Posts Tagged ‘photographs

09
Dec
11

12.9.2011 … So glad two of my children’s names are on the list … the list of most popular pet names in 2011 … :)

random, names, kith/kin, pets: So glad two of my children’s names are on the list!

Does your dog have a popular name? Many names are personal or silly, while others have stuck with pets throughout history.

If you’re curious what other people name their animals, be sure to check out our cutest pets of 2011 slideshow.

Does your pet’s name reflect where they came from? A recent poll by AP and petside.com suggests that most people get their pets as gifts or rescue them.

Want to get a dog and give it some fantastic name? Check out Petfinder.com and the ASPCA website to help a dog in need of a home.

If you think your pet has a unique name, check out Banfield Pet Hospital’s list of the top 25 dog names for 2011, accompanied by some of our favorite dog pictures from this year. Click here to also check out the top cat names of 2011. Be sure to vote for your favorites!

via Top Dog Names Of 2011 (PHOTOS).

Christmas, decorations, random, Anthropologie:

“book Christmas tree in a NY @Anthropologie . So smart. I’m doing it. ”

via Instagram.

“Miracle on 42nd Street”, YouTube, viral videos:  🙂

Dancers Alex Karigan and Zac Hammer from the hit YouTube video Miracle on 42nd Street video chatted with readers. They answered reader questions, broke out some dance moves and more.

via Challenge the “Miracle on 42nd Street” dancers – The Washington Post.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas sweaters:  Fad Returns?

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David Wright examines the ugly Christmas sweater trend.

via Christmas Sweater Madness: Fad Returns | Video – ABC News.

Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, books, tv:  On my list …

Among yesterday’s selection of 5 must-read books by this year’s newly announced TED Global speakers was The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. But the book was actually meant to accompany a 2008 six-part documentary commissioned by Channel 4 — the same folks who gave us What Is Reality?, The End of God?: A Horizon Guide to Science and Religion, How Music Works, What Is Time? — and distributed in the US by PBS.

The program is now available online in a clip of questionable legality that may or may not get pulled down by the copyright watchdogs at any point. But, while it lasts, it’s very much worth a watch — eloquent and digestible, it distills one of the most powerful driving forces of our civilization and its multiplicitous impact on just about every aspect of our lives.

via The Ascent of Money: A PBS Financial History of the World | Brain Pickings.

technology, iPhone apps, hardware:  a Home Theater Powered by iPhone?

Everything changed when people started writing their own apps for the iPhone. Suddenly its talents as a phone — which, at least at the outset, weren’t particularly impressive — paled in comparison to its abilities as a computer.

These days, this business of phone-as-brain goes way beyond stand-alone apps. Nowadays, the iPhone handles the computing, connection and display tasks for a huge range of hardware from other companies. Why should they jack up their products’ prices by selling you a screen, memory, processor, microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’ve already got all of that in your pocket?

There are blood pressure monitors (iHealth), bathroom scales (Withings), physical activity monitors (Jawbone), sleep monitors (Zeo), credit card readers (Square), security cameras (iZon), remote-control helicopters (Parrot) and, of course, about 73,001 speaker systems. All of them rely on the iPhone as a brain.

Until the Epson Megaplex came along, however, one screamingly obvious iPhone accessory didn’t seem to occur to anybody: a home theater projector.

Why is it such an obvious idea? Because these days, millions of people carry around their photos, videos and music on their iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. The world is teeming with charging docks that also play their music. It shouldn’t have taken so long for someone to create a dock that also plays the photos and videos.

via Epson’s Megaplex Is a Home Theater Powered by iPhone – State of the Art – NYTimes.com.

Twitter,  redesigns:  Twitter works just fine for me …

Twitter unveiled a product overhaul for its Web site and apps today that it says is simpler and faster, with navigation built around its service’s key functions.

The new layout puts additional content and context inline within tweets, rather than off to the side. It’s also supposed to be 500 percent faster than Twitter was three or four months ago. And it looks different and sleeker; for instance, the navigation bar is now on the left instead of the right.

Nope, this is not a new product or feature — which by now seems to be Twitter’s least favorite thing! — but rather a conceptual and visual redesign.

via Twitter Redesigns to Be Simpler and Faster – Liz Gannes – Social – AllThingsD.

college application process,  college essay questions:  quirky, tweety, eccentric?  What are we doing to our kids?

Imagine you have to wear a costume for a year of your life. What would you pick and why? — Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

What is your favorite ride at the amusement park? How does this reflect your approach to life? — Emory University in Atlanta.

“Colleges have really thrown us a curveball,” said Eric Apgar, director of guidance at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. “In years past, we would tell students not to veer too far from the middle, to not be too strange … but it seems like that’s exactly what post-secondary institutions want.”

It’s not just content that has undergone a makeover, but the format as well. Along with the usual essay, many campuses have added short takes of 20 to 25 words, such as:

The best movie of all time — Columbia University in New York City.

