Posts Tagged ‘libraries

12
Aug
18

8.12.18 …” What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” -JA

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC:

I’m really feeling the heat. And the heat, with singing bugs and the light breeze in the heat, seems to intensify my headache. I’m feeling very inelegant. So Jane Austen has inspired me here …

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.

– Jane Austen

And I notice for the first time a Friendship Garden? How could I have missed it before?

So I had to ask, what am I hearing? From this, probably cicadas.

By their songs

If locality and season are taken into account, the call of a singing insect can be used to identify its species. However, it is sometimes difficult to judge which major category of singing insect is producing an unknown call. In difficult cases, you may need to locate the songster. Here are some guidelines that may help:

Cricket songs are musical to the human ear because their carrier frequencies are relatively pure and low.

Katydid and cicada songs sound buzzy, raspy, or whiney, because their carrier frequencies are less pure and are higher than those of crickets. Cicadas call almost exclusively during daylight hours and at dusk, usually from trees and shrubs, whereas most katydids call only at night and many are not resticted to woody vegetation.”

Source: Recognizing crickets, katydids, and cicadas,

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Walker/buzz/i00dis.htm

8.12.18

Thin places:

At the beach, I’m confronted with God’s creation on a grander scale. I look out across the ocean and realize that there’s another continent on the other side of this body of water, that underneath the waves are billions of life forms that we’ve only begun to understand and document, and that all of this is part of God’s creation. At the beach, I don’t feel overwhelmed by responsibilities; I feel overwhelmed by the beauty of creation. I feel free to read, stare at the waves and even nap! (I almost never nap, but the beach reminds me how wonderful that can be!) The beach is a thin place for me because it changes my attitude so that I am more open, at peace and better able to experience God.

Source:Finding God at the beach – The Presbyterian Outlook,

https://pres-outlook.org/2018/08/finding-god-at-the-beach/

NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries:

Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everythingfrom queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles.

A few years ago, staffers in the New York Public Library’s reader services division drafted a blog post about how to track down a book when its title eludes you. This post spurred a follow-up, in which reader services librarian Gwen Glazer recommended library resources and a number of other strategies (among them are Goodreads groups, a sprawling Reddit thread called whatsthatbook, an indie bookseller in Ohio who is happy to poke around for a $4 fee). Thanks to Google—“how to find a book”—many stumped people seem to land on that post, and they have often written about their enduring puzzles in the comments section. The messages now number in the thousands. Glazer says she often arrives at work to see another 10 title requests.

Source, The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books – Atlas Obscura , https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librarian-detectives-forgotten-books

Thin places, NYPL, before we had the internet, librarians, libraries

04
Jun
12

6.4.2011 … 9th anniversary of my father’s death … 50-something birthday of my lifelong friend … RIP, Richard Dawson aka Captain Peter Newkirk … loved hogan’s heroes as a kid … never watched Family Feud (may be a good thing!)

anniversary: Today is one of those strange days, the birthday of one of my closest friends and the 9th anniversary of the death of my dad.  Bittersweet.

innovation, new, coffee: new coffee? …plus 31 others. 32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

libraries, blogs, twitter, Salman Rushdie:  ditto,  Mr. Rushdie!  Zadie Smith’s beautiful, important piece about what’s happening to libraries. Please read.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/…

All libraries have a different character and setting. Some are primarily for children or primarily for students, or the general public, primarily full of books or microfilms or digitized material or with a café in the basement or a market out front. Libraries are not failing “because they are libraries.” Neglected libraries get neglected, and this cycle, in time, provides the excuse to close them. Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.

via The North West London Blues by Zadie Smith | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.

economy: “But, for now at least, the outlook is far darker than it seemed to be only a couple of months ago.” via In Economic Deluge, a World That Can’t Bail Together – NYTimes.com.

workplace, misfits, Azberger’s Syndrone:

IN 1956 William Whyte argued in his bestseller, “The Organisation Man”, that companies were so in love with “well-rounded” executives that they fought a “fight against genius”. Today many suffer from the opposite prejudice. Software firms gobble up anti-social geeks. Hedge funds hoover up equally oddball quants. Hollywood bends over backwards to accommodate the whims of creatives. And policymakers look to rule-breaking entrepreneurs to create jobs. Unlike the school playground, the marketplace is kind to misfits.

via Schumpeter: In praise of misfits | The Economist.

18
Jan
12

1.18.2012 … Yesterday’s Bible Study at FPC was great … then lunch at Mert’s where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good! … New Mantra: “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

FPC, TMBS, Genesis, Mert’s:  Yesterday’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study at FPC continues to be insightful as we study Genesis with Rabbi Sachs’ book … then lunch at Mert’s Heart and Soul Restaurant where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good!

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Recipe created by James Bazzelle, chef/owner of Mert’s Heart and Soul, Charlotte, NC.

4 medium catfish

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups self-rising cornmeal (fish breading)

1/4 cup white vinegar

Vegetable oil

via Mert’s Restaurant.

culture, mantra, advice:

“Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

Elderly ‘Experts’ Share Life Advice in Cornell Project – NYTimes.com.

tweet of the day, pop ups, libraries:

Maria Popova @brainpicker Close

Ooh! An entire Flickr stream of miniature pop-up libraries around the world j.mp/yN86cv (HT @shawncalhoun)

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private equity,  privileges v. profits, 2012 Presidential Election: The Republicans and their in-fighting are just fueling the OWS …

Mitt Romney, the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, has brought the rights and wrongs of private equity to the front of U.S. politics. He once ran a private-equity firm, and he has been attacked for it even by fellow conservatives.

This is a new version of an old complaint, and the quality of the discussion is not improving with age. The question to ask about private equity — which involves taking over companies, restructuring them and selling them at a profit — is not whether it creates jobs. It is whether taxpayers should be subsidizing its practitioners’ paychecks.

Many politicians say private equity is rapacious. Not long ago, the same charge was laid against leveraged buyouts, and before that against hostile takeovers. The issue is essentially the same. When control of a company changes hands, are the new owners so intent on short-term profits that they act against the interests of other stakeholders — not just shareholders, but also employees, customers and the wider community?

The current debate has revolved around jobs. Defenders of private equity say the new owners tend to boost employment, and critics say the opposite.

The study concluded that “private equity buy-outs catalyze the creative destruction process.”

Exactly. In a market economy, some companies or industries are shrinking, while others are growing. You can’t have one without the other, and the spur for both kinds of adjustment is profit. Market forces raise living standards not by increasing wages and employment enterprise by enterprise, but by applying capital and labor to the best uses. Private equity, leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers all serve this purpose. To keep managers on their toes, capitalism requires a functioning market for corporate control.

If private equity can succeed without preferences, that’s fine: The more competitive the market for corporate control, the better. Its current mode of operation, though, is largely a symptom of a flawed tax code. The industry’s borrowing is subsidized and so are the generous incomes it pays its staff. These privileges are a problem. The issues its critics choose to emphasize aren’t.

via The Trouble With Private Equity Is Special Privileges Not Profits: View – Bloomberg.

Winnie the Pooh, Americanisms,children’s/YA literature:  Oh, bother … I actually prefer the original … non Disney version …

REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The publishers, Parragon, are based in Bath and responded to Weeks’ complaint about the new phrases with this explanation: “[W]e sell our books around the world and not just the UK and so we sometimes need to adapt the language accordingly to make it accessible for the widest possible audience.”

While it seems like a fair enough explanation when taken at face value, many critics, both British and American, have joined in the protest, saying that editing out the original language fundamentally changes the work.

More worrying, however, is the recent crop of errors and grammatical mistakes that have appeared in the books and similar children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. According to Weeks, in the Alice story, the words “all ways” was written as “always” and in another story, whales slap their “tales” rather than their “tails.”

It would seem that this is all a case of some editors stuffing up royally. Oh, excuse us, we’ll rephrase — they messed up big time.

via Oh, Bother: Brits Say Modern Winnie the Pooh Riddled With Americanisms | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

PIPA, SOPA, Internet:  There is a lot more here than many realize …

The video above discusses the Senate version of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In the Senate the bill is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA has gotten more attention than PIPA because it was moving faster in the legislative process. But PIPA is just as dangerous, and now it is moving faster.

via PROTECT IP Act Breaks the Internet.

The biggest impact of Wednesday’s blackout may be in the shutdown of the English-language version of Wikipedia, which gets 2.7 billion U.S. visitors per month.

“It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web,” said a statement signed by three of the free encyclopedia’s administrators, with the handles “NuclearWarfare,” “Risker” and “Billinghurst.” They said the decision to shut down the English-language portion of the site, starting at midnight Eastern time, had been made after a virtual discussion that involved 1,800 users.

But already, the momentum of the two controversial bills has been largely halted. Just weeks ago, they seemed on their way to passage, having cleared a Senate committee and garnered bipartisan support in the House.

via SOPA protests shut down Web sites – The Washington Post.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, President Obama:  Glad to see someone saw the irony of the acceptance speech at BANK Of AMERICA Stadium!

In another break from tradition, Democrats announced Tuesday that they’re shortening their national convention and moving events to the Charlotte area’s two largest outdoor venues.

Party officials – and even the White House – said the moves are designed to allow President Barack Obama and his campaign to reach a wider audience while energizing supporters at the same time.

The president will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium, replicating his 2008 address at Denver’s Invesco Field.

And in a twist, the party will forgo the convention’s traditional Monday opening and instead entertain tens of thousands that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He said the changes won’t reduce the convention’s regional economic impact, which is expected to be at least $150 million. About 5,000 delegates and alternates are still expected to arrive on Saturday or Sunday for the convention.

Though the role of modern conventions has changed dramatically from the days when they actually decided the nominees, the format has changed little. They traditionally span four days. So will the Republican convention in Tampa this August.

“Four days really is an anachronism,” said Washington political analyst Charlie Cook. “There’s arguably not more than one day’s business to do …

“I think the Obama folks like to do things differently for the sake of doing things differently.”

via DNC: Charlotte’s convention to try new twists | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Moving the president’s speech mirrors the playbook the Democrats used in 2008. Obama spoke at the Denver Broncos’ home field after becoming the Democratic nominee, a last-minute move party organizers say allowed more people a chance to attend. The rest of the Denver convention was held at that city’s NBA arena.

Agreements between the Democratic National Convention Committee and both the stadium and the speedway are being negotiated. Jerry Richardson, owner of the Panthers and the stadium, said the team will not charge the Democrats rent, but he declined to discuss details beyond that.

