Posts Tagged ‘pirates

05
Oct
11

10.5 … ‎Off to FPC for a little Jane Austen and her religious perspective as seen in Mansfield Park’s Fanny … RIP Steve Jobs … You’ve changed my world for the better. Price …

Steve Jobs, RIP:  As any readers know, I and my family are big Apple fans.  We “converted” in 2004 … the kids converted in school (I guess they were ambi – os) … but we all prefer Apple products for person computing, phoning (except the Molls who loves her bbm) and entertainment.  So rest in peace, Steve Jobs; you have changed my world for the better.  Thank you.

Others seem to agree … immediately upon the announcement of his death … these articles appeared online.  My favorite …  “Elvis has left the house.”

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” Mr. Cook said in a letter to employees. “We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”

During his more than three-decade career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once-sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry’s innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the industry alongside others like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed products over the power of technology itself and transformed the way people interact with technology.

“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come,” Mr. Gates said in a statement Wednesday.

The most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs’s career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad changed the PC, electronics and digital-media industries. The way he marketed and sold those products through savvy advertising campaigns and Apple’s retail stores helped turn the company into a pop-culture phenomenon.

At the beginning of that phase, Mr. Jobs described his philosophy as trying to make products that were at “the intersection of art and technology.” In doing so, he turned Apple into the world’s most valuable company with a market value of $350 billion.

via Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead – WSJ.com.

What’s less talked about is what drove Jobs, who died Wednesday at 56.

As with anyone, Jobs’ values were shaped by his upbringing and life experiences. He was born in 1955 in San Francisco and grew up amid the rise of hippie counterculture. Bob Dylan and the Beatles were his two favorite musical acts, and he shared their political leanings, antiestablishment views and, reportedly, youthful experimentation with psychedelic drug usage.

The name of Jobs’ company is said to be inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Corps, which repeatedly sued the electronics maker for trademark infringement until signing an exclusive digital distribution deal with iTunes. Like the Beatles, Jobs took a spiritual retreat to India and regularly walked around his neighborhood and the office barefoot.

Friends, colleagues remember Steve Jobs Wozniak: Jobs made ‘people happy’ 2009: Steve Jobs thanks donor Apple’s passionate pitchman

Traversing India sparked Jobs’ conversion to Buddhism. Kobun Chino, a monk, presided over his wedding to Laurene Powell, a Stanford University MBA.

‘Life is an intelligent thing’

Rebirth is a precept of Buddhism, and Apple experienced rebirth of sorts when Jobs returned, after he was fired, to remake a company that had fallen the verge of bankruptcy.

“I believe life is an intelligent thing, that things aren’t random,” Jobs said in a 1997 interview with Time, providing a glimpse into his complicated belief system that extends well beyond the Buddhist teachings.

Karma is another principle of the religion, but it didn’t appear to be a system Jobs lived by. If he feared karma coming back to bite him, the sentiment wasn’t evident in his public statements about competitors and former colleagues, calling them “bozos” lacking taste. Those who worked for Jobs described him as a tyrant they feared meeting in an elevator.

“You’d be surprised how hard people work around here,” Jobs said in a 2004 interview with Businessweek. “They work nights and weekends, sometimes not seeing their families for a while. Sometimes people work through Christmas to make sure the tooling is just right at some factory in some corner of the world so our product comes out the best it can be.”

Some engineers who worked tirelessly on the original Mac emerged from the project estranged from their spouses and children. Jobs’ relentless work ethic may have been shaped by some of his dysfunctional family affairs as well.

Focus and simplicity’

Jobs famously lured John Sculley, the PepsiCo president, to run Apple by saying: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” (They had a permanent falling out when Jobs was booted from Apple.)

via The spiritual side of Steve Jobs – CNN.com.

The Phone Calls

I never knew Steve when he was first at Apple. I wasn’t covering technology then. And I only met him once, briefly, between his stints at the company. But, within days of his return, in 1997, he began calling my house, on Sunday nights, for four or five straight weekends. As a veteran reporter, I understood that part of this was an attempt to flatter me, to get me on the side of a teetering company whose products I had once recommended, but had, more recently, advised readers to avoid.

Yet there was more to the calls than that. They turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions that revealed to me the stunning breadth of the man. One minute he’d be talking about sweeping ideas for the digital revolution. The next about why Apple’s current products were awful, and how a color, or angle, or curve, or icon was embarrassing.

After the second such call, my wife became annoyed at the intrusion he was making in our weekend. I didn’t.

Later, he’d sometimes call to complain about some reviews, or parts of reviews — though, in truth, I felt very comfortable recommending most of his products for the average, non-techie consumers at whom I aim my columns. (That may have been because they were his target, too.) I knew he would be complaining because he’d start every call by saying “Hi, Walt. I’m not calling to complain about today’s column, but I have some comments, if that’s okay.” I usually disagreed with his comments, but that was okay, too.

The Product Unveilings

Sometimes, not always, he’d invite me in to see certain big products before he unveiled them to the world. He may have done the same with other journalists. We’d meet in a giant boardroom, with just a few of his aides present, and he’d insist — even in private — on covering the new gadgets with cloths and then uncovering them like the showman he was, a gleam in his eye and passion in his voice. We’d then often sit down for a long, long discussion of the present, the future, and general industry gossip.

I still remember the day he showed me the first iPod. I was amazed that a computer company would branch off into music players, but he explained, without giving any specifics away, that he saw Apple as a digital products company, not a computer company. It was the same with the iPhone, the iTunes music store, and later the iPad, which he asked me to his home to see, because he was too ill at the time to go to the office.

The Slides

To my knowledge, the only tech conference Steve Jobs regularly appeared at, the only event he didn’t somehow control, was our D: All Things Digital conference, where he appeared repeatedly for unrehearsed, onstage interviews. We had one rule that really bothered him: We never allowed slides, which were his main presentation tool.

One year, about an hour before his appearance, I was informed that he was backstage preparing dozens of slides, even though I had reminded him a week earlier of the no-slides policy. I asked two of his top aides to tell him he couldn’t use the slides, but they each said they couldn’t do it, that I had to. So, I went backstage and told him the slides were out. Famously prickly, he could have stormed out, refused to go on. And he did try to argue with me. But, when I insisted, he just said “Okay.” And he went on stage without them, and was, as usual, the audience’s favorite speaker.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

The Optimist

I have no way of knowing how Steve talked to his team during Apple’s darkest days in 1997 and 1998, when the company was on the brink and he was forced to turn to archrival Microsoft for a rescue. He certainly had a nasty, mercurial side to him, and I expect that, then and later, it emerged inside the company and in dealings with partners and vendors, who tell believable stories about how hard he was to deal with.

But I can honestly say that, in my many conversations with him, the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty, both for Apple and for the digital revolution as a whole. Even when he was telling me about his struggles to get the music industry to let him sell digital songs, or griping about competitors, at least in my presence, his tone was always marked by patience and a long-term view. This may have been for my benefit, knowing that I was a journalist, but it was striking nonetheless.

At times in our conversations, when I would criticize the decisions of record labels or phone carriers, he’d surprise me by forcefully disagreeing, explaining how the world looked from their point of view, how hard their jobs were in a time of digital disruption, and how they would come around.

This quality was on display when Apple opened its first retail store. It happened to be in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, near my home. He conducted a press tour for journalists, as proud of the store as a father is of his first child. I commented that, surely, there’d only be a few stores, and asked what Apple knew about retailing.

He looked at me like I was crazy, said there’d be many, many stores, and that the company had spent a year tweaking the layout of the stores, using a mockup at a secret location. I teased him by asking if he, personally, despite his hard duties as CEO, had approved tiny details like the translucency of the glass and the color of the wood.

He said he had, of course.

The Walk

After his liver transplant, while he was recuperating at home in Palo Alto, California, Steve invited me over to catch up on industry events that had transpired during his illness. It turned into a three-hour visit, punctuated by a walk to a nearby park that he insisted we take, despite my nervousness about his frail condition.

He explained that he walked each day, and that each day he set a farther goal for himself, and that, today, the neighborhood park was his goal. As we were walking and talking, he suddenly stopped, not looking well. I begged him to return to the house, noting that I didn’t know CPR and could visualize the headline: “Helpless Reporter Lets Steve Jobs Die on the Sidewalk.”

But he laughed, and refused, and, after a pause, kept heading for the park. We sat on a bench there, talking about life, our families, and our respective illnesses (I had had a heart attack some years earlier). He lectured me about staying healthy. And then we walked back.

Steve Jobs didn’t die that day, to my everlasting relief. But now he really is gone, much too young, and it is the world’s loss.

via The Steve Jobs I Knew – Walt Mossberg – Mossblog – AllThingsD.

But stepping back from the immediate fray, theres something about the blogospheres insistence on the existence of a dramatic addition to the iPhone family that shows how hard its going to be for many of us to let Steve Jobs go.How Apple co-opted the InternetApple iPhone 4S personal assistant: SiriZDNet: iPhone 4S is swell, but pricing is the killer appApple iPhone 4S unveiled roundupIn our imagination, Jobs is still on stage, delighting the house as he extends his dazzling product presentation to include one more thing. But this time around it was Tim Cook as master of ceremonies, up on stage for more than 1.5 hours – which may have struck some as more reminiscent of a meandering Fidel Castro than the lapidary Steve Jobs. Youd think after all that time running through the laundry list of new products, Apple would have had a blockbuster finish, they harrumphed on the Twitter transom. Not this time around.

And then there’s the team at the helm. Cook and Phil Schiller, who delivered the iPhone news on stage, are solid executives with proven track records. It would be out of character and entirely clunky for this duo to pretend to be something that they’re not. So don’t expect them to send thrills up your leg. Ain’t gonna happen. The world is going to have to adjust to the new reality: Apple will continue to make good products but let’s get over it already. Elvis has left the stage.

via Apple hard new reality: Elvis has left the house – CBS News.

Jane Austen,  Mansfield Park,  Fanny Price, Christian Themes in Jane Austen:  Mind was once again expanded … Christ birth story is a Cinderella story (as is Fanny Price), Mary’s comment on the clergy as bores, etc, reflects social attitudes of the times,  …  Thank you Rev. Dr. Tom Currie for a great three-part series on Jane Austen.

Peach Pass, HOT Lanes, I-85 travel:  I noted these on Monday … they really are new. 🙂

Register. Every vehicle that sets a wheel in the toll lane must have a Peach Pass, whether paying the toll or not.

No cash. All tolls are electronic.

Tolled: solo drivers and two-person car pools

Free: car pools of three people or more, transit vehicles, motorcycles, cars with alternative fuel license plates, mass transit

Prohibited: trucks with more than six wheels and/or two axles

To switch from toll-paying to free, or vice versa: You must reset your Peach Pass account by phone or computer at least 15 minutes before you enter the lane. If your switching is regular, you can pre-set certain days or times as paying or nonpaying.

How much: The toll ranges from 10 cents a mile to 90 cents a mile, rising with congestion. The State Road and Tollway Authority can go over 90 cents a mile in special cases.

Don’t: cross the double solid lines. Enter or exit only at the dashed lines.

Fines: A violation can reap both a $25 SRTA fine, which happens electronically and is mailed to the driver, and a police fine of up to $150 from troopers who are patrolling the corridor.

via What to know as I-85 HOT lane opens  | ajc.com.

college life, sophomore return ceremony, traditions:  Freshman convocations are much more elaborate and meaningful now than 30+ years ago, including honor code signing ceremonies, etc. Now some schools are beginning a tradition for sophomores ” to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.”

You may have heard of freshman convocation – the traditional formal ceremony that kicks off a college career – but what about sophomore convocation?

As the blog Inside Higher Ed reported last week, Duke University held its first-ever ceremony dedicated to welcoming back second-year students this fall.

Its intention was to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.

As Duke’s dean of undergraduate studies told Inside Higher Ed:

“The sophomore year is a time of transition, where students sometimes do feel like they’re in a slump. They’re not yet necessarily deeply on their track toward whatever their path is, but they’re no longer in that special moment of being the first-year class whom everybody dotes on.”

As Inside Higher Ed pointed out, Duke’s new ceremony had the more privileged goal of reenergizing students, compared to the more practical aim of other schools’ second-year programs: to keep undergraduates from dropping out.

via A Ceremony to Kick off Sophomore Year? – NYTimes.com.

cloud computing, colleges and universities, technology:  It will be interesting if this costs institutions more or less over the long haul.

