Posts Tagged ‘Moses

01
Aug
13

8.1.13 … aspirational places … the south … vacations … food …

Hot U.S. Cities, jobs, culture, Southern and Modest Sized, The Daily Beast, lists:  A few of my favorite places made the list …

Call them aspirational cities, or magnets of opportunity, but the urban areas attracting today’s ambitious citizens are most likely Southern, culturally vibrant, modest sized, long on jobs, and short on traffic, write Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox.

articleinserts_aspcities1

A city at its best, wrote the philosopher René Descartes, provides “an inventory of the possible.” The city Descartes had in mind was 17th-century Amsterdam, which for him epitomized those cities where people go to change their circumstances and improve their lives. But such aspirational cities have existed throughout American history as well, starting with Boston in the 17th century, Philadelphia in the 18th, New York in the 19th, Chicago in the early 20th, Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by midcentury Los Angeles, and San Jose in the 1980s.Yes, the great rule of aspirational cities is that they change over time, becoming sometimes less entrepreneurial, more expensive, and demographically stagnant. In the meantime, other cities, often once obscure, suddenly become the new magnets of opportunity.

via Hot U.S. Cities That Offer Both Jobs and Culture Are Mostly Southern and Modest Sized – The Daily Beast.

Washington National Cathedral, Darth Vader, random:  I assumed this was an internet hoax … 🙂

DarthVader

The Star Wars Villain on the Northwest TowerIn the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

via Washington National Cathedral : Darth Vader.

recreational mountain climbers, firsts, Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles,  King Philip V of Macedon, firsts :  Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles … religiously motivated peak experiences …  King Philip V of Macedon … who?

Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and ascended Mount Nebo (Jordan) to gaze on the land he would never reach. Jesus took three disciples to a mountaintop to commune with the ghosts of Moses and Elijah. Empedocles, the ancient Greek philosopher, climbed the active volcano Mount Etna on Sicily and leaped into the flaming crater in 430 BC. According to legend, he intended to become an immortal god; the volcano ejected one of his sandals turned to bronze by the heat.

But these religiously motivated peak experiences cannot be described as enjoyable or recreational.

For what may be the earliest summit experience undertaken for pleasure we can look to the ancient Roman historian Livy. King Philip V of Macedon’s mountain climbing expedition was undertaken to admire the spectacular view from Mount Haemus in Thrace, a high peak (ca 7,000 ft) in the Balkan Mountain Range of  Bulgaria.

via Who Were the First Recreational Mountain Climbers?.

Bon Appetit’s August Issue, music playlist, marketing, BA Daily: Bon Appétit, Spotify:  So I think this is interesting marketing  … does it enhance BA or Spotify?

Last month was for grilling and all its excesses; August is for taking a (slightly) healthier turn. Go for simple preparations, fresh produce, the odd indulgence (ice cream sandwiches, anyone?), and a killer soundtrack. This one, ideally.

1. My Kind of Fast Food (p. 16)

Descendents, “I Like Food”

Like the idyllic summer lunch Adam Rapoport describes in his editor’s letter, a perfect meal can still be a quickly assembled one. Ditto a punk anthem.

2. The Chill Zone (p. 25)

EPMD, “You Gots to Chill”

All you need is our recipe, an inexpensive ice cream maker, and 10 minutes. And maybe Erick and Parrish’s advice: “Always calm under pressure, no need to act ill. Listen when I tell you boy, you gots to chill.”

3. One-Dish Wonder Woman (p. 28)

Madonna, “Express Yourself”

Drew Barrymore likes an eclectic soundtrack in the kitchen. The other day, she poured a glass of champagne and blasted Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” Exactly.

4. The Return of the G&T (p. 30)

Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”

Country-music great Merle Haggard knew it: Any reason to drink a Gin and Tonic is a fine one.

5. The Foodist (p. 34)

Meklit and Quinn, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”

Andrew Knowlton’s road-trip mix ends with the Talking Heads classic. Mix things up with Meklit and Quinn’s summery cover.

6. Shop the Crop (p. 46)

The Beets, “Now I Live”

Beets–delicious, dark red, cancer-fighting beets!–deserve a second chance. So do the Beets.

7. A Cooler Cookout (p. 50)

Tullycraft, “DIY Queen”

The best way to enliven that backyard meal? Do-it-yourself condiments.

8. Seattle Shines (p. 58)

Mother Love Bone, “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns”

He probably gets this a lot, but Bar Sajor chef Matthew Dillon isn’t the first person with his name to have a starring role in Seattle. Twenty-two years later, the best thing about the Matt Dillon-starring movie Singles is its grungy soundtrack.

9. A Day at the Beach and Dinner at the Sea (p. 66)

JEFF The Brotherhood, “Mellow Out”

These Nashville garage rockers sing a lot about chilling out. That cold corn soup with lobster salad is a good place to start.

10. Virgin Territory (p. 78)

Holopaw, “We Are the Virgin Snow”

However you like your virgin cocktail in the summer–heavy on juices, hard on bitters–you’ll want it winter-cold.

11. Red Green & Gold (p. 80)

Guy Clark, “Homegrown Tomatoes”

There’s a reason Nashville great Guy Clark liked to introduce “Homegrown Tomatoes” as a love song. (The tomatoes, obviously.)

12. The Vegetable Revolution (p. 88)

R.E.M., “You Are the Everything”

Use a mandoline to cut those veggies paper-thin. Use a mandolin to cut to the heartstrings.

via Bon Appetit’s August Issue, Set to Music: BA Daily: Bon Appétit.

lists, The Best Summer Getaways,  Pawleys Island SC, Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com:  One of my favorite places … love the description.  🙂

pawleys island pawley's island south carolina myrtle beach

Thank God for Myrtle Beach. While the crowds pack its rowdy shoreline, the Hammock Coast—just 20 minutes south—remains pristine. Five rivers converge on eclectic villages, cypress swamps, and black-water rivers. Grab a kayak (rentals, $35) and paddle two and a half hours to the 9,200-acre Sandy Island nature preserve, an island that’s home to maritime forests and black bears. Refuel with shrimp and grits at Quigley’s Pint and Plate back on the mainland ($16.50) and set up your beachfront campsite at Huntington Beach State Park (from $17).

via The Best Summer Getaways: Pawleys Island, South Carolina | Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com.

Louisville Hot Spots , Garden and Gun:  Something new to try in Louisville KY!

Big Four Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge

This onetime railroad truss bridge has been updated to create a car-free path across the Ohio River. The ramp to Indiana isn’t expected to be open until October, but you can take in river views with access via the on-ramp at the Louisville waterfront. louisvillewaterfront.com

via Louisville Hot Spots | Garden and Gun.

The Care-Package Wars , summer camp, parenting, Bruce Feiler, NYTimes.com:  Anyone else feel like our generations has really screwed up the parenting thing?

In almost every way, the camps were exactly as I had romanticized them. Except one: care packages are now strictly banned. In camp after camp, directors described how they had outlawed such packages after getting fed up with hypercompetitive parents sending oversize teddy bears and bathtubs of M&M’s.

And they’re not alone. Across the country, sleep-away programs of all sizes are fighting back against overzealous status-mongers.

Not taking this in stride, parents have turned to increasingly elaborate smuggling routines, from hollowing out Harry Potter books to burrowing holes in tennis balls to get their little dumplings a taste of the checkout aisle. We have entered the age of the care-package wars, where strong-willed camps and strong-willed parents battle over control of their children’s loyalty and downtime.

via The Care-Package Wars – NYTimes.com.

interactive map, A Month of Citi Bike, graphics, The New Yorker:  Wow, love this “interactive graphic!”  Can’t wait to ride a Citi Bike.

Here are some highlights from the map:

A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District. The bikes arrived in this “workplace” area at around 9 A.M., and they remained there until around 7 P.M. The next day, an evening-commute shape materialized, with bikers moving toward certain residential neighborhoods: the East Village, the West Village, and Williamsburg. The pattern fell off somewhat on Thursday, but it returned the following week, and thereafter grew increasingly distinct, with workdays attracting bikes to the center of the city.

Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement. For instance, the weaker commuting pattern on Thursday, June 13th, can be attributed, in part, to colder temperatures and over an inch of rain.

It’s possible that the Citi Bike system may be too successful for its own good. As the program becomes a more popular method of commuting, the workday leaves some areas bereft of bikes, making it more difficult for those with reverse or off-hour commutes to participate in the program. Citi Bike crews do redistribute the bikes, but the empty areas on the map show how challenging it is to balance their availability across the stations.

On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city. The continuous weekend use also results in more over-all activity than Citi Bikes see on weekdays. Greg Estren, who compiles data on Citi Bike, calculated that over the six-week period from June 8th through July 19th, there was ten per cent more station activity on weekends than on weekdays.

July Fourth was a bikers’ holiday. As the night grew dark, Citi Bike members pedalled to the Hudson River to see the fireworks.

via Interactive: A Month of Citi Bike : The New Yorker.

Baja Lobster Roll, recipes, OutsideOnline.com:  I am stuffed right now, but if one of these were placed in front of me, I probably could find room.

lobster lobster roll ditch plains Cincinnati senate senate chicago Little Market American Brasseri

What’s with the abundance of lobsters? It’s the culmination of decades of smart conservation efforts, like strict size limits, that have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the U.S. “We’ve had a strong plan in place for over 100 years,” says Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “In some ways, we’ve been a victim of our own success.” We’ll eat to that.

Want to make your own lobster rolls? Try this delicious recipe from the Little Market American Brasserie:

BAJA LOBSTER ROLL (makes two sandwiches)

Chipotle, cabbage slaw, lemon

CHIPOTLE MAYO

1 piece chipotle pepper in adobo

1 egg yolk

½ tbsp. lemon juice

1/8 cup water

1 cup canola oil

Procedure:

1. In a blender, combine chipotle, egg, lemon juice, and water, blend till smooth

2. Slowly add oil on medium speed

3. Adjust seasoning

SLAW

1/8 of a head Napa cabbage, shredded

1/8 of a head read cabbage, shredded

1 small carrot, julienned

LEMON VINAIGRETTE

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

½ shallot, minced

6 tbsp. canola oil

Procedure:

1. Combine first lemon juice, white wine vinegar and shallots

2. Slowly emulsify oil with a blender

3. Adjust seasoning

FOR THE ROLL

2 New England style lobster rolls

½ tsp. chopped tarragon

½ tsp. minced shallot

4 oz. cleaned, chopped, fresh Main lobster meat

¼ cup of the mixed slaw

2 tbsp. chipotle mayo

1 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette

pinch of salt

Procedure:

1. Butter the cut ends of the roll and griddle till golden brown

2. Mix the slaw with the chipotle mayo, honey and salt

3. Mix the lobster with shallot, tarragon, lemon vinaigrette and salt

4. Slice open the griddle bun, making sure not to slice all the way through

5. Fill with the slaw first and place the lobster mix on top

via How to Make Your Own Baja Lobster Roll | Adventure Travel Guide | OutsideOnline.com.

 

07
Oct
11

10.6.2011 … Great reception at DC … and I am now the proud owner of a piece of Belk Dorm’s slate roof. :)

Davidson College, Dr. Carol Quillen, party favors:  Great reception at DC … and another introduction to the new President Carol Quillen.  She has unbelievable passion for Davidson. And I am now the proud owner of a piece of Belk Dorm’s slate roof. No I did not steal it. It was a party favor! Little did they know that my husband has a long history of roof climbing during his days at the D.  🙂

Steve Jobs, remembrances:  “Pioneer in education,” visionary”  …

THIS. (via via)

curiosity counts – THIS. (via via).

Steve Jobs, whose creativity and creations such as the Macintosh computers, iPhones, and iPads have influenced more than three decades of students and teachers, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 56.

The consumer electronics and computer hardware and software company that Jobs co-founded in 1976, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, has long held devotees within the world of education. It remained relevant in schools as the early Apple I and II’s developed into subsequent lines of desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices that changed both knowledge sharing and knowledge consumption for students and adults alike.

In the less than two years since Jobs stood on stage in his characteristic black mock turtleneck and blue jeans and introduced the iPad, Apple’s tablet computer has exploded on the educational scene. In the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, the iPad surpassed all of Apple’s educational Mac desktop and laptop computer sales combined. Its popularity with classroom teachers, educators have said, is due to a combination of its portability, long battery life, and intuitiveness of use, especially for young students and students with disabilities such as autism.

The iPhone, meanwhile, has helped give rise to an education app culture that has convinced a growing number of educators to advocate allowing students to bring their own mobile computing devices to class as educational tools.

