Posts Tagged ‘journalism

12
Aug
13

8.12.13 … Twitter’s turning point as a news entity … the day a plane landed in the Hudson …

twitter, tipping point, news, journalism, tools:  very interesting.

After seven years with Twitter as a part of the social-media ecosystem, we’ve become pretty accustomed by now to the idea that the service functions as a real-time news platform — a cross between a social network and a news-wire staffed by millions of volunteer journalists, reporting on everything from a revolution in Egypt to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Was there a turning point when Twitter stopped being just a plaything for nerds and started becoming a journalistic entity? Co-founder Jack Dorsey says there was: the day an airplane crash-landed in the middle of the Hudson river in 2009.

Dorsey, who famously sketched out the idea for Twitter in 2000, talked to CNBC as part of the network’s recent documentary entitled “The Twitter Revolution,” and described it as the moment when the world started looking at the service as a potential news source rather than just a tech startup with a funny name. “It just changed everything,” he said. “Suddenly the world turned its attention (to us), because we were the source of news — but it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat, using the service, which was even more amazing.” You can hear more from Dorsey about creating the experience of Twitter at our RoadMap conference in November in San Francisco.

via Jack Dorsey on Twitter’s turning point as a news entity: The day a plane landed in the Hudson — Tech News and Analysis.

25
Jun
13

6.25.13 … Edward Snowden/17a: @SnowdenSeat: “I feel empty” …

Edward Snowden, U.S./China relations, US/Russia relations,  WSJ.com, Twitter, @ggreenwald, @17a: SnowdenSeat, journalism, The New Yorker,  NYTimes.com, WSJ.com: So we have a serious news story and the pundits are the only ones who aren’t being made to look like fools.

By contrast, everyone knew where half of the Moscow press corps was: halfway to Havana, on one of the few regular Russian flights that does not serve alcohol. It was the kind of plan that the F.S.B., and the K.G.B. before it, would described as a “special operation.” And somewhere in Moscow, it was clear, someone was laughing.

“When the president is a former spy, from time to time in this country they organize spy games, the Spy Olympic Games, and they have fun,” the novelist Victor Erofeyev said on Monday evening. “We are people from outside, who don’t understand how fun it is to put all the journalists on a plane and send them to Havana. They are having the greatest dinner tonight.”

Almost instantaneously, some anonymous wit opened a fake Twitter account titled “17a: SnowdenSeat,” and remarked, “I feel empty.”

via Empty Seat Deepens a Mystery in Moscow – NYTimes.com.

 …

17A

@SnowdensSeat

Just an ordinary seat on #Aeroflot flight #SU150 from Moscow to Havana.

Up in the air

via Twitter / Search – 17a snowden.

Mea culpa. Having spent almost eighteen years at The New Yorker, I’m arguably just as much a part of the media establishment as David Gregory and his guests. In this case, though, I’m with Snowden—not only for the reasons that Drake enumerated but also because of an old-fashioned and maybe naïve inkling that journalists are meant to stick up for the underdog and irritate the powerful. On its side, the Obama Administration has the courts, the intelligence services, Congress, the diplomatic service, much of the media, and most of the American public. Snowden’s got Greenwald, a woman from Wikileaks, and a dodgy travel document from Ecuador. Which side are you on?

via Demonizing Edward Snowden: Which Side Are You On? : The New Yorker.

Glenn GreenwaldVerified account

‏@ggreenwald

It’s completely irrational to permit one’s views of Snowden’s travel to affect how one views revelations about the NSA.

via Twitter / ggreenwald: It’s completely irrational ….

 …

The White House ripped into Hong Kong and China and issued warnings of unspecified “repercussions” to Russia and Ecuador as U.S. officials sharply dialed up international pressure Monday in a hunt for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

The warnings come as U.S. officials intensified talks with counterparts in Moscow and Quito to have Mr. Snowden returned to face charges in the U.S. for stealing and leaking classified documents.

The unusually harsh White House assessment on China represented the strongest U.S. statement to date as the case became a test of American influence with unsympathetic governments.

“We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney about Mr. Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday. “This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.”

via U.S. Slams China Over Snowden – WSJ.com.

20
Jun
13

6.20.13 … Michael Hastings: why aren’t more reporters like him? …

Jay Rosen ‏@jayrosen_nyu 2m

Since they clearly admired him, why aren’t more reporters like him? …Read @BuzzFeedBen on missing Michael Hastings. http://goo.gl/9ueKn

via (13) Twitter.

In a way, Michael was born too late: He wrote with the sort of commitment of the generation of reporters shaped by the government’s lies about Vietnam, not by the triumphalism of the 1990s or the reflexive patriotism of the years after 9/11. He was surer than most of us that power is, presumptively, not to be trusted. Writers of his courage and talent are so rare, and he was taken way too soon. There are few like him. We will miss him terribly.

via Missing Michael Hastings.

14
Jun
13

6.14.13 … How come all my favorite journalists are dead … or maybe journalism is dead …

Remembering legendary journalist Tim Russert, who died 5 years ago today.

01
Jun
13

6.1.13 … John White on Sun-Times layoffs: ‘It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture’ | Poynter.

John White’s 44-year career at The Chicago Sun-Times has been rooted in faith and professionalism. It’s a career he refers to as “an assignment from God.”

Earlier this week, that career came to an end on what some photographers have called the darkest day in Sun-Times photojournalism history. The paper announced Thursday that it had laid off its entire photojournalism staff and would rely on freelance photographers and reporters instead.

White — who has seen the paper go through many owners and changes — says he never imagined that his and his colleagues’ careers would end so abruptly.

In a phone interview, the 1982 Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist and teacher recalled a day that he is still “trying to make sense of.”

“This is what I remember hearing: ‘As you know we are going forward into multimedia and video, and that is going to be our focus. So we are eliminating the photography department.’ Then they turned it over to HR,” recounted White, who had already been doing video at the paper.

via John White on Sun-Times layoffs: ‘It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture’ | Poynter..

17
Feb
13

2.17.13 … I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year …

Charlotte, snow:  I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year.

photo

photo 2 photo 1   photo 3

photo 4 photo 5

history, Lent: So, I am a Pharisee now …

Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.”

Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances, making our practices not only simple but also easy. Ash Wednesday still marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays. The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast having only one full meal a day and smaller snacks to keep up ones strength and abstain from meat; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. People are still encouraged “to give up something” for Lent as a sacrifice. An interesting note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Josephs Day March 19 and the Annunciation March 25, one is exempt and can partake of whatever has been offered up for Lent.Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Dont act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.” Moreover, an emphasis must be placed on performing spiritual works, like attending the Stations of the Cross, attending Mass, making a weekly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, taking time for personal prayer and spiritual reading and most especially making a good confession and receiving sacramental absolution. Although the practices may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.

via History of Lent.

Lenten practice, Facebook, LOL:

Wonder what it says about FB that so many people are abstaining from it for Lent?

and one of his friend’s comment …

I’m Betting they cheat and look ..just not commenting.

via BW

Lent, Lenten devotionals: These jumped out at me …

Thursday February 14, 2013

Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us

We don’t have to go far to find the treasure we are seeking. There is beauty and goodness right where we are. And only when we can see the beauty and goodness that are close by can we recognize beauty and goodness on our travels far and wide. There are trees and flowers to enjoy, paintings and sculptures to admire; most of all there are people who smile, play, and show kindness and gentleness. They are all around us, to be recognized as free gifts to receive in gratitude.

Our temptation is to collect all the beauty and goodness surrounding us as helpful information we can use for our projects. But then we cannot enjoy it, and we soon find that we need a vacation to restore ourselves. Let’s try to see the beauty and goodness in front of us before we go elsewhere to look for it.

via Daily Meditation: Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us.

Indeed, the God of my rigid ideologies, of my complacent Theology; the God who validates my unwillingness to explore heresies, and rewards me for arrogantly dismissing them as sinful; the God who grounds my intellectual arrogance in His omniscience, and my politics in his omnipotence; the God who vanquishes all of His and my inquisitive foes, forever silencing their obnoxious questions with the fires of Hell; whose very Nature demands that humans separate and categorize the world into manageable divisions; the God who has made His Will known to us through Natural Law, and a Holy Book, every word of which we are to follow without hesitation or consideration; whose ethical character remains beyond discussion; whose decisions remain beyond the scope of human analysis; the God who grounds all Thought in his Being – this God, who is Himself nothing more than an idol of Modernism, is dead.

My goal for Lent is to remember this death, and to meditate on it in reverence, humility, and mystery. And to reflect not on the God who rules by power, but a god who leads by love; who identifies with the weak; whose foolishness upsets omniscience; a God who reveals Himself in many ways, who reveals Himself in a first century peasant named Jesus; a God who empties Himself of God, and offers Himself to his enemies in submission and servitude; who is concerned with the plight of widows and orphans, the least among us, and the disadvantaged; who sends Jesus to go after the marginalized and the misunderstood, and to bring back home again those who have been ostracized and forgotten.

I am giving up God for Lent to make room for God. I am prying open my fingers, and letting all of my theological idols crash to the ground. And I am lifting up my empty hands to Heaven in anticipation of God’s arrival, and quietly echoing the unsettling words of Meister Eckhart: “I pray God to rid me of God.”

via Brandon Ambrosino: Giving Up God For Lent.

Kneeling in Jerusalem,  Ann Weems, Lent:  Ann Weems’ book  Kneeling in Jerusalem is a great resource during Lent.

LENT

Lent is a time to take the time

to let the power of our faith story take hold of us,

a time to let the events

get up and walk around in us,

a time to intensify

our living unto Christ,

a time to hover over

the thoughts of our hearts,

a time place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and listen to his word,

a time to touch his robe

and feel the healing surge through us,

a time to ponder and a time to wonder . . .

Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!

from Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

clergywear, pastors, stoles, FPC-Charlotte, Lent,  fyi:

What Are Our Pastors Wearing Around Their Necks?

Of all the questions I have received since arriving as your pastor last September, the most popular has been about what we wear on Sunday during worship.

The name for what we wear around our necks is a “stole.” Stoles are worn by the clergy of many denominations – Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic.

The shape of a stole is reminiscent of a yoke that symbolizes the yoke of Christ, which reminds those of us who wear the stole (and those who see us wearing it) of whom we serve. Stoles are a symbol of ordained ministry – and are often given as gifts to a pastor on his or her ordination to service in the Church.

You may have noticed that the stoles we wear even change colors! The color of our stoles follows the season of the Christian year: purple in Advent and Lent, white in Christmas and Easter, green in ordinary times, and red in Pentecost.

You’ll also notice that the color of our stoles coordinates with the materials that cover both the pulpit and the communion table. These materials are called “paraments.”

Christians follow a different calendar – defined by our salvation history – because as we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, we are called to live a different kind of life.