“This convention isn’t about political ritual and speeches on the floor, it’s about the American people coming together to commit ourselves and our country to a path that creates more opportunity for all Americans,” said Stephen Kerrigan, national convention chief executive. “And that is why we have decided to make a few changes to meet that goal. President Obama made it clear from Day One that he wanted this convention to be different than in any history and definitely any happening this year.”

via Obama speech moves to BofA Stadium – Charlotte Business Journal.

While Obama and Moynihan seemed to be on good terms a couple of years ago, more recently the president ripped the bank for its ill-fated attempt to hike debit-card fees.

Organizers and other Democrats said Tuesday they have no concerns about links between the president and a Bank of America-named venue.

“We don’t believe there’s any relevance to who the sponsor or the naming rights are handled by to any of the venues that we host convention events in,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic national party. “In particular, this president has a remarkable record not only of rescuing our economy from the precipice of disaster. Now he’s been able to make sure that folks on Main Street aren’t run over by folks on Wall Street.”Wasserman Schultz was referring to the president’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

via Odd couple: BofA, Obama – Charlotte Business Journal.

Bank of America,  CEO Brian Moynihan: Delicate …

Appointed in late 2009 as predecessor Ken Lewis retired, Moynihan, the article says, has had a “delicate” hold on his job. Sources quoted by the paper, apparently close to the board of directors, point to an assessment earlier in his career at BofA that said Moynihan tended to micromanage, struggled with communication and failed to surround himself with experienced advisers.

The article also says those are areas the CEO has targeted for improvement.

An unnamed director told the WSJ that Moynihan’s handling of BofA’s denied dividend increase request last year showed a “very inexperienced team.” And another portion of the report says Moynihan didn’t heed a suggestion by former consumer banking chief Joe Price to study a $5 debit card fee longer before announcing it publicly. That fee, announced in late September, became a public relations nightmare and was cancelled a month later.

A spokesman for BofA told The Wall Street Journal, “We are a less risky, smaller, better capitalized, and more streamlined company since Brian became CEO.”

Moynihan’s vision calls for BofA to continue shrinking both expenses and non-core operations. He has initiated asset sales, capital raises and efficiency initiatives. He has also re-tooled his management team this year, jettisoning Price and brokerage head Sallie Krawcheck, and elevating David Darnell and Tom Montag to co-chief operating officer roles.

Montag openly sought the CEO position before it was given to Moynihan. Darnell is a longtime BofA executive, dating back to Hugh McColl-led BofA and its predecessors in Charlotte.

BofA this week also sought to improve its public image, placing its ad account on review and soliciting new ideas for its marketing efforts.

via WSJ: BofA could retreat, Brian Moynihan’s hold on CEO job ‘delicate’ – Charlotte Business Journal.

bookshelf, books, list:  I found this one interesting. I have most in my house … haven’t read them all.

What makes a must-own classic book? After all, there are many kinds of book available. There are the coffee-table books, designed to be flicked through by guests, with their impressive art and embellished covers, and then there are bookshelf books – either novels we’ve read so many times the pages are inked up and torn, or those books we bought on a whim, and really keep meaning to get to whenever we’re not so busy.

Somewhere in between lie the Essential Bookshelf Conversation Starters, those spines that add a touch of class to a room, or might provoke a fascinating conversation. After all, UK newspaper The Daily Mail reported last year that a survey by Lindeman’s wine in the UK showed the average bookshelf was filled with 80 books that the owner hasn’t themselves read.

Don’t get us wrong – these recommendations are also fascinating reading in their own right. But if you’re going to buy hard covers with at least one eye on the opinions of visiting friends and relatives, these are our choices of the titles you really should have on display.

via 12 Books You NEED On Your Bookshelf.

faith and spirituality:

Be Yourself

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!

via Daily Meditation: Be Yourself.

René Descartes, Cartesian Theory:  Watched a movie where they discussed Cartesian Theory … Mindwalk (1990) … and I hate to admit that I needed a refresher course.

René Descartes may just be the Thinking Man’s thinking man. More than any other modern philosopher, he is identified with the view that the soul is separate from the body and superior to it—in fact, we refer to this position as Cartesian dualism. The synonymy is so overwhelming, one can imagine him subjected to some hackneyed literary or television treatment wherein he is brought forcibly into the present, only to find success as an advertising executive with his slogan for the Winterman sneaker account that promises “mind over matter.” (For the women’s line: I pink therefore I am.)

Any dualistic theory encounters what is known in philosophy as the mind-body problem: how is it possible for two entirely discrete substances to act in concert and produce what we conceive of as unitary being? Curiously enough, Descartes’ lifelong passion for experimental physiology—which, for him, was just rationalistic epistemology by other means—influenced his answers. He was an avid practitioner of dissection on both human and animal bodies. (Because he believed animals were mindless machines and could not feel pain, he often dissected them while they remained alive.) In his search to discover the differences that distinguish humans and animals from one another as res intelligens and res extensa—that is, intelligent beings and “machines,” respectively—he hit upon the pineal gland, which he found present only in the human brain.

via The Devoted Intellect.

antidepressant v. placebo:

Irving Kirsch, professor of psychology at the University of Hull in England and author of a 2008 meta-analysis in PLoS Medicine that found little benefit of antidepressants for most patients, is less sanguine about the new study. He characterizes the results as “indeed important,” but says they suggest that “while many people may benefit from antidepressant treatment (although most of them to a degree that is not clinically significant), about 1 in 4 are made worse.”

“What makes this particularly problematic is the fact that we don’t know who these people are,” Kirsch says. “Although placebo may not be a viable treatment option, there are other treatments that on average work as well as antidepressants, [such as] physical exercise and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. As far as we know, these alternatives don’t make people worse.

“This suggests to me that antidepressants should be kept as a last resort, and if a person does not respond to the treatment within a few weeks, it should be discontinued,” says Kirsch.

Krystal agrees that if one-quarter of patients with depression are made worse by antidepressant treatment, “we need to find ways to identify who those people are and find other ways to reach that group of people.”

via New Research on the Antidepressant-Versus-Placebo Debate | Healthland | TIME.com.

technological change, end of an era, RIP, Kodak, Fuji, creative destruction:  I remember the first time I used Fuji film.  I felt like a traitor. And for the second time in two days I run across the term “creative destruction.” (See above in the excerpt on private equity.)

Kodak’s blunder was not like the time when Digital Equipment Corporation, an American computer-maker, failed to spot the significance of personal computers because its managers were dozing in their comfy chairs. It was more like “seeing a tsunami coming and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Mr Christensen.

Dominant firms in other industries have been killed by smaller shocks, he points out. Of the 316 department-store chains of a few decades ago, only Dayton Hudson has adapted well to the modern world, and only because it started an entirely new business, Target. And that is what creative destruction can do to a business that has changed only gradually—the shops of today would not look alien to time-travellers from 50 years ago, even if their supply chains have changed beyond recognition.

Could Kodak have avoided its current misfortunes? Some say it could have become the equivalent of “Intel Inside” for the smartphone camera—a brand that consumers trust. But Canon and Sony were better placed to achieve that, given their superior intellectual property, and neither has succeeded in doing so.

Unlike people, companies can in theory live for ever. But most die young, because the corporate world, unlike society at large, is a fight to the death. Fujifilm has mastered new tactics and survived. Film went from 60% of its profits in 2000 to basically nothing, yet it found new sources of revenue. Kodak, along with many a great company before it, appears simply to have run its course. After 132 years it is poised, like an old photo, to fade away.

via Technological change: The last Kodak moment? | The Economist.

 Apple,   ‘Digitally Destroy’ textbooks:

While MacInnis reiterated his belief that this event should see a new Apple tool for creating iPad textbooks, he told Fortune they weren’t a “GarageBand for e-books” (that phrase was imagined or perhaps misunderstood by Ars) and that the whole thing is actually designed to complement the textbook biz, not breathe Godzilla-style atomic death on it.

Tune in here Thursday at 10 a.m. ET for Techland’s full coverage of the event.

via Apple Poised to ‘Digitally Destroy’ Textbooks? Don’t Bet On It | Techland | TIME.com.

apps, Day One (Journal/Diary):  I like this one …

Day One is a micro-journal / diary / text logging application that makes it easy to quickly enter your thoughts and memories and have them sync and available in the cloud.

via App Store – Day One (Journal/Diary).

11
Dec
11

12.11.2011 … Game face on (but wearing red socks:) ) — with John at Bank of America Stadium … A good day to be a Panthers Fan … until halftime … socks won …

Panthers:   Cold and sunny, playing Atlanta … great day to go to Panther’s stadium … first half rocks …. well, you know the story …

.

Donna Morris, Paris, travel, tour guides:  We loved Donna!

Donna Morris, 51, is a professional trip planner in Paris (www.bestfriendinparis.com), where she has lived for five years. Morris is originally from Granite Falls.

via Paris warms during chill winter days | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ , retailing,  at-home sales business, business trends: So I have never been to a Tupperware or Mary Kay Party , but have been to a Pampered Chef … love their stuff.  Love  chocolate … so maybe …

It’s a Party…Literally.

Following the business model of Mary Kay, Tupperware, and other pioneers of home party businesses, DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products are sold by aspiring entrepreneurs. They provide the impetus for people to then host chocolate tasting parties in their own homes. Invited friends and relatives gather to sample an exclusive line of chocolate products not sold in any store. Who can resist an evening among friends tasting heavenly chocolate treats?

“It doesn’t even feel like selling,” says chocolatier Jill Young. “I don’t have to twist any arms. Even in tough times, people still want to treat themselves to a little chocolate.”

The wide array of DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products includes ready-to-eat chocolate treats, smoothie and martini mixes, chocolate chai tea, brownie and cookie mixes, baking chocolate, mousse mixes, even special tools for creating decadent desserts and fancy homemade chocolate candies.

Chocolate Is Hot. Home Entertaining Is Cool Again.

Last year 17 billion dollars worth of chocolate was sold in the U.S. and the fastest-growing brand of premium chocolate is DOVE®. !(border right)/files/0002/2312/dove-cupcakes_medium.jpg!Plus, the state of the economy has led to more people entertaining at home today—one more factor that may benefit DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ home sales venture.

via DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ Dips Into At-Home Sales Business in News & Trends on The Food Channel®.

physics, biology, photosynthesis:  This one is over my head!

Physicists have found the strongest evidence yet of quantum effects fueling photosynthesis.

Multiple experiments in recent years have suggested as much, but it’s been hard to be sure. Quantum effects were clearly present in the light-harvesting antenna proteins of plant cells, but their precise role in processing incoming photons remained unclear.