“It just reinforces that there’s some secret code that needs to be cracked to gain admission,” he said. “How angry would an adult be if we had to answer these kind of bizarre questions on a job application?”

While other schools may just be retooling, the University of Chicago has long taken great pride in its provocative essays. Over the years, the application has asked students to reflect on everything from “How do you feel about Wednesday?” to the massive jars of mustard at warehouse stores.

“There’s no right or wrong answer … we’re looking for students unafraid to talk in their own voice,” said Evan Cudworth, assistant director of admissions.

The eccentric prompts have become such a hallmark of the U. of C. application that the admissions office annually solicits suggestions from incoming students and alumni.

The condiment question, for example, was submitted about six years ago and elicited a wide range of responses, from rants on consumerism to a physics equation, with one student calculating how fast a swimmer could travel in a pool of mustard.

via College essay questions get a quirky, tweety makeover – chicagotribune.com.

college application process, early action, early decision, “expectation management”:  As I have said before, “what are we doing to our kids?” “Expectation management?” At one school … “85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options.”

In Philadelphia, Daniel Evans, director of college counseling at William Penn Charter School, also emphasized the high proportion of students who took early application action this fall. He wrote:

85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options. All of this created a first trimester that was a blur for my colleagues and me. On the other hand, the majority of students will have some decision(s) in hand before the new year.

Mr. Evans of Penn Charter reported that the heightened early application activity had increased the need for “expectation management” and counseling regarding how to navigate the complex web of restrictions surrounding early applications for those filing a mix of early decision, early action and rolling applications.

via Field Notes From This Year’s Application Season – NYTimes.com.

Breaker, alternative learning,  social innovation,  interdisciplinary teams, creative collaboration, problems of the world:  Wow, impressive … makes me want to b young again!

Juliette LaMontagne, Ed.D., is a career educator: New York City public school teacher, Columbia University professor and professional developer. She’s a TED Senior Fellow and innovation consultant for the Asia Society’s International Studies School Network, the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers and the Student Press Initiative. Her new project, which she recently discussed with Change Observer, is Breaker.

Tell us about the pilot program you ran this summer. What is Breaker?

Breaker’s goal is to drive alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We connect our teams of 18- to 24-year-olds with global thought leaders and industry experts to answer major challenges like, in the case of our summer pilot, the future of the book and its impact on literacy. We facilitate a creative problem-solving design process and teach the entrepreneurial skills necessary to transform ideas into businesses.

Each unique Breaker project is a 12-week collaboration between the Breaker team, the visionaries who pose their challenge, and the industry experts who support their process. We work with multiple partner organizations across New York City to ideate, build and test real solutions with real market value.

In the Future of the Book project, our techno-bibliophilic visionaries, Charlie Melcher of Melcher Media and Tom Uglow of Google Creative Labs, inspired the team to imagine the future of the book. We then tasked them with designing a product or service that would get kids reading — and keep kids reading — during those pivotal middle school years when 12- to 14-year-olds either adopt reading as an independent practice or read only to get by. From the outset, the team was primed to make their concepts marketable.

via A new initiative recruits young adults to create ways to promote adolescent literacy: Change Observer: Design Observer.

kids, careers, really stupid, Twitter:  How NOT to use Twitter!

Kids these days! Three young staffers in the office of Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) were fired Thursday after a political blog printed a series of messages they’d apparently exchanged on Twitter about drinking in the office and how much they hate their boss. The NW Daily Marker preserved the tweets from the now-deactived accounts. Among the sentiments:

• “My coworker just took a shot of Jack crouching behind my desk. We have unabashedly given up on just about all things work related.”

• “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pass a field sobriety test right now. Looking forward to a day in the office.”

• “I could have used another day away. The silver lining is that I don’t have to see my idiot boss.”

The tweets were written under pseudonyms from non-work accounts; the blog editor Bryan Myrick told us he connected them back to Larsen’s office via unspecified sources. The staffers could not be located for comment. All appear to be under 30 — and now, out of work. In a statement, a rep for the lawmaker said Larsen’s office said neither the congressman nor other staffers were aware of the alleged hijinx until the story hit Thursday, which prompted their quick firing. Larsen “has made it clear that he will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” the statement said.

via Rep. Rick Larsen fires three staffers over crass tweets – The Reliable Source – The Washington Post.

heirlooms, heirloom silver, art, memories:  So what makes a piece or set of silver an heirloom … the memories …

With so many pressing problems in the world, I’m going to confess to a slightly guilty conscience about my absolute happiness in working/creating/growing Silver Magpies. When I expressed this feeling, a very wise friend said to me, beautiful things enrich our lives. A piece of heirloom silver – whether it’s been passed down in your family for generations or it’s something you recently purchased and plan on passing down as an heirloom – is so much more than just a beautiful thing.

via Once and Future Heirloom Silver.

recipes,  Chicken Cutlets Meunière:  This one just made me hungry …. 🙂

The recipe, which I wrote about in an early Minimalist column, is infinitely variable, but here I’ve done it about as simply as possible. Dredge the chicken in flour, cook it in a skillet with oil or butter until nicely browned and just cooked through — as long as you get really nice browning on one of the sides, you’re fine — and finish with lemon juice and chopped parsley. The brown butter is luxurious and totally optional.