Apple Computer, now Apple Inc., started aggressively marketing its Apple II line of personal computers to K-12 schools in the 1980s. School librarians, who were then frequently the keepers of the technology, embraced its relatively easy use. The first machines used cassettes to run programs, then floppy disks for downloading and saving student files. Macintosh computers followed with more flexible graphic interfaces that became darlings of design classes and student newspapers.

More recently, Apple has continued to manufacture products with education in mind, including its MacBook laptops, which it has continued to produce for educational purchases despite phasing out in other markets.

“Steve Jobs was a true visionary who was one of the first to understand technology’s power to improve teaching and education,” said Jim Steyer, the CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “From ‘The Kids Can’t Wait,’ to iTunesU, Mr. Jobs always recognized that there were alternative ways for kids to learn using technology.”

Among Jobs’ employees at Apple was Karen Cator, who is now director of the office of education technology at the U.S. Department of Education. She served the director of Apple’s leadership and advocacy efforts in education from 1997 until she was hired by the Education Department in 2009.

via Apple’s Steve Jobs Was a Pioneer in Education Technology – Digital Education – Education Week.

To celebrate his incredible contributions, I thought I’d share my favorite quote from him. It’s about creativity and it’s from a 1996 Wired article.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

When I feel vulnerable about the possibility of failure, I try to remember this quote. I try to remember that vulnerability and connection are the heart of innovation. Maybe the greatest lesson on creativity that I’ve learned from the research is this: When failure is not an option, neither is innovation. Steve Jobs lived that truth.

And, if you haven’t watched Jobs’s Stanford University commencement speech, do it now! It’s all about authenticity and courage.

via steve jobs – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

The supply-demand ratio was so skewed that the store had to ration these exorbitantly priced annual luxuries — one banana and two oranges per person — and people would line up around the block to get them. (Meanwhile, the unworthy apple, Bulgaria’s most ample fruit crop, would sit neglected in the produce aisle at 50 stotinki a kilogram, roughly $0.15 per pound.) The most ambitious parents would camp out in front of the store overnight to make sure they got the bananas and oranges first thing in the morning as they went on sale.

In my lifetime, I’ve only seen such lines twice since — first in front of the Apple Store on June 29, 2007, when the iPhone was released, and then again in April of last year, when the iPad became semi-available. Under Steve Jobs, Apple became the bananas of the West.

This is the true legacy of Steve Jobs. He didn’t just transform technology, design, and entertainment — he transformed our expectations about technology, design, and entertainment. He not only made us eager to line up for the bananas of our time, but also made us willing to step into the Nautilus library of fascination and never want to leave.

via Apple and the Bananas: A Steve Jobs Personal Remembrance | Brain Pickings.

Steve Jobs, Westboro Baptist, iPhones, irony:  iRony! Westboro Baptist Church … can’t they do something with those people???

As usual, it began with an Apple.

But this one was far more tempting — no worms, cleaner lines, admittedly some problems with battery life, but why look a gift apple in the mouth?

And it managed to tempt even the Westboro Baptist Church, the despicable band of publicity hounds who appear at the funerals of all and sundry to urge us to repent, or something. Now they’re planning to picket the funeral of Steve Jobs.

“Westboro will picket his funeral. He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin,” Margie Phelps tweeted — from her iPhone.

That’s iRony for you.

“Gave God no glory & taught sin”?

But coveting Apple products is the original sin. Jobs was hardly breaking ground by making an irresistible Apple that held out the promise of new, untried knowledge. (Did you realize, before downloading this app, that you were naked?)

We tried turning the other cheek. We tried passing laws. None of it worked.

They are the Publicity Whores of Babylon. If Jesus came back to earth no doubt they would protest at his crucifixion that he had not led a godly enough life (what’s he doing with all those prostitutes and tax collectors?). “Get a haircut!” they’d yell. “And spend more time denouncing homosexuality and less time with that namby-pamby other-cheek-turning nonsense!” They are like the folks in the parable who stand at the front of the house of worship and loudly proclaim their own virtue — and we all know what happens to them.

But even they can be felled by an Apple.

Thanks once more to Steve Jobs for supplying this brilliant piece of irony.

via Steve Jobs, Westboro Baptist, iPhones and iRony – ComPost – The Washington Post.

Moses, Bible, faith and spirituality, modern applications, Wall Street, Dr. James Howell:  I always enjoy Dr. Howell’s internet discussion series!

Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with 600+ commandments.   Could

Oct 6 (2)

American society be constructed around this divine constitution? Of course, the Israelites lived off the land, and in the Bronze Age; many commandments can’t apply to modern, post-industrialized society. There is also a sternness, an absolute black and whiteness to God’s commands – so we’d lose flexibility, the ability to wriggle out of something via your attorney’s craftiness, or the kind of compromise that seems sane and necessary.

But we also discover an egalitarian impulse, and a downright insistence that the needy be cared for.  Through Moses, God taught holy economics to Israelite farmers, not by saying Reap your land and make all you can! but When you reap, leave gleanings and grapes behind for the poor and the stranger (Leviticus 19:10) – and even more strangely, if somebody owes you money, after so many years you just forget about it, or if you’ve accumulated land, after several years you just give it back to whomever you got it from (Leviticus 24).

We speak of being “bullish” on things economic. But for Moses, it was precisely the golden bull that was the heinous revolt against God (Exodus 32)!

via eMoses – Moses on Wall St.

21
Sep
11

9.21.2011 … Jane Austen and Christian Ethics … at FPC Wednesday nights … I am happy …

Jane Austen, FPC, Wednesday Connect:  Loved the first seminar on Jane Austen and Christian Ethics  at Wednesday Connect … join us for two more!

Jane Austen and Christian Ethics – Jane Austen’s novels are to be read and enjoyed for their own sake. The world she depicts, however, is narrated in clear moral terms. During this three week course we will look at three of Jane Austen’s novels to examine the nature of self-knowledge, “happiness,” and the “constancy” such a life calls us to embody.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/FirstNews/fn.20110911.pdf

Mount Tambora, natural disasters, Indonesia, history:  “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”   … 1815 …

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn’t wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes.

“It was like a horror story, growing up,” said Hasanuddin, who joined hundreds of others in refusing to return to their mountainside villages for several days despite assurances they were safe.

“A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”

The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide and half a mile (1 kilometer) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.

It was several times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.

In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.

Tambora is different.

People here are jittery because of the mountain’s history — and they’re not used to feeling the earth move so violently beneath their feet. Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.

Soon after the ice core findings, scientists started studying Tambora in earnest.

In 2004, Icelandic vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson and a team of American and Indonesian researchers uncovered remnants of a village in a gully on Tambora’s flank that had been pulverized in the fast-moving pyroclastic flow.

Sigurdsson heralded it as a “Pompeii of the East,” and local researcher Made Geria says archaeologists have expanded the dig every year since then.

No one expects a repeat of 1815 just yet — it takes much more than 200 years for that type of huge pressure to build up again, said de Boer, who teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The present activity could be part of the birth of Tambora’s so-called child, he said, a process whereby magma still being pushed upward from the original massive blast forms a new volcano in its place.

But that’s little consolation for those confronted with the mountain’s new burst of activity.

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

“Tens of thousands of people, animals and rice fields disappeared,” the 15-year-old said, adding that a veil of ash blocked out the sun for years.

“There was no life here,” he said quietly from the village of Doropeti, 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater. “I know that from my parents.”

via History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers – The Washington Post.

food- restaurant:  Why do you choose a restaurant?  I think that it is combination of food and x factor.

But my class in Food Entrepreneurship this semester is forcing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. The class focuses on the restaurant as the pinnacle of food business.

Restaurants are important. The best ones are reserved for special occasions, and our memories of birthdays and anniversaries are made there. Think about the best meal you’ve ever had out. Does that not stick with you? I was 18 when I ate the best meal of my life, on a tiny patio in Arles, France. I can remember the vegetable gratin and rosé like it was yesterday. But while it’s natural to wax nostalgic this way, our professor reminds us that restaurants have two basic goals: to make money and to feed people. He has identified four basic reasons one chooses a restaurant.

1. The food: From the taste of the dishes themselves to the way each ingredient is sourced.

2. The service: For this one, I think about my favorite bartender, or the owner who brought me edamame hummus while I waited for a table.

3. The design: From David Rockwell-designed wall fountains to easily accessible parking.

4. The X-factor: This can be anything from shrimp-flipping hibachi cooks to sheer exclusivity.

Maybe the best restaurants have all of these things going for them, but more often than not, just one is enough.

The more I think about this, the more true it seems. My family eats at this tiny Italian restaurant in North Newark almost religiously. It has a screen door, awful wine selection, and waitresses who are abrupt at best—but the food is astounding. There are family-style bowls of hand rolled cavatelli with house-made pot cheese and the world’s most perfect Chicken Savoy. Nothing else matters.

What’s your favorite restaurant? What is it about that place that brings you back, either literally or through memory? And does that reason (or reasons) fit into my professor’s list, above?

via Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant – Food – GOOD.

2011 London Riots,  moral decay, culture v. religion:  Does religion really improve culture and prevent moral decay and such evidence of moral decay as rioting?  Read on …

Nearly 200 years later, the Tocqueville of our time, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, made the same discovery. Mr. Putnam is famous for his diagnosis of the breakdown of social capital he called “bowling alone.” More people were going bowling, but fewer were joining teams. It was a symbol of the loss of community in an age of rampant individualism. That was the bad news.

At the end of 2010, he published the good news. Social capital, he wrote in “American Grace,” has not disappeared. It is alive and well and can be found in churches, synagogues and other places of worship. Religious people, he discovered, make better neighbors and citizens. They are more likely to give to charity, volunteer, assist a homeless person, donate blood, spend time with someone feeling depressed, offer a seat to a stranger, help someone find a job and take part in local civic life. Affiliation to a religious community is the best predictor of altruism and empathy: better than education, age, income, gender or race.

Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives. Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent. Alexis de Tocqueville saw it then, Robert Putnam is saying it now. It needs religion: not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good.

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book “Civilization,” in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

It was the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave the West its restless pursuit of a tomorrow that would be better than today. The Chinese have learned the lesson. Fifty years after Chairman Mao declared China a religion-free zone, there are now more Chinese Christians than there are members of the Communist Party.

China has learned the lesson. The question is: Will we?

via Reversing the Moral Decay Behind the London Riots – WSJ.com.

James Taylor, Italy Tour – March 2012:  I would go … but I would rather see him in NC..

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

On March 6, 2012, in Napoli, James and his legendary band will begin a series of unforgettable concerts in Italy. Starting today, the JamesTaylor.com Store has your presale tickets!

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Store immediately in order to get the best tickets!

The full calendar of upcoming tour dates can be seen on the Schedule page.

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

So young, so promising. It was in its prime, and stood to reap the rewards of all of Facebook’s flaws—and in a weird twist, made Facebook copy Google+ for some of its newest “changes.”

But the fact of the matter is, public posts on Google+ have decreased 41 percent since the social networking service launched a few months ago. Even Larry Page, you know – Google’s CEO – last updated one month ago. And I thought something was wrong with me when I forced myself to post something on Google+ so my friends didn’t think I’d virtually disappeared.

via Why Have People Stopped Posting on Google+? – Techland – TIME.com.

food, foodies, DC, places:  Culinary capital … I wish them luck. I have never lived in a clinary capital, but I think it would be great fn.

It’s “Change Season” in D.C. — a peculiar phenomenon that recurs on a regular four-year schedule. Funny thing is, all those politicos calling for “change” in the culture of Washington haven’t a clue how much the nation’s capital is already changing.

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

For one thing, we eat differently, and better. No slap at the Monocle — for decades the place to eat on the Hill (literally), but today we don’t only have change. We have choice.

Just ten years ago, buildings were designed so residents wouldn’t have to look down on the 14th street corridor. Now, it’s the hottest restaurant district in the city and young professionals are clamoring to move there. New culinary playgrounds — like the H Street corridor — continue to blossom even in the areas once decimated by the riots of ’68.

D.C. is undergoing a transformation. Some call it a renaissance. The flow of people towards the suburbs has reversed course. The transient city par excellence is putting down roots. No longer do foreign hirelings reckon D.C. as a four-year hardship posting. We’ve become the place where young people flock to start their lives. And with them comes a whole new cast of creative thinkers, movers and doers — many of whom discover a natural affinity with the wide world of gastronomy.

Bold new restaurant concepts supplant stodgy steak houses. Foragers graze the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And culinary entrepreneurs bring dynamism to the market with novel concepts that broaden the scope of ambition. This change exemplifies the new Washington. Problem is, this change is in no way all-encompassing.

