Posts Tagged ‘headlines

16
Apr
13

4.16.13 … Can you have “Marathon terror” without a “terrorist attack” on the Boston Marathon?

todays paper

Front Page Gallery

19
Mar
13

3.19.13 … I like salacious! …

NYC, travel, bus tours, headlines, New York Post Bus Tour, travel, Travel + Leisure:  I like salacious!

The tour, which departs from 57th Street and 7th Avenue at 10AM and 2PM every Thursday (tickets are $49), takes you from the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, former haunt of “Queen of Mean” hotelier Leona Helmsley to the Marble Collegiate Church, where Donald Trump met his second wife, Marla Maples in 1987. That marriage ended in 1997, but not before giving the Post one of its most famous headlines ever: “The Best Sex I Ever Had!”

via New York Post Bus Tour Brings Back Yesterday’s News – Carry On | Travel + Leisure.

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.

30
Sep
11

9.30.2011 … I never thought I would be so excited about a few blades of grass! … tgif …

UNC-CH, international students, game reserves, Zimbabwe, Africa:  One of Molls’ favorite memories was visiting the game farm of a friend.  There is something magical that goes on there.

Cheetah urine on the curtains, a baby rhino knocking you off your chair and the family’s pet hyena trying to eat you are not the problems of a typical North Carolina student athlete, but they are for field hockey player Samantha Travers, a native of Harare, Zimbabwe.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC forward recalls growing up on game reserve in Zimbabwe.

Appalachian Trail, thru hikers, Robert Yerike, RIP:  RIP, Buffalo Bobby.  I hope you died happy, doing something you loved.

A 67-year-old hiker was within 20 miles of completing the Appalachian Trail for the third time when he suffered a fatal medical problem.The Maine Forest Service received a call Thursday about a so-called “thru-hiker” who suffered stroke-like symptoms on a rugged stretch known as the 100-Mile Wilderness.0CommentsWeigh InCorrections?inShareThe hiker was Robert Yerike YER’-ick of Brick, N.J. He had to be carried more than 2 miles because bad weather made a helicopter rescue impossible. He died Thursday night at Millinocket Hospital.Yerike started hiking in Georgia in March. His family says the former paratrooper known on the trail as “Buffalo Bobby” completed the more than 2,000-mile trail twice before.One of his six children says he was planning to return to New Jersey on Sunday.

via NJ hiker dies in Maine just a few miles short of completing Appalachian Trail – The Washington Post.

Facebook, changes, marketing: Never realized what a big deal Facebook is too marketers, even colleges.

From Timeline to ticker and a totally revamped stream, it has been a big couple weeks for Facebook. And while the social giant’s latest innovations are grabbing headlines, many marketers are left wondering how the changes will impact their own efforts on the platform. Though largely overlooked amidst the recent media frenzy, Facebook has been quietly making significant changes to the way marketers engage with the site. Included in these changes are overhauling if and when your content will appear in a users’ stream, lifting restrictions on how users engage with your Page, and reversing the platform’s approach to public figure profiles, just to name a few.

via What Facebook Changes Means for Marketers | Higher Ed Live.

CU-Boulder,  youth violence prevention project,  Denver, kudos:  What an exciting project.  Kudos to CU.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is granting $6.5 million to CU to lead a project to reduce youth violence in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, according to a news release from CU.

The project, a five-year process that will begin Sept. 30, received praise from the city when it was submitted as a grant. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock supported the initiative.

Delbert Elliot, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and distinguished professor emeritus of sociology, is leading the project which will be partnered with the School of Medicine.

“We intend to create a novel combination of risk assessment and interventions in a broad partnership with the community, and in collaboration with a local hospital, to address the problem of high levels of violence,” said Elliot in a CU news release.

via CU leads violence prevention project in Denver | CU Independent.

BofA, headlines: Bad week/month/quarter for BofA … at least we weren’t the headline.

Morgan Stanley shares shed 7%, battered by concerns about the investment firm’s exposure to Europe, and Bank of America Corp. limped toward the third-quarter finish line Friday.

Bank of America also dragged on the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -2.16% . The bank closed 3.6% lower on Friday and fell 25% in September alone. It is the worst performer among the Dow industrials’ 30 components for the quarter.

via Morgan Stanley sinks 11% on Europe exposure – Financial Stocks – MarketWatch.