Internet2 was formed to help colleges wire superfast networks, but now it is shifting attention to the cloud. This morning the group announced that it has brokered discounts with Hewlett-Packard and two other tech companies for computing services, such as renting processor time on high-speed computers over the Internet, to help researchers.

The deals are the first of a new project called Internet2 Net+ Services. The idea is that the group, which counts 235 college members, can negotiate better prices and contract terms than any individual college could. Eleven colleges are running tests of the arrangement, which will be made available to other Internet2 members beginning early next year.

HP’s new CEO, Meg Whitman, addressed Internet2′s member meeting this morning via videoconference to announce her company’s participation in the program. Together with a company called SHI International, HP has agreed to offer a special discount and licensing terms to colleges to buy time on high-speed computers over the Internet. Technically the colleges will sign a contract with Internet2 for the services, which will take an administrative fee in the deal. Internet2 will also handle some of the technology and technical support for the services.

The other company that has signed up to offer cloud services through Internet2 is Box, which provides users with online folders to store and share files. Colleges that buy the service through Internet2 can give every user on their campuses the file folder, which users can access using their existing college logins and passwords. The service will cost colleges about $27,000 per year for small campuses (up to 10,000 accounts) and $350,000 per year for the largest (up to 200,000 accounts).

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Facebook, student life, substance abuse:  Using Facebook posts to predict substance abuse problems.  Clearly judgement problems … maybe the two go hand in hand.

College students who post pictures and references to drunkenness are more likely to have a “clinically significant” drinking problem than students who don’t post such references, according to the study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For the study – published in the Oct. 3 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine – researchers examined public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Washington. The researchers contacted these students and asked them to complete a questionnaire that doctors use to measure a drinking problem.

The profiles were divided into three categories: those without alcohol references, those with references to alcohol but no mention of getting drunk, and those scattered with phrases like “being drunk” and “getting wasted.” Not surprisingly, the students in the last group scored higher on the questionaire. A score of 8 or higher indicates a person is at risk for problem drinking, and these student groups had average scores of 4.6, 6.7, and 9.5 respectively.

via Can Facebook predict problem drinking? What study says – HealthPop – CBS News.

piracy, Somalia, Rachel and Paul Chandler, pirates:  We are not talking Captain Hook … Did you ever think that piracy would be a major news item in our lifetime?  This is a very interesting piece.

Their strike zone is now more than two million square miles of water, which is virtually impossible to patrol. Jay Bahadur, author of a new book, “The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World,” likens the international naval efforts to “a losing game of Whac-a-Mole.”

After Somalia’s central government collapsed 20 years ago, the 1,900-mile coastline became an unpatrolled free-for-all, with foreign fishing trawlers descending to scoop up Somalia’s rich stocks of tuna, shark, whitefish, lobster and deep-water shrimp. With no authorities to fear, the fishing boats were especially unscrupulous and used heavy steel drag nets that wiped out the marine habitat for years. Somali piracy was born when disgruntled fishermen armed themselves and started attacking the foreign trawlers. They soon realized they could attack any ship and get a ransom for holding the crew hostage.

“In the beginning, the pirates had a lot of support,” explained Kayse Maxamed, a Somali who works in mental health in Bristol and who organized a “Save the Chandlers” rally in front of a mosque in early 2010. “Everybody liked them. They represented the Somali Navy.

via Taken by Pirates – NYTimes.com.

Spices and Tease, retail, NYC:  OK, so I like the name. 🙂

Bruno Benzacken and François Athea are cousins from a family that has been in the spice business in Europe since 1933. They came to New York eight years ago and began selling spices and teas at street fairs. Now they have graduated to a store on the Upper West Side, colorful in its array of several dozen spices, teas and blends and just as alluring for the aromas that waft from the displays. Tall canisters hold various sugars (right), and downstairs there are more spices and teas, along with assorted salts, peppers and pepper mixtures; Provençal products, including soaps; and various gadgets for grinding spices and preparing tea. They serve tea and pastries as well.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mr. Benzacken and Mr. Athea (above) expect to open this month in Grand Central Market in Grand Central Terminal, at the stand formerly occupied by Penzeys.

Spices and Tease, 2580 Broadway (97th Street); (347) 470-8327; spicesandtease.com.

via Spices, Sugars, Teas – A Blast for the Senses – NYTimes.com.

iPhone 4S:  Overshadowed somewhat by the death of Steve Jobs. Spec Spat: Apple iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 4 – Techland – TIME.com.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry:  “It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.”

First, the man whose big advantage over the too-slick Mr Romney was supposed to be the authenticity of his conservatism has somehow managed to let his rivals paint him as a cringing liberal. He stands accused of allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay the lower, subsidised in-state tuition fees at Texas’s public universities, and of ordering Texas to inflict what Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota who has appointed herself Joan of Arc in this campaign, calls “a government injection” on “innocent little 12-year-old girls”.

Mr Perry pleads mitigation. In the case of the university fees he says he was handicapped by the possession of a heart (why punish the children of illegal immigrants for their parents’ actions?). As for the injection, he hoped the HPV vaccine would save more women from cervical cancer. But no hint of leniency towards illegal immigrants goes unpunished by a certain sort of Republican activist, so the star of the Lone Star candidate is waning. The unexpected winner of the Florida straw poll, held soon after the Orlando debate, was Herman Cain, a fiery black Baptist preacher and former boss of Godfather’s Pizza.

In theory, Mr Perry has ample time to recover. Straw polls do not count for much; a mere six weeks ago Mrs Bachmann was basking in her own victory in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, only to be eclipsed as soon as Mr Perry made his late eruption into the race. And although the Texan has so far fumbled his attempt to hurt Mr Romney by identifying him, accurately, as the governor who introduced an early form of “Obamacare” into Massachusetts, he will have plenty more chances to do better: the candidates will next debate in New Hampshire in mid-October.

However, proving himself to be a more conservative conservative than Mr Romney is no longer Mr Perry’s most urgent task, because allowing himself to be outflanked from the right was only the smaller of his two recent setbacks. His bigger problem now is that he has lost his aura as an effective campaigner.

It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.

Democrats for Perry

Except, perhaps, for the patient Mr Romney. Interestingly, there are Democrats who say quietly that they are no less disappointed than conservatives by Mr Perry’s recent mistakes. That is because Mr Perry’s errors make it likelier that the Republicans will settle for Mr Romney; and Mr Romney, a centrist who everyone knows is only masquerading as a conservative until the primaries are over, might actually go on to beat Mr Obama in the general. The great flip-flopper does not convince the conservative base. He does not excite much of the wider electorate either. But nor does he scare them. And with the economy the way it is, that may be all it takes to win the White House in 2012.

via Lexington: Open goal, useless strikers | The Economist.

 How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Emily Post’s Etiquette, Emily Post:  Updates for the modern age?

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which turns 75 this year, has sold more than 30 million copies and continues to be a best seller. The book, a paean to integrity, good humor and warmth in the name of amicable capitalism, is as wholesome as a Norman Rockwell painting. It exists alongside Dr. Spock’s child-rearing guide, Strunk and White’s volume on literary style and Fannie Farmer’s cookbook as a classic expression of the American impulse toward self-improvement and reinvention. Testimonials to its effectiveness abound. It’s said that the only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training.

The book’s essential admonitions — be a good listener, admit faults quickly and emphatically, and smile more often, among them — are timeless. They need updating about as much as Hank Williams’s songs do.

Yet now comes Dale Carnegie and Associates Inc., which offers leadership and public speaking classes, with the news that it has rewritten and reissued Carnegie’s book for the laptop generation under the title “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age,” written with Brent Cole. It’s not the only advice classic that’s been updated this fall for the era of Facebook and Google Plus. There’s a new edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette” as well, which bears the forward-looking subtitle “Manners for a New World.”

Both books offer sensible new advice about being a polite e-mailer and navigating the pitfalls of Twitter. But while it’s hard to blame those charged with caring for the Dale Carnegie and Emily Post brands for wanting them to remain relevant, attempts to tweak favorites are fraught with peril. And “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” in particular is such a radical — and radically hapless — retooling of Dale Carnegie’s text that it feels almost like an act of brand suicide.

via Dale Carnegie and Emily Post for the Twitter Age – NYTimes.com.

Occupy Wall Street, culture:  An interesting take on the 99 percent …

These are not rants against the system. They’re not anarchist manifestos. They’re not calls for a revolution. They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it. Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.

“I am a 28 year old female with debt that had to give up her apartment + pet because I have no money and I owe over $30,000.”

College debt shows up a lot in these stories, actually. It’s more insistently present than housing debt, or even unemployment. That might speak to the fact that the protests tilt towards the young. But it also speaks, I think, to the fact that college debt represents a special sort of betrayal. We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to.

“Married mother of 3. Lost my job in 2009. My family lost our health insurance, our savings, our home, and our good credit. After 16 months, I found a job — with a 90 mile commute and a 25 percent pay cut. After gas, tolls, daycare, and the cost of health insurance, i was paying so my kids had access to health care.”

Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.

But this is why I’m taking Occupy Wall Street — or, perhaps more specifically, the ‘We Are The 99 Percent’ movement — seriously. There are a lot of people who are getting an unusually raw deal right now. There is a small group of people who are getting an unusually good deal right now. That doesn’t sound to me like a stable equilibrium.

The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It’s that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy — work hard, play by the rules, get ahead — has been broken, and they want to see it restored.

via Who are the 99 percent? – The Washington Post.

post-graduation, careers:

How about you? Do you think higher education needs to change to accommodate the ongoing job decline by providing career help to graduate students?  Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, places, names, racism:  I am from the South and have roots in the Deep South.  I cannot think of any offensive place names …

The revelation that Rick Perry’s family leased a hunting camp commonly known in rural Texas by a little-known racial epithet raises these questions: How many such places exist and where are they?

The short answer is all across the country, not only in people’s memories, but also listed as such on maps, mostly in rural areas, according to a scholar who studies place names.

Controversy continues for Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry after his guests insisted they saw a rock bearing the name of a racial slur when Perry took them hunting at his family’s camp. (Oct. 3)

The small Texas town of Paint Creek has no post office, no grocery store, and no claim to fame – until now. Dean Reynolds takes a tour of Paint Creek, the town where Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry grew up. (Sept. 19)

Mark Monmonier, a geographer at Syracuse University, says that the three most offensive place names that can still be found on some maps are “nigger,” “jap” and “squaw.” This is mainly because during the first half of the 1900s, topographers were sent out to name and measure geographic locations and relied on local input.

Those names, some offensive, were then codified in federal maps and served as a snapshot of colloquial language and racial attitudes, Monmonier said.

In Perry’s case, the Post reported that the current Texas governor and 2012 presidential candidate hosted lawmakers and others at a West Texas hunting camp at the entrance of which, for some period of time, was a stone on which was painted the word “Niggerhead.” The Perry camp says the stone was painted over in 1983, but the Post accounts from seven different people tell a different story.

A search of the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) turned up at least 24 names from Alaska to New York of lakes, creeks, points and capes that once bore the name “Niggerhead,” but have since been changed, in some cases to names like “Negrohead.” Perry’s hunting ranch was apparently never mapped and is not part of the database.

via Offensive place names once dotted the U.S. landscape – The Washington Post.

President Obama, White House policy, debt collection, cell phones:  Political suicide?

To the dismay of consumer groups and the discomfort of Democrats, President Barack Obama wants Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other billions owed the federal government.

The change “is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cellphones,” the administration wrote recently. The little-noticed recommendation would apply only to cases in which money is owed the government, and is tucked into the mammoth $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan the president submitted to Congress.

Despite the claim, the administration has not yet developed an estimate of how much the government would collect, and critics reject the logic behind the recommendation.

“Enabling robo-calls (to cellphones) is just going to lead to more harassment and abuse, and it’s not going to help the government collect more money,” said Lauren Saunders of the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center. “People aren’t paying their student loans because they can’t find a job.”

via Obama Plan Includes Measure To Make It Easier For Debt Collectors To Call Cellphones.

The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, South Africa, China, international politics:  This seems like a silly statement to make by the South Africans … then I am not an international relations/politics expert.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, scrapped plans on Tuesday to attend the 80th birthday celebration of a fellow Nobel laureate, Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, after the host government did not grant his visa request.

