Graduate student Stephen Hedger, from the University of Chicago, US, had perfect pitch identified by objective tests. He explained what it meant.
“I’m able to name any musical note in isolation without the aid of a reference note. Someone with perfect pitch would be able to tell you a car alarm is honking in F sharp, for example. Generally it enables people to identify notes across a wide variety of octaves.”
Mr Hedger was tricked by his colleague who secretly adjusted the pitch on an electronic keyboard as he was playing a tune. The notes were made flat by 33 cents – which is one-third of the distance between adjacent keys on a piano.
People with perfect pitch did not identify out of tune tones after hearing music that was slightly flat
When the note was shifted back to its original correct key, it sounded drastically sharp to Hedger, who explained he found it “shocking” that he had not noticed the change.
A similar model was tested on 27 students with perfect pitch. They were played a piece of music for 45 minutes which was gradually changed over time to become flatter.
The subjects then perceived the flattened music as in tune, while the in-tune notes were perceived as slightly sharp.
“In the literature, perfect pitch is talked about as a fixed ability, so it was quite surprising to find that as little as 45 minutes of de-tuned music could temporarily shift note categories,” Mr Hedger told BBC News.
“What this points to is the malleability of the human brain. Relatively brief exposure to flattened music is able to rearrange what was thought to be a very long-term and stable note category.
“This is a great example of how our immediate surroundings and perceptions can change the way in which we view the world.”
Posts Tagged ‘music
music memories, Soundhound, apps: Recently i noted that I now enjoy getting into the car and listening to my kids’ music, something that used to annoy me. So here’s what I heard. And thank you Soundhound.
Where Do You Go by Sister Hazel
Long-distance running, evolution, anthropology: Great article … Long-distance running and evolution: Why humans can outrun horses but can’t jump higher than cats. – Slate Magazine.
“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, labyrinths, daily meditation, Henri Nouwen: Rainy day with friend … Birds were singing madly, then one little robin drops from the protection of the dense foliage. I just had to smile.
My daily meditation was from Henri Nouwen:
We continue to put ourselves down as less than Christ. Thus, we avoid the full honour as well as the full pain of the Christian life. But the Spirit that guided Jesus guides us. Paul says: “The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” Romans 8:16-17.When we start living according to this truth, our lives will be radically transformed. We will not only come to know the full freedom of the children of God but also the full rejection of the world. It is understandable that we hesitate to claim the honor so as to avoid the pain. But, provided we are willing to share in Christs suffering, we also will share in his glory see Romans 8:17.
Labyrinth — at Myers Park Baptist Church.
Ray Bradbury, RIP, PaperlessPost: Love this tribute to Ray Bradbury from PaperlessPost:
For Ray Bradbury, who brought to life the things we could not have even imagined.
1.20.2012 … Lunch in Davidson at Toast then music by locals at the college … The final piece, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, performed by a teenager, was phenomenal! — with Susan …
Tags: 2012 Presidential Election, Abraham Lincoln, advice, Apple, Apps, basketball, Charles Dickens, Charles Dickens bicentennial, cloud technology, college application process, curiosity, Davidson, Davidson College, Denver Broncos, doodles, Edgar Allen Poe, education, free ride, GOP Debates, hybrid stores, John Steinbeck, kith/kin, LBD (little black dress), lifelong learning, literature, love, marginalia, marketing, music, Norma Kamali Kulture, OnLive Desktop, public speaking, race issues, Rachmaninoff, Samuel Beckett, Tim Tebow, Toast, vocabulary, websites
Davidson, Toast, music, Rachmaninoff: Lunch in Davidson at Toast then music by locals at the college … The final piece, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, performed by a teenager, was phenomenal! — with Susan. I closed my eyes and imagined my grandmother Matibel Dennard playing that piece in Athens Ga in approximately 1920 in the state high school music competition … which she won!
2012 Presidential Election, GOP Debates: another one bites the dust … RIP Rick Perry … Did I hear this was the 17th debate? Have you changed your mind because of them!
college application process, kith/kin, UNC: Molly has a college option … 🙂
Davidson College, basketball:
That was it. Kansas was done. Losing that game meant there was no way coach Bill Self’s team, one that couldn’t even beat a lowly Southern Conference squad, could hold off Baylor and Missouri in the rugged Big 12.
But the Jayhawks haven’t lost since Davidson. They demolished rival Kansas State to open conference play, then crushed previously undefeated Baylor on Monday. All of a sudden, Kansas looks like a very legitimate Final Four squad. At the time, the loss to Davidson was all about the Jayhawks; very few people even considered what the win meant about the Wildcats.
Well, it’s time to consider the Wildcats.
“When you get a big win like that, it builds and you just want to keep it going,” said guard Nik Cochran, who was 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc against Kansas and finished with 21 points in the upset. “It definitely gave us a lot of confidence that we know we can play with anyone in the country.”
The Wildcats played a challenging non-conference schedule. They hung around long enough to give Duke a mild scare at Cameron Indoor, and they pushed Vanderbilt to the final few seconds before losing.
In the win against Kansas, though, everything came together.