Michele Bachmann, Arab Spring, GOP: Arab Spring is a consequence of Obama’s “weakness?”  Personally, I don’t think it had anything to do with Obama … and not a bad thing.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has taken her special perspective on world affairs to a new level, telling an audience in Concord, N.C., on Thursday that the Arab Spring was the unwelcome consequence of weak leadership from President Obama.

“You want to know why we have Arab Spring?” Bachmann asked in the appearance. “Barack Obama has laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America.”

In Bachmann’s telling, the widespread popular — and mostly peaceful — movements by Arab people to liberate themselves from decades of brutal dictatorships has posed a threat to the safety of Israel, and should not have been allowed to take place.

“[Obama] put a lot of daylight in our relationship with our ally Israel,” she added.

In a May speech, President Obama explicitly embraced the revolutions sweeping the Middle East, and confirmed that the U.S. would do everything in its power to help usher them along.

via Michele Bachmann Slams Arab Spring As Consequence Of Obama’s ‘Weakness’.

Pottermore beta:  I never got on the beta … I may lose interest by the time they let me on. 😦

There are now one million people with access to Pottermore and everyone who registered through The Magical Quill challenge can access the site.

The Beta is enabling us to learn a lot about how people want to use Pottermore – and to understand the features they enjoy the most.

Since the launch of the Beta, we’ve seen really high levels of activity, and interaction with the site has been phenomenal. This affects how quickly we can give everyone access. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the Beta period beyond September and take a different approach to the way new users are brought onto the site.

From the end of October, registration will be opened to everyone and we’ll be giving access to registered users in phases. Access may be granted quickly, but please note it could also take some weeks or months, depending on demand.

We are also making a number of enhancements and simplifications to Pottermore, in order to make the site smoother and more enjoyable – so existing Beta users will likely experience some changes when new users begin to join.

Finally, the Pottermore Shop, which will sell the Harry Potter eBooks and digital audio books, will now open in the first half of 2012, in order to allow us to focus on our first priority: opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.

via Pottermore Insider: Beta and Beyond.

UBS, 2011 rogue trading scandal, risk management: ” I’m pretty convinced that we have one of the best risk managements in the industry.”

Looking back, perhaps Gruebel’s most side splitting remark came this past June when he said “we have no undue risk in our positions… I’m pretty convinced that we have one of the best risk managements in the industry.”
Man, what a laugher. Just too comical. But what really cracks us up about that particular statement is not that he announced a $2.3 billion rogue trading loss barely two months later.  It’s that he said it with a perfectly straight face.

New Boom, oil industry, North Dakota, fracking:  I had no idea of the magnitude of this.

The boom in Williston, Charles Groat says, is happening in spots across America. New drilling technology is also fueling boom towns in Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado. New drilling technologies mean companies can extract oil and natural gas from shale rock that was previously thought unreachable.

“Horizontal drilling — accessing a huge area of reservoir — and then the fracking process, which props opens those cracks, and allows the liquid or gas to flow to the well,” Groat says. “That’s what’s made shale gas and shale oil such a viable resource.”

But those techniques also raise environmental concerns that Groat is studying.

“There is a danger, here – the fact that we drill so many wells,” he says. “If you look at the numbers of wells that have been drilled in North Dakota, just in recent times, the numbers of wells are huge, which increases the opportunity for bad things to happen environmentally or procedurally in developing the resource. We also are not dealing, of course, with the question of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide as we continue our hydrocarbon dependence.”

Global Implications

Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.

“Some are now saying, in five or 10 years’ time, we’re a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up,” she says.

The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That’s compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.

Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will “absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas.”

via NPR.org » New Boom Reshapes Oil World, Rocks North Dakota.

“Courageous”, movies, faith-based film industry: “As of this morning, purchases for “Courageous” accounted for 26% of the transactions on the site; the only other new release that comes close is “50/50,” which was in fourth place with 7%. The film has also been trending throughout much of the day on Google.”  Impressive numbers for a low-budget faith inspired film.

“Courageous,” a film about four police officers attempting to be good fathers and maintain their Christian faith, may be the most popular new movie release of the weekend. Yet odds are that you’ve never even heard of it.