Finally, most of your pastors’ stoles have a story – about where they were made or by whom they were given. Feel free to ask us about them sometime!

Pen

source: FirstNews

Camino de Santiago, Camino de Santiago Forum, bucket list: Thank you CCP for sharing this one.  One day …

Thoughts on Camino de Santiago – YouTube.

architecture, I.M. Pei, Gateway Towers, Singapore, optical illusion, Wired.com:  strangely two-dimensional …

Gateway

Gateway Towers, Singapore

Completed in 1990, the trapezoidal shape of I.M. Pei’s Gateway Towers in Singapore create an optical illusion when viewed from certain angles — the 37-story office buildings appear strangely two-dimensional.

via Wired’s Weekly Picks of Stunning Architecture | Wired Design | Wired.com.

uncreative writing, language, Digital Age, Brain Pickings:  subversive ..

The rest of Uncreative Writing goes on to explore the history of appropriation in art, the emerging interchangeability between words and images in digital culture, the challenges of defining one’s identity in the vastness of the online environment, and many other pressing facets of what it means to be a writer — or, even more broadly, a creator — in the age of the internet. Complement it with the equally subversive How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

via Uncreative Writing: Redefining Language and Authorship in the Digital Age | Brain Pickings.

art, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brain Pickings, 

Letters From Father Christmas:  Given that Tolkien’s

Letters From Father Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas books that I shared with my children …  and to a large extent because of Tolkien’s whimsical drawings, I know I would love this edition of The Hobbit.

A rare piece of cross-disciplinary creativity from the mind of one of modern history’s greatest creators, Art of the Hobbit is equal parts literary treasure and treat of art, exploring the notion of the author as designer — a particularly timely concept in the age of self-publishing and disciplinary cross-pollination in the making of books.

via Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Brain Pickings.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.

via Letters From Father Christmas: J.R.R. Tolkien: 0046442512657: Amazon.com: Books.

Obamacare, Uninsurables Program: I thought this was one of the good things about ObamaCare … 😦

Enrollment around the country has been lower than expected, partly because some people could not afford the premiums. But individual cases have turned out to be costlier than originally projected.

In documents provided to the states, the administration said the program has spent about $2.4 billion in taxpayer money on medical claims and nearly $180 million on administrative costs, as of Dec. 31. Congress allocated $5 billion to the plan.

“From the beginning (the administration) has been committed to monitoring PCIP enrollment and spending closely and making necessary adjustments in the program to ensure responsible management of the $5 billion provided by Congress,” PCIP director Richard Popper wrote in a memo. “To this end, we are implementing a nationwide suspension of enrollment.”

via Obamacare ‘Uninsurables’ Program Quietly Winds Down As Funding Dries Up.

news, journalism, mobile journalism, end of an era, Poynter;  “News needs to solve problems” hmmm … ” We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.”

4. News needs to solve problems

A study by Flurry in November found that the news category only accounts for 2 percent of total time spent on mobile apps. Social apps gobble up 26 percent. Facebook alone accounts for 23 percent of all time spent with mobile apps, according to Comscore in December. That beats every news organization’s app combined by a long shot.

As Facebook (and Twitter) grow in time spent – and since both are populated with plenty of news – they’re increasingly competitive with news organizations’ mobile experiences by sheer volume.

As a result, simply extending a news organizations’ current coverage into mobile isn’t enough. We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.

“The key insight from thinking about your business this way is that it is the job, and not the customer or the product, that should be the fundamental unit of analysis,” said Clayton Christensen, David Skok and James Allworth in a Nieman report. “This applies to news as much as it does to any other service.”

“The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself,” explains Y Combinator’s Paul Graham. “By far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.”

via 5 reasons mobile will disrupt journalism like the Internet did a decade ago | Poynter..

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, US Supreme Court, US Supreme Court Confirmation Process: One of my favorite lectures.  The speaker was a little dry, but I learned a great deal about the confirmation process from nomination to confirmation, vetting both by the White House and the Senate, the role of public relations and media, etc.  Once again, I have confirmed that I am a nerd.

Insider’s View of the Supreme Court Confirmation Process

Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Law and Government, UNC School of Law

this session will explore the nuances of the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. The speaker has significant experience in this arena. He advised several senators on the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr., and served as Special Counsel to Chair Patrick Leahy (D-vt.) as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee for the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning,  Student Athletes, Penn State, caveat emptor:  You should always be ticked when the presenter starts off telling you that there will be very little about Penn State despite the fact that it is in the title.

Sex, Violence and Student Athletes: Penn State and Beyond

Barbara J. Osborne, Associate Professor, UNC Department of Exercise & Sport Science

this session will explain the 2012 U.S. Department of education’s Sexual violence guidance. Institutional liability will be discussed using recent situations involving student-athletes at the high school and college level, as well as the Office of Civil Rights’ complaint against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal.

Festival of Legal Learning.

Life With Dogs: Thank you, EWP,  for sharing this  Life With Dogs’s photo …

this is like one of those old-fashioned fox stoles that my grandmothers used to wear – EWP

Find Rufus Competition, corgies, visitlondon.com:  What is it with the Brits and corgies?

Can You Find Rufus The Corgi?

For your chance to win a romantic trip to London, use the clues to find Rufus in the map below. Remember, he’s only a little dog, so you might need to zoom in!

via Now See It For Yourself – Find Rufus Competition – visitlondon.com.

translation apps,  Google App,  NYTimes.com:  My husband downloaded an arabic translation app for his next trip to Kuwait.  We’ll see how that goes …

I’ve been watching Google’s translation tools improve over the years, but this trip would be a true test: could it really blunt the trauma of arriving in a country where the average American is instantly rendered illiterate, deaf and mute?The answer: yes, though knowing your way around it in advance will help. (United Nations interpreters need not fear for their jobs, at least not yet.) Here, then, are my tips, learned the hard way….

Pantomiming and phrasebooks have always worked for you in the past, and are more fun anyway? I hear you. But even if you want to stay old-school, the world is moving on without you. At least once a day during my trip, the Chinese broke out their own translation apps before I had a chance to break out mine. In other words, this train has already left the station. Or, to pick a cliché more appropriate to my trip, you don’t want to miss the boat.

via Lost in Translation? Try a Google App – NYTimes.com.

Carnival Cruise, Triumph Failure, Total PR Fiasco, bathrobes, twitter:  They may have tweeted too fast … bathrobe fiasco!

They may have been stranded aboard a busted cruise ship for five days with little food, broken sewage systems and no heat or air conditioning, but at least they’ll get to keep the bathrobe.

On Friday morning, as more than 3,000 tired and dirty customers finally disembarked from the stranded cruise ship Triumph, @CarnivalCruise tweeted, “Of course the bathrobes for the Carnival Triumph are complimentary.”

It was a remarkably tone-deaf finish to a week-long public relations fiasco that began Sunday night when an engine fire crippled the Caribbean-bound ship and set it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. Nonstop news coverage and social media chatter brought the public vivid images of the fetid conditions aboard the Triumph. Reports from passengers included details about overflowing toilets, hours-long waits to get food and flooded rooms during the five days they were stranded at sea.

via Carnival Cruise Tells Passengers They Can Keep The Bathrobes In Total PR Fiasco.

The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers, kith/kin, high school, Westminster Schools, memories, Brain Pickings: I had a friend in high school who got a hold of this.  I never laughed so hard as I did one night … Can anyone guess who possessed this “pamphlet”?

Between Edison’s scandalous footage of the first kiss in cinema in 1896 and Bill Plympton’s quirky animated guide to kissing a century later, the public image of lip-locking underwent some radical transformations. In 1936, the year my grandmother was born, a man named Hugh Morris penned a small illustrated pamphlet titled The Art of Kissing (public library), in which he guided young lovers through the techniques, tricks, and “approved methods of kissing,” including such varieties as “the spiritual kiss,” “the nip kiss,” “the pain kiss,” “the surprise kiss,” “the eyelash kiss,” and “the French soul kiss,” as well as tips on how to prepare for a kiss and how to approach a girl. Delightfully dated in its assumptions about love, heterosexuality, and marriage, it’s as much a charming time-capsule of a bygone era as it is a sure source of a good chuckle.

THE ‘VACUUM’ KISS

Here you start off by first opening your mouth a trifle just after you have been resting peacefully with closed lips. Indicate to your partner, by brushing her teeth with the tip of your tongue, that you wish for her to do likewise. The moment she responds, instead of caressing her mouth, suck inward as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange. If she knows of this kiss variation, your maid will act in the same way and withdraw the air from your mouth. In this fashion, in a very short while, the air will have been entirely drawn out of your mouths. Your lips will adhere so tightly that there will almost be pain, instead of pleasure. But it will be the sort of pain that is highly pleasurable. That may sound odd, but nevertheless it is a fact. Pain becomes so excruciating as to become pleasurable.

via The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers | Brain Pickings.

Valentine’s Day memes, follow-up:  Since I was off FB for VD … I enjoyed a belated FB experience this morning.  Some are nice … some,  not so nice …

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Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day gift, StoryCorps:  I think I’ll suggest this one to my husband for next year.  LOL

Looking for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift? Grab your sweetheart and head to StoryCorps at the AHC to record your love story! Appointments are available this Saturday! http://ow.ly/hHctG

StoryCorps is pleased to be in partnership with the Atlanta History Center and Public Broadcasting Atlanta to record, preserve, and share the stories of communities in Atlanta.

via Atlanta, GA | StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.

In the coming years we will build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.

via About Us | StoryCorps.

Downton Abbey, The Dowager Countess, quotes, LOL: : )

‎”I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.”

Georgia, Yumion – the Vidalia Onion, Vidalia GA, kitschy, corporate mascots:  I must admit, I would go out of my way to see Yumion … I have done so to see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and the Famous Idaho® Potato Truck …

Explore Georgia

Be sure to look for Yumion, the Vidalia Onion, when you visit Vidalia, Georgia! http://budurl.com/Vidalia

Tiffanys,  Costco, knockoffs, retail, knockoffs, icons, iconic jewelry, blue boxes, diamond rings,  ABC News:  If I were a bride, I’d be ticked …

Speaking of retail, a wild story. A big fight between tiffany’s and costco. Tiffany’s wants the big box store to knock off the knockoffs, selling fake versions of its iconic jewelry.

Here’s abc’s tanya rivero. Reporter: It’s the little blue box, versus the big box retailer. On valentine’s day, as lovers everywhere snuggled,iffany and co.

Slapped costco with a lawsuit. These pictures allegedly show tiffany koffs inside a california costco. Tiffany sent someone in, bought one of the rings.

They were not made by tiffany. They are not tiffany rings. They have nothing to do with tiffany.