Critics viewed the South African government’s behavior as a capitulation to China, one of South Africa’s most important economic partners and a strong opponent of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese authorities consider subversive.

A statement by the Dalai Lama’s office in New Delhi said he and his entourage had expected to visit South Africa from Thursday to Oct. 14, had submitted visa applications at the end of August and had submitted their passports two weeks ago. His agenda included the Oct. 6 birthday of Archbishop Tutu and a number of public talks.

However, his office said in a statement, “Since the South African government seems to find it inconvenient to issue a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness has decided to call off this visit to South Africa.”

The statement did not address the question of why South Africa did not grant the visa, and the South African Embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But officials in South Africa said they followed normal procedures in reviewing the visa request.

via Dalai Lama’s Visa Request Is Denied by South Africa – NYTimes.com.

pirates, Blackbeard, archeology:  Dead historical pirates are more interesting/entertaining than those living. 🙂

Much of North Carolina’s coast is still recovering from Hurricane Irene, but the storm left the sunken remains of Blackbeard’s ship largely untouched.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports ( http://bit.ly/oDoAPW) that a new expedition this week to the site of the Queen Anne’s Revenge has found the shipwreck weathered the storm fairly well.

Project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing says a sand berm near the site seems to help protect it from storms.

The four-week expedition this fall aims to recover one of the ship’s largest cannons, along with cannon balls and other artifacts.

The ship lies in shallow waters off the Atlantic coast where it sank in 1718, just five months before Blackbeard was killed in a battle at Ocracoke Inlet. The wreck was discovered in 1996.

via Expedition starts at NC site of Blackbeard’s ship – KansasCity.com.

“Playboy Club”, tv:  Cable vs. network tv?  Just seemed like a stupid idea to me.

Playboy Club founder Hugh Hefner weighed in on NBC’s decision to scrub “The Playboy Club” from its primetime schedule owing to lousy ratings.

“I’m sorry NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’ didn’t find it’s audience,” he tweeted, adding, “ It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.”

ORIGINAL POST: Those of you wondering what NBC was thinking of when it put its new 60’s-set drama, “Playboy Club” into the intense Monday at 10 competition opposite both ABC’s “Castle” and CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O,” we have an answer!

The season’s first cancellation.

NBC is putting Brian Williams new newsmag — the oddly named “Rock Center with Brian Williams” into ther hour starting Oct. 31, according to an industry source.

via Hugh Hefner: ‘Playboy Club’ shoulda been on cable [Updated] – The TV 

“Glee”, tv:  “Asian F”  … much better episode …

Grading on a curve, this latest Glee episode would be graded an “Asian F,” too — that is an “A-minus.” Mike Chang, Sr. would not be too happy about that.

But we all should be glad that “Glee’s” sophomoric slumber last year has awakened to a new season featuring intricate storylines that make you root for the underdogs. This time, it’s for Brittany, Mike Chang and Mercedes.

All three took star turns, despite running into heavy opposition. Brittany ratchets up her candidacy for senior class president against Kurt with a stellar performance of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as an energetic flash mob pep rally. It was reminiscent of a Spice Girls music video. If only Posh could have shaken her moneymaker like that.

via ‘Glee’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Asian F’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Supreme Court, Justice Scalia, death penalty debate:  There has got to be a better solution for the death penalty appeals process.  Or just get rid of the death penalty.

“There has to be some local counsel that does work,” Sotomayor said to Garre. In response to that comment as well as Scalia’s continued badgering, Garre noted that “the state itself must not have viewed Butler as a meaningful player, because when the default at issue in this case occurred, the state sent a letter … to Mr. Maples directly on death row” rather than to his local counsel.

That prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to wonder how much local counsel would “have to do to put him in a position where he was in fact representing Maples.”

“Your case, it seems to me,” Roberts said to Garre, “turns critically on Butler’s role.”

And it was over this matter that Scalia broke from the rest of the justices (except, of course, Justice Clarence Thomas, who is fast approaching his sixth year of silence at oral argument). For Scalia, the local attorney remained Maples’ lawyer no matter how hands-off he was in the case. Consequently, Scalia considered the lawyer’s failure to appeal to be fairly imputed to Maples.

The case was apparently not as simple for his colleagues. Justice Stephen Breyer, for example, telegraphed his sympathy for Maples. He said that the prosecutor in the case would have known that “one, [Maples is] represented by counsel in New York; two, they didn’t get the notice; three, the local attorney isn’t going to do anything; and conclusion, they likely knew that he didn’t get the notice,” yet the prosecutor pressed to keep Maples out of court anyway.

Scalia interjected, “Do we know that [the prosecutor] knew all of those facts?” And Garre replied, “No, Justice Scalia.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy then asked for statistics, for Alabama or the nation, on how many capital cases are not appealed. Given that such cases are virtually always appealed, the justice seemed to be implying that the local attorney would have done something had he actually considered himself Maples’ lawyer.

Scalia again jumped in, this time to note that Maples did appeal his conviction and that the case before the Court involved post-conviction hearings. But Kennedy brushed away Scalia’s nitpicking, refining the question to “how often an appeal is abandoned or not pursued in this kind of case.”

And when Garre suggested the justices send the case back to the lower court to flesh out what Kagan called a “skimpy” factual record, Scalia countered, “You should have gotten the facts in the first place. If the record doesn’t show the things that you need to show to get this case reversed, the case should not be reversed.”

For all his efforts to maintain control of the message during Garre’s presentation, Scalia, who celebrates the start of his 25th year on the Supreme Court this week, could not keep a grip through the Alabama solicitor general’s stumbling half-hour argument. But it was not for want of trying. Right from the start, Scalia sought to save John Neiman from himself in the face of aggressive questioning by Roberts, Kagan and Ginsburg.

Justice Samuel Alito then signaled his disappointment with Alabama. Alito asked Neiman why he was “pushing the Court to consider rules that would have far-reaching effect,” such as a new constitutional requirement that court clerks follow up on letters they send to losing lawyers who may or may not appeal adverse decisions. Why not, Alito wondered with considerable astonishment, “just consent” to allow Maples’ attorneys to file an out-of-time appeal?

via Death Row Debate: Justice Scalia Stands Alone As Supreme Court Hears Case Of Mailroom Mix-up.

2011 Nobel prize for physics: Supernovas expanding … makes my brain hurt.

THIS year’s Nobel prize for physics was awarded for what was, in a sense literally, the biggest discovery ever made in physics—that the universe is not only expanding (which had been known since the 1920s), but that the rate of expansion is increasing. Something, in other words, is actively pushing it apart.

This was worked out by two groups who, in the 1990s, were studying exploding stars called supernovae. One was the Supernova Cosmology Project, at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Saul Perlmutter. The other was the High-z Supernova Search Team, an international project led by Brian Schmidt and involving Adam Riess, both of Harvard University. It is these three gentlemen who have shared the prize.

Supernovae come in various types. One particular sort, though, known as type Ia supernovae, always explode with about the same energy and are therefore equally bright. That means they can be used to estimate quite precisely how far away they (and thus the galaxy they inhabit) are. In addition, the speed at which an object such as a star or galaxy is moving away from Earth, because of the expansion of the universe, can be worked out from its red-shift. This is a fall in the frequency of its light towards the red end of the spectrum. It is caused by the Doppler effect (something similar happens when a police car or fire engine with its siren blaring drives past you, and the pitch of the sound suddenly drops).

What both groups found was that the light from distant supernovae was fainter than predicted. In other words, the supernovae were further away than their red-shifts indicated they should be, based on the existing model of the universe. Something, then, was pushing space itself apart.

via The 2011 Nobel prize for physics: Expanding horizons | The Economist.

Civil War, history, war, boy soldiers: My great-grandfather, JJ Dennard, went to war at 16 and spent most of the war at imprisoned at Point Lookout MD.  I don’t think it was adventurous or  glorious experience.  But is war ever?

With hopes of adventure and glory, tens of thousands of boys under the age of 18 answered the call of the Civil War, many of them rushing to join Union and Confederate troops in the earliest days of battle. Both sides had recruitment rules that barred underage men from enlisting, but that didn’t stop those who wanted to be part of the action: some enlisted without their parents’ permission and lied about their ages or bargained with recruiters for a trial period, while others joined along with their older brothers and fathers whose partisan passions overwhelmed their parental senses. Most of the youngest boys became drummers, messengers and orderlies, but thousands of others fought alongside the men.

As each side scrambled to get troops into the field in the early days of the war, many of these boys went to battle with just a few weeks of training. It didn’t take long for them to understand what they’d gotten themselves into. Elisha Stockwell Jr., from Alma, Wis., was 15 when he enlisted. After the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, he wrote, “I want to say, as we lay there and the shells were flying over us, my thoughts went back to my home, and I thought what a foolish boy I was to run away and get into such a mess as I was in. I would have been glad to have seen my father coming after me.”

via The Boys of War – NYTimes.com.

Chelsea Clinton, IAC, board of directors, corporate governance:  With all that has happened in this Great Recession, a public company should get the best talent on its board … not a celebrity, albeit a bright one who has very good connections.

Chelsea Clinton as a corporate director? Really?

Ms. Clinton was appointed last week to the board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet media conglomerate controlled by Barry Diller.

For her efforts, Ms. Clinton will be paid about $300,000 a year in cash and incentive stock awards. Not bad for a 31-year-old in graduate school.

Is IAC also getting a good deal, or is this another eye-rolling celebrity appointment?

Ms. Clinton appears to be a smart, capable individual. She worked in her 20s at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and at a hedge fund run by a loyal Clinton donor. She is now working at New York University and pursuing a doctorate at Oxford. Ms. Clinton appears to be level-headed, despite growing up in the limelight. She is also popular — her wedding last year was one of the social events of the year.

But let’s be real. Ms. Clinton has this position only because she is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current secretary of state. This is clearly an appointment made because of who she is, not what she has done, one that defies American conceptions of meritocracy. Even most celebrity directors earn their way to such celebrity — sort of.

In fairness, while the reasons for the appointment are suspect, that does not mean Ms. Clinton cannot be a good, even great, board member. But questions raised by her selection speak to the larger issue of what types of directors should be on boards.

In the past, boards were too often passive instruments of the chief executive, and often included celebrities. Some examples: Sidney Poitier (the Walt Disney Company), Evander Holyfield (the Coca-Cola Bottling Company), Tommy Lasorda (Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon), Lance Armstrong (the Morgans Hotel Group) and O.J. Simpson (Infinity Broadcasting). Mr. Simpson actually served on Infinity’s audit committee, the body responsible for supervising a company’s auditors.

via Handicapping IAC’s Investment in Chelsea Clinton – NYTimes.com.

New South, Mayor Foxx, Charlotte NC, 2012 Democratic National Convention, Davidson Alumni:  Interesting article about mayor Foxx and the spotlight he will be under next year.

The 40-year-old Foxx, who has a 2011 re-election race to win on the way to acting as a convention host, noted parallel “life stories” that he and Obama share. “Even though he grew up in a vastly different part of the country and the world,” said Foxx of Obama, “he was essentially raised by a single mother just as I was and was heavily influenced by his grandparents, as I was.

“There was a ‘Greatest Generation’ element that greatly influenced both of us,” Foxx said. He thinks that’s important, “when the country and our city have been put through the wringer in a lot of ways” on issues from the economy to foreign policy. “There is a resilience built into me, having lived with people who had to struggle through the Great Depression and through the Second World War.”

What Foxx didn’t immediately mention is that both are African-American elected officials, a fact that’s both obvious and beside the point. At 50, Obama is the more experienced generational leader to Foxx and his occasional conversational partners such as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., both 42 years old.

As Foxx and his city prepare to host the Democratic convention, they represent a confluence of race, place and politics in the New South.

via The New South: Where Obama, Race and Politics Meet.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, race issues:  Can’t we find a Southern politician for the national stage without a history of racism?

They recall, for instance, Perry’s first foray into statewide politics 21 years ago, when he defeated an incumbent agriculture commissioner in part by running a television ad that showed his opponent standing alongside Jesse Jackson.

Many black leaders thought the ad was an intentional appeal to racist white voters, and they held a news conference to protest it. The ad displayed headlines alleging that Perry’s opponent, Democrat Jim Hightower, mismanaged his agency. It also featured a seemingly discordant video of Hightower appearing with Jackson, then a leading figure in the Democratic Party whom Hightower had endorsed for president two years earlier.

