Posts Tagged ‘medicine

20
Feb
14

2.20.14 … Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations … Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. …

The All-or-Nothing Marriage, NYTimes.com:

Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.

Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.

via The All-or-Nothing Marriage – NYTimes.com.

geology, pangea, NYTimes.com:

“This is a true moment of discovery, although somewhat inadvertent,” said Tony Hiss, the author of “The Experience of Place,” a 1990 ode to America’s physical reality. “New York’s deepest and darkest secret, its oldest and most violent and previously only vaguely glimpsed history is finally coming to light — the schist that formed three-quarters of a billion years ago, when colliding continents compressed an ancient ocean; the even more elusive amphibolite, three times harder than concrete, that’s a slow-cooked remnant of islands as big as Japan off the New York shoreline.

“A lot of the theory about what happened down there long, long ago was known, but it had never been seen firsthand by geologists until the multiple sub-Manhattan excavations over the last decade,” Mr. Hiss said.

The application of that theory illustrates why skyscrapers historically sprouted downtown and in Midtown, but not in between. The bedrock — the formidable Manhattan Schist on which their concrete foundations rest — is closest to the surface in those two areas, though, nowadays, the technology exists to build almost anywhere.

“It’s only a matter of what type of foundation you can afford, or are willing to entertain,” said Michael Horodniceanu, the president of the transportation authority’s capital construction arm.

The dank, vast underground caverns carved by monstrous tunnel-boring machines reveal evidence of the land bridge that existed hundreds of millions of years ago, when New York adjoined what is now Morocco, before the continents ruptured, and of the faults and fractures wrought by vast physical upheavals.

“It gives us a small window to refine our maps and get a better understanding of regional geology and of the bedrock that formed in Pangea when the continents collided,” Mr. Jordan, the Parsons geologist, said. “It gives us a chance to document the behavior of Manhattan’s bedrock while advancing tunnels, and to provide a history of tectonic events. Lastly, mapping provides a geological record for posterity and use by future generations.”

via Geologists Glimpse a Heaven Below – NYTimes.com.

Transcend Politics Embrace Humanity, Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, quotes:

Photo: Transcend Politics, Embrace Humanity

robotic pills, medicine, invention:

Robotic pills could replace injectable drugs for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Advancements in scientific research have led to two FDA-approved robotic pills. How they work: http://on.wsj.com/N6p3yY

Humans of New York, discrimination:  This is one of my favorite FB pages. I am amazed at what people share. I hope it is not contrived. I wonder what I would share.

“I know this isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but I’m gay, and I don’t think there’s nearly as much discrimination as people claim. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced discrimination. But it hasn’t been a huge factor in my life. I feel like a lot of people bring discrimination on themselves by getting in people’s faces too much. They like to say: ‘Accept me or else!’ They go around demanding respect as a member of a group, instead of earning respect as an individual. And that sort of behavior invites discrimination. I’ve never demanded respect because I was gay, and I haven’t experienced much discrimination when people find out that I am.”

via Humans of New York.

Jack Perry, community ambassador,  diplomat, Dean Rusk Center, Davidson College, CharlotteObserver.com:  I admit I was wrong.  When Jack Perry came to Davidson, I thought, Davidson needs someone from Davidson … I was so wrong.  RIP, Jack Perry and thank you for raising the bar.

 Shortly after Kuykendall arrived at Davidson in 1984, he hired Perry to run the college’s fledgling international studies venture, named for another Georgian diplomat, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

“When I came, the Dean Rusk program was a name, an aspiration,” Kuykendall said. “But but we needed somebody to lead it.”

Perry put his stamp on the program, which had been started by Kuykendall’s predecessor, Sam Spencer.

“Sam Spencer’s intention was to take (Davidson) from a regional school to a school with a national reputation and a school globally engaged,” said Chris Alexander, current director of the Rusk program.

“The program by its name and by its existence really announced to students and the broader Charlotte community … that an international education is a fundamental part of a liberal arts education.”

Perry ran the program until 1995. Over that time, the percentage of Davidson students who received some kind of international experience rose dramatically. According to Alexander, more than 80 percent of students travel or study abroad during their four years.

via Jack Perry: A community ambassador with a life of diplomacy | CharlotteObserver.com.

schadenfreude: It’s a cruel world … And here I am sharing.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=022_1392441250

Schadenfreude, oh, blessed schadenfreude.

A dad who had gone to pick his kids up from school was waiting in his car when he noticed groups of schoolchildren falling on the icy pathway.

What better way to spend your minutes waiting than filming the series of unfortunate pupils stacking it?

The person who filmed it, known only as Alan, is heard in the six-minute footage doing a bit of a commentary and laughing his socks off.

At one point, he says: ‘I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you.’

When his daughter gets in the car they’re both creasing up and he tells her about the impending falls that he predicts are on the way: ‘Okay watch this kid, I guarantee that he’s going to drill it.’

via School run dad can’t stop laughing at pupils slipping on ice in YouTube video | Metro News.

400 years, mathematics,new class of shapes, Goldberg polyhedra, Ars Technica:

The works of the Greek polymath Plato have kept people busy for millennia. Mathematicians have long pondered Platonic solids, a collection of geometric forms that are highly regular and are frequently found in nature.

Platonic solids are generically termed equilateral convex polyhedra. In the millennia since Plato’s time, only two other collections of equilateral convex polyhedra have been found: Archimedean solids (including the truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, mathematicians claim that they may have now identified a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. In the process of making this discovery, they think they’ve demonstrated that an infinite number of these solids could exist.

via After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes | Ars Technica.

Martin Scorsese,  Poland’s Communist-Era Art Films, NPR:  

Martin Scorsese fell in love with Polish movies when he was in college.

“The images have stayed in my head for so many years, since the late ’50s,” he says. “I close my eyes, I see them, especially from Ashes And Diamonds, from The Saragossa Manuscript. They’re very vivid, expressive, immediate.”

The tradition of filmmaking in Poland is as long as the history of filmmaking itself. In fact, a Polish inventor patented a camera before the famed, pioneering Lumiere brothers in France. It’s a tradition that includes the names Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Agnieszka Holland. But unless you spent a lot of time in art house theaters in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, you probably haven’t seen many Polish movies. Now, a new series of 21 films handpicked by Scorsese is beginning a tour of 30 American citie

via Martin Scorsese Takes Poland’s Communist-Era Art Films On The Road : NPR.

bacon: Need I say more?

Photo: Need I say more?

The Piano Guys, Angels We Have Heard on High, youtube:

via ▶ Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) – ThePianoGuys – YouTube.

Watch this Christmas cover of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” performed by Paul Anderson, Jon Schmidt, Al van der Beek and Steven Sharp Nelson, on one single piano to feel the festive spirit come alive.

via The Piano Guys Will Blow You Away With ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ (VIDEO).

5 Ages Dancing,  YouTube: 

 

Dancers aged 85 ,65, 45, 25 and 5 perform the same sequence: Sage Cowles, Marylee Hardenbergh, Lori Mercil, Erin Simon, and Shelby Keeley.

via ▶ 5 Ages Dancing YouTube sharing – YouTube.

How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night, sleep therapy:

8 hour sleeping is a modern invention.

via How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night.

An Instagram short film:

An Instagram short film on Vimeo

via An Instagram short film.

22
Oct
13

10.22.13 … For Jake and Dearest Human … If you need information about what is happening in the brain of a dog to know that dogs think and have feelings and emotions, then either you’ve never met a dog or your own humanity is in doubt …

personhood, man’s best friend, Jake:  A friend posts daily from her jake’s perspective.  No doubt Jake is a person.  🙂

If you need information about what is happening in the brain of a dog to know that dogs think and have feelings and emotions, then either you’ve never met a dog or your own humanity is in doubt.