Reporter: Being sold at a fraction of what real tiffany rings cost. Everybody would love a deal on a tiffany ring. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen.

Tiffany diamonds are never on sale. Reporter: Tiffany alleges costco had been selling the fakes for years. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of engagement rings were sold using the tiffany trademark.

Reporter: A rep for costco told abc news, we will be making no comment on this story as it involves pending litigation. Court papers say an unnamed consumer blew the whistle, contacting a tiffany store to complain. She was offended by the fact that tiffany would be selling engagement rings in costco.

In this particular case, there’s enormous room for confusion among consumers because costco does sell a of big brands at deep discounts. Reporter: Shoppers at tiffany’s flagship store weighed in. You think you’re buying into a brand.

And you find out it’s a rip-off. When you buy a tiffany diamond, you’re buying into the row mant schism and there’s only one place to get it. Costco has removed all tiffany labels.

But tiffany is a suing for additional mary damages. And whether customers will sue remains to be seen. If you have any doubt about a tiffany’s item you own, you can bring it into a tiffany’s store.

They’ll tell you if it’s the real thing. Diamonds are never on sale.

via Tiffanys Battles Costco Over Knock Off Diamond Rings | Video – ABC News.

 weddings,  trends, gold, The Huffington Post:  I am pretty traditional … but  I really like the gold …

Beyond emerald and yellow, one of the fastest growing color trends this year in weddings is gold. For a while, gold had become passé as platinum gained in popularity and silver made a resurgence. However, gold is back, and here to stay. With sequins so popular (we’re on board!), and because this color can be paired with so many options from pink to black and white, all that glitters is GOLD for 2013.

With the help of patterns and rose gold, check out our favorite golden wedding ideas in the gallery.

via Kellee Khalil: 2013 Wedding Color Trend: Gold.

Twitter, David Boreanaz, Playmobil, adult play, random: So if I were to create a scene using playmobil figures, what would I create?

You see my photo!!!! Playmobil Bones!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Zb55U6pA

Twitter / lauris_dm: @David_Boreanaz You see my ….

elephants, internet videos, random:

VALUE9.com India

most happiest elephant in the world

via most happiest elephant in the world.

Marine Corps,  Chesty the Recruit, WSJ:

The Marine Corps on Friday unveiled their future mascot. If all goes as planned, Chesty the Recruit will become Private First Class Chesty XIV later this year, replacing Sgt Chesty XIII.

Chesty XIII became one of the most storied dogs in the long history of Marine Corps mascots when he faced off last year with Bravo, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s golden retriever.

As chronicled in The Wall Street Journal, the growling confrontation earned Chesty a promotion to Sergeant and raised the bulldog’s reputation among many of the enlisted and officers at the Marine Corps barracks. But it didn’t sit too well with some of the officer’s wives.

Some of the women viewed Chesty the XIII as crotchety and ill-mannered to guests. (Check out the video here.)

The Marines rolled out the red carpet for 9-week old Chesty the Recruit Thursday night at the Home of the Commandants at the Washington, D.C., Marine Barracks. Bonnie Amos, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, met the latest Chesty Thursday night.

via Marines Roll Out Red Carpet for Chesty the Recruit – Washington Wire – WSJ.

short stories, literary genres, publishing, book industry, NYTimes.com.

The Internet may be disrupting much of the book industry, but for short-story writers it has been a good thing.

Story collections, an often underappreciated literary cousin of novels, are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well.

“It is the culmination of a trend we have seen building for five years,” said Cal Morgan, the editorial director of Harper Perennial Originals, who until last year ran a blog called Fifty-Two Stories, devoted to short fiction. “The Internet has made people a lot more open to reading story forms that are different from the novel, and you see a generation of writers very engaged in experimentation.”

via A Good Fit for Small Screens, Short Stories Are Selling – NYTimes.com.

09
Feb
13

2.9.13 … barking dogs …

barking dogs, for the love of dogs, kith/kin, neighbors:  I was out-of-town and my old pups barked way into the night/ morning.  Sometime I forget their shortcomings because I love them.   I feel really bad …

IMG_5446

Maira Kalman, art, quotes,  Brain Pickings:

Kalman echoes Anaïs Nin and adds to history’s finest definitions of art:

There’s a certain freedom to do whatever I want to do, which I guess is the definition of being an artist.

Complement with Kalman on identity, happiness and existence and the difference between thinking and feeling, then treat yourself to some of her marvelous, unassumingly profound books — you can’t go wrong with The Principles of Uncertainty and Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World).

via Maira Kalman on Art and the Power of Not Thinking | Brain Pickings.

blogs, Jane Austen:  New resource — The Everything Austen Daily.

coffee foam art: 🙂

One of the perks of visiting your local coffee shops!

via The 40 Most Amazing Examples Of Coffee Foam Art.

memes, Marco Polo, childhood:

Poor fellow. To think this is what most will know his name by…

Annie Dillard, winter, memes, Brain Pickings:

This particular excerpt from the essay “Footfalls In A Blue Ridge Winter”, a celebration of winter originally published in the February 1974 issue of — of all places — Sports Illustrated, manages to capture in some 200 words just about everything that’s magical and poetic about life, innocence, curiosity, presence, and even the memes that permeate the Internet, a kind of vision for the currency of the web long before the web as we know it existed.

via Annie Dillard on Winter, Memes, and Living with Wonder | Brain Pickings.

NYT, WSJ, WashPost, NY Post, photography, journalism, Poynter:

 

It’s not unusual for a single image to dominate a news event. But it is unusual for the same photo to be prominently featured on four major newspapers. Reuters photojournalist Brian Snyder captured the front page image (shown below) in Boston on Friday, as the storm was arriving. Only the New York Post uses the name ‘Nemo’ to refer to the blizzard that has dumped several feet of snow in the northeast and left thousands without power. || Related: New York Times, Wall Street Journal drop paywalls for storm coverage | How Wall Street Journal, NPR are using RebelMouse for storm coverage, Fashion Week

via Same photo appears on front pages of NYT, WSJ, WashPost, NY Post | Poynter..

China, architecture, copycats, WSJ.com:

In Beijing, the new Wangjing SOHO complex, a trio of curvy office buildings designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, is slowly rising in the smog-filled skyline. Meanwhile, 1,000 miles south, a set of two buildings is going up—and the design looks just like Ms. Hadid’s, say the backers of the Beijing complex.

The other development company has denied copying the design and coined a slogan about its project. “Never meant to copy,” reads a pitch posted on the firm’s official microblog. “Only want to surpass.”

[image]

Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

BONJOUR CHINA | An Eiffel Tower looms over a road in Hebei province.

That motto could be the mantra for China’s massive movement in architectural mimicry. To show they are making it big, the Chinese have turned to faking it big.

via In Chinese Buildings, a Copycat Craze – WSJ.com.

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Harper Lee, nonfiction narrative, literary genres, WSJ.com:  This entire article is fascinating …

The notes show that when Mr. Capote and his assistant, novelist Harper Lee, traveled to Garden City in the winter of 1960, Mr. Dewey gave them exclusive access to the Clutter files for a week. Mr. Dewey also granted them private interviews with the arrested killers after he had told the media that no such interviews would be granted, according to Charles J. Shields, who studied the Capote archives for his 2006 biography of Miss Lee, “Mockingbird.”

via Capote Classic ‘In Cold Blood’ Tainted by Long-Lost Files – WSJ.com.

Berta Soler, Cuba, dissidents, Ladies In White, freedom to travel:  Change is coming.  i was very moved by this story.

HAVANA — Cuban authorities granted a passport Friday to the leader of a protest group that received the European Union’s top human rights prize in 2005, even as another, lesser-known dissident reported being told she will not be allowed to leave the country.

Berta Soler, the most prominent member of the Ladies in White, picked up her new passport in the morning and said she plans to make a long-delayed trip to Europe to pick up the EU’s Sakharov award, something she has been unable to do until now because she was denied an exit visa.

The 50-year-old exit visa requirement, which was often denied to the likes of doctors, military officers and dissidents, has been abolished under travel reform that took effect Jan. 14.

Soler said she would contact EU officials to schedule a date, and she’s also hoping to visit Spain and attend two April human rights conferences in Panama and Germany.

“I have many invitations to different places,” she told The Associated Press, holding up her new passport.

The Ladies in White formed a decade ago to press for the release of their husbands, 75 dissidents imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown. All 75 have since been freed, and the Ladies have refocused their message on demanding political change, with almost completely new membership. Soler is one of the few original members still active in the group.

via Berta Soler, Leader Of Cuban Dissident Group ‘Ladies In White,’ Receives Passport To Travel.

China, culture, boyfriend rentals, Chinese New Year,  The Wedding Date , Valentine’s Day ,  ABC News:  Reminded me of The Wedding Date … but then thought of the social and family pressure that must exist to cause this to be significant enough of a business that it received US news coverage.

Renting out boyfriends and girlfriends is a new business in China. With the Chinese New Year approaching, the whole country has begun its massive annual migration, with millions of people struggling to get home. For the many young Chinese who work away from their hometowns, this is the one time of year when they can spend a week or two at home with their families. Besides visiting relatives and friends, it’s also the perfect time to show what you have achieved in the past year. For many young people, that means bringing home a potential mate or spouse to introduce to your family.

Gao told ABC News that the market for rental boyfriends is much bigger than rental girlfriends. The pressure to get married weighs heavy on the shoulders of many Chinese women. Even state media refers to single women above age 27 as “leftover women.” The 26th birthday of a daughter rings like an alarm bell for many anxious Chinese parents.

Gao owns two online stores selling flowers through Taobao.com. He has recruited nine young men between the ages of 26 and 32 who he considers suitably masculine to rent out as boyfriends.

via Boyfriend Rentals Boom During Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day – ABC News.

tea, UK, Earl Grey, British estates, Boston.com: fascinating … but I would have assumed it had never been grown in Britain.  🙂

An estate owned by descendants of the 19th century British aristocrat for whom Earl Grey tea was named is turning history on its head by selling English tea to China. The Tregothnan estate in the southwestern English county of Cornwall started selling tea from its tiny plantation in 2005 and last year produced about 10 tons of tea and infusions. Current owners (and residents) of Tregothnan, Evelyn and Katharine Boscawen think they’ve found a niche to exploit in exporting English tea to China and India. The long history of immersing tea leaves in hot water for a refreshing drink is not lost on the Boscawens. By the Victorian Era, taking tea had become a regular ritual at almost every level of society from elaborate afternoon tea for the rich in country houses to tea and gruel for the working poor as depicted by Charles Dickens.Tregothnan has projected 2013 sales to be $3.14 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the world’s largest black tea exporter, Kenya, predicting $1.33 billion in sales for 2013.

via Tea Time – The Big Picture – Boston.com.