“That was a very bad period here, as the Republicans were trying to drive Democratic swing voters to the Republican Party,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “There was a lot of race-baiting in Texas in that period — race-baiting that would be a lot harder to get away with now.”

At the 1990 news conference, Ellis and others accused Perry (and his then campaign strategist, Karl Rove) of using the ad to turn white voters against High­tower.

“There’s a certain segment here that’s still going to respond to that,” said Hightower, who now writes a column and hosts a radio program in Austin. “It’s the same folks who don’t like Barack Obama. Besides legitimate reasons not to like him, there are some people who just don’t want a black president and do not consider that legitimate. So that was an easy play for Rove and Perry.”

Perry’s spokesman, Ray Sullivan, said, “The 1990 TV ad truthfully highlighted Mr. High­tower’s role in the ’88 presidential campaign and truthfully demonstrated his very liberal politics to Texas general election voters.”

‘It was time for inclusion’

Ellis and other leaders gave Perry credit for cultivating good working relationships with African American politicians, citing as an example his attendance at an annual fundraiser for minority scholarships.

Many also defended a governor who has a strong record appointing minorities to state boards and positions. Over 10 years in office, 9 percent of Perry’s 5,741 appointments have been African Americans, and 15 percent have been Hispanics, according to his campaign. That puts Perry slightly ahead of his predecessor, George W. Bush (with 9 percent African Americans and 13 percent Hispanics) and slightly behind the governor before that, Democrat Ann Richards (13 percent African Americans and 18 percent Hispanics).

via Perry built complicated record on matters of race – The Washington Post.

The South, culture, migration:  A conservative article with some interesting points.

Having disposed of the economic arguments, I knew that one big question lurked: “Okay, Lee, but what’s it like living with a bunch of slow-talking, gun-toting, Bible-thumping racists?”

My friends didn’t use those exact words, but I knew it’s what they were thinking. I knew because I thought the same thing about the South before I moved here. Most of what we Yankees know about the South comes from TV and movies. Think Hee-Haw meets Mississippi Burning meets The Help and you get the picture.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

What caused this migration of capital — the human, industrial, and political varieties? Ask transplanted business owners and they’ll tell you they like investing in states where union bosses and trial lawyers don’t run the show, and where tax burdens are low. They also want a work force that is affordable and well-trained. And that doesn’t see them as the enemy.

In short, policy matters. So, too, does culture.

It’s quite a story, actually. Americans, black and white alike, are moving in record numbers to a part of the country where taxes are low, unions are irrelevant, and people love their guns and their faith. And yet we have heard hardly a peep about this great migration from our nation’s public intellectuals.

Why? Because their ideological prejudices won’t permit them to admit the obvious. They’d prefer to focus their research on the pre-1970s South because they are more comfortable with — and more invested in — that old narrative, while this new one marches on right under their noses. And their keyboards.

And so it is with a sense of puzzlement that this Jersey boy turned Mississippian watches the decision making of President Obama. Millions of Americans may have voted for him in 2008, but millions have been voting with their feet, and he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in understanding why.

He should ask Americans like me who’ve moved South why we did it. And he should be especially interested in understanding why African Americans are fleeing his home city of Chicago for the South, too.

If he dared to ask, he’d learn that we are all fleeing liberalism and chasing economic freedom, just as our immigrant parents and grandparents did.

But he won’t bother asking. Our ideological academic-in-chief is content to expand the size and scope of the federal government and ignore the successes of our economic laboratories known as the states. He is pursuing 1960s-style policies that got us Detroit, while ignoring those that got us 21st-century Dallas.

In the downtown square of Oxford sits a bronze statue of our most famous storyteller, William Faulkner. “The past is never dead,” he once famously wrote. “In fact, it’s not even past.”

That line has great depth, but in an important sense it’s not quite right.

It turns out that white Yankee migrants like me, African American migrants from Chicago, and businessmen owners in Illinois and around the world, see something in the South that novelists, journalists, academics, and our current president cannot.

The future.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

Zombies, movies, Redbox:  Who knew … so many Zombie movies in the Redbox … We loved Zombieland!

More undead fun from redbox:

Zombieland (available in select areas)

REC 2

Quarantine 2: Terminal

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (sometimes zombies can be your friend!)

Husk

Forget Me Not

via Zombie 101: 5 Things You Need to Know About The Walking Dead | Redblog.

blogging:  this was my 500th post.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have … It has proven to be a great resource for me. Thank you, “gentle readers”!

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‎5.28.2011 … I wonder how many people take the megabus to dc and then stay at the Willard …

travel, transportation, DC:  I am taking the megabus to and from dc … anybody tried it?  Then I will join John who is flying in on US Air 🙂 … and stay at the Willard … anybody stayed there?  Will make for an interesting rendezvous!

labyrinths, Charlotte, quotes:  I enjoyed my Labyrinth Walk #2 at Presbyterian Hospital while waiting for ET to wake from his liver biopsy on 5.26.  Anyone know the source of the quote, “yet also: Be still for healing most likely whispers”?

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“I knew something good could come out of such pain. The new labyrinth will provide a point of focus to help people collect their thoughts during the grieving process,” said Linda Matney, donor and founder of the Jack and Linda Matney Family Foundation.

Dating back to the 14th century, a labyrinth is a geometric, flat surface with winding, circuitous paths. A labyrinth combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful course. Walking a labyrinth has been effective in reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure and breathing rates, in addition to reducing chronic pain. Often people find peace, solace, release and a deep sense of joy as they reach the center of the labyrinth’s circuitous paths.

Designer, Tom Schultz, nationally recognized for his unique labyrinth designs, has patterned the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth after the 14th Century labyrinth at Chatres Cathedral in France.

The Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth is supported by ongoing financial gifts from the community. In addition to the Labyrinth endowment, fundraising efforts continue for phase II of the labyrinth, projected to include a memorial prayer wall.

“My impetus in creating the labyrinth was to give patient’s families and caregivers the opportunity to focus on a spiritual connection, prayer or whatever could bring peace to each person.”

via New Presbyterian Hospital Labyrinth Puts Caregivers on Path to Peace.

Facebook, twitter, privacy:  Facebook is not my friend … Facebook is not my friend …

 

Attention, humanity: We seem to be suffering from an acute case of stupidity.

There’s a viral misconception making its way through our Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles and injecting itself into our brains. And it’s leading those infected to believe these social sites are looking out for us.

Yesterday, we wondered if Twitter should actually hand over user information to officials when it’s subpoenaed. The day before, a report that even Facebook content marked “Friends-Only” could be used against you in court sent us spiraling into rants about the company’s lack of integrity on issues of user privacy. (The horror!) Well, Facebook’s integrity isn’t on today’s discussion menu. But yours is.

There will never be an easier way to break this to you other than to just say it: Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business. Repeat this to yourself until it begins to sink deep within in your social-loving brain cells. “Facebook is not your friend. It’s a business.”

Laws on Internet activity and speech are just beginning to manifest in court, and nine times out of ten, companies will comply with authorities. (Yes, this means handing over your account’s info.) Some rulings have required Facebook to turn over user password information, other courts have thrown out similar requests. It’s all the more reason to consider what you post online fair game inside our legal system.

Of course, when I say “Facebook,” I really mean every social media site you’ve hitched to your digital identity: Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. Facebook seems to take the brunt of the backlash because of its size, but that hasn’t changed our silly new idea that all of these companies have our best interests in mind. They don’t. They’re businesses. They want our personal information to dangle in front of advertisers. And no, Facebook isn’t inherently evil for not really giving a damn about you. It’s business.

The problem is that this reality doesn’t fit our modern consumer expectations, which, some would argue could be described as profound laziness. We’re living in the age of blaming companies for everything we don’t like about ourselves. Smoke too much? Blame big tobacco. Eat too much? Blame fast food. Sign up for a website that craves your personal information, then do something stupid? Surely it’s not your fault.

via Facebook, Twitter Aren’t Responsible For Your Online Behavior – Techland – TIME.com.

Apple, music, cloud computing, iCloud:  Well, I for one, hope this works … our family has music spread over to many computers.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this whole online music thing is heating up. First Amazon rolled out its Cloud Player, then Google Music came along, and now Apple is expected to announce its own online music service—the big money’s on something called “iCloud” that’ll be unveiled on June 6th.

The difference between Apple’s offering and offerings from both Amazon and Google is that Apple has apparently gotten the blessing of three of the four major record labels, with the fourth said to be right around the corner. But why should Apple care about playing nice with the record labels when Google and Amazon have already thumbed their noses at the music industry?

If what Businessweek is reporting turns out to be accurate, Apple’s service will behave differently than Google’s and Amazon’s in that you won’t have to actually upload your entire music collection to Apple’s servers.

via Apple’s Online Music Locker: A Great Idea (That’s 10+ Years Old) – Techland – TIME.com.

Groupon, jobs, creative writing:  I actually thought about applying for a job as a Groupon writer …

Groupon has nothing so special. It offers discounts on products and services, something that Internet start-up companies have tried to develop as a business model many times before, with minimal success. Groupon’s breakthrough sprang not just from the deals but from an ingredient that was both unlikely and ephemeral: words.

Words are not much valued on the Internet, perhaps because it features so many of them. Newspapers and magazines might have gained vast new audiences online but still can’t recoup the costs from their Web operations of producing the material.

Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay.

IN 177 North American cities and neighborhoods, 31 million people see one of the hundreds of daily deals that Ms. Handler and her colleagues write, and so many of them take the horseback ride or splurge on the spa or have dinner at the restaurant or sign up for the kayak tour that Groupon is raking in more than a billion dollars a year from these featured businesses and is already profitable.

There used to be a name for marketing things to clumps of people by blasting messages at them: spam. People despised it so much it nearly killed e-mail. The great achievement of Groupon — a blend of “group” and “coupon” — is to have reformulated spam into something benign, even ingratiating.

via Groupon Counts on Writers and Editors to Build Its Audience – NYTimes.com.

Experience is a plus, but not necessarily required if you have compelling samples. We’ll work with anyone who can write succinctly, persuasively, and intelligently. Groupon writers are held not only to a high quality standard, but must also show a willingness and ability to generate a high volume of copy on a daily basis. Fast typing and web savvy are critical. Salary is $37K and includes full benefits. For the right candidate, Groupon will pay a relocation allowance.

via Groupon Jobs.

international politics, G8, economics: G8 irrelevant?

 

And that’s not a bad thing because, as a global conclave, the G-8 has become almost entirely irrelevant. It was originally formed in 1975, in the wake of an alarming international oil crisis, as a forum for the West’s greatest economies to meet and steer global policy without the burdensome nuisance of the U.N. or other more democratic international institutions. For a long time, the annual summit seemed the place from which the world was truly governed — a resurrection of an older Western imperial guard (plus Japan). Not surprisingly, it was hated by many. Just a decade ago, the G-8 summit in Genoa was the site of truly epic scenes of rioting and mayhem as anti-globalization protesters attempted to storm the gathering, targeting what they thought was the progenitor of all the world’s capitalistic injustices. Fast forward ten years later: at Deauville, there was greater fury in the waves of the placid English Channel. How things have changed.

 

In the age of the BRICs — a Goldman Sachs monicker that has stuck for the combined rising clout of Brazil, Russia, India and China — it’s not controversial to suggest the G-8 has gone past its shelf-life. President Obama has already hailed the G-20, where all the BRICs are in attendance (only Russia is in the G-8), as the “premier forum for global economic coordination.” (Incidentally, the G-20 is also meeting in France later this year, in Cannes.) Sensing the change in the winds, then Brazilian President Lula da Silva declared in 2009 that the G-8 “doesn’t have any reason to exist.” By any metric, he’s right: the G-8 no longer accommodates the world’s biggest or most dynamic economies; the G-8 no longer accounts for all the world’s nuclear weapons; the G-8 doesn’t speak for any particular identity or values — with Russia in the fold, it’s hardly a champion of democracy. So what is it for?

 

via Why the G-8 Should Never Meet Again – Global Spin – TIME.com.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  I think I used the term slime bag … This writer uses “pond scum” and  “jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale” … but asks a fair question …  did he commit a crime?  Part of me hopes yes … but his family has suffered immeasurably, and if he didn’t, then let the man just wallow in his sin.

As far as I’m concerned, John Edwards is pond scum. Last I checked, that’s not a crime.

