Panama-based liquor company is producing whisky in a can. The company, Scottish Spirits, is the first to put straight whisky in a can, and it’s being promoted as an option for outdoor venues, as it’s light-weight and recyclable. Also because people at outdoor venues want to drink lots of whisky?

Scottish Spirits suggests splitting it between three people, because it’s the size of a regular beer can. Seriously: it’s twelve ounces, or eight shots worth of whisky. Which is a lot for a container that’s not resealable.

Twelve ounces. Eight Shots. One can. >>>

Also, oddly, Scottish Spirits makes an alcohol-free whisky aimed at Muslim customers. We’re not really sure why anyone would want to drink alcohol-free whisky, either.

via Scotch Whisky in a Can Contains Eight Shots of Liquor – Novelty Beverages – Eater National.

new products, food – desserts, street vendors, King of Pops, Atlanta, kith/kin: My good friend A is the cousin to the Carse brothers … owners and proprietors of the King of Pops! Anybody tried them?

Although Steven posts his ever-changing menus on Twitter and Facebook, some pops lovers who aren’t hip to social media fail to check before driving to the “the corner.” “Some people like the idea of our changing up flavors, some, well… I don’t know if I would use the word angry, but they’re not happy when they get there,” Steven says. So he tries to keep fan favorites–Chocolate Sea Salt, Blackberry Mojito, and Banana Puddin’–in the rotation. (Steven’s favorite flavors are Pear Cardamom–“I always get stuck on the newest one being my favorite”–and Blueberry Lemongrass.) We tried to get the Chocolate Sea Salt recipe, but there’s a special ingredient that, after putting their heads together, the brothers Carse decided they couldn’t bear to reveal.

via How to Make the King of Pops’ Banana Puddin’ Ice Pops: BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

IJM:  A friend introduced me to the IJM.  What an exciting organizations.  In my next life, maybe I can do some work for them.

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.

via International Justice Mission – IJM Home.

Herb Jackson, Herb Jackson NY Exhibit, Davidson College, NYC, teaching, followup, kudos: Kudos, again, to herb Jackson both for his new exhibit but even more for his gift to Davidson College and its students … 42 years of teaching.

Jackson, whose work can be found at museums around the world and has had over 150 solo-exhibitions, is finally returning to NYC. Opening on February 17th at the Claire Oliver Gallery, Firestorm in the Teahouse will not only mark Jackson’s long-awaited return but also provide his admirers with the chance to see his newest, incredible paintings.

I chatted with the artist about his return to NYC, what it was like to be part of Donald Kuspit’s iconic exhibition of contemporary American art in the Soviet Union and his attempts at teaching me how to paint. Yep, that’s right, yours truly once had the honor of being taught by one of America’s most talented living artists. Too bad I really was a hopeless case…

Liv: Let’s start at the beginning, our at least of how I met you. What made you decide to become a studio art professor?

Herb Jackson: I always felt drawn to teaching, perhaps because I remember and still experience the wonder that comes from making art. To see the germination of a visual idea and then watch its growth, development and change in the hands and mind of a young person is a special privilege that I have enjoyed, and I hope honored, for 42 years.

via Interview with Herb Jackson.

business, psychology, motivation: Interesting statistic here.

With the permission of the university, Grant and his team randomly divided the call centre representatives into three groups. For a few days, before they made calls, people in the first group read brief stories from previous employees about the personal benefits of working in the job – how they developed communication skills and sales know-how that later helped them in their careers.

The second group also read stories before hitting the phones, but theirs were from people who had received scholarships from the funds raised and who described how the money had improved their lives. The aim of these stories was to remind workers of the purpose of their efforts.

The third group was the control group; they read nothing before dialling for dollars. Participants were also told not to discuss what they’d read with the recipients of their calls. Then a month later, Grant measured the performance of the three groups.

The people in the first group, who’d been reminded of the personal benefit of working in a call centre, did no better than those in the control group. Both groups earned about the same number of weekly pledges and raised the same amount of money as they had in the weeks before the experiment.

However, the people in the second group – who took a moment to consider the significance of their work and its effect on others’ lives – raised more than twice as much money, in twice as many pledges, as they had in previous weeks and significantly more than their counterparts in the other two groups.

In other words, reminding employees about that missing W – the “why” – doubled their performance.

via Think Tank: Have you ever asked yourself why you’re in business? – Telegraph.

lists, cookbooks:  My 10 Favorite Cookbooks Plus an Exclusive Offer from Barnes & Noble « Christopher Kimball Blog.

 




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