23
Oct
11

10.23.2011 … wasabi reunion day 2 … home and sushi with Molly — at Koishi Fine Chinese & Sushi Bar.

Davidson College,wasabi, reunions:  So what is a wasabi reunion like … mornings turn to afternoon and we are still in our pjs, sharing, sharing, sharing … loves, likes, movies, books, passions, missions, careers, vocations, families, coffee and more coffee, food  …

Things I learned …, food – gluten-free, vocation, El Hogar Ministries, Inc, Daraja Academy, Nike’s Girl Effect,  Rock the Vonate!, Building Dreams:

  • Gluten-free food can be pretty good and Betsy’s soup is divine … gluten-free?

Spinach-Provolone Soup 

1 28 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed but not squeezed dry(note:  if I’m strapped for time, I put the frozen spinach in a colander and run hot water over it)

¾ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup butter

6 cups skim milk

6 cups chicken broth

6 T cornstarch mixed thoroughly with some of the milk until smooth

2 cups shredded provolone cheese (I often buy the Italian blend already shredded at Wal Mart—easier)

2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

Extra grated cheese and crumbled bacon for topping the soup

  • Puree spinach in food processor and set aside.  If you don’t have a food processor, the soup will still work (you’ll just have chunkier spinach J)
  • Saute onion in melted butter.
  • Add broth, milk, and cornstarch mixture
  • Heat over medium heat until mixture thickens to a thin sauce and begins to bubble (stir frequently).
  • Add the 2 c. grated cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in the salt, cayenne pepper, and spinach.
  • Serve as soon as spinach is heated thoroughly.  Garnish each bowl with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.

This makes enough to serve 12.  Enjoy!

  • Pride in a child who is conquering an illness or handicap, pride in an adult who is conquering an illness or handicap …
  • Heartbreak and joy … everyone can and should experience both … Both are better when shared.
  • Finding your vocation … (I am still looking for mine).

… one wasabi’s husband is heading an orphanage in Honduras, and he is happy … he has found his vocation.

The mission of El Hogar Projects is to provide a loving home and education in a Christian environment for abandoned, orphaned and hopelessly poor children, enabling them to fulfill their ultimate potential as productive human beings in Honduras.

The mission of El Hogar Ministries, Inc. is to assist in the improvement of social and educational conditions in Honduras, principally by supporting El Hogar Projects. El Hogar Ministries, Inc. raises funds and maintains an office for coordination and communication with North American sponsors, contributors and outreach groups which form a sacred community of service and are the backbone of financial support for the 250 children at the three schools and homes of El Hogar Projects.

via El Hogar’s schools provide a loving home & education for abandoned & orphaned children in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

… another wasabi is on the board of a Kenyan school for girls which  is using Rock the Vonate to raise funds … She taught in Kenya right out of Davidson and always           wanted to find a way back

Girls of Daraja (complete) – YouTube.

Rock the Vonate! Your vonate will help Daraja win a spot with Nike’s Girl Effect: top 6 projects w/highest # of individual donations win. This is an opportunity to get Daraja on the global stage. Daraja Academy is a boarding secondary school for Kenyan girls with top academic scores and exceptional leadership skills but no means to continue their education.The academy provides shelter, food, healthcare and counseling services allowing students to focus on academic and personal development.

via Daraja Academy for Exceptional Kenyan Girls – GlobalGiving.

… another wasabi spouse is starting up a mentoring program for SC children of incarcerated parents …

Who We Are

Building Dreams provides mentoring services based on principles of positive youth development to children of incarcerated parents. Started in 2004 in five counties of South Carolina, the Building Dreams program has gradually expanded so that today services are available in eight counties and will soon expand state-wide. Our overarching goal is to develop close, supportive, one-on-one mentoring relationships between trained adult volunteers and eligible children.

via Building Dreams : Public Service : Clemson University : South Carolina.

home, kith/kin: It is wonderful to have a child to share fun and different meals with … Sushi with Molly — at Koishi Sushi Bar and Fine Chinese Restaurant.

travel, technology, iPads:  Another significant impact of a Steve Jobs’ invention … Ipads change economics and speed of hotel wi-fi.  It changes it in my house … “The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said.”

IF, like me, you have been complaining about unusually poor Internet service in hotel rooms lately, the hotels have a good explanation.

Largely because of the broad use of iPads and other mobile tablets, which are heavy users of video streaming, the guest room Wi-Fi networks that most hotels thought they had brought up to standard just a few years ago are now often groaning under user demands.

“The iPad is the fastest-selling device in consumer electronics history, and because of it the demand placed on any public place Wi-Fi system has gone up exponentially in the last year and a half,” said David W. Garrison, the chief executive of iBAHN, a provider of systems for the hotel and meetings industries.

This means more hotel customers are unhappy with their Internet connections. Hotel owners, meanwhile, who are digging out from a two-year slump caused by the recession, will probably have to invest more money to provide more bandwidth.

For travelers, it may mean still another fee, since hotels will be paying their own Internet bills. Some hotel Internet service providers are proposing a solution that offers tiered Wi-Fi service. The lowest level, suitable for basic Internet requirements like checking e-mail, would be free, but other levels would be priced depending on bandwidth requirements. According to iBAHN, iPads consume four times more Wi-Fi data per month than the average smartphone.

The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said.

via IPads Change Economics, and Speed, of Hotel Wi-Fi-On the Road – NYTimes.com.

2012 Presidential Election, technology, twitter, social networking, GOP:  Is the GOP finally getting up to speed?

President Obama’s image projected from one of the many television screens that hang in Representative Eric Cantor’s office suite, where the president could be seen telling a crowd in North Carolina that he was open to “any serious idea” Republicans offered on jobs.

Within seconds, Brad Dayspring, Mr. Cantor’s Rasputin of retort, was on the case, his fingers ripping across the keyboard as if individually caffeinated. “Obama says he’s open to any “serious #GOP idea,” typed Mr. Dayspring, the aggressive spokesman for Mr. Cantor, the Republican from Virginia who serves as House majority leader, in a message on Twitter. “Here are 15 jobs bills stalled in the Senate to get him started.”

A link from Mr. Cantor’s blog was quickly pasted in, the send button was hit, and Mr. Dayspring sat back slightly in his chair, pleased.

Barely a minute goes by between the time Mr. Obama — or a high-ranking member of his administration — makes a speech, holds a news conference or says something to a talk show host, and a team of young Republican House staffers, fueled by pizza and partisanship, punches back.

It’s a bit of a table turn on Mr. Obama, whose 2008 campaign capitalized on social media in a way that left Republicans bruised and scrambling. Now, after a post-election order from Speaker John A. Boehner that year, House Republicans have embraced Twitter as their karaoke microphone to push their message against the White House bullhorn.

The insta-Tweet has revolutionized rapid response operations that just two years ago relied heavily on cable television, e-mails and news conferences to spread the word of the opposition, which often took a day or two to gain momentum. That time lag could delay the message from taking hold, a result Republicans were eager to undo.

“In the Hill environment, minutes count,” said Mr. Dayspring, whose mad-dash Twitter messaging is supplemented by his colleague Brian Patrick, Mr. Cantor’s blogger and a Twitter expert who is known as Boomer for his ability to pump up Republican crowds.

“It’s far more like a campaign environment now,” Mr. Dayspring said.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama made productive use of Facebook, MySpace and his Web site as tools of outreach and organization. Through social media, money was raised, volunteers were gathered, events were publicized and videos of the candidate went instantly viral. His Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, was flat-footed in the same arena (though he has become a devout Twitter believer since). Out of that experience was born a list of roughly 13 million Twitter users, like the famous Republican mailing lists of the past, this one on steroids.

At a January 2009 retreat, as defeated Republicans licked their wounds, Mr. Boehner told his colleagues that they needed to “think about the potential of new media,” according to a copy of his remarks. He urged members and their staff to immediately get themselves on YouTube and Twitter, as he did. Without control of the House floor, it became the Republicans’ main messaging tool as they mounted their successful push to capture control of the House. Now, it is their weapon of repetition.

Republican House members have more than twice as many followers as their Democratic counterparts — about 1.3 million versus roughly 600,000 — and are far more active on Twitter with more than 157,000 individual Twitter messages, versus roughly 62,000 for Democrats.

“Once Republicans get their act together, they are really good at organizing,” said Andrew Rasiej, the founder of Personal Democracy Media, which studies how technology is changing politics. Republicans in the House are using technology “in order to blunt the power of the White House in a new political media ecology that benefits from speed,” he said.

via The G.O.P.’s Very Rapid Response Team – NYTimes.com.

Spotify, media, journalism, social networking:  Is Spotify where journalism/media and social networking meet?  Like many products it may disappear before I figure it out!

Until Google irons out its music licensing issues with the big record labels, its Google Music service (which the Wall Street Journal says is rumored to launch within the next few weeks) probably won’t reach the popularity of the music industry’s latest big thing: Spotify. One thing Google does want to do is emulate Spotify’s social media features, which lets people share public playlists. So, what to do if your friends don’t have the best taste in music? Find someone who does!

Everyone from obsessive music geeks to celebs are sharing their playlists with the masses; Facebook kingpin Mark Zuckerberg really, really likes Green Day while Britney Spears has a thing for other pop legends such as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. For those looking for something a little more advanced, we recommend adding these seven Spotify users to your people list.

via Snoop Dogg, Sean Parker and 5 More Spotify Users You Should Add Now – Techland – TIME.com.

 iTunesU,  autism:  The access to such high quality information for free is astounding …

The Yale Seminar on Autism and Related Disorders is the United States’ first undergraduate course of its kind. The goal of this series is to make all of the lecture content and supporting materials available online for free for anyone who desires to learn about Autsim Spectrum Disorders. For Yale undergraduates, the class consists of a weekly seminar on diagnosis and assessment, etiology and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders of socialization. This collection contains the full video of the course.

via Yale Autism Seminar – Video – Download free content from Yale University on iTunes.

Unreasonable Institute,  social missions, entrepreneurship,  changing the world:  “Entrepreneurs who want to change world have to be a little crazy.”  Great NYT piece on the Unreasonable Institute!

DANIEL EPSTEIN wants to get one thing straight: He is an unreasonable man. Happily, proudly unreasonable. Entrepreneurs who want to change the world, he says, have got to be a little crazy.

Biosense Technologies developed the ToucHb, a device that tests women and children for anemia and is in clinical trials. From left are Sarita Patil, a nurse; Pallavi Janarav; and Biosense’s founders, Myshkin Ingawale and Yogesh Patil.

And so, to foster some practical zaniness, Mr. Epstein is a co-founder of something called the Unreasonable Institute, in Boulder, Colo. For the last two summers, he has helped preside over this academy for entrepreneurs who want to solve social problems and make some money, too.

