Posts Tagged ‘places

27
Oct
11

10.27.2011 … Yoga at the Y with the Molls … Namaste …

Northern Lights, GA:  My son has seen the Northern Lights in Canada … It’s on my list.  Never would have thought I could see them in North Georgia.

A solar storm on Monday led to a rare and impressive overnight display of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, that was seen as far south as north Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“A big geomagnetic storm caused the rare Aurora this far south,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

The website spaceweather.com reported that a coronal mass ejection hit Earth at about 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, sparking the intense geomagnetic storm that left a red hue in the northern sky far south of areas that normally experience the Northern Lights.

The website said that Monday night’s Aurora was seen in more than half of all U.S. states.

“Many observers, especially in the deep South, commented on the pure red color of the lights they saw,” the website said. “These rare all-red auroras sometimes appear during intense geomagnetic storms.”

<iframe src=’http://widget.newsinc.com/single.html?WID=2&VID=23541662&freewheel=69016&sitesection=ajc&#8217; height=’320′ width=’425′ scrolling=’no’ frameborder=’0′ marginwidth=’0′ marginheight=’0′>

via North Georgians treated to rare view of Northern Lights  | ajc.com.

Condoleezza Rice, Arab Spring, immigration, education: I really like Rice. Wish I had seen her in Charlotte.

3. The Arab Spring is up there with 9/11 and the global financial crisis as great shocks shaping the world. The average American knows the movement against Middle East dictators is important, but few, we bet, would put that up with 9/11 and the recession.

2. America is wrong to be so anti-immigrant. Immigrants have made this country great, and can continue to do so, she said. A top Russian official boasted to Rice that it had the best minds in technology. “Yes,” Rice said, “unfortunately, they’re all working in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv.” She told the Observer earlier that her biggest regret from her time in the Bush administration was the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to pass. “Sometimes I don’t understand the conversation we’re having about immigration,” she said Tuesday. “When did immigrants become the enemy?”

1. The greatest national security crisis facing the United States? Not al-Qaida. Not Iran. Not North Korea. It’s the crisis in K-12 education.

via O-pinion: Top 5 most surprising things Condi Rice said in Charlotte.

Supreme Court, Freedom of Speech, social networking, education, MySpace Case:

Blue Mountain School District officials have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a ruling for a student disciplined for a MySpace parody of the middle school principal.

In a petition filed Tuesday and docketed Thursday by the nation’s highest court, district officials asked the court to hear their arguments in favor of overturning the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 13 decision overturning the 2007 suspension of a student identified only as J.S.

The petition asked the court to issue a writ of certiorari, which is the official order indicating that it will hear the case.

By an 8-6 vote, the circuit court ruled that the parodies J.S. and a friend posted were protected by the First Amendment because they were created off school grounds, and that they were unlikely to cause significant disruptions in the school.

via Education Week: School District Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear MySpace Case.

faith and spirituality, The Church:  “Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.”

As Jesus was one human person among many, the Church is one organization among many.  And just as there may have been people with more attractive appearances than Jesus, there may be many organizations that are a lot better run than the Church.   But Jesus is the Christ appearing among us to reveal God’s love, and the Church is his people called together to make his presence visible in today’s world.

Would we have recognized Jesus as the Christ if we had met him many years ago?  Are we able to recognize him today in his body, the Church?  We are asked to make a leap of faith.  If we dare to do it our eyes will be opened and we will see the glory of God.

via Daily Meditation: The Church, God’s People.

NFL, Redskins, black fans, DC, history:  Redemption story?

Fifty years ago this fall, civil rights groups protested the opening of D.C. Stadium, whose most important tenants — the Washington Redskins — were the last National Football League team to remain segregated. A half-century after many area sports fans boycotted the team for racial reasons, the Redskins have an unrivaled hold on Washington’s black community.

The affinity for the team is seen at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church on fall Sundays, when the Rev. Joseph Gilmore Jr., dismisses his parishioners at 12:30 so he can get situated in his “man cave” before kickoff.

The deep relationship between the Washington area’s black sports fans and the Redskins is supported by a new Washington Post poll , which found that two-thirds of African American fans have a favorable view of the team and four in 10 feel that way “strongly.” Less than half of white fans have an overall favorable view. The racial differences concerning Daniel Snyder, the team’s owner, are even starker. Black fans are fairly evenly divided on Snyder, but 72 percent of white sports fans in the area give Snyder negative marks, compared with 9 percent positive.

via Black fans have grown to love the Redskins – The Washington Post.

zombies, apps, games: Think John needs a Zombie game?

iPhone

The very concept of escape when it comes to zombies has become, from an entertainment perspective, next to impossible. They’ve saturated media and spread their virus across the public consciousness, and like the shambling hordes themselves, their appearances just keep coming. The outbreak of their pop-cultural contagion is a grim allegory to how things would probably go down if flesh-eaters suddenly invaded more than just our minds and wallets.

Dead Escape, then, is just another in the zombie ranks, with its only real differentiation being that it looks pretty nice for an iOS game. Interestingly, it’s not a combat game; in fact it only carries a “9+” rating on the App Store. Instead, it takes the familiar third-person horror genre perspective and combines it ever so slightly with a point-and-click adventure approach. This doesn’t always work, however. There’s little fear when the game refers to a zombie as an “obstacle” that you have to “get rid of,” which may involve simply finding an alternate escape route. And the zombies all inexplicably just stand there; a probable cost-cutting measure in the game’s design that makes Dead Escape one of the least thrilling infection scenarios we’ve seen to date.

via Dead Escape Review | Mac|Life.

Japan earthquake/tsunami 2011, followup, photo gallery:  Great cleanup.  I do not think the US would be nearly as far along.

Last Sunday was the six-month anniversary of the day the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s northeast coast.

Some 20,000 people are dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society estimates that 400,000 people were displaced.

Half a year later, there are physical signs of progress.

Much of the debris has been cleared away or at least organized into big piles.

via The Frame: Japan marks 6 months since earthquake, tsunami.

Tawakkol Karman, Yemen, Arab Spring:

Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Yemen, says that she is frustrated by what she sees as the “ambiguous” policies of the Obama administration toward the Arab Spring.

On one hand, she says, President Obama has made speeches supporting a transition to democracy in the Arab Middle East, and the administration appears to have backed popular movements for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt.

But in Yemen, Karman said in an interview Thursday, the perception is that the administration still has not detached itself from the authoritarian regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, which it has regarded as an ally in the war against terrorism.

….

Karman said that she traveled to Washington to make the argument to the Obama administration that it should break definitively with Saleh. It can do this, she said, by taking two steps: supporting the strongman’s referral to the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges and freezing his personal assets and those of his family. The United States adopted both measures in the case of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

“It is the obligation of the international community and the United States as the leader of freedom and democracy to stand on the side of the Yemeni people,” she said. “Saleh’s regime is over. It is just a matter of time. We, the young people, are the future, so it is in your interest to stand with us.”

via A Nobel Peace Prize winner questions Obama – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.

 

Three-Line Novels: Precursor to twitter?

Artist, anarchist and literary entrepreneur Félix Fénéon was the one-man Twitter of early 20th-century France. Between May and November of 1906, he wrote 1,220 succinct and near-surrealist three-line reports in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, serving to inform of everything from notable deaths to petty theft to naval expedition disasters. In Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, artist Joanna Neborsky captures the best of these enigmatic vignettes in stunning illustrations and collages, inspired by Luc Sante’s English translation of Fénéon’s gems for the New York Review of Books. Sometimes profound, often perplexing, and always prepossessing, these visual snapshots of historical micro-narratives offer a bizarre and beautiful glimpse of a long-gone French era and a man of rare

via Illustrated Three-Line Novels by the One-Man Twitter of 1906 France | Brain Pickings.

The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, books:  Sounds interesting …

The prison library counter, his new post, attracts con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. There’s an anxious pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing a memoir. A passionate gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle. A disgruntled officer who instigates a major feud over a Post-it note. A doomed ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son, himself an inmate. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves — a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor. But when the struggles of the prison library — between life and death, love and loyalty — become personal, Steinberg is forced to take sides.

via Amazon.com: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (9780385529099): Avi Steinberg: Books.