The new movie — which opens on 1,161 screens nationwide and was co-written and directed by Alex Kendrick, the filmmaker behind past faith-based films such as “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants” — is leading advance sales on Fandango and has been throughout the week, according to data provided by the online ticket retailer.

As of this morning, purchases for “Courageous” accounted for 26% of the transactions on the site; the only other new release that comes close is “50/50,” which was in fourth place with 7%. The film has also been trending throughout much of the day on Google.

But “Courageous” was not screened in advance for most critics (only four reviews can currently be found on Rotten Tomatoes) and the marketing push behind it does not even approach the media blitzes behind competitors like “50/50” and Anna Faris’s “What’s Your Number?”

via ‘Courageous’: The movie that’s leading Fandango ticket sales – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

Apple, corporate secrets:  Whatever happened to the guy that left the iPhone 4 in the bar?

To feed the fan fire, Apple keeps its new devices shrouded in secrecy until launch day. As the iPhone 5 release date approaches, a lot has been said about the latest iGadget, but not much has been confirmed. And Apple likes it like that. While its had its slip-ups, Apple is pretty good at keeping those privy to its latest device muzzled, requiring a series of involved security procedures for those who get to test the device pre-launch. A few executives and developers who went through Apple’s absurd security precautions and lived to tell exactly how Apple keeps its new products under wraps. It’s intense.

via All the Ways Apple Keeps Secrets (That We Know Of) – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Great  Recession,  women’s equality:  Not good for anyone …

The recession was bad for everyone, but women experienced at least one silver lining: Their median earnings edged a bit closer to men’s.

The progress was bittersweet, however. It happened not because women earned more, but because men earned less, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.

via Recession Struck Inadvertent Blow for Women’s Equality – NYTimes.com.

14
Feb
11

2.14.2011 … Happy Saint Valentine’s Day … enough said …

Saint Valentine’s Day, history:

So what’s Saint Valentine’s Day all about and why do we mark its occasion every February 14? That’s hard to pin down, as there are many different stories as to the origins of Valentine’s Day, but like many of the holidays we observe, Valentine’s Day has its roots in paganism.

Actually, hundreds of years before the Church altered the day of love in an attempt to rid it of its pagan roots, Romans practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The young men would draw names of teenage girls from a box and whomever the boy chose would be his companion for the remainder of the year.

The Church, of course, didn’t like the pagan festival and so Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the celebration. He did so by filling the box with the names of saints instead of girls and allowing both men and women to draw from the box. The game was to emulate the ways of the saint for the remainder of the year. The Church then found a patron saint by the name of Bishop Valentine for people to celebrate instead of Lupercus.

Bishop Valentine was sent to jail and executed after Claudius II (270 AD) found out he was performing secret marriages. You see, Claudius banned marriage to preserve the number of single men to be soldiers. Claudius, so the story goes, believed that single men made better soldiers. Bishop Valentine disagreed with Claudius and performed secret weddings until he was found out. He was executed on February 14. It was during his time in jail that he wrote his lover a note and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”

via A Brief History of Valentine’s Day – West Roxbury, MA Patch.

Valentine’s Day, holidays, gifts, food – dessert, chocolate, Charlotte:

The intricate flavors of chocolate and wine linger on your tongue – and often the complex, deep, hidden tastes are subconscious. Make them rise to the surface by mating your chocolate with the perfect wine.

CNN spoke to Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider to figure out what will make the flavors of both sweet treats pop out. We’ll start off with the obvious: dark chocolate goes best with red wine. But beware of pairing the delectable dark chocolate with spicy, acidic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. The bold tannins that give the wine a dry, puckery feeling can be too harsh against the bitter chocolate.

via Wine and Chocolate: A Winning Combo for Valentine’s Day – TIME NewsFeed.

We have a new wine/chocolate bar.  I don’t think I will go today, but it is on my list.

 

 

We are a small, locally-owned and operated wine and chocolate retail store with tasting room. We offer boutique and premium wines from California, the Pacific Northwest, France and other European wine regions plus artisan chocolates made in-house. Step into our shop and you’ll enjoy daily wine tastings, chocolate samples and highly personalized service.

via Petit Philippe – Wine | Chocolate | Tasting Room | Charlotte, NC.