Part schmooze-fest, part group hug, this six-week program connects entrepreneurs with one another, as well as with executives, investors and thinkers who might help them. Its name derives from a quotation by George Bernard Shaw: “All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” For good measure, Mr. Epstein recently had Unreasonable’s logo tattooed on his derrière.

Welcome to the age of the spreadsheet humanitarian. The central idea of the Unreasonable Institute is that profit-making businesses can sometimes succeed where their nonprofit counterparts might falter. Mr. Epstein, 25, and a serial entrepreneur, says the Unreasonable Institute wants people who are willing to think big, even when skeptics scoff.

The institute conducts its program at a fraternity house it rents at the University of Colorado. The six weeks are intense and communal. Fellows sleep three or so to a room. A chef prepares three in-house meals a day. The fellows dine at a table seating 60, alongside mentors who might include the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard or the former director of Google.org.

On any given day, the fellows might go on a hike or a bike ride with a potential investor, attend a workshop about building corporate partnerships, or take part in “family pitch night,” when two entrepreneurs present their companies to the rest of the group for feedback. At the end of the program, the fellows travel to San Francisco and pitch their ideas to a group of investors.

Mr. Epstein says market-based solutions are important in spurring economic growth throughout the developing world.

“This is really in contrast to the prevalent model of international aid,” says Cynthia Koening, 33, who attended the program this year. Her company, Wello, based in Rajasthan, India, is aimed at people — most of them women — who must walk long distances to bring drinking water to the home. Her cylinder-shaped product allows women to roll water home from the source rather than carry it on their heads, which can be dangerous and time-consuming.

The institute conducts its program at a fraternity house it rents at the University of Colorado. The six weeks are intense and communal. Fellows sleep three or so to a room. A chef prepares three in-house meals a day. The fellows dine at a table seating 60, alongside mentors who might include the chief technology officer of Hewlett-Packard or the former director of Google.org.

On any given day, the fellows might go on a hike or a bike ride with a potential investor, attend a workshop about building corporate partnerships, or take part in “family pitch night,” when two entrepreneurs present their companies to the rest of the group for feedback. At the end of the program, the fellows travel to San Francisco and pitch their ideas to a group of investors.

Mr. Epstein says market-based solutions are important in spurring economic growth throughout the developing world.

“This is really in contrast to the prevalent model of international aid,” says Cynthia Koening, 33, who attended the program this year. Her company, Wello, based in Rajasthan, India, is aimed at people — most of them women — who must walk long distances to bring drinking water to the home. Her cylinder-shaped product allows women to roll water home from the source rather than carry it on their heads, which can be dangerous and time-consuming.

FOR some participants, the institute is just one stop on a kind of social entrepreneurship circuit; they’ve been awarded numerous fellowships, won different business plan competitions and are regular faces at industry conferences. For others, the institute is their first encounter with this scene. This is especially true for many of the 60 percent of fellows who live outside the United States.

By coming to Boulder this year, Mr. Duarte of Mexico, founder of YoRecicolo, which operates recycling programs, was able to meet like-minded people who work on recycling and waste issues. He even received an invitation to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York last month. His company has been profitable since last year.

via Unreasonable Institute Teaches New Paths to Social Missions – NYTimes.com.

punctuation, grammar, rhetoric, history, end of an era, graphics:  Just loved this article … I obviously am a fan of the ellipses but use it like a dash …

 How might punctuation now evolve? The dystopian view is that it will vanish. I find this conceivable, though not likely. But we can see harbingers of such change: editorial austerity with commas, the newsroom preference for the period over all other marks, and the taste for visual crispness.

Though it is not unusual to hear calls for new punctuation, the marks proposed tend to cannibalize existing ones. In this vein, you may have encountered the interrobang , which signals excited disbelief.

Such marks are symptoms of an increasing tendency to punctuate for rhetorical rather than grammatical effect. Instead of presenting syntactical and logical relationships, punctuation reproduces the patterns of speech.

One manifestation of this is the advance of the dash. It imitates the jagged urgency of conversation, in which we change direction sharply and with punch. Dashes became common only in the 18th century. Their appeal is visual, their shape dramatic. That’s what a modern, talky style of writing seems to demand.

By contrast, use of the semicolon is dwindling. Although colons were common as early as the 14th century, the semicolon was rare in English books before the 17th century. It has always been regarded as a useful hybrid—a separator that’s also a connector—but it’s a trinket beloved of people who want to show that they went to the right school.

More surprising is the eclipse of the hyphen. Traditionally, it has been used to link two halves of a compound noun and has suggested that a new coinage is on probation. But now the noun is split (fig leaf, hobby horse) or rendered without a hyphen (crybaby, bumblebee). It may be that the hyphen’s last outpost will be in emoticons, where it plays a leading role.

Graphic designers, who favor an uncluttered aesthetic, dislike hyphens. They are also partly responsible for the disappearance of the apostrophe. This little squiggle first appeared in an English text in 1559. Its use has never been completely stable, and today confusion leads to the overcompensation that we see in those handwritten signs. The alternative is not to use apostrophes at all—an act of pragmatism easily mistaken for ignorance.

Defenders of the apostrophe insist that it minimizes ambiguity, but there are few situations in which its omission can lead to real misunderstanding.

The apostrophe is mainly a device for the eye, not the ear. And while I plan to keep handling apostrophes in accordance with the principles I was shown as a child, I am confident that they will either disappear or be reduced to little baubles of orthographic bling.

via Is This the Future of Punctuation!? – WSJ.com.

Occupy Wall Street, capitalism, markets, thongs, V for Vendetta:  “… the Guy Fawkes mask—popularized by the 2006 Natalie Portman film “V for Vendetta”—as a symbol of the fight against corporations.”

The “Occupy” movement may purposefully be trying to resist being branded or labeled with specific messages and demands, but there are already plenty of creative types eager to come up with logos and slogans for the protests—and make some profits while they’re at it. The DIY design site Spreadshirt reports that nearly 200 OWS-related designs have been uploaded by independent craftspeople and are available for purchase on T-shirts, buttons, coffee mugs—and even on thongs and doggie clothing. Hundreds more items are for sale at similar sites such as Zazzle and CafePress. It must be noted that there’s no indication any of the proceeds go to help the protesters. For that matter, it’s highly unlikely that any of this merchandise would even be worn by diehard protesters. But we suppose it could be argued that wearing a 99% baseball hat or an OWS hoodie represents a different kind of support for the movement.

via ‘Occupy Wall Street’ For Sale | Moneyland | How People Are Profiting From Occupy Wall Street | TIME.com.

Hackers and protesters alike have adopted the Guy Fawkes mask—popularized by the 2006 Natalie Portman film “V for Vendetta”—as a symbol of the fight against corporations. Dozens of designs feature the sinister Fawkes mask, including this $19 T-shirt at Spreadshirt.

via ‘Occupy Wall Street’ For Sale | Moneyland | Rise Guy Fawkes T-Shirt | TIME.com.

Occupy Wall Street, journalism, mainstream new media, Jeff Elder:

A Sunday New York Times column helped to focus media coverage on the legitimacy of the movement. At the same time, a news event occurred that received less coverage.

How Seriously Should We Take Occupy Wall Street?

How seriously should we take the Occupy Wall Street movement? It has turned into a global debate, and the main focus of mainstream media coverage of the movement. Much of this dialogue about the legitimacy of the protests can be traced to one newspaper column.

via How One Column Shaped Mainstream News Coverage Of Occupy Wall Street · jeffelder · Storify

the 1%, Occupy Wall Street, American Dream, social mobility, education, philanthropy:  It’s nice someone is looking at the other side of this story … even for a second.

Americans used to believe in social mobility regardless of the hand you’re dealt. Ten years ago, polls showed that about two thirds believed “people are rewarded for intelligence and skill,” the highest percentage across 27 countries surveyed. Fewer than a fifth thought that “coming from a wealthy family is essential [or] very important to getting ahead.” Such views made Americans more tolerant than Europeans and Canadians of inequality and more suspicious of government attempts to reduce it.

Yet the hardships of the Great Recession may be changing that, giving an unexpected resonance to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Falling wages and rising unemployment are making us appreciate what we ignored during the good times. Social mobility is actually lower in the U.S. than in most other developed countries—and falling.

Academic studies show that if a child is born into the poorest quintile (20 percent) of the U.S. population, his chance of making it into the top decile (10 percent) is around 1 in 20, whereas a kid born into the top quintile has a better than 40 percent chance. On average, then, a father’s earnings are a pretty good predictor of his son’s earnings. This is less true in Europe or Canada. What’s more, American social mobility has declined markedly in the past 30 years.

The right answer is to promote the kind of diversity and competition that already make the American university system the world’s best. And one highly effective way of doing this is by setting up more charter schools—publicly funded but independently run and union-free. The performance of the Success Charter Network speaks for itself. In New York City’s public schools, 60 percent of third, fourth, and fifth graders passed their math exams last year. The figure at Harlem Success was 94 percent.

The American Dream is about social mobility, not enforced equality. It’s about competition, not public monopoly. It’s also about philanthropy, not confiscatory taxation.

I’ll cheer up even more when I hear those words at a Republican presidential debate. Or maybe next week we should just tell the candidates to shut up and play poker.

via Yes, Wall Street Helps the Poor – The Daily Beast.

Arab Spring, Libya, Gadhafi’s death, democracy, transition: “Clinton said a democratic Libya should begin with the rule of law and accountability, as well as unity and reconciliation. She called investigating Gadhafi’s death a part of that process.”

Obama said the U.S. looks forward to working with officials as they prepare for free and fair elections.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she supported calls for an investigation into Gadhafi’s death as part of Libya’s transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Gadhafi was captured wounded but alive in his hometown of Sirte. Bloody images of Gadhafi being taunted and beaten by his captors have raised questions about whether he was killed in crossfire, as suggested by government officials, or was executed.

Clinton told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview aired Sunday that she backs a proposal for the United Nations to investigate Gadhafi’s death and for Libya’s Transitional National Council to look into the circumstances.

Clinton said a democratic Libya should begin with the rule of law and accountability, as well as unity and reconciliation. She called investigating Gadhafi’s death a part of that process.

via News from The Associated Press.

21
Oct
11

10.21.2011 … Buttery and Beanery … hasn’t changed a bit …

places, Buttery & Beanery: John and I ventured to Davidson and dined at the Buttery and Beanery – ‎”A Convenient Store & Restaurant”!!! Funny … not a “convenience store” but a “convenient store.” 🙂

cities: “Ecosystems outlast organisms.”

In modern times, it’s almost unheard of for a city to run out of steam, to disappear or to become obsolete. It happens to companies all the time. They go out of business, fail, merge, get bought and disappear.

What’s the difference?

It’s about control and the fringes.