In an experiment published Dec. 6 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a connection between coherence — far-flung molecules interacting as one, separated by space but not time — and energy flow is established.

“There was a smoking gun before,” said study co-author Greg Engel of the University of Chicago. “Here we can watch the relationship between coherence and energy transfer. This is the first paper showing that coherence affects the probability of transport. It really does change the chemical dynamics.”

The new findings are the latest in a series that have, piece by piece, promised to expand scientific understanding of photosynthesis, one of life’s fundamental processes. Until a few years ago, it seemed a straightforward piece of chemistry.

via More Evidence Found for Quantum Physics in Photosynthesis | Wired Science | Wired.com.

End Of Ze World, YouTube, viral videos, LOL:  This one I got from my daughter … LOL.

retailing, business trends, chain dollar stores,  drugstores, Great Recession: I must admit  have gone to a dollar store twice in the last week …

The family-run drugstore on Main Street has been dying for decades. Now, the big national chain pharmacies—which helped push those family operations to the brink of extinction—are being surpassed in terms of total locations by dollar stores. What does this say about how people shop nowadays? And about the state of the economy?

One of the hottest retail trends in recent years has been the rise of the dollar store. During a period when many retailers have struggled as a result of consumers scaling back, dollar stores boomed for obvious reasons—one way consumers cut expenses was by spending more time in dollar stores.

Surveys have shown that today’s shoppers are more likely to make purchases in dollar stores lately, and chains such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar have experienced outstanding sales growth as a result.

Riding the wave of newfound popularity and better-than-ever sales figures, dollar stores have naturally been expanding to new locations all over the country.

Now, according to a study by retail research firm Colliers International, dollar store locations outnumber drugstore locations in the U.S. Specifically, Colliers added up the number of locations for four national dollar store chains (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, 99 Cents Only), and compared that figure to the total number of locations for the country’s three biggest drugstore chains (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens).

via More Chain Dollar Stores Than Drugstores in the U.S., Says Study | Moneyland | TIME.com.

MIT, “Platform Wars”, MBAs, gaming,  free online simulator,  education, teaching methods:  I think this might be fun to try …

Want to learn MBA management skills and strategies for free?  Thanks to “Platform Wars,” a video game simulator created by MIT’s Sloan School of Management, anyone can learn elements of a business school education by portraying an executive at a video game console manufacturer online.

The simulator has been used for the past four years in business management classes taught by professor John Sterman. A user playing an executive Nintendo, for example, might be tasked with figuring out how how to help the Wii beat out competition from Microsoft’s XBox. The ultimate goal is to strategize against your competitor to maximize cumulative profit over 10 years. The player has to make all the applicable decisions to win the market—everything from setting the price of the console to determining the royalties video game makers will pay for the right to produce games for the platform.

“Platform Wars” proved to be so popular at the business school that in late November, MIT—the home of the renowned OpenCourseWare program—decided to make the simulator available to the public on the MIT Sloane Teaching Innovation Resources website. Users can play as an individual or as a class. To fully equip gamers, Sterman is also providing free case studies and video explanations for both students and teachers.

Platform markets “are increasingly common in settings besides video games,” so Sterman says that the skills users can learn through Platform Wars are “applicable in many markets.” Figuring out how to ensure your product’s price, features, and complementary products stay competitive is in every business’ best interests. After all, we all know what happened in the real-world platform war between VHS and Betamax.

via MBA by Gaming: MIT Launches Free Online Simulator – Education – GOOD.

Consumer Reports:  Going Strong at 75 … “It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.”

BORN in 1936, Consumer Reports had a very happy 75th birthday this year. Its business has never been better.

Well, “business” is not the right word, as there are no profits or losses to track: it’s a nonprofit. But the magazine and Web site generated $182 million in revenue in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended May 31. That pays for a lot of professional testing — of cars and trucks, washers and dryers, televisions, children’s car seats, mattresses, treadmills and cellphone plans — all told, more than 3,600 products and services a year.

Consumer Reports started its Web site in 1997; by 2001, it had 557,000 subscribers. That number has grown to 3.3 million this year, an increase of nearly 500 percent in 10 years. It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.

via Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75 — Digital Domain – NYTimes.com.

 BBC Sleep Profiler, health and wellness:  I did pretty well for my age … 🙂

Your sleep is fairly well optimised, scoring 57 %.

You said you have a problem with sleep, but you are not very sleepy during the day, which indicates your body is probably getting the sleep it needs. Quality of sleep is more important than quantity. There’s room to improve your score. You may find your personalised advice below useful.

Body and Health

You can expect to sleep less at night now you are older.

Now that you’re over 50, your natural sleep pattern has changed. You may find yourself napping during the day but sleeping less at night. In reality, you’re sleeping as much as you need to, but at different times of the day.

via BBC – Science & Nature – Human Body and Mind – Sleep Profiler.

 ‘New Year’s Eve’, ensemble romantic comedy, box office , holiday movies, Great Recession:  Why the downturn at the box office and what’s an ensemble romantic comedy, one that throws ever romantic comedy star in it …

“New Year’s Eve” came early to the multiplex this year, but couldn’t help the film industry escape its lowest-earning weekend of the year.

In total, all films at the box office grossed $76 million this weekend, a 17.2% drop from the same weekend last year. It was the lowest weekend take since Sept of 2008.

Leading the tepid pack was “New Year’s Eve,” an ensemble romantic comedy starring Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles. Made for a budget in the low $50 million range and distributed by Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros. Pictures, the film grossed $13.7 million from 3,505 theaters according to early estimates, below the studio’s expectations.

The weekend’s new limited release films, meanwhile, got off to solid starts. “Young Adult,” a dark comedy starring Charlize Theron as YA book novelist, earned $320,000 from eight theaters in five cities. The $12 million film is being released by Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures, which will open the film wide on Dec. 16 to 1,000 locations.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a well-reviewed adaptation of the John le Carre novel starring Gary Oldman, grossed $300,737 from four theaters, giving it a high per-screen average of $75,184. The thriller, which is being released by Comcast Corp’s Focus Features, will expand to four new markets and seven theaters next week.

via ‘New Year’s Eve’ Tops the Weekend Box Office – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Tweet of the Day, Post Secret, libraries:

PostSecret (@postsecret)

12/11/11 1:51 PM

“I work in a library. Today I heard a mom tell her child to be quiet because the ‘books are sleeping’. I wanted to give her a high-five!”

food – desserts, food – art, baking, random, gingerbread typewriter:

Patti from Baked Ideas made this amazing edible gingerbread typewriter for benefit of City Harvest, and it is displayed at NYC’s Parker Meridien Hotel.

via Gingerbread typewriter is entirely edible – Boing Boing.

UNC – Charlotte,  Davidson College Davidson, Davidson basketball:  We did not even look like the same team.  I hope it wasn’t just the effect of having Curry around … now that he’s back to the NBA.

Javarris Barnett opened the door to a Charlotte 49ers victory.

The rest of his teammates then slammed it shut on the Davidson Wildcats.

Barnett made five 3-pointers – four during a key second-half run – as the Charlotte 49ers reclaimed the Hornet’s Nest Trophy with a convincing 84-61 victory over rival Davidson on Saturday night.

In as much as Barnett’s long-range bombs broke open a tight game in the 49ers’ favor, it was Charlotte’s unrelenting, stifling defense that provided the opportunity.

“We were down one at halftime and we said we needed to come out and punch them in the mouth, and I think we held them scoreless the first four minutes,” said Barnett, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

via Barnett, Charlotte 49ers leave no doubt in win over Davidson | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

02
Sep
11

9.2.2011 … a little pomp and circumstance … CLS seniors march in their gowns … encouraged to give back …

Charlotte Latin School, Fall Convocation, Seniors, kith/kin:  Being a high school senior is a special time.  CLS does a great job of focusing and celebrating its seniors.

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Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, Constitutional Law, The Supreme Court, The Tea Party, health care reform:  I read a review of the New Yorker article the other day, which was very good.  The article, although very long, is also very good … read it if it interests you.

It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas. In January, he was compelled to amend several years of the financial-disclosure forms that Supreme Court Justices must file each year. The document requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses, and Thomas had failed to note that his wife, Virginia, who is known as Ginni, worked as a representative for a Michigan college and at the Heritage Foundation. The following month, seventy-four members of Congress called on Thomas to recuse himself from any legal challenges to President Obama’s health-care reform, because his wife has been an outspoken opponent of the law. At around the same time, Court observers noted the fifth anniversary of the last time that Thomas had asked a question during an oral argument. The confluence of these events produced the kind of public criticism, and even mockery, that Thomas had largely managed to avoid since his tumultuous arrival on the Court, twenty years ago this fall.

These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

via The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health-Care Plan : The New Yorker.

book clubs, opportunities:  I have pasted the whole article.  What a great opportunity!

Randall: An exceptional book club

Sometimes when you least expect it, life opens a door you never dreamed you’d enter. It’s enough to make you want to wake up each morning just to see what will happen next.

Anything is possible as long as you keep waking up.

Some months ago, a reader of my column (a man I’ve not met but hope to do so) sent me a story from The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer by columnist Kay McSpadden, about an unusual book club that meets each week at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Book clubs are not often called “unusual.” But Turning Pages is exceptional for two reasons: First, most of its members are homeless. Some are housed. Others are in “transition.”

Second, and just as rare, is a very pregnant woman in a purple dress and high heels — a self-described community volunteer who read two years ago about a similar program in Boston, and saw no reason why it couldn’t happen in Charlotte.

Candace Curlin Vance is the kind of friend you want on your side in a fight — fearless and tireless. And, as the folks at Turning Pages have learned, you can count on her to have your back.

Also, she talks faster than most normal people can think, which is handy for getting publishers to donate books.

The same reader who sent me that story suggested to Candace that Turning Pages ought to read “Birdbaths and Paper Cranes,” a collection of columns I published 10 years ago that includes stories set in my home state of North Carolina.

Candace wrote at once to ask how she might obtain 25 copies.

I replied that the book is out of print and, unfortunately, I didn’t have 25 copies. She thanked me anyhow, and that was that.

The next day I found two big boxes of books I didn’t know I had. When I told Candace, she laughed. As a woman of faith and persistence, she has often seen “no” turn into “yes.”

And that’s how I ended up flying to Charlotte last week to meet the members of Turning Pages, who had just finished reading, of all things, my book.

We sat around a big table — different races, genders, backgrounds and walks of life — talking, laughing, eating biscuits from Bojangles’, drinking sweet iced tea. It was very Southern. I never felt more at home.