Valentine’s Day, movies, icons, kisses:  Iconic kisses?  What’s your favorite movie kiss … Old movie?  New?  My favorite is not on the list. 🙂

The 25 Most Iconic Movie Kisses – Star Couples – Celebrity – InStyle.

Egypt Uprising, headlines, followup:  I mentioned yesterday that I go to the Newseum website to compare headlines when a big event occurs.  This article does the same thing.  Very interesting … some even humorous …

History unfolded yesterday when after 18 days of protests in Egypt, Mubarak finally stepped down as president after 30 years in power.

The front pages of newspapers in moments like this become part of history itself, so we went through the world’s newspapers today to see the ways they documented this incredible moment.

Of course, some of our favorite covers still came from our colorful local newspapers, like the Daily News’ headline “Hosni Mu Bye-Bye!” and the New York Post’s “That’s A Wrap!” (featuring Mubarak’s head on top of an Egyptian mummy.)

via FRONT PAGE HISTORY: See How Newspapers Around The World Celebrated Egypt’s Freedom.

Gabrielle Giffords, recovery, miracles, update: So far so good.

The human brain has what amounts to redundant circuits for some simple tasks, like walking, and it is possible for patients to make rapid progress on those skills and still have trouble with mental work and speaking, doctors said.

“There are backup systems in the brain for the more basic functions that have been around longer in human beings,” said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, the director of the Brain Injury Program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. “Conversely, for things such as language, which are uniquely human, it’s a highly specialized and delicate network that doesn’t get reconstructed so easily.”

via Giffords Recovery Is Continuing, Friends Say – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising:

As protesters in Tahrir Square faced off against pro-government forces, they drew a lesson from their counterparts in Tunisia: “Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.”

Cairo, Feb. 3 After more than a week of unrest, anti-Mubarak protesters clashed with supporters of the president for control of Tahrir Square. When confronting the police, the protesters wore armor made of cardboard and Pepsi bottles.

The exchange on Facebook was part of a remarkable two-year collaboration that has given birth to a new force in the Arab world — a pan-Arab youth movement dedicated to spreading democracy in a region without it. Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades.

They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons and psychiatrists. Breaking free from older veterans of the Arab political opposition, they relied on tactics of nonviolent resistance channeled from an American scholar through a Serbian youth brigade — but also on marketing tactics borrowed from Silicon Valley.

via A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising, Middle East: Tunisia … Egypt … now Yemen, Bahrain and Algiers.

Mr. Mubarak’s resignation Friday emboldened protesters throughout the Middle East where opposition movements are aggressively calling for political freedom. Security forces and protesters clashed in Yemen and Bahrain on Sunday while thousands of Algerians, defying a ban on protests, flooded a central square in Algiers on Saturday calling for political reform. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank ordered the dismissal of its Cabinet and said it would hold long-delayed parliamentary and presidential elections by September.

Egypt’s cabinet removes Mubarak’s portrait as Israel welcomes news that Egypt will abide by its treaties. Video courtesy of Reuters.

Egyptians continue their celebrations, a day after the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak came to an end. Video courtesy of Reuters.

And in Iran, opposition leaders planned a demonstration on Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian revolts. The streets of Tehran rocked to the chants of residents shouting “Death to the dictator” and “God is great” Sunday night, according to witnesses and videos posted on Youtube.

via Mideast Unrest Spreads – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, real estate, Great Recovery:  S -L-O-W …

The rolling real estate crash that ravaged Florida and the Southwest is delivering a new wave of distress to communities once thought to be immune — economically diversified cities where the boom was relatively restrained.

In the last year, home prices in Seattle had a bigger price decline than in Las Vegas. Minneapolis dropped more than Miami, and Atlanta fared worse than Phoenix.

Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm based in Seattle, says foot traffic began picking up in the last several weeks. Mortgage rates are rising, which could nudge those who need to buy to make a deal now for fear rates will rise even more.

But whenever the market finally does pick up, all those accidental landlords will want to unload, putting another burden on the market. “So many sellers are waiting in the shadows,” said Redfin’s chief executive, Glenn Kelman. “The inventory is going to expand and expand and expand. I don’t see any basis for significant price increases.”