Corporations have CEOs, investors and a disdain for failure. Because they fear failure, they legislate behavior that they believe will avoid it.

Cities, on the other hand, don’t regulate what their citizens do all day (they might prohibit certain activities, but generally, market economies permit their citizens to fail all they like).

This failure at the fringes, this deviant behavior, almost always leads to failure. Except when it doesn’t.

Ecosystems outlast organisms.

via Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do).

Moammar Gaddafi, dictator, vanity: wigs?

The long, strange tale of Moammar Gaddafi is at an end, after the former Libyan leader was shot and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday.

At the hospital, Libyan officials ran a number of tests, including on hair samples for DNA, to prove the identity of the dictator who had been on the run for the last two months. The hair was not Moammar Gaddafi’s. The slain leader was wearing a wig.

via Gaddafi’s wig: A dictator undone by vanity? – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Apple’s Board: Good advice … “Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.”

Jobs, Gore reminded the audience, had become a Disney board member after selling his Pixar animation shop. “He used to talk initially about how after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking ‘what would Walt do in this situation?’” Gore said. “And he made it very clear — ‘I don’t want that at Apple.’ He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else, ‘Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.’”

via Al Gore on Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Apple’s Board (Video) – Peter Kafka – AsiaD – AllThingsD.

Vice President Joe Biden, absurd claims, fact checkers, journalism: As I have said before, I love the fact checker articles … useful with regard to both parties.

More important than the raw figures is the rate per 100,000 individuals. Murder did go up—though the rate did not double from 2009 to 2010, as Biden claimed. But rape has gone down. Biden actually asserted it had tripled.

Biden’s office referred us to officials in Flint. After inquiries from The Fact Checker, Dawn Jones, a spokeswoman for Flint’s mayor, issued a statement from Public Safety Director Chief Alvern Lock saying: “The City of Flint stands behind the crime statistics provided to the Office of The Vice President….This information is the most accurate data and demonstrates the rise in crime associated with the economic crisis and the reduced staffing levels.”

The statement said the murder rate for 2010 was different than the FBI statistics because of a “clerical error” when the data was submitted to the FBI. (Someone in the police department forgot to add people to the murder rate if they died long after the assault.) But the revised number for the FBI will be 58 murders, not Biden’s figure of 65, because the FBI only counts willful homicides, not manslaughter and negligent homicide, Jones said.

The statement, however, was strangely silent on the massive discrepancy in the rape statistics. There have been a number of studies (see here and here) that document that the FBI statistics do not capture all forms of rape. The FBI stats include forcible intercourse but not oral sex or other forms of sexual assault.

But that issue does not explain why Biden’s rape statistics would be so much higher than what was reported in the local press over the years. The Flint Journal on May 24, in fact, reported the number of rapes had declined in the city from 2009 to 2010.

via Biden’s absurd claims about rising rape and murder rates – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

Facebook, student grades: Interesting analysis …

Mr. Junco found a direct relationship between site use and out-of-class sociability: the more time a student spent on Facebook, the more likely that student was to be involved with extracurricular activities.

Meanwhile — contradicting the zero-sum logic of some who might believe that a minute spent social networking is a minute spent not attending to schoolwork — the study found no substantive link between time spent on Facebook and time spent studying.

Mr. Junco said in an e-mail that he was surprised by the fact that the number of times a student checked Facebook each day was only weakly related to academic performance.

“This tells me that spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook is related to negative outcomes, while just checking Facebook for a few minutes each time is not,” he wrote.

via Facebook’s Impact on Student Grades – NYTimes.com.

brain development, exercise: “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Dr. John Ratey has discovered that exercise releases a special brain-nourishing protein – something he calls “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” The research means that exercise has added benefits for adults, but also for children and learning at school. We’ll find out how increasing physical activity before and during school can help kids improve their grades, lower their anxiety levels and keep them healthy all at the same time.

(Originally Aired: 4/14/2011)

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

recipes – biscuits: Great biscuits to me are not fluffy … but it is definitely worth trying to make some.

There are biscuits, and then there are biscuits. Whether you like to savor them solo with honey and butter, paired with ultra-crunchy fried chicken, or slathered with sausage gravy (hello, breakfast!), they can be the sleeper hit of any meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make fluffy, picture-perfect biscuits—as well as to gather appeals for seconds from everyone at the table.

via Secrets to Perfect Biscuits | The Feed.

apps, exercise: An exercise app …

Everyone knows that fitness is a worthy end unto itself, but that doesn’t mean that many people don’t need a little extra motivation. Enter Nexercise, an iPhone app that brings a dose of gamification to the world of fitness, with medals, discounts and even free merchandise offered as rewards for physical activity.

Now available in the iTunes store, Nexercise rewards users for walking, running, aerobics, yardwork, dancing, or any physical activity that lasts at least 15 minutes. Users begin by telling Nexercise what activity they’re about to start, and with their phone somewhere on their body, they then go ahead and do it. When they’re done, they hit a button to notify Nexercise, which verifies the activity has taken place via the motion of the device. In return, users earn rewards such as points and medals — with bonus points awarded for exercising with a friend — as well as discounts on a variety of products and services. The more points a user amasses, the better the deals become, and at the end of every month there’s a grand prize. Users can also check into gyms, view their exercise history, and compete against friends added to the app’s friend list via a connection with Facebook and Twitter.

via App turns exercise into a game, with rewards for healthy activity | Springwise.

Steve Jobs, Android, President Obama, modern medicine: If nothing else, he was opinionated … “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The Associated Press reported that Jobs, an eternal competitor, was reportedly furious after Google introduced its Android operating system, calling it a stolen product. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” he reportedly said. “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

While Apple and Google had enjoyed a close partnership before the Android launch, Jobs reportedly told Google chairman Eric Schmidt that he had no interest in settling Apple’s lawsuit over the system. Android is now the world’s dominant smartphone platform.

Excerpts of the book obtained by the Huffington Post run over Jobs’ relationship with the current administration. According to the report, Jobs told Obama that he was “headed for a one-term presidency” and criticized the president for not being business friendly. Still, Jobs reportedly offered to help Obama with his advertising but knocked heads with senior aide David Axelrod.

In a short preview of an interview with the book’s author posted by CBS, Isaacson said that Jobs regretted his decision to delay surgery that could have prevented his pancreatic cancer from spreading. Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that could be treated with surgery.

When Isaacson asked Jobs why he chose to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before consenting to surgery, Jobs told him that he “didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” It’s not clear if delaying the surgery truly would have made a difference in the end, the Associated Press reported, but doctors did say that Jobs waited a “significant period” of time before accepting the recommended treatment.

via Steve Jobs bio: His thoughts on Android, Obama and modern medicine – The Washington Post.

websites: This is useful … It checks to see if a site is still valid … but why not just put the address in the browser. Is It Old?.

“Ms.”, history: I remember my dad ranting about women who used “Ms.” It is such a non-issue today.

Ms. was suggested as a marriage-neutral honorific as early as 1901 and periodically in the years thereafter, but it never got any traction until about 1970. And with all the success that it has enjoyed since then, it’s easy to forget the resistance it met when it was first widely put forward, in the months before the magazine’s launch.

My wife was cleaning out a closet the other day and came across an issue of the Wellesley College News dated October 21, 1971—precisely 40 years ago, it now strikes me. It contains a truly remarkable letter from the president of the college, Ruth Adams (1914-2004), which I am delighted to quote nearly in full:

I read with a certain horror your lead editorial of October 14.

I consequently make this request of you: when it is necessary for you to include my name in a news story or editorial, may I be referred to either as Miss Adams or as Ruth Adams, please.

I deplore the use of the depersonalizing, degrading, and meaningless Ms. When mail comes into my house bearing that appellation, I rate it as slightly more consequential than that mail which comes addressed either to “Occupant” or “Resident.” The destination of both categories is immediately the wastepaper basket. If a correspondent cannot display the interest, intelligence, and courtesy of determining the maiden or married state of someone to whom he [sic] is writing, the correspondence is of no value. …

I rather like my maiden status and wish to have it indicated when I am identified publicly. I indeed was of the generation that was brought up believing that a married woman was referred to by her husband’s name, and only when she was translated into widowhood was she properly identified by her given name together with her married name.

Autre temps, autre meurs!

So, with this plea that I may retain the identity with which I have lived, lo, these many years, herewith my request to be identified as Miss Adams or Ruth Adams but not as that nullity which is Ms.

Seriously, there are so many important and consequential aspects involved in our attempts properly to define and identify women this cause is trivial in comparison and leaves you vulnerable to patronizing laughter.

The use of maiden is worthy of note. Also, translated into widowhood.

I was reminded of Miss Adams’s sentiments recently while listening to an NPR segment about efforts in France to get rid of the term mademoiselle. There wasn’t a push for a Ms.-like term, merely a move for all adult females to be referred to as madame. The reporter talked to a 45-year-old woman in the street whose comment shows how far this particular campaign has to go: “As long as no one calls me ‘monsieur,’ I’m fine. Anyway, we naturally refer to an older, unmarried woman as ‘madame.’ And if you you’re married but don’t look your age, you might get called ‘mademoiselle.’ It’s flattering one way and less so the other, but that’s life.”

via Ms., 40 Years On – Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

One Scene, websites, film critique, Brazil: Another one that caught my attention.

Barely a scene, this is one of those thankless transitions that shows how our protagonist gets from point A to point B. It doesn’t really advance the narrative or reveal new information about characters. In old-timey screenwriting parlance, it’s just “shoe leather.”

But look at this leather!

The intro of Sam Lowry’s vehicle is old-school Monty Python hilarious, but I’ll never forget the revelation of Shangri-La Towers, which is at first really funny and then almost immediately kind of depressing. Talk about world building. Even when the different elements of the filmmaking seem to be operating at cross-purposes, the jaunty score, battered set design, and sumptuous cinematography somehow work in concert to make this absurd future feel not just plausible but likely. And that poster behind the kids looks like it was stolen from 2011.

This entire little journey could have been handled with a cheaper/easier/saner dissolve, but instead, like with every scene in Brazil, we get something epic and unexpected and beautiful.

via One Scene: Brazil – From the Current – The Criterion Collection.

spaces, cooking, tiny kitchens, kith/kin: Our favorite house had a tiny kitchen … my daughter loved that house and swears she will never have a big house. Tiny spaces can make for great kitchens.

I turned to Shaun Hill, chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant the Walnut Tree. Before moving to his current roomy premises, Hill ran Merchant House in Ludlow from a 3m by 2m domestic-sized kitchen. In this space he singlehandedly whipped up Michelin-starred meals for up to 24 diners (with four choices). When he decided to move on, no other chef was brave enough to take on the tiny kitchen and he had to turn Merchant House back into, well, a house.