We can stipulate, I think, to the pond scum part. The man cheated on his wife — and defended himself by noting that her cancer was in remission at the time. Even after the affair was disclosed, Edwards lied about whether he fathered a daughter with the woman. He had a loyal aide falsely claim paternity and turned to wealthy friends to support the woman.

But being a jerk, even on an Edwardsian scale, is not a felony, which is what federal prosecutors have been pursuing for more than two years. The original theory of the case was that Edwards misused campaign funds to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter. That would have been a serious matter, except the theory fizzled.

Some prosecutors would have stopped there. The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, George Holding, did not.

The current case against Edwards, the one for which he is on the verge of being indicted, rests on a novel and expansive reading of what constitutes a campaign contribution.

The crux of the case is that during the 2008 campaign, Edwards, directly or indirectly, approached two of his biggest financial backers, the late trial lawyer Fred Baron and heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, to solicit financial support for Hunter. Baron and Mellon, motivated at least in part by a desire to fuel Edwards’s presidential ambitions, anted up, to the tune of more than $750,000.

Was that a contribution to the Edwards campaign, in which case it would be illegal because it was not reported as such and exceeded the allowable contribution limits? That’s a stretch.

via John Edwards: A jerk, not a felon – The Washington Post.

John Edwards, slime bags, law:  New tag … slime bags … Go for it US Justice Department.

via 2011 May 26 « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

business, data, technology, changes:  Data and harnessing that data is changing business … a whole new world.

As usual, the reality of the digital age is outpacing fiction. Last year people stored enough data to fill 60,000 Libraries of Congress. The world’s 4 billion mobile-phone users (12% of whom own smartphones) have turned themselves into data-streams. YouTube claims to receive 24 hours of video every minute. Manufacturers have embedded 30m sensors into their products, converting mute bits of metal into data-generating nodes in the internet of things. The number of smartphones is increasing by 20% a year and the number of sensors by 30%.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has no Borges-like qualms about the value of all these data. In a suitably fact-packed new report, “Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity”, MGI argues that data are becoming a factor of production, like physical or human capital. Companies that can harness big data will trample data-incompetents. Data equity, to coin a phrase, will become as important as brand equity. MGI insists that this is not just idle futurology: businesses are already adapting to big data.

Companies are assembling more detailed pictures of their customers than ever before. Tesco, a British retailer, collects 1.5 billion nuggets of data every month and uses them to adjust prices and promotions. Williams-Sonoma, an American retailer, uses its knowledge of its 60m customers (which includes such details as their income and the value of their houses) to produce different iterations of its catalogue. Amazon, an online retailer, has claimed that 30% of its sales are generated by its recommendation engine (“you may also like”). The mobile revolution adds a new dimension to customer-targeting. Companies such as America’s Placecast are developing technologies that allow them to track potential consumers and send them enticing offers when they get within a few yards of a Starbucks.

via Schumpeter: Building with big data | The Economist.

Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy, crime and law, constitutional law, cruel and unusual punishment:  This is a serious problem, and one that will not go away.  We are fortunate to have a constitution that respects human dignity, even that of criminals.

So it was no surprise that Mr Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 decision by the court this week that orders California to reduce its prison overcrowding. Full capacity is defined as one inmate per cell, which in California currently means 80,000 prisoners. But California’s prisons have at times housed twice as many, with inmates stacked in bunk beds in gymnasiums. At the moment, the prisons are about 175% full. The court order requires that ratio to go down to a slightly less egregious 137.5% within two years.

Overcrowding has meant not only more violence but woefully inadequate health and mental care, with more deaths and suicides. “When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their faeces for days in a dazed state?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor testily demanded of a lawyer representing California last November. Mr Kennedy, in his opinion this week, referred to an inmate who had been held “in a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic.”

Such conditions are, in Mr Kennedy’s words, “incompatible with the concept of human dignity” and amount to unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment”. The four judges who are considered liberal agreed; the four conservatives did not. For Justice Samuel Alito, the case was a matter not of dignity but of public safety. The decision, he said, will force California to release “46,000 criminals—the equivalent of three army divisions”.

via Prison overcrowding: A win for dignity | The Economist.

random, Widespread Panic, John Bell, energy room, Clarksville GA, places:  I need an energy room!

Clad in jeans and cowboy boots, musician John “JB” Bell reclined in a green fabric and metal chair on a Saturday morning, surrounded by 16 computers sitting on shelves about a foot from the ceiling. The computer screens glowed blue behind multicolored static, generating so much heat air-conditioning was needed to cool the room.

A Wellness Center at Home

When he’s not on tour, musician John “JB” Bell of the southern rock jam band Widespread Panic spends much of his time at a home in Clarkesville, Ga., a tiny mountain town.

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Jeff Herr for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Bell seeks balance at his 1912 white colonial that he’s turned into a holistic wellness center.

Mr. Bell, 49, said he spends a few hours every night and day he’s home in this “energy room,” working on lyrics, reading, thinking or sleeping. He says the energy generated by the computers creates an “uplifting vibe very similar to the feeling when the band improvises into new territory, and the audience seems to be right there alongside you.” His wife Laura, 48, said, “We joke it’s the new way of catching a buzz.”

Come January, when Widespread Panic will take a break for at least a year, Mr. Bell plans to spend most of his time gardening and hanging out in Clarkesville. “Keeping your life balanced is very nurturing to music. The band can’t be my total identity. I still enjoy being on the road. It is still fulfilling,” he said. “But here it is more working in the garden, hanging out with Laura and working on music at a leisurely pace. I like to let songs come to me at their own pace. I try to stay calm about it.”

Fans do occasionally track Mr. Bell down at his house. When they do, Mrs. Bell quickly ushers them into the energy room.

“It turns the focus on them instead of John. It’s disarming to them,” she said. The Bells charge $44 for a two-hour session in the room, but said they don’t make a profit from the wellness center. Rates at the clinic are sliding scale depending on financial need, and most customers are from the local community.

Most members of Widespread Panic haven’t been to the house—and only their tour manager, Steve Lopez, is enthusiastic about the energy room. Recently, when on the road, Mr. Lopez and Mr. Bell spent time in an energy room in Hollywood. “We need it. There are times when our work makes us really stressed out,” Mr. Lopez said.

via The Georgia Home of Widespread Panic Lead Singer and Guitarist John ‘JB’ Bell – WSJ.com.

random, sports, quotes: OK, I like this quote: “‘a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.'”

My friend and mentor Michael Kinsley defined a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth.” In my profile of Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ chief executive, this week, he apparently made several gaffes in describing several of his players. Wilpon said David Wright is “a very good player, not a superstar”; Carlos Beltran is “sixty-five to seventy per cent” of the player he was; Jose Reyes has had a lot of injuries:

“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to the Red Sox’ signing of the former Tampa Bay player to a seven-year, $142-million contract. “He’s had everything wrong with him,” Wilpon said of Reyes. “He won’t get it.”

In the Kinsley tradition, though, all Wilpon did was tell the truth.

I spend more of my time covering law and politics than I do writing about sports. Both fields have changed dramatically in recent years, largely for the better. Sportswriting used to be cheerleading; political journalism used to be stenography. (I generalize.) But both fields demand candor no less from our subjects than from us journalists. Wilpon shouldn’t be criticized for delivering it.

via The Sporting Scene: Honest About the Mets : The New Yorker.

Blackbeard, anthropology, pirates:  I love pirate lore …

Dead men tell no tales, but the sea does, as shown Friday when an anchor was recovered from the wreckage of pirate Blackbeard’s flagship.

An expedition off the North Carolina coast hoisted the nearly 3,000-pound anchor, one of three belonging to the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Crews were working in just 20 feet of water, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge is believed to have run aground in the shallow waters off Beaufort in 1718. The ship was discovered in 1996, with piecemeal recovery of artifacts intensifying only a few years ago.

via Anchor from Blackbeard ship recovered – CNN.com.

causes, Jeff McGonnell, Davidson, ultramarathons, kudos, kith/kin:  You go, Jeff … but I think you are a little crazy!

 

Don’t be alarmed if you see Davidson resident Jeff McGonnell running nonstop circles around the Green on Friday and Saturday, June 4-5. He hasn’t lost his mind. He’ll be running for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for the Batten Disease Support and Research Association.

 

The event, sponsored by the Town of Davidson and BirdNest Music, is called “24 hour Loopy for a Cause.”

 

McGonnell will be running a pre-determined loop on the Green, seven loops being equal to one mile. He hopes to run around 100 miles in the 24 hours.

 

While he runs, there will be live music. Musicians scheduled to play include Billy Jones, Rick Spreitzer, Rusty Knox, Rob McHale and more. There will also be food, games and other fun activities for kids.

 

McGonnell has been an ultra runner for more than 20 years, competing in more than 150 races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). For the right donation, this serious runner will run in a dress juggling pineapples and whistling pop tunes. Anyone can join in a few laps of the run for a small donation.

 

via He’ll run 24 hours on the Green, for a good cause  | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

music, technology, innovations, Mall music, Bluebrain, DC: Bluebrain launches ‘location-aware album’ … very cool.  I may add this to my next DC experience.

If a melody on the new Bluebrain album doesn’t move you, keep walking.

On Saturday, the Washington-based band of brothers, Hays and Ryan Holladay, will release what has been dubbed the world’s first location-aware album — an app designed for smartphones that uses Global Positioning System technology to trigger different swaths of electro-pop based on physical location. Titled “The National Mall,” the app-album can be heard only in Washington by iPhone-toting listeners strolling around the monuments and museums.

Sounds geeky, right? It is. But like the most fantastic collisions of music and technology, it feels magical. And in an iPod era, where bite-size MP3s have threatened to vanquish the traditional album format, Bluebrain is helping redefine what an album can actually be. Somewhere, Sgt. Pepper is smiling.

Musically, the pair set out to compose electronic soundscapes that would embellish that sense of aesthetic weirdness, divorcing, they hoped, many of the iconic vistas from their historical and cultural associations in the process.

“There’s this giant obelisk in the middle of a lawn,” Ryan says. “If you don’t think of that as a George Washington Monument, it’s just a really crazy-looking thing.”

Approach that crazy-looking thing while listening to “The National Mall,” and you’ll hear a keyboard weep. Get closer and digital cellos begin to trace a regal melody. Closer. There’s percussion. Keep going. The volume creeps up. The drums push toward anarchy. Walk right up to the monument, press your hand against the cool, smooth stone and listen, as if the obelisk were a giant radio needle receiving some riotous transmission from deep space.

It’s truly magical.

Remember to wear good headphones. And comfortable walking shoes.

via Bluebrain’s ‘The National Mall’: The first location-aware album – The Washington Post.

travel, NYC, lists:  Don’t you just love the term al fresco … makes me want to go to NYC and enjoy the out of doors … the NY way!

Now that the season has made it acceptable to wear cutoff shots and visibly sweat through your shirt, it’s time to take eating and drinking into the great outdoors. So whether it be on a sidewalk, a rooftop, or a beach, we’ve got you covered for the restaurants and bars with killer outdoor spaces. To kick off this weekend’s unofficial start of summer, here’s what opened earlier this spring, what’s opening this weekend, and what’s coming in the very near future. Have a happy Memorial Day, and see you Tuesday!

via Take It Outside: 42 Great Places for Going Alfresco This Summer — Grub Street New York.

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May
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‎5.18.2011 … Having the gutters ripped off your house is a strange and noisy process … and one of those maintenance things that gives you absolutely no pleasure.

Elizabeth Musser, Sweetest Thing, bookshelf, kith/kin:  So excited, my preview copy of Sweetest Thing came yesterday. Its author is childhood friend Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser. Sweetest Thing is set in the 30s. I have loved her earlier historical novels set in Atlanta … can’t wait to start this one.

Elizabeth Musser, Bestselling Author- Entertainment With a Soul.

 adventures, college, kith/kin:  One of my kith children Liza is on this summer’s VOR.  What a great experience … You go, Ninja Girl!