Steve Jobs, bookstores, random:  Steve is watching …

As you can see by the photo embedded above, bookstore employees photographed Walter Isacsson‘s book in various locations around the store in a playful memorial to the late Apple CEO.  What do you think?

via Steve Jobs Watches Over Bookstores – GalleyCat.

RIP, places, lists:  Can you guess who is on the list?  Rest in Peace (and Mystery): Top 6 Secret Burials – TIME NewsFeed.

Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs:  Who will be our net visionary?

Bezos has an opportunity to become a very strong innovator, because there is a vacuum left by the tragic death of Steve Jobs, and I’m sure he sees that as an opportunity. He sees an opportunity and he is going to jump on it. It will be interesting to see the direction he takes Amazon going forward. I’m sure he’s going to continue to surprise us with new features and new products.

via Can Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Fill the Void Left by Steve Jobs? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

nostalgia, ’90s tv, millenials:  I can’t stand the 90’s show!!

This summer, some of the television shows that defined the ‘90s started airing again…some simply as reruns, but others as updated versions.

In July, Nickelodeon began airing The ‘90s Are All That, a program beginning at midnight that features popular series from the ‘90s such as All That, Kenan and Kel, Clarissa Explains It All, and Doug. Since TeenNick brought the shows back, they have averaged a 50% ratings increase among viewers 18-34.

On Thursday, Beavis and Butt-Head will make its much-anticipated return to MTV, but with certain revisions. For example, the notorious twosome will now be watching Jersey Shore.

Millennials (those born after 1980 and before 2000), often accused of being lazy and spoiled, are now facing unemployment (even though most are well-educated and highly qualified for positions) and high stress levels. In this time of uncertainty, they find these shows comforting. Experts explain the trend as “instant nostalgia.”

“I guess I have comfort in familiarity I forgot I had,” Margolis said. “Seeing an episode of Kenan and Kel that I hadn’t watched in 10 years, but finding that I remember every single word! It’s the best era of TV because the plots were unrealistic but rooted in real-life issues.”

via Nostalgic ’90s television offers escape for Millenials | USA TODAY College.

stink bug invasion, GA: Ughh!

Entomologist Rick Hoebeke tells the Athens Banner-Herald that swarms of brown marmorated stink bugs are probably going to be seeking wintertime refuge inside Georgia homes.

He said the bugs, about a half-inch long, have been known to show up in such numbers that homeowners in Pennsylvania have used buckets and brooms to sweep them off porches.

via UGA researcher warns of stink bug invasion  | ajc.com.

viral videos, LOLJazz for Cows – YouTube.

The “New Hot 5” plays for a herd of cows in Autrans, France.   I’ve never seen cows look so enthused.

via Jazz for Cows.

The Royal Society, archives:  60,000 papers online!   Issac Newton … Ben Franklin …

60,000 peer-reviewed papers, including the first peer-reviewed scientific research journal in the world, are now available free online. The Royal Society has opened its historical archives to the public. Among the cool stuff you’ll find here: Issac Newton’s first published research paper and Ben Franklin’s write-up about that famous kite experiment. Good luck getting anything accomplished today. Or ever again. —

via Royal Society Opens Online Archive; Puts 60,000 Papers Online | Open Culture.

Occupy Wall Street, violence:

New Post polling shows the Occupy Wall Street movement could be a boon for Democrats in 2012. But violent clashes with the police at Occupy Oakland, along with arrests elsewhere, raise questions about how long the movement can last — and whether its message will be muddled by violence.

Oakland police fire tear gas as they prepare to move in to Frank Ogawa Plaza to disperse Occupy Oakland protesters on Tuesday. (JANE TYSKA – AP)

As police start ousting protesters, a disparate movement — one that has been embraced by many Democratic politicians and labor organizations — is struggling to respond.

Protesters in other cities are worried about suddenly finding themselves in a clash with police. And even if the vast majority of protesters are peaceful, violent provocateurs could tarnish the movement’s image in the eyes of the public.

Just as Democrats tried to tie Republicans to the most extreme tea party activists, the Massachusetts Republican Party is already attacking Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren as the “Matriarch of Mayhem” for saying she helped create an intellectual foundation for the protests.

via Occupy movement could be damaged by violent clashes – The Washington Post.

Storify, social news experience:  Interesting concept … social news experience …

Today Storify launched its new editor interface, featuring slicker, easier-to-use tools for fast content curation.

The new foundation flip-flops the search and editor sides of the interface, and places a higher priority on each content curator writing their own text for the story. Photo searches are big and bright, and the results are displayed in a handy gallery format that mimics a slick, white cube art space. The drag-and-drop functionality makes story curation more user-friendly. Previously, Storify didn’t have a logo – now it does. Storify has its own login system now, too.

via Storify Update Feels Like a Cleaner Social News Experience.

visual storytelling: These are fun.

Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling — we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employed animation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of the pictorial superiority effect.

via Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age | Brain Pickings.

viral videos, LOLContrex – Ma Contrexpérience – 97s – YouTube.

college application process, college major:  Good advice on defining yourself.

At the College Board’s annual conference on Wednesday, I listened to an intriguing discussion of how a student’s choice of major may shape her college experience, not to mention her odds of gaining an admission offer in the first place.

Robert Springall, dean of admissions at Bucknell University, described how he weighs information about an applicant’s intended major, or the lack thereof. Mr. Springall, who brings in about 920 new students each year, said that such information is crucial to meeting a variety of enrollment goals.

“I can’t have 920 students who all want to do the same thing, and I can’t have 920 students who all come in undecided,” he said. “I can’t over-enroll engineering and have no classics majors.”

Such are the demands of shaping a class, an act that one might liken to doing a jigsaw puzzle while balancing on a tightrope. Mr. Springall must ensure that there will be enough—but not too many—students to fill each of the university’s four clusters: arts and humanities, natural and physical sciences, the school of management, and the school of engingeering.

On many campuses, the failure to spread the wealth of students among different disciplines might incur the wrath of faculty members, cause scheduling headaches, and perhaps even jeopardize an institution’s accreditation. Moreover, if a student isn’t interested in, say, engineering on day one of his freshman year, he might have problems getting on the engineering track later.

This is why Mr. Springall looks for applicants whose academic interests are at least somewhat defined. “We’re seeing the importance of starting these conversations at the high-school level and, yes, at the middle-school level,” he said.

via What’s Your Major? – Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cape Town SA, World Design Capital 2014, kudos:  One of my favorite cities in the world!

What is WDC2014?

This prestigious status is designated biennially by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.

via World Design Capital Bid 2014 | Cape Town.

Cape Town – World Design Capital 2014 – YouTube.

Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town, South Africa and the African continent.

In her acceptance speech De Lille said: “It is an honour for me to be addressing you here today as mayor of the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. A city belongs to its people and it must be designed for and with them and their communities. For many years, people have been applying innovative solutions to our challenges. They have been using design to transform various aspects of life. But they have often been working without an overarching social goal in mind.

“The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.

via Cape Town Awarded World Design Capital 2014 – A Win For Cape Town, South Africa and The African Continent | World Design Capital Bid 2014.

compassion, faith and spirituality, authority:

There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion.   Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.

via Daily Meditation: The Authority of Compassion.

Condoleezza Rice, Moammar Gaddafi: So strange …

Rice describes a 2008 meeting between the pair that ended with Gaddafi showing her photos of Rice with world leaders — and the performance of a song he had composed in her honor.

“What was going through my head was ‘How long do I have to sit here and how quickly can I get out of here?’ You know, it was funny because when he said, ‘I have a video for you,’ I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this going to be?’ But it was actually just a bunch of pictures of me with Vladimir Putin, me with Hu Jintao,” Rice tells ABC News in an interview set for next week. “And then he said, ‘I have Libya’s best composer, most famous composer write this song for you,’ and it was called ‘Black Flower in the White House.’”

Rice called Gaddafi’s scrapbook “eerie” and labeled the exchange one of the strangest of her tenure.

Asked if the Bush administration grew too close to Gaddafi after he agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Rice said no: “I think what we did was to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction, or the most dangerous ones,” she said.