To honor the history and tradition of this city, we need to ensure that progress of the dining scene extends to everyone who calls the District home. People across the city are working on food access with great urgency. D.C. Central Kitchen is stocking corner stores with fresh produce as part of their recently launched Healthy Corners Program. Less known chefs like Teddy Folkman are working tirelessly at after school cooking programs to empower young students through food. And Bread for the City is growing food on its roof to line its pantry shelves. This change is just as important as the opening of a new three-star restaurant as we work to become a great twenty-first century food city.

The District is quickly becoming a culinary capital. The characters who are driving this movement — pushing food forward in a town once known for only rum buns, Old Bay and half-smokes — are part of a broader narrative of renewal that few outside “this town” rarely hear.

So while the rest of the nation fixates on their quadrennial obsession with bringing change to Washington, those who actually call this city home know that change has arrived. Change that improves people’s lives, creates new jobs, and tastes good too.

via Nick Wiseman: Transforming D.C. Into a Culinary Capital.

Wrigley Building,  Chicago, architectural icons: I just hope they don’t try to change the name!.

A joint venture including investor Byron Trott and the co-founders of Groupon Inc. confirmed Monday that it has bought the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Trott’s firm, Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners, is leading an investor group that includes Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon investors and directors, and Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago-based office landlord.

“The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city’s rich history and growth,” Mr. Trott, managing partner and chief investment officer for BDT Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago’s future economic progress.”

via Wrigley Building purchase announced | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.

science v. religion,faith and spirituality, God,  evolution:  I have no problem with the two.

I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

via Can You Believe in God and Evolution? – TIME.

9/11, follow-up:  This kid remembers where he was … and it changed his life forever.

Until the second plane hit, few knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Most were still hoping it could have been a terrible air-traffic-control mistake. But, somehow, I didn’t. I knew it was terrorism from the first moment. I knew it because what I did that morning had been something of a premonition. I had been reminded of war. I had been reminded too of tremendous patriotism and valor. And I wasn’t worthy of any of it.

There was no reason at all for me to suspect that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were behind the attack, nor any reason to suspect that it was motivated by Islamic extremism. Yet in my social cowering — feeling like my entire class was judging my morning escapade — I instinctively concluded in the depths of my consciousness that whoever performed these attacks probably looked more like me than anyone else in the room. And now I was a target.

The following months of high school were occasionally intimidating. I was not Muslim, I was not Arab, but I looked close enough to the part to serve as the punching bag for a few of my community’s less tolerant citizens. The most frustrating name-calling came when other groups who used to be the target of such ethnic scorn (Hispanic and African-American kids) would snarl their turban-teasing remarks as a means of countering any advance I made in the classroom or on the playing field. I needed a community. I needed an identity. So when I received the phone call from an Army recruiter, I asked to meet him for coffee, whereas most Indian kids went back to their math books. He told me to think about West Point.

It amazes me that it has been only 10 years since that horrific morning. That day changed the trajectory of my life so greatly, I can’t imagine where I would be had it not occurred. Ten years later, I’m a West Point graduate, a captain in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who served 12 months in Kandahar. I wear a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge proudly on my uniform. And 10 years later, I’m still overcome with guilt. Not for what I did on 9/11, but for who I was. I am guilty that it took the death of 3,000 people for me to change my outlook on the blessings of this country.

via Class of 9/11: How a School Prank Helped Change My Life – TIME.

Food – Chinese, Jewish culture, Pastrami Egg Rolls:   I just thought they ate it at Christmas because that was all that was open.  🙂  I loved this story!

The question as to why Jews are drawn so irresistibly to Chinese food is one I’ve often wondered about. Eddie Glasses (who gets his nickname from sporting all sorts of outlandish eyewear) could have attached himself to the Italian masters, or the French, or even gone off in some other exotic direction like Moroccan or Indian. But his existence as the Ultimate Jewish Chinese-Food Nerd has a kind of dynamic inevitability. Put any two Jews together, and we are likely to start arguing over who has the best scallion pancakes. Schoenfeld had the good fortune and intellectual curiosity to devote himself to some of the midcentury titans of Chinese cuisine — the cooking teacher Grace Yu, the restaurateur David Keh, the chefs T.T. Wang and “Uncle Lou” (Lo Hoy Yen) — and learn everything he could. So he gets the last word, which is a very Jewish thing to want to get. But why Chinese food?

The two groups have neither linguistic nor religious nor geographic commonalities. They aren’t known for intermarrying or for intermingling. Both groups are famously insular, and tend to regard themselves as chosen peoples. And yet, there’s a connection. There are lots of jokes about it. There’s even a restaurant in Los Angeles called Genghis Cohen. But the inroad made by Chinese food has been so profound that even sacred dietary laws are routinely broken for this cuisine. A Jewish household that wouldn’t countenance a single bacon bit at home will consume industrial quantities of spare ribs, roast-pork fried rice and shrimp dumplings. So what gives?

So here is my best guess. The thing to remember about Chinese food is that, besides being cheap, it is eminently suited to take out; at least three-quarters of the Chinese food I ate growing up was at home. And Jews love eating at home. We are intensely familial, home-loving and nuclear; and given that our own food is both bad and laborious (endlessly braised brisket, spattering latkes), Chinese food — varied, fatty and festive — is a better alternative in part because it’s always at hand. It’s a cheap lift; you can think of it as Jewish Prozac. And, beyond this, there is an even greater power of Chinese food in our lives, a sentimental tradition in a secular world. The China Teacup in Brooklyn Heights, where Schoenfeld used to eat as a kid, or Ling-Nam in West Miami and China Land in Atlantic City, N.J., my own egg-roll academies, have been serving essentially the same food for generations. The takeout menu currently on my refrigerator looks just like the one my father had on his, the one he used to stand there gazing at with a mix of puzzlement (maybe ribs and egg foo yong?) and something like adoration. I think that we, as a people, prize comfort above all else, both emotionally and physically. To sit in the living room with a plate of lo mein and half an egg roll is about as safe and stable as life gets for us. That, more than anything else, accounts for our odd abiding love of the most foreign — most domestic — of cuisines.

via Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food – TIME.

Life is stranger than fiction, astronomy,Tatooine, Star Wars:  Scientists found one planet with two stars, a ‘Star Wars’ World.  “When two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.”

The Star Wars movies weren’t especially big on subtlety. Their heroes and villains were cartoonishly one-dimensional, the aliens were grotesquely alien, and the action was over the top. One scene in the first film was a notable exception, though. It showed a sunset on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home world — with not one, but two suns sinking in tandem toward the horizon. The essential strangeness of that image made it quietly but profoundly clear that you were visiting an utterly foreign world.

When astronomers actually began finding such worlds almost two decades after that first Star Wars movie, though, they didn’t waste much time looking for places like Tatooine. Double-star systems are very common in the Milky Way — in fact, solitary stars like the sun are in the minority. But it wasn’t clear, said theorists, that planets could form and survive in their vicinity: when two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.

via One Planet, Two Suns: Scientists Find a ‘Star Wars’ World – TIME.

smileys, emoticons, history:  Never thought about who or why the smiley emoticon was created.  Thank you, computer geeks!

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts.  Or at least I’m one of the inventors.

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”.  These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing.  Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room.  Who does it belong to?”  Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion).  Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor).  The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in  response.  That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried.  In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.   After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone.  Various “joke markers”  were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based  computer terminals of the day.  So I suggested that.  In the same post, I also suggested the use of  😦  to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.  (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.)

So the message itself, and the thread that gave rise to it, are here.  The exact date of the smiley’s birth can now be determined: 19 September, 1982.  It was great to have this message back just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original post.

So, the smiley idea may have appeared and disappeared a few times before my 1982 post.  I probably was not the first person ever to type these three letters in sequence, perhaps even with the meaning of “I’m just kidding” and perhaps even online.  But I do believe that my 1982 suggestion was the one that finally took hold, spread around the world, and spawned thousands of variations.  My colleagues and I have been able to watch the idea spread out through the world’s computer networks from that original post.

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

students, design,  rural poor, globalizaton, International Development Design Summit: Putting our smarts to work!

The scene is vibrant and chaotic. A village grandmother who had never before seen the city turns the crank of a device constructed to extract oil from the seeds of a moringa tree. Other people crowd around tables to check out a mosquito-repelling, battery-powered lantern housed in an old plastic water bottle; farming implements fashioned out of treated bamboo; and a mobile-phone-based platform for providing farmers with information on crops and markets.

These are the fruits of the International Development Design Summit, a monthlong event conceived by Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has for the past five years brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services, and business models to serve the rural poor. Here, students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the United States work side by side with artisans, teachers, and village chiefs who hail from other countries and from surrounding villages, soaking up a very different sort of education.

While the technologies themselves are neither earth-shattering nor elegant (teams have only five weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and refine their products), what’s innovative about the summit, its organizers say, is its emphasis on design as a collaborative and creative process. It assumes that the farmers and chiefs in the villages for which these products are destined have at least as much to add to the designs as do engineers with Ph.D.’s.

via Students Design Low-Tech Ways to Help Improve Lives of Rural Poor – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Redbox: I do love Redbox … a business that seems outdated but delivers a product when, when and at a price point people want.

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

There’s a ton of ways to share your love for redbox,

but if you do it this way, you might win a big prize:

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

Netflix, mea culpa:  My bad … but the change stays …

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

via http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

 Proteus, direct feedback, business culture “FedEx Day”: I think I need a FedEx Day at home!

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

A. One other thing we do is called FedEx Day.  Pretty much anyone can apply for FedEx Day, or any group of people.  The deal is that you can take the whole day and go off and do something, but it’s FedEx, right?  So it has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight.  And you can break it down, because maybe you want four FedEx Days, but there has to be a deliverable for every day.  That’s also terrific because it’s everything from very simple little things — like improving the layout of the desks in the area — all the way through to fairly important things.

via Andrew Thompson of Proteus, on Direct Feedback – NYTimes.com.

apps, Nike BOOM: 

Nike BOOMBy Nike, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Description

Nike BOOM syncs your music to your dynamic training workouts, with the world’s most elite athletes and coaches motivating you along the way. Choose your type of workout, length of training, best workout music and favorite Nike athletes—then get to work.

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

chocolate bars, Paris, food- drink:  Another thing to add to my list … chocolate bars … but I think I will stay away from hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

On the menu at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new Paris chocolate bar: hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

Autumn visitors to Paris may feel that nothing beats a traditional chocolat chaud, but the city’s chocolatiers have been experimenting on the old tea room favourite, with surprising results

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

The bartender raised his eyebrows as I placed my order: “Not many people ask for that.” I was perched at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new chocolate bar, a modern gold-and-brown space where Parisians come to indulge in thoroughly adult versions of a traditional children’s drink. From the long menu I had chosen hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion, a mysterious concoction whipped up in the laboratoire at the back.

When the plain white cup arrived, the soft-spoken waitress advised me not to stir the pearly blobs of what looked like sea foam into the hot chocolate, in order to appreciate the contrast. The first couple of sips went down easily, the iodised taste bringing a welcome saltiness to the intense chocolate. But then I encountered my first lump: either a piece of oyster or some jellied reconstitution. The bartender threw me a sympathetic glance as I pushed the cup aside.

Hévin might have gone one step too far with his oyster drink, but he is one of several Paris chocolate makers who are reviving the art of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, hot chocolate so thick it pours like custard. If Italian hot chocolate relies on starch to obtain this texture, the French prefer a simple mixture of milk, chocolate and/or cocoa powder and sometimes cream. For Parisian chocolatiers, what counts most is the quality of the chocolate, which often comes from the celebrated Valrhona factory in the Rhône Valley.

For many Parisians and even more foreigners, the Holy Grail of hot chocolate is still the chocolat chaud à l’africain served at the Belle Epoque tea room Angelina. It’s certainly hard to find this drink served with more ceremony: here, it comes with water to cleanse your palate, a bowl of whipped cream to complement its pudding-like richness, and a dense almond financier. The best in town? Probably not, but if you can’t resist a brand name, it’s still worth experiencing at least once.

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

self-curation, happiness:  My clips and comments are my self-curation. 🙂

I read an excellent novel this weekend, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. Like any good novel, it’s about many things, but in particular, it made me think about the issue of self-curation.

In his “Chronicles,” the character Nik elaborately archives his work in music and an alternate autobiography. He tells his sister Denise, “Self-curate or disappear.”

As I was reading, I realized: I suffer from archive anxiety. Partly about my actual life, which is why I’ve adopted resolutions such as Keep a one-sentence journal and Suffer for fifteen minutes. They help me chronicle my life.

But for me, the greater worry is the archiving and curation of my observations — not my actual life, but my intellectual life. Even though taking notes on my reading and thinking is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also burdensome: it takes up a lot of time, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to find what I want later and whether I’m making good use of my materials. So much wonderful material! I want to write book after book after book, to think it all through.