They asked excellent questions, offered insightful observations and convinced me they’d actually read the book.

One woman, now housed after years of living on the streets, presented me with a gift, a blue-and-white-spattered painting.

“It’s called ‘Falling Water,’ ” she said, smiling. “I signed my name on the back so it will be worth something someday.”

Little did she know how much it was already worth to me.

Afterward, when we’d eaten all the biscuits, shaken all the hands and gone our separate ways, I asked Candace about the future of Turning Pages.

“It’s my baby,” she said. “I really want to see it continue.”

But with another “baby” on the way (her first child is due in October), she hopes someone will step up to fill her high heels.

So do I.

Reading is the great equalizer. A book never asks who we are or what we do or where we sleep at night. It asks only that we read and try to understand.

When we come together with open hearts and open minds to discuss what we’ve read, we discover that we are more alike than we are different.

We create community, a sense of belonging, a sense of home.

We turn the hopeless “no” into the “yes” of possibility.

Anything is possible, as long as we keep reading. Just ask the readers of Turning Pages.

via Randall: An exceptional book club | ScrippsNews.

Michael Vick, second chances, prayers:  I believe in second chances.  But with that kind of money he could so easily fail again.  Prayers …

Vick said that experience and maturity have taught him patience. “You never know what’s going to happen. You just live in the moment and take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given. You know what kind of talent you have, you know what you can do. You just have to be patient and that’s something I’ve learned over the years and unfortunately while I was away. Everything in life happens for a reason and it taught me patience and I think that’s part of the reason I’m here today. Being patient.”

And Vick knows that the way others see him may never change. It isn’t easy to get past what he did. “I’m just trying to be the best person I can be. I can’t control what people think, their opinions, their perception. That’s personal and that’s for them. The only thing I can control is what I can control and that’s trying to be the best person I can be, the best citizen I can be, the best father I can be. I think that speaks for itself. That’s not by force, that’s by choice. Some things may never change. I may never change in certain facets of my life, but it is what it is.”

via Michael Vick, the $100 million man, says, ‘I never thought this day would come again’ – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

Romare Bearden, Charlotte NC:  One of my favorite artists.  I love the recognition he is getting on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.

Romare Bearden Turns 100

Charlotte Native and well-known artist Romare Bearden would have been 100 years old this Friday, and to celebrate the artistry and influence of this world-renown, critically praised Charlottean, we’ll be joined by a panel of Bearden experts who will talk about his life, his influences, his art and his legacy here and elsewhere.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

9/11, New World Trade Center:  Worth watching the interactive to see the future of the 9/11 site.

Ground Zero Now – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney : “Scorched earth runs in the family.”  Again, I think he may be senile.

 WHY is it not a surprise to learn that Dick Cheney’s ancestor, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was a Civil War soldier who marched with Sherman to the sea?

Scorched earth runs in the family.

Having lost the power to heedlessly bomb the world, Cheney has turned his attention to heedlessly bombing old colleagues.

Vice’s new memoir, “In My Time,” veers unpleasantly between spin, insisting he was always right, and score-settling, insisting that anyone who opposed him was wrong.

A person who is always for the use of military force is as doctrinaire and irrelevant as a person who is always opposed to the use of military force.

Cheney shows contempt for Tenet, Colin Powell and Rice, whom he disparages in a sexist way for crying, and condescension for W. when he won’t be guided to the path of most destruction.

He’s churlish about President Obama, who took the hunt for Osama bin Laden off the back burner and actually did what W. promised to do with his little bullhorn — catch the real villain of 9/11.

via Darth Vader Vents – NYTimes.com.

books, digital age:  It’s not over until it’s over …

But let’s not overdo things. Let’s not lose sight of the data we have, and let’s not invent data when we only have anecdotes. And finally, let’s not forget the wonders this new world opens up. Being able to download a book to read instantaneously wherever you are is a thing of wonder, after all (and there is some anecdotal suggestion that people are coming back to books via new digital platforms).

For authors, the chance to reach out to readers, instantly and effectively, is changing the way titles are marketed and delivers a glorious independence that comes with having your own digital presence to curate and to shape. There are new creative opportunities offered by interactive technologies. There is the chance to play in a world where books and stories can be either the private, cherished experience of old or a public, shared conversation with other readers from across the world.

via The death of books has been greatly exaggerated | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Video Time machine, apps:  What year would you pick?

Pick a year and watch specific categories including TV, Music, Advertisements, Trailers, Video Games, Sports, and more!

via App Store – Video Time Machine.

Hurricane Irene, natural disasters, Waffle House, the Waffle House Index: The “Waffle House Index!”

When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.

First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the “Waffle House Index.”

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

The mobile command center, above, went to Havelock, N.C., during Irene.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

via Waffle House Index Measures Hurricane Recovery – WSJ.com.

Life Above All, movies, South Africa:  Adding it to the list.

Life, Above All is the moving story of a 12-year-old South African girl, Chanda (stunningly played by newcomer Khomotso Manyaka), who’s forced to care for her younger siblings while trying to find her mother, who has fled their home in a village near Johannesburg in the face of local prejudice and rumors.

The powerful drama tackles the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa head-on, not just in medical and health terms, but in showing how superstition and gossip can create an atmosphere of secrecy and shame that makes dealing with the issue even more difficult.

(In many ways–its strong, young female protagonist, the way it portrays a small, rural community’s fears and secrets, the sense of hope it still manages to foster–Life, Above All may remind viewers of last year’s Winter’s Bone.)

Based on Allan Stratton’s 2004 novel Chanda’s Secrets, the film is directed by Oliver Schmitz, who was born to and raised in South Africa by German parents. Life, Above All is also the acting debut of 14-year-old Khtomosto Manyaka who was noticed by talent scouts during a choir performance at her high school in Elandsdoorn, South Africa.

via Interview: Life, Above All’s Star Khomotso Manyaka and Director Oliver Schmitz | Redblog.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, lists:

This is the second year in a row that Facebook’s Zuckerberg takes home the crown, which I guess makes him slightly less “new establishment.” Just “establishment” should do.

In any case, keep on winning those magazine awards, Zuck. They’re worth more to you than the errant billion stuffed in your mattress, though I hear $10,000 bills are actually quite soft.

via Mark Zuckerberg is Totally the Establishment, Man – Techland – TIME.com.

libraries, librarians:  I wish I knew one well to nominate.

The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

via The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries: Who Loves Their Librarian??.

Caiaphas, ossuary, archeology, history, Biblical figures:

An ancient burial box recovered from antiquities looters three years ago contains a mysterious inscription that could reveal the home of the family of the figure Caiaphas, who is infamous for his involvement in the biblical story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The burial box, also called an ossuary, was discovered in 1990, but the inscription was just recently verified as legitimate (and not the result of forgers trying to increase an artifact’s value) by Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University and Boaz Zissu of Bar Ilan University. The box is made of limestone, is covered in decorative rosettes and has an inscription.

In the Bible story of Jesus’ crucifixion, a Jewish high priest named Caiaphas is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus.

What is special about the inscription on this ossuary is that the deceased is named within the context of three generations; the inscription also includes a potential residence.

via Ossurary turns up new clues to Caiaphas – CBS News.

green, electric cars, electrical vehicle charging stations, Davidson NC: Filler Up!

Electric vehicles could become a viable option for motorists in the coming years, but not without a place to charge up. Add South Main Square to the list of places to plug in. Thanks to a federal stimulus grant awarded through the state of North Carolina, the South Main Street shopping center is getting one of the region’s first electric vehicle charging stations.

“It’s Davidson’s first electric vehicle charging station that will be available for public use,” said Kathleen Rose, who owns South Main Square and also runs the Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability (PiES), a “green” business incubator based there. Ms. Rose worked with Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies to bring the charging station to Davidson.

via Drive an electric? Fill ‘er up at South Main Square | DavidsonNews.net.

9/11 anniversary, Where Were You When?:  

Sept. 11, 2011, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Washington Post wants to know how the attacks may have affected your life and your views. In what ways do the attacks still resonate? How have the attacks affected your way of seeing the world? We’ll take your submissions and consider using them as part of an anniversary project on the impact of Sept. 11. Please include your age, as well as where you lived when the attacks occurred and where you are now.

via Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary: Share your story – Checkpoint Washington – The Washington Post.

Bones:

literary locations, Book Map, Google Maps:  Where would I like to go?

Ever wish you could visit the locations in your favorite novels?

In our new Book Maps feature, we will interview an author or biographer about locations in their book. We will also create a special Google Map about the interview so you can take a walking or driving tour through the book in real life. Email GalleyCat if you have other Book Map suggestions.

For our first installment, we asked Joe Woodward to share the places where novelist Nathanael West lived and worked in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Woodward took us on a book tour of Alive Inside the Wreck: A Biography of Nathanael West. The Google Map is embedded above–click on the blue pins for more details about a specific location.

via Book Map: Nathanael West & Los Angeles – GalleyCat.

food, recipes, lamb, rosemary:

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

via Grilled Lamb on Rosemary Skewers – Video – The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

social networks, Newseum, twitter: I found this one on twitter …
Newseum (@Newseum)
9/1/11 3:59 PM
Great infographic on the development of social networks.http://t.co/5gtWh9p

However, the great writer who has really been portrayed this way most frequently in recent times is one who hasn’t yet been visited by the jaunty Gallifrean: Jane Austen. Both in the film Becoming Jane and the TV movie Miss Austen Regrets, Austen was depicted as a waspish cynical tomboy, clever with words if not so clever with men: a sort of Regency Sue Perkins. In the TV movie, there was a greater stab at complexity, as the character grew bitter with age – an Elizabeth Bennett who never nabs Mr Darcy – but in both there was, I would hazard, an incipient underlying sexism, based on the notion that Austen’s work was underpinned by her own failures in love.

Because here’s the thing about Jane Austen. She was a very great genius. She is possibly the greatest genius in the history of English literature, arguably greater than Shakespeare. And her achievement is not that much to do with love, although that was her subject matter. It’s to do with technique. Before her there are three strands in English fiction: the somewhat mental, directly-reader-addressing semi-oral romps of Nashe and Sterne and Fielding; the sensationalist Gothic work of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe; and the romances of Eliza Haywood and Fanny Burney.

However great these writers are, none could be read now and considered modern. When Austen gets into her stride, which she does very quickly with Sense and Sensibility, suddenly, you have all the key modern realist devices: ironic narration; controlled point of view; structural unity; transparency of focus; ensemble characterisation; fixed arenas of time and place; and, most importantly, the giving-up of the fantastical in favour of a notion that art should represent life as it is actually lived in all its wonderful ordinariness. She is the first person, as John Updike put it: “to give the mundane its beautiful due”, and her work leads to Updike as much as it does to George Eliot.

