Posts Tagged ‘India

19
Jan
12

1.19.2011 … To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray …

graying of America, kith/kin, me: To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray … 🙂

faith and spirituality, Henri Nouwen:

Thursday January 19, 2012

Creating Space to Dance Together When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.

via Daily Meditation: Creating Space to Dance Together.

Davidson College, terquasquicentennial:  Happy 175, alma mater!

“Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial!” What a great word, terquasquicentennial.

via Daybook Davidson » 1837–2012: Happy New Year! Happy Old Years! Happy… Terquasquicentennial!.

historic church labyrinths, England, travel:  Preparing for my next labyrinth adventure!

The historic labyrinths situated in English cathedrals, churches and chapels mostly date from the late 19th century, a period when renewed interest in labyrinths combined with a wave of church building and restoration during the Victorian era. Only two examples, the splendid gilded roof-boss in St.Mary Redcliffe Church and the tiny labyrinth on the Hereford Mappa Mundi are from the medieval period, when many labyrinths were created in the cathedrals of France and Italy.

Situated largely in the south and east of England, these labyrinths are always a pleasure to visit, located as they are in everything from simple chapels and churches to grand cathedrals. Their construction and design range from the relatively simple to some of the most fascinating examples from their period.

The majority are relatively easy to find, although obviously some are subject to limited opening hours and others will require the finding of a key or caretaker to gain admission. And therein lies the joy of tracking them down. While several are in large towns and cities, a number are beyond the reach of regular public transport and will require some planning to visit.

Within the last few decades, several modern examples have been constructed, most notably at Batheaston (1985), Norwich Cathedral (2000), and the Church of St. Michael, Abingdon (2008)

via Historic Church labyrinths – England.

The Taj Majal, icons, India: On my bucket list …

I think that, for several reasons, the term iconic is very important in any consideration of this edifice.  First, as I previously mentioned, it serves as an iconic demonstration of love.  Second, it serves as a cultural icon.  For much of the world’s population, the Taj Mahal is India.  Third, we associate cultural icons with the Taj.  Lady Di’s 1992 visit to Agra is forever ingrained in our conscience, as a result of her iconic photo in front of the Taj Mahal.   Finally, the representation of the building, in our collective consciousness, is iconic.     When we imagine the Taj Mahal in our mind’s eye, we represent it in one form:  from a distance, straight-on, and from the front.

via The Taj Majal: From a rare angle | Wonders & Marvels.

The Empathic Civilization, Jeremy Rifkin, culture, RSA Animate:  Lots to think about …

http://dotsub.com/media/cefe3990-0ee4-4617-a3db-f5edf766c189/embed/

Best selling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. This ‘working location’ is currently open for translation into all languages.via RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilization – 24 Translation(s) | dotSUB.

 Apple, Newton “Scribble Thing”:  …  15 Years Ahead of Its Time …

“Newton was probably 15 years too early,” Sculley told the BBC. “I’m not a technologist. I didn’t have the experience to make that judgment, but we were, I think, right on many of the concepts. The product clearly failed in terms of taking on such an ambitious goal. I think, in hindsight, there is a lot of good legacy there with the Newton. Even if the product itself never survived, the technology did.”

Specifically, ARM, which is still in wide use today.

Said Scully, “ARM not only was the key technology behind the Newton, but it eventually became the key technology behind every mobile device in the world today, including the iPhone and the iPad.”

via Former Apple CEO: Newton “Scribble Thing” 15 Years Ahead of Its Time – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

electric bikes, Pulse, green:

Micah Toll is no stranger to entrepreneurship.

With only five months left until graduation in April, Toll, 22, has spent his days at the University of Pittsburgh like every other student: Going to classes, becoming involved in clubs, hanging out with friends and, oh yeah, starting his own electric bike company called Pulse Motors.

Pulse Motors is a Pittsburgh start up business designed to provide two-wheeled electric vehicles to the students and the public.

“Americans are fed up with the inconveniences of this conventional transportation being expensive, dirty and unreliable,” said Toll. “Now we are simply giving them an alternative in the form of cheap, affordable and fun transportation. It’s a no-brainer.”

Toll grew up in a household surrounded by science. His mother being a nurse and his father a biological oceanographer, science has always played a big part in his life. But while he didn’t evolve a love for biology like his parents, Toll instead took the engineering route and started building things.

via Student entrepreneur Micah Toll pedaling in the right direction | USA TODAY College

….

Developed with a goal of increasing bicycle commuting and creating a class of new transportation, the “Pulse” by industrial designer Timothy Daw is a hybrid bicycle that backs the pedal power with electric propulsion to boost zero-emission commutation with minimum physical efforts. Housing a rechargeable battery system, two 26V lithium-ion batteries for 75 miles of assisted biking, within the rear frame to preserve the aesthetics of the bicycle, the hybrid bike also includes streamlined traffic indicators, headlight and break light to ensure complete safety on cramped city roads. The throttle-controlled 250W motor adds an assisted pedaling experience when biking uphill or into a strong headwind. Moreover, the Pulse folds into a compact size for easy storage and transportation, which makes it a characteristic modern urban vehicle.

via Pulse pedal electric hybrid bicycle ushers in a new class of transportation.

free, The Guggenheim, digital books, free:   65 Modern Art Books Online … FREE!