You can no more seriously entertain the possibility that a dog is a mere automaton than you can entertain such a hypothesis about your human loved ones. To do so would require you to stand back and look at what a dog (or a person) does (and says) as devoid of meaning and expressive power. And to do that would be disrespectful. This is the Sissy Jupe point.

via MRI Scans Can’t Show Us Consciousness Or Personhood : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

medical controversies,  medicine, scientists, achy joints,  predict the weather, good to know:  🙂

One of the longest running controversies in medicine has been resolved: scientists find achy joints can predict the weather. http://on.wsj.com/1enZ8LT

Do certain weather conditions ever aggravate physical pain in you? How do you lessen its impact?

via The Wall Street Journal.

automakers, virtual showroom, apps, NYTimes.com:

“They won’t come into the stores to educate themselves,” said Peter Chung, general manager of Magic Toyota and Scion in Edmonds, Wash. “They’ll do that online.”

More than half of the younger buyers surveyed by AutoTrader.com, a car-buying site, said they wanted to avoid interacting with dealership sales representatives.

In response, automakers like Cadillac and Toyota are starting to embrace technology that tries to take the showroom to the buyer. Known as augmented reality, it embeds images and videos in a picture on the user’s smartphone or tablet. The result is a far more detailed view of the image, often in three dimensions with added layers of information.

For example, when Cadillac introduced the ATS last year, it created a campaign in cities across the country that allowed observers to point an iPad at a chalk mural and watch the car drive through scenes like China’s mountainous Guoliang Tunnel and Monaco’s Grand Prix circuit. The goal was to grab the attention of potential buyers, especially younger ones, who would not normally think of Cadillac when researching new cars.

via Automakers Build Showroom in an App – NYTimes.com.

tips, change, iOS 7, NYTimes.com:  Still have not done it …

While some are shocked by the design changes of iOS 7, my colleague Brian X. Chen wrote on Thursday that most consumers who have jumped to the new operating system seem to be enjoying the new design.

Of course, if none of these tips work and you’re in complete disarray after your upgrade, there is one more option you can try: turn off your phone and go away for a nice quiet weekend with your family.

via Tips for Making the Change to iOS 7 – NYTimes.com.

memes and gifs, fyi:   

Main article: Internet meme

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, usually in a humorous way, largely through internet-based E-mail, blogs, forums, Imageboards, social networking sites, instant messaging and video sites such as YouTube.[44] In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as being deliberately altered by human creativity—distinguished from genes and Dawkins’ original idea of a meme which involved mutation by random change and spreading through accurate copying in a form of Darwinian selection.[45]

via Meme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

CompuServe introduced the GIF format in 1987 to provide a color image format for their file downloading areas, replacing their earlier run-length encoding (RLE) format, which was black and white only. GIF became popular because it used LZW data compression, which was more efficient than the run-length encoding that formats such as PCX and MacPaint used, and fairly large images could therefore be downloaded in a reasonably short time, even with very slow modems.

The original version of the GIF format was called 87a.[1] In 1989, CompuServe devised an enhanced version, called 89a,[2] which added support for animation delays (multiple images in a stream were already supported in 87a), transparent background colors, and storage of application-specific metadata. The 89a specification also supports incorporating text labels as text (not embedding them in the graphical data), but as there is little control over display fonts, this feature is not widely used. The two versions can be distinguished by looking at the first six bytes of the file (the “magic number” or “signature”), which, when interpreted as ASCII, read “GIF87a” and “GIF89a”, respectively.

GIF was one of the first two image formats commonly used on Web sites, the other being the black and white XBM.[citation needed]

The feature of storing multiple images in one file, accompanied by control data, is used extensively on the Web to produce simple animations. The optional interlacing feature, which stores image scan lines out of order in such a fashion that even a partially downloaded image was somewhat recognizable, also helped GIF’s popularity,[citation needed] as a user could abort the download if it was not what was required.

In 2012, the word “GIF” was officially recognized as a verb as well as a noun, meaning “to create a GIF file”. The US wing of the Oxford University Press voted it their word of the year, saying that GIFs have evolved into “a tool with serious applications including research and journalism”.[3][4]

via Graphics Interchange Format – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

20
Jun
13

6.20.13 … A Cancer Long Shot: Inject HIV Into Dying Girl …

science, medicine, cancer:  

I can’t believe I just watched a team of real doctors inject a 6-year-old girl with a deadly disease… and smiled. Who knew something called a “serial killer” cell could bring so much unforgettable joy and happiness?

via Doctors Take A Long Shot And Inject HIV Into Dying Girl. The Reason Why Will Amaze You..

19
Nov
11

11.19.2011 … Downtown Charlotte tour … first stop CLS Senior art show … sites along Tryon … then Halcyon …

Charlotte, Charlotte Latin School, kith/kin, Jefferson Davis, Civil War History, Halcyon:

A little late to the CLS SENIOR ART EXHIBIT — at Spirit Square.

And then stumbled upon this on S. Tryon …

So here is what happened after he heard the news…

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

On May 4, 1865, Jefferson Davis arrived in Washington, Georgia (178 miles NE of the Park), where he performed his last duties as President of the Confederate States of America. Shortly thereafter, with a small staff and escort, he departed enroute to the trans-Mississippi Department where, from which vantage point he hoped to negotiate a just peace.

Traveling via Warrenton and Sandersville, he reached Dublin (50 mile NE) about 11 o`clock May 7th, after being joined by his family early that morning. Leaving Dublin, he camped for a few hours near Alligator Creek (30[?] miles NE) and again four miles SE of Eastman (UDC marker at site), then he pushed on toward Abbeville, unaware that the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry (USA) had learned of his passage through Dublin and had begun a pursuit.

On the 8th, after a day of hard rains and boggy roads, his party crossed the Ocmulgee River at Poor Robin Ferry and camped in Abbeville (26 miles SW) and camped a mile N of the town in the present Jefferson Davis Memorial State Park. At dawn on May 10th, his camp was surrounded by men of the 1st Wisconsin and 4th Michigan cavalry regiments (USA) and he became a `state prisoner`, his hopes for a new nation — in which each state would exercise without interference its cherished `Constitutional Rights` — forever dead.

??? Georgia Historical Commission 19??

via Georgia Marker.

And then Halcyon … where John had Greens eggs and ham …

Thanksgiving, food-southern, menus, Hugh Acheson:  Turkey brined in sweet tea. 🙂

“Top Chef” judge and celebrity chef Hugh Acheson is known for reinventing traditional Southern cuisine with a bit of a French twist.

When he’s not dishing culinary advice on “Top Chef,” he’s chef/partner of the Athens, Ga. restaurants Five & Ten and The National, as well as Gosford Wine, and Atlanta eatery Empire State South.

He also has a new cookbook, “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen.”

On “THE Dish,” a different famous chef each week reveals what he or she would have if they could have just one meal. That’s because for us, “THE Dish” is about the moment, the place, and the person you would share it with. It’s about the emotion behind the food, it’s about the conversation and the meal itself. We want to get to know these chefs on a deeper level and hope our viewers will, as well.