I have no idea how a mainly home-educated rector’s daughter came by all that, but I know that imagining her as a kind of acerbic spinster flattens out this genius. It becomes all about the subject matter and not at all about the huge creative advance her work represents. When the Tardis does land in Hampshire in 1815, I imagine there will be witty banter between Jane and the Doctor and some men in britches; if it’s still David Tennant there might even be some flirtation, perhaps a sad, chaste goodbye. But what there should be is a moment when he says “I’m 900 years old, I’ve got a brain the size of a planet, and I’ve still no idea how you single-handedly created the modern English novel”. At which point Jane Austen will rip off her bonnet to reveal the tiny figure of Davros, king of the daleks, sitting in a small glass dome in her skull.duhduhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduhduh,weeeoooo…weee-weeooo…

via David Baddiel wonders what Dr Who would make of Jane Austen – Times Online.

Jane Austen: 

All of them point to Austen’s inimitable humor, incisive observations of human nature and unwavering moral stance that make her works still relevant two hundred years later today.

via Why We Read Jane Austen.

Children’s/YA literature, Gretchen Rubin:  This list has quite a few that I am not familiar with …

If you want some ideas of books to read, for a group or just for yourself, here are a few of my favorites. It pains me to list so few! But this is a good start.

Because they’re already so widely known, I’m not going to list some very obvious ones, like the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, the The Lord of the Rings books, or my beloved Little House books.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Half Magic, Edward Eager

The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg

Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright

Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron

Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

This list represents a big range — some are meant for ten-year-olds, some for seventeen-year-olds. But they are all so good that they can be enjoyed by an adult.

via The Happiness Project: Looking for Some Reading Suggestions in Children’s or Young-Adult Literature?.

Manitoba, Canada, polar bears, travel:  I think I would like to see the polar bears.

The iconic polar bear is a must-see for every wildlife lover and Churchill, Manitoba is the best place in the world to see them! Each fall, hundreds of polar bears naturally migrate through this cozy northern town and it is easier than you think to get there. Don’t miss out on these special offers for October and November, 2011 which include limited-time* promotions.

via Travel Manitoba: Polar Bears.

fashion, coats:  Glad we are moving away from the puff stuff.

But the fall runway collections made a fairly convincing case for rethinking the role of outerwear in our wardrobes. Designers like Vera Wang, Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra put parkas front and center in their shows, while hybrid styles of bombers, blanket coats, ponchos, peacoats, toggle coats and toppers appeared just about everywhere else. It was as if the fashion world was making a collective stand against those ubiquitous puffer jackets that make most of us look as if we’re wearing bubble wrap. “You can have on whatever you want underneath, but this year the coat is the statement piece,” said Tanya Spivey, the executive vice president for design and merchandising at Andrew Marc, a division of the apparel conglomerate G-III that makes coats for companies like Calvin Klein, Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole. That said, there are a lot of coats to sort out. And since it has been a while since some common outerwear lingo has been put to use, here is a little refresher course.

via A Field Guide to Outerwear – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

17
May
11

5.17.2011 … seems the world is filled with intrigue today …

Annecy, Talloires, France, small world, kith/kin:  Ran into Cat K. yesterday … and small world … she and John honeymooned in Talloires and Annecy .. now I have some more hotels, etc.  to research.

“In a Cezanne painting”

Nestled in the hollow of a protective massif, Annecy Lake is one of the world’s purest lakes.

A gorgeous place that inspired Paul Cezanne who painted “The Lake of Annecy”.

“Auberge du Père Bise is settled in a unique location that takes all its magnificence with lights’ reflections over the lake. No one could have imagined a better place… More than a splendid location, your eyes and your taste buds will be taken to a new world of pleasure with the cuisine of Sophie Bise.”

“A legendary hotel set on the bay of Talloires”

via → AUBERGE DU PERE BISE TALLOIRES – LUXURY HOTEL ANNECY-OFFICIAL WEBSITE -4 STAR HOTEL LAKE ANNECY PERE BISE.

Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II, Republic of Ireland, historic firsts, bomb threat:

Brushing aside bomb threats, Queen Elizabeth II embarked on the first visit by a reigning British monarch to the Irish Republic on Tuesday — a visit heavy on symbolism after decades of hostility and mistrust, and protected by some of the tightest security Dubliners could recall.

Hours before she arrived, the Irish Army carried out a controlled explosion of a pipe bomb discovered in a tote bag in the luggage compartment of a bus heading for the capital, police officials said.

The bus was traveling from Ballina in the west of Ireland toward Dublin and the device was found in Maynooth, 40 miles from Dublin. About 30 passengers had left the bus when it was stopped and searched, apparently after a tip by an informant, the police said.

via Bomb Found in Ireland Hours Before Queen Arrives – NYTimes.com.

Osama bin Laden Death:  Article reads like a spy novel …  AP sources: Raiders knew mission a one-shot deal  | ajc.com.

art galleries, Paris, culture, travel:  Several articles here … am getting excited about Paris!

Every spring art galleries in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood, long famed as home to artists, writers and musicians, open their doors to the public, in a block party called Art Saint-Germain-des-Pres. With what might be the highest concentration of galleries in the world, it’s an ideal area to find a variety of art, from primitive to contemporary and sculpture and painting to photography, jewelry and antiques. This year’s event, from May 19 to 22, will include at least 60 galleries. As an example of the event’s breadth, La Galerie Artco-France will show works by the Surrealist René Magritte and La Galerie Frédéric Got Fine Art photographs by Elliott Erwitt.

via An Art-Themed Block Party in Paris – NYTimes.com.

Over the first few days of April, the Art Paris fair draws crowds of collectors to the Grand Palais exhibition hall. This year the organizers are offering an additional attraction: Les Nuits Parisiennes, an evening art stroll on April 1 and 2 that links 15 art installations in nine locations across the city center.

“We wanted to make art more accessible, to create an emotional encounter that everyone can appreciate,” said Marie-Ann Yemsi, one of two young curators who conceived and put together the program.

“We wanted to show art in another way, other than in a white cube gallery or museum space — to let the artists’ imagination play with the city,” added her partner, Agnes Violeau.

via Seeing Art in Paris as the Sun Sets – NYTimes.com.

“The Book Club” is a party that occurs on the last Wednesday of every month at newly refurbished Le Carmen cafe and bar. The event has one simple rule: bring a book, and make sure to swap it by the end of the night. Forget keys or clothes, this is a more modern way to meet people, the event founder Rosa Rankin-Gee believes. “Books don’t spill,” she said. “They are pocketable, holdable, durable, lovely and say so much about the person who brought them.” The next event is scheduled for May 25.

The venue (22, rue de Douai; 33-1-45-26-50-00; http://www.Le-carmen.fr) is a 19th-century private mansion once inhabitedΩ by Georges Bizet, where he supposedly wrote the opera of the same name. The space, with its ornate moldings and plush velvet seats, recreates the ambience of “the literary salons of yesteryear, but brings them up to date,” said Ms. Rankin-Gee. “And democratizes them, in a sense, because just by turning up with a book, every single person contributes.” The atmosphere is rounded out by a selection of retro cocktails and live piano music.

The Book Club goes hand in hand with an upcoming arts journal called A Tale of Three Cities, to be released soon.

via At Monthly Paris Gathering, Swapping Conversation and Books – NYTimes.com.

iPad, Apps, libraries, New York Public Library:   I always loved the NY Public library’s Reference book … that should be an app … but i will enjoy this, too.

Now, the New York Public Library has created a new iPad app that bring the library’s research collections into “the palms of the public’s hand,” as library officials put it in a statement released Tuesday. “Biblion: The Boundless Library” is the name for a series of apps available on Apple’s tablet computer that highlight different elements in the library’s collection. It was developed by the library and the design firm Potion.

via New York Public Library Launches iPad App – NYTimes.com.

Forbidden City, China, Jasmine Revolution:  Love the intrigue here …

For 600 years, the Forbidden City, with its vermilion walls, labyrinthine passageways and sloping tiled roofs, has stood in the heart of Beijing as the ultimate symbol of power, the inner sanctum from which authority emanates across a vast land.

It is the last place one would imagine as a base for the overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party.

Yet, photographs have circulated on the Internet over the last few days that seem to hint at exactly that. On Friday, officials in charge of management of the Forbidden City handed two ceremonial banners to local police officers to congratulate them on nabbing a thief who had stolen curios from an exhibition at the ancient palace earlier this month. The slogan on one of the banners said: “To shake the great strength and prosperity of the motherland, and to safeguard the stability of the capital.”

The treasonous slogan instantly set the Chinese Internet aflutter, spreading as quickly as court gossip.

Barring the possibility of a secret revolutionary cabal inside the palace, the problem has to do with a common headache in Mandarin Chinese: homonyms. The pronunciation of the word for “shake” – han, with a falling tone – is exactly the same as that for “guard,” even though the written characters are different. In other words, the first phrase should have read to “to guard” rather than “to shake.”

Embarrassingly, no officials at the ceremony seemed to notice the gaffe. Ji Tianbin, vice-director of the Forbidden City, handed out the banner, and Fu Zhenghua, head of the Beijing police, was in attendance.

By Monday, photos of the ceremony had ignited derision across the Internet. Many Chinese mocked the bad grammar of the person had designed the banner, and Chinese news organizations demanded an explanation.

The management office issued a brief apology on its microblog on Monday: The banners had been designed by the security department, it said, and no official had examined them “due to a lack of time.”

It added that the security department had defended the mistake and had refused to apologize. Officials have “investigated the incident and criticized and educated the security department,” the managers said.

Even more scandalous is talk that a luxury private club has been established in the Jianfu Pavilion, a part of the Forbidden City that has been restored through monies from a preservation fund in Hong Kong. The club’s membership, supposedly limited to 500 people, costs one million renminbi each, or $154,000, according to a microblog posting last week by Rui Chenggang, an anchor for China Central Television. Officials at the Forbidden City quickly denied the existence of any such club, but Beijing News reported on Sunday that an opening ceremony had already been held.

Chang Lingxing, a spokesman for Forbidden City, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the management office had hired a private company, the Beijing Forbidden City Culture Development Company, to organize lectures and salons. Instead, the company had started handing out “membership sign-up forms.” The management office has told the company to stop, according to a written statement.