So what did he learn? “When I started there, I had been cooking for a thousand years and you have in mind ideas for what you would like to make, but it doesn’t necessarily work in the space. Quite a few things didn’t work – anything that required too many pans.” But, he promises, there are definite advantages. “It concentrates the mind. There are fewer things to turn into a disaster zone, and it doesn’t take hours to clean – you have to tidy as you go, so you can use the same space for whatever’s next.”

Mark Bittman is equally sure that size should not be an issue. When the food writer was pictured in his former kitchen in the New York Times, readers demanded to know how he created anything in such an inadequate space – which he finds hilarious. “People all over the world make do with a hotplate and nothing else, and they do fine. I’ve never felt oppressed by my small kitchen.” Instead, he points out, cooking is less tiring when everything is within reaching distance.

via Size shouldn’t matter: tiny kitchens | Life and style | The Guardian.

“Whispering windows”, marketing, technology, 24/7:

Whispering windows have been a favorite of advertisers and marketeers for a few years now. The windows are equipped with speakers and programmed to emit sounds or speech as passers by walk past the built in sensors. Often they are designed to entice or create intrigue for those on the street, but the windows installed in South African 8ta stores are adding a new level of functionality to the technology by enabling customers to browse the store’s catalogue throughout the day and night.

8ta is a mobile brand from South African Telkom that operates numerous stores selling the latest devices and services. Aiming to make a visit to their stores a sensory-rich experience for shoppers, the brand has tapped One Digital Media for a variety of technological elements. The stores’ whispering window technology “turns store windows into glass window speakers, creating a unique way to deliver messages throughout or around your store,” as One Digital Media explains. However, the windows differ from similar whispering window examples we’ve seen recently; their innovative use of through-glass touch technology allows customers to browse through a store catalogue after hours, even requesting a callback when the store reopens. Also included in 8ta stores are large video walls showcasing 8ta’s latest commercials and handset deals, as well as “pick ‘n watch” screens that allow customers to interact with and learn more about the different mobile phone models. Touch tables, meanwhile, are on hand to detail and compare all the handsets available.

Bricks and mortar may still play a key role in many product categories, but that doesn’t mean physical stores can’t borrow elements from the best of the online shopping experience — including the ability to deliver multimedia messages and product information 24/7. Other retailers around the globe: be inspired!

via ‘Whispering windows’ let stores interact with shoppers 24/7 | Springwise.

animals, animal behavior: I definitely believe animal’s feel.

But why should our inability to measure these phenomena mean that they don’t exist at all? That’s exactly what scientist and animal advocate Jonathan Balcombe explores in The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure — an absolutely remarkable and fascinating journey into the rich, tender and complex emotional lives of animals.

Balcombe examines a new generation of research on animal feelings, especially animal pleasure, illustrated with joyful images of the animal kingdom by some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers. The story unfolds with equal parts affectionate enthusiasm and scientific rigor, extending a gentle invitation to reexamine our relationship with living beings, reaching for more kindness, more empathy and more wholeheartedness in how we think of and treat other animals.

Nobody denies that other humans are sentient, though it’s no more possible to prove another human being is sentient than it is to prove an animal’s sentience. We don’t accept such solipsism. It would be far-fetched. So let’s stop drawing this line between humans and all other animals.” ~ Jonathan Balcombe

via The Exultant Ark: The Secret Emotional Lives of Animals | Brain Pickings.

gender stereotyping, men:

The human male is in crisis. Or at least he must be, given the recurring themes in this season’s crop of new TV shows. Apparently the networks have sensed something in the zeitguyst that cries out for reassurance, and they have scampered to oblige. Oh, sorry, men don’t scamper. They stride purposefully. And network TV’s recent purposeful steps include the following:

How to Be a Gentleman, about a prissy fop destined to be made into a real man (CBS);

Man Up, about three grown men feeling like they’re anything but (ABC);

Last Man Standing, in which Tim Allen angrily defends traditional masculinity from the encroaching forces of femininity and metrosexuality (ABC).

Here now is where I trot out my man bona fides. Yes, I like to grill meat and drink beer. I also like to play video games, and I share an interest in some of the media aimed at my seven-year-old son. I also love my cats, have had long talks with my son about feelings, and one time in the housewares section he asked my wife if she thought I wanted a new vacuum cleaner (I was uncertain about switching to a bagless model, but it’s working out well).

via Jeff Alexander on The Gender Stereotyping of Man Shows | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

dictators, class: Dictators and classy don’t seem to mix?

When you’re the ruthless autocrat of an oppressed country, chances are your inside coterie consists entirely of yes men. And yes men are notoriously unreliable judges of taste — especially when their boss has a reputation for executing those who don’t mesh with their personal sense of … um … style. You know, for example, that no one was willing to give Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi pointers in aesthetics when he decided he wanted a huge golden fist crushing an enemy fighter jet to grace a courtyard inside his compound in Tripoli — as seen here after rebels seized the compound in late August 2011. Classy!

via What Dictators Consider Classy – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Arab Spring, Tunisia, democracy: Democracy is not going to be easy. “From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.”

But Harrath is referring to his native Tunisia, the country that lit the touch paper for the uprisings that toppled the regimes of its larger neighbors to the East. Its revolution, sparked by the death of a fruit seller in Sidi Bouzid, was quick, almost clinical, taking barely a month to sweep President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power. Tunisia’s democracy is also blooming before others in the region, with elections called for this Sunday, Oct. 23. From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.

And that model may prove uncomfortable for the western countries that have hailed the uprisings and joined the public denunciations of regimes with whom they until recently did business. An Islamist party Ennahdha is topping the polls as Tunisians prepare to select a Constituent Assembly to pen the country’s new constitution and set up its transitional government. Tunisians living abroad have already been invited to cast their ballots. Their ranks include exiles whose mistreatment, not only by the Tunisian authorities but by storied democracies and institutions that might have been expected to protect them, informs their worldview.

via A Tunisian Islamist in Exile Expresses His Hopes Ahead of Oct. 23 Election – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Facebook, LOL: Facebook Voicemails from my Mom – YouTube.

12
Oct
11

10.12.2011 … 6 am flight to Charlotte … busy day … great trip …

GOP Primaries, journalism, fact checking:  OK, I really like it when the fact checkers go to work. Fact Checking the Post-Bloomberg debate – The Fact Checker – The Washington PostRepublican New Hampshire Debate Fact Check – NYTimes.com.

Fall, tradition, news, random:  How embarrassing!

Authorities in Massachusetts say a family that got lost in a seven-acre corn maze called 911 for help, apparently taking advantage of the police department’s motto that says “We Want To Be Bothered.”

The maze at Connors Farm in Danvers has pathways totaling seven-miles long and can take up to an hour to navigate.

A police officer and his dog entered the maze with a farm manager on Columbus Day to search for the disoriented father, mother and two children, including a three-weeks-old infant. The family didn’t realize they had almost made their way out and were just 25 feet from the street.

It took the search party about 10 minutes to find the family. They were helped by a police dispatcher who stayed on the phone with the caller and asked the couple to yell for help to enable those looking for them to identify their location.

“Never again!” the woman is heard telling the dispatcher on police tapes. “We thought this would be fun, instead it’s a nightmare.”

via Family lost in Mass. corn maze calls 911 for help  | accessAtlanta.

technology, digital media, textbooks, education: Tailoring textbooks …

For his marketing course at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Daniel Flint wanted his students to read a white paper on public relations, a couple of case studies, an industry report, and a chapter of a forthcoming book.

So he created a textbook with just that—more than 100 pages of material in one customized package for his students.

Mr. Flint, a professor of marketing at the university, used a new build-your-own-textbook service called AcademicPub, which arranged payment of royalties and compiled the material for publication. His students were given three options for buying the book: Download a digital edition for $14.95, get it in paperback for $27, or go for the hardcover for $45.

The companies that make traditional textbooks have been increasing their custom-publishing offerings as well. Just last year, McGraw-Hill Higher Education unveiled Create, a Web service that lets professors pick passages from thousands of the company’s textbooks, as well as law and business case studies, to make a customized edition. “We think the more all this becomes digital, the more people will want to customize,” Ed Stanford, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, told The Chronicle at the time. “And we want to be able to do that.”

Macmillan Publishers has its own build-a-textbook service, too, called DynamicBooks, which offers instructors the chance to add their own material to the company’s titles. DynamicBooks also gives professors $1 for each student who uses a customized copy.

Traditional publishers still customize printed books, too. Melonie D. Rasmussen, a professor of mathematics at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, in Washington, recently used a copyrighted statistics textbook for which she didn’t need all the chapters. So she contacted the publisher and asked for a shorter, cheaper book. “And they’ve been willing to do that,” she said.

Ms. Rasmussen is also part of the state’s Open Course Library project, and she has been using open content for years, but so far she is part of a small minority.

The question now is whether customization could move into the mainstream, ending the one-size-fits-all model of textbook publishing.

via New Digital Tools Let Professors Tailor Their Own Textbooks – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Lucifer Effect, psychology:

This vintage stunt from a 1962 episode of Candid Camera makes for a good laugh. But it also captures something important about human psychology — something that social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, famous for his Stanford Prison Experiment, describes on a website related to his 2007 book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. He writes:

One of the most popular scenarios in the long history of Alan Funt’s ingenious Candid Camera programs is “Face The Rear.” An elevator is rigged so that after an unsuspecting person enters, four Candid Camera staff enter, and one by one they all face the rear. The doors close and then reopen; now revealing that the passenger had conformed and is now also facing the rear. Doors close and reopen, and everyone is facing sideways, and then face the other way. We laugh that these people are manipulated like puppets on invisible strings, but this scenario makes us aware of the number of situations in which we mindlessly follow the dictates of group norms and situational forces.

Often times, the mindless submission to group norms has entirely innocuous results. But, in other cases, it can lead to “good people engaging in evil actions.” Witness what happened within the controlled environment of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Or, worse, the devastating abuses at Abu Ghraib, which brought otherwise average people to commit atrocious acts. For more read The Lucifer Effect.

via The Power of Conformity | Open Culture.

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, frenemies:

In 1997, Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld in Boston. It was one of his first public appearances after returning to the ailing company he’d left more than a decade earlier. Halfway through his presentation, he dropped a bombshell: Apple was teaming up with Microsoft. The audience of Apple fans jeered and booed. Microsoft was Apple’s archenemy; Bill Gates was evil incarnate. There wasn’t a worse partner for Apple. Gates appeared at the event via satellite, his face looming high over Jobs like Big Brother in Apple’s iconic 1984 TV ad.

It seemed an unlikely match, but in fact Jobs and Gates went way back. They met in the early ’80s, when Gates was one of the first software developers for the Macintosh. As Gates noted while paying tribute to Jobs after his death, they would go on to spend half their professional lives in each other’s orbit. They even went on double dates together.