Reading Stone Arabia has made me consider this theme of “self-curation” in a different light.

via The Happiness Project: Do You Think About “Self-Curation”?.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry :  Republican front-runners are from different worlds and appeal to very different parts of the GOP.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

via Republican front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry come from different worlds – The Washington Post.

college admissions, Middlebury College:  I am not sure I would want my essay “on stage!”

College applicants – and, in some cases, their advisers, friends and parents – spend incalculable time poring over the personal statement.

But once an essay is submitted, students rarely revisit it, burying those Microsoft Word files full of personal insights, goals and vulnerabilities within a series of “College Application” folders.

Not so students at Middlebury College.

Since the early ’90s, the college’s “Voices of the Class” program has brought to life the admissions essays of freshmen, with upperclassmen acting them out during new student orientation.

The program was fashioned by Matt Longman, a residential dean of the college and a Middlebury alumnus himself who oversees the show’s execution each year.

Some 20 years ago, as the college was considering introducing formal diversity workshops to its orientation, Mr. Longman spoke up and suggested something less institutional. “Why don’t we try something that lets the students’ own voices speak to each other?” he asked.

“I’d always been a big proponent of reading application essays closely because they provide such a wonderful, behind-the-scenes, in-depth picture of what really matters to people,” Mr. Longman said, praising the breadth and creativity in applicants’ writing and experiences.

Middlebury listened. Each year since, the school has mined fresh material from its admitted students, formally incorporating 10 to 20 essays into an orientation week performance.

via Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage – NYTimes.com.

Dar Al-Hijrah,  Imam Abdul-Malik:  Tough job … but needs to answer obvious questions.

But having defended Dar Al-Hij­rah for so long, Abdul-Malik knows what they’re really asking: What exactly is going on at this mosque? Is this a breeding ground for terrorists?

It is a suspicion that nearly all Muslim institutions have faced to some degree since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But none more so than Dar Al-Hijrah.

via Imam serves as public face of an embattled mosque – The Washington Post.

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro.

The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois — whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro — is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests.

At least one commissioner, Michael P. Flanagan of Michigan, who went to Helsinki, decided not to participate in future trips once he realized who was underwriting them.

“While he does not believe those trips are unethical, he did see that they could be perceived that way, and for that reason he chose not to attend,” said Mr. Flanagan’s spokesman, Martin Ackley.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, dismissed any ethical concerns about providing free trips to people his corporate cousin is pitching for business. “We categorically refute any suggestion or implication that the partnership is designed to enable Pearson ‘to win contracts,’ ” he said in a statement. Rather, Mr. Nieker said, the trips are “in pursuit of educational excellence.”

But Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a centrist group, compared the practice to pharmaceutical companies that run junkets for doctors or lobbyists who fly members of Congress to vacation getaways. “If we want that kind of corruption in education, we’re fools,” he said.

via Pearson Sends Education Commissioners on Free Trips – NYTimes.com.

60-Second Video Tips, Test Kitchen, tips:  useful …

60-SECOND VIDEO TIPS Test kitchen wisdom distilled into super quick video clips

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

women’s issues, women’s progress:  You’ve come a long way, baby … at least in some areas … in some places.

Just over a decade into the 21st century, women’s progress can be seen—and celebrated—across a range of fields. They hold the highest political offices from Thailand to Brazil, Costa Rica to Australia. A woman holds the top spot at the International Monetary Fund; another won the Nobel Prize in economics. Self-made billionaires in Beijing, tech innovators in Silicon Valley, pioneering justices in Ghana—in these and countless other areas, women are leaving their mark.

But hold the applause. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation. In the developed world, women lag behind men in pay and political power. The poverty rate among women in the U.S. rose to 14.5 percent last year, the highest in 17 years.

To measure the state of women’s progress, Newsweek ranked 165 countries, looking at five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care. Poring over data from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and consulting with experts and academics, we measured 28 factors to come up with our rankings.

via Newsweek Tracks Women’s Progress Around the World – The Daily Beast.

Moses, manna, Bible, tamarisk:  I never heard of  tamarisk –  “the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground”

The word “manna” means “What is it?” For centuries, people who live in the Sinai peninsula have gathered the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground; over 500 pounds of this manna is deposited on the Sinai peninsula each year. Loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, manna isnt tasty – except to the ants, who in fact consume whats on the ground by mid-day. Was this the “bread from heaven”? If so, is this manna any less a gift of God? God provides, often in simple, mundane ways.

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

‘The Playboy Club’, tv, review:  Controversy might make me watch it … just once.

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”So I would like to say this:1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.3. Playboy did not change the world.Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.

14
Sep
11

9.14.2011 … anticipating the cooler weather … but not for 2 more days!

 Moses, 9/11, sermons, Marthame Sanders: Did not know where he was going here … Nice sermon, Marthame. “Today, I simply want to talk about the wilderness as a place framed by two simple truths: we are never above God’s judgment; and we are never beneath God’s grace.”

These are the stories we long for, where the line between good and evil is clearly marked, where the good triumph, and the evil perish. The good guys get away, and the bad guys are punished. And there is no doubt in our minds that it should be any other way.

How often does life end up being this cut-and-dried?

If we’re not careful, we might chalk this up to a distinction between fact and fantasy: life is tough, full of challenges; the Bible, on the other hand, sure is a nice idea…But when we see things this way, it means we have forgotten the rest of this story: the 400 years of enslavement that came before, and the 40 years of desert wandering that follows.

It’s this last piece which is the focus of our sermon series which begins today, this time in the wilderness. For the Israelites, it was almost like an experiential sorbet of sorts. The slavery of Egypt eventually became a thing of the past, and the land of promise lay just out of reach.

Forty years was enough time for two generations to pass away and two more to come along, meaning that the number of those who experienced both slavery and promise were few, if any. Not even the age-defying Moses got that pleasure, dying on a mountain overlooking where the people were headed.

But what does this Exodus story teach us? As a community of faith, as individuals struggling with what it means to be faithful, how can we connect? We may not be on a physical journey; but is there something that we can learn from this lesson about our own spiritual path and where we find ourselves on it?

Today, I simply want to talk about the wilderness as a place framed by two simple truths: we are never above God’s judgment; and we are never beneath God’s grace.

For some, 9/11 was a day that clarified our call as the most righteous of nations; for others, it was evidence that we are accursed and have strayed from God’s desires. The truth, unfortunately, is not so simple.

I do not believe that God caused or allowed the terrorist attacks, as some would claim. Nor do I believe that God gave us a righteous, holy mission as a result, either, as others would try to convince us. My faith convinces me that God’s mission that day was as God of courageous rescue and as God of the broken heart. And my faith also convinces me that, ten years on, God’s mission for us is still one of courage and compassion.

We all have our own memories. Elizabeth and I were living in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank. But though we were a world away, we became aware of the attacks probably like many of you did. My mother-in-law called and told us to turn on CNN to see what was happening.

We watched in horror, worried about friends and family living in New York, working in the financial sector. We heard about the attack on the Pentagon and that there were several planes that were unaccounted for, one crashing in a Pennsylvania field. I remember an overwhelming feeling of dread, convinced that there was much more to come, and yet unable to pull away from the lure of the screen.

What was unique about our situation was location, location, location. In the simplified worldview that quickly developed in some corners, we found ourselves on the “wrong side”, and in “enemy territory”. We were Western American Christians living in an Arab Palestinian Muslim majority. But here’s the thing: we never once felt unsafe.

Friends and co-workers, Muslim and Christian alike, came by to offer their condolences. They, too, were concerned that we might have had family at Ground Zero. And they worried that we might begin to see all Arabs, all Muslims, all non-Westerners in a harsh light.

I’m convinced, regardless of location, that we can all learn something from the story of Red Sea partings. This is one of those clear cases where God has chosen sides, favoring the Israelites and disdaining the Egyptians. And yet, notice what the Israelites don’t do, at least not right away: they don’t celebrate. Their reaction to what has happened is not self-righteousness, but, as various translations put it, “awe”; “fear”. It is as though they have seen the mighty power of God and stand before it with mouths agape. They recognize that they have just been the beneficiaries of God’s direct intervention; but they also seem to recognize that this fearsome power could be turned against them.

We are never above God’s judgment.

And what about the Egyptians? Getting to the rest of their story is a bit more complex, since much of the stories of the Hebrew Bible are written with a nationalist lens, with warring between ancient Israel and ancient Egypt. But the most consistent Biblical image of Egypt is not that of slavery and Pharaoh; it is as a place of refuge. Both Abraham and Joseph’s brothers had fled there, seeking – and finding – respite. And as the infant Jesus was threatened with King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, his parents wisely fled to Egypt where they found safety until Herod was dead and gone.

We are never beneath God’s grace.

via opc blog » Blog Archive » Parting Company.

Goddard College, alternative education, innovation:

Someone like Rod Crossman, at his stage in life and with his professional success, doesn’t often seek a way to reinvent himself. Yet Mr. Crossman—a painter, an assistant professor, and an artist in residence at Indiana Wesleyan University—felt that he was merely churning out pretty work to hang on gallery walls, increasingly feeling a schism between where his career had taken him and where his passion was telling him to go.

“My art practice had become marooned in the place where it was not connected to the world,” he says. “There were issues that my students were facing, and I didn’t think I had the tools to help them navigate those problems. Some of the issues they were facing were just the challenges of the world that we live in.” He wanted an interdisciplinary M.F.A. to reinvigorate his work at Indiana Wesleyan, where he has taught for 30 years.

He found a tiny college in rural Vermont that has blown itself up and emerged anew time and again: Goddard College. The birthplace of some important academic innovations, it has long bucked traditional notions of higher education and, like many experimental colleges, flirted with financial ruin. Its latest transformation may be its most remarkable: Reaching a nadir in its financial health in the early 2000s, it did what many colleges would consider unthinkable. The college shut down its storied, core residential program and adopted its low-residency adult program as its sole campus offering. It has since re-emerged with 10-year accreditation, the highest number of students in decades, money to spend on refurbishing its campus, a new campus in Port Townsend, Wash., and plans to expand its programs to other cities across the country. One administrator put the college’s turnaround in perspective: Today, Goddard is getting a $2-million loan to build a biomass plant, but 10 years ago the college couldn’t have gotten a car loan.

Innovation is the buzzword of higher education these days. People talk about leveraging technology and scaling up, about treating faculty members like hired guns, and about adopting industrial models to bring down costs and ramp up “production.” All of it in a bid to offer more college degrees—more cheaply, more quickly, and some worry, of a lower quality.

None of that is happening here. Goddard faculty members, who do not have tenure but are unionized, seem fiercely devoted to the college. Students say their open-ended studies are among the most rigorous they have ever experienced. And Goddard’s president, Barbara Vacarr, is downright heretical when asked how higher education can scale up and give more Americans college degrees.

via Goddard College’s Unconventional Path to Survival – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Sarah Palin,Doonesbury, political cartoons, 2012 Presidential Election:  If it makes people talk, yes, provided ….

Today’s Sarah Palin/Glen Rice ‘DOONESBURY’ strip: Would you run it? [POLL]

via Today’s Sarah Palin/Glen Rice ‘DOONESBURY’ strip: Would you run it? [POLL] – Comic Riffs – The Washington Post.

Missoni for Target, marketing, fashion, kith/kin:  I have to laugh.  This stuff looks like the crocheted afghans my grandmother made using up old yarn … awful color combinations …

Missoni for Target

Having trouble purchasing Missoni for Target? You’re not alone! After the 400-piece collection finally made its way to Target.comrecord-breaking crowds crashed the siteBut good news—not everything is sold out! As of this posting, there are still quite a few womens’ looks,lingeriekids’ clothes and hair accessories to go around. As for home goods, check back with the site and your local Target store—the retailer isslated to get periodic shipments of Missoni styles through October 22nd. Good luck!

apps, NPR, WFAE, Charlotte:  My local NPR station will have an app!

WFAE App for iPhone and Android

The free WFAE App allows you to listen to all three WFAE live streams, plus pause and rewind the live audio. You can also explore On Demand content, search for your favorite stories, and even bookmark a story for later.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

The South, Southern culture:  “Well, Ma’am, I wasn’t born in the South, but I got here quick as I could.” She backed off only slightly, then muttered as she walked away, “Well, you did the best you could.”

I mentioned the table, especially the beauty of the columns, and inquired about their origin. Immediately, our hostess, the epitome of style, charm, and grace all evening long, turned bitter and sour and full of rancor. I would soon discover why.

She menacingly turned toward me, and with her face tightened down like a vice, said, “That’s all that’s left after they came and burned the courthouse down.” Then her eyes got even bigger. Sensing a foreigner in her midst, in a very cold and accusatory voice she said, “By the way Will, where are you from?”