“What happens when you have a victory like that is it’s recognized so nationally that the memory of it is constantly brought to the players’ minds,” McKillop said. “They’re watching Kansas beat Baylor the other night and Dick Vitale mentions it a couple of times. Well, that resurrects that memory, and that’s a good memory, something they can think about as they come to practice and get better.”
This is a relatively young Davidson squad—McKillop starts three juniors and two sophomores—but it’s also an experienced team. The Wildcats returned 81 percent of their scoring and 87 percent of their rebounding from last year’s team.
public speaking, advice, Abraham Lincoln:
Introducing “Show and Tell,” a series in which we ask arts professionals for advice that applies to our everyday lives. First up: how to be a good public speaker, with David Selby, who plays Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre’s “Necessary Sacrifices,” opening Friday. Selby, 70, has appeared in numerous Broadway, off-Broadway and regional productions and has portrayed Lincoln multiple times, most recently in “The Heavens Are Hung in Black” at Ford’s in 2009.
free ride, marketing, hybrid stores, Apple:
But ample showrooms and well-trained staff are costly. And consumers may find that, having made their choice, they can save money by buying from dealers who skimp on such expenses—or, in the case of internet-only sellers, who spend nothing on maintaining physical outlets.
Rival dealers also like to see others invest in high-quality stores. In one of the cheekiest examples of low-cost sellers free-riding on other retailers’ lavish spending, Dixons, an online electronics retailer in Britain, ran a big advertising campaign in 2009 urging the public to try out televisions and other gadgets in big department stores—and then go to its website and buy them more cheaply (ironically, the parent company of Dixons operates physical stores vulnerable to online free-riders).
Unsurprisingly, high-quality retailers have trouble recouping their costs—a phenomenon economists call a “missing market”. That is a good thing for consumers: free-riding dealers keep prices down. But they also cause problems. The pressure on prices forces full-service dealers to cut spending on showrooms and advertising. As a result, fewer consumers may get to know the products, and overall demand for them may fall.
A paper by two American-based academics, published in 2001, just as the dotcom boom had turned to bust, suggested a market-friendly answer to all this. The manufacturers themselves could open “hybrid stores”, in which the full range of their products are beautifully displayed, but with not much stock. Consumers could try out the products, even if they ultimately bought them from a retailer elsewhere. The best-known adopter of this approach is Apple, a computer maker, whose chain of stores in city centres and shopping malls let browsers try out the company’s gadgets, with lots of bright young assistants offering advice, but with little pressure to buy.
Joe Oddo, one of the authors of the Capgemini report, notes that carmakers are increasingly following suit. Many have opened chains of Apple-like car showrooms in city centres, where potential buyers can kick tyres, sit behind the wheel and maybe even do a test-drive. Those who decide to buy are typically directed towards a retail dealership close to their home, which will also offer the after-sales services that motorists prefer to have close by. This is unlikely to reverse the trend towards fewer, larger dealerships (see chart). But neighbourhood dealers will no longer need to maintain such well-appointed and heavily staffed showrooms. The free-riding problem is unlikely to go away, but it will be less costly
Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos, race issues:
Yes, many people feel that that the issue of race and the quarterback position in the NFL was settled long ago, when Michael Vick became the first African-American quarterback to be selected with the first overall draft pick in 2001 by the Atlanta Falcons.
But the social issues around Vick are still generating heated discussion. On ESPN’s “First Take” several days ago, the panelists debated whether Tebow was in fact getting exposure because he was white and that black quarterbacks in the past had not been given the same opportunities. On the show, sports journalist Rob Parker stated “The NFL is making an exception for Tebow which has created resentment that is grounded in the question of ‘How come black players with similar skills in the past were not granted the chance to play quarterback?’”
There is little comparison between Tebow and Michael Vick apart from the fact that they are both left-handed, Vick clearly was a polished passer with very good mechanics meshed with tremendous speed and uncanny athletic ability. In essence he challenged many of the historic criticisms that limited the opportunities of those before him, black quarterbacks could not “read” defenses, did not have the ability to go through their progressions, or were not fundamentally sound mechanically throwing the football. Tebow has largely been described as a leader or winner, a player with intangibles who has drive and determination, and rock solid Christian faith despite having poor technique that causes numerous inaccurate passes to the tune of a 46.5 completion percentage. Professional football, unlike baseball or basketball only has a sixteen game regular season and coaches typically don’t have the luxury of extending patience to players–particularly quarterbacks who are not accurate.
Many thought that Tebow would find himself in a similar position, maybe as a hybrid quarterback/tight end/fullback, but instead the Broncos have stuck with their young quarterback. As a long-time Pittsburgh Steeler fan, I am not unbiased in my critique of the mania that this young man has generated, but he must be given credit for bringing raw determination, faith and more importantly chemistry to a team few believed had a chance to make the post season.
curiosity, education, lifelong learning: !!
We are all lifelong learners, from day one to twenty-thousand-and-one, and that’s why we keep exploring, wondering and discovering, yearning and learning, reaching with more than just our hands… The future belongs to the curious.”