“We weren’t ever really going to get very close to Gaddafi,” Rice added. “And the most important thing was to try and open up this place that had been closed for so long, to get him out of terrorism, to get him away from weapons of mass destruction, to make it a little bit safer. But it’s far preferable that he’s gone.”

via When Condoleezza Rice met Moammar Gaddafi – The Federal Eye – The Washington Post.

charms, fashion – accessories, Anthropologie:  I did not think charm bracelets would be popular again … 🙂

Charms – Accessories – Anthropologie.com.

faith and spirituality, spiritual master: Who would be mine …

What figure would you choose to be your spiritual master? It might be obvious to you; it might take you some serious reflection. Once you’ve identified a spiritual master, try to learn more about his or her life; think about why you picked that particular figure; and, most important, how to incorporate the lessons of that life into your own life.

For example, when I was annoyed when the woman working next to me at the library kept sighing noisily, I was inspired by St. Thérèse: she tells the story of how she once broke into a sweat at the effort to conquer her annoyance when a fellow nun made maddening clicking noises during evening prayers. I could relate.

I’m curious to know what spiritual masters other people have adopted. Have you found someone whose life or teaching has captivated you? If you’ve identified your spiritual master, please post it—I, and I’m sure other people, would be very interested to see the range of choices.

via The Happiness Project: Your Happiness Project: Imitate a spiritual master..

Occupy Wall Street, ‘Getting Arrested’ app, LOL:

Occupy Wall Street protesters now have a free app to alert others if they’re about to be arrested.

The Daily News (http://nydn.us/uIbKWq ) says the creator of the “I’m Getting Arrested” app is Jason Van Anden, a Brooklyn software developer. It’s available at Android Market.

Van Anden is working to make it available on iPhone.

Here’s how it works: Users write a text message in advance and program a list of recipients. As they’re about to be arrested, users can hit one button and alert everyone on their list.

via AP News: Wall Street protesters get ‘Getting Arrested’ app.

thermostat, Nest Labs:  Remake  of the lowly thermostat …

Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who led iPod and iPhone development from 2001 to 2009, helped transform consumer products used by millions of people. Next up: the humble household thermostat.

The device’s temperature  is set by moving its outer ring.

A boring wall fixture and an unlikely target for innovation? Not to Mr. Fadell, his team of 100 computer hardware and software experts and the venture capitalists backing his Silicon Valley start-up, Nest Labs.

They see the conventional thermostat as a dumb switch that can be changed into a clever digital assistant that saves homeowners money and reduces energy consumption and pollution.

“We’ve built the world’s first learning thermostat — a thermostat for the iPhone generation,” Mr. Fadell said.

Nest Labs, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded last year, is announcing its offering on Tuesday, and plans to begin shipping the $249 thermostat by the middle of November.

Outsiders who have tried out the product are impressed by its stylish design, ease of use and advanced features, like motion-tracking sensors that detect whether people are present and adjust room temperatures accordingly. But it remains to be seen whether consumers and contractors will pay more for a high-tech thermostat, when good enough has been good enough for decades.

via At Nest Labs, Ex-Apple Leaders Remake the Thermostat – NYTimes.com.

Steve Jobs, textbook market, education:  “[T]he Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.”

“Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform,” says a passage in the new book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. It notes that Jobs said he had met with several major textbook publishers, including Pearson. It appears that his primary focus was on the K-12 textbook market. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” Mr. Jobs is quoted as saying. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Mr. Jobs was less keen on the power of his products to change other aspects of education, according to the book. Rupert Murdoch said that during a dinner he had with Mr. Jobs recently, the Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.

via Steve Jobs Had Hopes of Disrupting Textbook Market – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Davidson College, college basketball, SoCon:  Hoping for a good season.

The Davidson men’s basketball team has been picked to win the Southern Conference South Division by the league’s 12 head coaches, the conference announced today, and juniors Jake Cohen and JP Kuhlman were named to the preseason all-conference team.

Davidson earned 10 first-place votes and finished the balloting with 65 points in the South Division. College of Charleston earned the final two first-place votes and finished with 56 points. Georgia Southern was tabbed third (42) ahead of Furman (34). Wofford (32) was selected fifth with The Citadel (17) rounding out the South Division.

via Davidson College Athletics – Men’s Basketball Picked First in SoCon Coaches Poll.

 Jackson Pollock, “Dripped”, animated homage:

Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his distinctive art, his volatile personality and and his unusual creative process the subject of much curiosity and debate. Dripped is a wonderful and beautifully animated French short film by director Léo Verrier, paying homage to the great artist. Set in 1950s New York, the film follows Pollock’s ecstatic, passionate quest for truth, beauty and art as he finds the creative voice that catapulted him to the top of the art world — a mid-week treat of the finest kind

via Dripped: French Animated Homage to Jackson Pollock | Brain Pickings.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/24455397″>Dripped – Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/chezeddy”>ChezEddy</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

BONES, season 7:  next week …

“Do I want to tell you this?” Hanson questioned. “No, there will not be a time jump after the baby is born. We will continue on. There’s no time jump. We’re going to see it through as a cohesive story from the time we come back in the beginning of the season to the end of the season. There will be no time jumps.”

But that doesn’t mean the lab will be sans Brennan for any sort of traditional maternity leave.

“Do you think Brennan would take maternity leave?” he laughed. “I don’t consider a couple days [away] a time jump…the audience should not feel a time jump [when she comes back to work].”

Looking forward to the episodes airing in 2012, Hanson teased that in addition to the return of the new serial killer, Booth and Brennan will be struggling to figure out the latest shift in their relationship.

“The personal stuff will be how does a couple have a child, work together and deal with each other, while maintaining the fact that we’re a murder show,” Hanson said. “We’re still going to solve a murder each week. So it’s going to be a murder show each week, for that segment of the audience, and we’re going to see how are they going to [balance their relationship]. That’s what the last 7 [or so] episodes of the season will be. How does that work [for them]?”

via BONES: Hart Hanson Teases Season 7 | Give Me My Remote.

Pink flash mob, Breast Cancer Awareness:

A pink flash mob broke out in Reston Town Center to raise breast cancer awareness this weekend.

About 100 people, decked out in pink T-shirts emblazoned with the words “In It Because I Care,” danced for about three minutes to promote breast cancer awareness month and the 2012 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

via Pink flash mob raises breast cancer awareness – The Buzz – The Washington Post.

Avon Walk Mob Dance 2011 – YouTube.

Megabus, Atlanta:  Already have two overnights booked.  Yeah!!

Starting Nov. 16, it plans to begin daily departures from a curbside bus stop at the Civic Center MARTA station in downtown Atlanta to Birmingham, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Gainesville, Fla., Jacksonville, Knoxville, Memphis, Mobile, Montgomery, Nashville and Orlando.

The company, like other new-fangled exp

via Megabus to launch express bus service in Atlanta.

college application process, scholarship:  More good advice … Have to search for the left-handedness one!

The key to getting a scholarship is research. Start with your guidance counselor and college financial aid offices. Beyond traditional scholarships for academic achievement, there are literally thousands of special and unusual scholarships out there, each with its own requirements.

These scholarships may emphasize community service, leadership or work experience. Others are for students with very specific interests and talents. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers $5000 each to two students who promote vegetarianism in their school and community; the American Association of Candy Technologists offers $5000 to one lucky student interested in a career in the candy industry. There are even scholarships for left handedness, twins, knitters and skateboarders.

Make sure to do your homework; look at all the details. Pick those scholarships that match your interests and qualifications. Proofread your application. Then, proofread it again. And most importantly, don’t miss the deadline!

via Unigo Expert Network: Scholarships 101 What are the craziest college scholarships? | USA TODAY College.

John McCarthy, RIP, artificial intelligence: Rest in Peace, John McCarthy … you sound like a phenomenal person.

He remained an independent thinker throughout his life. Some years ago, one of his daughters presented him with a license plate bearing one of his favorite aphorisms: “Do the arithmetic or be doomed to talk nonsense.”

via John McCarthy, Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 84 – NYTimes.com.

twitter:

RT @aaltman82 Amy Winehouse’s alcohol poisoning is poetically rendered by coroner as “death by misadventure.” Brits do have a way with words

public colleges, economy:

Tuition increases at public colleges have been a source of concern across the country as states grapple with budget cuts, and “there’s a tendency to look at national numbers,” said Sandy Baum, an independent policy analyst for the College Board and an author of the reports, who also contributes to a Chronicle blog. Yet, she said, the price increases facing students vary significantly from state to state. In Connecticut and South Carolina, for example, tuition at public four-year colleges grew by only about 2.5 percent; and in Montana and North Dakota, tuition and fees at public two-year colleges grew by less than 2 percent.

via Rise in Sticker Price at Public Colleges Outpaces That at Private Colleges for 5th Year in a Row – Admissions & Student Aid – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Apple, Maiden NC,  solar farm, green, kudos: Kudos, Apple!