I said a fast prayer. I needed a save, right here, right now. My prayer was granted. I took a breath and casually replied, “Well, Ma’am, I wasn’t born in the South, but I got here quick as I could.” She backed off only slightly, then muttered as she walked away, “Well, you did the best you could.”

via Southern Traditions: More Than Biscuits & Grits by Will Nelson | LikeTheDew.com.

2012 Presidential Election, journalism, media:  I enjoyed this … noticeable to anyone … I do not like my “news” telling me who to vote for.

LET’S START WITH the long shots. No Republican makes Fox squirm like Ron Paul. The network’s pundits and personalities were obviously defensive about accusations that they had neglected the Iowa Straw Poll’s runner-up. (An easy explanation for their discomfort: Paul acolytes are rabid Fox News viewers.) Neil Cavuto, the host of “Your World,” paused during an interview with Paul to note that he had appeared on his show 28 times since the 2008 election. “You could practically be my co-anchor,” Cavuto gushed. “I wanted to let your people know that we love having you on.”

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were each granted a single, respectful, prime-time interview and were otherwise mercifully left on the cutting-room floor. Herman Cain was invited on Sean Hannity’s show solely to refute comedian Janeane Garofalo’s absurd claim that he was running only to protect the GOP from charges of racism.

Jon Huntsman might welcome this sort of benign neglect. Cavuto began a Huntsman interview by highlighting his microscopic poll ratings and grilling him about his call for “shared sacrifice.” “A lot of Tea Partiers read that, sir, to say, well, maybe they should pay more in taxes,” Cavuto said accusingly. And what Fox commentators had to say about Huntsman behind his back was worse. To Michelle Malkin, a Huntsman profile in a glossy women’s magazine provided evidence of his liberal leanings. Appearing on the midday show “America Live,” she snapped, “The only [Republicans] that these liberal media people think are smart [are] the ones who are trashing conservatives and getting their pictures taken in Vogue magazine by”—she hissed—“Annie Leibovitz.”

When I began this undertaking, I was braced for a bacchanalia of Michele Bachmann coverage. Less than two weeks earlier, she had been the toast of conservatives after winning the Iowa Straw Poll. But I had failed to appreciate just how quickly the enthusiasms of Fox News would shift. Without a major gaffe or gotcha moment, Bachmann was almost entirely absent, like a Red Army general excised from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia after being purged by Joseph Stalin. She was almost never pictured on screen, even though she was on a four-day campaign swing through Florida. When her name came up, it was usually coupled with a glib dismissal of her chances.

Still, it wasn’t hard to infer where the preferences of most Fox personalities lie. Late-night Fox host Greg Gutfeld offered the most memorable summary on “The Five.” “Mitt Romney is like somebody you hook up with periodically until you get serious and you want to meet somebody serious,” he said. “He [is] friends with benefits. And Perry is marriage material.” Yikes.

via The Idiot Box | The New Republic.

science, teaching, YouTube:  These are great!

 minutephysics’s Channel – YouTube.

education, poverty, Purpose Built Communities, East Lake, Atlanta GA: Great article about a great organization!

Residents of Atlanta’s redeveloped East Lake community say the history of their neighborhood is a real-life Cinderella story.

East Lake, once known as “Little Vietnam” to the local police because of its sky-high crime rates, is now a paradigm of community revitalization that serves as a national model for Purpose Built Communities, a consulting group on neighborhood turnarounds that is gaining traction, primarily across the Southeast. Now in East Lake, mixed-income housing is woven between shops, local eateries, schools, a family center, a YMCA, and two golf courses.

Purpose Built Communities, based in Atlanta, grew organically out of the undertaking of East Lake’s revitalization. The nonprofit organization, now officially in its third year, is financed by three philanthropists: Tom Cousins, an Atlanta real estate developer; Julian Robertson, founder of the now-defunct Wall Street hedge fund Tiger Management Corp.; and Warren Buffett, the well-known chairman and chief executive officer of the Berkshire Hathaway corporate holding company.

The group targets communities seemingly locked in a cycle of endless poverty and works with local leaders to reverse a tradition of welfare, joblessness, and nominal education. Now established in six states, the group keeps the advancement of education at the core of its mission with each community it enters and stresses the involvement of local partners, such as universities, banks, and community centers, to help improve local housing, transportation, education, and employment options in its turnaround efforts.

Though the group is not as well known as the Harlem Children’s Zone project, which attempts to transform communities by enveloping families in a net of social and educational services, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cited the Purpose Built Communities model in a 2009 keynote speech. He said East Lake and the Harlem Children’s Zone are “crafting similar solutions to the problems of concentrated poverty.”

via Education Week: A Community Approach Helps Transform Atlanta Neighborhood.

“Toddlers & Tiaras”, TLC, tv, over the top:  A three-year old dresses up as the prostitute in Pretty Woman … Has child services been called in … no she wins the pageant.

Last week, a little girl on TLC’s child pageant show, “Toddlers & Tiaras,” donned fake breasts and butt to dress up like Dolly Parton. It seemed pretty inappropriate. But surely it couldn’t get any worse than that. Right?

Enter a 3-year-old dressed up like a fictional prostitute.

Paisley (the show uses only first names) competes in an outfit that Julia Roberts’s character wears in the film “Pretty Woman.” No, not the reformed Vivian Ward who goes to Rodeo Drive and buys some nice dresses and lives happily ever after. The streetwalking version complete with black boots, a mini skirt and a blonde wig.

To be fair, one of the other mothers tells the camera she would “never ever do that to [her] little girl.” So it’s not like there was a gas leak and everyone had lost their minds.

Suddenly, dressing your kid up like Dolly Parton seems reasonable. This episode of “T&T” airs tonight on TLC. Watch the clip below.

via ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ contestant dresses as ‘Pretty Woman’ prostitute – Celebritology 2.0 – The Washington Post.

blogging, WordPress: Thanks WordPress, good to know … 🙂

You used a total of 118 categories and tags. We suggest using 10 or fewer.

via ‹ Dennard’s Clipping Service — WordPress.

Walter Bonatti, mountaineering, RIP:

“The K2 story was a big thorn in his heart,” Ms. Podestà, 77, said in a telephone interview on Thursday while she and family members were taking Mr. Bonatti’s body from Rome to their home in Dubino, a village north of his birthplace, Bergamo, in northern Italy. “He could not believe that, even after all those many years, nobody had apologized or acknowledged the truth. This falseness has left a mark in his life.”

Mr. Bonatti became known as an angry loner who shied away from the bigger expeditions to take on new routes and new peaks his own way, sometimes at great risk.

“Bonatti was just a boy from Bergamo who in a very few years became the best climber in the world,” the mountaineer Reinhold Messner told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday. Mr. Bonatti, he added, had been envied around the world because he was “too ahead of the curve, too alone, too good.”

David Roberts, a journalist who writes about mountaineering, said of Mr. Bonatti in an interview on Wednesday: “If you had a poll of the greatest mountaineers of all time, he might win it. It is that simple.”

via Walter Bonatti, Daring Italian Mountaineer, Dies at 81 – NYTimes.com.

LOL: Sometimes you just need a stupid joke!

One morning, a grandmother was surprised to find that her 7-year-old grandson had made her coffee. Smiling, she choked down the worst cup of her life. When she finished, she found 3 little green army men at the bottom. Puzzled, she asked “Honey, what are these army men doing in my coffee?” Her grandson answered, Like it says on tv, grandma. “The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup”

13
Sep
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9.13.2011 … last night I watched the Republican Debate (a/k/a CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate) … It is going to be a long year …

2012 Presidential Election, 9/12 CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate, President Obama: I think I will dislike them all by the time they complete 6 before Christmas.  And why does it have to be labeled “Tea Party? ”  The Republicans will lose all the independents and half the Republican Party if they don’t watch out.  Luckily President Obama is helping them out a great deal.  My take I can’t stand Perry or Bachman.  Don’t particularly like any of the rest.  Some are at least funny.

post-it war, la guerre des Post-It, follow-up:  🙂  Has anyone seen any in the US?

Post-it® War.

EARonic, iPhone, design, charity, President Obama, random: Cases That Look Like Ears!  I wonder if they could have President Obama’s ear … what a great way to raise money for charity … who else has famous ears?

CollabCubed has produced the EARonic, a collection of iPhone cases with photographic images of ears. Designed by Rhode Island School of Design student, Daniela Gilsanz, there are five ears total, including one with stubble and piercings and another with a wireless headset.

via EARonic, iPhone Cases That Look Like Ears.

Steph Curry, Davidson College: Fun interview … Still proud he went to Davidson …

During this question, Steph, who had been acting very disinterested in the interview, whipped out his cell phone to take a call. We were shocked to say the least. Before we even started, he strolled in late, with his iPod in his ear, and asked us what The Davidsonian was. Not a good start. We both thought to ourselves, “How can you not know The Davidsonian? It’s just the paper you’ve been featured on countlesstimes.”

He didn’t look like he wanted to be there at all. His attitude conflicted with what we had heard about him, which was that he was a really nice guy and down-to-earth. He seemed like he was “big-leaguing” us and acting like a jerk. But when he answered the call from his cell phone, he burst into laughter, saying “I can’t do this anymore.” Apparently, he and Ms. Lauren Biggers in the Sports Information Department had planned to “punk” us all along. His whole “big league” attitude was all a ruse, and it worked. The fact that he could not keep the act going for more than three minutes tells you more about what kind of person he is than this interview. When all the laughter had died down, we resumed the interview by asking the question again.

via A little 2 on 1 with Steph Curry – Sports – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

9/7 Delhi Bombing, terrorism:  It scares me when we say things like ” the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low.”  … “killing 11 and injuring at least 60 …”

By South Asian standards the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low. On the same day over 20 people were killed in the western Pakistani town of Quetta, as suicide bombers attacked the deputy chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps. The Pakistani Taliban, a group also with close links to al-Qaeda, said it was responsible. It perhaps sought revenge for the soldiers’ part in the arrest, earlier in the week, of a senior al-Qaeda man in Pakistan. Sadly for Pakistan the assault confirms a worsening pattern of violence, with Quetta a known corner for extremist hide-outs, including the senior leadership of Afghanistan’s Taliban.

via Terrorism in South Asia: Bloody Wednesday | The Economist.

recipe,  Pub-Style Burgers, Cook’s Illustrated:  I love Cook’s Illustrated, but grinding my own meat ….  I’ll give this one to John!

To create a recipe for juicy, pub-style burgers with big, beefy flavor, we knew that grinding our own beef was a must. We chose sirloin steak tips for their supremely beefy flavor and lack of gristly sinew, and we upped their richness by adding melted butter to the cold beef before we formed our burgers. A combination stove-oven cooking technique gave us pub-style burgers with a crusty exterior and juicy interior that were evenly rosy from center to edge. A few premium (yet simple) toppings were all that was needed to top off our pub-style burger recipe.

via Juicy Pub-Style Burgers – Cooks Illustrated.

branding, marketing, icons, grammar, articles, “the”:  No ifs, ands or buts, no”the.”

Cutting excess articles is attractive in a digital era where space is at a premium on 140-character Tweets and in Web addresses, says Chapin Clark, the managing director of copy at the Interpublic Group of Co.’s ad agency RGA, which has worked on Barnes & Noble’s no-the Nook. “It may seem insignificant, but it is something that a brand has to think about now,” he says.

In Silicon Valley especially, dropping “the” before product names has become an article of faith. Without the omission, people might be friending each other on TheFacebook.com. After Mark Zuckerberg moved his social network from Cambridge, Mass., to Palo Alto, Calif., adviser Sean Parker persuaded him to drop what he called the awkward article.

Branding gurus defend the “the” omission. “When you can drop an article, the brand takes on a more iconic feel,” argues Allen Adamson, managing director of WPP Group PLC’s branding agency, Landor Associates.

But grammarians disagree. Theodore Bernstein’s 1965 tome “The Careful Writer,” dedicates two pages to omitting articles, which he called a “disfigurement of the language.”

He warns: “When the writer is tempted to lop it off, he should ask himself whether he would as readily delete the other articles in his sentence. Would we write, ‘Main feature of combined first floors of new building will be spacious hospitality area’? Obviously not.”

The Wall Street Journal style calls for inserting articles before product names, except in quotations, even if companies omit them, says stylebook editor Paul Martin.

via An Article of Faith for Marketers: Place No Faith in Articles – WSJ.com.

music, social networking, Turntable.fm:  Sounds very cool … may be way over my head!

Where is this going?