Definitive Jest is a vocabulary-building and SNOOT-approved word-of-the-day blog centered around David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.*
John Steinbeck, advice, love: Love this!
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Strange as it might sound, the dead bird and accompanying year-long Dickens program at the Free Library probably provide the perfect means for the American culture vulture to celebrate not only Dickens’s 200th birthday on Feb. 7, but also the little-known yet astonishing impact of Grip on American letters and popular culture to this day.
“That’s because Grip is ‘The Raven,’ ” said Edward G. Pettit, a lecturer at La Salle University, author of “Edgar Allan Poe in Philadelphia” (History Press, 2012) and consultant to the library’s coming year of exhibits, readings, pub crawls and other events to mark Dickens’s ties to Philadelphia and, more subtly, Poe’s shadow behind Dickens.
Poe (1809-49) was a literary critic in Baltimore, New York and, for six years, Philadelphia. (After his wife died, he wandered back to Baltimore, where he died mysteriously in the streets.) In 1841, he reviewed Dickens’ serialized new novel, “BarnabyRudge” for Graham’s Magazine, explained Pettit. The novel, long out of favor, centers on anti-Catholic riots in London and a strange hero named Rudge, who has a goofball talking raven named Grip. At the end of the fifth chapter, Grip makes a noise and someone asks, “What was that — him tapping at the door?”
Another character responds, “’Tis someone knocking softly at the shutter.”
In his review, Poe both accurately predicts the outcome of the serialized novel, and suggested that a spooky raven like Grip could have a more weighty role in literature.
“Two years after Dickens visited Philadelphia, when both met and groused about copyright infringement,” Pettit continued, “Poe writes ‘The Raven,’ with its haunting refrain of ‘Nevermore.’ ” The poem, for which he was paid $15 (about $350 in inflation-adjusted dollars today) “sweeps Poe to instant fame, if not fortune, and generations of American kids get their first exposure to poetry, usually in high school or junior high, through ‘The Raven.’ ”
OnLive Desktop, apps, cloud technology:
Most well-known for its cloud gaming service, OnLive rolled out a pretty ambitious product for Windows users looking to get a little work done. The company’s new OnLive Desktop iPad app grants you access to a version of Windows and, most importantly, Microsoft Office apps that run from OnLive’s servers directly to your tablet. Oh, and it’s free.
Norma Kamali Kulture, LBD (little black dress): LBDs … Under-$100!
Norma Kamali is launching a collection named Kamali Kulture this season, featuring a lineup of figure-flattering Polyester-Lycra jersey LBDs ranging in price from $74 to $96. “There are always situations when you need a little black dress,” the legendary designer told InStyle. “I know that no matter what woman you put in front of me, I can find a flattering dress for her in this line.” To see more Kamali Kulture looks—including dresses designed to balance your hips, highlight your collarbones and enhance your chest—check out page 129 in InStyle’s February issue, on newsstands now. We’ll reveal the full lineup soon, and you can sign up for updates at kamalikulture.com. Plus, read our tips on shopping for your shape!
Samuel Beckett, doodles, marginalia:
Novelist, playwright, poet, and Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. As a hopeless lover of marginalia and voyeur of famous creators’ notebooks, I was thrilled to discover these excerpts from the original manuscript of Watt, Beckett’s second novel and a pinnacle of his signature deadpan philosophical humor, courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The manuscript consists of 945 pages spanning six notebooks and loose sheets, written in ink and colored crayons between 1940 and 1945, and features a wealth of doodles, sketches, mathematical calculations, rhyming schemes, and drawings.
12.6.2011 …. icbg … .. time for a second opinion … I think I will just go for the bg part … and don’t you think Jane looks lovely :)
Tags: Apps, Ayn Rand, cake balls, Campbell Soup Company, Christmas, Christmas carols, csr, design, dichotomies, eternal youth, fashion, flash sites, GILT, history, Jane Austen, journalists, Kathryn Schulz, kudos, makes you think, media, music, NPR, psychology, regret, salt dough ornaments, short film, TED, the mind, Tony Bennett, yoga
yoga, Ayn Rand: Makes you think …
The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing something selfish and virtuous at the same time. You are sweating and suffering and honing a “watchful mind,” but also taking a break from your daily burdens and acquiring fantastic-looking abs. And that’s the genius of Ayn Rand: She made egoism the ultimate good. What Christianity labels as the unfortunate consequence of original sin, Rand saw as man’s natural and best state. (Interestingly, while Ayn Rand’s atheism bothers conservative evangelicals, it seems to bother some of them less than does yoga, which they view as paganism parading as a health movement. John Galt, at least, would have shared their hatred of Obamacare.)
— Slate on the Who Is John Galt quasi-meme and what Aynd Rand and yoga have in common
eternal youth, Tony Bennett, music, kudos: Never liked him, but kudos!
In a youth-oriented industry, Tony Bennett is enjoying some of his greatest successes at the age of 85.