One microblog post making the rounds succinctly sums up the three humiliations: “The Forbidden City: the commercial company sold memberships without the officials’ permission; the security department printed the banner without the officials’ approval; the thief stole the exhibits without the officials’ approval!”

But perhaps one should not underestimate the enduring nature of the building. Geremie R. Barme, the prominent Australian scholar of China, wrote this in his book on the history of the Forbidden City: “While its buildings were subject to decay and change, the China of secretive politics, rigid political codes and autocratic behavior continued to exert an influence far beyond the walls of the former palace.”

via Embarrassments Mount at China’s Forbidden City – NYTimes.com.

Davidson College, changes:  New dorms … to accommodate growth to 2000!

Davidson College officials will be at the Design Review Board Wednesday, May 18, seeking final approval for a new 5-story dormitory that will house 250 students as the college boosts enrollment from the current 1,800 to 2,000 in the coming years. The Town of Davidson planning staff is recommending approval of the plan.

The new building would be completed by fall 2012. College officials weren’t sure Monday how much the building would cost. They said they’re still negotiating contracts with construction and design firms.

The new brick building will be designed to fit in with the college’s existing “Neo-Georgian” residential architecture. It would have one 5-story and one 4-story wing, connected by a 1 1/2-story entrance.

The building also would have a fitness center and a meeting space.

via College seeks design approval for new dorm | Real Estate.

Steph Curry, Davidson College:  Steph does others things besides play basketball beautifully … and his business ventures are with his Davidson friends … makes you realize that he was truly integrated into the college.

Stephen Curry becomes a video star today.

A former Davidson All-American, he is working with two of his former teammates, Dan Nelms and Steve Rossiter, in launching a website (www.amzini.com) designed to raise awareness of the many social networking sites available online.

Curry will be featured in two videos shot this year in San Francisco with the intention of drawing more people – and their videos – to the site.

“The idea is there are all these different social opportunities out there that people aren’t aware of,” said Nelms, president of Amzini Enterprises LLC.

via Curry & Co. launch website | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Charlotte, The Charlotte Observer, media, anniversaries, kudos:  Kudos and happy 125th The Charlotte Observer!

Happy 125th birthday to The Charlotte Observer, a newspaper that first began telling Charlotte’s story when it was yet a dream.

Along the way, the Observer has put forward some dreams of its own, helping to shape our region in significant ways. Some will say for the better, others for the worse, depending on a particular issue or outcome. But there is no denying that the place where we live today is a blended legacy of an aspiring city and its newspaper.

That legacy continues now as Charlotte shakes off a devastating collapse of the banking industry and the Observer rewires itself for the digital age. Neither job will be easy, which makes it an especially good time to remember how far both have come.

via A part of your world, every day for 125 years | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Apple, iPhone:  Maybe not a 5 … but an upgraded 4.

The tech-community’s hunch is that a new iPhone will be unveiled in the fall and rolled out in time for the holidays.

via New ‘iPhone 4S’ might come to Sprint, T-Mobile – CNN.com.

college basketball, Pat Forde: Already thinking basketball … It is my favorite college sport.  Ten things I can’t wait to see in 2011-12 college basketball season – ESPN.

college, internships, first jobs:  More and more,  it appears the key to that first job is an internship.

Even though companies say that, on average, they’ll hire 19% more new graduates this year than they did in 2010, some graduates might find that a good portion of companies’ incoming classes are already filled.

That’s because companies say that nearly 40% of this year’s entry-level positions will be filled by former interns, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

via Interns Get a Head Start for Jobs – WSJ.com.

12
May
11

5.12.2011 … Happy birthday not so prime husband 51 is NOT a prime number! … but you are definitely prime in every other way …

culture, psychology, fear of failure:  Interesting …

While failure may be an integral prerequisite for true innovation, the fact remains that most of us harbor a deathly fear of it — the same psychological mechanisms that drive our severe aversion to being wrong, only amplified. That fear is the theme of this year’s student work exhibition at Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication and, to launch it, they asked some of today’s most beloved creators — artists, designers, writers — to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject. While intended as advice for design students, these simple yet important insights are relevant to just about anyone with a beating heart and a head full of ideas — a much-needed reminder of what we all rationally know but have such a hard time internalizing emotionally.

via Famous Creators on the Fear of Failure | Brain Pickings.

consumers, material things, Great Recession:  It’s good I always liked Target and Costco!

Bentleys and Hermès bags are selling again. Yet the wealthiest Americans are emerging from the financial downturn as different consumers than they were.

Lyndie Benson says she now mentally calculates the “price per wear” of designer clothing. As the wife of saxophonist Kenny G, Ms. Benson, a photographer, can afford what she wants. She used to make a lot of impulse purchases, she says. But when shopping in Malibu, Calif., recently, she stopped herself before buying a gray Morgane Le Fay suit she’d tried on. “I walked outside and thought, ‘Hmmm, I don’t really love it that much,’ ” she says with contentment.

A number of surveys released in the past six weeks suggest Ms. Benson’s new selectiveness is widespread among the wealthiest Americans. Though many of these people might seem unscathed by the financial crisis—they didn’t lose their homes, jobs or retirement savings—they were deeply affected by what took place around them. “If you’re conscious at all, it just seeps in,” Ms. Benson says.

via Post-Recession, the Rich Are Different – WSJ.com.

photography, organization: Overwhelming is right!

It’s easy to post your photos on Facebook. What’s not so easy is managing them—organizing all your digital files so that you can find individual pictures without scrolling through hundreds.

Bradly Treadaway, digital media coordinator and faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York, knows how overwhelming the task can be. He recently digitized about 5,000 printed photos and slides from his family, some of which date back 180 years. Developing a system for managing your photos is “like learning a new language,” he says.

The key to staying organized is doing a lot of work up front to sort and label the photos when you first transfer them from camera to computer. Mr. Treadaway keeps his main collection on a hard drive, rather than in a Web-based archive, because he feels that photo-management programs for computers offer more choices for how to edit, share and retain the photos.

Mr. Treadaway uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom; for nonprofessionals, he suggests programs like iPhoto or the desktop version of Google’s Picasa.

via Make Organizing Your Photos a Snap – WSJ.com.

food, favorites, recipes:  Pasta Primavera is one of those dishes that I still remember how good it tasted the first time I had it ….

Pasta primavera, which means “springtime pasta,” is an American invention — at least as American as, say, fettuccine Alfredo. It first appeared on the menu at Le Cirque in the 1970s, and Sirio Maccioni, that restaurant’s owner, not only takes credit for it but was also quoted in 1991 in The Times saying, “It seemed like a good idea and people still like it.”

But with all due respect to Mr. Maccioni, is pasta primavera still a good idea? Which is to say, pasta tossed with every vegetable under the sun, spring or not — broccoli, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, you name it — and enough cream to smother any hint of freshness? I’m all in favor of pasta with vegetables, but I want to be able to taste them. And I want them to be prepared thoughtfully.

via Mark Bittman – The Pasta Primavera Remix – NYTimes.com.

food, Paris, blog posts:  Fun post from Gourmet Live – App Exclusive: French Women Heart Frites. And Nine More Parisian Lies — Gourmet Live.

high school, testing, SAT, Apps:  I may utilize this list …

Apps that help teenagers study for the SAT (or, for those not living on either coast, the ACT) are improving, as traditional test-prep businesses like Princeton Review and Kaplan refine their mobile software to compete with start-ups.

Several to consider on this front include Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad (free) and SAT Vocab Challenge for iPhone ($5), Kaplan SAT Flashcubes (free) and SAT Connect ($10 for Apple). For math, Adapster ($10 on Apple) is designed nicely.

via New and Better Apps Help Students Study for SAT – NYTimes.com.

Osama bin Laden’s death, twitter:  Tweeting for a missing snake is one thing … this one disturbs me.  Let him rest in peace, wherever he is.

In the days after Osama bin Laden was killed, a number of anonymous parodists created fake bin Laden Twitter accounts, tweeting what they called excerpts from the terrorists’ journal, his thoughts as a ghost, and observations from his new residence in hell.

via Osama bin Laden tweets from the dead – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

tv, soap operas, end of an era:  I loved watching soaps when I visited my grandparents in the summer … and in law school.  I wonder if my children even know what a soap opera is?

In today’s Academic Minute, Quinnipiac University’s Paul Janensch discusses the radio roots of a rapidly disappearing entertainment genre, the soap opera. Janensch is emeritus professor of journalism at Quinnipiac.

via Demise of Soap Operas / Academic & Pulse / Audio – Inside Higher Ed.

iPhone Lite: Rumors, rumors, rumors …

These are all tweaks that would significantly reduce the production price without necessarily degrading the user experience (particularly relevant is the smaller memory, which means the phones would benefit from Apple’s overhaul of MobileMe, widely expected to be cloud-centric). A drop in price like this would let Apple sell an iPhone Lite at a knock-down price, much as it has done previously with earlier edition iPhones, without necessarily fragmenting its platform, and enabling it to scoop up more of the low-end market that it’s partially ceded to Android.

via More Evidence That An iPhone Lite Is En Route | Fast Company.

iPhone Apps, neighborhood watch, Brookwood Hills:  Beware kids … when we started a neighborhood watch in Brookwood Hills in the 70s, our block volunteer was the wonderful “old maid” across the street. Well, a college girl was home for the summer … she loved about ten houses down … her parents were out of town … and her boyfriend would come stay every night and leave his car in front of Ms. Mackie’s house … guess what she did … she called the police!

It’s not the only instance of becoming the virtual. Home Elephant bills itself as “the world’s first app for neighbors to connect.” It serves as a sort of virtual neighborhood watch.

via Mister Rogers’ App | Fast Company.

libraries, architecture, University of Chicago:  UofC’s new library does from the outside what a library is intended to do … opens up the world to the user.

The library’s reading room, which sits directly beneath the building’s curving dome of steel and glass, will be open to university students, faculty and staff. But books and other printed materials won’t be moved to the library’s underground storage area until next fall. The dedication of the library won’t happen until October.

via Cityscapes: Reading room of Jahn’s U. of C. Mansueto Library to open next week.

To Kill a Mockingbird, movies, bookshelf,  Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird, 
documentary:

Fifty years after it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, filmmaker Mary Murphy’s documentary explores the continued influence of “To Kill a Mockingbird” through interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Wally Lamb, as well as author Harper Lee’s family and friends.

via The Real Story Behind ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – Speakeasy – WSJ.

guerilla improv/spontaneous musicals, new term:  “Guerilla improv”  … don’t you just love the term.

Guerrilla improv troupe Improv Everywhere struck again last month at GEL Conference, the annual gathering of tech/social media/business voices in New York City.