The Charlotte Observer and the Hickory Daily Record report that Apple is clearing about 100 acres of land to build a solar farm adjacent to their Maiden, NC data center.

via Apple building solar farm at Maiden, NC data center | CLT Blog.

random, art, NYC: Very weird … performance artist gives birth in museum.

Marni Kotak has given birth to her first child — inside a New York City art gallery.

The 36-year-old performance artist gave birth to a healthy 9-pound, 2-ounce, and 21-inch-long baby boy at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn. Kotak had set up a home-birth center at the gallery, turning her space into a brightly decorated bedroom with ocean blue walls and photo-imprinted pillows.

“Baby X” was born at 10:17 a.m., according to a statement from the museum.

via NYC performance artist gives birth in museum  | ajc.com.

Litfy, e-books: free e-books …

Read all the novels you want, anywhere, anytime, on any device, for free.

via Litfy – All the free e-books you can muster.

GOP, war on science and reason:  Great intro … LOL

Last month, Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein wrote that if you wanted to come up with a bumper sticker that defined the Republican Party’s platform it would be this: “Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.” With their unrelenting attempts to slash Social Security, end Medicare and Medicaid and destroy the social safety net, Republicans are, indeed, on a quest of reversal. But they have set their sights on an even bolder course than Pearlstein acknowledges in his column: It’s not just the 20th century they have targeted for repeal; it’s the 18th and 19th too.

via The Republicans’ war on science and reason – The Washington Post.

Great Recession, unemployment, careers:

Everybody’s heard the complaints about recruiting lately.

Even with unemployment hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can’t find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting.

Employers are quick to lay blame. Schools aren’t giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn’t letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on.

But I believe that the real culprits are the employers themselves.

With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time.

In other words, to get a job, you have to have that job already. It’s a Catch-22 situation for workers—and it’s hurting companies and the economy.

via Why Companies Can’t Find the Employees They Need – WSJ.com.

philosophy:  Just read it … times have changed?

For years I have been making use of a plane crash example to illustrate the moral distinction between killing people and letting people die and the results have always been the same, at least until this past week. Before getting to that, I will briefly present the examples.

I usually open my discussion of utilitarianism by noting that people tend to have utilitarian intuitions in many cases, such as those involving emergency medial treatment. My stock example is as follows:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with six people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. Examining the people, you know that if you try to save the badly injured pilot, you will lose 3-4 of the others for sure. But, if you allow the pilot to die, you are certain you can save at least four of the passengers, maybe even five. What do you do?”

As you might suspect, everyone always says something like “save the five because five is more than one.”

When transitioning to my discussion of rule-deontology, I make the point that sometimes our intuitions seem to steer us away from just the consequences to also considering the action itself. To illustrate this intuition, I change the story just a bit:

“Imagine that you are the only available doctor on an island when a plane crashes with five people on board. You have no idea who these people are-they literally fell from the sky. To save them, you need a lot of blood and you need it fast. Coincidentally, Ted the hermit has come in for his yearly checkup. Ted has no friends or relatives and no one checks up on him. By a truly amazing coincidence Ted’s blood type means that he can donate to all five people. Unfortunately, getting enough blood to save all five will kill Ted. What do you do?”

For years, my students have said that killing Ted even to save five people would be wrong and I fully expected my current students  to give the same answer. But, rather than the usual “that would be wrong”, I was met with silence. So, I asked again and two students said that they’d drain Ted. When I said that this was the first class that ever said that, the reply was “times have changed.”

I’m not quite sure what the significance of this might be, but it was certainly interesting.

via Talking Philosophy | Example Failure.

Princess Bride, movies:  Not my favorite movie but I found this “history” interesting.   ‘Princess Bride’: An Oral History | Inside Movies | EW.com.

war crimes, Moammar Gaddafi: This will be interesting.

Gaddafi’s family plans to file a war crimes complaint against NATO with the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the alliance’s alleged role in his death, the family’s lawyer said.

Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Gaddafi’s regime and now represents his family, told AFP news agency on Wednesday that a complaint would be filed with the Hague-based ICC because NATO’s attack on the convoy led directly to his death.

“The wilful killing (of someone protected by the Geneva Convention) is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute,” he said.

He said he could not yet say when the complaint would be filed, but said it would target both NATO executive bodies and the leaders of alliance member states.

via Libya – Oct 26, 2011 – 12:05 | Al Jazeera Blogs.

Robert J. Zimmer, liberal arts education:

And yet, in a roundabout, academic fashion, the university president did imply that liberal arts skills are both translatable and necessary to all things in life.

“Not all students want or need the same education,” Mr. Zimmer said. “But even students who are being trained in a very particular area will have to confront the issue of how what they’re doing connects to what others are doing.”

He then went on to define liberal arts learning as, among other things, an education in “how to integrate multiple perspectives.”

Mr. Zimmer warned against viewing the workplace as a “collection of buckets or isolated specializations,” and he emphasized the interconnectedness of different fields and skills.

“There are arguments about the value of liberal arts education. Tuition costs are a major concern. There are financial and political pressures on institutions to show immediate value,” Mr. Zimmer conceded.

But, ultimately, he said, such concerns should not obscure the mission of liberal arts institutions: “to help students lead fuller lives and be better citizens.”

At the conclusion of Mr. Zimmer’s remarks, an audience member jumped up and asked, “People who were products of liberal arts educations at the best institutions in the country led us into the Iraq war. How do you explain that?”

“Not everybody agrees on what to do,” Mr. Zimmer responded. “It’s a good question.”

via Robert J. Zimmer on the Value of a Liberal Arts Diploma – NYTimes.com.

income gap, poverty, The South, Atlanta:

Atlanta has widest income gap between rich and poor of all the major U.S. cities, the U.S. Census reported on Wednesday. New Orleans ranked second, followed by the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. …

Rounding out the list of 10 big cities with the largest gaps between high and low income are Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville, all in Florida; Athens, Ga.; New York; Dallas; and Baton Rouge, La.

Cities in the South seem to have more than their share of inequality, don’t they? Maybe, this kind of thing happens when you’re pro-business, anti-union workers?

via LikeTheDew.com, Gap between U.S. rich, poor is widest in Atlanta – US news – Life – msnbc.com.

21
Oct
11

10.21.2011 … Buttery and Beanery … hasn’t changed a bit …

places, Buttery & Beanery: John and I ventured to Davidson and dined at the Buttery and Beanery – ‎”A Convenient Store & Restaurant”!!! Funny … not a “convenience store” but a “convenient store.” 🙂

cities: “Ecosystems outlast organisms.”

In modern times, it’s almost unheard of for a city to run out of steam, to disappear or to become obsolete. It happens to companies all the time. They go out of business, fail, merge, get bought and disappear.

What’s the difference?

It’s about control and the fringes.

Corporations have CEOs, investors and a disdain for failure. Because they fear failure, they legislate behavior that they believe will avoid it.

Cities, on the other hand, don’t regulate what their citizens do all day (they might prohibit certain activities, but generally, market economies permit their citizens to fail all they like).

This failure at the fringes, this deviant behavior, almost always leads to failure. Except when it doesn’t.

Ecosystems outlast organisms.

via Seth’s Blog: Cities don’t die (but corporations do).

Moammar Gaddafi, dictator, vanity: wigs?

The long, strange tale of Moammar Gaddafi is at an end, after the former Libyan leader was shot and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday.

At the hospital, Libyan officials ran a number of tests, including on hair samples for DNA, to prove the identity of the dictator who had been on the run for the last two months. The hair was not Moammar Gaddafi’s. The slain leader was wearing a wig.

via Gaddafi’s wig: A dictator undone by vanity? – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Apple’s Board: Good advice … “Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.”

Jobs, Gore reminded the audience, had become a Disney board member after selling his Pixar animation shop. “He used to talk initially about how after Walt Disney died, the company always got in trouble about asking ‘what would Walt do in this situation?’” Gore said. “And he made it very clear — ‘I don’t want that at Apple.’ He made it clear to Tim Cook and everyone else, ‘Don’t ask what Steve would have done. Follow your own voice.’”

via Al Gore on Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Apple’s Board (Video) – Peter Kafka – AsiaD – AllThingsD.