In September, the acclaimed vocalist scored his first-ever No.1 album on the Billboard 200, becoming the oldest living person to top the chart. Last week, he garnered three Grammy nominations for his hit album “Duets II.” And when he stopped by the Wall Street Journal’s acoustic music showcase the WSJ Cafe he talked about collaborating with such stars Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse, the British vocalist who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.
apps, NPR: Mu local station has an app … which is great … now I can just pull up NPR.
NPR News: The ultimate portable NPR experience for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Follow local and national news and listen to your favorite NPR stations wherever you are and whenever you want to.
via App Store – NPR News.
Campbell Soup Company, csr, kudos: Idealistic Realistic …
Instead of making lethal cuts, we decided that our dream — our vision — was to transform Campbell into a place where employees wanted to be…and wanted to stay. You can’t have an organization that consistently delivers high performance unless you have a consistently high level of engagement predicated on trust. We needed to restore both — trust and engagement. If we could do that, then we were sure the profits would follow. There were a lot of things we changed, from the leadership team to package design — you’ve read about those. But what took the momentum at Campbell to an even higher level in terms of employee engagement happened more recently.
One of the primary things that makes Campbell a place where people want to come to work is the company’s earnest and ongoing commitment to our communities around the globe. We forged an ambitious plan to make Camden, our hometown for more than 140 years, a better place. That is what is helping employees feel more fulfilled despite even this latest economic crisis.
As a food company, working hand-in-hand with a cadre of strategic local and national partners, we centered our efforts on health and nutrition. The project, still in its infancy, is focused on cutting the BMI (Body Mass Index) of Camden’s 23,000 children in half over the next decade. It includes bringing nutritionists into schools and having Campbell’s chefs help parents think about ways to serve healthy food at home. And that is just the beginning: Today, Campbell is working to attract food retailers to Camden’s food desert — the city has only one supermarket — and helping to build neighborhood gardens to get children closer to the food supply. Campbell is also sponsoring activities for youth to increase physical fitness in schools and to help them remain active and occupied when school is not in session. And the company is developing the areas all around its world headquarters — leveling run-down buildings to attract commerce.
It is an ambitious agenda but it is right in Campbell’s sweet spot. And why not? It has advanced our corporate agenda. Focusing these efforts on food and nutrition has allowed us to smartly leverage our resources. Another part of the corporate social responsibility plan — committing to cut Campbell’s carbon footprint by half — has saved money and lowered costs. Campbell is earnestly and sincerely helping to build a better world within the scope of what the company does well. But even more than that, employees are proud to be associated with a company that is doing this kind of work, and consumers in the community and beyond have supported our efforts and our business.
The flywheel effect is astounding and ongoing: Winning in the community leads to winning in the workplace and winning in the marketplace. The more the Company takes care of the world, the more the world responds. The more the company leans into building a better society in a strategically focused way, the better the company performs.
Gallup, the polling and research firm, studied the engagement levels of Campbell’s managers back in 2002 and found that for every 2 people actively engaged in the business, 1 was actively disengaged. Anecdotally, those numbers were the worst for any Fortune 500 firm at the time. As of 2011, the story is far different: 17 Campbell employees are actively engaged for every 1 employee who is actively disengaged. Gallup considers twelve to one to be world-class.
Beautiful animated short film about a racist barber in 1930s New York, who moves away from bigotry after a magic trumpet arrives at his shop
Christmas, cake balls: This is my life for the next few weeks!
Easy to make and delicious to eat, cake balls can be made out of any of your favorite cake recipes. All you do is make the cake, crumble it up and mix it with frosting or cream cheese then roll the cake mixture into balls, bake and dip. But, don’t take our word for it, look at Bakerella‘s video below.Karen Chiumento uses only fresh, all natural ingredients in her hand made cake balls. Yes, they ship! Photo by Jacqueline Marque
Bakerella explains it very easily. She also wrote the Cake Pops book (below) with recipes and decorating ideas. Cake Pops are Cake Balls with a lollipop stick in them!
journalists, media: As a lawyer, I often feel “attacked” … never thought about the journalists feeling that way!
Writers from around the country have posted pictures and life stories at the ‘We Are Journalists‘ blog on Tumblr.
Launched by St. Petersburg Times reporter Emily Nipps (pictured, via) the site gives journalists a place to share why they keep writing despite a challenging economy and a rapidly changing profession. Why do you keep writing?
Here’s more from the site: “We are journalists. We are proud of what we do. We are tired of bad press about the press. We are trying to be ‘team players.’ We are terrified of more layoffs and paycuts. We would like to produce quality work without ‘obamasux99′ posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”
design, dichotomies, makes you think …: Excellent essay … makes you think …
We’re at the apex of our power, but the nadir of our potency. Let’s start with the biggest heartbreaker of them all: We are at a moment in history when, as designers, we are at our most powerful. There is almost nothing we cannot make, enjoying the triumphs of research and development in materials science, manufacturing technology, and information systems. We can get any answer we seek through social networks, peer communities, or hired guns. We have sub-specialties at unimaginably thin slices of expertise—from ubiquitous computing to synthetic biology—and a plumbing system in the Internet that is simultaneously unprecedented in human history and entirely taken for granted.