As for the variations, you can change the coating, using cornmeal, breadcrumbs or finely ground nuts instead of flour. You can season it with chopped fresh herbs, dried spices or parmesan. You can flavor the butter with herbs and garlic as it browns, or make any number of pan sauces — with wine, stock, butter, mustard, vinegar, capers, etc. — after you sauté the chicken.

via Chicken Cutlets Meunière — Recipe and Video — The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

 ‘Young Adult’, movies, movie reviews, Therese Theron: Life after high school?  This one sounds fun …

By turns amusing and annoying, Young Adult could be the flip side, plus the sequel, of Juno, another film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. You’ll recall that the pregnant teen played by Ellen Page was mature beyond her years. But at 37, Mavis is still a young adult: stunted, selfish, believing her glamorous past is somehow her destiny. To grow up, she will need a few face-slaps to her pride, and perhaps a realignment of her ideas about the sort of man she should be with.

So maybe Matt, the drone, is Juno. Mavis doesn’t recall him; he reminds her, “My locker was actually next to yours, all four years.” Finally she recognizes him as “the hate-crime guy”: Matt had been beaten and crippled by jocks, exercising a more virulent version of the blithe bigotry Mavis showed him. “They mangled my c—,” he tells her, “so I have to piss and come sideways for the rest of my life” — a line that instantly jolts Young Adult out of Romy and Michele comedy-nostalgia land and into the psychic-horror terrain of Jennifer’s Body, another high school movie written by Cody. Except that, in Young Adult, the victim survives to haunt his pretty predator, and perhaps to convince her that he’s worth caring for.

Whether Mavis is Cody’s vision of her teen self or a portrait of the bitch-goddesses she knew way back when, Young Adult packs some ornery truths about compromise as the key to an arrested adolescent’s survival as an adult. In a thorny role, Theron is splendid; she instinctively reveals everything Mavis doesn’t know about herself and offers an intimate peek into a wayward soul.

via ‘Young Adult’ Review: Theron’s Life After High School | Entertainment | TIME.com.

digital learning, education:  I can’t wait to see where education is in another 10 years …

An expert educator working group with more than 25 innovative and master instructional technology leaders from across the country worked to develop these toolkits filled with helpful resources for all stakeholders.  The toolkits include links and references to instructional strategy ideas, lesson plans, sample outreach, ways to collaborate, and resources organized in a succinct way to meet the needs of the following stakeholders recommended by practitioners just like you. These resources are not the totality of good information available. Instead, this resource is designed to help you think about how technology may strengthen your insructional strategies.  Click on the Toolkit below to get started.

Showcase/Promising Practices:  The showcase of promising practices offers educators in at the district, high school, elementary school and libraries short videos highlighting ideas of incorporating digital learning into students’ daily activities.

Project-Based Learning Frameworks for Lessons:  This section provides project-based lessons or links to lesson repositories that have options for different technologies and length of implementation. Maybe your schools can start or finish one on Digital Learning Day!

Pedagogical Approaches and Professional Development: Find information about flipping the classroom, simulations, mobile learning, professional development, and more.

Lesson Ideas: Visit this large repository of lesson ideas and plans that incorporate digital learning into various content areas.

Collaboration Tools: Through a free collaboration site powered by Epsilen, Digital Learning Day participants can join a special Digital Learning Day group and begin connecting with other teachers and librarians across the country.  The site provides opportunities to create an ePortfolio, begin or participate in discussions, share lesson plans and documents, and learn from one another.  Educators will be able to participate in live chats, webinars, and other professional learning opportunities.

via Digital Learning Day :: Classroom and Teacher Toolkit.

 Read It Later, data, culture, media, blogging: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world?  Good question … I actually read everything I save … and most of it I post here!

Because, if my own use of Read It Later and Instapaper are any indication, a click on a Read Later button is, more than anything, an act of desperate, blind hope. Why, yes, Foreign Affairs, I would love to learn about the evolution of humanitarian intervention! And, certainly, Center for Public Integrity, I’d be really excited to read about the judge who’s been a thorn in the side of Wall Street’s top regulator! I am totally interested, and sincerely fascinated, and brimming with curiosity!

But I am less brimming with time. So, for me, rather than acting like a bookmark for later-on leafing — a straight-up, time-shifted reading experience — a click on a Read Later button is actually, often, a kind of anti-engagement. It provides just enough of a rush of endorphins to give me a little jolt of accomplishment, sans the need for the accomplishment itself. But, then, that click will also, very likely, be the last interaction I will have with these worthy stories of NGOs and jurisprudence.