RECIPES:

ROASTED SWEET TEA BRINED TURKEY

via Hugh Acheson’s Southern take on Thanksgiving – CBS News.

art, photo mosaic:

Smile-one / Guinness World Records

Containing 137,200 photographs and measuring 1,562.39 square meters (or 16,817.3 square feet), the largest photo mosaic was created in Nagoya, Japan by Smile-one Taichi Masumoto on Nov. 16. And the finished product is pretty cute, too.

via Largest Photo Mosaic | Hula Hoops and Giant Underwear: Eight Odd Feats from Guinness World Records Day | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

Lip Service: The Science of Smiles,  books, psychology, anthropology, biology, medicine, computer science:  Another use for anthropology

Years ago, I did an undergraduate thesis on nonverbal communication and facial expression, a large portion of which revolved around the Duchenne smile — a set of anatomical markers that differentiate an authentic smile from a feigned one. The science of smiles is, of course, far more complex than the mere fake vs. real dichotomy — the universal expression of positive disposition lives on a rich spectrum of micro-expressions and nuances. That’s exactly what Marianne LaFrance explores in Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics — a fascinating new book drawing on the author’s research at Yale and Boston College, alongside a wide array of cross-disciplinary studies from psychology, anthropology, biology, medicine and computer science, to reveal how smiles impact our inter-personal dynamics and our life experience as social beings.

via Lip Service: The Science of Smiles | Brain Pickings.

fashion, Versace, H&M:

High Fashion, Low Cost – Versace comes to H&M

via High Fashion, Low Cost | Video – ABC News.

careers, resumes, virtual badges:  OK, I thought this fascinating …

CLOTH and metal badges have long been worn by Boy Scouts, soldiers and others to show off their accomplishments.

Now the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is putting millions of dollars into a competition to spur interest in a new type of badge — one that people can display not on their clothing but on a Web site, blog or Facebook page while they are looking for a job.

The badges will not replace résumés or transcripts, but they may be a convenient supplement, putting the spotlight on skills that do not necessarily show up in traditional documents — highly specialized computer knowledge, say, or skills learned in the military, in online courses or in after-school programs at museums or libraries.

“The badges can give kids credit for the extraordinary things they are learning outside of school,” as well as being a symbol of lifelong learning for adults, said Connie M. Yowell, director of education grant-making at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

Prospective employers could click on an e-badge awarded for prowess in Javascript, for example, and see detailed supporting information, including who issued the badge, the criteria and even samples of the work that led to the award.

“The badges are another way to tell the story of who you are and what you know,” Dr. Yowell said.

“What people are learning in school is often not connected to the world of work,” she said. “Badges can fill that gap. They can be a kind of glue to connect informal and formal learning in and out of school.” If valued, they might also inspire students to accomplish new tasks.

To create prototypes of these alternative credentials, MacArthur has started a “Badges for Lifelong Learning” competition that will culminate in March 2012, when the foundation will award a total of $2 million to several dozen winners, Dr. Yowell said.

In addition, the federal Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs will jointly award $25,000 for the best badge concept and prototype that serves veterans seeking jobs.

In preparation for the contest, MacArthur has also given $1 million to the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation to develop a common standard or protocol for the badges.

Developers will use this protocol so that their badges will work across the Web on various platforms, no matter which organization is awarding them, just as e-mail works across the Internet regardless of the particular program used, said Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation in Mountain View, Calif.

“People will be able to take courses at a dozen places, and then put the badges from these different places on their Web site,” he said.

The badges can be verified in several ways. For instance, a badge can include a verification link that makes it possible to check with the issuer about authenticity and status, should the badge have an expiration date.

The Mozilla Foundation supports the development of free software that can be used throughout the Web. It owns the Mozilla Corporation, creator of Firefox, the open source Internet browser.

Mr. Surman’s group tested an early version of the badge system this spring at the School of Webcraft at Peer to Peer University, an online school offering free courses organized by peers, said Erin B. Knight, who works on the badge project for the Mozilla Foundation. Students in the pilot program were awarded badges in Javascript, HTML, teamwork, collaboration and other areas.

Many organizations, including NASA, Intel and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are collaborating with MacArthur in the competition, providing information about their programs and activities that could be the basis for badge awards, said Cathy N. Davidson, a professor at Duke University and co-administrator of the competition.

NASA, for example, has educational programs in robotics for young people that might be suitable content for badges.

Designers have until Jan. 12 to submit their ideas for badge prototypes. Design winners will be paired with content providers to compete for the final awards, Dr. Davidson said.

Independent of the MacArthur contest, one company, TopCoder, in Glastonbury, Conn., has been awarding its own version of digital badges for several years. It holds online programming competitions that offer cash rewards, said Mike Lydon, its chief technology officer. Many of the programs become commercial products that are sold or licensed to customers like I.B.M.

TopCoder competitors who do not win cash awards can still obtain a useful credential, Mr. Lydon said — a digital emblem that, when clicked on, gives statistics about their prowess relative to others. Competitors use screen names that let them preserve their anonymity, but also share scores with prospective employers when the scores are ones they are proud of.

It is an extremely helpful badge to include in job searches, Mr. Lydon said.

“Rather than saying ‘look me up,’ ” he said, “people have this transportable widget at their Web site.”

via Digital Badges May Highlight Job Seekers’ Skills – NYTimes.com.

toys, gifts:  I did not think any of these interesting … KidsPost Holiday Toy Test – The Washington Post.

quote, Einstein, Disney, Jobs, Picasso: … ” It’s a real genius to tie art, emotion and technology together.”

I think that Einstein was in a different orbit. Steve was equal to Walt Disney or Pablo Picasso. Disney was probably the closest to Steve. The real genius of these men was that they were able to create an emotional connection with their products. Bob Dylan does the same with music; Picasso with art. It’s a real genius to tie art, emotion and technology together.

— The New York Times’ Nick Bilton has a great one-on-one interview with Walter Isaacson, author of the highly anticipated Steve Jobs biography

via curiosity counts – I think that Einstein was in a different orbit…..

‘sleep texting’:  Oh, my …

Doctors are seeing more cases of sleep deprived patients who are sleep texting.

Sleep expert Dr. Marcus Schmidt tells WTHR-TV that sleep deprivation can trigger common motor behaviors during sleep, including reaching for the phone when it goes off. Schmidt suggests keeping your cell phone away from the bed while you are sleeping, maybe even in another room.

Schmidt admits the phenomenon is new, so there isn’t a lot of empirical data to go with it.

via Doctors noting increase in ‘sleep texting’ | KING5.com Seattle.

graphics, web typeface:  for the real computer nerds …

There are those points in every interactive designer’s career when he becomes fed up with producing the same set of graphics all over again for every website he designs. It could be the social network icons, gallery arrows or any number of his «signature» butterflies for the footer of each of his projects. Similar for interactive developers that have to slice the same GIFs and PNGs each time art-director asks them to.

Until now. We want creative people to spend time on creative things. So we came up with the typeface that includes all frequently used iconographics and symbols. Although, the idea is not hot-baked — Webdings and Windings have been around for quite a time — all of them have a lot of unnecessary and sometimes actually scary symbols.

Web Symbols is a set of vector html-compliant typefaces, so it might be used in any size, color and browser (okey, mostly — but IE7 for sure).

via Web Symbols typeface.

street art, 3D street art: 🙂

3D pavement art: 3D painting by Joe Hill at Canary Wharf

3D street art around the world – in pictures

British artist Joe Hill’s creation has broken records for the longest and largest surface area 3D painting, according to Guinness Book of World Records. We take a look at some other great examples of 3D street paintings, from crevasses in Ireland to shark-infested waters in China

via 3D street art around the world – in pictures | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.

movies, holiday movies, kids’ movies:  I have heard that Hugo is good … mixed on the Muppets.

T he weeks between Thanksgiving and the new year provide lots of opportunities to go to the movies, and this year is no different. Here’s a look at some films made for kids that might be worth an outing for the entire family.

“Happy Feet Two”

“Arthur Christmas”

“Hugo”

“The Muppets”

“The Adventures of Tintin”

via Family-friendly movies for the holidays – The Washington Post.

26
Sep
11

9.26.2011 … So many friends and family members have birthdays this week … hmmm … 9 months after Christmas. Today would be the 108th birthday of my grandmother and the 76th birthday of my father-in-law. And happy birthday to Debbie … still going strong!

tv, theme songs, music:  Fun?  Do you have a favorite?  I love The Doris Day Show … Que sera, sera … TV Theme Music and Songs – TelevisionTunes.com.

global economy, end of an era:  Interesting analysis …

People just don’t disappear. Look at Germany in 1946 or Athenians in 339 B.C. They continue, but their governments and cultures end. Aside from the dramatic military implosions of authoritarian or tribal societies — the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the end of Nazism, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the annexation of tribal Gaul — what brings consensual states to an end, or at least an end to the good life?