At the same time, unbelievably, we have never been in worse shape: We are witnessing the collapse of every natural system on earth. Take your pick—on the ground we’ve got clear-cutting, desertification and agricultural run-off. Underneath we’ve got fracking and groundwater contamination. In the air, greenhouse gasses; in the oceans, ice sheet melting, acidification and Pacific trash vortices; in space we have the ghastly and ultimately impossible problem of space debris (we won’t be able to leave even when we’re ready to, and nobody will be able to get in to help us if they wanted to). We carry body-burdens of toxic chemicals leached and outgassed from our homes, our cars, our food packaging. The consequences of industrialization metastasize out to slave factory labor, massive river diversions, obesity, malnutrition, gender inequality, rampant poverty, minefields. We tax our economies with war machinery instead of fueling healthcare and education provision. We feel helpless on the one end and hopeless on the other.
How can we be so strong and yet so weak? How can it be that we, as a species, are at the absolute height of our power at exactly the same moment that we are on the precipice of self-annihilation?
psychology, the mind, makes you think…: Another good essay …
If someone asked you to describe the psychological aspects of personhood, what would you say? Chances are, you’d describe things like thought, memory, problem-solving, reasoning, maybe emotion. In other words, you probably list the major headings of a cognitive psychology text-book. In cognitive psychology, we seem to take it for granted that these are, objectively, the primary components of “the mind” (even if you reject a mind/body dualism, you probably accept some notion that there are psychological processes similar to the ones listed above). I’ve posted previously about whether the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive even makes sense. But, here, I want to think about the universality of the “mind” concept and its relationship to the modern view of cognition.
In fact, this conception of the mind is heavily influenced by a particular (Western) cultural background. Other cultures assign different characteristics and abilities to the psychological aspects of personhood. Wierzbicka (2005) delves into this problem in detail. She argues that speakers of a particular language make assumptions about what must be universal based on their own ability to imagine doing without a certain concept. Important cross-cultural differences in meaning become lost in translation. For instance, Piaget’s “The moral judgment of the child” was translated to English by substituting the French “juste” with the English “fair.” So, English readers think they are reading about the development of fairness in children, when this was not the author’s intention.
Christmas, Christmas carols, history: this is a great history of Christmas carols in particular and Christmas generally.
At face value, the Christmas carol may be the least captivating style of occasional song. While other popular tunes arise from passion or desire, heroism or defeat, the Yuletide songbook is a catalog of modest thrills and postindustrial neuroses. A quick survey turns up portraits of manic stress release (“Jingle Bells”), overwrought hallucination (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”), complex Freudian trauma (“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), desperate midlife lechery (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), forced enthusiasm (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”), and thinly veiled xenophobia (“Dominick the Donkey … the Italian Christmas donkey!”). It was apparently decided long ago that we can overcome these demons by frightening them away with feckless vocalization. Carol-singing, like drinking, accounts for a large part of boisterous group behavior in this country. If a large posse of merrymakers rings your doorbell in the quiet suburban night, there is an equal chance that you should call the cops or offer them a nutmeg-flavored snack.
Consider, too, that Christmas carols have no obvious counterparts among the other holidays. Large group odes are not sung in anticipation of Memorial Day.
If anything, their legitimacy as tradition has only increased in recent years. Today’s carols are one of our few genuine access points to the history of Western pop music, the centuries of mainstream fare buried beneath our own.
flash sites, fashion, GILT: I have never bought anything from a flash fashion site … new term for me … but have bought from groupon, etc.
It’s not surprising that fashion deal sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, which often offer designer merchandise discounted up to 80%, have garnered more than 5 million members in just a few short years. Known for “flash sales”—deals that typically last just 36-48 hours—these members-only websites feature excess inventory from more than 1,000 brands at steeply reduced prices.
Gilt Groupe launched in fall 2007, and the industry has quickly become packed with competitors, with Amazon.com’s MyHabit launching in May. “There are lots of outlets that offer consumers huge assortments that take a lot of time to shop,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The beauty of the flash business is that we’re perfect for that time-starved consumer. You can shop our site for five minutes every day. It’s a very specific, curated assortment, and we help to pick the right things for you.”
But the bargain sites aren’t just booming among consumers. In May, CNN Money reported that flash sites made $1 billion in sales in 2010, with a projected $6 billion revenue figure by 2015. As these retailers expand to include travel, home and culinary deals, TIME Moneyland asked the presidents and CEOs of the top five fashion flash sites about making the most of the online deal-hunting experience.
Jane Austen: New picture … changed perception … This discovery reminds me of the movie Possession …
Jane Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne claims to have discovered a lost portrait of the author which, far from depicting a grumpy spinster, shows a writer at the height of her powers and a woman comfortable in her own skin.
The only accepted portraits of Austen to date are her sister Cassandra’s 1810 sketch, in which she looks cross, and an 1870 adaptation of that picture. But when Byrne, biographer of Evelyn Waugh and Mary “Perdita” Robinson and with an Austen biography due out in 2013, was given a portrait of a female author acquired by her husband, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, at auction, she was immediately struck by the possibility that it could be a lost drawing of Austen.