 

In recent days, the museum has made 65 art catalogues available online, all free of charge. The catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Now let me give you a few handy instructions to get you started. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org, which lets you download books in multiple formats – ePUB, PDF and the rest.

via Free: The Guggenheim Puts 65 Modern Art Books Online | Open Culture.

London, maps, songs:  🙂

Song Map – London remapped in song names

via curiosity counts – Song Map – London remapped in song names   (via).

business, culture, novels:  The smartest people I know are all well-read.

I’ve been a devoted, even fanatical reader of fiction my whole life, but sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time if I spend an evening immersed in Lee Child’s newest thriller, or re-reading The Great Gatsby. Shouldn’t I be plowing through my in-box? Or getting the hang of some new productivity app? Or catching up on my back issues of The Economist? That slight feeling of self-indulgence that haunts me when I’m reading fake stories about fake people is what made me so grateful to stumble on a piece in Scientific American Mind by cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley extolling the practical benefits to be derived particularly from consuming fiction.

Over the past decade, academic researchers such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness. For instance, in fMRI studies of people reading fiction, neuroscientists detect activity in the pre-frontal cortex — a part of the brain involved with setting goals — when the participants read about characters setting a new goal. It turns out that when Henry James, more than a century ago, defended the value of fiction by saying that “a novel is a direct impression of life,” he was more right than he knew.

via The Business Case for Reading Novels – Anne Kreamer – Harvard Business Review.

MLK Memorial, quote, misquote:

Five months ago, in this space, I wrote that something was wrong with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. The quotation inscribed on the monument’s left flank had been so badly excerpted that a modest statement of King’s was turned into a boast.

At the time, it wasn’t clear how or why this had happened, but what seemed likely, at least to me, was that nothing would be done about it. Things that are etched in stone seldom are changed, especially in Washington, which is not famous for admitting error, righting wrongs, getting things done in a timely fashion, or getting things done at all.

It turns out I was right about the error but wrong about Washington. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told The Post today that the quote will be corrected. He has given the National Park Service 30 days — because “things only happen when you put a deadline on it” — to consult with the King Memorial Foundation, family members and other interested parties and come up with a more accurate alternative.

“This is important because Dr. King and his presence on the Mall is a forever presence for the United States of America, and we have to make sure that we get it right,” Salazar said.

Some important people who hadn’t seen the quote yet read the op-ed and agreed. The poet Maya Angelou, who knew and worked with King, said the truncated quote made King seem like “an arrogant twit.” Roy Peter Clark, an expert on the use of words, wrote for CNN, “Everything I’ve learned about the language of enshrinement suggests that the inscription on the King monument should be revised.” Martin Luther King III told CNN: “That was not what Dad said.”

Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert noted that it was “to the point. Not Dr. King’s point, but still. Brevity is the soul of saving money on chiseling fees.”

via MLK Memorial’s ‘drum major’ quote will be corrected, Interior secretary says – The Washington Post.

Facebook, personality, me:  The Real Me?

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpg

If you think you’re different on Facebook than you are in real life, you’ve got some explaining to do.

A 2011 study from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Psychology called “Manifestations of Personality in Online Social Networks: Self-Reported Facebook-Related Behaviors and Observable Profile Information” published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that Facebook users are no different online than they are offline. The study also revealed strong connections between real personality and Facebook-related behavior. Social and personality processes, the study says, accurately mirror non-virtual environments.

via Study: Your Facebook Personality Is The Real You.

blogging, lists, advice:

 Five Ways to Boost Your Blog

What does it take to move your blog up to the next level? Obviously you need a regular supply of useful content to attract readers and keep your audience happy, but here are a few extra tips on increasing interest in your blog in 2012.

via Tech Journal: 5 Ways to Improve Your Blog – India Real Time – 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.

14
Jul
11

7.14.2011 … Happy Bastille Day …

France, Bastille Day, kith/kin:  Molly was excited to celebrate Bastille Day … but then Tufts did not give them holiday!

Davidson College, goats, update:  The kudzu eating goats are trying to stay cool. 🙂

goats cooling off in troughs at Davidson

Man, it’s hot out there. What do you do? Climb into your water trough, of course. Madelyn Mills of South Street in Davidson captured these kudzu-eating goats doing just that the other day out on the cross-country course at Davidson College.

via Beating the heat, a kind act, report from the Philippines | DavidsonNews.net.

Apple, Davidson, Davidson College:  I wondered what those folks not within an easy drive to an Apple store did … now I know … Good luck with your new venture.

As more people switch to Apple computers and devices, demand for related sales and service is expanding. To Davidson’s Drew Crawford, that spelled an opportunity. The Davidson College grad and owner of Wooden Stone has carved out a corner of his South Main Street gallery for a new Apple retail counter and service center called Computer Tree.