The city-states could not stop 30,000 Macedonians in a way — when far poorer and 150 year earlier — they had stopped 300,000 Persians descending on many of the same routes. The French Republic of 1939 had more tanks and troops on the Rhine than the Third Reich that was busy overrunning Poland. A poorer Britain fought differently at el-Alamein than it does now over Libya. A British battleship was once a sign of national pride; today a destroyer represents a billion pounds stolen from social services.

Give me

Redistribution of wealth rather than emphasis on its creation is surely a symptom of aging societies. Whether at Byzantium during the Nika Riots or in bread and circuses Rome, when the public expects government to provide security rather than the individual to become autonomous through a growing economy, then there grows a collective lethargy. I think that is the message of Juvenal’s savage satires about both mobs and the idle rich. Fourth-century Athenian literature is characterized by forensic law suits, as citizens sought to sue each other, or to sue the state for sustenance, or to fight over inheritances.

 

We all know what will save us and what is destroying us. But the trick is to see how the two will collide. A new tax code, simple rates, few deductions, everybody pays something; new entitlement reform, less benefits, later retirement; a smaller government, a larger private sector; a different popular culture that honors character rather than excess — all that is not, and yet is, impossible to envision. It will only transpire when the cries of the self-interested anguished are ignored. My expectation is that soon that the affluent of suddenly rich China and India will come down with the Western disease that we see endemically in Europe and among our own, even as America snaps out of it, and recommits itself to self-reliance and wealth creation. But when I look at 18th-century Venice, or 1950s Britain, or France in 1935, or 3rd-century Athens, or 5th-century AD Rome, I am worried. I don’t think we wish to live in a quiet but collapsed Greece in the age of Plutarch, forever dreaming about a far off age of past accomplishment.

 

via Works and Days » Why Does the Good Life End?.

random, Shakespeare, a few million monkeys, random: 🙂

Today (2011-09-23) at 2:30 PST the monkeys successfully randomly recreated A Lover’s Complaint, The Tempest (2011-09-26) and As You Like It (2011-09-28). This is the first time a work of Shakespeare has actually been randomly reproduced.  Furthermore, this is the largest work ever randomly reproduced. It is one small step for a monkey, one giant leap for virtual primates everywhere.

The monkeys will continue typing away until every work of Shakespeare is randomly created.  Until then, you can continue to view the monkeys’ progress on that page.  I am making the raw data available to anyone who wants it.  Please use the Contact page to ask for the URL. If you have a Hadoop cluster that I could run the monkeys project on, please contact me as well.

via A Few Million Monkeys Randomly Recreate Shakespeare | Jesse Anderson.

Montmartre, Parisian Wine, Paris:  We heard about this wine (not particularly good … vineyard faces North), but the festival is supposed to be great fun.

The fabled Parisian district of Montmartre celebrates the arrival of the new vintage of the beloved Clos Montmartre wine with the Montmartre Harvest Festival, from Oct. 5 to 9.

The only Parisian vineyards still active exist because the government stepped in to support the recreation of the area’s original vines after a real estate development project threatened their existence early in the 20th century. The first vines were replanted in 1933.

During the festivities, the neighborhood fills with street musicians and singers, entertaining visitors who come to sample Clos Montmartre and a wide selection of wines from Aquitaine, Gard, the Drôme and other regions. Winemakers offer advice along with regional produce designed to accompany their wines. Since this year’s theme is “Islands,” rums from the Caribbean will also be among the refreshments.

via Parisian Wine Celebrated in Montmartre Festival – NYTimes.com.

Bollywood, Silk Smitha, The Dirty Picture: Ooh la la … promises to push at the boundaries of what is sexually acceptable in Bollywood. :

Through the 1980s, South Indian film star Silk Smitha was shorthand for sex. Her fans just couldn’t get enough of her inviting eyes and heaving bosom, but her racy roles meant she never made in big in Bollywood. The picture about her life is already generating heat, months ahead of its release. The film’s first trailer, which was released this month, has found a huge audience (over 800,000 hits on YouTube).

A poster of Silk Smitha from “Miss Pamela,” released in 1989.

The sobriquet Silk came from her first Tamil film “Vandi Chakkaram,” in which she played a bar girl named Silk. In a career spanning 17 years, she did more than 450 films in a variety of languages: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi.

The Dirty Picture promises to push at the boundaries of what is sexually acceptable in Bollywood. Ahead of the film’s release, here is a look at some other female film characters who rewrote the rules.

via Breaking Bollywood’s Rules – NYTimes.com.

Colin Firth, movies:  Sounds like a very interesting movie.

The King’s Speech star made a 650-mile round trip from London to have tea with Eric Lomax at his home in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.  Colin described 92-year-old Eric’s life as “an extraordinary story”.

After the war Eric was filled with hate, particularly for Nagase Takashi, the interpreter who interrogated him.  In 1988 Eric tracked him down and they met on the bridge over the River Kwai. Takashi apologised and was forgiven by his victim. The pair then became friends.

via The League of British Artists: COLIN Firth has made a secret visit to the former prisoner of war he will play in his next film..

global economy:

Paramount is copying the tricks long used by rich-world businesses to fend off low-cost rivals from emerging markets: better designs, newer machinery, shorter production runs (to give rarity value to each line) and faster delivery to local markets.

Britain bounded ahead in textile production two centuries ago, and established firms have been looking over their shoulder ever since. An early challenge came from the textile industry in New England, where countless townships called Manchester were founded (of which one survives). That cluster soon faced competition from factories in the low-wage American South.

The cotton industry has carried on travelling: its technology moves easily to wherever labour costs are low. The pattern has been repeated for other sorts of ventures. More complex technologies are harder to copy, so their diffusion has been slower. But technology eventually spreads. It is what drives economic convergence, making large parts of the developing world better off year by year.

The big question for the global economy is whether the rapid growth in emerging markets can continue. The broad economic logic suggests more of the world economy’s gains should come from convergence by emerging markets than from the rich world pushing ahead. Each innovation adds less to rich-world prosperity than the adoption of an established technology does to a poor country. At the start of the industrial revolution the cotton industry alone could make Britain’s productivity jump. But now that the frontier is wider, there is less scope for leading economies to surge ahead. More of the world’s growth ought to come from catching up.

And perhaps the pessimism about America and Europe is as overdone as the optimism about emerging markets. The rich world is an enticing place when viewed from the developing world. For all its troubles, America’s economy is a source of envy. Europe’s high-end industries and luxury goods are not easily mimicked. Emerging-market firms find it easier to do business, to raise finance and to find skilled workers in the rich world. Such attributes are hard to replicate. If it were easy, the emerging economies would already be rich.

via The path ahead: Cottoning on | The Economist.

Paleo Diet, health:  I think this would probably work for me.

For more than 25 years, De Vany has been an advocate of what he calls “evolutionary fitness”: a regimen of low-carb eating and interval- or cross-training workouts (with periodic fasting) aimed at controlling insulin. But he has also become the grandfather of the growing Paleo movement, a health philosophy built around the belief that modern life — dating from the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago — is simply alien to our genes. Believers say that only by returning to a diet of wild game and fresh produce, eliminating grains and dairy, and exercising in short, intense bursts, can we thrive in a world of escalators and cheese fries.

There’s no doubt that something is way off about our collective health; rampant rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes make that self-evident. And there’s no doubt that this is a direct result of our high-fat, high-calorie, sedentary lives. But is there something more authentically “human” about life in the Paleolithic — something that makes humans simply better adapted to an ancient diet and ancient exercise patterns? Not exactly.

