Posts Tagged ‘NYT

12
Aug
13

8.12.13 … NBC News and Stringwire: NBC’s move toward citizen journalism could be a very smart one …

NBC News,  Stringwire, user-generated live video,  news room, citizen journalists, vetting, NYT: This could be big …

The Times reports that those interested in sharing their live video streams need not bother with a special app. Anyone who tweeted they witnessed a particular news event will get a Twitter reply from a Stringwire-linked account that request they click a link. The link will then prompt them to point a camera and live stream whatever it is they’re seeing. And don’t worry about your local station accidentally showing something more suited for Chatroulette than breaking news; Groman assured the Times that all videos will be vetted. As immediate on-the-ground reporting becomes even more urgent in today’s fast-moving world, NBC’s move toward citizen journalism could be a very smart one. NBC News is expected to make its formal acquisition announcement tomorrow.

via NYT: NBC News buys Stringwire, hopes to bring user-generated live video to the news room.

10
Apr
13

4.10.13 … a little of this … a little of that …

McCandlish Phillips, obituary, NYT:  This on just struck me as tragic.

He refrained from smoking, drinking, cursing and gambling, each of which had been refined to a high, exuberant art in the Times newsroom — the last of these to such a degree that at midcentury the newspaper employed two bookmakers-in-residence, nominally on the payroll as news clerks.

Over the years, Mr. Phillips was asked whether he felt responsible for Mr. Burros’s suicide. He felt “a vague sense of sadness,” he said, but no guilt.

His stance — the view from the prospect where his faith and his journalism converged — was encapsulated in a remark he made to Mr. Gelb.

On the afternoon of Oct. 31, 1965, Mr. Gelb phoned Mr. Phillips to tell him, very gently, that Mr. Burros had shot himself.

“What I think we’ve seen here, Arthur,” Mr. Phillips replied, “is the God of Israel acting in judgment.”

via McCandlish Phillips, Times Reporter, Dies at 85 – NYTimes.com.

 Chicago, the Bloomingdale, public spaces, NYC,  High Line:  Add to the list!

When it’s finished, the trail will connect the ‘L’ train’s Blue Line, which runs from downtown to O’Hare International Airport, to two Metra commuter rail lines, and link green, expansive Humboldt Park to points east. As designed by the New York- and Cambridge, Mass.-based firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, five anchor parks will provide green space and access. The trail itself will include a concrete bike path, a softer jogging and walking path and an array of flora-heavy areas with benches and art installations.

Matthew Urbanski, a partner at MVVA and one of the lead designers, explained his firm’s approach to the project as “a creative editing of the structure, removing pieces where it expedites connection.” The local response has generally been positive. “It could be Chicago’s next great public space,” wrote Blair Kamin, architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune.

The evolution of the Bloomingdale has been a more public affair than that of the High Line, which was largely devised and shaped by a small group of supporters and their backers. Because it’s meant to link neighborhoods, and lacked private capital, the former sought, and found, broad community engagement.

via Forefront Excerpt: A Chicago Park Learns from New York’s High Line – Next City.

Sri Srinivasan, US Supreme Court, The New Yorker:  The nerd lawyer in me loves this stuff!

sri-srinivasan-toobin-580.jpeg

The next Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins on Wednesday afternoon, April 10th. Technically, Sri Srinivasan is just a candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but few are misled. The stakes in this nomination are clear: if Srinivasan passes this test and wins confirmation, he’ll be on the Supreme Court before President Obama’s term ends.

The real issue with a potential Srinivasan nomination would be political. Ginsburg is the justice most likely to retire in the next two years. Would Obama select a woman to take her place? Tom Goldstein, the proprietor of the indispensable SCOTUSblog, thinks the President will feel compelled to keep three women on the court. He points to Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California, as the most likely choice. (It’s now well known that the President already finds Harris an, er, attractive office holder.) Another possibility is Jacqueline Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant who now serves on the Ninth Circuit. But there hasn’t been an active politician like Harris named to the Court since Earl Warren in 1953, and Nguyen is little-known outside California. (If the President does go for a politician, I think the more likely possibility is Amy Klobuchar, the senior Senator from Minnesota.) I am less sure than Goldstein that Obama will nominate a woman to replace Ginsburg. There is no female candidate as obvious as Sotomayor was in 2009, and Srinivasan would, as the first Indian-American on the court, be a history-making choice.

Plus, if Srinivasan runs the confirmation gauntlet now, it will be difficult for Republicans to argue that he’s unconfirmable just months later. His credentials would surely appeal to Obama, who has a fondness for technocrats, and his thin paper trail would make him difficult to attack. Which is why it looks very much like this hearing isn’t just a test for Srinivasan—it’s a dress rehearsal.

via Sri Srinivasan, the Supreme Court Nominee-in-Waiting : The New Yorker.

03
Apr
13

4.3.13 … a lot of nothing … a few worth reading …

Jimmy Carter, gender equality, religion, Women’s Press: worth reading …

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

via Women’s Press » Blog Archive » Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter.

Suzy Lee Weiss, To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me, diversity, tiger moms, college application process, WSJ.com:  All I can say is OMG … as a parent I have felt this.  Amazing that this woman wrote it and submitted it for publication and that the WSJ published it.  I view college as one of the most transformative experiences of my life. By demanding so much of our kids before they get there, what is left for college to do?  Another worth reading …

For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.

I also probably should have started a fake charity

via Suzy Lee Weiss: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me – WSJ.com.

Wheres the Beef Stroganoff?, NYT,  sexist obituary,  Twitter, feminism, sexism, Yvonne Brill: wow …

A Twitter avalanche descended on the New York Times Saturday for sexism in an obituary. The Times backed down.  Score one for Twitter and feminism, which, if I’m not completely crazy, just might be rediscovering the voice it left back in the 1970s.

Not that the Times’ Douglas Martin didn’t stick his foot in his mouth. He opened the obituary for gifted rocket scientist Yvonne Brill with the words:

“She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.”

Not until the second paragraph did the obit note that she “was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.”

Some were still dissatisfied with that assessment.In the wake of the raging debate ignited by Sheryl Sandbergs “Lean In,” it seems that feminists, both male and female, are waking up and deciding to weigh in on what would otherwise have passed without remark.”The internet just group-edited the NYT,” tweeted Adam Rothstein. “Thats not something that used to happen.”

via Wheres the Beef Stroganoff? NYT Backs Down on Sexist Obit – Yahoo! Movies.

Edward VI, kith/kin:  I call my son, King Me … Edward VI is why …

The boy king Edward VI was crowned on this day in 1547. For those of us interested in Western religion this is a momentous occasion. His father Henry VIII had broken from the Roman church, principally to re-marry. But, he had originally been raised to be a bishop and was in fact theologically sophisticated, and his reformation church was pretty much Catholicism sans pope. With Edward VI being only nine years old, ecclesiastical authority fell to his “advisers,” lurching the church sharply in a Calvinist direction

via A Small Marker in the History of Western Religions.

food, sandwiches, BUTCHER & BEE, Charleston SC, The Bon Appetit Foodist, Bon Appétit: Another list for me to work through …

If you’re not eating a sandwich right now, you’re missing out on the dish of the moment. With practically every chef reimagining old standbys or inventing new ones, there’s a surplus of versions to try, this time with house-cured meats, local pickles, and freshly baked bread. For a taste of just how delicious things have become (when you’re not making your own at home, of course), visit these ten.