The shop will have a grand opening Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an “Apple festival” including games, refreshments, and the start of a raffle that will give away an iPad 2 and benefit Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.

Computer Tree will sell most Apple computers and devices, except the iPhone, and offer local service, repairs and training. The shop’s experts include Mr. Crawford himself, who recently received Apple certifications. They’ll also be targeting local businesses and home users for consulting, installation, home networking and other services.

via Computer Tree opens – an Apple Store in Davidson | DavidsonNews.net.

food-drink, bubble tea:  From me on 7/5  …

One of the more intriguing parts of the meal was the Bubble Tea. The bubbles were very soft gummi like black candies at the bottom. Weird. The peach infused green tea was excellent.

via 7.5.2011 … travel to Boston … then dinner in Chinatown … at a Vietnamese restaurant. « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Now I know the “bubbles” are tapioca pearls.  I wonder where you get tapioca pearls?

bubble-tea.gif 340×330 pixels.

tweets, Luke Russert, journalism, US debt limit, politics:  Some think Luke Russert, Tim Russert’s son, has been given special privileges.  His tweets yesterday were certainly the most interesting.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
7/13/11 7:32 PM

Cantor: “The president told me, ‘Eric don’t call my bluff, you know I’m going to take this to the American people. He then walked out.”.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)

7/13/11 8:00 PM
Dem Aide, no walk out: Cantor rudely interrupted POTUS 3 times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while BO was wrapping mtg

survey says, stress, women’s issues, India:

As women around the world enjoy broader opportunities and expanding roles, they’re also experiencing one other increase in their lives — stress.

In one of their latest reports, Women of Tomorrow, Nielsen released stats that revealed where the most stressed-out women in the world reside, and how they behave in consequence.

Reuters also finds that women around the world were largely more stressed than those of the past, but also found that women in emerging economic and social markets were more stressed than those in developed countries. “While women in emerging markets see tremendous growth in the opportunities for their daughters, a plateau of hope is evident in developed countries,” said Susan Whiting, Nielsen’s vice chair, in a statement.

The results of the polls showed that an astounding 87% of Indian women claim feeling stressed most of the time, with an additional 82% asserting they had insufficient time to relax.

via Study: Indian Women Are the Most Stressed on Earth – TIME NewsFeed.

France, photography, culture:  I enjoyed this LIFE gallery on France and French culture.  LIFE Goes to France: The Culture – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Apple, MacBook, news:  I love the rumors …

The white MacBook, which sports a unibody polycarbonate (in other words, plastic) frame, was last updated in mid-2010. It currently sports a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy screen (1280 by 800 pixel resolution, just like the 13-inch MacBook Pro), 2GB of system memory (expandable to 8GB), a 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo and Nvidia’s GeForce 320M graphics card with 256MB video memory.

What’s likely in the new white MacBook? Thunderbolt, of course. Probably a Sandy Bridge processor of some sort. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro sports a 2.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, so it’s reasonable to suspect a dual-core equivalent, maybe clocked at 2.0 or 2.2 GHz. We’ll probably also see a shift to the slower Intel HD Graphics 3000 or AMD Radeon 6000M series video card—a real bummer for older Nvidia GeForce 320M MacBook owners (the latter’s the reason I skipped Apple’s last MacBook Pro refresh in February 2011).

And who knows, perhaps Apple will finally drop the price on this thing. $999 still seems like $100-$200 too much for what’s essentially a cheapo plastic version of the in-every-way-superior only $200 pricier 13-inch MacBook Pro.

If you’re instead looking for something like a Mac Mini, it looks like that’s happening, too, with three new models appearing “soon” and classified “best,” “better,” and “ultimate.” No word on what they’ll include, though faster latest-family processors are a given.

And don’t forget Apple’s ballyhooed MacBook Air update, still very much on track, though whether any of this stuff manifests at OS X Lion’s digital-exclusive launch (supposedly tomorrow) remains to be seen.

via New White MacBook and Mac Minis Soon, Not Mac Pros – Techland – TIME.com.

Glee, changes:  We will survive. 🙂

Brace yourselves, Gleeks.

Glee exec producer Ryan Murphy just told The Hollywood Reporter that not only will Rachel, Finn and Kurt graduate from McKinley High at the end of the upcoming third season, but all three of their portrayers — Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer — are “not going to be back at all for Season 4.”

That’s right, kids. He said At. All.

via Glee Shocker: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer Not Returning For Season 4 – TVLine – TVLine.

faith and spirituality:  I actually think about what it means to be blessed quite often … I think this sums it up nicely.  What do you think?

Being Blessed

Jesus is the Blessed One.  When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river a voice came from heaven saying:  “You are my Son, the Beloved;  my favour rests on you” (Mark 1:11).  This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life.  Whatever happened to him – praise or blame – he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favourite child of God.