Voice of the Rivers (VOR) is an expedition-based program focused on the interdisciplinary study of a river from its source to its end. Student team members paddle the river and earn six hours of college credit while taking two academic courses and interacting with a variety of leaders and program managers that support the river, media organizations and conservation groups. This summer Brevard College is once again sponsoring the Voice of the Rivers program. From May 15th-June 2nd thirteen Brevard College students and two faculty members will follow the Rappahannock River from the Blue Ridge Mountains near Front Royal, Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay at Deltaville, Virginia. The VOR Team will travel approximately 184 miles by foot, canoe and sea-kayak with primitive camping each night. VOR students—whose majors include Art, Religious Studies, Environmental Science, Exercise Science, Psychology, Business and Organizational Leadership and Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education—will post daily journal entries, photos and videos of their travels and experiences online using Facebook, blogs and the Brevard College Web site.

via Voice of the Rivers 2011.

Georgia politics, kith/kin:  Thankfully my brother turned this down … but man it is a good deal if you have it … I know my husband has earned it from his extensive work travel.

And you were wondering why — unlike you — certain Georgia lawmakers have a smile on their faces when headed to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

via Your morning jolt: Delta gives upgrades to Casey Cagle, state lawmakers | Political Insider.

travel, transportation, US, kith/kin:  My kith daughters have taken if from DC to Charlotte and it is cheap and OK.  I hope it does not undermine enhanced rail in the US.

BUSINESSWEEK published a big feature earlier this month on the express buses that are taking over city-to-city routes all over America. The bus, apparently, is now America’s fastest-growing way to travel, and you can thank BoltBus, Megabus, and their progenitors—express Chinatown buses like Fung Wah—for the change. Fung Wah and its contemporaries made revolutionary innovations in the bus business. They seem obvious in retrospect, as revolutionary innovations often do: curb-side pickup, express service between big cities, and super-cheap fares that you can buy online. To that, corporate successors like Bolt and Mega added more comfortable seats, cleaner buses, mobile apps, and WiFi. A new way to travel was born.

The problem, as Businessweek’s Ben Austen decribes it, is that express buses have so changed “the way Americans—especially the young—travel” that “they may help kill plans for new railroads.”

via Express buses: Is there a “Megabus effect?” | The Economist.

Charlotte Zoo, Charlotte, Davidson, Davidson College:  Davidson is the name of a turtle donated to the traveling zoo exhibit … Did you know Charlotte is trying to get a zoo?

Turtle

The organizers of the planned Charlotte Zoological Park (CZP) have big ideas about building a high-quality facility where the public can view and learn to appreciate creatures of the wild.

A first step in their plan is a mobile zoo of a few “ambassador animals” who will make educational sorties to area schools and civic groups.

And one of the first ambassadors selected for this duty is an eastern box turtle named “Davidson.”…

CZP is now hoping the college can help acquire other herpetological species for its educational program, including a corn snake and softshell turtle.

CZP is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 dedicated to the mission of creating a world-class zoological facility in the Charlotte. The group intends to educate, entertain and inspire people by bringing them face-to-face with wildlife and providing opportunities to participate in animal and habitat conservation.

via “Davidson” the Turtle Will Serve as Public Ambassador for Planned Charlotte Zoological Park

labyrinth, history, health, facts, random:   OK, I am on a labyrinth kick … I wish I had started this movement in the US … it is really a good thing.

What Is A Labyrinth?

Labyrinths are ancient human symbols known to go back at least 3500 years and probably much older. They appeared on most inhabited continents in prehistory, with examples known from North & South America, Africa, Asia and across Europe from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. The labyrinth symbol was incorporated into the floors of the great Gothic pilgrimage cathedrals of France in the twelfth & thirteenth centuries. The most famous extant design is the example in the nave floor of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres outside of Paris. This labyrinth was built of honey colored limestone with marble lines around the year 1200 and is now over 800 years old.

Why Do We Walk Labyrinths?

A labyrinth is not a maze, but a walking meditation device with a single winding path from the edge to the center. There are no tricks, choices or dead ends in a labyrinth walk. The same path is used to return to the outside. Combining a number of even older symbols, including the circle, spiral and meander, the labyrinth represents the journey inward to our own true selves and back out into the everyday world.

Walking a labyrinth is a right brain activity (creative, intuitive, imaginative), and can induce or enhance a contemplative or meditative state of mind. It is a tool which can clear the mind, calm our anxieties during periods of transition and stress, guide healing, deepen self-knowledge, enhance creativity, allow for reconciliation, restore feelings of belonging to a community, and lead to personal and spiritual growth.

For many walkers the labyrinth becomes a metaphor for the journey of life: although full of twists and turns, each of us is on a single path through his or her life, and yet each person’s journey is a separate and distinct qualitative experience. In walking labyrinths, modern seekers are emulating and recapturing the pilgrimage tradition of many ancient faiths.

via The Labyrinth Company.

Research conducted at the Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute by Dr. Herbert Benson has found that focused walking meditations are highly efficient at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson calls the ‘relaxation response’. This effect has significant long-term health benefits, including lower blood pressure and breathing rates, reduced incidents of chronic pain, reduction of insomnia, improved fertility, and many other benefits. Regular meditative practice leads to greater powers of concentration and a sense of control and efficiency in one’s life. Labyrinth walking is among the simplest forms of focused walking meditation, and the demonstrated health benefits have led hundreds of hospitals, health care facilities, and spas to install labyrinths in recent years.

via The Labyrinth Company.

  Sister Margaret, our leader and coordinator shared that the labyrinth can be a representation of one’s life path to the “center,” whatever that center means to a person.  We so often look “up” for the Divine, but the labyrinth teaches us that our path with God is horizontal, and each step is really an opportunity to be in the center in that present moment.  In the labyrinth, there are no dead ends, so one can truly focus on each step rather than looking ahead to plan which turn to take. The path of the labyrinth, like the path of life, does wind and change direction but our purpose is to keep walking it with faith.

via Lessons from the Labyrinth « Yogiclarebear’s Blog.

google doodles, internet traffic:  Found this very interesting.  I for one always research the ones I do not know … and the ones I really like. I good example is the one below … May 9, 2011 – Roger Hargreaves (Wikipedia page is the first result).  I of course had to immediately look it up … I had never heard of Roger Hargreaves.

As far as I know, you can’t convince Google to create a Doodle for you. However, should you get lucky, you better be ready to turn on the bandwidth. All hail the Doodle.

via How Much Traffic Does a Google Doodle Drive? The Data Says, A Ton – Steve Rubel.

Blackbeard, pirates, history, North Carolina, kith/kin:  I love pirates … We teased ET that he was Blackbeard’s child … since his real name was EDward Teach …

The work to retrieve an anchor from the wreck of what is believed to be the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship will begin Thursday off the North Carolina coast, but what’s underneath that artifact is just as interesting to researchers.

The anchor is the second-largest item on the site of what’s believed to be the Queen Anne’s Revenge, outsized only by another anchor, project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing said Wednesday. It’s about 13 feet long with arms that are 8 feet across. The other anchor is about 7 inches longer.

The largest exhibit of the shipwreck’s artifacts will be shown starting June 11 at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

In 1717, Blackbeard captured a French slave ship and renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge. Blackbeard, whose real name was widely believed to be Edward Teach or Thatch, settled in Bath and received a governor’s pardon. Some experts believe he grew bored with land life and returned to piracy.

He was killed by volunteers from the Royal Navy in November 1718 – five months after the ship thought to be Queen Anne’s Revenge sank.

via Blackbeard’s anchor subject of dive off NC coast | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

google, google searches, recipes:  I, too, have searched for banana bread!

Chicken, lasagna, meatloaf and banana bread recipes were also sought after. (Why banana bread? Could there have been a surfeit of bananas browning on kitchen counters the world over?)

via Google’s Most Wanted Recipes – NYTimes.com.

photos, Facebook, technology:  I have been planning to make several book s for years … now they are going to do it for me!

This week, I tested an effort by photo-sharing sites to win back users’ attention: by importing photos from none other than Facebook, itself. With your permission, these sites access your Facebook page’s photos, as well as the pages of any friends who share their Facebook photos with you, and use these images to make photo albums—for online or for the coffee table.

I tested Shutterfly Inc.’s new Custom Path for making photo books, which produced a handsome book but didn’t link as smoothly as it should with Facebook. I also tried a beautiful new website called ZangZing that grabs and organizes images from a variety of social networks to create digital albums.

via Photo Books From Facebook, Shutterfly Zing Zang and Custom Path Review | Katherine Boehret | The Digital Solution | AllThingsD.

Meck-Dec Day, anniversaries:

This Friday, May 20th marks the 236 anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, known locally as the Meck Dec. Check out the public library’s page for some history and background.

Davidson, town and college, did not exist until the 62nd anniversary in 1837, but students and townspeople were soon joining the celebrations, either by traveling to Charlotte or hosting events on campus.

via The Davidson College Archives & Special Collections blog — Around the D.

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May
11

5.8.2011 … happy mother’s day … I have only Molly home today … so I am enjoying great peace … tomorrow all my boys roll in …

Mother’s Day:  … stolen from Ginger S. on Facebook …

To all the amazing mothers I have known, starting with my own, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful day and send you my love. To the many mothers out there who struggle, either physically, emotionally, financially, or otherwise, with the challenges of this critical role, you are in my thoughts as well. This is our day to celebrate, embrace each other, and our precious children!

xoxo

Dennard Lindsey Teague

(Aside – My mother is  great … she adored my dad and each of her children for their uniqueness … but you have to wonder why she would let me go to the WH looking like that!)

Mother’s Day, music:

YouTube – I’ll Always Love My Mama by The Intruders.

Mother’s Day, Tina Fey, quotes:  I don’t usually quote Tina Fey … but her prayer was good!

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit

via A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child By Tina Fey | Write In Color.

137th Kentucky Derby, Animal Kingdom, follow-upAnimal Kingdom wins the 2011 Kentucky Derby – CBS News.

137th Kentucky Derby, traditions – Southern, culture:  OK … there must be some other southern tradition to compare to the Kentucky Derby … “Moonshining, barn-raisings, hominy-poundings, quiltings, fox hunting, homecomings, and hog-killings are but memories”

“Many institutions of Southern culture are vanishing,” Judy McCarthy wrote in “God Save the Kentucky Derby.” “Moonshining, barn-raisings, hominy-poundings, quiltings, fox hunting, homecomings, and hog-killings are but memories. The Kentucky Derby,” she added, “has been a sustaining… vestige of Southern life. Its appeal, of course, extends far beyond the Old South.”

Part of the extension into history is the hat, one of the most identifiable trademarks of race day.

“Any style of hat can be appropriate, from wide styles to bowlers to small-fitted cloches with netting,” said Rita Manzelmann-Browne, head buyer for Miss Jackson’s in Tulsa, who sometimes works with Eileen McClure, an Oklahoman, whose grandmother grew up on a Kentucky plantation. “It’s all about having fun and expressing yourself.”

So, how many hats adorns the closet of an Okie with Kentucky roots? McClure has 15 hats to choose from come Derby Saturday, and, she notes, she always watches the Kentucky Derby in one.

“Derby has character, it has history,” says McClure. “And part of that history is hats.”

via Hats Off: The Kentucky Derby Highlights a Southern Tradition by Shane Gilreath | LikeTheDew.com.

Versailles, France, travel: Q: Should we/must we go to Versailles to make our trip to France “complete?”

This former home of French kings epitomizes royal elegance in the style of Old Europe. Versailles originated in 1631 as a humble hunting lodge for Louis XIII. But his son Louis XIV built the now familiar palace on the site outside Paris and moved the nation’s government and court to Versailles in 1682.

Versailles remained the epicenter of French royal power, home to government offices and courtiers alike, until 1789—when a hungry and agitated group of mostly female revolutionaries stormed the palace and essentially evicted Louis XVI and his queen, Marie-Antoinette. The mob sent the royal couple back to Paris on the first steps of a journey that led eventually to their beheadings.

Versailles’ sprawling, stunning palace is matched by the splendor of the gardens in which it is situated. A pleasurable visit can be spent simply perusing paths and admiring fountains and flowers without setting foot inside the palace or Versailles’ other notable buildings.

via Versailles — World Heritage Site — National Geographic.

pirates, Captain Kidd, museum, Dominican Republic, travel:  Underwater snorkeling museum!  I’m game …

The submerged wreck of Captain Kidd’s pirate ship will become a “Living Museum of the Sea” reports Science Daily.

The Quedagh Merchant was found a couple of years ago just off the coast of the Dominican Republic. It’s only 70 feet from the shore of Catalina Island and rests in ten feet of water, so it’s a perfect destination for scuba divers or even snorkelers.