While almost every economist is expecting another round of price declines for the next few months, many see a gradual leveling off in the second half of the year. Fiserv, the data company that produces the monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, analyzed price trends in 375 communities. About three-quarters of them will be stable by December, Fiserv calculates.

via Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable – NYTimes.com.

music, lists:  Fun to see what others think … The ALL-TIME 100 Albums – TIME.

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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12.29.2010 … slipped away … but I did use up our FSA … and by the way Christmas 2010 was officially NOT a snow day in Charlotte, NC.

oral history, media, official records, Charlotte,  headlines: How often do official records and oral history differ?  Everyone I know will remember Christmas 2010 as a white Christmas.  Sounds very Grinchy to me!

John Tomko, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., says the official snow depth reading is taken at 7 a.m. Charlotte had no snow at 7 a.m., so according to weather service in Greer, S.C., Charlotte had no snow on Christmas. And the official records in Greer, S.C., will state that Charlotte’s last White Christmas was in 1947.

via Musta been a Grinch who stole our White Christmas – CharlotteObserver.com.

college, grade inflation:  It’s happening in high schools, too.  And by the way, I have no idea what “Zen koan” means.

It could be a Zen koan: if everybody in the class gets an A, what does an A mean?

The answer: Not what it should, says Andrew Perrin, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “An A should mean outstanding work; it should not be the default grade,” Mr. Perrin said. “If everyone gets an A for adequate completion of tasks, it cripples our ability to recognize exemplary scholarship.”

As part of the university’s long effort to clarify what grades really mean, Mr. Perrin now leads a committee that is working with the registrar on plans to add extra information — probably median grades, and perhaps more — to transcripts. In addition, they expect to post further statistics providing context online and give instructors data on how their grading compares with their colleagues’.

“It’s going to be modest and nowhere near enough to correct the problems,” Mr. Perrin said. “But it’s our judgment that it’s the best we can do now.”

via Chapel Hill Campus Takes On Grade Inflation – NYTimes.com.

media, social change, Mozambique, Africa:  Interesting … I wonder how I would feel if it was moving the people of Mozambique toward revolution?

But while many publishers would be satisfied with creating a popular, free, quality newspaper, for founder Erik Charas that’s just the beginning: the 36-year-old homegrown entrepreneur believes his paper can be an instrument of social change, one that will help lift the country out of poverty and end its dependence on aid. “We didn’t start a newspaper to become a great newspaper,” he says. “We started a newspaper to achieve transformation in the country, to push the issue of access to information and ultimately … to engineer or create ambition in Mozambicans.”

Leaving coverage of high-level politics to other papers, Verdade focuses on the issues that affect those on Maputo’s fringes: bread subsidies, electricity prices, crime in the slums and HIV/AIDS. “I’ve never bought a paper. I’ve never had the opportunity,” says Enia Tembe, 29, a washroom attendant in a Maputo shopping mall who earns about $70 a month. “Verdade helps us to see what’s going on.”

via Mozambique: How One Newspaper Wants to Transform a Nation – TIME.

Great Recession, economics, college: Good question?

How have the financial crisis and recession affected the way economics is taught? How should economic instruction change?

via Economics: How has the crisis changed the teaching of economics?.

lists, movies:  I just keep these so I can see them on video. 🙂 The Best Movie Lists of 2010 – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Jane Austen, winter, historySnow Sports and Winter Transportation in the Regency Era « Jane Austen’s World.

Christmas, gingerbread, architecture, Frank Llyod Wright:

If It’s Hip, It’s Here: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water In Gingerbread for 2010!.

words:  Vuvuzela, of course!  Words of the Year 2010 – Interactive Graphic – WSJ.com.

RIP, movies:  Rest in peace, Liesl.  Agatha was the model for Liesl in the Sound of Music. Agathe von Trapp Dies at 97 – Eldest of Trapp Singers – NYTimes.com.

blogs:  Kinda’ interesting … The Period Periodical.

NYC, trends:  Maybe too cheap for me … but I know kids who have done the Couchsurfing thing … and it scares me … like Craig’s list … My $100 Weekend in New York: Where the Money Went – NYTimes.com.




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