Jesus came into the world to share that blessing with us.  He came to open our ears to the voice that also says to us, “You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, my favour rests on you .”  When we can hear that voice, trust in it, and always remember it, especially during dark times, we can live our lives as God’s blessed children and find the strength to share that blessing with others.

via Daily Meditation for July 14, 2011.

Google, Google+, Facebook:  OK, I’ll admit it,  I want an invitation …

Google, the most popular Web site on earth, is worried about the second-most popular site. That, of course, would be Facebook.

Why else would Google keep trying, over and over again, to create a social network of the same type? Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, Buzz — Google has lobbed forth one fizzled flop after another.

And now there’s Google+. It’s the latest Google “we wanna be Facebook” project. The difference is, this one’s got a real shot.

Instead of throwing open its doors with a big splash, as it did with the hopelessly confusing Wave and the privacy-challenged Buzz, Google is letting Google+ seep into the world virally. You can’t yet just go sign up; you have to be invited by someone who’s already a member.

Even so, Google+ already has millions of members. That’s not quite 750 million (Facebook’s current tally), but watch out for the network effect.

At first, Google+ looks like a shameless Facebook duplicate. There’s a place for you to make Posts (your thoughts and news, like Facebook’s Wall); there’s a Stream (an endless scrolling page of your friends’ posts, like Facebook’s News Feed); and even a little +1 button (a clone of Facebook’s Like button), which may be where Google+ gets its peculiar name.

But there’s one towering, brilliant difference: Circles.

via Google+ Gets a Leg Up on Facebook – NYTimes.com.

Royals, Prince Albert and Charlene:  I feel sorry for these people …

Prince Albert and Charlene’s trip to South Africa was publicly labeled as a honeymoon, but the pair have spent little time alone together since arriving last week.

The couple hosted a wedding party at the luxury Oyster Box hotel on Umhlanga beach before mingling at multiple cocktail parties and formal events alongside Olympic officials in town for the committee’s week-long annual conference that took Albert away from his new bride.

The formal body language and tepid affection displayed by the royals on their honeymoon matches what was seen at the couple’s royal wedding in Monaco.

Wittstock was in tears throughout the wedding ceremony, while her husband looked on, and Prince Albert had to formally ask his bride for a kiss, a request caught on camera for the world to see.

Royal watchers commented Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, as Wittstock is now formally known, looked more like “Her Miserable Highness” than a blushing new bride.

In South Africa, Wittstock left Albert behind in Durban to travel to Cape Town to tour a series of charity projects with the country’s leaders.

via Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock Slept Apart on Honeymoon, Palace Confirms – ABC News.

Harry Potter:  Can’t wait to go …

After seven earlier films reaching back a decade, the Harry Potter saga comes to a solid and satisfying conclusion in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” The finale conjures up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the lighthearted (relative) innocence of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” all those magical years ago.

Harry, Hermione and Ron are grown up now, and Harry has even grown the facial stubble required of all epic heroes. The time has come for him to face Lord Voldemort in their final showdown, and their conflict is staged in a series of special effects sequences containing power and conviction. I am still not sure what the bolts discharged by magic wands actually consist of, but never mind. They look wicked and lethal.

via Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews.

Jane Austen:

Jane Austen‘s unpublished manuscript for a novel called The Watsons will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London tomorrow.

The manuscript is handwritten by Austen and includes the work alongside her notes and edits. While New York’s Morgan Library and Museum owns the first 12 pages of the work, the rest of the unfinished manuscript will be included in the auction. The Sotheby’s listing describes the pages as loose but kept together in a box. The listing reads: “in total 68 pages plus 6 blanks (these being the versos of the three inserted leaves and the final three pages of the final section), housed in collector’s folding box…”.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the manuscript is expected to fetch between $330,000 and $490,000.

via Jane Austen Manuscript Up For Auction – GalleyCat.

food-drink, tea, Harney & Sons, shilling:  If I were someone who could “shill,”  I would shill for Harney & Sons pomegranate oolong tea!

Harney & Sons has been in the business of gourmet tea for over 25 years. We make our teas for the enjoyment of our customers and take pride in meeting and exceeding their expectations from every cup of tea. Our selection is large, and includes many customer favorites including green tea, black tea, and white tea

via Tea – Gourmet Tea & Fine Teas From Harney & Sons.

19
Jan
11

1.19.2011 … finishing up on some bothersome things … then dinner in Davidson …

architecture, Great Recession, professionalism: A really great article …

The cynicism and navel-gazing that infect the field of architecture at this moment—the whining malaise and never-ending complaints of powerlessness and economic hardship and marginalization and irrelevance and on, and on, and on—set me on fire. Not because some of this is not true. Not because I don’t share the difficulties we are all grappling with to build and maintain a business during the most challenging economic conditions in living memory. Not because I don’t appreciate and support the dreams and ambitions and authentically good citizenship that form the cultural foundation of the architectural life. I am infuriated for two reasons: First, there is simply no basis in historical fact that could possibly support a complaint about being an architect—of any kind, in any form—at this moment in history. Second, to the degree that there are problems in architectural practice in America, they are self-inflicted. Architecture is largely irrelevant to the great mass of the world’s population because architects have chosen to be.

via You Can Do Better – Architects – Architect Magazine.

kindle, bookshelf, lists:  If you did not know this you can download samples of new books on Kindle for free.  Best Books of 2010: A Free Literary Sampler – GalleyCat.

google doodles, Paul Cezanne:  Happy birthday, Paul!