Vice President Joe Biden, absurd claims, fact checkers, journalism: As I have said before, I love the fact checker articles … useful with regard to both parties.

More important than the raw figures is the rate per 100,000 individuals. Murder did go up—though the rate did not double from 2009 to 2010, as Biden claimed. But rape has gone down. Biden actually asserted it had tripled.

Biden’s office referred us to officials in Flint. After inquiries from The Fact Checker, Dawn Jones, a spokeswoman for Flint’s mayor, issued a statement from Public Safety Director Chief Alvern Lock saying: “The City of Flint stands behind the crime statistics provided to the Office of The Vice President….This information is the most accurate data and demonstrates the rise in crime associated with the economic crisis and the reduced staffing levels.”

The statement said the murder rate for 2010 was different than the FBI statistics because of a “clerical error” when the data was submitted to the FBI. (Someone in the police department forgot to add people to the murder rate if they died long after the assault.) But the revised number for the FBI will be 58 murders, not Biden’s figure of 65, because the FBI only counts willful homicides, not manslaughter and negligent homicide, Jones said.

The statement, however, was strangely silent on the massive discrepancy in the rape statistics. There have been a number of studies (see here and here) that document that the FBI statistics do not capture all forms of rape. The FBI stats include forcible intercourse but not oral sex or other forms of sexual assault.

But that issue does not explain why Biden’s rape statistics would be so much higher than what was reported in the local press over the years. The Flint Journal on May 24, in fact, reported the number of rapes had declined in the city from 2009 to 2010.

via Biden’s absurd claims about rising rape and murder rates – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

Facebook, student grades: Interesting analysis …

Mr. Junco found a direct relationship between site use and out-of-class sociability: the more time a student spent on Facebook, the more likely that student was to be involved with extracurricular activities.

Meanwhile — contradicting the zero-sum logic of some who might believe that a minute spent social networking is a minute spent not attending to schoolwork — the study found no substantive link between time spent on Facebook and time spent studying.

Mr. Junco said in an e-mail that he was surprised by the fact that the number of times a student checked Facebook each day was only weakly related to academic performance.

“This tells me that spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook is related to negative outcomes, while just checking Facebook for a few minutes each time is not,” he wrote.

via Facebook’s Impact on Student Grades – NYTimes.com.

brain development, exercise: “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

Dr. John Ratey has discovered that exercise releases a special brain-nourishing protein – something he calls “Miracle-Gro for the brain.” The research means that exercise has added benefits for adults, but also for children and learning at school. We’ll find out how increasing physical activity before and during school can help kids improve their grades, lower their anxiety levels and keep them healthy all at the same time.

(Originally Aired: 4/14/2011)

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

recipes – biscuits: Great biscuits to me are not fluffy … but it is definitely worth trying to make some.

There are biscuits, and then there are biscuits. Whether you like to savor them solo with honey and butter, paired with ultra-crunchy fried chicken, or slathered with sausage gravy (hello, breakfast!), they can be the sleeper hit of any meal. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make fluffy, picture-perfect biscuits—as well as to gather appeals for seconds from everyone at the table.

via Secrets to Perfect Biscuits | The Feed.

apps, exercise: An exercise app …

Everyone knows that fitness is a worthy end unto itself, but that doesn’t mean that many people don’t need a little extra motivation. Enter Nexercise, an iPhone app that brings a dose of gamification to the world of fitness, with medals, discounts and even free merchandise offered as rewards for physical activity.

Now available in the iTunes store, Nexercise rewards users for walking, running, aerobics, yardwork, dancing, or any physical activity that lasts at least 15 minutes. Users begin by telling Nexercise what activity they’re about to start, and with their phone somewhere on their body, they then go ahead and do it. When they’re done, they hit a button to notify Nexercise, which verifies the activity has taken place via the motion of the device. In return, users earn rewards such as points and medals — with bonus points awarded for exercising with a friend — as well as discounts on a variety of products and services. The more points a user amasses, the better the deals become, and at the end of every month there’s a grand prize. Users can also check into gyms, view their exercise history, and compete against friends added to the app’s friend list via a connection with Facebook and Twitter.

via App turns exercise into a game, with rewards for healthy activity | Springwise.

Steve Jobs, Android, President Obama, modern medicine: If nothing else, he was opinionated … “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

The Associated Press reported that Jobs, an eternal competitor, was reportedly furious after Google introduced its Android operating system, calling it a stolen product. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” he reportedly said. “I’m going to destroy Android. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

While Apple and Google had enjoyed a close partnership before the Android launch, Jobs reportedly told Google chairman Eric Schmidt that he had no interest in settling Apple’s lawsuit over the system. Android is now the world’s dominant smartphone platform.

Excerpts of the book obtained by the Huffington Post run over Jobs’ relationship with the current administration. According to the report, Jobs told Obama that he was “headed for a one-term presidency” and criticized the president for not being business friendly. Still, Jobs reportedly offered to help Obama with his advertising but knocked heads with senior aide David Axelrod.

In a short preview of an interview with the book’s author posted by CBS, Isaacson said that Jobs regretted his decision to delay surgery that could have prevented his pancreatic cancer from spreading. Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that could be treated with surgery.

When Isaacson asked Jobs why he chose to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before consenting to surgery, Jobs told him that he “didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” It’s not clear if delaying the surgery truly would have made a difference in the end, the Associated Press reported, but doctors did say that Jobs waited a “significant period” of time before accepting the recommended treatment.

via Steve Jobs bio: His thoughts on Android, Obama and modern medicine – The Washington Post.

websites: This is useful … It checks to see if a site is still valid … but why not just put the address in the browser. Is It Old?.

“Ms.”, history: I remember my dad ranting about women who used “Ms.” It is such a non-issue today.

Ms. was suggested as a marriage-neutral honorific as early as 1901 and periodically in the years thereafter, but it never got any traction until about 1970. And with all the success that it has enjoyed since then, it’s easy to forget the resistance it met when it was first widely put forward, in the months before the magazine’s launch.

My wife was cleaning out a closet the other day and came across an issue of the Wellesley College News dated October 21, 1971—precisely 40 years ago, it now strikes me. It contains a truly remarkable letter from the president of the college, Ruth Adams (1914-2004), which I am delighted to quote nearly in full:

I read with a certain horror your lead editorial of October 14.

I consequently make this request of you: when it is necessary for you to include my name in a news story or editorial, may I be referred to either as Miss Adams or as Ruth Adams, please.

I deplore the use of the depersonalizing, degrading, and meaningless Ms. When mail comes into my house bearing that appellation, I rate it as slightly more consequential than that mail which comes addressed either to “Occupant” or “Resident.” The destination of both categories is immediately the wastepaper basket. If a correspondent cannot display the interest, intelligence, and courtesy of determining the maiden or married state of someone to whom he [sic] is writing, the correspondence is of no value. …

I rather like my maiden status and wish to have it indicated when I am identified publicly. I indeed was of the generation that was brought up believing that a married woman was referred to by her husband’s name, and only when she was translated into widowhood was she properly identified by her given name together with her married name.

Autre temps, autre meurs!

So, with this plea that I may retain the identity with which I have lived, lo, these many years, herewith my request to be identified as Miss Adams or Ruth Adams but not as that nullity which is Ms.

Seriously, there are so many important and consequential aspects involved in our attempts properly to define and identify women this cause is trivial in comparison and leaves you vulnerable to patronizing laughter.

The use of maiden is worthy of note. Also, translated into widowhood.

I was reminded of Miss Adams’s sentiments recently while listening to an NPR segment about efforts in France to get rid of the term mademoiselle. There wasn’t a push for a Ms.-like term, merely a move for all adult females to be referred to as madame. The reporter talked to a 45-year-old woman in the street whose comment shows how far this particular campaign has to go: “As long as no one calls me ‘monsieur,’ I’m fine. Anyway, we naturally refer to an older, unmarried woman as ‘madame.’ And if you you’re married but don’t look your age, you might get called ‘mademoiselle.’ It’s flattering one way and less so the other, but that’s life.”

via Ms., 40 Years On – Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

One Scene, websites, film critique, Brazil: Another one that caught my attention.