With the help of GEL founder Mark Hurst, the covert entertainers pulled off one of their signature “Spontaneous Musicals” at the top of Twirlr founder John Reynolds’ presentation. Just as he tells the audience to politely turn off their mobile devices, a man suddenly rises and begins singing about the audacity of the request.

via ‘Gotta Share’ The Musical: Improv Everywhere Strikes Again At GEL Conference (VIDEO).

Coca-Cola, culture, quotes:  “Coke ‘started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.'”

The 125th anniversary of the first Coca-Cola sold — on May 8, 1886, for 5 cents — has inspired the release of “Coca-Cola,” a collection of images of the beverage, in realms real and imagined, from Assouline. Arguably the world’s most ubiquitous brand, the jolly red logo has been pasted on just about every susceptible surface on the planet, and this book serves to remind us youngsters of the breadth and endurance of its appeal, just in case it wasn’t already stitched into the fabric of our pop culture psyches. Indeed, at times, “Coca-Cola” seems less a birthday tribute to the stamina of a yummy, fizzy black taste with mysterious origins and more a tribute to several generations of successful advertising. And let’s not forget its importance as a symbol of what’s great about our republic. As Andy Warhol, no stranger to ubiquity or commercialism, contests on Page 8, Coke “started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”

via Pop Culture – NYTimes.com.

Three Cups of Tea, bookshelf:  Lots of discussion … I am reading it now … it is a good book … sad that it is fabricated.

With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second cup of tea, you are an honored guest. With the third cup of tea, you become family. This Balti proverb lends Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, its name. But with a class action lawsuit filed against him in early May following investigations by writer John Krakauer and 60 Minutes, what is needed now is three cups of compassion.

The story of Greg Mortenson’s journey in his first book, Three Cups of Tea, tells the story of a young man listening and learning from those in a distant valley in Pakistan and the good that came from it. Krakauer in his Three Cups of Deceit tells how this story of a heart in the right place has been prettied up for publication and followed with financial mismanagement, as well as building schools in places unprepared to begin educating students in the buildings. As we act on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 that we are to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, we must not lose sight of those in developing nations as fellow members of the Body of Christ with gifts to offer and wisdom born of a deeper understanding of the local geography, weather, and culture. We must learn from each other and work together, not merely applying a solution from elsewhere, even another valley in the same mountains, to a new setting unthinkingly.

via Episcopal News Service – COMMENTARY.

The one thing in this story that makes me eternally grateful

is that we still have a 60 Minutes and New York Times doing investigative reporting and practicing real journalism. In an era where opinion-spewing and celebrity-swooning routinely pass for news, it’s good to know a few people are out there doing the hard work of covering–and uncovering–things we need to know.

via Three cups of humility. | What Gives 365.

consumerism, material things:  OK, I like this iPad case … in case you want to get me a present. 🙂

Image of iPad case in red and white gingham wool

Thrillist.com.

alcoholism, recovery, AA:  Very interesting …

But I believe that when people are in positions of power related to addictions — treatment providers, policy makers, etc. — it’s imperative that they be transparent about their associations and connections. It’s fine to be anonymous about your own path to recovery when you are the only one being affected, but it’s not appropriate when you seek to influence public health or policy.

via Taking the ‘Anonymous’ Out of AA: Should Recovering Addicts Come Out of the Closet? – – TIME Healthland.

ObL Family: 

But at the end, his rosy portrayal of being married to jihad was sorely tested. His family must have driven him nuts. During his last days in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bin Laden had to contend with three wives and 17 noisy children under one roof. He had no escape from the din, save for furtive pacing around the garden late at night or vanishing into his so-called Command and Control Center, a dank, windowless room. Swathed against the Himalayan chill in a woolen shawl, he recorded rants that displayed an ever widening disconnect with the daily grind of terrorism: his last oddball offerings were on climate change and capitalism.

via Big Love: Bin Laden Tried to Keep Wives Separate but Equal – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, healthcare, states’ rights:

Mitt Romney says last year’s Democratic-passed health care law is a federal government takeover of health delivery. But he says his somewhat similar Massachusetts law was right for his state.

The likely Republican presidential candidate on Thursday defended the law enacted in 2006 when he was Massachusetts governor. Both the state and federal laws require people to obtain health insurance.

Romney said his program was a state solution to a state problem. He said the Obama-backed law is a power-grab by the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all plan on all 50 states.

via Mitt Romney Tackling Health Care Vulnerability.

10
May
11

5.10.2010 … not feeling very newsy today …

natural disasters, flooding, Mississippi River, Memphis, prayers, follow-up:

As the swollen Mississippi River continues to rush downstream, flood-level water is heading directly for some Louisiana communities still recovering from last year’s devastating oil spill and possibly forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate. Many neighborhoods of Memphis, Tenn., remain submerged in dirty, debris-strewn and reptile-infested water.

The National Weather Service said the Mississippi River has reached 47.85 feet, according to the Associated Press.

The river will continue to press against Memphis levees for at least the next few days, officials said. The Mississippi there has swollen to six times its average width.

via Mississippi River Flooding 2011: River Cresting, Louisiana Prepares for Rising Waters – ABC News.

random, words, lairs, lists:  Doesn’t the word “lair” just sound evil?

Top 10 Evil Lairs
For years, the accepted wisdom was that Osama bin Laden was holed up in a cave along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It turns out he was living in a rather large, heavily armed house in an affluent town outside Islamabad. With his Abbottabad house being carefully examined, TIME takes a look at the horrible hideouts of other evildoers

via Hitler’s Bunker – Top 10 Evil Lairs – TIME.

Malcolm X, digital media, libraries: interesting …

That the documents were in digital format, and I would be viewing them on a Web site, made the exercise seem a bit extraordinary. Can’t you just send me a link? I asked.

But there was a reason that I had to be invited there. The Malcolm X Multimedia Study Project was created by the late Prof. Manning Marable, whose new “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” was published last month, days after the author died of lung disease. The material I would be viewing was largely constructed around the earlier, more famous book, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as told to Alex Haley, who died in 1992. While Columbia may have permission to share a digital version of the original copyrighted book within its campus, they certainly didn’t have permission to share it with the world.

There was another reason that it seemed fitting that I was entering a library with columns and names like Homer and Cicero inscribed above the entrance to click on a computer and open a Web browser: the brilliant online project I was viewing was slowly disintegrating, like so much parchment.

In the biography, which reached No. 3 on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, Professor Marable argues that the famous autobiography overstated Malcolm X’s past life of crime before joining the Nation of Islam and failed to discuss his political evolution toward political organizing after leaving the Nation.

And so the multimedia project — containing F.B.I. and New York Police Department files on Malcolm X, photographs, interviews with scholars and hundreds of detailed descriptions of important people, places, ideas and themes in his life is built around the autobiography.

When he considers the dust settling on the project he worked on for so many years, Mr. Ali recalled that Mr. Marable was aware that there was a danger that the project would be the proverbial tree falling in the forest that no one heard.

“That is the nature of the project, a combination of technological change — the need to update the site — and issues of copyright,” he said in an interview. There may be inexpensive ways of avoiding “total bit-rot” by moving the media to a more modern format, said A. Maurice Matiz, the director of technology at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, which worked with Mr. Marable to create the Malcolm X Project.

And some of the material that Mr. Marable or Columbia University produced can be migrated to an open site. Mr. Ali said he would try to get permission to share the tapes of four classes of Mr. Marable’s that reflect the themes that he developed in the book.

“He didn’t use technology but understood the value of it,” Mr. Ali said, adding that Professor Marable never read e-mail on a computer, but had an assistant print it out and enter his reply. “He had a sacred relationship with paper.”

via A Digital Review of ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ – NYTimes.com.

colleges, safety schools:

Spring is finally here in Colorado. The sun is back and with it, the flowers and songbirds. It’s an auspicious feeling as I make my final choices that will guide the beginning of the rest of my life. Senior year is almost over, A.P. exams are close at hand, and all of my classes are winding down into review.

Most significantly, I’ve made my college decision. After a full year of agonizing internal debate, I know what my plan is.

I will be attending Colorado University at Boulder next year — a college that  initially was my safety school, but has since begun to feel a lot like home. Money was the first factor that led me to this decision.

C.U. will be about $15,000 a year less than U.S.C., and $30,000 less than Carnegie Mellon or Cornell. However, the more I think about attending C.U., the happier I am with my decision.

via The Price Tag of a ‘Safety’ School Enhances Its Allure – NYTimes.com.

Apple, baseball:  what do they have in common … read on …

Could it be that Apple is more popular than America’s national sport?

The company is certainly more profitable than professional baseball. Apple’s revenue for fiscal year 2010 was $65.2 billion, $9.8 billion from the Apple stores alone, compared with the MLB’s total revenue of $7 billion.

And as the chart above shows, visitors to the Apple stores — which will celebrate their 10th anniversary next week — overtook attendance at Major League Baseball stadiums in 2006 and never looked back.

via Is Apple more popular than baseball? – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech.

movies, The King’s Speech, Colin Firth, life imitates art: He trained himself to stutter and now sometimes he can’t stop … life imitates art.

The King's Speech

He perfected the speech impediment while preparing for his Oscar-winning role. Now it appears he’s having trouble parting with it.

Colin Firth was stammer-free throughout his humorous yet humble acceptance speech for the Best Actor Academy Award. But old habits die hard, it seems. Speaking to British magazine WestSide, he explained that he sometimes lapses into the stammer he developed particularly for the movie.

“You can probably hear even from this interview, there are moments when it’s quite infectious,” Firth told the magazine. “You find yourself doing it and if I start thinking about it, the worse it gets. If nothing else it’s an insight in to what it feels like.”

via Life Imitates Art: Colin Firth Struggles to Shake King’s Speech Stammer – TIME NewsFeed.

google doodles, Roger Hargreaves, children’s/YA literature: 16 different ones … and I have never heard of the books or the author!

Google has created sixteen Mr. Men and Little Miss-themed Google Doodles in celebration of author/illustrator Roger Hargreaves‘ 76th birthday. As an extra bonus, the doodles change each time the Google page is reloaded.

via Roger Hargreaves Gets Google Doodle for Mr. Men & Little Miss Books – GalleyCat.

21
Apr
11

4.21.2011 Happy birthday to many … maundy thursday … college tour of Davidson …

education, elite colleges, our kids, parenting, college admissions: Wow.  This article really makes you think about the pressure we are putting our kids under.