What does endure, though, the Read It Later info suggests, is the human connection at the heart of the best journalism. While so much of the most-saved stuff has a unifying theme — life-improvement and gadgets, with Boing Boing’s delights thrown in for good measure — it’s telling, I think, that the returned-to content can’t be so easily categorized. It runs the gamut, from sports to tech, from pop culture to entertainment. What it does have in common, though, is good writing. I don’t read all the folks on the list, but I read a lot of them — and I suspect that the writing itself, almost independent of topic, is what keeps people coming back to them. When I’m looking at my queue and see Maureen O’Connor’s byline, I’ll probably click — not necessarily because I care about the topic of her post, but because, through her snappy writing, she’ll make me care. The Read It Later data suggest a great thing for writers: Stickiness seems actually to be a function of quality.

Or, as David Carr might put it: The ones worth saving are the ones being saved.

via New Read It Later data: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Nicholas Sparks, ‘The Lucky One’, movies, Zac Ephron:  Well, i am not a big fan of Nicholas Sparks.  So Zac Ephron certainly will not get me their … I’ll wait ’til its free on Netflix.

Zac Efron will now join the ranks of men including Richard Gere, Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling who play the lost heartthrobs opposite their fragile but charming female leads in Nicholas Sparks adaptations. Efron stars as Logan Thibault in “The Lucky One,” as a marine who believes he was saved by a picture of a woman while serving a tour in Iraq. Logan returns home and seeks out this woman, played by Taylor Schilling, and love/lust/anger/frustration ensue. And there’s the classic moment in a boat.

via Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Lucky One’ Trailer Premieres – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Christmas, Christmas commercials, Best Buy, LEXUS,  Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? I thought it was just me … but I definitely think they are mean-spirited.

A heartwarming Christmas documentary, “Becoming Santa,” is interspersed with moments of Grinch — thanks to the interruption of Christmas commercials, The Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever found.

Best Buy, in particular, is running a terribly callous series of commercials called “Game On, Santa,” in which obsessed female shoppers purchase the gifts that their loved ones really want at Best Buy and then wait up on Christmas Eve to accost Santa Claus in their living rooms and gloat that they’ve already beat him to the punch. In your face, you outdated fat man with your outdated presents!

Are ad companies all naughty and no nice this year? From a roundup of some Christmas ads, it seems to be so. Which company should get the most coal in its stocking for its blatant bah-humbuggery?

via Best Buy Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? – Arts Post – The Washington Post.

‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’, YouTube, Newt Gingrich, Dr. Seuss,  Parody: 🙂

As the holiday season and GOP primary both draw near, it’s only natural that the two would eventually merge in a politically-charged Christmas video titled, “You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich.”

The star of the show? The controversial GOP candidate, of course.

The video features some of Gingrich’s most notorious sayings set to a modified version of the theme song to Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (get it?) along with some pretty amusing graphics.

via ‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’ Depicts GOP Candidate As Grinch In Dr. Seuss Parody (VIDEO).

“of the year”, images, photographs:  Very interesting …

It’s the “of the year” time of the year: a few weeks spent naming the best books or music or music films, or the most significant events or people, of the year.

As a reader I enjoy this mini-season, an annual excuse for me to (silently) disagree with everyone else’s lists. As a writer, I tend to avoid it. But this year I’m making an exception, because for months I’ve had a pretty good idea what I would choose as the “image of the year.” And for reasons that will become apparent, I’m going to cast my vote for book of the year, while I’m at it. But I’ll get to that.

The image of the year, hands down, is the image of Osama Bin Laden, dead. I haven’t seen it of course, and unless you have fairly rarified security access, you haven’t either. That’s why it’s the most compelling image of 2011: At this point, there’s nothing more surprising, and fascinating, than an image people might want to see, but can’t.

After all, we’ve all observed the long-term shifts that surely made 2011 the most image-soaked year of all time — and that will make next year, and the year after that, even more so. Cameras and video recorders, built into various other devices, are increasingly ubiquitous; space for storing them online is basically limitless. Grotesque evidence of a despot’s violent death and all manner of other corrosive images are just a click away, and sometimes difficult to avoid. Surveillance (by security cameras, by drones, by Google’s roving Street View cars, by average citizens) is routine. And so on.

So when news of the Bin Laden killing was accompanied by calls from many quarters that images of his corpse needed to be shared with the public, I assumed that it would happen promptly. An interesting question is why people wanted to see those images. The official answer is that it would provide proof. But the explosion of images has been accompanied by an explosion of doctored, faked, manipulated, and overtly remixed images. It’s also been accopmanied by the apparent deterioration of any given image’s authority.

Which brings me to my book of the year: Errol Morris’ Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography). The book is not about digital-era image culture, but it’s vital reading for anybody interested in photography as “proof,” or really photography in general. Over six chapters, Morris examines photography, and how we look at it — what we project into images, sometimes including even the intentionality of the photographer, or the morality of the subject. We see things that aren’t there, and miss things that are. “Our beliefs,” he argues in a pivotal passage, “can completely defeat sensory evidence.”

via Image of the Year: Rob Walker: Observers Room: Design Observer Mobile.

faith v. spirituality, science, God:

If you believe that the truth lies in strange scrolls, dug up by somewhere or other, written by someone, then there’s no logical counter to that.” ~ Sir Richard Friend

via 50 Famous Scientists on God, Part 2 | Brain Pickings.