For one thing, there was no single Paleolithic “lifestyle.” Survival in Ice Age Europe, for instance, was vastly different from life on the African savannah, requiring different diets, behaviors and genetic adaptations. For another, human DNA didn’t freeze in place at some mythical peak. In fact, we’re still evolving.

via Paleo Diet: ‘New Evolution Diet’ Author De Vany on Food and Exercise – TIME.

Netflix, business models, change:   I am still hoping this a NEW Coke type mistake … I don’t care who is to blame.

Canadians: they’re lovely people. Seriously. And we bet they’d offer a hearty and sincere “Sooorry.” But according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, we should blame them for the split between Netflix and the new DVD-by-mail service called Qwikster.

“It’s all the Canadians’ fault,” Hastings joked Thursday as he answered questions about the fracturing company while celebrating Netflix’s first anniversary of its Canadian launch. The Great White North got its first taste of Netflix last September, as a streaming-only endeavor.

“Is broadband good enough that streaming only, without DVD, is a good enough product to catch on?” Hastings wondered. Turns out, it certainly was. Netflix decided to keep Netflix as a strictly-online enterprise, without offering the DVD-by-mail service. And business was good. Good enough to exist on its own, apparently.

Seeing the success of streaming in Canada, Hastings brought the results back to the U.S. The DVD-by-mail division was unbundled from the streaming service in July, meaning users would have to pay for each. And this week Netflix announced the postal program would become a separate company, now (laughably) known as Qwikster. We’ve never seen a better definition of “going postal.” The Netflix stock has tumbled more than 30 points this week in reaction to the name change.

via Netflix Split: Should We Blame Canada? – TIME NewsFeed.

technology, marriage:  I think technology has made my marriage a little worse. 😦

So he has his and I have mine. But technology gives us ours too: YogaGlo.com, an $18-a-month service allowing us to take any one of several dozen yoga classes taught and videotaped at a studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Joe and I both love yoga and love going to classes together. But like so many hobbies when you’re working parents, this one mostly gets the divide-and-conquer treatment. Yet YogaGlo provides an opportunity to practice more yoga, individually and together.

Last week Joe called me at work in the morning and said, “You want to do a class once we get the kids to sleep tonight?”

I said, “Yes, but send me an Outlook invitation so it gets on my calendar and I can plan my day accordingly.”

He agreed and later sent me an email that said, “I love it when you talk organization to me.”

via Technology: My Marriage’s Secret Glue – WSJ.com.

apps, Snapseed: 

SnapseedBy Nik Software, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Try Snapseed for FREE from 9/20—9/23 and get the app Apple named their iTunes App of the Week in August!

via Snapseed for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, movies: Breakfast at Tiffany’s turns 50.  Wow … it was really cutting edge in 1961.

Happy Birthday, Breakfast at Tiffany‘s! The Audrey Hepburn classic turns 50 today, and in celebration of the half-century milestone, the film has been restored and reissued on Blu-ray DVD ($19.99 at Amazon.com). That means Breakfast at Tiffany‘s fans can see Holly Golightly‘s iconic Givenchy wardrobe, oversize shades and statement jewelry in high definition. Tell us, what’syour favorite Breakfast at Tiffany’s fashion moment?

Breakfast at Tiffany's

via Breakfast at Tiffany’s Turns 50 Today! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

Facebook,  changes, LOL:  

University of Chicago, medicine, gifts:  $42 Million Gift to the university to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ handling of the doctor-patient relationship … I hope it works.  I fortunately have generally had great care.

Years later, Ms. Bucksbaum and her husband, Matthew, would come under the care of Dr. Mark Siegler at the University of Chicago Medical Center, a doctor they found compassionate and humble. “He goes by Mark,” Ms. Bucksbaum noted approvingly, “not ‘Doctor.’ ” Medical students, they thought, could do well to emulate him.

Now, the Bucksbaums are donating $42 million to the university to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ handling of the doctor-patient relationship. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, to be announced Thursday, will be led by Dr. Siegler.

“To care for a patient,” Dr. Siegler said, “you have to care about a patient.”

via University of Chicago Gets $42 Million Gift for Bucksbaum Institute – NYTimes.com.

college admissions:   “Full-pay” students favored … hmmm.

Among all four-year colleges, the admission strategy “judged most important over the next two years” was to recruit more out-of-state students, a group that typically pays sharply higher tuition at public institutions. Private institutions don’t charge higher tuition to out-of-state students but do rely on international students, who often come from wealthy families and pay the full cost of attendance.

The survey found that recruiting larger numbers of “full-pay” students, those who receive no financial aid, was viewed as a “key goal” at public institutions. Providing aid for low-income students was cited as a lower priority.

Dozens of colleges profess on their Web sites to a policy of admitting students without regard to financial need. Yet, the Inside Higher Ed survey found that 10 percent of four-year colleges reported admitting full-pay students with lower grades and test scores than other admitted students.

Roughly one-quarter of admission directors reported pressure from someone — college administrators, trustees or fund-raisers — to admit a student irrespective of her or his qualifications to attend. Admission preferences made big news recently two years ago at the University of Illinois.

via Survey: Admission directors increasingly favor ‘full-pay’ students – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

Emily Deschanel, Bones: Congratulations, Emily … but get back to work … we are missing Bones this fall.

Bones star Emily Deschanel and her husband, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s David Hornsby, welcomed their first child Wednesday, a baby boy named Henry Hornsby, Deschanel’s rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.

via Emily Deschanel and David Hornsby Have a Son : People.com.

17
Jun
11

‎6.17.2011 … now to get this unhumerous humerus to heal … always good to have goals.

pranks, culture, Charlotte, CMS:  there is no such thing as a prank anymore.  Myers Park graduation prank nets lifetime ban | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Dorothy Parker, quotes, telegrams, things no more:  “I can’t look you in the voice.” … Don’t you just love that.  Strange that telegrams no longer exist …

Anyone who has ever hit a wall whilst writing will find it difficult not to empathise with the dejected words of Dorothy Parker in this telegram, sent in 1945 to her editor, Pascal Covici. Such was her frustration, Parker couldn’t even bring herself to ring him and explain.

via Letters of Note: I can’t look you in the voice.

Davidson College, kudzu, goats, random, LOL, followup:  The Goats again.  This blogger is quicker than I am …”Cud Zoo!”  And he has pictures of their handiwork.

Speaking of pickings, I’ve been out twice already since Monday to check on our friendly neighborhood ruminants—it’s a real cud zoo out there!—and in 48 hours they had taken a full acre-plus of knee-high kudzu down to ankle height. Thirty goats each eating 12+ pounds of kudzu a day. Wow. I’m going to hoof it out there daily for a few weeks to get some time-lapsed pictures to post. Stay tuned!

Late note: Just went out there for Day Three pictures. Impressive results so far, but when the goats move across the road to a more extensive infestation, they’ll really have their work cud out for them!

via Cud Zoo on the Cross-Country Trails, dba Ecological Preserve

President Obama, Father’s Day, The First Family, parenting, LOL, privacy:  Sorry I thought this a strange post.  The second part was quite quite funny… what father of girls would not like to have their daughters surrounded by men with guns!  However, the first part I thought  a slight invasion of their privacy.  What do you think?

In a pre-Father’s Day interview Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” – President Barack Obama makes it clear that the First Lady is done having children – even if he might like to add a son to the family.   Asked if he ever thought of having a son, Mr. Obama was quick to tell Robin Roberts:  “You know, you act as if this is a decision of mine. This really isn’t.”

He said wife Michelle makes it clear to him that he did not carry ten pounds in his belly.

“I think what Michelle’s general view is, we’re done.”

With eldest daughter Malia about to become a teenager next month, Mr. Obama said he’s glad he has “men with guns” around his daughters and said it’s an incentive to run for re-election.