Barely a scene, this is one of those thankless transitions that shows how our protagonist gets from point A to point B. It doesn’t really advance the narrative or reveal new information about characters. In old-timey screenwriting parlance, it’s just “shoe leather.”

But look at this leather!

The intro of Sam Lowry’s vehicle is old-school Monty Python hilarious, but I’ll never forget the revelation of Shangri-La Towers, which is at first really funny and then almost immediately kind of depressing. Talk about world building. Even when the different elements of the filmmaking seem to be operating at cross-purposes, the jaunty score, battered set design, and sumptuous cinematography somehow work in concert to make this absurd future feel not just plausible but likely. And that poster behind the kids looks like it was stolen from 2011.

This entire little journey could have been handled with a cheaper/easier/saner dissolve, but instead, like with every scene in Brazil, we get something epic and unexpected and beautiful.

via One Scene: Brazil – From the Current – The Criterion Collection.

spaces, cooking, tiny kitchens, kith/kin: Our favorite house had a tiny kitchen … my daughter loved that house and swears she will never have a big house. Tiny spaces can make for great kitchens.

I turned to Shaun Hill, chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant the Walnut Tree. Before moving to his current roomy premises, Hill ran Merchant House in Ludlow from a 3m by 2m domestic-sized kitchen. In this space he singlehandedly whipped up Michelin-starred meals for up to 24 diners (with four choices). When he decided to move on, no other chef was brave enough to take on the tiny kitchen and he had to turn Merchant House back into, well, a house.

So what did he learn? “When I started there, I had been cooking for a thousand years and you have in mind ideas for what you would like to make, but it doesn’t necessarily work in the space. Quite a few things didn’t work – anything that required too many pans.” But, he promises, there are definite advantages. “It concentrates the mind. There are fewer things to turn into a disaster zone, and it doesn’t take hours to clean – you have to tidy as you go, so you can use the same space for whatever’s next.”

Mark Bittman is equally sure that size should not be an issue. When the food writer was pictured in his former kitchen in the New York Times, readers demanded to know how he created anything in such an inadequate space – which he finds hilarious. “People all over the world make do with a hotplate and nothing else, and they do fine. I’ve never felt oppressed by my small kitchen.” Instead, he points out, cooking is less tiring when everything is within reaching distance.

via Size shouldn’t matter: tiny kitchens | Life and style | The Guardian.

“Whispering windows”, marketing, technology, 24/7:

Whispering windows have been a favorite of advertisers and marketeers for a few years now. The windows are equipped with speakers and programmed to emit sounds or speech as passers by walk past the built in sensors. Often they are designed to entice or create intrigue for those on the street, but the windows installed in South African 8ta stores are adding a new level of functionality to the technology by enabling customers to browse the store’s catalogue throughout the day and night.

8ta is a mobile brand from South African Telkom that operates numerous stores selling the latest devices and services. Aiming to make a visit to their stores a sensory-rich experience for shoppers, the brand has tapped One Digital Media for a variety of technological elements. The stores’ whispering window technology “turns store windows into glass window speakers, creating a unique way to deliver messages throughout or around your store,” as One Digital Media explains. However, the windows differ from similar whispering window examples we’ve seen recently; their innovative use of through-glass touch technology allows customers to browse through a store catalogue after hours, even requesting a callback when the store reopens. Also included in 8ta stores are large video walls showcasing 8ta’s latest commercials and handset deals, as well as “pick ‘n watch” screens that allow customers to interact with and learn more about the different mobile phone models. Touch tables, meanwhile, are on hand to detail and compare all the handsets available.

Bricks and mortar may still play a key role in many product categories, but that doesn’t mean physical stores can’t borrow elements from the best of the online shopping experience — including the ability to deliver multimedia messages and product information 24/7. Other retailers around the globe: be inspired!

via ‘Whispering windows’ let stores interact with shoppers 24/7 | Springwise.

animals, animal behavior: I definitely believe animal’s feel.

But why should our inability to measure these phenomena mean that they don’t exist at all? That’s exactly what scientist and animal advocate Jonathan Balcombe explores in The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure — an absolutely remarkable and fascinating journey into the rich, tender and complex emotional lives of animals.

Balcombe examines a new generation of research on animal feelings, especially animal pleasure, illustrated with joyful images of the animal kingdom by some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers. The story unfolds with equal parts affectionate enthusiasm and scientific rigor, extending a gentle invitation to reexamine our relationship with living beings, reaching for more kindness, more empathy and more wholeheartedness in how we think of and treat other animals.

Nobody denies that other humans are sentient, though it’s no more possible to prove another human being is sentient than it is to prove an animal’s sentience. We don’t accept such solipsism. It would be far-fetched. So let’s stop drawing this line between humans and all other animals.” ~ Jonathan Balcombe

via The Exultant Ark: The Secret Emotional Lives of Animals | Brain Pickings.

gender stereotyping, men:

The human male is in crisis. Or at least he must be, given the recurring themes in this season’s crop of new TV shows. Apparently the networks have sensed something in the zeitguyst that cries out for reassurance, and they have scampered to oblige. Oh, sorry, men don’t scamper. They stride purposefully. And network TV’s recent purposeful steps include the following:

How to Be a Gentleman, about a prissy fop destined to be made into a real man (CBS);

Man Up, about three grown men feeling like they’re anything but (ABC);

Last Man Standing, in which Tim Allen angrily defends traditional masculinity from the encroaching forces of femininity and metrosexuality (ABC).

Here now is where I trot out my man bona fides. Yes, I like to grill meat and drink beer. I also like to play video games, and I share an interest in some of the media aimed at my seven-year-old son. I also love my cats, have had long talks with my son about feelings, and one time in the housewares section he asked my wife if she thought I wanted a new vacuum cleaner (I was uncertain about switching to a bagless model, but it’s working out well).

via Jeff Alexander on The Gender Stereotyping of Man Shows | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

dictators, class: Dictators and classy don’t seem to mix?

When you’re the ruthless autocrat of an oppressed country, chances are your inside coterie consists entirely of yes men. And yes men are notoriously unreliable judges of taste — especially when their boss has a reputation for executing those who don’t mesh with their personal sense of … um … style. You know, for example, that no one was willing to give Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi pointers in aesthetics when he decided he wanted a huge golden fist crushing an enemy fighter jet to grace a courtyard inside his compound in Tripoli — as seen here after rebels seized the compound in late August 2011. Classy!

via What Dictators Consider Classy – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Arab Spring, Tunisia, democracy: Democracy is not going to be easy. “From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.”

But Harrath is referring to his native Tunisia, the country that lit the touch paper for the uprisings that toppled the regimes of its larger neighbors to the East. Its revolution, sparked by the death of a fruit seller in Sidi Bouzid, was quick, almost clinical, taking barely a month to sweep President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power. Tunisia’s democracy is also blooming before others in the region, with elections called for this Sunday, Oct. 23. From dictatorship to democracy in less than nine months: Tunisia remains not only the seedbed of the Arab Spring but its model.

And that model may prove uncomfortable for the western countries that have hailed the uprisings and joined the public denunciations of regimes with whom they until recently did business. An Islamist party Ennahdha is topping the polls as Tunisians prepare to select a Constituent Assembly to pen the country’s new constitution and set up its transitional government. Tunisians living abroad have already been invited to cast their ballots. Their ranks include exiles whose mistreatment, not only by the Tunisian authorities but by storied democracies and institutions that might have been expected to protect them, informs their worldview.

via A Tunisian Islamist in Exile Expresses His Hopes Ahead of Oct. 23 Election – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Facebook, LOL: Facebook Voicemails from my Mom – YouTube.

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”!

24
Sep
11

9.24.2011 ‎… nice visit with Jimbo, Joni and Bob, and John … then off to Davidson to see Moneyball in it’s great movie theater and Moneyball was great …

Davidson NC, movie, places:  Davidson has a fun movie theater … worth the drive for a date night!  10 best new places, uptown and beyond – Our Town Cinemas

Moneyball, movies, baseball, music:  Moneyball was great fun … even had sentimental chick flick theme in the subplot.And I loved the daughter’s song …

When Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts attends home games at Wrigley Field, he spends part of the day hearing from fans who have endured more than a century without a World Series Championship.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than 1 million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday,starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane. Matthew Futterman on Lunch Break discusses how the book changed the game.