Lissa Rankin, TEDxFiDiWomen,  OwningPink.com, women’s health, wellness, holistic medicine:  Loved this oe …

Lissa Rankin, MD is an OB/GYN physician, author, keynote speaker, consultant to health care visionaries, professional artist, and founder of the women’s health and wellness community OwningPink.com. Discouraged by the broken, patriarchal health care system, she left her medical practice in 2007 only to realize that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. This epiphany launched her on a journey of discovery that led her to become a leader in the field of mind/body medicine, which she blogs about at OwningPink.com and is writing about in her third book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

She teaches both patients and health care professionals how to make the body ripe for miracles by healing the mind and being healthy in all aspects of life, not just by promoting healthy behaviors like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, but by encouraging health and authenticity in relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment. She is leading a revolution to feminize how health care is received and delivered by encouraging collaboration, fostering self-healing, reconnecting health care and spirituality, empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body, and encouraging women not to settle for being merely well, but to strive for living vital, joyful, authentic lives full of “mojo.”

When not spreading the word, she chills out, paints, does yoga, and hikes in Marin County, CA with her husband and daughter.

via TEDxFiDiWomen – Lissa Rankin – YouTube.

human, history, woman’s issues, philosophy, What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011, books:

Decades before women sought liberation in the bicycle or their biceps, a more rudimentary liberation was at stake. The book opens with a letter penned in 1872 by an anonymous author identified simply as “An Earnest Englishwoman,” a letter titled “Are Women Animals?” by the newspaper editor who printed it:

Sir, —

Whether women are the equals of men has been endlessly debated; whether they have souls has been a moot point; but can it be too much to ask [for a definitive acknowledgement that at least they are animals?… Many hon. members may object to the proposed Bill enacting that, in statutes respecting the suffrage, ‘wherever words occur which import the masculine gender they shall be held to include women;’ but could any object to the insertion of a clause in another Act that ‘whenever the word “animal” occur it shall be held to include women?’ Suffer me, thorough your columns, to appeal to our 650 [parliamentary] representatives, and ask — Is there not one among you then who will introduce such a motion? There would then be at least an equal interdict on wanton barbarity to cat, dog, or woman…

Yours respectfully,

AN EARNEST ENGLISHWOMAN

The broader question at the heart of the Earnest Englishwoman’s outrage, of course, isn’t merely about gender — “women” could have just as easily been any other marginalized group, from non-white Europeans to non-Westerners to even children, or a delegitimized majority-politically-treated-as-minority more appropriate to our time, such as the “99 percent.” The question, really, is what entitles one to humanness.

via What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011 | Brain Pickings.

openings, essays, breakfast:  I read this blog entry because it was about Maira Kalman … but honestly I thought it a great start to a book …

Breakfast people tend to be different.

My father was a breakfast person; nothing made him happier than sitting down at a morning spread comprised of anything from scrambled eggs (with ketchup) and bacon, to coffee cake, to leftover apple strudel from Mrs. Herbst, to bagels and schmaltz herring, to Spam fried in a sad little teflon pan that he used for nothing else.

My mother generally preferred black coffee and a cigarette. They divorced when I was 15.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

Maira Kalman, interview, breakfast:  Love Maira Kalman … enjoyed this interview!

I would take a walk and hopefully end up in a place with an outdoor table. I would have my sketchbook with me so I could draw my breakfast. And hopefully there would be really, really good coffee. And no music except for classical music. But mostly the sounds of the day beginning and the clink of silverware and the murmur of conversation.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

27
Feb
11

2.27.2011 … thinking about how we define things … from Sunday School … “religion.” How do you define “religion?”

FPC, Sunday School – Wired Word, Charlotte, faith and spirituality: I usually go to a Sunday School class that focuses on current news … it is called the Wired Word.  This week’s topic was NASCAR, which is both a local and national news topic. 😉  Kirk Hall opened with the question, “How do you/we define religion?”  Very interesting  question.  From Kirk’s weekly e-mail …

NASCAR was born in the Bible Belt and has always welcomed pre-race invocations and religious symbols on cars. The biblical image of running a good race comes to life on the track, and many drivers become saints — especially after their deaths. Fans of the sport value tradition, as well as the risks involved. But has stock-car racing become a kind of civil religion, one that can lead Christians astray? So our next class will focus on the spirituality of NASCAR and how it both helps and hinders the practice of the Christian faith.

Thomasville GA, kith/kin, places, favorites:  One of my favorite places is Thomasville GA … hello, Julie and Doug!  What a nice article!

THOMASVILLE, Ga. – When you think about it, there has to be something pretty impressive about a place that few people outside of Georgia have heard about but was once referred to by Harper’s magazine as “the best winter resort on three continents.”