BUTCHER & BEE Charleston, SC

Pulled squash with smoked slaw on a hoagie is just one irresistible example of how this forward-thinking spot does some of the most creative takes on the classics in the country.

via 10 Sandwiches You Must Eat Now: The Bon Appetit Foodist: Bon Appétit.

Audrey Hepburn, beauty, icon, fashion, film,  Audrey in Rome, Vanity Fair: Audrey Hepburn is probably my favorite movie icon from my childhood.

 Audrey Hepburn Vanity Fair cover

Hepburn’s iconic look was, according to her son, what she thought of as “a good mixture of defects.” Dotti explains, “She thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny and not enough breast. She would look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful.’ ”

via Audrey Hepburn’s Son: My Mother Never Thought She Was Beautiful | Vanity Fair.

Porch Dogs, Garden and Gun:  I own a few porch dogs!

 

For eight years, photographer Nell Dickerson traveled across the South taking portraits of dogs committed to the deep-seated tradition of watching the world. Those photographs comprise her latest book, Porch Dogs, which includes sixty pups, from a Basset Hound in Memphis, Tennessee to a Labrador Retriever in Point Clear, Alabama.

via Porch Dogs | Garden and Gun.

dogs, garden/yard:  Love this!

dog or dogs happily romping in the backyard is a classic dog-owner dream. Achieving this, though, takes more thought than just sending your dog out in the yard and hoping for the best. Take the time to make sure your yard provides your dog with the amenities he or she needs and loves. Fortunately, pet-friendly yard amenities are also great for people as well.

via Cue the joyous soundtrack. These pet-friendly landscape and garden ideas will keep your pooch safe, happy and well exercised outdoors.

 divorce , NC, http://www.wsoctv.com:  I thought NC had one of the longest … unbelievable.

State lawmakers are considering making divorces harder to get in North Carolina.Senate Bill 518, dubbed the Healthy Marriage Act, would double the time it takes for a divorce to be granted, and also force couples to undergo counseling.Currently, the state requires a one-year waiting period for divorce, which Susan Huspeth said is already too long.”Why would you force someone to stay in a relationship when theyre unhappy?” she asked.Hudspeth said her marriage of seven years was unhealthy.”The things that theyre requiring during that two-year period, in my personal opinion, should be required pre-marriage — when you apply for a marriage license,” she said.

via Bill would double time it takes for divorce to be granted in NC | www.wsoctv.com.

Lessons from Living in My Ford Fairmont, Jim Cramer, LinkedIn:  I can imagine someone doing this in the 80’s … now … no way.

First, let me suggest that there were some upsides to my situation. Unlike most in a predicament like mine, I was young, unburdened with family and still employed — I had time, friends and paycheck to keep me optimistic. And, I had ended up in this situation while living in L.A. The fabulous weather made it a rare night that I had to break out the bottle of Jack to keep me warm. The endless freeway rest stops gave me many a safe place to catch some zzzs, not that I ever put my weary head on the plastic seat cover without first being sure that I was in reaching distance of the .22 caliber pistol that’s mandatory for car denizens. Plus, I had a job that required me to be out all night, a homicide reporter always at the ready, never too far from home. Living in your car can be very convenient and, yes, inexpensive as your auto insurance can double as your homeowners in a pinch.

via Lessons from Living in My Ford Fairmont | LinkedIn.

09
Feb
13

2.9.13 … barking dogs …

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

IMG_5446

Maira Kalman, art, quotes,  Brain Pickings:

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

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

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

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

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

coffee foam art: 🙂

One of the perks of visiting your local coffee shops!

via The 40 Most Amazing Examples Of Coffee Foam Art.

memes, Marco Polo, childhood:

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

Annie Dillard, winter, memes, Brain Pickings:

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

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

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

 

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

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

China, architecture, copycats, WSJ.com:

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

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

[image]

Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

02
Oct
11

10.2.2011 … I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina … Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event …

kith/kin: Mamma’ s birthday #85 has been celebrated and it was a grand event.  Prime at Lenox Square was a great choice.  Great to be with the siblings and my wonderful eighty-something mom.  She has the best mind I know.  And we did not discuss the Braves.

gasoline prices, travel: I just saw regular unleaded gasoline for $2.92 in Spartanburg South Carolina.

Occupy Wall Street Movement, bankers v. revolutionaries, Wall Street v. Main Street:  I hard on NPR that this movement was the liberal’s tea party before it gt politicized.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has taken over a park in Manhattan’s financial district and turned it into a revolutionary camp. Hundreds of young people chant slogans against “banksters” or corporate tycoons. Occasionally, a few even pull off their clothes, which always draws news cameras.

“Occupy Wall Street” was initially treated as a joke, but after a couple of weeks it’s gaining traction. The crowds are still tiny by protest standards — mostly in the hundreds, swelling during periodic marches — but similar occupations are bubbling up in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. David Paterson, the former New York governor, dropped by, and labor unions are lending increasing support.

I tweeted that the protest reminded me a bit of Tahrir Square in Cairo, and that raised eyebrows. True, no bullets are whizzing around, and the movement won’t unseat any dictators. But there is the same cohort of alienated young people, and the same savvy use of Twitter and other social media to recruit more participants. Most of all, there’s a similar tide of youthful frustration with a political and economic system that protesters regard as broken, corrupt, unresponsive and unaccountable.

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

Anwar al Awlaki, justified killing, war on terror, slippery slopes:  This killing of  a US citizen is going to be debated … “due process in war.”

Anwar al Awlaki’s rise from American-born cleric to key terror plotter had put him atop the U.S. terror “hit list.” Under the code name Objective Troy, intelligence tracked Awlaki for months near his hideout in Yemen.

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism – and a legal challenge – over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, “due process in war.”

The killing of a U.S. jihadist

“The administration has tried to make very clear that this was an act of self-defense, that Awlaki was part of not only al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, but he was the external operations chief. He was ongoing in his plotting against American citizens – not only having done so in the past, but continuing to do so in an imminent way,” said CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate.

“So based on the rules of self-defense, based on the principles that we’re at war with al Qaeda and the fact that he was a part of the group, self-professed, all of that suggests that it’s lawful and appropriate to go after him and to kill him,” Zarate said.

When asked if the drone attack against a U.S. citizen – in effect, execution without trial – sets a precedent, Zarate said, “It’s a good question – you run the risk of a slippery slope here. I think people are asking very appropriate questions about what the limits of the government’s power can be in terms of going after Americans who are part of al Qaeda, and we’ve seen in the recent past that Americans have formed more and more part of the al Qaeda network – not just Anwar al-Awlaki, but others. There are important questions to ask about what the process is and what the procedures are to determine who is an imminent danger to the United States.”

via Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki – CBS News.

Former President Bill Clinton, President Obama, history:  They always say history repeats itself.  I am amazed how Bill Clinton seems to keep himself in the press. … “vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.”

Bill Clinton is using the 20th anniversary of the launch of his presidential bid to offer a vigorous defense of President Barack Obama against what he calls the same anti-government stance he faced during his campaign and presidency.

Clinton told a crowd of about 5,000 people gathered outside the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock that Obama faces a different set of challenges than he did in 1992. But Clinton says Obama faces the same debate over the role of government.

Clinton spoke at an event marking the anniversary of his 1991 announcement that he’d run for president. He told the crowd that he decided to run because he believed the country needed a new kind of politics and a new economics.

via Clinton: Obama faces same debate from ’92 bid – CBS News.