He said it means his daughters will never get in a car with a boy who had a beer.

In the interview, Mr. Obama also said that compared to his childhood and family, wife Michelle grew up in a family he likens to “Leave It To Beaver.”

via Obama: Don’t expect any White House babies – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

pain, therapy, medicine, drugs, science, pharmacology:  I’m all in for new treatments for pain!

Pain Therapeutics will be the stock to watch in the coming week.

via The Next Big Thing In Biotech: Pain Therapeutics PTIE – TheStreet TV.

slime bags, history: Very interesting walk through history of reckless and self-indulgent sexual conduct by men.

The conventional answer is that when it comes to sex, a certain kind of man, no matter how intelligent, doesn’t think at all; he just acts. Somehow a need for sexual conquest, female adulation and illicit and risky liaisons seems to go along with drive, ambition and confidence in the “alpha male.” And even if we denounce him and hound him from office, we tend to accept the idea that power accentuates the lusty nature of men.

This conception of masculinity is relatively new, however. For most of Western history, the primary and most valued characteristic of manhood was self-mastery. Late antique and Roman writers, like Plutarch, lauded men for their ability to resist sexual temptation and control bodily desire through force of will and intellect. Too much sex was thought to weaken men: a late-15th-century poem mocks an otherwise respectable but overly sexually active burgess who has “wasted and spent” his “substance” until there is “naught left but empty skin and bone.”

But in the face of recent revelations about the reckless and self-indulgent sexual conduct of so many of our elected officials, it may be worth recalling that sexual restraint rather than sexual prowess was once the measure of a man.

How and why have we moved so far from this ideal? Why do so many powerful men take sexual risks that destroy their families and careers? Contemporary worship of youth is one explanation: rather than shunning the idea of childishness, many adults, male and female, now spend much of their time clinging to an illusory and endless adolescence. The ability to be a “player” well into middle age thus becomes a point of pride, rather than shame, for the modern man. Perhaps the erosion of men’s exclusive status as breadwinners and heads of households also figures in: when one no longer “rules the household,” there may be less motivation for or satisfaction in “ruling oneself.”

But in the face of recent headlines I find myself less inclined to analyze or excuse current mores than to echo medieval ones. The critics of Pedro II of Aragon would have turned Arnold Schwarzenegger’s own words against him and his kind: Who are the girlie men now?

via Anthony Weiner and the Manly Men of Yore – NYTimes.com.

history, David McCullough, education:  Oh, great … another area where we are failing our kids!

‘We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” David McCullough tells me on a recent afternoon in a quiet meeting room at the Boston Public Library. Having lectured at more than 100 colleges and universities over the past 25 years, he says, “I know how much these young people—even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning—don’t know.” Slowly, he shakes his head in dismay. “It’s shocking.”

“History is a source of strength,” he says. “It sets higher standards for all of us.” But helping to ensure that the next generation measures up, he says, will be a daunting task.

One problem is personnel. “People who come out of college with a degree in education and not a degree in a subject are severely handicapped in their capacity to teach effectively,” Mr. McCullough argues. “Because they’re often assigned to teach subjects about which they know little or nothing.” The great teachers love what they’re teaching, he says, and “you can’t love something you don’t know anymore than you can love someone you don’t know.”

“History is a source of strength,” he says. “It sets higher standards for all of us.” But helping to ensure that the next generation measures up, he says, will be a daunting task.

One problem is personnel. “People who come out of college with a degree in education and not a degree in a subject are severely handicapped in their capacity to teach effectively,” Mr. McCullough argues. “Because they’re often assigned to teach subjects about which they know little or nothing.” The great teachers love what they’re teaching, he says, and “you can’t love something you don’t know anymore than you can love someone you don’t know.”

Another problem is method. “History is often taught in categories—women’s history, African American history, environmental history—so that many of the students have no sense of chronology. They have no idea what followed what.”

What’s more, many textbooks have become “so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence farther back”—such as, say, Thomas Edison—”are given very little space or none at all.”

Mr. McCullough advises us to concentrate on grade school. “Grade school children, as we all know, can learn a foreign language in a flash,” he says. “They can learn anything in a flash. The brain at that stage in life is like a sponge. And one of the ways they get it is through art: drawing, making things out of clay, constructing models, and dramatic productions. If you play the part of Abigail Adams or Johnny Appleseed in a fourth-grade play, you’re never going to forget it as long as you live.”

via The Weekend Interview With David McCullough: Don’t Know Much About History – WSJ.com.

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, more:  ??

What does it all mean? Fans will hope that Rowling will be putting pen to paper (or writing method of her choosing) and continue the Potter story ad infinitum (no, Potter fans, that’s not a spell). Rowling has said she’s uncertain whether she’d write another Potter book, but the term “Pottermore” is supposedly the last patent she recorded, back in July 2009.

Some believe that an encyclopedia could be on tap, but will that be enough to satisfy the insatiable demands of the passionate fanbase, who are currently counting down the days to the July 15 release of the last ever movie?

via Harry Potter Fans Salivate Over J.K. Rowling’s New Site, ‘Pottermore’ – TIME NewsFeed.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, miracles:  She is still in my prayers … her recovery continues to be miraculous.

In the long run, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should flourish from returning to a home life with her husband. But in the days and weeks ahead, she and her family will have to make difficult adjustments to this new phase in her recovery.

While Giffords gets used to living outside a hospital for the first time in more than six months, her family – especially her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly – will learn to care for a person who still has significant cognitive and physical problems caused by a devastating gunshot wound to the head.

“It’s really an emotional roller-coaster,” said Dr. Richard Riggs, chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The 41-year-old lawmaker left the hospital on Wednesday and moved to her husband’s home in a Houston suburb not far from the Johnson Space Center.

via Gabrielle Giffords Home; Mark Kelly: ‘Great To Have Her Out Of Hospital’.

06
Jun
11

‎6.6.2011 … I turned off all my school day alarms this morning … life is good …

summer: If you didn’t figure it out … School’s out!  Hello summer!  By August,  I’ll be excited for fall …  It’s that optimism bias at work. (See yesterday’s post.)

food-Southern, food-drink, Southern sodas, Coca-Cola, Atlanta:  Growing up in Atlanta, Coke was a Southern soda, albeit one that conquered the world. Later I learned that Pepsi is too.  But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned about the rest of these …

What’s your favorite Southern soda? Vote now!

Cheerwine; Salisbury, North Carolina

Bleheim Ginger Ale, Hamer, South Carolina

Sun Drop; Tullahoma, Tennessee

Ale-8-One; Winchester, Kentucky

RC Cola; Columbus, Georgia

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale; Birmingham, Alabama

via What’s Your Favorite Southern Soda?.

China, change, role of women, history, Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth:  When you read The Good Earth, did you think about any of this?  Great Article!!!

“Impossible is nothing,” said my Chinese host in March, when I told her the English proverb “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. She had just passed me a plateful of what looked like tiny, shiny, caramel-and-white striped silk purses. They turned out to be sliced pig’s ear, one of many traditional delicacies at a banquet that included fried ants, sea slugs and geese feet.

Of course almost nothing is impossible in a country where acrobats still juggle wooden chairs as if they were feathers or ping-pong balls—and where the gristle and cartilage of a pig’s ear turn up on your plate as an absurdly elegant appetiser.

What makes foreigners gasp and stretch their eyes in China now is the almost inconceivable speed and scale of the changes that, in the past ten years, have swept people off the land like a giant magnet. In 1990 three out of every four people still lived and worked, as they always had done, on farms. More than 40% have now moved to the cities. By 2015, according to an article I read in China Daily, based on a United Nations forecast, half the population will be urbanised.