That place is Thomasville. Deep in the farthest reaches of Georgia, about a rock’s throw from the Florida line, Thomasville is a town where time seems to have stood still and the Old South never completely faded away.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Thomasville is one of the prettiest towns in America for a number of reasons. Rolling green hills. Furrows of red clay in hues of carmine, mahogany, and cinnamon. Graceful plantations that bespeak of an era long ago. Victorian architecture. Southern breezes. Bobwhite quail whistling among the pines. Kudzu-covered roadsides. Towering magnolias and oaks drizzled with Spanish moss. And plenty of warm Southern hospitality.

via Thomasville is one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets – Travel Wires – MiamiHerald.com.

library, Charlotte, Great Recession:  It appears the recovery may be too late to save our wonderful library system.

The Future of the Library Task Force must submit its final recommendations next month. Among the items members will discuss and possibly act upon include:

Whether to increase hours, staffing and resources at the regional libraries. Those changes would come at the expense of the smaller branch libraries, and some are likely to close.

via Tuesday vote could include closing libraries – CharlotteObserver.com.

faith and spirituality, church, Marthame Sanders:  A really good piece by Marthame Sanders.

Eventually, though, it’s time to stop playing church and start being church.

That’s the very problem that Isaiah is facing when he preaches to the ancient Israelites. They do very well at playing the people of God: they do great at the trappings of faith: they follow the sacrificial ordinances, they fast appropriately, they make a great show of humbling themselves. But when it comes to being the people of God, apparently they don’t do so well. And Isaiah let’s them know that they have completely missed the point. The ritual serves its purpose, yes; but if it doesn’t change lives, then it’s useless. “You fast,” he says, “but you oppress. You humble yourself, but you fight and quarrel and attack.”

“True fasting, true faith,” he says, is “loosing the bonds of injustice. It’s letting the oppressed go free. It’s giving bread, shelter, clothing to those who have none. That is where your light will shine – not in the fires of burnt offerings, not in the making of ashes to cover yourself in showy grief – but in the divine light of goodness. That’s when you stop playing a role and start changing the world.”

How do we make that transition? How do we move from playing church to being church? What are the things that we do out of habit, and what are the things we do because they make a difference?

Isaiah does a great job of putting a mirror to Israelite hypocrisy. What would that mirror look like today? What does it mean when we dress up for church, but then gossip about those whom we see at church? What do we say about ourselves when we read these words about injustice, oppression, hunger, homelessness, but then spent the other six days – or even the rest of this day – focused on ourselves? Does Isaiah make us cringe, because these words sound too politically loaded, or do we take this as a cringe-worthy opportunity for self – and community – examination?

via A Low Salt Diet? « i feast therefore i am.

random, tv, House, Princeton:  I realized when I was visiting Princeton that the back of the Campus looks like the aerial shot for House’s hospital … that is because it is.

frist campus center – Google Search.

The locations used for exterior shots of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital are Princeton University’s First Campus Center, [a] UCLA, and the University of Southern California.

via What Hospital does House MD take place? – Yahoo! Answers.

Warren Buffet, annual letter:  I enjoy reading it and reading the discussion … here are some early reactions.

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...

Image via Wikipedia

Warren Buffett has now issued his annual letter to shareholders. Now it is the shareholders’ turn. Here are some reactions from shareholders on Buffett’s letter.

via Here Is What People Are Saying About Buffett’s Letter – Deal Journal – WSJ.

cars, Volvo, station wagons, RIP:  Rest in peace, Volvo wagons … We have driven two, a 240 and a v70 for over 20 years and 350,000 miles combined.   I always assumed  I would have at least one more …

Volvo, the company most associated with station wagons for the last 20 years, will stop selling wagons in the U.S. The market is drying up. Farewell, Family Truckster, farewell (Photo: Ford Motor Co.)The Volvo wagon had been on life support for months. After dropping the larger V70 Volvo in 2010, Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, told Automotive News he was giving the V50 another year because there “is a bit more energy in the small wagon segment.” Not enough, apparently. Volvo, which was sold to China’s Geely in 2010, sold just 480 V50s last year, about two per dealer.

What happened to the Volvo wagon is a classic case of automotive Darwinism. American buyers first turned away from station wagons during the 1973 oil crisis. Their extreme length, emphasized by long rear overhangs to accommodate a third seat, made them natural targets. In the 1980s, the minivan came along and stole the people-mover business. SUVs moved to the fore in the 1990s. Far more utilitarian, they offered a lot more cargo space, a command seating position, and four-wheel-drive.

via Death of the station wagon.

Apple, Macs, change:  Still more changes … I think I will wait for Lion before getting a new Mac.