The portrait drawing, in graphite on vellum, had been in a private collection for years, and was being auctioned as an “imaginary portrait” of Austen, with “Miss Jane Austin” written on the back. “When my husband bought it he thought it was a reasonable portrait of a nice lady writer, but I instantly had a visceral reaction to it. I thought it looks like her family. I recognised the Austen nose, to be honest, I thought it was so striking, so familiar,” Byrne told the Guardian. “The idea that it was an imaginary portrait – that seemed to me to be a crazy theory. That genre doesn’t exist, and this looks too specific, too like the rest of her family, to have been drawn from imagination.”
Byrne pointed out that Austen did not become famous until 1870, 50 years after her death, and the portrait has been dated to the early 19th century, around 1815, on the basis of the subject’s clothes. “Why would someone have wanted to draw her from their imagination, when she was not popular at that time?” she asked.
One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been
Kathryn Schulz, psychology, regret, TED: TED provides me with some of my favorite information.
My friend Kathryn Schulz, who penned the excellent book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest, bravest, most thoughtful journalists working today, recently gave a TED talk about regret. As the new owner of ink that makes me very happy, what got me to pay even closer attention was Kathryn’s extended example of her own tattoo as a lens for examining the psychology of regret, a vehicle for her characteristically potent formula of universal wisdom channelled through personal anecdotes and hard data.
Make sure you watch to the very end, it’s well worth it.
Twitter, ideal life: I follow a couple of these …. Martha Stewart Wannabees …
For more holiday ideas and inspirations, pop over to the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts today and discover what the experts are decorating, cooking and planning for a festive December. And then join us on Twitter Thursday 8 December at 8pm EST for the popular #HolidayHQ tweet chat for even more holiday ideas.
Christmas, salt dough ornaments: Add another to the list?
My fondest Christmas memory is sitting around our kitchen table watching my mother turn dough into works of art, she effortless hand crafted a jointed Santa Clause, an ornate rocking horse and many other keep sake ornaments while I fiddled around with gingerbread cookie cutters wondering why I did not inherit her creative gene. While those around me are turning their kitchens into cookie factories, churning out confections for countless recipients, parties and hostess gifts, I am recreating my favourite Christmas memory and creating the most delightful decorations for our holiday tree, gift toppers and garlands. While many of us think of salt dough crafts as the back bone of elementary school projects (and granted mine do have that air about them), artisans have been working with salt dough for centuries creating elaborate works of art using the most basic of ingredients: salt, water, flour and paint.
Tags: A Cappella, Advent, Anthropologie, books, college education, Disney Medley, documentary, FDR, First-Class Mail, Gothamatic, Great Recession, life, lists, music, Newt Gingrich, photography, President Obama, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sexting, Spotify, US Postal Service, USPS, videos, YouTube
Advent: So the Unapologetically Episcopalian had a link to a boy’s choir singing … So I looked down at the others and had a good laugh with this one … Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord … Happy Advent! Godspell – 1973 – “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord” & “God Save the People” – YouTube.
college education, Great Recession, President Obama: So what did they decide ..
Several university presidents and chancellors will join President Obama for a private meeting at the White House on Monday to talk about affordability in higher education.
The White House and the Education Department did not respond to questions about the meeting, which was first reported on Friday by Inside Higher Ed, an online news source.
But an official of a higher-education association, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the presidents and other leaders in attendence will include F. King Alexander, president of California State University at Long Beach; Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas system; Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University; William (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland; Holden Thorp, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York. The names of other invitees could not be learned late Friday.
The discussion will be a candid conversation about how higher education can remove barriers “to college access, affordability, and success for students,” according to a letter of invitation, from the White House to the higher-education leaders, that was obtained by The Chronicle.
photography, Gothamatic, LIFE: I just like this stuff …
Every day, photographer Zoran Milich roams New York City with his camera; every week, LIFE.com compiles his best shots for Gothamatic. | For the holidays, employees at a Starbucks on Roosevelt Island dress as Santa’s elves. (Roosevelt Island)
Anthropologie, spotify, music: I loved this list …
In case anyone’s interested, I made the @Anthropologie Sounds of the Holidays playlist into a @Spotify playlist. open.spotify.com/user/128766280…
Ralph Waldo Emerson, documentary: Worth watching …
Emerson: The Ideal in America is the first documentary about the life and work of the great thinker, whose belief in “the infinitude of the private man” is embedded in contemporary concepts ranging from spirituality to spirit of entrepreneurship to ideals of individualism and personal agency. The film is available both online in its entirety and on DVD
US Postal Service, USPS, First-Class Mail: Sounds like economy to me.
The agency said the slower delivery would result from its decision to shut about half of its 487 mail processing centers nationwide. The move is expected to eliminate about 28,000 jobs and increase the distance that mail must travel between post offices and processing centers. It would be the first reduction in delivery standards for first-class mail in 40 years.