Underwater signs will guide divers around the wreck, and like in above-ground museums, there’s a strict “don’t touch the artifacts” policy. Often when shipwrecks are found the discoverers keep the location secret to protect them from looting. Hopefully this bold step of allowing visitors to swim around such an important wreck will help inform the public without any harm being done. One can only hope!

Captain Kidd is one of the most famous and most controversial of pirates. For much of his career he was a privateer, a legal pirate with permission from the King of England to loot enemy ships and hunt down other pirates. Privateers were one of the ways the big empires of the day harassed one another.

Kidd shouldn’t have gone to New York. He was lured to Boston by a supposed friend and then arrested and shipped to England to be put on trial for piracy. The judge found him guilty and sentenced him to hang. His body was left hanging over the River Thames in an iron cage called a gibbet as a warning to others. The museum will be dedicated on May 23, the 310th anniversary of Kidd’s execution.

via Captain Kidd’s pirate ship to become underwater museum | Gadling.com.

Osama bin Laden’s death, media, twitter:  Interesting analysis of the spread of the news via twitter.

That trustworthiness, in a universe of tweeters spouting all sorts of speculation, is more important than ever. Urbahn, 27, didn’t shout about his insider connections, but enough people read his bio to understand that he was likely to have good sources inside the Pentagon. And for all the talk of Twitter making journalists of us all, it seems we still desire validation from a reporter from a major media organization.

And maybe — just maybe — the number of followers you have on Twitter matters less than who and how active they are. Urbahn didn’t have a record-breaking number of followers (who then numbered a little more than 1,000, or about 6,000 fewer than he has now), but his tweet went viral nonetheless, thanks to those followers going to bat for him. Stetler has more than 55,000 followers and tweets obsessively, but ultimately his influence was slightly less important here than Urbahn’s.

“Keith Urbahn wasn’t the first to speculate Bin Laden’s death, but he was the one who gained the most trust from the network,” writes Social Flow. “And with that, the perfect situation unfolded, where timing, the right social-professional networked audience, along with a critically relevant piece of information led to an explosion of public affirmation of his trustworthiness.”

via How Bin Laden News Exploded on Twitter: A Visualization.

Osama bin Laden’s death, US Intelligence:

In reality, bin Laden was living comfortably in the bustling town of Abbottabad, known for its good schools and relative affluence. He was living in a walled compound in a military town, hundreds of miles from the mountainous, lawless tribal regions. There were no heavily armed security guards, as some intelligence officials assumed there would be. Thanks to a satellite dish, which officials believe was for television reception only, bin Laden would have been able watch American security forces chase him around the wrong part of the country.

“I was surprised that Osama bin Laden was found in what is essentially a suburb of Islamabad,” former national security adviser and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday as news of the daring pre-dawn helicopter raid dominated the news.

America’s belief that bin Laden was hiding on the Pakistani frontier was based on two assumptions, former intelligence officials said. The first was that bin Laden would stay close to his devotees for protection, and al-Qaeda has thrived in the tribal areas of North and South Waziristan. The second was that if bin Laden had ventured into more civilized areas, his presence would be noticeable, first by locals and then by Pakistani and U.S. intelligence services.

via Why U.S. had it wrong about bin Laden’s hide-out – USATODAY.com.

Osama bin Laden’s death, media, photograph, history, follow-up:

“Those were 38 of the most intense minutes,” Clinton says today. “I have no idea what any of us were looking at at that particular millisecond when the picture was taken.”

The shot, taken as the raid unfolded in real time, shows Clinton covering her mouth with her right hand.

via Clinton discusses hand gesture in riveting Situation Room photo –.

Osama bin Laden’s death, President Obama, quotes:  funny …

When bin Laden’s corpse was laid out, one of the Navy SEALs was asked to stretch out next to it to compare heights. The SEAL was 6 feet tall. The body was several inches taller.After the information was relayed to Obama, he turned to his advisers and said: “We donated a $60 million helicopter to this operation. Could we not afford to buy a tape measure?”

via Death of Osama bin Laden: Phone call pointed U.S. to compound — and to ‘the pacer’ – The Washington Post.

culture, names, kith/kin:  I hope my children understand the thought John and I put into their names.

“To me, the most important gift parents can give is a story behind their name,” Diamant says. “The more names you have and the stories of how you came to a name, the more stories are attached, the richer the name could be.”

via Biblical names abound in popular baby names list – Faith & Reason.

Apple, business culture, Steve Jobs:  I do not think I would have wanted to be in that auditorium that day …

In response to the MobileMe flop, Steve Jobs assembled the team that worked on the service and chewed them out, according to Adam Lashinsky at Fortune, who has a big story on Apple, available only on newsstands or the iPad right now.

He gathered the troops at the auditorium Apple uses on its campus to do demos of small products for the press.

He asked the team what MobileMe was supposed to do. Someone answer, and Jobs said to that person (and everyone else), “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?”

He continued, “You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation … You should hate each other for having let each other down … Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us.”

Right there and then he named a new executive to run the MobileMe service.

via What It’s Like When Steve Jobs Chews You Out For A Product Failure.

Pat Forde, espn, twitter:  Pat is a friend of a friend  I started following because of his great coverage of Steph Curry … It’s amazing who adapts to new technology!  ESPN’s Pat Forde Goes From Anti-Tweet to the King of All Media Tweeters.

LOL:  Here are a few that are just fun:

YouTube – Matrix Reloaded MTV Parody.

Loving Donald Trumps newest comb-over. Image courtesy of the DU

via Facebook

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.

23
Feb
11

2.23.2011 … Leaving on a jet plane … But know when I’ll be back again … :)

random, pets, Senator Teddy Kennedy:  OK, I just liked this op-ed piece.  🙂

My feelings on this assignment were conflicted, to say the least. On the one hand, I was impersonating a dog. On the other, I was heartened by the warmth that people from so many other states felt for the senator from mine.

In time I found a strange satisfaction in writing back to these puppy-crazed children, one that I never got from answering the office phones. None of Splash’s correspondents cared about or even knew Senator Kennedy’s position on the estate tax, or whether he’d invoke cloture on a resolution to incrementally finance the defense budget. In fact, a simple “Woof!” seemed to be all the constituent outreach they needed to be assured that the senator was on their side.

Of course Senator Kennedy demonstrated his loyalty to the youth of America in many ways. He pushed to finance Pell grants for college scholarships and to ensure all children were covered by health insurance, and fought to lower the voting age to 18.

Today would have been Senator Kennedy’s 79th birthday. In December, Splash died, a little more than a year after his master. Reading that sad news, I remembered the “liberal lion” sitting at his desk while Splash slobbered away on a grimy tennis ball in the corner. It was an image that had soothed nervous interns and disarmed even Kennedy’s fiercest critics in Congress. Then I remembered the letters to Splash, and I realized those children felt the same way that I had as a kid in Boston, and still do — that we were all a small part of the Kennedy family.

via My Life as a Dog – NYTimes.com.

Justice Clarence Thomas, The Supreme Court: With all due respect, I just do not understand this one …

His “just say nothing” approach harkens back to a time many decades ago, when justices spoke very rarely at public sessions, allowing lawyers to argue their case for hours, sometimes days on end, without interruption. Arguments today are a rapid-fire question-and-answer free-for-all, with the court peppering attorneys standing before them with hypotheticals, precedents, and their own personal views on the case at hand. Thomas alone refuses to jump into the fray.

Legal blogs and various commentators have been busy the past few weeks leading up the dubious anniversary, wondering what Thomas’ silence means for the court itself, in its broader decision-making process. Written opinions remain the main way the court expresses its precedent-setting power, but oral arguments can serve an important function — helping to focus an appeal’s flaws along the fringes of constitutional limits, an exercise for the benefit of the public and the justices themselves. These public sessions are often an ideal way to test often novel legal theories and to help a justice answer any lingering issues that prove decisive in the opinion-writing process to follow.

Thomas does occasionally speak from the bench, when announcing opinions he has written, but before arguments commence. Off the bench, especially in friendly audiences, the justice can be gregarious, fun, inquisitive, and often self-reflective. He has a booming voice, and his hearty laugh is easily recognizable.

“This is a person who is remarkably at peace with himself,” said David Rivkin, a conservative attorney and longtime friend of Thomas, “a person who is very comfortable with himself — probably much more so than is typical for many people in Washington, at his level of position.”

via Justice Thomas quietly marks an anniversary – CNN.com.

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, politics:  I don’t like Rahm Emanuel.  Sorry, Chicago.  Just seems like more of Chicago’s dirty politics.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, the Associated Press projected, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation’s third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.

Rahm Emanuel sat with family members as he awaited election returns at his rally in Chicago.

With 86 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Emanuel was trouncing five opponents with 55 percent of the vote to avoid an April runoff. Mr. Emanuel needed more than 50 percent of the vote to win.

via Emanuel Elected Chicago Mayor – WSJ.com.

Middle East Uprising, Libya:  The Economist called it “The Awakening” … And in the second article, the picture of Gadhafi looks like a mechanical fortune-teller in a machine to me …

THE people of the Middle East have long despaired about the possibility of change. They have felt doomed: doomed to live under strongmen who have hoarded their wealth and beaten down dissent; doomed to have as an alternative only the Islamists who have imposed their harsh beliefs—and beaten down dissent. In some places, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, the autocrats and the Islamists have merged into one. But nowhere has a people had a wholly free choice in how they are ruled. And the West has surrendered to this despair too, assuming that only the strongmen could hold back the extremists.

Two months ago a Tunisian fruit-seller called Muhammad Bouazizi set fire to these preconceptions when, in despair over bullying officials and the lack of work, he drenched himself in petrol and struck a match. Tunisians and, later, Egyptians took to the streets. Almost miraculously, the people overwhelmed the strongmen who had oppressed them for decades. In the past few days tens of thousands have marched in Tehran, braving beatings and arrest. In tiny Bahrain men have died as the security forces sprayed protesters with rubber bullets and smothered them in tear gas. In Libya crowds have risen up against a fearsome dictator. Jordan is sullen, Algeria unstable and Yemen seething (see article).

via The Arab world: The awakening | The Economist.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the pro-Gadhafi forces said they were surrendering for good.

Locals said they identified several among them as foreign because of their features and accents; the accounts these fighters gave under interrogation, placed them as from Chad, Niger and other sub-Saharan African countries.

The Libyan soldiers will be handed over to their tribal leaders, Baida rebel leaders said. The foreign fighters will face a jury of local notables on Wednesday.

The fate of others may have already been determined, grimly. Earlier Tuesday in Sidi Burana, an Egyptian town on the border with Libya, Egyptian workers fleeing back home showed thumb-drive and cell-phone videos with pictures of what they said were captured pro-government mercenaries being viciously beaten in Baida. One video showed a dark skinned man, who the Egyptian workers said was a mercenary from Chad, being beaten to death. Another video showed what they said were mutilated mercenary corpses.

via Dictator Gadhafi Loses Grip in Libya – WSJ.com.

ebooks, libraries, digital media, apps:  Interesting.

Actually checking out a book, takes very little time. After all, these files contain only text, not large video or audio files. Since I had trouble finding books to download, I settled on a romance novel featured on OverDrive’s homepage titled “Hawk’s Way: Rebels” by Joan Johnston. It took less than 30 seconds to download to my iPad.

Once downloaded, books looked fine on the iPad and Dell Streak. The screen’s brightness can be adjusted using an on-screen slider and a handy navigation strip at the bottom of each page shows where you are in a book and how many pages remain in the currently opened chapter. Publishers can set the number of font sizes to which text can be adjusted. And with the app, text can’t be displayed like pages in a real book (with two columns of text on two pages opened in front of you) when the tablet is held horizontally.

OverDrive doesn’t enable synchronizing of material across multiple devices, like Amazon’s Kindle app does with Whispersync. So if I download a book on my iPad in the OverDrive app, I can’t open that book on an Android phone or desktop using OverDrive.

OverDrive serves more than 13,000 libraries with a catalog of 400,000 titles from 1,000 publishers, but it’s possible your library may not use this system (check OverDrive.com for participating libraries). The spokesman said the company plans an app for the BlackBerry by June and hopes to enable wireless downloads on other devices in the future.

via A Review of the OverDrive App for Borrowing eBooks – WSJ.com.

twitter, pirates, fact v. fiction, RIP:  Twitter line for Mr. Wood’s article just struck me.  Who would have thought that the pirates would be a force on the modern-day world stage.  Prayers for the families of the victims.