He must endure inevitable questions about “Moneyball,” Michael Lewis’s 2003 best seller about baseball’s statistical revolution. Fans used to ask owners when they’re going to trade for a starting pitcher; now they beg for a computer whiz to swoop in and save the franchise.

“It comes up all the time,” says Mr. Ricketts, whose family bought the Cubs two years ago. “The fans hope that the decisions made on the baseball side are made with the evidence at hand.” He doesn’t mind at all: he’s pushing for more such analysis himself.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than one million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday, starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane.

“Moneyball” allowed the business world to see sports in terms of strategic tools, especially in environments where resources are scarce and innovation becomes a requirement.

“It’s about how to price assets, and that’s something that’s germane whether you’re running Chrysler or Goldman Sachs or the Oakland A’s,” says George Will, the political columnist and author of the baseball book “Men at Work.”

Beyond that, “Moneyball” celebrated measurements at exactly the time when computers and simple programs were exponentially increasing the speed at which the educated working public could analyze data and hold everyone from second basemen to third-grade teachers accountable for their results.

John Challenger, principal of the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, remembers reading “Moneyball” for the first time, then going out and buying copies for each of his top managers. In his view, this was the first book to coherently address the issue of finding the key measurements that will help you run your business, the kind of data that a company like General Electric sought tirelessly for decades.

“People thought it was crazy,” Mr. Challenger said of GE’s approach. “Moneyball” gave everybody a way to understand and think about it, and everybody finally got it.”

via Baseball After Moneyball – WSJ.com.

Lenka – The Show (With Lyrics) – YouTube.

education, early achievers:   I have seen this happen … there must be a solution.

The study, “Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude?,” builds on a previous report from Fordham that suggests nationwide policies aimed at making schools more accountable for improving low-performing students’ achievement are hurting the brightest students. That 2008 report found that from 2000 to 2007, achievement for students who were the highest performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress was flat, while the lowest-performing students improved dramatically.

Unlike NAEP, which compares different cohorts of students, the MAP data analyzed for the Fordham study compared individual students with themselves.

The new study also found that while some high-achieving students faltered, other students developed into high performers as they got older, although those students were likely to have scored between the 50th and 80th percentiles in the first place. In addition, many of the initially high-achieving students whose test scores fell below the 90th percentile after a few years didn’t fall far. Many scored in the 70th percentile or higher years later.

Role of NCLB Law

The Fordham authors also acknowledge that the idea that all high-achieving students will remain that way indefinitely is “naive, … just as it’s naive to expect 100 percent of students to reach ‘proficient,’ ” which is the mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act. Signed into law in 2002, No Child Left Behind is the current version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Reauthorization of the ESEA is stalled in Congress. Later this week, President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a package of waivers that would give states wiggle room on some of the current law’s requirements.

via Education Week: Early Achievers Losing Ground, Study Finds.

knitting, Martha Stewart:   Some people compare knitting to yoga.  Maybe I will let Martha teach me to knit.

The Basics of Knitting

Learn how to knit your own mittens, hats, scarves, and more. Here we take you through the step-by-step instructions and teach you how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off.

There are two basic knitting styles, the English method and the German/Continental method, but the only real difference lies in how the yarn is held.

With the English method, the working yarn is held in the right hand; with the German/Continental method, it is held in the left. While both methods produce equally fine results, here we use the German/Continental method.

via The Basics of Knitting – How to Knit – Knitting – MarthaStewart.com.

“Le Lac Annecy”,  Paul Cezanne, painting, art, Talloires FR:  I was thinking about Talloires last night and researched Cezanne’s painting.  Learned something new …

Richard Verdi (in Cézanne) has described this painting, simple in form but highly complex in its prismatic colours, ‘with no two strokes of blue or green appearing exactly the same in size hue or direction’. Verdi notes, for example, that ‘while house and château on the distant shore are clearly delineated, the landscape around them appears in an inchoate state, as though still awaiting further resolution.’ This illustrates a general feature of the artist’s approach: rather than distinguishing foreground from background through the degree of detail applied to forms, Cézanne concentrated attention on objects at different points in space. While Cézanne saw in this his difficulty in realizing the full complexity of nature, the result was paintings that have ‘an unparalleled vitality and lay bare the formative process of painting as few other works of art do.’

via Some Landscapes: Lac d’Annecy.

Twitter, restaurants, foodies, Zagat:  Zagat, you are crazy … who is going to follow 140 restaurants and foodies.

Not sure who to follow in the foodie Twitterverse? Check out our indispensable guide to 140 must-read accounts, including chefs, food media and restaurants.

via Who to Follow on Twitter: 140 Restaurants and Foodies | Zagat.

food trucks: I only know of one food truck in Charlotte, and it is not crazy-looking.  Like pop-up stores, we are just not on the cutting edge.  🙂

Some food-truck proprietors have gone beyond the norm with design, creating totally wacky vehicles from which to dole out their grub. And we don’t just mean a friendly coat of paint or a cute awning – some sport elaborate murals and sculptures, and one even resembles the animal served on its menu.

via The 8 Craziest-Looking Food Trucks | Zagat.

foursquare, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, social networking:   OK … Still want to know why I would use foursquare???  What does KK doughnuts get …

All of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s Tips

Here are all of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s insider Tips. Whip up a List of the best ones, so you can experience the world through their eyes.

via foursquare :: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts :: Tips.

Eve’s Diary, book, Mark Twain, Banned Books Week:  I wonder if our public library has any banned books?

Trustees of the Charlton Public Library lifted the 1906 ban earlier this week of “Eve’s Diary,” Twain’s satirical version of the Adam and Eve story, said Cheryl Hansen, the library’s director.

Two paperback copies were made available at the library in central Massachusetts on Thursday and, within hours, one of them was in a reader’s hands, she said.

“I think there’ll be a lot of interest in taking it out,” Hansen added, saying the unanimous vote to lift the ban came just in time for Banned Books Week, which begins on Saturday.

A library trustee learned about the ban from a local newspaper article and last year tracked down a first edition of the book, which will be on display through next week, she said.

via Library lifts 1906 ban on Mark Twain book | Reuters.

Palestine, U.N. Statehood Bid, 2012 Presidential Election, foreign affairs:   This really is going to be the 2012 Presidential Election foreign affairs issue.

Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the U.N. Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of troubled negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would re-energize their quest for an independent homeland.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hands over a formal letter for Palestine to be admitted as a state to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Earlier in the week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed an intense, U.S.-led effort to sway him from the statehood bid, saying he would submit the application to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as planned.

“We’re going without any hesitation and continuing despite all the pressures,” Mr. Abbas told members of the Palestinian diaspora at a hotel in New York on Thursday night. “We seek to achieve our right and we want our independent state.” Shortly before noon on Friday, Mr. Ban’s spokesman tweeted, “President Abbas just handed the Palestinian application to the Secretary-General UNSG.”

In his letter to Mr. Ban accompanying the application, Mr. Abbas asked the U.N. chief to immediately forward the request for full U.N. membership to the Security Council and the General Assembly, according to a top aide. The General Assembly will likely be asked to approve a more-modest status upgrade if the bid in the council founders as expected.

via Palestinians Submit U.N. Statehood Bid – WSJ.com.

Wall Street Banks, BofA:  I am getting tired of words like “bruising.”  I can’t tell you how much this thrills me … “Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.”

Third-quarter revenue expectations at six big U.S. banks—Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman and Morgan—have fallen 7% since midyear, according to analysts surveyed by data provider FactSet Research Systems. That is the biggest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The banks’ pain has widespread implications on Wall Street and across the country. Weaker banks will likely lend less, pressuring an economy already flirting with recession. Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.

via Wall Street Banks Taking a Bruising – WSJ.com.

Cure Bad Breath,  YouTube, marketing, Wal-Mart:   OK, I might check out  “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?”  🙂

Can a YouTube video bring in big business? If it goes viral, it just might.

On Tuesday, Provo, Utah-based Orabrush Inc. announced its flagship product – a tongue cleaner – would be carried in 3,500 of Wal-Mart Inc.’s 3,800 U.S. stores thanks to a social-media campaign launched two years ago.

[SBtongue1]

Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, Jeffrey Harmon, (left) and Robert Wagstaff, the company’s founder, watch YouTube videos.>

Orabrush initially marketed its tongue cleaners directly to consumers with a TV infomercial in mid-2008, according to founder Bob Wagstaff, who invented the product. But the strategy didn’t perform well.