.Cézanne's 172nd Birthday

If you go to Google today on pretty much all the versions, Google.com or a localized version of Google, you will find a special Google logo, also known as a Google Doodle. This Google logo is for Paul Cezanne, it is his 172nd birthday today and for the day, Google posted a special logo commemorating his life and work.

He was born today in 1839 and died on October 22, 1906. He was known for his art and painting, specific notable works include Apothose de Delacroix, The Bathers, Mont Sainte-Victoire, Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier, and The Basket of Apples.

The Google Doodle today was actually first painted by a Googler as a real oil painting and then reconstructed in digital format. That is right, they first took out a canvas and oil paints and made this the old fashion way.

via Paul Cézanne Google Logo.

technology, Starbuck, change:  We all knew it was coming …

Futurists have long predicted that one day, shoppers will swipe cellphones instead of credit cards to make purchases. At Starbucks stores nationwide, that is about to become a reality.

On Wednesday, Starbucks plans to announce that customers of the 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and the 1,000 that are in Target stores will be able to pay for their lattes with their cellphones instead of pulling out cash or a credit card.

Various technology and payments companies, including PayPal, Bling Nation, Square, Venmo and now-deceased dot-com start-ups have been experimenting with ways to wean Americans off cash, credit cards or both.

But the introduction of mobile payments in Starbucks stores may be the most mainstream example yet.

via Now at Starbucks: Buy a Latte By Waving Your Phone – NYTimes.com.

followup, education, college:  Everyone has to cover this story … I thought Time’s intro was humorous.

Turns out, students spend more time learning how to master a beer pong than they do completing homework for Psych 101.

via $80,000 For Beer Pong? Report Shows College Students Learn Little During First Two Years (Besides Party Skills) – TIME NewsFeed.

social networks, quora, new:

A New Social Network Where Inquiring Minds Run Wild

If brief communications like Twitter’s 140-character messages, Facebook status updates and text messaging leave you longing for more substantial discourse, you may be in luck. This week, I took a look at Quora, a question-and-answer site that encourages thoughtful—even long-winded—discussions.

Quora (Quora.com) was launched about six months ago by two former Facebook employees who wanted to create a forum where in-depth questions could be posed and answered. Users vote answers up or down according to how good they are, the idea being that the best answers get pushed to the top of the queue by the community of users. Few of these questions can be answered with a simple yes or no. For example, one question asks, “What role did social media play with regards to the revolution in Tunisia?” (See here for the answer with the most votes: http://3.ly/8Gqf.)

via Quora Question and Answer Web Site Review | Katherine Boehret | The Digital Solution | AllThingsD.

economics, Great Recession, recovery:  puzzling?  The world does not always respond to our models …

Alone among the world’s economic powers, the United States is suffering through a deep jobs slump that can’t be explained by the rest of the economy’s performance.

The gross domestic product here — the total value of all goods and services — has recovered from the recession better than in Britain, Germany, Japan or Russia. Yet a greatly shrunken group of American workers, working harder and more efficiently, is producing these goods and services.

The unemployment rate is higher in this country than in Britain or Russia and much higher than in Germany or Japan, according to a study of worldwide job markets that Gallup will release on Wednesday. The American jobless rate is also higher than China’s, Gallup found. The European countries with worse unemployment than the United States tend to be those still mired in crisis, like Greece, Ireland and Spain.

Economists are now engaged in a spirited debate, much of it conducted on popular blogs like Marginal Revolution, about the causes of the American jobs slump. Lawrence Katz, a Harvard labor economist, calls the full picture “genuinely puzzling.”

via Jobless Rate Points to Lost Power in Work Force – Economic Scene – NYTimes.com.

emerging nations, India, business models:

MANAGEMENT theorists have fallen in love with India in much the same way that they fell in love with re-engineering fifteen years ago. India is synonymous with rapid growth, frugal innovation and exciting new business models.

I agree with all that (and have promoted it myself). But it is important to remember that India is also a mess.

via Indian sojourn: The messy, non-shining side of India | The Economist.

gardening:  I love the hope of a new year …  Cumberland County Garden Calendar.

history:  I can’t decide what I think of following the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  It doesn’t have the same energy and optimism of following the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  What do you think?

Historic Oakland Cemetery

‎150 years ago today, GA seceded from the Union (5th of 11). SC was the first on Dec 12, 1860 and TN was the 11th and final state on June 8, 1861.

via Facebook.