It takes more than Peter Pan to fight Captain Hook in the real world. by David Wood

Four American Sailors Shot Dead by Somali Pirates.

President Eisenhower, checks and balances, government, politics:

Unwarranted Influence also recaptures Eisenhower’s troubled second term, and his sense of urgency about distilling his political legacy and giving some final, informed counsel to the American people. That counsel, delivered in January 1961, stressed the need for balance, a key virtue in Eisenhower’s thinking. Above all, it sought to demonstrate the need for a wise balance between American liberties and national security, a tug of war that troubles the country even to this day.

In Eisenhower’s view, the military-industrial complex posed a grave risk to the checks and balances of the American government. It was a controversial thought at the time, and it still is. As Ledbetter’s book shows, Eisenhower’s words still speak to us, a full half century after he left office—an impact few other political speeches can claim.

via Eisenhower’s History-Changing Speech – Newsweek.

words, history:  OK?

The Boston Morning Post, in the midst of a long paragraph, as “o.k. (all correct)”.

How this weak joke survived at all, instead of vanishing like its counterparts, is a matter of lucky coincidence involving the American presidential election of 1840.

One candidate was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and there was a false tale that a previous American president couldn’t spell properly and thus would approve documents with an “OK”, thinking it was the abbreviation for “all correct”.

Within a decade, people began actually marking OK on documents and using OK on the telegraph to signal that all was well. So OK had found its niche, being easy to say or write and also distinctive enough to be clear.

But there was still only restricted use of OK. The misspelled abbreviation may have implied illiteracy to some, and OK was generally avoided in anything but business contexts, or in fictional dialogue by characters deemed to be rustic or illiterate.

Indeed, by and large American writers of fiction avoided OK altogether, even those like Mark Twain who freely used slang.

But in the 20th Century OK moved from margin to mainstream, gradually becoming a staple of nearly everyone’s conversation, no longer looked on as illiterate or slang.

Its true origin was gradually forgotten. OK used such familiar sounds that speakers of other languages, hearing it, could rethink it as an expression or abbreviation in their own language.

via BBC News – How ‘OK’ took over the world.

15
Jan
11

1.15.2011 … MLK weekend … plan to travel north tomorrow … hope the snow/ice is melted!

culture, politics:  David Brooks takes a different approach to our current lack of civility.

But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.

So, of course, you get narcissists who believe they or members of their party possess direct access to the truth. Of course you get people who prefer monologue to dialogue. Of course you get people who detest politics because it frustrates their ability to get 100 percent of what they want. Of course you get people who gravitate toward the like-minded and loathe their political opponents. They feel no need for balance and correction.

Beneath all the other things that have contributed to polarization and the loss of civility, the most important is this: The roots of modesty have been carved away.

via Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com.

culture, politics, quotes:  The David Brooks’ op-ed piece closed with this Reinhold Niebuhr quote:

In a famous passage, Reinhold Niebuhr put it best: “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. … Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”

via Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com.

faith, prayer:  This makes me think of Jill Bolte Taylor’s A Stroke of Insight.

Prayer is the bridge between our conscious and unconscious lives. Often there is a large abyss between our thoughts, words, and actions, and the many images that emerge in our daydreams and night dreams. To pray is to connect these two sides of our lives by going to the place where God dwells. Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one and where God is with us in the most intimate way.

Thus, we must pray without ceasing so that we can become truly whole and holy.

via January 15, 2011 – Building Inner Bridges.

random, astrology, science:  I am a Capricorn?  No, no I am an Aquarius … a water carrier … a balancer ..

So, you’ve spent your whole life happily smug in your star sign. You’re a fish! Swimming in two directions! You’re intuitive, imaginative, unworldly! And then today’s Web is aflame with the news: You are not a Pisces. You are an Aquarius. Your star sign has been wrong your whole life. All along, you’ve been a freaking water carrier. This is not cool.

According to Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, cool or not, it’s written in the stars. Star signs were created some 2,000 years ago by tracking where the sun was in the sky each month. However, the moon’s gravitational pull has slowly moved the Earth in its axis, creating about a one-month bump in the stars’ alignment, reports the Minnesota Star Tribune. Now, during what we think as the month of Pisces, the sun is actually in the sign of Aries.

The new dates would therefore be:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16

Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11

Pisces: March 11-April 18

Aries: April 18-May 13

Taurus: May 13-June 21

Gemini: June 21-July 20

Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10

Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16

Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30

Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23

Scorpio: Nov. 23-Dec. 17

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

via BlogPost – New Zodiac sign dates: Don’t switch horoscopes yet.

college, college application process, elite schools:

Harvard, has received  nearly 35,000 applications from high school seniors seeking admission to the next freshman class — an increase of nearly 15 percent over last year and more than 50 percent since four years ago, according to statistics released by Harvard today.

If last year’s admissions process is any guide, fewer than 10 percent will be offered admission.

What is fueling this increase, which is being mirrored, yet again, at other highly selective private colleges? In Harvard’s case, at least part of the answer surely lies in the sweeteners it has added to its financial aid packages in recent years.

As many other colleges, private and public, are struggling to meet demand for scholarships, Harvard requires “no contribution from families with annual incomes below $60,000,” according to today’s release, “and asks, on average, no more than 10 percent of income from families with typical assets who make up to $180,000.”

via College Admissions Advice – The Choice Blog – NYTimes.com.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, NASA, politics:  Unique relationship between our space program and our federal government … “it marked Giffords as the only lawmaker ever to watch a spouse launched into space.”

NASA’s selection Thursday of a backup commander for astronaut Mark Kelly served as a reminder that the shooting in Tucson affected another community nearly as much as Capitol Hill — the one affiliated with America’s manned space programs.

For critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Kelly had become the first couple of space exploration, a unique, high-profile team that took to the national stage as some of the most critical decisions in the history of U.S. human spaceflight were on the agenda.

The partnership between the lawmaker and the space shuttle commander, who had been scheduled to lead a flight in April, added a glamorous sheen to a venture whose luster had dimmed. But more important, the relationship between the two had significant political and policy implications as the nation undertook its first major debate over manned spaceflight since the end of the Apollo program that sent Americans to the moon.

The marriage between Giffords, a rising political star, and Kelly, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and a decorated Navy combat pilot, took place just months after she was first sworn in as a House member in 2007, and it marked Giffords as the only lawmaker ever to watch a spouse launched into space.

“It gave her an insider’s view of the space program and gave her an opportunity to really know a different side of the space program than any of us ever had an opportunity to know,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a close friend of Giffords and Kelly, told POLITICO on Tuesday.

via The astronaut by her side – Kasie Hunt – POLITICO.com.

pirates, Blackbeard, kith/kin:  New discoveries … and by the way, we used to tease our son Edward Teague that he was descended from Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard)!

But archaeologists now suspect theyve found one more clue behind the pirates menace: what could very well be Blackbeards sword, or at least part of it. National Geographic published photos released by a team that has for over a decade been excavating the Queen Annes Revenge, which was Blackbeards flagship until it ran aground in an inlet off the coast of North Carolina in 1718. These include fragments of a gilded hilt and pommel, possibly of French design Blackbeards ship was a retrofitted French merchant vessel. The shipwreck has been worked on since 1997.

via Blackbeard’s Sword, Found! Archaeologists Discover Pirate Treasure Off North Carolina Coast – TIME NewsFeed.

restaurants, farm to table, Charlotte, Halcyon:  Had lunch at Halcyon on 1/14 … excellent …  will go again!

2010 turned out, with a rush in the last months, to be a decent new-restaurant year – as unlikely a prospect as that seemed a year ago. Here are the ones that opened that year that I found best, in no particular order, along with a list of the ones I’m most excited about that are slated to open in 2011.

1. Halcyon. A craft- (rather than art-) inspired spot in the new Mint Museum uptown, it has dubbed its style “Farm House Chic” and emphasizes a seasonal menu relying on area products. Chef Marc Jacksina continues to tinker with the menus; the spot opened at Thanksgiving. But the look is breathtaking, and to offer cold pan duck? It’s a great start.

via Charlotte’s best new restaurants of 2010 – CharlotteObserver.com.

restaurants, Charlotte, The Penguin, The Diamond:

Now, for 2011, I’m anticipating:

The much-rumored filling of several available spaces, including (but hardly limited to) uptown and the north, plus bursts of activity in south Charlotte. For example, if leases go through, look for:

Delta’s to go into the former G.W. Fins space on North Tryon Street, opening in June with a live-music supper club kind of vibe (R&B and jazz) and a menu duplicating the New Jersey original, with Cajun and other Southern fare.

AZN Restaurant, spun from a Florida original by the folks who also have Silk in Atlanta, to go into a new spot in Piedmont Town Center; it’s a Chinese-Japanese-Thai-Korean-Vietnamese-sushi concept.

The Diamond. This home cooking spot in Plaza Midwood, the revamping of a Charlotte classic, is slated to open this month, I’m told. It might. I – along with a legion of others, if one looks at Facebook – am ready!

And, it follows logically, the Penguin: It will be fascinating to see what happens when this storied landmark burger-etc. place reopens under new management, as it is slated to do Saturday. Those who followed the neighborhood-classic throwdown know that emotions run high about these last two places and that loyalties are at stake, not just foodstuffs.

Barbecue from longtime Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli in Plaza Midwood – and though chef Jim Noble has his hands full between his Rooster’s and King’s Kitchen, I’m going to continue to keep an eye on his love of barbecue and where that might go.

via Charlotte’s best new restaurants of 2010 – CharlotteObserver.com.

The President, politics, culture, kudos:  Well done, Mr. President.

I begin grouchily to underscore the sincerity of the praise that follows. About a third of the way through, the speech took on real meaning and momentum, and by the end it was very good, maybe great. The speech had a proper height. It was large-spirited and dealt with big things. It was adroit and without rancor. The president didn’t mourn, he inspirited.

The heart of Mr. Obama’s speech asked a question. The lives of those who died, and the actions of the heroes of the day, pose a challenge. What is required of us now, how do we honor them?

Here, deftly, he addressed the destructive media debate that followed the tragedy. But he approached the subject with compassion and sympathy. It is human nature to try to explain things to ourselves, to “try and impose some order on the chaos,” to say this happened because of that. And so we debate, and consider causes and motivations. Much of this is good, but not all. “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized,” we are too eager to lay to blame “at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do.” It is important that we talk to each other “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” Scripture tells us “that there is evil in the world.” We don’t know what triggered the attack, but “what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other.”

Lack of civility did not cause this tragedy, but “only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make [the victims] proud.”

In saying this, the president took the air out of all the accusations and counter accusations. By the end of the speech they were yesterday’s story.

via Obama Rises to the Challenge – WSJ.com.

followup, weather, Wilmette, Chicago: I had forgotten about the post snow icy crust … Reminds me of my Chicago days!

travel, adventure, South Africa, new terms, kloofing:  Since John never reads this I do not have to fear him seeing this … otherwise I think I might be doing it for my 30th!  Actually it looks kinda fun.

A kloof, in the South African language of Afrikaans, is a canyon. And kloofing is the sport of going up and down them, usually down. Attached to a rope and climbing harness, kloofers may walk backwards off a 150-foot cliff; straddle a rush of whitewater down a mossy embankment; or leap into chilly pools fed by waterfalls.

My guide into the world of kloofing was Teuns Kok, a 40-year-old professional transport planner. Mr. Kok specializes in making urban walkways safe and accessible for school children and the handicapped. The same principle applies when he goes kloofing in South Africa’s rugged mountains.

In 2001, Mr. Kok and a few friends pioneered a route down Ostrich Kloof, outside the South African wine-making capital of Stellenbosch, where he lives. He has since guided select groups of friends and visitors down the kloof’s hidden waterfalls and shady gullies—but they must be willing to entrust their lives to his ropes, makeshift anchor points and route planning.

The extreme sport of kloofing involves climbing up mountains and, typically, leaning back over the abyss and rappelling back down into steep canyons, or “kloofs,” with lots of water.

In other countries, including the U.S., kloofing is known as “canyoneering.” But South Africa’s sandstone domes and verdant scrubland give the sport its own natural draws. It now has an avid following.

via Kloofing: Between a Rock and a Waterfall – WSJ.com.




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