Groupon, deal sites, marketing:   “Fading allure?”

Shopping coupons have a long history, and they will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in local merchants’ efforts to attract customers. But what has become apparent is a basic contradiction at the heart of the daily deals industry on the Internet.

The consumers were being told: You will never pay full price again. The merchants were hearing: You are going to get new customers who will stick around and pay full price. Disappointment was inevitable.

Some entrepreneurs are questioning the entire premise of the industry. Jasper Malcolmson, co-founder of the deal site Bloomspot, compares the basic deal offer with lenders’ marketing subprime loans during the housing boom.

Even worse from the merchants’ point of view, the popularity of the coupon sites fed a relentless bargain-hunting mentality among customers that did not use them. “Every day, we get an e-mail or phone call saying, Can we match someone else’s price?” said Ms. Bengel of Wellpath. “We’re not Wal-Mart.”

And the long-term reputation of the merchant may be at risk, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Harvard that analyzed thousands of Groupon and Living Social deals. The researchers found that fans of daily deals were on average hard to please. After they ate at the restaurant or visited the spa, they went on Yelp and grumbled about it. This pulled down the average Yelp rating by as much as half a point.

“Offering a Groupon puts a merchant’s reputation at risk,” said John Byers, a professor of computer science at Boston University who worked on the project. “The audience being reached may be more critical,” he said, “than their typical audience or have a more tenuous fit with the merchant.”

Even Amazon, the retailing juggernaut, has found quick riches are elusive. Its response in New York has been tepid. A subscription to The New York Observer had 84 takers, as did a “Sex and the City” tour. A Latin cooking class attracted 61 people, an Asian bistro 109.

Kevin Walters, manager of the Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club on Third Avenue in Manhattan, said he was “very, very surprised” to sell only 77 deals through Amazon. “It should have been huge,” he said. Amazon declined to comment.

Despite the lackluster response, Mr. Walters will probably try another coupon. “I’m in East Harlem,” he said. “If the rest of the economy is shaky, then East Harlem is depressed. One way or another, I need to get people here.”

via Deal Sites Have Fading Allure for Merchants – NYTimes.com.

John F. Kennedy, Cold War, bomb shelters, Peanut Island, FL, history: I have toured the shelter for Congress at the Greenbriar and it was very interesting.  If I were nearby, i would probably go see this one.

President John F. Kennedy, who was facing a series of nail-biting face-offs with the Soviets, even recommended a fallout shelter for all Americans “as rapidly as possible” in an October 1961 speech. Two months later, Kennedy was presented with his own top-secret tropical bomb shelter off Palm Beach, Fla., on an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.

Few even know it is here, but some area residents believe that the bunker is a must-see attraction that could put Peanut Island, a manmade islet, on the map.

Termed the “Detachment Hotel” in documents, the fallout shelter here was built by Navy Seabees in less than two weeks at the end of December 1961 and sits a short stroll from a rambling colonial-style house that doubled as a United States Coast Guard station. Deftly camouflaged by trees, it was hard to spot. If people asked, they would be told it was a munitions depot, nothing more. Kennedy visited the bunker twice during a drill.

“The government never declared it existed until 1974,” said Anthony Miller, a member of the executive board of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, a nonprofit organization that leases part of the land on Peanut Island and runs a charter school and gives tours of the bunker and the former Coast Guard station. “But it was the worst-kept secret in Palm Beach.”

With the Soviets intent on shipping nuclear warheads to nearby Cuba, Kennedy was assured a radiation-proof haven a mere five-minute helicopter hop from his oceanfront winter home on millionaire’s row in Palm Beach. Peanut Island sits just between Palm Beach and its ritzy companion, Singer Island. It was intended to be used as a terminal for shipping peanut oil; that never happened, but the name stuck.

To ensure the president’s safety during the summer, when he visited the Kennedy compound on Hyannis Port, Mass., a sister shelter was built on Nantucket Island in 1961; it has never been open to the public.

The Florida bunker, which fell into disrepair in the 1990s, was cleaned up and has been open for tours since 1999, shortly after the museum leased the land. Buried under layers of concrete and built with quarter-inch-thick walls of steel and lead, the bunker looks like something out of the television show “Lost.”

via For Kennedy, a Secret Shelter Was a Cold War Camelot – NYTimes.com.

Gov. Mitt Romney, politics, political strategy, 2012 Presidential Election:  Maybe his strategy is to play both sides … and to me closing loopholes seems like a fair way to solve the tax shortfall because loopholes are usually geared to a special interest group.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

Much of the business community in Massachusetts was puzzled. Mitt Romney, a Republican with high-caliber corporate credentials, had run for governor pledging to sweep aside barriers to business and act as the state’s “top salesman.”

Gov. Mitt Romney in 2005. By the next year, he was in campaign mode and had scaled back a plan to close tax loopholes.

But just a few months after Mr. Romney took office in 2003, what he delivered seemed anything but friendly to the C.E.O. crowd: a bill to financial firms for what they saw as $110 million in new corporate taxes — and a promise of more to come.

“How could he do this to businesses as a business guy?” Joe Casey, then a top executive at a Massachusetts bank, Seacoast Financial, recalled asking colleagues whose companies had to pay up after the Romney administration closed a tax loophole. “It was very aggressive, and it was a surprise.”

For the next three years, the Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy. It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.

via Romney’s Strategies as Governor Bucked His C.E.O. Image – NYTimes.com.

culture, Great Recession, waste, Halloween:  Halloween used to a home-made holiday … a sheet and a pillowcase … $& Billion???

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend $6.9 billion this year for Halloween. To put that number into context, the same NRF survey found that Americans planned to spend $3.3 billion as recently as 2005.

This biggest chunk of this money — $2.5 billion of it — will go to costumes. Of that total, a little more than $300 million will be spent on costumes for pets. We’ll also drop $2 billion on candy and just under that on decorations.

This year isn’t an anomaly, either. Halloween spending did decline in 2009, when it dropped by about $1 billion to $4.8 billion. But by last year, it had bounced back to $5.8 billion.

via Now That’s Creepy: Americans Will Blow $7 Billion on Halloween | Moneyland | TIME.com.

NYT, food, drink, media:  I actually enjoyed this interactive issue and especially this article on food cravings.

This Food and Drink Issue of the magazine — the fourth annual — is full of questions. I have two of my own, and they’re the same questions I’ve been asking myself since I began cooking 40 years ago. How can food change my life? And how can food change the world?

I grew up during a time when the awareness of the quality of food was practically nil. It’s true that in the ’50s and even the ’60s people still cooked, even if much of the food was “convenient,” like Jell-O mold or tuna tetrazzini. It’s also true that pigs were still raised on farms, most vegetables were seasonal and hyperprocessed junk hadn’t yet achieved hegemony. But back then we took the good stuff for granted and never thought it would get anything but better.

The ’70s and ’80s were a more optimistic era, because cooking was in the news and the American food revolution was in full swing. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t a revolution but a civil war. Our side featured good people arguing for real, mostly simple cooking done with fresh, well- raised ingredients, a retreat from convenience and overly fancy stuff and a return to the basics. Arrayed against us in this fight — a struggle for the American palate and ultimately the global diet — was Big Food, spreading like the Blob.

It was hardly a fair fight: we were naïve, optimistic and unprepared, armed with spatulas, good food and journalism. The bad guys had nuclear weapons like scientific marketing and advertising, billions of dollars and, worst of all, government support.