Gates was an early evangelist of the Mac and enthusiastically boosted the platform. Jobs was so pleased, he lent Gates a prototype machine to work on. Gates called it SAND (Steve’s Amazing New Device). Soon, though, both companies were suing each other over copyright issues. The lawsuits led to nearly a decade of acrimony, insults, and taunts.

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste,” Jobs once said. “I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way.”

After Jobs died, Gates was one of the first to eulogize him. “Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago and have been colleagues, competitors, and friends over the course of more than half our lives,” he said in a statement. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.”

via The Best of Frenemies – The Daily Beast

children, development, depression, anxiety:  What are we doing to our kids …

An article in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Play details not only how much children’s play time has declined, but how this lack of play affects emotional development, leading to the rise of anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self control.

“Since about 1955 … children’s free play has been continually declining, at least partly because adults have exerted ever-increasing control over children’s activities,” says the author Peter Gray, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology (emeritus) at Boston College. Gray defines “free play” as play a child undertakes him- or her-self and which is self-directed and an end in itself, rather than part of some organized activity.

Gray describes this kind of unstructured, freely-chosen play as a testing ground for life. It provides critical life experiences without which young children cannot develop into confident and competent adults. Gray’s article is meant to serve as a wake-up call regarding the effects of lost play, and he believes that lack of childhood free play time is a huge loss that must be addressed for the sake of our children and society.

via All Work and No Play: Why Your Kids Are More Anxious, Depressed – Esther Entin – Life – The Atlantic.

Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy,  strip search, jailhouse dignity:  Shuffling of the court …

WASHINGTON — There was so much talk of anal cavities at the Supreme Court Wednesday morning that Justice Antonin Scalia asked, “You want us to write an opinion that only applies to squatting and coughing?” The comment provoked groans in the courtroom. But the groans could have just as easily applied to oral argument itself in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, which did more to confuse than enlighten the justices about the constitutionality of a jail’s routine strip-searching of all newly admitted arrestees, regardless of the gravity of their alleged offense.

In 2005, Albert Florence and his family were driving to his mother-in-law’s house when police pulled the car over. He was arrested, handcuffed and carted off to jail — all because a New Jersey county had failed to scrub from its system a civil contempt order for failure to pay a fine that he had since paid in full.

Upon his entry to the jail, Florence was instructed to open his mouth, take off his clothes, lift and rotate his genitals, and shower in front of an officer. Six days later, he was transferred to another facility where he went through a similar search, except this time it was conducted with other detainees present and he was asked to squat and cough.

When Florence was finally released a week after his arrest, he sued the facilities and their officers, arguing that they had violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.

At this point, Kennedy tipped his hand. “It seems to me that your rule imperils individual dignity in a way that the blanket rule does not,” he said, referring to the policies of the New Jersey county jails who strip-searched every arrestee regardless of suspicion.

“Dignity” is Kennedy’s guiding light on the Court, and he will vote for whatever side respects the individual’s dignity the most. And according to Kennedy, Goldstein’s rule, which would be applied on a detainee-by-detainee basis, might lead to strip-searches “based on the person’s race” or other arbitrary and constitutionally forbidden affronts to personal dignity.

via Supreme Court Strip Search: Justice Kennedy May Be Swing Vote On Jailhouse Dignity.

economy, peanut butter:  I can deal with peanut butter price hikes more than gasoline.

How about just a jelly sandwich? A peanut shortage means that food manufacturers are paying roughly double what they paid for peanuts last year. In the coming weeks, that price increase is expected to be passed along to consumers in the form of peanut butter that’s 25% to 40% more expensive.

The problem started last spring, when many farmers in states such as Georgia and Texas decided to plant cotton rather than peanuts—because cotton was selling at record-high prices at the time. Over the summer, according to a story published in the Kansas City Star, drought and disease hurt the peanuts that were planted, resulting in a small harvest.

While the peanut supply has dropped, demand has risen over the past few years because, as every frugal mom and bare-bones-budget college student knows, peanut butter is a much cheaper source of protein than meat.

Soon, though, peanut butter won’t be quite as good a bargain. The wholesale price of peanuts has soared from $450 a ton to $1,150 per ton, and the net result will be much more expensive jars of peanut butter lining supermarket aisles

via Prepare to Shell Out: Peanut Butter Price Hike Coming | Moneyland | TIME.com.

War on Terror, news:  Bold plot on US soil …

The alleged plot to carry out an assassination on U.S. soil would represent, if proven, a significant escalation of a long-running covert struggle between Iran and the West that has included industrial sabotage, terrorist bombings and the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists.

It also would reflect a radical shift in tactics for a country that usually prefers to leave its dirty work to proxies.

Two people have been charged with conspiracy to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. A federal criminal complaint in New York says the two conspired to use a weapon of mass destruction and have ties to Iran. (Oct. 11)

The Obama administration on Tuesday directly accused Iran and its elite Quds Force of backing the alleged attempt to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, using hit men from a Mexican drug gang. The allegation plunged U.S.-Iranian relations into crisis and sent U.S. officials scrambling in search of new punitive measures to impose against a country that has already been hit with multiple rounds of sanctions.

via Alleged plot is uncharacteristically bold – The Washington Post.

Francis Bacon,  Rembrandt, art:  Inspiration … dark inspiration.

IN 1962 Irving Penn, an American photographer, went to visit Francis Bacon at his studio in London to make a portrait of him. The photograph he took shows Bacon clasping the front of his dark shirt and gazing up and away. Hanging on the wall behind his right shoulder, bent and creased and covered in paint, is a reproduction of a sombre, unfinished painting by Rembrandt, “Self-portrait with Beret” (pictured), from about 1659.

Bacon’s debt to Rembrandt’s self-portraits is the subject of “Irrational Marks”, the first show at Ordovas, a new gallery on Savile Row in London. Pilar Ordovás, the gallery’s owner is something of an art-world wunderkind, responsible for the sale of Lucian Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” for £21m in 2008. She has also managed Gagosian in London, and handled the estate of Valerie Beeston, who worked with Francis Bacon at the Marlborough Gallery. This exhibition shows intent: to put on contemplative considered exhibitions, as well as to be an art boutique with commercial clout.

The exhibition is tiny and tightly focused. On the ground floor there are just six works by Bacon, including two triptychs, along with the Rembrandt painting he liked so much and Penn’s photograph. Downstairs in the basement are three working documents from Bacon’s studio—all reproductions of Rembrandt self-portraits—and a short excerpt from “Sunday Night Francis Bacon”, a film from 1966 in which the painter speaks to David Sylvester, an art critic.

Bacon revered “Self-portrait with Beret”. It is an exercise in shadow and texture. The rough ruddiness of Rembrandt’s ageing cheek is no more than a patch of vertical lines scratched into the paint; his coarsened and wrinkled forehead crafted from layers of thick impasto in pale yellow and mottled red. Sections are left unpainted, allowing the ground colour to contrast with the brown pigments in a play of light and dark. But it was the eyes that fascinated Bacon. In the interview with Sylvester he says “If you analyse it, you will see that there are hardly any sockets to the eyes, that it is almost completely anti-illustrational.”

via Bacon and Rembrandt: Dark moments of self-appraisal | The Economist.

tragedy, news:   Man who served 10 presidents dies in his own squalor … tragedy.

The District’s Office of the Inspector General is looking into whether city agencies could have done more to prevent the death of Theodoric C. James Jr., the longtime White House employee whose friends and family had for months tried to get him help.

James, who had served under every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, had been showing signs of instability for about two years before he was found dead Aug. 1 inside his home during a brutal heat wave. He had stopped bathing. He wore the same tattered and fetid clothing. He went to the bathroom in buckets on the front porch of his Northwest Washington home.

Concerned that James, 71, was a threat to himself, his family and neighbors called every city agency they could think of, including Adult Protective Services, the Department of Mental Health, council members and the mayor’s office.

But James repeatedly turned the city’s social workers away, saying he did not want help.

via Squalid death of man who served 10 presidents being examined by District’s IG – The Washington Post.

Oprah Winfrey, Lifeclass:  Anybody watched a Lifeclass?

Oprah’s Lifeclass Tonight at 8/7c on OWN

In tonight’s lesson, Oprah talks to Cybil Shepherd and more women about aging and beauty. It’s time to apply their learning to your own life. And, tune in Friday for a live webcast at 9/8c.

via Oprah Winfrey’s Official Website – Live Your Best Life – Oprah.com.

Apple iOS5 software:  Upgrading … definitely …

You can use iCloud to synchronize your data, including music and photos, across your Apple devices.

The ability to edit photos right on the phone. This includes red-eye removal, cropping and auto enhancement of whole pictures.

iMessage, a new, free text-messaging service exclusive to users of iOS 5. It detects whether you are using the new system and routes a text message over the Internet instead of using the standard cellphone text services. It allows group messaging and notifies users when messages are read and/or delivered.

Built-in Twitter support. Without adding a Twitter app, you can tweet directly from within functions like photos, maps, the browser and YouTube.

Notifications of alerts, messages and dates can be gathered together in a drop-down panel, or can appear briefly at the top of the screen instead of displaying one at a time in a box that blocks your screen.

There’s quick access to the camera, by simply double-clicking the home button, even if the phone is asleep. And you can use the volume up button as a shutter button.

On the iPad, the browser has tabs, and you can split and move the onscreen keyboard to make thumb typing easier.

You can create customized typing shortcuts, such as “tks” for “thanks.”

In Mail, you can now format words so they appear in bold, italics or underlined.

Apple iOS5 software:  Upgrading … definitely …

via New Apple Software Adds Features to Older Phones – Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret – Mossblog – AllThingsD.

interior design,  blogs, lists:  Some new blogs to check out … need some help in the intereior design area.

Our Editor-in-chief, Cynthia Bogart, has been asked to moderate a panel speaking at the D & D Building  (The Decorating & Design Building ) in New York City tomorrow at 1 pm at the  Koroseal Showroom.

The panel consists of four very good interior designers who also happen to blog.  Why is that great?  These pro’s  – all of them, are BLOGGING.  Blogging means they are sharing their personal likes, dislikes and information you would otherwise only learn if you were talking to them in person.    These particular four are generating original interesting information.  They were chosen very carefully for this panel because they are considered trendsetters.  In other words, they have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening.

via Four Great Interior Design Blogs That Will Inspire You!.

travel, fall, empty nesters, lists:  Can’t wait or fall trips when we are empty nesters!

Cooler temperatures, striking colors, smaller crowds—autumn is the perfect time to travel, and here are ten of the best fall trips, picked by National Geographic Traveler editors. Where do you want to go this fall? Share your travel plans—real or ideal—below

via Best Fall Trips 2011 — National Geographic.




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