The creative energy released by this frenetic development is palpable almost as soon as you step off the plane. It comes like a buzz off the people, especially the young women. When I arrived in the university town of Nanjing on my first visit to China in 2007, I spent days on end watching and talking to students, marvelling above all at the confidence, competence and poise of the girls. I was working on a book about Pearl Buck, who grew up in the Chinese countryside before teaching on the Nanjing campus in the 1920s, so I knew a lot about the world of these girls’ grandmothers: a slow-moving world where traffic went by river steamer or canal boat, and the only wheeled vehicle most people ever saw was a wheelbarrow. Girls were shut up at home on reaching puberty with no further access to the outside world, and no voice in their own or their family’s affairs. In traditional households they were forbidden to speak even to their husbands, except behind closed doors in the bedroom at night.

I found similar indignation from polite but insistent students. Didn’t I know how much China had changed, they asked. The modern world had made a clean break with the sad primitive outmoded countryside depicted in “The Good Earth”. Didn’t I realise how little that world had to do with them now? People everywhere wanted to know what I meant by the title of my biography, “Burying the Bones”. I explained that it came from a passage in Buck’s memoirs about how, as a small girl, she made secret grave mounds for tiny dismembered limbs or fragments of skull—the remains of newborn girls thrown out for the dogs to devour—that she found in the tall grass beyond her parents’ back gate.

It seemed to me an image of amnesia, public and private. Heads always nodded in my audience when I said that all of us have bones to bury, things that are never talked about in families, things a whole nation might prefer to forget. People in China now dismiss their ugly memories just as people all over Europe dismissed the Holocaust for many years after the war. “Children can’t bear to remember what happened to their parents,” says Xinran, who recorded the life stories of men and women in their 70s and 80s in “China Witness” (2008), the only one of her books that remains banned today even in translation.

Buck insisted that our grandparents’ world belongs also to us. The past made us what we are now, and we forget it at our peril. At the end of my last talk at Nanjing university, a student pointed out that burying the bones has a further meaning in China, where the dead are traditionally returned to the earth from which they came so that they may find peace. He might have added that it is only when the past has been acknowledged and accepted that it can finally be laid to rest.

via WOMEN IN CHINA: A SOCIAL REVOLUTION | More Intelligent Life.

China, globalization, history:  Another great article.

When the United States took over from Britain as the predominant world power 100 years ago, the transition was like one between brothers — or cousins, at least. And the two countries remain close allies to this day. The rise of China in relation to U.S. predominance presents a somewhat different challenge — with decades of sometimes outright hostility and an ongoing fractious relationship.

As it reemerges as a world power, the question is: Is China’s awakening to be welcomed — or feared?

Some look to the past for clues — all the way back to the 15th century.

Today China’s role in Africa seems to me to be very similar to that of other countries. I see China following, for better, and possibly for worse, an American model of needing to secure energy sources and seeking to do so in a great variety of ways, wherever the energy can be found.”

Six hundred years ago, Zheng He’s treasure ships went out and came back peacefully, partly because China didn’t need anything from outside its own realm. Now it does. How it deals with that search for energy and natural resources could be what decides whether China’s rise will in the end be peaceful or not.

via China’s Rise: A Quest To ‘Hug The World’? : NPR.

business, global markets, globalization, Africa, China, :  Very interesting article about business in Africa.

Cummins joins a growing number of U.S. companies vying for a stronger foothold on the continent. Caterpillar Inc., the giant maker of construction equipment, is selling more trucks to Mozambique and Zambia. Harley-Davidson Inc. is opening dealerships in Botswana and Mauritius. General Electric Co. has its first aircraft-leasing office in Ghana for Central and West African airlines. Google Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are among the dozens of other U.S. companies moving in or expanding.

Until now, “Africa has been just a rounding error for us,” says Brady Southwick, Cummins’s new head of Africa operations.

U.S. companies’ game of catch-up shows the perils of waking up late to the next big frontier market, Africa. The continent’s economy is forecast to grow to $2.6 trillion in 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, fueled by booms in mining, agriculture and development of ports, roads and other infrastructure, according to McKinsey Global Institute. The middle class is growing, and total household spending now exceeds that of India.

Getting in early to a developing market allows companies to build up strong brands and sales channels that can reap big profits in the long run. That’s what China has done in Africa over the past two decades. It has aggressively promoted trade and investment, courting countries by offering aid in exchange for favorable trade terms. China’s government has provided funds to build a telecommunications network in Ethiopia, the Merowe Dam in Sudan and railways in Libya and Nigeria, among many other projects.

Western European companies, many of which had lingering business interests in Africa from colonial days, also took their eye off the ball. Western Europe’s share of overall trade—the sum of imports and exports—with sub-Saharan Africa dropped to 30% in 2009 from 52% in 1990, according to McKinsey. The share of China and other Asian countries in Africa trade more than doubled to 30% from 14% in the same period, while North America’s share slipped to 13% from 16%.

A few American companies have been entrenched in Africa for decades. Coca-Cola Co. established its first African bottling plant in 1928, in Johannesburg, and its soft drinks now are available throughout the continent.

But many other U.S. companies only now are “starting to wake up to the African opportunity,” says Acha Leke, a Lagos-based director of the McKinsey Global Institute. To succeed, he says, they will need to find good local partners and send in some of their best executives. In the past, he says, some American companies “just sent whoever wanted to go there.”

via U.S. Companies Race to Catch Up in African Markets – WSJ.com.

Apple, iCloud, new products, iconic images:  Sounds like this is inevitable … but that for once Apple is behind … I loved the last line: “On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.”  Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck and jeans is an iconic image!

On Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce a new product that allows iPhone owners to stream music from their personal iTunes collections to their phones.

Rumormongers say the music will be stored “in the cloud” — tech jargon for “on Apple’s servers” – although the CultOfMac blog claims inside knowledge that Jobs will instead sell customers a personal storage drive that holds the music and does the streaming from home.

Whatever Apple announces, it follows recent offerings from Google and Amazon that offer cloud-based personal music streaming for Android phone users. Both work similarly: You sign up, then download an application to your Mac or PC that uploads your music collection to Google or Amazon’s servers, and keeps it in sync. To play your music on your phone, you install an Android app that’s a music player which connects to your cloud-stored collection to stream it to your phone.

On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.

via Amazon’s and Google’s Cloud Services Compared – NYTimes.com.

Katie Couric, media, change, glass ceiling:  I like Katie Couric.  I wanted her to succeed at CBS and smash the glass ceiling.  But I always thought she was smart and professional, but too perky.  I think she will succeed at ABC, but she’s under the ceiling again.

The negotiations over Ms. Couric’s future in television unfolded over the last few months and involved three of the four broadcast networks, as well as CNN. They also featured top media executives including Mr. Burke, Robert Iger of Disney, Leslie Moonves of CBS and Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner. Perhaps unexpectedly, because Ms. Couric had not succeeded in stemming the long ratings descent at “The CBS Evening News,” she remained something of a hot property.

At a time when Oprah Winfrey, syndicated television’s biggest star, has just left the stage, the courtship of Ms. Couric suggested that the networks, looking to cash in on the enormous revenue potential of syndication, were still willing to make a big bet on stars — even ones like Ms. Couric who have taken their share of blows in the media.

The details of Ms. Couric’s impending deal with ABC have not been disclosed, but as co-owner of the show Ms. Couric will claim a share of the profits. Syndication has such a great financial upside because successful shows make money from both station fees and advertising revenue — and they are generally inexpensive to produce.

via In Pursuit of Couric, ABC Made the Best Pitch – NYTimes.com.

random, local theater, sitcom parodies:  I just laughed …

Welcome to “Gilligan’s Island…of Death.”

The characters in this way-off Broadway send-up are familiar to viewers of the original show, which featured seven castaways stranded on a desert island. All the characters from the sitcom, which ran on CBS for three years in the mid-1960s, but found eternal life in reruns, are there: The Skipper, Mary Ann in pigtails, Ginger in a clingy evening gown. But the plots are darkly twisted. This Gilligan’s Island is the setting for multiple murders. And every character who doesn’t die becomes a suspect.