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

But can cravings for sweet or salt or fat be classified as actually, legitimately addictive? The processed-food industry doesn’t much like the A-word, preferring its own coinage: craveability. With financing from the World Sugar Research Organization, whose sponsors include Coca-Cola, the Welsh psychology professor David Benton has argued that food cravings do not meet the technical requirements of addiction. (Among other examples, fasting — the food equivalent of needing a hit — doesn’t result in enhanced cravings.) The American Beverage Association paid for a 2006 review that makes a similar argument about caffeine. While some may ingest the stimulant to suppress withdrawal symptoms, the study declared, caffeine “does no harm to the individual or to society, and its users are not compelled to consume it.”

The junk-food industry may have a point. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that drugs can set off brain responses that are far more powerful than those caused by even the most luscious food. On the other hand, she notes, “clearly, processed sugar in certain individuals can produce these compulsive patterns of intake.” The difficulty of trying to kick a food habit, however, is that you can’t just go cold turkey from all food. Still, the best strategy for the afflicted, according to Volkow, is to mimic drug programs and completely avoid foods that cause the most trouble. “Don’t try to limit yourself to two Oreo cookies, because if the reward is very potent, no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it.”

via The Food & Drink Issue – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former President  Bill Clinton, Back to Work, books:   Everybody want in on the solution …

“Back to Work” addresses the subject Mr Obama has been weakest with: job creation. Mr Clinton sounds some classic themes from the 1990s with a bit of fashionable greenery flown in. The private and public sector should be partners, not antagonists: anti-government rhetoric may be good for politics (and TV ratings) but it is bad for policy-making. A modern economy requires a government that is active but smart rather than one that is active but driven by vested interests. But the blurb also promises some “specific recommendations” on how to put people back to work and create new businesses—and even double America’s exports. It is impossible to judge whether this is just flannel or serious argument until the book is released next month. It is also far easier to make recommendations from the comfort of retirement than it is to govern. But a president who presided over America’s Indian summer—a period of sustained growth and disciplined government—should at least have something to say to a new generation of politicians who live in a far stormier time.

via Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work”: Missing Bill | The Economist.

architectural styles, polls: Well, how well do you know your architectural styles?

Colonial-style houses are best-sellers in the Washington area, comprising 40 percent of all home sales in the area.

How do you know if your house is one of those, and why does it matter?

As Susan Straight reports in this week’s Real Estate section, “real estate professionals say that knowing your Colonial from your Federal- and Tudor-style home really matters when it comes to buying and selling. That’s because certain styles are more popular than others, and a home’s style can factor into its resale value, agents say.”

via How well do you know your architectural styles? – Post User Polls – The Washington Post.

street art, websites, lists: From a postsecret tweet: Street Anatomy,   Wooster Collective and  Banksy – Outdoors.

NBA lockout,Stephen Curry, Davidson College:  You go Steph …

It was an awkward moment, that first day of class at history of education, when the professor did a roll call.

“Wendell Curry?”

“Actually, my name is Wardell,” the student replied. “But people call me Stephen.”

And with that, any hope of blending in was also history. The other students, mostly freshmen, stared and pointed because this was not your usual Davidson classmate.

via NBA lockout opens door for Stephen Curry’s education | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

business, management, lists:  The Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say  … this one struck me … most big firms close off access to such sites on the internet.  I agree that if they require you to be accessible 24/7, you should be allowed a little freedom 9-5 in exchange.

I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.

Decent managers have figured out that there is no clock, not for white-collar knowledge workers, anyway. Knowledge workers live, sleep, and eat their jobs. Their e-mail inboxes fill up just as fast after 5:00 p.m. as they do before. Their work is never done, and it’s never going to be done. That’s O.K. Employees get together in the office during the daytime hours to do a lot of the work together, and then they go home and try to live their lives in the small spaces of time remaining. If they need a mental break during the day, they can go on PeopleofWalmart.com or Failblog.org without fear of managerial reprisal. We are not robots. We need to stop and shake off the corporate cobwebs every now and then. If a person is sitting in the corner staring up at the ceiling, you could be watching him daydream—or watching him come up with your next million-dollar product idea. (Or doing both things at once.)

via Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say – BusinessWeek.

bike messengers, culture,  NYC, random:  You never know what you will find …

The scene, more reminiscent of a garage-band festival than a bicycle event, captured the spirit of the East Coast Messenger Stage Race, Mr. Horse’s hastily arranged, informal competition for a small group of hardy riders — mostly bicycle messengers — from across the country. The five-day race, through a tangled network of roads from Boston to Washington, was the latest project for Mr. Horse, a competitive cyclist and bike advocate who has emerged in recent years as one of the best-known figures in the city’s brigade of professional messengers.

Mr. Horse, 29, has raced against a sport utility vehicle from Harlem to Brooklyn in a Web advertisement for Mercedes-Benz, worked as a producer and cameraman on a reality series about bicycle messengers for the Travel Channel and performed stunts for more than two months for “Premium Rush,” a bike-centered action movie to be released next year. He has won national and international messenger competitions, as well as sponsorship deals with Red Bull, Oakley sunglasses and the urban bike-wear company Outlier.

But there is a paradox at work here: just as corporate brands and Hollywood try to harness the increasing visibility of urban cycling through its most recognizable character, the grease-grizzled New York City messenger, that subculture is dwindling in the face of higher-tech competition.

The contradictions don’t end there — what kind of grunt job garners brand sponsorships? — but such is the changing state of the messenger’s role as it has morphed from job to lifestyle. The Stage Race, too, is more about messengering as a rugged cowboy ideal than as an efficient way to shuttle important documents between corporate offices. Surely, few — if any — have sent a package from Boston to Washington by bicycle.

Amid this shift, Mr. Horse has become a symbol for a group that prides itself on standing apart.

via The Bike Messenger Goes Hollywood as a Culture Dwindles – NYTimes.com.

David Gerbi – “revolutionary Jew”,  Libya, synagogue, post- Arab Spring, restoration, history: “What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

David Gerbi is a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, but to Libyan rebels he was the “revolutionary Jew.” He returned to his homeland after 44 years in exile to help oust Muammar Qaddafi, and to take on what may be an even more challenging mission.

That job began Sunday, when he took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall. Behind it: the door to Tripoli’s crumbling main synagogue, unused since Qaddafi expelled Libya’s small Jewish community early in his decades-long rule.

Gerbi knocked down the wall, said a prayer and cried.

“What Qaddafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.”

The Star of David is still visible inside and outside the peach-colored Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s walled Old City. An empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept still reads “Shema Israel” — “Hear, O Israel” — in faded Hebrew. But graffiti is painted on the walls, and the floor and upper chambers are covered in garbage — plastic water bottles, clothes, mattresses, drug paraphernalia and dead pigeon carcasses.

via Libyan “revolutionary Jew” to restore synagogue – CBS News.

cities, urban development, homebuilding, suburbs:  Very interest article about homebuilding and what need to happen with the next generation of homes…

While we obsess over the new in terms of what we keep in our houses — the ever-increasing speed and functionality of our Smartphones, entertainment options built into refrigerators, sophisticated devices that monitor, analyze and report on our sleep cycles, even the superior technology of the running shoes we put on before heading out the flimsy fiberboard door — we’re incredibly undemanding of the houses themselves. These continue to be built the same way they have for over a century, and usually not as well. Walls and windows are thin, materials cheap, design (and I use the term loosely) not well-considered. The building process is a protracted affair, taking far too long and creating embarrassing amounts of building waste (over 50 percent of all waste produced in the United States, in fact).