27
Oct
10

10.27.2010 ….“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Elizabeth Bennet

quotes:  Since I had nothing amazing or profound to say … I thought of Elizabeth Bennet today …

“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are

each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we

expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed

down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Elizabeth Bennet

architecture, for sale, Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago: A FLW is up for sale … the B&W listing is fun — Riverside, IL 60546 $2,890,000 Bedrooms: 5 Full Bath: 5 | Baird & Warner.

The architectural genius, Frank Lloyd Wright, built the Coonley House from 1908 to 1912, and after a few owners and many restorations, the 6,000 square foot house is now for sale.

Wright called the Riverside, Ill. home his “best house” in his 1932 autobiography.

This five bedroom, five bathroom, prairie style home is listed for $2.89 million. It sits on more than one acre of land and has a reflection pool outside. There’s also a 50-foot mural in the living room. Despite the restorations in the home, the home’s historic details have been kept intact.

via Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley House For Sale (PHOTOS).

Riverside, IL 60546 $2,890,000 Bedrooms: 5 Full Bath: 5 | Baird & Warner.

constitutional law, Amazon, NC: I am so glad that there is a connection between money and free speech … so I don’t have to pay taxes on all my dirty movies and books …

Lists that identify the books, music and movies individual customers bought from online retailer Amazon.com are protected from North Carolina tax collectors, a federal judge has ruled.

Amazon said in a lawsuit it filed in April in its hometown of Seattle that disclosing the names, addresses and purchases of its customers as requested by the North Carolina Revenue Department would harm anyone who may have bought controversial books or movies.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled late Monday that the First Amendment protects a buyer from the government demanding to know the books, music, and audiovisual products they’ve bought.

Amazon and the American Civil Liberties Union, which later joined the case, “have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual’s reading, listening, and viewing habits,” Pechman wrote.

At stake are potentially millions of dollars in taxes that North Carolina contends Amazon was responsible for collecting for years before a state law was changed last summer.

via Judge: Free speech protects Amazon buyers’ data – USATODAY.com.

Apple iPhone: What is it with the white one???

The elusive white iPhone has been delayed yet again.

Apple said Tuesday that the device, which was slated to go on sale before the end of the year, will not be available until spring. The company did not give an explanation for the new delay.

“We are sorry to disappoint customers who ware waiting for the white iPhone yet again,” said Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman. “We’ve decided to delay its release until spring.”

via White iPhone Delayed Again – NYTimes.com.

media:  books v. ebooks v. apps v. multimedia

“Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered,” wrote the poet W.H. Auden in his 1962 essay on “Reading.” Quite right, apart from the exceptionally undeserving ones, which risk being remembered for the wrong reasons.

A folded page of “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,” published by Visual Editions and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life.

“Alice for the iPad,” an application created by Atomic Antelope, an Anglo-American design duo.

A data visualization created by Ben Fry in 2003 to illustrate variations in the human genome data of 100 people, published in “Form + Code.”

Auden was referring to books in terms of their literary merit — what they say, and how the writer said it. When it comes to the type of books that are likely to appeal to design nuts, some score highly on that basis, and others are memorable because of how they look. Then there are the books that will be remembered because their designers turned them into something dazzlingly new or different. The launch of the Apple iPad and other digital readers has created perfect platforms for such innovations.

Here is my personal pick of the current crop of books that seem likeliest to be remembered for their design credentials — for old reasons, and new ones.

via The Invincible Book Keeps Reinventing Itself – NYTimes.com.

____

“As an author, I want you to have the best experience,” he said. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people. Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?”

Once readers buy the app, he says, they are beginning a relationship with him and other readers; they can leave comments and read responses and updates from the author. They may even be told down the line that he has a new book for sale and then be able to buy it through the app.

via ‘Adderall Diaries’ Blurs Books-Apps Line – NYTimes.com.

gLee, media: I think they went too far … but I don’t have to buy the magazine.

It’s no surprise that the Parents Television Council was outraged by a GQ photo spread featuring the actors of Glee (for an issue going on sale October 25). The PTC has been outraged by Glee for a long, long time. The group’s objections this time around center around the fact that actresses Lea Michele and Dianna Agron play high school students, which means, it says, that the shoot “borders on pedophilia.”

via GQ’s Gross ‘Glee’ Photos: The Objections Are Right For The Wrong Reasons : Monkey See : NPR.

random, news, education: I hope it works … more power to Millinocket for trying.

Never mind that Millinocket is an hour’s drive from the nearest mall or movie theater, or that it gets an average 93 inches of snow a year. Kenneth Smith, the schools superintendent, is so certain that Chinese students will eventually arrive by the dozen — paying $27,000 a year in tuition, room and board — that he is scouting vacant properties to convert to dormitories.

via Millinocket, Me., High School Recruits in China – NYTimes.com.

bucket list, travel: better get there fast …

Pictures: 12 Ancient Landmarks on Verge of Vanishing.

South Africa: So much potential.

South Africa is a vibrant, multiethnic democracy striving, with mixed success, to fulfill its promise.

via Mandela’s Children – Photo Gallery – National Geographic Magazine.