But one particularly interesting under-the-hood change that we’ve learned about is an evolution of Mac OS X’s “resolution independence” features. Resolution independence has been a long talked about feature that would eventually provide support for high DPI (dots per inch) displays. While there has been the beginnings of support for it starting in Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) and into Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), full support was never realized. In Mac OS X Lion, however, references to Resolution Independence has been replaced with a new system that could pave the way for these super high resolution “Retina” monitors.

via Mac OS X Lion Building in Support for Super High Resolution ‘Retina’ Monitors – Mac Rumors.

twitter, Middle East Uprising/Awakening: The twitter line reeled me in … the article is very helpful at explaining the differences in the countries involved.

Five lessons we can learn from the Middle East revolutions, including “Patience Is a Virtue” | http://ti.me/fxJ2E9

via TIME.com (TIME) on Twitter.

There’s no need to panic.

Revolutions are messy affairs. They don’t follow the easy logic of middle-school textbooks. Hostilities in the American Revolution broke out a year before the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution was not ratified until nearly seven years after the decisive battle at Yorktown. In two years starting in 1974, Portugal went from neofascism to army rule to something like a communist putsch and then to liberal democracy, where, happily, it has stayed. (Along the way, events in that little country made the end of white rule in South Africa and Rhodesia inevitable. That’s another thing about revolutions: their reverberations often surprise.) The Philippines got rid of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 but is still groping toward a system of government that is both effective and democratic.

(See TIME’s photo-essay “Scenes from the Unrest in Libya.”)

In the 10 weeks since demonstrations began in Tunisia, the Arab Middle East has been messiness personified. We have seen the relatively swift and peaceful ouster of the regime in Tunisia; an 18-day standoff marked by peaceful mass protests and sporadic regime resistance before the departure of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt; demonstrations for constitutional reform combatted by deadly force, followed by negotiations in Bahrain; and most recently, the outbreak of violence bordering on civil war in Libya. And this catalog of the Arab world’s democratic winter doesn’t include the protests elsewhere, against everyone from a classic big man in Yemen to hereditary monarchs in Morocco and Jordan. So what can we learn from the region’s revolutions — and those that went before them?

But the key thing about the Arab revolution — the reason we can dream that even Libya may turn out fine — is that Arabs are doing it for themselves. This revolution is a regional one, a movement in which each nation’s young people have learned tactics, technological fixes and slogans from one another. A local TV channel — al-Jazeera, not the BBC or CNN — has been a principal megaphone. The unplanned system of mutual support that has developed may turn out to have done more to bind the region together than the top-down attempts to create pan-Arabism in the 1950s. This year, says Rogan, “Arabs have been inspired by the example of fellow Arabs. What matters in the Arab world matters to Arabs.” For that reason, it matters to us all.

via Learn to Love The Revolution – TIME.

pirates, game changer:

Until four Americans died this week after they were captured by Somali raiders, the United States and other countries considered pirates a nuisance. The world’s navies catch and release hundreds of pirates off the African coast every year, and no one has worried too much about it.

The killings represent a new level of violence in the thriving high seas enterprise.

Fifteen pirates are now in custody in the incident, many of them headed to the U.S. to face criminal charges. But experts say that may be the worst option in fighting the piracy problem.

Nikolas Gvosdev, who teaches at the U.S. Naval War College, told NPR’s Talk of the Nation that the killings could be a “9/11 moment,” like when passengers and airlines decided they had to fight back against hijackers.

via Fighting Piracy At Sea And In Court : NPR.

photographs, Middle East Uprising/Awakening, Libya:  This picture says it with very few words …

CIVIL WAR WEEKEND

via DRUDGE REPORT 2011®.

history, Frederick Douglass, Civil War:

For Douglass, his warm reception in Ireland also served as an ironic contrast to difficulties he would soon face in his native land. Even as he toured Ireland, a blight was destroying the potato crop on which the island depended. In the coming years, the disaster transmogrified into a full-fledged famine, sending millions of Irish to North America. During that period and through the Civil War years, many — but not all — Irish-Americans and their leaders opposed Douglass’s fight to gain rights for African-Americans. They opposed his efforts to win rights for enslaved blacks in the South and for blacks in the North, free but denied U.S. citizenship and subject to widespread discrimination — including, in many cases, both de facto and de jure segregation.

via Frederick Douglass’s Irish Liberty – NYTimes.com.

fast food, McDonalds:  Good question, Why?  (I actually like the oatmeal … but not so much now that I know what is in it.)

The bottom-line question is, “Why?” Why would McDonald’s, which appears every now and then to try to persuade us that it is adding “healthier” foods to its menu, take a venerable ingredient like oatmeal and turn it into expensive junk food? Why create a hideous concoction of 21 ingredients, many of them chemical and/or unnecessary? Why not try, for once, to keep it honest?

I asked them this, via e-mail: “Why could you not make oatmeal with nothing more than real oats and plain water, and offer customers a sweetener or two (honey, the only food on earth that doesn’t spoil, would seem a natural fit for this purpose), a packet of mixed dried fruit, and half-and-half or — even better — skim milk?”

via How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong – NYTimes.com.

Academy Awards, gLee, gLee effect:  Wouldn’t you love to be a member of the PS22 Chorus, a fifth-grade glee club from Staten Island!!