Then there’s a company like Blu Homes, which has demonstrated a clear commitment to merging housing and high tech — to the tune of a $25 million investment, in fact. They recognized the tremendous inefficiencies in home-building and have developed 3D technology that allows for personal customization (clients can click a mouse to alter floor plans, choose green features and select finishes), as well as a proprietary building process and innovative steel-framing technology that allows their homes, as their Web site explains, “to be built to the highest aesthetic and environmental standards and be delivered quickly and economically nationwide.”

But following a long line of V.C. types dabbling in housing, Blu has set its sights on a small slice of an already niche market — high-end modern prefab, which accounts for maybe half of a percent of the less than 5 percent of architect-designed homes in the country. Devoting this much R&D and software development to so few homes feels akin to installing a $250,000 solar array on a garden shed. Why not devote that energy to transforming cookie-cutter developer homes?

Chang writes, “The disconnection between the rising diversity of housing needs and the monotony of housing production speaks to the tenacity of the postwar American dream — the enduring allure of the detached house with front lawn and backyard patio — as well as to the profitability of catering to these aspirations.”

Chang sees this moment — with millions of houses now in foreclosure, many deteriorating or abandoned — as one to seize, and I couldn’t agree more. It is possible, he considers, that once the economy revives we will simply return to home-building-as-usual:

But right now we have an opportunity to rethink suburban housing: to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but rather to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population — not only to the so-called traditional households but also to the growing ranks of those who prefer to rent rather than buy, who either can’t afford or don’t want a 2,000-square-foot-plus detached house, who are retired and living on fixed incomes and maybe driving less, who want granny or nanny flats, who want to pay less for utilities and reduce their carbon footprint, and so on.

Housing can’t be equated with high-tech: a home is, or was, a long-term investment not beholden to the dizzying speeds of change and innovation that drive say, Apple, which must continually reinvent and redefine its product to meet consumer demand. But housing is woefully behind the times, and now it needs to see opportunity in crisis, not wait it out by launching pop-up shops and interactive Web sites that empower consumers to such revolutionary things as customizing bathroom tile and kitchen backsplashes.

We’re beyond the point of a fresh coat of paint and a new sales pitch. If we’re going to continue to hold on to the single-family home, we need to transform it. There is a demand for smaller, more energy-efficient homes in less car-dependent neighborhoods; all aspects of the industry, from designers to lenders to planners to consumers, should meet it. In this era of anti-government fervor, subsidizing the American Dream isn’t an option; transforming it is the only one we’ve got.

via Shifting the Suburban Paradigm – NYTimes.com.

cities, photo gallery:  Great photo gallery/slide show of a city and its geometry, as seen from above … unfortunately I can’t pull the pictures.

“New York reveals itself only at a certain height, a certain distance, a certain speed!” Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a half-century ago, before the city grew even higher. The ideal perch, Sartre suggested, is not at the pedestrian’s height, distance or speed, but in the sky. Here, benches and mounds of shrubbery combine to form an urban oasis of curlicues, now being redesigned, at the Jacob K. Javits Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

via City Geometry, Seen From Above – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

Supreme Court , 2011 term, criminal cases,  First Amendment cases:  It will be an interesting year.

“The docket seems to be changing,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told reporters at a judicial conference in August.

“A lot of big civil cases are going to arbitration,” he said. “I don’t see as many of the big civil cases.”

Still, the shift in focus toward criminal and First Amendment cases will soon be obscured if, as expected, the justices agree to hear a challenge to the 2010 health care overhaul law. That case promises to be a once-in-a-generation blockbuster.

In the meantime, the justices will hear an extraordinary set of cases that together amount to a project that could overhaul almost every part of the criminal justice system.

The court will decide whether the police need a warrant to use advanced technology to track suspects, whether jails may strip-search people arrested for even the most minor offenses, whether defendants have a right to competent lawyers to help them decide whether to plead guilty, when eyewitness evidence may be used at trial, and what should happen when prosecutors withhold evidence.

“The Supreme Court has positioned itself to improve the quality of the criminal justice process from beginning to end,” said Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University.

The court will continue its intense engagement with the First Amendment. But where earlier cases involved quirky issues like dog fights, funeral protests and the Seven Aphorisms of a fringe church called Summum, the marquee First Amendment cases this term involve issues of sweep and consequence.

In one, the court will rule on whether the government may ban swearing and nudity on broadcast television. In another, the justices will decide for the first time whether there is a “ministerial exception” to employment laws that allows religious institutions to discriminate in ways others employers cannot.

The health care case is not the only juggernaut looming on the horizon. In the next term or two, the court may well address same-sex marriage, affirmative action and illegal immigration. For now, the justices are focused on criminal cases, especially ones concerning the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a fair trial.

via Supreme Court Turns to Criminal and First Amendment Cases – NYTimes.com.

Google, advertising, developing countries, Global economy, internet access, corporate social responsibility, India:  OK, Google doe they need internet access before clean water, medicine, healthy supply of food?

LIKE the travelling fairs that still roam India, a snazzy white bus trundles along the subcontinent’s B-roads, stopping in small towns for a few days at a time and inviting locals into another world. But in place of tightrope-walking girls and performing monkeys, its main attraction is access to the internet. For some visitors, it is their first time online.

The Google Internet bus is a free, mobile cybercafe dreamed up by the search giant and run in association with BSNL, a large state-owned internet service provider (ISP). It has covered over 43,000km and passed through 120 towns in 11 states since it hit the road on February 3rd, 2009. Google estimates that 1.6m people have been offered their first online experience as a result. Of those, 100,000 have signed up for an internet connection of their own. Like a high-school drug dealer, though admittedly less nefarious, the idea is to hook them young and keep them coming back. In return for its efforts, Google says it gains a better understanding of their needs. That, in turn, lets it develop products for the potentially huge local market.

via Internet in developing countries: Hailing the Google bus | The Economist.

iPhone, psychology, love, addiction:  OK, I love my iPhone, literally.

WITH Apple widely expected to release its iPhone 5 on Tuesday, Apple addicts across the world are getting ready for their latest fix.

But should we really characterize the intense consumer devotion to the iPhone as an addiction? A recent experiment that I carried out using neuroimaging technology suggests that drug-related terms like “addiction” and “fix” aren’t as scientifically accurate as a word we use to describe our most cherished personal relationships. That word is “love.”

As a branding consultant, I have followed Apple from its early days as a cult brand to its position today as one of the most valuable, widely admired companies on earth. A few years back, I conducted an experiment to examine the similarities between some of the world’s strongest brands and the world’s greatest religions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests, my team looked at subjects’ brain activity as they viewed consumer images involving brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson and religious images like rosary beads and a photo of the pope. We found that the brain activity was uncannily similar when viewing both types of imagery.

This past summer, I gathered a group of 20 babies between the ages of 14 and 20 months. I handed each one a BlackBerry. No sooner had the babies grasped the phones than they swiped their little fingers across the screens as if they were iPhones, seemingly expecting the screens to come to life. It appears that a whole new generation is being primed to navigate the world of electronics in a ritualized, Apple-approved way.

Earlier this year, I carried out an fMRI experiment to find out whether iPhones were really, truly addictive, no less so than alcohol, cocaine, shopping or video games. In conjunction with the San Diego-based firm MindSign Neuromarketing, I enlisted eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 25. Our 16 subjects were exposed separately to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone.