Current standards call for delivering first-class mail in one to three days within the continental United States. Under the planned cutbacks, those delivery times would increase to two or three days, potentially creating problems for clients of Netflix, the popular DVD-by-mail service, who hope that their next episodes of “Mad Men” will arrive in a day, or procrastinators who like to pay bills as late as possible.
books: I love books …
It’s surprising how many academics who identify with the digital humanities also have ties to “the History of the Book,” a field that has long been nurtured by seminars in great libraries. On the shelves of such scholars you may find the five magisterial volumes on The History of the Book in America, placed near Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. New media emerge, but they do not immediately replace old media.
Contrary to many futuristic projections—even from bibliophiles who, as a group, enjoy melancholy reveries—the recent technological revolution has only deepened the affection that many scholars have for books and libraries, and highlighted the need for the preservation, study, and cherishing of both.
A Cappella, Disney Medley: 🙂
YouTube, lists, videos: What is your favorite … The 10 coolest YouTube videos of 2011 …
Chosen from the YouTube blog’s highlights from each week of the year. Nominate your favorite video from 2011 in a comment below.
FDR, Newt Gingrich: “F.D.R. wore a cloak. I can’t see any of these guys wearing a cloak.”
On January 4, 1988 — it was, hard to believe, a quarter century ago — The New Yorker ran a Donald Reilly cartoon that has stuck with me all these years. A man and his wife are in bed watching a news report on the ’88 campaign, and the man says, “F.D.R. wore a cloak. I can’t see any of these guys wearing a cloak.”
It is a perennial lament, one we are hearing anew as the Republican nomination race closes in on the actual casting of votes, and every candidate appears small if not fatally flawed. The past always seems somehow more golden, more serious, than the present. We tend to forget the partisanship of yesteryear, preferring to re-imagine our history as a sure and steady march toward greatness.
The problem with such narratives is that they are in fact ahistorical. Franklin Roosevelt was hated by a large number of Americans in real time; some people actually celebrated when word came of his death in April 1945. From Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to FDR to Reagan, every great president inspires enormous affection and enormous hostility. We’ll all be much saner, I think, if we remember that history is full of surprises (both good and bad) and things that seemed absolutely certain one day are often unimaginable the next. (Remember President Palin?)
The latest surprise in American politics is Newt Gingrich’s surge.
Is Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney a terrific president-in-waiting, or can Barack Obama regain control of events to a degree sufficient to master the presidency and right the nation’s course? If we are being honest about things, we will acknowledge that we just don’t know.
Back to that New Yorker cartoon: it seemed pitch-perfect at the time. Yet one of those unimpressive “guys” running in 1988 who didn’t seem to measure up to cloak status has actually emerged as a strong historical figure. If not quite F.D.R. — and who is? — George H.W. Bush proved a fine president, and he looks better and better as the years pass. It’s more than possible that one of the men provoking such chattering-class disdain today may wind up a figure of veneration in coming decades. I wouldn’t call the tailor to get a cloak in the works, but stranger things have happened.
sexting: I feel stupid. 🙂
From the London Free Press:
1. CD9 – code 9 parents are around
2. P911 – parent alert
3. PIR – parent in room
4. 8 – oral sex (or ate)
5. GYPO – get your pants off
6. GNRN – get naked right now
7. RUH – are you horny
8. CU46 – see you for sex
9. IWSN – I want sex now
10. GNOC – get naked on camera (webcam)”
How did you do on your translations? Did you know what they mean without the answers? Ididn’t do well at all but then again I tend to spell all my texts out.
Thanksgiving, prayers, Lincoln, history:
Jon Meacham (@jmeacham)
11/24/11 10:24 AM
Lincoln, Thanksgiving 1863, asked prayers for “all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers.”We sd repeat them today.
Rev. James Howell, prayer, Thanksgiving Day 2011: excellent prayer … I must admit stole heavily from it for my reading at our Thanksgiving table.
O Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good (Psalm 118:1). What shall I render to the Lord for all His bounty? I will lift up the sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17).
Thanksgiving dinner, political arguments guide, table talk: 🙂
First, a prayer: May your Thanksgiving gathering be the supercommittee of our dreams, which is to say a happy meeting where everyone gets along despite their ideological differences and divides the pie equitably. We recognize, however, that some families are like the actual supercommittee — and the day may end with one faction pouting to Chris Matthews in the guest room after a political debate. In that case, the better prayer is always Loudon Wainwright’s Thanksgiving one: “If I argue with a loved one, Lord, please make me the winner.” In that spirit, we present Slate’s annual guide to this year’s political arguments, so that you might be lightly armed for small skirmishes.
Time for the annual family dinner, where you are the behind-the-scenes powerbroker, the resident expert on All Things Beltway — or so your mom told her cousins. What if you’re just a deputy to an assistant to an undersecretary, i.e. intern? Our sixth annual Thanksgiving Talking Points are just smarty-pants enough to wow the hometown crowd. Okay, maybe they’re not technically true — but that never stops presidential candidates.