Talley is definitely onto something here. On the surface, turntable.fm is a generic social networking application. Like others, it extends itself to a wide variety of parallel social networks. You can Facebook and Twitter your room directly from TT.fm. You can buy the music via links to Amazon or iTunes, or share it on Last.fm, Spotify, and Rdio. And like Pandora and Last.fm, turntable lets you choose genres and share your favorite music.

But TT.fm goes beyond all that. By letting users choose music and chat in real time, it can replicate the spontaneous “hang-out” feeling of a freeform FM music radio station, the kind that thrived “long ago,” as Talley put it.

Despite its superior sound, FM was a marginal technology in the 1950s. It finally took off for a variety of reasons. First, in 1964 the Federal Communications Commission required AM stations that owned FM frequencies to produce some original content for the latter, not just dupe their AM fare. Second, device makers started attaching FM to “Hi-Fi” stereo systems.

As a consequence, music lovers and entrepreneurs of all kinds embraced FM and turned their stations into spontaneous community music and talk centers. Some of the most famous in the 1960s and ’70s included listener-supported station WBAI-FM and commercial station WNEW in New York City, and KSAN-FM in San Francisco.

WFMU-FM in New Jersey continues the free form tradition today, but most conventional radio stations gradually abandoned the practice in the 1980s. They either replaced the approach with a more predictable range of tunes called “format,” or they went all talk. Then came the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which eased restrictions on radio license buying. As hundreds of stations changed hands, the price of a signal went through the transmitter, making experimentalism unaffordable.

By the early 2000s, the mantle for adventurous music sharing had passed to the Internet, especially to huge successes like Pandora. But although the word “radio” is constantly attached to Pandora and its brethren, much Internet radio doesn’t really sound like radio. More akin to a juke box, it has always lacked the crucial element that made mid-20th century music radio so compelling—human beings spontaneously picking the tunes and keeping you company while you listened.

via Inside Turntable.fm: saving music radio from itself.

food – Peruvian:  We have loved Peruvian food ever since our 1987 trip … maybe some ceviche this weekend.

The renowned Wall Street Journal said Peruvian food is the next big thing in the world. Its ceviches, causas and anticuchos provide flavors that have the world’s top toques raving, experimenting and catching the next jet.

“Make room Spain and Korea, Peru is having its moment in the gastronomic sun”, says an article published this week.

The daily said Peruvian cuisine is the result of a nearly 500-year melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration and native Quechua culture, which is on the lips of top chefs worldwide.

Ceviche, the country’s famous cured-seafood salad, abounds on menus, even outside of Peruvian spots: Haute cuisine temples Le Bernardin and Daniel both serve it.

Peruvian chefs say they are able to entice investors to finance homages to their national cuisine for the first time.

The Wall Street journal said top chefs from around the world are gathering in Lima thsi week for Mistura, a 10-day food festival that began in 2008 and has become the most important food event in Latin America, attracting a projected 300,000 visitors this year.

“There they will discover a cuisine unique in Latin America. Peruvian food features a lot of seafood, often prepared raw or cured; high acid—Key lime juice and red onion are ubiquitous flavors; and a subtle hint of spice provided by the fruity aji pepper, which leaves lips tingling”, the article says.

Peruvian food also uses lots of potatoes—there are about 3,000 varieties in Peru, where the tuber originated. Ceviche often features pieces of either yellow potato or yam, and mashed potatoes are served cold, with fish or chicken salad as toppings, in a dish called causa.

via The next big thing is Peruvian food, says Wall Street Journal | ANDINA – Peru News Agency.

politics, polls, Democrats, Rep. Anthony Weiner:  Wow.  If the Democrats lose today …

Another poll shows Democrats in danger of losing a New York City congressional seat in a special election Tuesday — an outcome that many would see as a loud rebuke to President Barack Obama from voters in his own party.

According to the poll by Public Policy Polling, Republican Bob Turner has a 6% point edge over Democrat David Weprin. That is the same margin found by a Siena College poll released last week.

The two men are running to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Anthony Weiner, a married Democrat who resigned after admitting he sent sexually charged messages to about a half dozen women he met online.

The district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens, has a Democratic registration advantage of 3-to-1, and for that reason a Republican victory was considered a very remote possibility until recently. Now, polls are showing that voter unhappiness with Obama is hurting Weprin, a state Assemblyman.

via Poll Shows Republican Bob Turner Leading Democrat David Weprin – Metropolis – WSJ.

Global Cities, interactive map, data, computer technology:  Amazing amount of data in one place.

Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth. Which of them will contribute the largest number of children or elderly to the world’s population? Which will see the fastest expansion of new entrants to the consuming middle classes? How will regional patterns of growth differ?

Explore these questions by browsing through the interactive global map below, which contains city-specific highlights from the McKinsey Global Institute’s database of more than 2,000 metropolitan areas around the world.

via Global cities of the future: An interactive map – McKinsey Quarterly – Economic Studies – Productivity & Performance.

Libya, spring uprisings, change, Andrew Reynolds, UNC: “Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage.” I have often wondered if culturally some people do not have this mentality.  I found this writer’s optimism enlightening. And on a different not, I could see Molly just loving this work.

(Editor’s note: Andrew Reynolds, UNC’s chairman of global studies, is in Libya advising the Transitional National Council on its plans for an interim government. The following is a first-person dispatch written Friday from Benghazi, Libya.)

We once thought of Libya as a closed and hostile place, a state, and indeed people. We distrusted them as opponents of our way of life and allies of some of our worst enemies. But after the uprising against the 42-year dictatorship of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, a very different reality has been revealed. Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage. They see Westerners as their great friends, indeed saviors, after the NATO used its military might to support their uprising and protect civilians who were under attack from Gadhafi’s army.

While Libya is full of great optimism, it remains fragile. As I write in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Gaddafi and his sons remain on the run, perhaps hiding in on one the few remaining cities held by the regime. The transitional (rebel) government has made great strides quickly and its instincts on a transition to democracy are good but there are huge challenges ahead. Libya has never had anything like a democratic regime, free elections or a

political party system. Now it must evolve all these institutions in little time. The challenge will be to include all voices, guard against the country fragmenting into tribal allegiances, and try and retrieve the large and small guns which seem to be in everyone’s hands.

All day today we meet at Gadhafi’s high tech security headquarters in Benghazi that has become reborn as the headquarters of the “rebel” Transitional National Council. I have long discussions about the democratization timetable with members of the political and legal affairs committees.

At lunchtime I chat with another of our drivers and fixers who I’ll call Muhammed. He is unrelentingly optimistic. “We want to become better than Malaysia, better than Qatar. Look at our country.” His hands sweep across the seafront. “We can provide.”

Muhammed has two brothers fighting with the rebels — one is a teacher, the other an engineer. But this evening the reality and fragility of Libya comes home. Muhammed hears that his best friend from high school was killed on the front lines near Bani Walid.

The TNC’s timetable for a new government begins on Day 0: Liberation day. And that day has not yet come.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Professor works with Libyan rebels.

Charlotte, energy capital, economy, changes, Great Recession:  A bright spot!

By the end of this year, a tower built as a home for Wachovia will be the new headquarters of Duke Energy.

That switcheroo in one downtown building highlights a change sweeping Charlotte in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While the tidy North Carolina city of 730,000 people still counts itself as the nation’s No. 2 financial center and is looking to expand in a number of arenas — including health, motor sports and defense — the area’s energy sector is showing particular promise.

Such bright spots are hard to come by at a time when the nation’s unemployment rate is stubbornly locked above 9 percent. On Thursday, President Obama presented Congress a $447 billion bill to put Americans back to work, repeatedly urging, “You should pass this jobs plan right away.”

The travails of the financial crisis, punctuated in Charlotte by Wachovia’s near collapse and takeover by Wells Fargo, thumped Charlotte’s finance and insurance sector, which between 2008 and 2010 lost 9 percent of its jobs, a drop to 77,000. Bank of America, the other top-five bank in Charlotte, has moved some of its operations to New York.

And instead of regaining solid footing three years after the crisis, the financial sector is under siege again.

Bank of America rejiggered its management team last week as the giant finance firm grapples with a dwindling share price and new legal liabilities over mortgage deals. Warren Buffett has made a $5 billion investment in the bank. And a restructuring reportedly could cut as many as 40,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, since 2007 Charlotte has announced about 5,600 new energy-related jobs, taking the total to roughly 27,000 at 250 energy-oriented firms, according to economic development officials. About 2,000 energy jobs were added in 2010, with another 765 this year.

It’s not enough to replace finance jobs lost in the recession or to turn around local unemployment, which hangs at 11.2 percent. But local officials say it’s a start, and their bet is long-term. They must, they say, diversify the region’s economy.

“I think we are going to be the energy capital of the country before it’s all over,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said.

The goals, he said, stretch from corporations to consumers. In addition to luring energy firms, the city is expanding recycling, “smart” grid projects and public transit, with plans to add 10 miles of light rail and a commuter line in years to come.

via Charlotte looks beyond financial sector in effort to become ‘energy capital’ – The Washington Post.

Amazon, Amazon Prime, subscription library service:  I would use it …

Would you pay to have limited, monthly access to a library of books for your e-reader? According to report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is hoping you would.

The online retailer is reportedly thinking about making a subscription library service available to Amazon Prime members, adding book rentals to the $79 per year service that now offers online video and an unlimited deal on two-day shipping. The rental subscription, described in the report as a Netflix-like service for books, would offer older titles, and the company would limit the amount of books users could read for free every month.

apps, books, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand:  Might actually buy this one …  I am intrigued.

Penguin has a new book app available for Ayn Rand‘s controversial text Atlas Shrugged. The interactive app includes audio and video of the author, as well as scans of her notes on the subject.

The app also includes social media sharing features. Here is more from the app’s iTunes listing: “While immersed in the app, readers also have the option to share favorite passages and quotes from the novel on Facebook, Twitter, and via email with a few quick taps—and without ever leaving the page.”

This is the third time this year that the publisher has taken a popular old book and repurposed it with special features to turn it into an app.

via Ayn Rand Gets Atlas Shrugged App – GalleyCat.

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged [A New American Library Amplified Edition] for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

nerdfighters,  publishing, twitter: Good question.

In a presentation entitled “How Nerdfighters Can Save Publishing,” Green will share lessons he learned while building one million Twitter followers and 17 million channel views on YouTube.

via John Green to Keynote Publishing App Expo – GalleyCat.

art, paper statues, Edinburgh, random:  Fun!

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…

… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…

This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

via Mysterious paper sculptures – Central Station Blog post.

English language, grammar, word use: Enjoyed this …

Redundant is almost always hurled as a negative epithet, but repetition can be an effective rhetorical device. Shorn of all redundancy, Shakespeare’s “most unkindest cut of all” would be pretty vanilla, and the ad slogan “Raid Kills Bugs Dead” would become the ho-hum “Raid Kills Bugs.” Meanwhile, Gertrude Stein’s “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” would have to be completely erased because the quotation is nothing but redundancy. (Completely erased is redundant as well—something is either erased or it isn’t. But I felt I needed the emphasis provided by completely.)

Most redundancy, however, truly is regrettable, a product of both laziness (not bothering to prune your prose) and verbal inflation: a boy-who-cried-wolf phenomenon whereby you feel you need to say something multiple times to make your point. It’s tough to prove, but I have little doubt that redundancy is on the upswing, a manifestation of the wordiness and clunkiness that characterizes much writing these days.

via Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

BofA, workforce cuts, kith/kin: Underwhelming? Not if you are a BofA associate or live in one of their headquarter cities …

Bank of America Corp said it will cut 30,000 jobs and slash annual expenses by $5 billion, but investors were unimpressed with the plan and the lack of details on how it will be accomplished.

The staff reductions amount to more than 10 percent of the bank’s workforce, and come as chief executive Brian Moynihan struggles to fix a bank whose share price has dropped nearly 50 percent this year.

Media reports last week said the bank could cut as many as 40,000 jobs. Many investors had hoped for a more dramatic turnaround plan on Monday, when Moynihan spoke at a financial conference and the bank released its cutback plans.

“It was pretty underwhelming,” said Jason Ware, an analyst at Albion Financial Group, referring to the bank’s plan.

“They need to address the bigger issues the bank faces,” Ware said.

via BofA plans 30,000 job cuts; investors underwhelmed – Yahoo! Finance.

2012 Olympic Games, London, travel, London August 2011 Riots, media campaign:  Pandora’s box may have been opened … big pr problem.

British police would not be able to cope with disturbances on the scale of August’s riots if they occur during next year’s London Olympics, the officer coordinating security for the Games said Monday.

Officers are holding off decisions on how to cope with security problems during the 2012 Games until the conclusions of a report on public order policing becomes available, said Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security coordinator.