In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects’ brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects’ brains didn’t just see the vibrating iPhone, they “heard” it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also “saw” it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia.

But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

In short, the subjects didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction. Instead, they loved their iPhones.

As we embrace new technology that does everything but kiss us on the mouth, we risk cutting ourselves off from human interaction. For many, the iPhone has become a best friend, partner, lifeline, companion and, yes, even a Valentine. The man or woman we love most may be seated across from us in a romantic Paris bistro, but his or her 8GB, 16GB or 32GB rival lies in wait inside our pockets and purses.

My best advice? Shut off your iPhone, order some good Champagne and find love and compassion the old-fashioned way.

via You Love Your iPhone. Literally. – NYTimes.com.

Paying the Grace Forward, Kent Matlock, culture, Jerry Richardson, Denny’s, kudos: I don’t think this side of the story has been told.  Kudos to Mr. Matlock for telling this story.

Dr. Gloster bestowed his grace on me. Early in our careers, we all have people who are kind and considerate to us, and I learned to treasure them for two reasons: They’re rare, and their actions inspire you to pay that grace forward.

In the early 1980s, I was an advertising manager at Georgia-Pacific. I had worked for a few ad agencies before that, and wanted to return to that side of the industry. I couldn’t find a job with an agency, however, so I decided to start my own. My mother, Jean, who had taught accounting, joined me a few years later as our accountant. At the time we started, minority companies in Atlanta often partnered with larger organizations, which gave the smaller companies more opportunities. We experienced much of our growth that way.

My mother taught me loyalty, and I learned several lessons from clients. Jerry Richardson, C.E.O. of the restaurant company TW Services, then parent of Denny’s, taught me about doing the right thing. We were working on crisis communications for Denny’s after it was accused of racial discrimination in the early 1990s. Jerry didn’t just write checks to settle lawsuits; he asked me what the company could do to improve its practices. He instituted a thorough review and worked with the N.A.A.C.P. on new corporate policies.

Some people criticized me and called me names for working with Denny’s, but Jerry taught me never to let anyone define you. We emerged as an even stronger firm, and Denny’s is still here today.

via Matlock Advertising’s Chief, on Paying the Grace Forward – NYTimes.com.

Bruce Ivins, anthrax mail suspect, Kappa Kappa Gamma – UNC Chapter:  I was in KKG at UNC in the late 70s … very strange. “Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect.”

The Kappa connection

Haigwood had met Bruce Ivins in the mid-1970s during graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She recalled his incessant questions about her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Having joined the sorority as an undergraduate, Haigwood stayed involved as the adult adviser at the UNC chapter. Ivins, she says, always asked her for information about Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Nancy Haigwood says Bruce Ivins was obsessed with her sorority.

“Every time I talked to him, nearly, he would mention it,” says Haigwood. “And finally I said, ‘You know, Bruce, that’s enough!'”

Ivins’ obsession with Haigwood and her sorority continued years after they graduated from UNC. Ivins had started his job at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases — USAMRIID — at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 1980. Haigwood, too, was living and working in suburban Washington.

One day in 1982, she came home to find her sidewalk, fence and car spray-painted with red graffiti: “K K Γ” — the Greek letters of her sorority.

“Because of the Kappa connection, I immediately thought of Bruce Ivins,” Haigwood said.

via Strange sorority fixation was link that led to anthrax suspect – CNN.com.

headlines, War on Terror, drones, modern warfare: That one jumped out at me …

Wall Photos.

29
Sep
11

9.29.2011 … the Molls overnighted at Davidson … :)

Davidson College, admissions process, kith/kin: There is value in sending a prospect on an overnight. 🙂

Davidson College – Distinctions.

road trip, music playlist, lists:  What’s on you road trip playlist?

And here’s a final playlist:

1. The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design by Rodney Crowell

2. The Poet Game , sung by Ani DiFranco (written by Greg Brown, an American treasure who deserves more attention than he gets)

3. Sweet is the Melody by Iris DeMent (who, last I heard, was living with Greg Brown)

4. Talkin’ ‘Bout Women, Obviously by Buddy Guy

5. Leonard by Merle Haggard

via Road Trip Day 19: Road Trip Interruptus | Swampland | TIME.com.

TimesCast, media,  video, NYT: Just discovered this daily video broadcast … why am I paying for cable?

President Obama faces a changing electoral landscape; the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof on Bahrain’s latest crackdown; and Islamists prepare for elections in Egypt and Tunisia.

via TimesCast | September 29, 2011 – Video Library – The New York Times.

Google Wallet:  From Katherine (Boehret WSJ’s The Digital Solution – AllThingsD): “Ironic: Citi sent me a paper letter confirming I was using Google Wallet for paper-free payments”  🙂

Would you rather leave home without your wallet and be penniless all day, or leave your phone at home and be out of touch all day? Many people would rather be penniless. If only phones could be used to pay for things, it would be easier to leave a wallet behind.

Enter Google Wallet, the search engine’s answer to this problem. This mobile app uses a chip in the phone so it can be waved in front of payment stations to buy things. Users set it up by registering a credit card to the phone or loading a Google Prepaid Card with a credit card. A four-digit password enables payment transactions. Google Wallet is rolling out this week to Sprint’s already available, $50 (after $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract) Nexus S 4G phones by way of an Android operating-system software update.

via Katie Reviews Google Wallet – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

South Africa, Honeymoon Murder Case:  This murder occurred shortly after I returned from SA last year and it sent chills down my spine.  SA had made great strides in connection with its public image regarding such random acts of violence in connection with ists hosting of the World Cup.  In one fell swoop this brought it right back to where it started … and to know here that it was a hit job by the groom.  Very sad.

British Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of a British businessman to return to South Africa to stand trial for his wife’s murder on their honeymoon last year.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring hit men to kill his 28-year-old bride, Anni Dewani, who was shot and killed last November when the couple’s taxi was hijacked in the Gugulethu township in South Africa, the BBC reports. Dewani, who denies involvement in the murder, was released unharmed during the hijacking, but his bride’s body was later found in the abandoned car.

via British Government Approves Extradition in South Africa Honeymoon Murder Case – TIME NewsFeed.

zombies, tv, AMC , “Walking Dead”:    “Walking Dead” themed talk show… Well, since we haven’t watched  “Walking Dead”, yet, i don’t think I need to watch a   “Walking Dead” themed talk show!

Coming soon to your TV: A zombie talk show.

Let’s Talk Zombies: AMC to Air ‘Walking Dead’-Themed Talk Show – TIME NewsFeed.

Wall Street Journal, advertisements,  commercials:  I don’t think I have ever seen a WSJ ad … I wonder how many people called 1-800-xxx-xxxx … agents are standing by … Actually it is an interesting add … what do you think?

By animating a series of still photographs, and without using a single word of dialogue, The Wall Street Journal moves beyond its traditional business focus to become a vibrant “Everything Journal” in a :30 brand image spot entitled, “Live in the Know,” from agency McGarry Bowen (NYC) and production/design company The Wilderness.

In aggressively moving beyond its traditional black-and-white, business-only format, The Wall Street Journal’s agency asked The Wilderness to produce a spot that embraces its newly expanded editorial focus and use of four-color art throughout, exclusively using still images. Using the masthead the concept was to create a new visual language to present the newspaper as the The ‘Blank’ Street Journal, in which the reader fills in his favorite ‘blank’ subject matter.

via The Wall Street Journal : Live in the Know | scaryideas.com.

moods, Twitter, biological rhythms: When I read this i immediately thought of biorhythms and mood rings from the 70’s. 🙂

However grumpy people are when they wake up, and whether they stumble to their feet in Madrid, Mexico City or Minnetonka, Minn., they tend to brighten by breakfast time and feel their moods taper gradually to a low in the late afternoon, before rallying again near bedtime, a large-scale study of posts on the social media site Twitter found.