Apartheid is gone, but the slow process of reconciliation continues. In this issue, photographer James Nachtwey shows us contemporary South Africa, while writer Alexandra Fuller tells about a town, a victim of a hate crime, and the prisoner responsible. It’s a tale of forgiveness and redemption—a story, one South African minister says, about how a nation prepares for the future.

via NGM Blog Central – Editor’s Note: Moving Forward in South Africa – National Geographic Magazine – NGM.com.

green, UNC-CH, places, kudos:  This was my first home away from home … it was not new in 1978 … So to me it is even more impressive what the school and the students did.  Kudos, UNC-CH and Morrison Dormitory!

Ultimately, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels prevailed over rival North Carolina State Wolfpack—as well as trouncing Sears, J.C. Penney and Sheraton.

The playing field: a national competition sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency to see which commercial building could trim its energy use the most over 12 months. The EPA will report Tuesday that ranking first was a dorm at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dean Carovillano/Blink Eye Production

Morrison Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill installed solar panels to cut utility costs.

The strategy at UNC’s Morrison Residence Hall wasn’t as sexy as a winning three-point shot at the buzzer—but tweaks to its heating and cooling equipment, an expanded solar-powered hot water system, lighting upgrades and persistent coaxing of students to dial down hot water usage in the laundry room helped the dorm cut its energy consumption by almost 36% and shave more than $250,000 off its bills. Similar moves are being implemented campus-wide.

via N.C. Dorm Wins Energy Contest – WSJ.com.

news, Great Recession, journalism: I hate to admit it but I wasn’t sure what a 99-er was (made a good guess) … still a journalist posting on a news site should define the term.  Very sad statistic.

What struck me was Pelley’s line that many of the 99-ers are “too young to retire and too old to rehire.” Simply hearing that makes anyone who is north of a certain age (say, 40) cringe.

5 Lessons from the 99-ers:

Don’t ever take a job granted: Keep adding value and every now and then, remind your boss of your contribution to the bottom line

Upgrade and expand your skills along the way

Pay down consumer debt as quickly as possible

Establish an emergency reserve fund of at least one year of household expenses (two years, if you are in a high-risk job)

Save, save, save: if you don’t like the stock market, select lower risk options, but do it!

via The 99ers: 5 Sobering Lessons – CBS MoneyWatch.com.

Who are the 99ers?

“99ers” is a term for the group of unemployed workers who have been out of work for over 99 weeks and thus are no longer eligible to receive federal unemployment benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June approximately 1.4 million Americans fell into the “99ers” category, which accounts for 9.2 percent of all unemployed workers. This means that in the past three years, the number of 99ers has multiplied sixfold from roughly 221,000 in June 2007.

via Unemployment Extension FAQ: Who are the 99ers and what is Tier 5?.

media:  Is this big?

Time Warner Cable and ESPN plan to make programming available online behind a paywall, starting with “Monday Night Football.” Meanwhile, sports leagues are distributing video content on their own digital platforms, and are looking to devices like tablets. Peter Kafka and Lauren Goode discuss.

via Video – ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Live on the Web – WSJ.com.

Apple Apps:  I think I will like this one … when I get a new phone … 🙂

PhoneQi allows users to clip, save and share any text from newspapers, magazines, books, even text displayed on computer screens. Utilizing the iPhone’s camera and in-phone OCR to capture a short sequence of rendered text, Exbiblio’s Qi® technology will search through Google’s index to find a printed document’s digital counterpart. Using quoted-phrase searches, only 6 words are needed, on average, to identify a document among the billions of documents indexed by Google. In effect, every line of text in every printed document is unique / a barcode / a URL. This enables Exbiblio to deliver rich digital interactivity to the printed documents we encounter in our day-to-day activities. The PhoneQi app is just a small, first piece of an ecosystem that connects the physical, print world to the digital world.

via Exbiblio PhoneQi for iPhone is Now available through the Apple App Store. – DailyFinance.

literature, India: With Bollywood movies as they are, it does not surprise me that India has a mass pulp fiction industry.

Tamil has always been the language of high culture in India. Its literature is 2000 years old, its poetry exquisite.

But some of the most widely read stories in Tamil have titles like Sweetheart, Please Die.

You see these books everywhere in India. The covers are lurid, mustachioed men menacing women in tight nurse’s uniforms, knives dripping blood, and lots of cleavage. Rakesh Khanna, a Californian living in India, wanted to find out more about the stories. So he hired a translator. Now, they have put together Volume II of The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction.

Indian pulps have been around since the early 20th century. They borrowed freely from American dime novels and British penny dreadfuls. But because this is India, there are also kings, ghosts and mythological serpents.

via ‘Tamil Pulp’: Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English : NPR.

mung-bean, food/drink: hedonistic epistemological dilemma??