“If you were trapped on an island for years with a bunch of people you don’t know, you’d want to kill each other,” says Traci Connaughton, who runs Without a Cue Productions, the small Pennsylvania acting company that created this noir version of the show.

It’s all in good fun. But not everyone is amused.

Some of the media conglomerates that own the rights to the shows are cool to the sendups and at least one has expressed copyright complaints.

But Ms. Connaughton says she is undaunted. She says her most immediate problem is getting new material.

“I am running out of TV shows,” she says.

via TV Dinner Theater: Parodies of Old Sitcoms Draw Blood, Crowds – WSJ.com.

medicine, cancer, treatment, technology, miracles, policy:  Change comes fast and change comes slow.

New research is signaling a major shift in how cancer drugs are developed and patients are treated—offering the promise of personalized therapies that reach patients faster and are more effective than other medicines.

Studies show gains from targeting cancer patients more individually. Work at a breast-cancer clinical trial at George Mason University.

At the heart of the change: an emerging ability for researchers to use genetic information to match drugs to the biological drivers of tumors in individuals. Studies released at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here are helping to support previous findings that personalized medicine—introduced more than a decade ago—is closer to being realized as a weapon to fight cancer.

“A pattern is developing at an accelerated pace where we are able to match genetic information about a tumor to a new agent and get results,” says John Mendelsohn, president of Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.

via Genetic Information Shifts War on Cancer to Personalized Therapies – WSJ.com.

Jane Austen, film/lit, ersatz, words, Mike Ditka, quotes, phantom Bible quotes, technology:  One of the things I love about the computer/internet is that you start one place and in a few clicks a whole world opens up to you.  I went from a blog post on Jane Austen movies with inauthentic quotes and scenes to ersatz  to Mike Ditka to phantom Bible quotes in 2 minutes … great way to start my morning.

“I have been alert for a while now to the danger that Austen film
adaptaptions can be seduce unwary Janeites into believing that certain
scenes and/or lines of dialogue are taken from the novels, when they
have actually been written by the modern screenwriter.

Sometimes the screenwriter’s changes are very well done, and that makes
it harder to spot them as ersatz.”

Definition of ERSATZ: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation—

via Ersatz – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone – milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper – to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler – and the NFL coach – start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

via Actually, that’s not in the Bible – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Gustave Caillebotte , art, Impressionist paintings, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, history:  I get more and more excited about my upcoming trip. 🙂

But because he was a great patron of the arts, Caillebotte’s first-rate art collection became what today is the crux of the Impressionist holdings at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Although for a while, he (or his executors) couldn’t even give the paintings away. “It’s a pity,” Garnot says. “When he offered all [of] the collection to the French state, the minister of fine arts wasn’t pleased at all by the donation. He refused it. He turned them away.”

At the time, the custom was for the state to only accept works by dead painters. But that wasn’t the only reason the paintings were rejected by the state: “You must understand,” Garnot says, “that they didn’t appreciate … the style.” Critics of the day felt the Impressionist works looked hasty, crude and unfinished. There was no place for them in prestigious, official French collections.

Caillebotte died in 1894. Seven years later, after much bickering, wrangling and negotiation, 40 of the 60 paintings in his bequest of Impressionist treasures were accepted by the government of France. Now, more than a century later, the names Renoir, Monet, Sisley — and, yes, Gustave Caillebotte — have become part of the Pantheon of French painting.

via Gustave Caillebotte: Impressions Of A Changing Paris : NPR.

 

travel, bus travel, frugal traveler:  Of course, just as I plan my journey to DC on MegaBus, this comes out ….

On Friday, federal authorities also subpoenaed records of GoToBus.com, TakeTours.com and 2001Bus.com. Those websites, run by a company called Ivy Media Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., sell tickets online for a number of low-fare bus companies, including Sky Express.

Many of the bus companies linked to from GoToBus.com have nearly identical websites. For example, Sky Express, I-95 Coach and Horse Run Tour all use much of the same identical text, such as “We are always thrilled to hear from our customers. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!”

Tracking operators who resurface under new names is difficult.

Congressional watchdogs found in 2009 that nearly 10 percent of interstate bus operators who have federal permits revoked for safety violations quickly resume business by reopening under new names.

On August 8, 2008, a bus carrying a group on a religious pilgrimage crashed in Sherman, Texas, killing 17 people.

The carrier was a reincarnation of a company ordered out of service two months earlier. It re-registered using the same mail and email addresses.

The problem of unraveling who is responsible for operations of closely linked bus lines isn’t new. In 2005, the government noted how hard it is to disentangle the web of relationships and said it was cracking down on low-cost carriers for safety violations.

via Low-fare bus industry faces more scrutiny | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

John Edwards, slime bags, criminal law:  Don’t like the guy … I am beginning to think I never like VP candidates from either party.  Was with some trial lawyers and their thought was Edwards is so good at this, he will probably get off … Interesting thought to me is by having the plea bargaining in the national press, he, in effect, is admitting to some level of criminal culpability.  What do you think?

Edwards and his lawyers were concerned. They wanted the ability to at least argue to a judge for alternatives, such as a halfway house, weekend releases, home arrest or some other arrangement that would allow Edwards time to be with his school-age children. He is a single parent since his wife, Elizabeth, died in December.

But the way the possible plea deal was structured, the Edwards lawyers believed they would be muzzled from advocating at all about Edwards’ confinement before a judge, according to multiple people who were involved in the negotiations. Those sources described the plea negotiations in detail on a condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

It was the last significant issue to be resolved for a plea. If Edwards didn’t agree, he would be indicted on multiple felony charges.

Edwards, 57, understood the risk. As a successful trial lawyer, he had sometimes spurned offers of settlements to take his chances with a jury, often winning big judgments. Would he do that again?

The clock was ticking.

Edwards, just as he had refused to do in cases for his clients, would not accept a deal. For now, he would gamble on motions to a judge to dismiss the charges. And, if necessary, a jury.

via Edwards dealing went to the wire | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

history, medicine, midwifery, kith/kin:  Because one of my best friends is a CNM, I find midwifery interesting.  I enjoyed this tidbit of history in this book review.

Colonial Midwifery began with the Mayflower’s journey in 1620. Bridget Lee Fuller delivered three babies during the two months long voyage and continued practice as a midwife in Plymouth for 44 years until her death in 1664. In addition, it is documented that one birth took place aboard the Arabella by a midwife that was brought on board from the Jewel. (1)

via Colonial Midwifery.

Carl Sandburg, goats, public art, random, followup:  NB: THIS IS A PROPOSED STATUE …

 

 

Goat, or no goat for statue?

The plan to put a statue of Carl Sandburg in Public Square has stirred a great deal of public debate. A deal breaker for some critics is the inclusion of a goat next to a standing Sandburg. It’s been well-documented that Sandburg and his wife admired goats which they raised on their North Carolina farm.

City reporter Eric Timmons, who has done several stories detailing the statue, received an e-mail Tuesday from Shannon Nelson of Alabama. Shannon asked, “Carl Sanburg (sic) owned Toggenburg dairy Goats, as his most famous Toggenburg doe “Puritan Jons Jennifer” held the world record in 1960 for the DHIA 305 continuous days of 5,750 lbs. Why was his most famous doe not put on the statue with him?

“This was a big thing in the goat world, especially for the smallest of all dairy goat breed of Toggenburgs, and just think ‘she belonged to Carl Sanburg’. I think the statue is a wonderful idea. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

Asked where she heard about the Sandburg/goat statue, Shannon said, “I read about the article on a goat group I’m on.”

Who knew … a goat group?

via Goats and Carl Sandburg; Public Square history; Bunker Links “open” – Galesburg, IL – The Register-Mail.




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