TIME, Spotify Playlist, music, Thanksgiving:
In the absence of classic Thanksgiving tunes, I put together a playlist of my own. You can listen to it on TIME’s Spotify account here. There are songs about food (The Kinks’ “Maximum Consumption”), songs about returning home (Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound”) and songs about being thankful for something (Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” counts, right?). The playlist is an hour long, so while it might not keep you company during the entire time that your turkey is baking — those suckers take forever — it’ll definitely come in handy as you preparing some side dishes. Think of it as TIME’s way of saying thank you for reading.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, kith/kin: One of my favorite places,Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, with some favorite people — with Ruth-Ann, Sarah and husband … great way to start Thanksgiving.
For high-quality images, medium-format cameras were the professionals’ choice for years. And many preferred the framing of the 6x7cm format above all. Now 6×7 takes you back to that time, with beautiful, high-resolution images that aren’t quite square – but aren’t too stretched out, either.
via App Store – 6×7.
11.18.2011 … Davidson v. Duke on ESPNU 6:00 PM, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC … We played a respectable game … Time to take the game face off …
Davidson College, Davidson basketball, Duke, national tv: We played a respectable game … and Steph wore red!
It’ll be a tough task for the Wildcats (2-0) to end any of those streaks, as they haven’t beaten Duke since a 75-73 victory on Dec. 29, 1981.
Davidson is coming off a 74-61 victory over Richmond, as preseason All-Southern Conference selections Jake Cohen (22 points) and J.P. Kuhlman (11 points) had solid performances.
De’Mon Brooks scored 14 and is averaging a team-high 19.0 points through the first two games.
The Wildcats have won 12 of their last 15 games dating back to last season.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to play on national TV and in that environment,” said coach Bob McKillop, who is in his 23rd season with Davidson, which is located roughly 150 miles from Duke’s campus.
The Wildcats have lost their eight games against ranked opponents, last beating then-No. 6 Wisconsin 73-56 in the 2008 NCAA tournament regional semifinals.
Atlanta, childhood memories: I loved the pink pig on top of Rich’s downtown … great memories … The Pink Pig Holiday Train – Buckhead – Atlanta, GA.
TIME, Spotify, social networking, music: Have you tried Spotify?
Hey guys, guess what? TIME is now on Spotify!
My colleagues and I will soon be posting regular playlists to the music platform, but we thought we’d kick things off in style with an inaugural playlist based on TIME’s 100 Best Songs of All-Time. Not every song from the list is on there because some bands don’t have their music on Spotify yet (what gives, Led Zeppelin?) but as far as free playlists go, this 6-hour, 93-song sample is pretty comprehensive. You can listen to the playlist here.
What would you like to see on TIME’s Spotify account? Would you like monthly round-ups of new music? Themed playlists (songs about trains! songs that feature animal noises!)? A “What We’re Listening To” section of staff recommendations? Tell us what you want and we will do our best to make it happen.
education, school counselors, reform:
School counselors see a broken system in need of reform. Eighty-five percent of school counselors believe that, ideally, a top priority of schools should be ensuring all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers; however, only 30 percent of all counselors and 19 percent in high poverty schools see this as their school’s mission. Nearly all counselors (99 percent) want to exercise leadership in advocating for students’ access to rigorous academic preparation, including college and career-readiness counseling, even if other educators do not envision counselors playing this role.
But why shouldn’t they? Three out of four counselors (74 percent) see themselves as unique student advocates, creating pathways and offering support to ensure all students reach their post-secondary goals. Yet only a minority (42 percent) believes their schools take advantage of this contribution. Strong majorities want to see more college and career exploration, admission and academic planning that will boost the life prospects of students in a globally competitive economy.
Accountability can be the third rail — especially in education reform — but a majority of counselors support fair and appropriate accountability measures that create a college-going culture in schools. A majority of counselors supports measures for their own success, such as transcript audits of graduation readiness; completion of a college prep course sequence; students gaining access to advanced classes and tests; and both high school graduation and college application rates.
We are at a crossroads in American education — and in defining the role of our nation’s school counselors. At a time when resources for schools are more constrained than ever and America is losing ground in educating students, we need to more effectively use the precious resources offered by our school counselors, so they can help prepare the next generation for a globally competitive world.
Stanford University, free online courses:
Two weeks ago, we mentioned that Stanford will be rolling out seven new courses in its experiment with online learning. Fast forward to today, and yet another seven courses have been added to the winter lineup, bringing the total to 14.
Immediately below, you’ll find the latest additions. All of these courses feature interactive video clips; short quizzes that provide instant feedback; the ability to pose high value questions to Stanford instructors; and feedback on your overall performance in the class.
Courses start in January and February. Enroll today for free. And, if something doesn’t pique your interest below, don’t miss our big list of 400 Free Online Courses.
Making Green Buildings
Design and Analysis of Algorithms I
The Lean Launchpad
Computer Science 101
Software Engineering for SaaS
Human Computer Intereaction
Natural Language Processing
Probabilistic Graphical Models
Supreme Court, Health Care Reform, procedure: Interesting procedure …
The court has scheduled five and a half hours of arguments in the case. Ninety of those minutes will be devoted to severability, and an hour to the Anti-Injunction Act.
The court appoints outside lawyers to make orphaned arguments about once a term, though typically in minor cases. The practice has been the subject of some academic criticism, on the ground that it can amount to “judicial agenda-setting.”