“If we were facing exactly the same as we were faced with on the Monday night (of the riots), with the resources we’ve got now, we still wouldn’t be able to cope with it,” he told reporters.

“Some work is being done to think about what we need to put in place in Games time,” he said.

Gangs of youth rampaged through London and other major British cities in early August, burning and looting shops and buildings in the country’s worst unrest since race riots in the 1980s. Hundreds of people were arrested for the violence. The disorder, which took place over four nights, came less than two weeks after London celebrated the one-year countdown to the opening of the games on July 27, 2012, with great fanfare.

Officials said Monday they would spend three million pounds ($4.7 million) to boost tourism on the back of the Games and restore the Olympic host city’s tarnished image.

Culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Hunt says the publicity campaign aims to “set the record straight” and show the world that the riots do not “stand for what the U.K. is all about.”

via $4.7M PR campaign launched for London Olympics – Europe – NBCSports.com.

Meatless Monday, Sid Lerner, diet and health, history:  We have Taco Tuesdays! Hmmm, I guess that is not the same thing.

Meatless Monday in the Media

“‘Friday is pay day, Saturday is play day, Sunday is pray day,’ Lerner says, naturally rolling into the smooth rhythm of a practiced pitch. ‘Monday is health day’… Mondays are magic. And Sid Lerner’s determined to own Monday, slather it with soy–based dressing, and then get Americans to just try one bite—they might like it.”Michael Y. Park for Gourmet

“Under Woodrow Wilson’s watch during World War I, Americans were asked to conserve resources with Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays… ‘When our country was involved in war, it meant shortages and sacrifices back here at home,’ Kamps says. ‘The whole country was really involved in the war effort in that sense.’ Food and national security felt closely connected to each other.”

via Meatless Monday in the Media.

NBA Lockout,  Michael Jordan: $100,000 … I hope he learned his lesson.

Last month, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan discussed revenue sharing and Andrew Bogut in an interview with an Australian newspaper.

Now, according to an ESPN report, those remarks will cost him $100,000. Even where the league’s greatest player is concerned, the league is making good on its promise to fine anyone for discussing that which shall not be discussed — the lockout.

“The model we’ve been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, [so] I think we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign,” Jordan said in the Aug. 19 Herald Sun interview.

via NBA fines Michael Jordan $100,000; don’t they know who he is? – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

criminal acts, students, iPads, cellphones: Students are such easy prey.

According to a campus crime alert posted by university police, the student “was approached by three suspects who snatched her iPad and fled.”

via Thieves snatch cell phone, iPad from Georgia State students  | ajc.com.

green, electric motorcycle:  Cool … patented gyroscopic stability technology–no tipping … a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle … and 125 miles on one charge.

Lit Motors CEO Daniel Kim wants to reinvent the motorcycle as we know it today. His idea? To design and manufacture a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle that runs purely on electric. SmartPlanet gets an exclusive first look at the C1-concept vehicle and its patented gyroscopic stability technology that helps prevent it from tipping over.

via Lit Motors unveils concept, all-electric, fully enclosed motorcycle | SmartPlanet.

alternate fuel, algae, bio-energy: Venice turns green!

VENICE is renowned for its canals, gondolas, and its glamorous film festival. It is less well known for its green credentials. Yet the work of a team of scientists sifting through micro-algae on the neighbouring island of Pellestrina may change that. Researchers on this tiny, thin strip of land aim to power the city’s entire port by harnessing the bio-energy potential of algal life. They are busy identifying which of the lagoon’s native species of unicellular micro-algae can be bred in new bioreactors to provide efficient biomass for electricity and motor fuel production.

Set to be operational by the end of the year, the experimental tanks will generate 500KW of peak capacity with oil derived from algal pulp. If successful, the project can be rapidly scaled up to 50MW. The entire port currently consumes 7MW. It is one of a growing number of projects across Europe extracting bio-fuel from algae. These simple organisms offer a slew of advantages. They can be harvested as often as once every three days, have higher oil content than alternative biological sources, and, since they can grown in tanks, they reduce the risk of ecosystem damage and do not pinch increasingly scarce arable land as other biomass crops do.

via Algal energy: Venice turns green | The Economist.

Bible, Moses, film/lit, politics, James Howell: 🙂

Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, stands out as one of the great Bible films of all time – and one of my personal favorites. DeMille had produced a silent film, The Ten Commandments, in 1923, and now reshot everything in stunning Technicolor. The 1956 version is four hours long, but is never boring… Hokey? Indeed. After Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, he descends the mountain, where his wife looks at him and exclaims, “Moses, your hair!” – as his hair has greyed overnight, evidently due to a virtually radioactive encounter with the Almighty.

What is more striking is how much the politics of the 1950’s bleeds into the movie’s spin on Exodus. The heated conversations between Moses (played by Charlton Heston) and Pharaoh (Yul Brynner) are about freedom from tyranny, human rights, independence, with constant echoes of Cold War sentiments in the U.S. – whereas the people of Israel weren’t bolting for independence or rights or even freedom, but to worship, to learn submission to the Lord, and strict obedience.

via eMoses – Moses at the Movies!.

Food, restaurants, Adam Rapoport, favorites,  lists, the Pearl, Dublin,  Domaine Chandon, Auberge du Soleil, Napa, Frank’s, Pawley’s Island SC, Pisgah Inn, Asheville NC, kith/kin:  So what are your favorite restaurants meals?  i’m still thinking … but I know they are not big named restaurants … more of everything coming together: people, food, ambiance/place.  And I don’t necessarily remember what I ate!  I can think of  … hot dogs at the Varsity (anytime),  Pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters (anytime),  fresh trout at a mountain inn on my honeymoon in Austria (1984) , dinner with the tv crew by a river in Arequipa Peru (1987), dinner with my in-laws at an inn tucked high above the Pacific south of Monterrey CA (1988),  lunch at Domaine Chandon and another at Auberge du Soleil in Napa (1988), in Dublin eating at the Pearl at the bar (2009), fried calamari at a touristy restaurant in Seattle (2003), fresh salmon at a touristy restaurant in Alaska(2005), Molly’s birthday celebration (with a horrible cake) at safety alarm corporate hotel in rural China near Beijing(2007),  chicken tika masala at the Broadley’s home in Nottingham Road SA,  moules frites in Honfleur FR, trout at the Pisgah Inn near Asheville NC (anytime), every meal at Frank’s in Pawley’s Island SC (anytime)… but really my favorite meals are holiday meals with family and my dad’s post-Masters lobster salad.  Here is Mr. Rapoport’s List …

Duke Ziebert’s, 1990

A 21st-birthday lunch with Dad at the D.C. power restaurant. Prime-rib hash and eggs, onion rolls, dill pickles, Coke.

Daniel, 1995

My intro to the NYC big time. Still remember all eight courses, from peekytoe crab with celery gelee to whole roasted halibut tail with tapioca pearls.

In-N-Out Burger, 2001

A long night and an even longer wait for a Double-Double in Vegas.

Peter Luger, 2007

Surprise bachelor dinner two nights before my wedding. Thick-cut bacon + medium-rare porterhouse + creamed spinach + 4 of your closest friends = the perfect meal.

The Fat Duck, 2008

Walked into the U.K. restaurant wondering what the hype was about, left mesmerized.

via Adam Rapoport’s 5 Most Memorable Restaurant Meals: BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

9/11 10th Anniversary, Paul Simon, “Song of Silence”:  “If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.”

If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.

Paul Simon was one of the featured performers at the ten-year 9/11 memorial service in New York on Sunday, where he played Simon & Garfunkel’s hauntingly beautiful 1964 classic, “Sound of Silence.”  Simon was reportedly meant to perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the service, and as much as NewsFeed loves that song, we think the change was perfect. Somehow, the lyrics seem as if they were written for this occasion.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Simon, a native New Yorker, has used his music to comfort in the wake of the attacks; he was Saturday Night Live’s musical guest on the first episode back on the air after the Twin Towers fell. Back then he performed “The Boxer.”

via Watch: Paul Simon Sings ‘Sound of Silence’ at 9/11 Memorial – TIME NewsFeed.

Hacking the Academy, books, academics, social media: Changing world …

An eon ago in Twitter time–that is, yesterday–the online and open-access version of Hacking the Academy, edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, was released through the University of Michigan Press’s DigitalCultureBooks imprint. The final version will be release in print in 2012. A somewhat different version of the text has been, and will continue to be, available on the original website for the project, but as Cohen and Scheinfeldt explain, the goal is both to reach audiences beyond the social media echo chamber and to show how “scholarly and educational content can exist in multiple forms for multiple audiences.”

Originally promoted as a “One Week, One Book” experiment somewhat akin to One Week / One Tool,” Hacking the Academy is an energetic look at ways “the academy might be beneficially reformed using digital media and technology,” a project dear to the heart of this site. (And, indeed, several of the contributors are either ProfHacker writers or guests.) With sections on “Hacking Scholarship,” “Hacking Teaching,” and “Hacking Institutions,” and with multiple contributions that comment directly on one another, Hacking the Academy provides an excellent thumbnail introduction to some of the most interesting questions, challenges, and opportunities posed by the intersection of digital and academic ways of being. The compressed nature of its composition–with only one week to author submissions, many of which were repurposed from other formats–means that the book is necessarily fragmentary and suggestive than comprehensive.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

President Obama, race, culture, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, books:  Are racial attitudes changing post-Obama? OK, the title of the book got my attention.

In the age of Obama, racial attitudes have become more complicated and nuanced than ever before. Inspired by a president who is unlike any Black man ever seen on our national stage, we are searching for new ways of understanding Blackness. In this provocative new book, iconic commentator and journalist TourÉ tackles what it means to be Black in America today.

TourÉ begins by examining the concept of “Post-Blackness,” a term that defines artists who are proud to be Black but don’t want to be limited by identity politics and boxed in by race. He soon discovers that the desire to be rooted in but not constrained by Blackness is everywhere. In Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? he argues that Blackness is infinite, that any identity imaginable is Black, and that all expressions of Blackness are legitimate.

Here, TourÉ divulges intimate, funny, and painful stories of how race and racial expectations have shaped his life and explores how the concept of Post-Blackness functions in politics, society, psychology, art, culture, and more. He knew he could not tackle this topic all on his own so he turned to 105 of the most important luminaries of our time for frank and thought-provoking opinions, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Harold Ford Jr., Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Paul Mooney, New York Governor David Paterson, Greg Tate, Aaron McGruder, Soledad O’Brien, Kamala Harris, Chuck D, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and many others.

via Books> Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?  

John Belk, Davidson College, Charlotte:  The Belks have shaped Charlotte,  John Belk in particular.  And Davidson, too.

Belk, who died in 2007 at age 87, loved three things passionately: Davidson College, the Presbyterian Church and the city of Charlotte, friends say. He quit the Davidson board of trustees in 2005 when the college decided to allow non-Christians on the board, but continued his support of the school where buildings he helped underwrite bear the Belk name.

Historian Tom Hanchett of the Levine Museum of the New South credits Belk with the vision to revive uptown in the ’70s, a time of urban decay across the nation. Belk insisted a new civic center be built in the business district despite strong opposition.

He also opposed district representation on the City Council, recognizing it would interfere with his paternalistic style of leadership. After he lost that battle, he opted not to seek a fifth term.

Belk’s penchant for malapropisms was one of his hallmarks. “A certain amount of fleas are good for the dog, ’cause it keeps him scratching,” he once said.

via WTVI profile recalls vast influence of John Belk | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Post 9/11, follow-up:  Here are some websites and articles that have made me re-think our post 9/11 world.

An Interfaith Answer to “Religious Totalitarianism” and Terrorism | Interfaith Voices.

The Real War:

Religious Totalitarianism

by Thomas L. Friedman

New York Times editorial – November 27, 2001

If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War III, we have to understand what this war is about. We’re not fighting to eradicate “terrorism.” Terrorism is just a tool. We’re fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism.

World War II and the cold war were fought to defeat secular totalitarianism – Nazism and Communism – and World War III is a battle against religious totalitarianism, a view of the world that my faith must reign supreme and can be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated. That’s bin Ladenism. But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism can’t be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.

The generals we need to fight this war are people like Rabbi David Hartman, from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. What first attracted me to Rabbi Hartman when I reported from Jerusalem was his contention that unless Jews reinterpreted their faith in a way that embraced modernity, without weakening religious passion, and in a way that affirmed that God speaks multiple languages and is not exhausted by just one faith, they would have no future in the land of Israel. And what also impressed me was that he knew where the battlefield was. He set up his own schools in Israel to compete with fundamentalist Jews, Muslims and Christians, who used their schools to preach exclusivist religious visions.