RIGHT NOW, IN admissions offices in Cambridge and New Haven and Palo Alto, the teenage children of some of America’s most thoughtful and devoted mothers are coming in for exceptionally close scrutiny—as is, so these women feel, the parenting they have offered their youngsters for the past 18 years. This is the tail end of reading season, when our august universities must turn to what their relentless high-school visiting and U.S. News  World Report boosterism have wrought: a staggering number of requests for an absurdly small number of spots at their schools. Harvard recently announced that this year it is considering an astronomical 35,000 applications for only about 1,640 spaces in the freshman class. The great hope of today’s professional-class parents—whose offspring still make up the majority at elite colleges, no matter how much progress the institutions have made in widening the socioeconomic range of their student bodies—was that the ebbing of the so-called echo boom would save their children from the heartless winnowing. The late 1990s and the 2000s saw an uptick in the number of teenagers in America, and there was a belief, in many quarters, that the increasingly competitive nature of elite-college admissions was a by-product of that demographic fluke. But now, although the number of teens has receded, the percentage of those kids who nurture the dream of attending a selective college continues to skyrocket. And so, for this year’s most accomplished and talented high-school seniors, the reckoning is at hand.

via The Ivy Delusion – Magazine – The Atlantic.

4/20, followup, kith/kin:  Well, I guess I am glad it’s not Boulder!

Congratulations to Tallahassee, Florida, on being named America’s pot capital. (But a cautionary note: This list could be dubious.)

via LikeTheDew.com, 420 Celebrations: America’s Pot Smoking Capitals – The Daily Beast.

food, comfort food, history:  Nam, nam, nam …

Some sources say that people began making cheese sandwiches during the great depression because bread and cheese were easily acessible. Now you can find these fantastic bundles of joy in several high end restaurants as chefs have put their own gourmet twist on it!Not to stop there, grilled cheese has only gotten more popular this century. In 2004, one particular sandwich sold for $28,000 on eBay because the grilled part of the sandwich resembled the Virgin Mary. The weirder part is the sandwich never got moldy, even 10 years later. The good part is, the woman who made the sacred sandwich donated all the money to charity. See, grilled cheese not only tastes good, but does good!

via Nam, Nam, Nam: It’s National Grilled Cheese Month! Show Your Support | Tonic.

random, Royal Family, facts:  To an outsider, QEII just seems silly not to retire …

Today Prince Charles becomes the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having spent 59 years, two months and 14 days as first in line to the throne. To mark Charles’ momentous day, NewsFeed takes a look at 10 other royals waiting for their day in the sun.

via Royals in Waiting: Prince Charles and the World’s Other Heir Apparents – TIME NewsFeed.

UNC, basketball, feel good story:  🙂

SP_UNC1

College basketball doesn’t get any more glamorous than it does at North Carolina, a school that boasts one of the sport’s most prestigious programs. On this campus, the basketball players are lords of the manor.

But this spring, Carolina’s men’s team has started a new tradition, one that stands in sharp contrast to the booming prominence of the sport.

Since they bowed out of the NCAA’s Elite Eight last month, members of North Carolina’s Tar Heels have been showing up a campus dormitory courts to play five-on-five pickup basketball games with students. We caught up with some of the players at a recent session.

Since they bowed out in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight last month, the players have been killing time before finals exams by showing up at outdoor courts at campus dormitories to play five-on-five pick-up games with students—just for fun. To make sure they draw a crowd, the players announce their plans beforehand on Twitter.

via North Carolina’s Students Get Educated – WSJ.com.

digital books, libraries:  Maybe the two can merge …

Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.

“We’re excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps.”

Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

With Kindle Library Lending, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle and Kindle books, including:

Paper-like Pearl electronic-ink display

No glare even in bright sunlight

Lighter than a paperback – weighs just 8.5 ounces and holds up to 3,500 books

Up to one month of battery life with wireless off

Read everywhere with free Kindle apps for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and Windows Phone

Whispersync technology wirelessly sync your books, notes, highlights, and last page read across Kindle and free Kindle reading apps

Real Page Numbers – easily reference passages with page numbers that correspond to actual print editions

Amazon is working with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions for over 11,000 public and educational libraries in the United States, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers. “We are excited to be working with Amazon to offer Kindle Library Lending to the millions of customers who read on Kindle and Kindle apps,” said Steve Potash, CEO, OverDrive. “We hear librarians and patrons rave about Kindle, so we are thrilled that we can be part of bringing library books to the unparalleled experience of reading on Kindle.”

via Amazon Media Room: News Release.

news, violence, Atlanta:  Random acts of violence …why?

ATLANTA — A group of 20 to 25 youths boarded a commuter train bound for Atlanta’s airport, and viciously attacked the passengers, police said.

One of the teenagers bashed a rider in the face with a soda-pop can, pushed him down and stole his wallet, according to a police report. Another passenger was punched in the face, the report stated.

Both of the riders who were attacked work for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, police said. They have been staying at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

via Police: 20-25 teens storm Ga. train, attack riders – Breaking News – Macon.com.

12
Apr
11

4.12.2011 … Is it spring … or summer … blessings …

random, history: 🙂

April 11, 1990

Gov. Joe Frank Harris signed an act designating the Vidalia Onion Georgia’s official state vegetable.

via Atlanta History Center, April 11, 1990.

summer 2011, kith/kin:  We are very excited for Molly!

Tufts Summit invites high school students to develop a greater understanding of the global village they will call home. While improving their French language skills, students are introduced to the complex world of international politics and diplomacy through classroom instruction, exploration of French culture, and field trips to local sites of historic importance and natural beauty.

via Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France.

science, health:  very interesting …

TELOMERES are to chromosomes what plastic caps are to shoelaces—they stop them fraying at the ends. Unlike shoelaces, though, chromosomes replicate themselves from time to time as the cells they are in divide. This shortens the telomere and, after 50-70 such divisions a number known as the Hayflick limit, after its discoverer, a chromosome can grow no shorter and the cell it is in can divide no more.That provides a backstop against cancer. The rapidly dividing cells in a tumour soon hit the Hayflick limit and the process is brought to a screeching halt. Which is a good thing. The bad thing is that reaching the limit is one of the markers of old age. You do not want it to happen too quickly, particularly in tissues that have to do a lot of dividing in order to work properly, such as those in the immune system.It has been known for some time that chronic stress caring for a child with a protracted illness, for example causes premature shortening of the telomeres. What has not been clear is whether this is a one-way trip, with each stressful period turning the telomeric ratchet irreversibly. This week, though, at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Florida, a group of researchers led by Edward Nelson of the University of California, Irvine, showed that it isn’t. Their research suggests that stress management not only stops telomeres from shortening, it actually promotes their repair.

via Stress and ageing: A question of attitude | The Economist.

libraries, travel, lists, bucket lists:  Only seen 3 … more to add to y bucket list. 🙂

Forget stereotypes about libraries. You’re likely to find art exhibits, lounge chairs and free Wi-Fi. Monday marks the start of National Library Week, but visitors don’t need an excuse to visit. “It’s a place where stuff happens,” says Rebecca Miller  of Library Journal magazine. She shares 10 favorite locations with Larry Bleiberg  for USA TODAY.

via 10 great places to take a library tour – USATODAY.com.

children’s/YA literature:  I wonder what my favorite says about me … it’s not on the list … A Wrinkle in Time.

Click through for our predictions, and do your best to take it with the grain of salt we intend – don’t worry, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lovers, we’re not really accusing you of advocating slavery. Be sure to add to the fun and make up your own in the comments!

via Flavorwire » What Your Favorite Kids Book Then Says About You Now.

education, children’s/YA literature, lists:  The Brits don’t read the same books we do .. 🙂

Education Secretary Michael Gove says that children aged 11 should be reading 50 books a year to improve literacy standards.

We asked three of Britain’s leading children’s authors and two of our in-house book experts to each pick 10 books, suitable for Year 7 students.

The authors chose books that have brought them huge joy, while expressing their outrage at the “great big contradiction” of Mr Gove’s claim to wish to improve literacy while closing libraries across the country.

via The 50 books every child should read – News, Books – The Independent.

culture, education, reading, children’s/YA literature:

in many cultures, it is actively rude to take out a book in a public place, that reading is a private activity to be carried out at home. Only when subjected to a long and tedious wait might it be acceptable to take out a book; and it is true, the one reader I spotted was in an airport lounge.

Still, though the observation probably doesn’t hold water as a judgement of the literacy of a society, it does make a point about the place of reading in a nation’s life. You can tell something about a nation by how universal and constant a habit reading is. In Japan, there seems hardly a moment of stasis too brief to whip out a manga or a classic novel. One of the wonderful sights of Bengali culture, whether in Calcutta or Bangladesh, is of people gathered round a newspaper pasted on a wall, or standing on a street corner deep in the morning’s paper.

And, like other European cultures, the English have always been not just great readers, but great readers in public. Look around you on the train at the prevalence, even now, of the morning newspaper. On the evening train there will be 20 books being read in every carriage, of all sorts – Herodotus, Jane Green, Dickens, lives of Hitler and histories of Hungary. Reading is, even now, as central to the existence of many English people as eating.

…Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has raised a few eyebrows with his aspiration that every schoolchild, from 11 onwards, should be expected to read 50 books a year. That number of books a year seems like a gigantic step upwards from the present situation where, as Mr Gove tells us, many school students read only two books for GCSE, the culmination of years of education, and one of those is usually Of Mice and Men. Is it achievable?

via Philip Hensher: Fifty books a year is ideal, but why stop at school children? – Philip Hensher, Commentators – The Independent.

icons, fashion, Sally Field, tv, Gidget:  Poor, Gidge …

Gidget, as played by Sally Field in the eponymous 1965 television series, was the ultimate California girl. A sturdy pink-and-white bikini suited the boy-crazy surfer perfectly as she went about on her Malibu misadventures.

via Sally Field, Gidget,1965 – The Most Iconic Swimsuits Ever – Get Star Style – Fashion – InStyle.

Libya, news, South Africa, Colonel Gaddafi, Jacob Zuma:  Interesting twist given that the general consensus is that Zuma is a crooked as they come.

A rebel spokesman said any deal designed to keep Colonel Gaddafi or his sons in place would not be acceptable

South African President Jacob Zuma says the Libyan government has accepted an African Union peace proposal to end the eight-week-old conflict.

Mr Zuma’s AU delegation met Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on Sunday. An AU team is going to the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

But rebel spokesmen said there could be no truce unless Col Gaddafi stepped down and his forces withdrew.

via BBC News – Libya: Gaddafi government accepts truce plan, says Zuma.




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