Drawing on messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries, researchers discovered that the emotional tone of people’s messages followed a similar pattern not only through the day but also through the week and the changing seasons. The new analysis suggests that our moods are driven in part by a shared underlying biological rhythm that transcends culture and environment.

via Moods on Twitter Follow Biological Rhythms, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

slavery, economic analysis, cartography, “Cotton Kingdom”:  Article blended history and economics … very enjoyable.

Te role of maps in visualizing United States Census results is actually a practice that originated 150 years ago, in the crisis between North and South.

An earlier post in this series described the efforts of the Coast Survey to map the distribution of slavery across the South in the summer of 1861. At about the same time, another pathbreaking effort was underway to “measure” the productivity of Southern slavery. The map is not well known, but its creator was none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park and one of the pioneers of American landscape architecture.

Olmsted was already an accomplished journalist when he met Henry Raymond, the editor of the newly established New-York Daily Times (later The New York Times) in the early 1850s. After just five minutes of conversation, Raymond was so impressed that he made Olmsted a special correspondent, and sent him to observe and write about Southern life. For the next several years Olmsted sent back voluminous reports — published in three volumes — of disorder, poverty, inefficiency, backwardness and chaos. We might dismiss these as hopelessly biased Northern observations, yet these accounts gained a wide audience, and challenged the contemporary picture of the cotton south as an economic powerhouse.

Olmsted and Goodloe identified slave labor as the single most damaging influence on the southern economy: it was inefficient, absorbed capital away from reinvestment, and required substantial overhead. Worst of all, the price of slaves drove cotton production — rather than the other way around — and was immune to competition from free labor. Such a system could never generate real prosperity. Even Olmsted’s title, “The Cotton Kingdom,” turned the South Carolina politician James Henry Hammond’s famous phrase — “Cotton is King” — on its head. Instead of a place of wealth and economic superiority, Olmsted found a closed society imprisoned by the crop, unable to advance, diversify or feed its own people. This was entirely an economic — rather than a moral or humanitarian — case against slavery, for the authors were tailoring their case for a British public concerned about their cotton supply.

Olmsted and Goodloe weren’t the first to say that slavery was a doomed system, but they were the first to use cartography to make their case, first to the British, and then to their fellow Americans.

via Mapping the Cotton Kingdom – NYTimes.com.

stereotypes, Christian denominations, LOL:

denomination-interpretation-chart.jpg 1,280×1,280 pixels

Deep Springs College: My friend Bob T. told me about this college … impressive results … but who are the kids that go there … obviously they can get in elite colleges anyway … interesting.

Deep Springs College, a small and storied institution of higher learning set on a cattle ranch in California, is going co-ed.

Founded in 1917, Deep Springs is a highly selective two-year college unlike any other: it enrolls just 26 students, all men, for a two-year regimen of study and toil. Most graduates go on to equally selective four-year colleges. By “equally selective,” I mean Yale.

The college sits on a cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in California’s High Desert and operates “on the belief that manual labor and political deliberation are integral parts of a comprehensive liberal arts education,” according to the web site.

Deep Springs is an ambitious place, intended as a training ground for leaders. Founder L.L. Nunn put it thus: “Great leaders in all ages have sought the desert and heard its voice.”

The admission rate ranges from 6 percent to 15 percent a year. Students who manage to get in attend on a full scholarship worth about $50,000 a year. Over the past 10 years, according to the web site, 16 percent of students went on to Harvard, 13 percent to the University of Chicago, 7 percent to Yale and 7 percent to Brown.

It is probably safe to assume that two years at Deep Springs is, for many lads, a first taste of honest toil.

via A cattle-ranch college for future Yalies goes co-ed – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

compact SLR cameras, photography:  Perfection?   A toy I would like to have …

 

The Nikon 1 is bigger than the Pentax Q — what isn’t? — but strikes a better balance in the complex price/size/features/sensor size equation.

 

It’s available in two models: the J1, intended for the general user (available in white, black, silver, red or pink for $650 with a 3X zoom lens); and the V1, intended for advanced hobbyists (black, $900 with 3X lens). The V1 adds an electronic eyepiece viewfinder and a few more perks.

 

The headline here is speed. These cameras are tricked out with enough computing power to launch a rocket. They can perform stunts like taking 10 shots a second, refocusing all the way, or 60 shots a second without refocusing.

 

They focus faster than any camera Nikon has ever made. They easily create slow-motion video, containing as many as 1,200 frames a second, although at a tiny frame size.

 

Get this: You can even snap a full-resolution still photo while you’re recording video, without leaving a blink or a gap in the movie. Nikon believes, as do I, that that’s a first in the history of consumer cameras, and it’s unbelievably useful.

 

The sensor inside is a new design. At 0.62 inch, it’s much bigger than a pocket camera’s, but not as big as the sensor in a Micro Four Thirds camera (0.89 inch), let alone a real S.L.R. (1.2 inches or larger).

 

The photos are generally very good, but you can easily tell they didn’t come from an S.L.R. For example, the Nikon 1 too easily “blows out” the brightest parts of the scene, and muddies up the darkest parts.

 

That would still present an irresistible tradeoff if it weren’t for a couple of truly idiotic design elements. First, the mode dial has only four positions — Auto, Movie, Best Shot and Motion Snapshot — and two of them are wasted.

 

The Best Shot mode takes 20 photos in one second, then throws away all but what it considers the best five, based on focus, blur and so on. The Motion Snapshot mode captures a one-second slow-motion movie and adds cheesy music to it.

 

But dedicating two of the mode dial’s precious four positions to these rarely used gimmicks is a criminal splurge. Meanwhile, if you want to adjust the shutter speed or aperture, you have to dive deeply into the labyrinth of on-screen menus. Bring bread crumbs.

 

And another thing. There’s a dedicated movie start/stop button, but it doesn’t work except in Movie mode! What’s the point of a Movie button if you have to change modes to use it?

 

Three lenses are already available for the Nikon 1 — an f/2.8 nonzooming pancake lens, the 3X zoom (the film equivalent of a 27-71 mm lens) and a telephoto lens (81-297 mm equivalent). There’s also an enormous 10X zoom intended for video.

 

The Nikon 1’s 1080p videos are spectacular in general (it smoothly refocuses and re-exposes while filming); but when you add the 10X lens and its smooth “power zoom” button, your Nikon 1 becomes an actual camcorder.

 

Nikon will also offer an adapter that lets you use any existing F-mount Nikon lens with your camera. It might look a little silly on such a tiny body, but it’ll work.

 

Both the Pentax Q and the Nikon 1 are important experiments. Both demonstrate that the camera industry has, at last, given up the meaningless race to cram more megapixels onto a sensor — and moved into more important pursuits, like better photos and smaller cameras.

 

Unfortunately, both cameras are also flawed in their own special ways. Yes, the world’s camera engineers have finally brought us the pocket S.L.R. But perfection continues to elude them.