After recently visiting the Islamic madrasa in Pakistan where many Taliban leaders were educated, and seeing the fundamentalist religious education the young boys there were being given, I telephoned Rabbi Hartman and asked:

How do we battle religious totalitarianism?

He answered: “All faiths that come out of the biblical tradition – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have the tendency to believe that they have the exclusive truth. When the Taliban wiped out the Buddhist statues, that’s what they were saying. But others have said it too. The opposite of religious totalitarianism is an ideology of pluralism – an ideology that embraces religious diversity and the idea that my faith can be nurtured without claiming exclusive truth. America is the Mecca of that ideology, and that is what bin Laden hates and that is why America had to be destroyed.”

The future of the world may well be decided by how we fight this war. Can Islam, Christianity and Judaism know that God speaks Arabic on Fridays, Hebrew on Saturdays and Latin on Sundays, and that he welcomes different human beings approaching him through their own history, out of their language and cultural heritage? “Is single-minded fanaticism a necessity for passion and religious survival, or can we have a multilingual view of God – a notion that God is not exhausted by just one religious path?” asked Rabbi Hartman.

Many Jews and Christians have already argued that the answer to that question is yes, and some have gone back to their sacred texts to reinterpret their traditions to embrace modernity and pluralism, and to create space for secularism and alternative faiths. Others – Christian and Jewish fundamentalists – have rejected this notion, and that is what the battle is about within their faiths.

What is different about Islam is that while there have been a few attempts at such a reformation, none have flowered or found the support of a Muslim state. We patronize Islam, and mislead ourselves, by repeating the mantra that Islam is a faith with no serious problems accepting the secular West, modernity and pluralism, and the only problem is a few bin Ladens. Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities. Bin Laden reflects the most extreme version of that exclusivity, and he hit us in the face with it on 9/11.

Christianity and Judaism struggled with this issue for centuries, but a similar internal struggle within Islam to re-examine its texts and articulate a path for how one can accept pluralism and modernity – and still be a passionate, devout Muslim – has not surfaced in any serious way. One hopes that now that the world spotlight has been put on this issue, mainstream Muslims too will realize that their future in this integrated, globalized world depends on their ability to reinterpret their past.

via Readings on religion and world events.

bees, beekeeping, apiarists:  I love this description of amateur beekeeping!

Why are we doing this? If you grew up suburban, barefoot and curious, your first memory of pain is probably a bee sting. One wrong step, and clover-specked lawns suddenly feel like minefields. As humans, though, our first experience of sweetness—high-grade, system-shocking, what is this stuff sweetness—was probably honey. Ten thousand years after we started stealing it from wild hives, cartoon bees push their dope to kids watching Saturday-morning TV. Fear and reward, reverence and addiction: our relationship with bees is long and complicated. That’s one way of explaining that early-morning car ride.

via Sweet Stings and Armageddon: My Life as an Amateur Beekeeper.

apps, photography, Photo Academy:  Another that has  caught my attention …

Photo Academy is a comprehensive guide and tool set for photographers of all skill levels. Browse through thousands of tips and sample photos, record your progress in your diary, and expand your photography repertoire.

via App Store – Photo Academy.

29
Aug
11

‎8.29.2011 … Settling in to a Fall routine …

9/11, 9/11 Remembrances – 10 years, President George W. Bush, Where Were You When …Bush Recollects Ground Zero: “It Was Like Walking Into Hell….There Was A Palpable Blood Lust.” – YouTube.

Davidson College, Davidson Basketball, Steph Curry:  Welcome home!

The NBA: just helping make dreams come true, even when it’s clogging up news feeds with stodgy non-updates about a lockout that’s as bleak as this weekend’s beach weather along the Jersey shore.

Curry is back on campus and registered as a full-time undergraduate, taking three classes. The school’s most recognizable commuter student lives approximately 30 minutes away, just outside of Charlotte.

“I’ve had a couple of run-ins already where some kids are a little star-struck,” Curry said.

It’s an intangible gift he can give back to the community that he was largely responsible for invigorating. After Davidson’s Elite Eight run in 2008, applications for the school skyrocketed. Enrollment increased by 300 students, which is large considering Davidson’s undergraduate numbers flirt with the 2,000 mark. Suddenly, there was a housing crisis on campus, which led to two new dormitories.

“I have always wanted to finish since I left,” Curry said. “I made a promise to myself to finish at some point. Once the lockout was looming, I thought about it. It was my idea, and coach McKillop was very helpful to reaching out to professors and get a plan back together.”

It speaks to the tone of the lockout and the NBA’s foggy future for the rest of 2011. Why else would Curry go through the trouble of enrolling at Davidson and committing himself to being a full-time student?

“I’m very optimistic about a deal getting done, it’s just the way the talks have gone so far, I want to be as productive as possible,” he said.

If the improbable happens and the NBA season does start on time or gets going before Curry’s course load comes to an end this semester, there are allowances at the university that Curry could utilize. He would be able to finish up his work from Oakland and send it in.

So, what does Stephen Curry need to take in order to move toward earning his degree? The history of education, medical sociology and research on his senior thesis will be taking up his weekday mornings and afternoons in the coming months. Once he completes those at the end of this semester, he’ll have three more credits to finish, plus his senior thesis, which he said he plans on writing next summer.

He’s already developing a routine. McKillop said Curry stopped at his office in between classes Thursday, just to say “Hi.”

His weekdays go roughly something like this:

• At 7:30 a.m., he has ankle rehab in a suburb of Charlotte. Curry had surgery at the end of May, and said he’ll be ready to get on the court and play competitively in a few weeks. “I’m not so far behind that I wouldn’t be ready if the season were ready to go in [October],” Curry said.

• After his rehab he makes sure to stop at Chick-fil-A. It’s arguably the most important part of his day.

• From there, it’s about a 40-minute drive to Davidson.

• He works out for a few minutes before his late-morning/early-afternoon classes.

• He then stops in to see McKillop, gets in some more shooting or weight-lifting workouts, then heads home to see his wife later in the afternoon.

• Mondays and Wednesdays are one class; Tuesdays and Thursdays, a double-dip.

The turn of events also presents an opportunity to be a student assistant for the basketball team.

via Curry reconnects with Davidson for degree, more, during lockout – NCAA Division I Mens Basketball – CBSSports.com.

Moses, Bible, vocation:  I am still listening for my vocation!

I know their sufferings, and have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up to a land flowing with milk and honey. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people.” But Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” He said, “I will be with you.” Moses said, “What is your name?” God said, “I am who I am. This is my name forever” (Exodus 3).Moses is quite literally minding his business when God surprises him with a startling vocation. We may look forward to “vacation,” but God is all about “vocation,” calling us into active duty, for God and for the community. When God “calls” people in the Bible, there is a noticeable pattern. God calls. The one who hears, and is stunned by the divine encounter, is at a loss for words. God proposes a plan. The mere mortal objects, and usually with good reason – but God reassures. The God of the Bible seems far more interested in availability than in ability. In fact, God at times seems to prefer disability to ability. Moses is often thought of as having a stutter, but Exodus only says “I am not eloquent” – and what shepherd could expect to be eloquent in the courts of Pharaoh?

God’s assignments often are staggering in scope, and costly to us. Robert McAfee Brown said, “Moses ducks and weaves in every possible way to avoid the body blow of the assignment.” Yet God is persistent, and is able to overcome every objection, able to use us in spite of our inability, precisely through our inability.

Notice Moses is not out looking for God. He’s been on the run from God and his destiny for some time! And: God does not relate to Moses so he can have warm, religious feelings and continue on his way. Moses is called into the thick of difficulties, to be God’s representative on behalf of disadvantaged people, even at the point where religion and politics meet, and wage battle with each other.

And what better biography could we have of the nature of God? “I have heard my people’s cry; I know their suffering; I am coming to deliver them, and to bless them.”

via eMoses – Burning Bush.

Justice Clarence Thomas, Virginia Thomas, Constitutional Law, The Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin, literary allusions:  This is just a review of Toobin’s article … I’ll tell you what I think after I read the article.

Jeffrey Toobin’s gripping, must-read profile of Clarence and Virginia Thomas in the New Yorker gives readers new insight into what Sauron must have felt: Toobin argues that the only Black man in public life that liberals could safely mock and despise may be on the point of bringing the Blue Empire down.

In fact, Toobin suggests, Clarence Thomas may be the Frodo Baggins of the right; his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state.

If Toobin’s revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.

Toobin is less interested in exploring why liberal America has been so blind for so long to the force of Clarence Thomas’ intellect than in understanding just what Thomas has achieved in his lonely trek across the wastes of Mordor.  And what he finds is that Thomas has been pioneering the techniques and the ideas that could not only lead to the court rejecting all or part of President Obama’s health legislation; the ideas and strategies Thomas has developed could conceivably topple the constitutionality of the post New Deal state.

It’s hard to argue with Toobin that Thomas has moved the ball down field in his quest for a new era of constitutional jurisprudence.  Sauron’s tower is probably not going to fall right away, but for the first time, progressives are beginning to see credible scenarios which could change the rules of the game.

Jeffrey Toobin is announcing to the liberal world that Clarence Thomas has morphed from a comic figure of fun to a determined super-villain who might reverse seventy years of liberal dominance of the federal bench and turn the clock back to 1930 if not 1789.

The fantasy is still far fetched, and it is notoriously hard for political movements to get and hold power long enough to shift the balance on the Supreme Court, but that Thomas has accomplished as much as he has shows how far the country has drifted from the old days when liberals were confident that the Supreme Court would find new ways to fit its judicial philosophy to the demands of the blue social model.

They can no longer count on that; the consequences could be extreme.

via New Blue Nightmare: Clarence Thomas and the Amendment of Doom | Via Meadia.

2012 Presidential Election, Michelle Bachmann:  I am already tired of this woman.

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Team Bachmann says the line wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

“Obviously she was saying it in jest,” campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told TPM.

via Michele Bachmann: Earthquake, Irene Were A Wake Up Call From God For Politicians | TPMDC.

The Help, movies, bookshelf, reviews, racism:  To a large extent  I agree with this woman … but I thought the black actresses in the movie added authenticity.  But she nails it “they question whether she [a white woman] is capable of telling that particular story.”  Also, “Cultures function and persist by consensus.” And this is where I am left … I belief that my Southern white family is good … at what point does the sin of a culture become my sin.

To some extent, they have been angry that the movie is based on a novel by a white woman, Kathryn Stockett, and they question whether she is capable of telling that particular story. Some have also complained that the movie reinforces stereotypes about black Southern households. The black heroines speak with a dialect that disturbs some viewers; the audience never sees an intact black household, and a black man’s abuse of his wife is all the more chilling because we never see him, only the pots he hurls and the scars he leaves.

One maid’s close bond with the white toddler she cares for has been decried as a re-enactment of the misconception that maids nurtured their white charges while denigrating their own black offspring.

Not all blacks are unmoved by “The Help.” Indeed, among my friends, relatives and colleagues a wide range of views have been shared, including comments that some of us might want to establish a support group for strong black women who liked “The Help.”

This movie deploys the standard formula. With one possible exception, the white women are remarkably unlikable, and not just because of their racism. Like the housewives portrayed in reality television shows, the housewives of Jackson treat each other, their parents and their husbands with total callousness. In short, they are bad people, therefore they are racists.

There’s a problem, though, with that message. To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not.

Cultures function and persist by consensus. In Jackson and other bastions of the Jim Crow South, the pervasive notion, among poor whites and rich, that blacks were unworthy of full citizenship was as unquestioned as the sanctity of church on Sunday. “The Help” tells a compelling and gripping story, but it fails to tell that one.

I have dim recollections of watching Dr. King in 1963, with the black maid who raised me — my mother. If my father wasn’t in the room, he was working to make sure there would be opportunities in my future. I have benefited enormously from their hard work and from the shift that American culture has undergone as the scaffolding of discrimination was dismantled.

via Dangerous White Stereotypes – NYTimes.com.

The Holy Land Experience, Orlando FL, Disney, faith and spirituality, Facts Stranger Than Fiction…:  Anybody been?  I haven’t, but I do have a few thoughts: 1) reminds me of PTL, 2) disneyfies the Biblical stories, and 3) monetarily competes with “theme parks.” Just doesn’t work for me … I don’t want my kids comparing faith with fiction … Jesus with Harry Potter or Moses with Dumbledore.

 

The Holy Land Experience is a living biblical museum and park that brings the world of the Bible alive!

It combines the sights and sounds of the biblical world in a unique and interactive way unlike anywhere else! To appreciate everything there is to do at The Holy Land Experience, you will want to plan to spend a full day with us.

via Exhibits – The Holy Land Experience.




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