The Academy Award show is Sunday night, and excitement is growing over what celebrities will wear, what they will say, and who will be the big winners. In addition, we can expect to hear some musical performances by Mandy Moore, Randy Newman and Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, she’s singing).

But there is one group performing you probably don’t know: The PS22 Chorus, a fifth-grade glee club from Staten Island.

After discovering the PS22 Chorus on YouTube, Anne Hathaway showed up at their Winter Recital in December to personally invite them to perform at the awards show. Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming.

via The PS22 Chorus Goes To The Oscars : Monkey See : NPR.

history, Mount Vernon, George Washington:  Enjoyed this article … perspective is everything.

The new Mount Vernon humanized Washington, but only by eclipsing the true meaning of him and his home for a changing nation: not a refuge from modernity but an incubator of it.

via Rebranding Mount Vernon – NYTimes.com.

TED Prize, street art, public art:  Did not know there was a TED Prize … this one is interesting.

I first met JR one afternoon late last November in his studio in Paris. The nearest Metro station is named after Alexandre Dumas, and there’s something “Three Musketeers”-ish about the team inside too: JR; one right-hand man, Emile Abinal; and the other, their “philosopher and guru,” Marco Berrebi, were winding down from a poster-pasting trip to Shanghai and preparing for a press conference about the positive aftereffects of their portraits in the Middle East. They never really had people in the studio before, and there was some cleaning up to do — for one thing, a yellow Kawasaki motorcycle was parked right in the middle of it. Hanging on a far wall, hidden between large-scale photographs of JR’s installations, was a small trophy cabinet containing two battered broom brushes, a squeegee and a box of powdered glue. “We kneel down and pray in front of that every day,” JR said.

We sat in a corner to talk about the TED Prize, which he won a month earlier. Every year since 2005, the New York-based TED organization has awarded $100,000 to prominent figures like Bono and Bill Clinton and Jamie Oliver who are expected to use the money to fulfill “one wish to change the world.” Now 28 years old, JR is the prize’s youngest winner.

“I don’t even know how they knew my work,” he said, still flush from the news. “What I love about the TED is that it’s not, Hey, take this check and enjoy. It’s, Do something with this, and we’ll help you. I think that’s the most beautiful prize I’ve ever heard of.” Until JR announces his plans this week at the TED conference, the contours of his next project are secret, but it’s likely to resemble his earlier actions, as he calls them; only this time, he says, it will be bigger.

via Supercolossal Street Art – NYTimes.com.

gLee, Katie Couric, school chorus clubs:  I have something in common with Katie Couric …

I’ll admit it, I’m a “Gleek.”

For those of you who don’t watch the show “Glee” that would be a Glee-geek (clever…huh?)

Sure the show can be sappy, but that’s often the point. It is just fun.

However, seeing some real show choirs (singing and dancing students) was even more entertaining.

In our piece for Tuesday’s “CBS Evening News, we profile the students at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, Calif.

via “Glee” effect makes high school choir cool – Couric & Co. – CBS News.

urban planing, aerotroplis, Dubai, China:  Aerotroplis?  Enjoyed this whole article about the next stage in the evolution of cities.

In public statements, Sheikh Ahmed has equated the future of Dubai with the future of Emirates, calling his country’s mammoth airport the center of a new Silk Road connecting China to the Middle East, India and Africa.

Thanks to the jet engine, Dubai has been able to transform itself from a backwater into a perfectly positioned hub for half of the planet’s population. It now has more in common with Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangalore than with Saudi Arabia next door. It is a textbook example of an aerotropolis, which can be narrowly defined as a city planned around its airport or, more broadly, as a city less connected to its land-bound neighbors than to its peers thousands of miles away. The ideal aerotropolis is an amalgam of made-to-order office parks, convention hotels, cargo complexes and even factories, which in some cases line the runways. It is a pure node in a global network whose fast-moving packets are people and goods instead of data. And it is the future of the global city.

This hasn’t been lost on Paul Romer, the Stanford University economist overseeing the development of an instant city in Honduras. He proposes building “charter cities” in impoverished states with new laws, new infrastructure and foreign investors—free trade zones elevated to the realm of social experiment. Mr. Romer sold Honduran President Porfirio Lobo on the idea in November and has stayed on as an adviser. Last month, the Honduran Congress voted to amend the country’s constitution to allow the pilot project to proceed.

The aerotropolis arrives at a moment when urban centers seemingly have started to rule the world. Just 100 cities account for nearly one-third of the global economy. “If the 20th century was the era of nations,” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pronounced at New Songdo’s christening in 2009, “the 21st century is the era of cities.”

The aerotropolis is tailor-made for today’s world, in which no nation reliably dominates and every nation must fight for its place in the global economy. It is at once a new model of urbanism and the newest weapon in the widening competition for wealth and security.

via Aerotropolis: The Airport-Based Global City of Tomorrow – WSJ.com.




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