 

via 2 Compact Cameras Move Closer to Perfection – David Pogue – NYTimes.com.

mea culpa, science: Another interesting piece … the science behind saying you’re sorry.  The piece did not mention Tiger … but his mea culpa was a major fail.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent effort to address customer anger follows an all-too-familiar script. A public figure or institution commits an offense, and then offers an apology to fix it.

Yet as we see over and over again, our reactions to even the most direct and explicit mea culpas can differ markedly from one incident to another.

For instance, before his more recent infidelity troubles, Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused of sexually harassing several women during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign. He apologized and subsequently won that election. In contrast, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner apologized in June 2011 for his involvement in a sexting scandal. He was heckled, called a “pervert,” and soon resigned from office.

What makes one apology succeed and another fail? A growing body of research is trying to understand this very question. The psychology behind saying you’re sorry is proliferating rapidly, and there are still many questions to answer. However, it already offers some important lessons that help explain why some acts of contrition work—while others don’t.

Apologies are a double-edged sword. By signaling repentance and an effort to repair the problem, they’re beneficial. But they’re also harmful because they confirm that blame is actually deserved. When making an apology, then, the benefits should outweigh the cost. There is little harm in offering an apology if it’s already obvious that you are guilty. But there’s also little benefit if you fail to make it clear that the offense won’t recur.

Many people assume that if you make the apology more direct, sincere and explicit, people will think you won’t do it again. And they may be partly correct. However, research has shown that a host of other factors often exert far more drastic effects on an apology’s reception than how sincere people think it is.

Here’s just one example, based on research my colleagues and I have done. It turns out that an apology’s effectiveness depends largely on whether the offense is thought to be intentional or a mistake. People are often willing to discount a poor decision if it’s the result of a mistake; they believe its causes will be corrected. But if it’s thought to be intentional, people tend to place little faith in the idea that the flaw will be corrected. This is important because many offenses can be construed either way, and would-be apologizers often fail to account for people’s perception before they respond.

via The science behind saying you’re sorry – The Washington Post.

college admissions, college crisis, internet solutions: A Match.com for Higher Ed?  Lots of good insight in this piece.

Newspapers and magazines like to pick on excitable parents over-prepping their children for college. This would be a wonderful problem for the rest of the country to have.

It’s an article of faith among the striving classes that college admissions has become a Thunderdome-style tournament from which a chosen few emerge to enjoy lives of guaranteed privilege. Media outlets make a lot money stoking the flames of anxiety among the college-bound. A devoted New York Times reader could be forgiven for thinking the typical American teenager spends his or her seventeenth year doing nothing but studying for AP tests and fretting about impressing the personal-essay readers at Swarthmore and Brown.

In truth, the college admissions frenzy is limited to a relative handful of privileged students, as I wrote in a story for the Washington Monthly’s annual college issue. This is a problem. As a nation, we need far more students to be caught up in the college admissions market–but in a completely different way.

Unfortunately, the closest, cheapest college is often a bad choice. In 2009, more than 320 four-year colleges and universities reported six-year graduation rates below 30 percent. At community colleges, the average three-year graduation rate is 16 percent. While much ink is spilled denouncing terrible K-12 schools, pundits and politicians seem less willing to admit that a not-insignificant number of public colleges also suffer from the same problems of incompetence, mediocrity, and inadequate funding. Add the more recent phenomenon of some (although by no means all) for-profit colleges loading up students with debt by selling overpriced online degrees, and it’s clear that all students need help choosing the right college, not just the privileged few.

Indeed, the stakes are arguably much higher for a first-generation student picking among open-access institutions of wildly varying quality than for a wealthy suburban kid whose worst-case scenario is an expensive private school. Without a better-functioning higher market, we’ll continue to lose ground to foreign competitors that have eclipsed America in producing college graduates in recent years.

The existing admissions system is also remarkably archaic. To a large extent, it still involves students submitting pieces of paper (or electronic copies of pieces of paper) containing information about grades, test scores, high-school profiles, essays, and personal recommendations. Colleges then apply a few crude filters, like a minimum SAT threshold or whether the student’s parents are rich, and consider the remaining applicants via a “holistic” process of decision-by-committee. Because the information isn’t stored in a database, it’s hard to perform post hoc analyses to see if the “yea” and “nay” decisions were good ones. The fact that most students drop out of or transfer from the first college they choose suggests that many are not.

Traditional students will probably be least affected by all of this. Harvard will always be Harvard. But for everyone else, a vigorous, technology-driven higher education marketplace can’t come soon enough.

via Our Best Weapon Against the College Crisis: A Match.com for Higher Ed – Kevin Carey – Business – The Atlantic.

mass transit, Charlotte, Red Line (Charlotte-to-Mooresville mass transit line), CATS, Charlotte NC, innovative funding: John and I always said we would move back to Davidson if they built the Red Line!  The funding would be based on a dual usage line —  both passenger and freight rail service.

According to the blog, a Red Line Task Force subcommittee has come up with an idea that state transportation official Paul Morris says is unique — use the Charlotte-to-Mooresville line for both passenger and freight rail service. The plan also calls for CATS to join with the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson to tax revenues from new development along the line.

via New idea for North transit line? | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

MLB, wild card, Braves, quotes: he must not be a Braves fan. 🙂 “What that was, quite simply, was the best day of regular-season baseball the game has ever seen.”

(STEVE NESIUS – REUTERS) At one point Wednesday night, the final night of the baseball calendar, there were four games being contested to decide the two wild cards, and in three of them the situations were as follows: In Baltimore, a 3-2 game in the seventh inning; in St. Petersburg, Fla., a 7-7 game in the 10th; in Atlanta, a 3-3 game in the 12th.

I am tasked with looking forward today (I think the matchups are Yankees-Tigers and Rangers-Rays in the AL, and Phillies-Cardinals and Brewers-Diamondbacks in the NL). I have a playoff preview to write, and predictions to get wrong. But it is impossible not to spend a few hours looking back first.

via Wild-card race: Baseball’s greatest regular-season finish – Baseball Insider – The Washington Post.

Apple, iPod, kith/kin, RIP:  My boys still have their original iPods … what a great product.  RIP, iPod.

Apple makes the most sought after gadgets on the planet, but they may be about to pull the plug on one that helped get the revolution rolling.

Classic is just another way to say outdated.

Rumor has it that the iPod Classic (and iPod Shuffle) may be discontinued.

Apple sells millions of iPods, but the Classic and Shuffle don’t have touchscreens, which are the interface of the present and future.

CNET’s Crave gadget blog notes there’s no mention of iPod news in the upcoming Oct. 4 Apple press conference, where details of the iPhone 5 will be announced.

The iPod first appeared 10 years ago … a long time in tech circles … and Apple would rather folks buy an iPhone (or iTouch) than an iPod, which contributed a mere 8 percent of the company’s revenue.

Crave has a great Steve Jobs quote: ”Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

The iPod Classic can hold 120 gigabytes of music … which I think is really good, but probably not enough to keep it from going the way of the Walkman.

via Apple to pull plug on iPod? | News To Me with George Mathis.

Civil War, refugee box,  General  Sherman, evacuation of Atlanta, history:  Interesting that your valuables could be put in one box …

Before Sherman ordered the evacuation of Atlanta, thousands of civilians living outside the city had begun to refugee South. As the Union army approached in June 1864, the Archibald Smith family fled from their home in Roswell, GA. They packed their belongings in this box, painted their address across the top, and made their way to Valdosta, GA, to stay with relatives. They would not return to Roswell until 1866. Today their home is museum and is open to the public.

via Atlanta History Center, Civil War Refugee Box.




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