It is a hedonistic epistemological dilemma: when one believes something tastes different, does that mean it actually tastes different? I suspect Hume would say yes, Descartes would say no. But at a wine tasting at the Winery, a beautiful North London wine shop, neither philosopher could weigh in. I take the glass offered by the shop’s owner, David Motion. “How does it taste?” he asks. “Different?” I sip. I pause. “Um…” I don’t know.

I rarely mix wine with philosophy (a favoured pastime for some). But I am not often in the position of sipping the same wine twice in an afternoon, in order to observe the effect of the moon’s passage on its flavour. The Winery specialises in wines produced according to biodynamic principles, which hold that a wine’s taste is altered dramatically by the phases of the moon. I am here to sample such changes myself.

The theory has its origins in the biodynamic movement, which Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, began in the early 20th century. The ideas are simple, albeit eccentric. Biodynamic wine is created from grapes grown in harmony with nature. This means that the wine is not only organic, but also crafted with a heightened awareness of stars and planets—that is, the forces of cosmic energy. Because such wine growers view the vineyard as a living organism, they presume the grapes are affected by the moon, like other living things. Similarly, consumers should be mindful of when they drink such wine, as the phases of the moon affect the taste of the vintage.

Motion admits this belief “does sound a bit mung-bean”.

via COSMIC SIPPING | More Intelligent Life.

travel:  Hmmm … I am not sure about this one.

If you’re flying from Los Angeles to New Zealand, you could soon be traveling much more comfortably.

Air New Zealand will offer customers the chance to purchase seats that can turn into couches or beds.

According to Air New Zealand’s website, these new seats, called “Skycouches,” will be perfect for couples who want some extra room, or families with small children.

via Air New Zealand to Offer “Cuddle Class” on Auckland-LA Flights | NBC Los Angeles.

health, fitness: This sounds like fun to me.  A Trampoline Becomes a Launchpad to Fitness – WSJ.com.

Halloween, holidays: What will they think of next.

Since it often appears as though the cast of”Jersey Shore” are in costume, it comes as little surprise that some of the most popular outfits this Halloween are based on Snooki, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and DJ Pauly D. As the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes reports, the costumes are licensed by MTV and the cast members, which adds another revenue stream for the popular show. Watch the video.

via Halloween’s Top Costumes? Snooki and the ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Davidson, art: Art Opening?

It was an early Christmas morning Monday for members of the Davidson College art department. Alumnus Jim Pepper ’65, of Miami, Fla., boxed and shipped to the college 34 pieces of art from his collection.

But Pepper did not send an inventory listing ahead, preferring that members of the department be surprised with each piece as the bubble-wrap was removed.

Surprised and delighted they were: The donations included works by Wassily Kandinsky, Hans Hofmann, Robert Mapplethorpe, a meso-American textile piece, an ancient Hellenistic amphora, and more.

via Art ‘opening’: Alumnus surprises college with gift of art | DavidsonNews.net.

Wal-Mart, business models, South Africa: One of the things I liked about SA was that its retail  still seemed “local” once you got out of the really big cities.  I hope Wal-Mart sticks to the big cities …

Similar scenes across South Africa help to explain why Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering making a 32 billion rand ($4.63 billion) bid for Massmart, which operates warehouse-sized stores that sell goods ranging from food and liquor to clothing, gym equipment and home furnishings.

Wal-Mart is now in its fifth week of conducting due diligence on Massmart. Executives are inspecting each of Massmart’s 288 stores, which are located in 14 African countries, though mostly in South Africa.

via Wal-Mart Checks Out a New Continent – WSJ.com.

random, Laura Bush: She has a good head on her shoulders!

“As for me, it’s come to this,” Mrs. Bush said of her life after eight years in the White House, placing the doll on the glass plate. “This is the Laura Bush bobble head doll. I got this from a friend of mine who found it in the gift shop in the constitutional center a few weeks after the election. It was on the clearance shelf. He said he couldn’t resist sending it to me, I told him he could have tried a little harder. But I’m kinda glad to have it.”

She joked about the surreal nature of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“When you live in the White House and are a bobble head inside a bubble, reality can get a little warped,” Mrs. Bush smiled and said coyly. “Sometimes you have to work hard just to recognize yourself.”

via Former first lady Laura Bush to President Bush: ‘pick up your socks’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

libraries, careers, bookshelf: What fun to be the research librarian for All Things Considered.

Thank goodness for librarian Kee Malesky — who, for 20 years, has been saving NPR’s hosts and reporters from themselves. Malesky is the organization’s longest-serving librarian, and Simon says he suspects that she is actually the source of all human knowledge.

In her new book, All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge, Malesky catalogs some of the facts that she has researched so dutifully over the years.

Odd Queries From NPR Staff

During her two decades of service in the NPR reference library, reporters have asked Malesky to look up some fairly obscure, though fascinating pieces of information.

The first non-Native American to set foot in what is now Chicago?

That would be an African man from Haiti by the name of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, whose trading post was the first permanent dwelling there. Chicago has since named a high school after him that few residents can properly pronounce.

via ‘All Facts Considered’ By NPR’s Longtime Librarian : NPR.




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