“We spent $40,000 on it and sold practically nothing,” says the 76-year-old, who next cold-called several large retailers, asking them to carry the product, to no avail.

Unsure why his efforts failed, Mr. Wagstaff approached a marketing professor at Brigham Young University about his dilemma. The professor agreed to let Mr. Wagstaff solicit students for suggestions on how to get the word out. One student suggested creating a YouTube video and volunteered to take up the task. Mr. Wagstaff accepted the offer, which resulted in a comedic two-minute video that cost about $500 to make. It quickly went viral and a series of related videos also made by the same student, now Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, followed soon after.

Today, the company has its own YouTube channel that boasts more than 39 million views and 160,000 subscribers, who get alerts whenever a new video is posted to it. The channel, called Cure Bad Breath, is the third most popular YouTube channel behind OldSpice (No. 1) Apple (No. 2), according to Vidstax.com, a Web-analytics firm. Orabrush also has nearly 300,000 fans on Facebook, which the company uses to promote its videos.

Cure Bad Breath features 88 original shorts, all comedies, with titles like “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?” The company’s more recent videos are slicker than the originals and cost more to produce — between $3,000 and $5,000, says Orabrush’s CEO, Jeff Davis. Most of the actors in them are college students and recent graduates, which are also the company’s biggest customers.

Wal-Mart didn’t base its decision to stock the tongue cleaner on Orabrush’s YouTube popularity, says Tara Raddohl, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, but she notes the company’s YouTube videos likely raised its profile among consumers.

via How a Start-Up Landed Shelf Space at Wal-Mart – WSJ.com.

physics, light speed limit,  Albert Einstein, 1905 special theory of relativity: Just when we think we understand the world  ” … appears to violate the laws of nature as we know them.”

Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said Friday they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

Hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at one of the world’s foremost laboratories on the Swiss-French border to hear how a subatomic particle, the neutrino, was found to have outrun light and confounded the theories of Albert Einstein.

“To our great surprise we found an anomaly,” said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team.

An anomaly is a mild way of putting it.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity. The speed of light — 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) — has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.

The team — a collaboration between France’s National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory — fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy.

They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That’s sixty billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register.

Physicists not involved in the experiment have been understandably skeptical.

Alvaro De Rujula, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva from where the neutron beam was fired, said he blamed the readings on a so-far undetected human error.

If not, and it’s a big if, the door would be opened to some wild possibilities.

The average person, said De Rujula, “could, in principle, travel to the past and kill their mother before they were born.”

But Ereditato and his team are wary of letting such science fiction story lines keep them up at night.

“We will continue our studies and we will wait patiently for the confirmation,” he told the AP. “Everybody is free to do what they want: to think, to claim, to dream.”

He added: “I’m not going to tell you my dreams.”

via Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet – WSJ.com.

NBA lockout, Steph Curry:  What is bad for the NBA is good for Davidson … the longer the lockout, the closer Steph is to a Davidson degree.

The NBA postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games Friday because it has not reached a new labor deal with players.

All games from Oct. 9-15 are off, the league said. Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.

NBA.com’s schedule page, which has a banner across the top listing the number of games on each day, was changed Friday morning to read “0 Games” for each date until Oct. 16, when there are four games.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The cancellations were expected after the latest meeting between owners and players Thursday ended without a collective bargaining agreement. Both sides still hope the entire regular season, scheduled to begin Nov. 1, can be saved.

The NBA has lost games to a work stoppage only once, when the 1998-99 season was reduced to a 50-game schedule.

via NBA postpones camps, cancels 43 preseason games – ESPN.

Davidson College, vandalism,  community bike program, honor code:  Very disappointing … you would think Davidson would be the perfect place for a community bike program.

The system was convenient for those who did not have bikes on campus, or who were unexpectedly running late to class. They were also a pleasant surprise to many, who found them sitting outside their dorm, the library, the Union or on Chambers lawn. The bikes did not have to be locked up or left in a secure location, which made them extremely convenient.

Of course since the bikes were limited in number, completely public and in high demand, they were never in one place for long. This inconvenience aside, the program was in place for many years here, and many other campuses across the country maintain similar programs.

Why was such a useful and popular program discontinued? Unfortunately, it appears that the strong Davidson sense of honor and responsibility wavered when it came to these bikes.

“They were stolen, damaged and some were even thrown off of buildings,” Jeannie Kinnett ’12 said. “Since there were no repercussions for damaging them, and no way to ensure their maintenance, the Activities Tax Council decided that funding them this year would not be worth it since they would be trashed anyway.”

There were efforts by Davidson Outdoors and other organizations to improve student treatment of the bikes, but this was largely ineffective. They were being damaged and stolen faster than they could be repaired or replaced.

“I once found one on the side of the road on Main Street,” Samanvitha Sridhar ’14 said. “I tried to ride it, but the tires were completely deflated, so I fell. It was pretty awful, and after that, I avoided the bikes because they all seemed to be in bad condition or broken.” One bike was even found in a drug bust.

Though Davidson students take great pride in their honor code, it is difficult to enforce any sort of regulation on the treatment of public property that changes hands on an hourly basis. Ironically, the program’s initial success was due to the honor code, which has now become its downfall.

Many students are not happy about the end of the program. “While I understand why the decision was made to end the community bikes program, I think that it was a useful resource for many students and I’m sad to see it go.” Denton Baird ’14 said.

Perhaps one day the community bikes program will be reinstituted, perhaps not. Either way, it brings to light the fact that, though the Honor Code is a source of pride for every Davidson student, when tested at least a few students take advantage of the benefits it affords. Our community is also accessible to a wider public that does not share our mutual pact.

via Theft, vandalism kill community bike program – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Duke Energy, green energy:  Buying energy or energy credits … very complicated.

Carolinas is seeking bids from companies that produce power from wind projects to sell the electricity and credits to Duke to help it meet state renewable-energy requirements.

Duke filed its long-range power-generation plan with state regulators this month. The plan calls for an increased reliance on wind power in the early years of the 20-year plan. About 12% of the renewable energy Duke provides by 2015 is expected to come from wind projects.

This is the first request Duke has made for bids from wind producers since filing that plan. The company says that power or credits will have to come from projects 50 megawatts to 300 megawatt in size. And the proposals must offer a minimum of 60,000-megawatt hours annually.

via Duke Energy asks for bids to sell wind power – Charlotte Business Journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tambora is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

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

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

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

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

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

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

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

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

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

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

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

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

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

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

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

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

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

apps, Nike BOOM: 

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

Description

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

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

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

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

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

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not so students at Middlebury College.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

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

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

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

27
Jun
11

‎6.27.2011 … I just paid $4.99 for 4 Dewey’s oatmeal cream-filled cookie sandwiches … you know like Little Debbies … these were significantly better, but I think you can get a dozen Little Debbie’s for $1.29 … FYI Dewey’s is the Winston-Salem Moravian cookie/butter sugar cake bakery … Rule of Life: Never go to the grocery hungry …

music, kith/kin:  Today’s selection is from my second cousin …

Beyonce’s Single Ladies, only I’m putting other words to it for whatever it is I am doing. Like I look down at my foster dog Chuckie and start singing to him “Mister Chuckalucks, Mister Chuckalucks”  — YouTube – Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).

food – Southern, Moravian, Winston-Salem, Dewey’s: I learned to love Dewey’s sugar cake because one of my favorite lawyers, a Winston-Salem native, brought them back to all the folks at the firm for Christmas … now they sell them year-round at the Harris Teeter.  They really are good … but stay away from the 500 calorie oatmeal cream-filled cookie cakes. Dewey’s / Home

 Davidson College, goats, kudzu, followup:  i know you really wanted an update …

Those goats are still at it, feasting on all the kudzu out on the Davidson College cross country trail. Resident Louise Mazur was biking on the trail Sunday afternoon and send this photo and the note below. Meanwhile, you can go visit the goats yourself on July 9, in a nature outing organized by the World of Wonder program of Davidson Lands Conservancy. Details below.

Two weeks ago, Davidson College sent a rented herd of goats out onto its back campus to help with an overgrowth of kudzu. The goats are expected to eradicate it all – right down to the dirt. (See June 14, 2011, “Davidson College’s new employees.”)

Mike and Louise Mazur stopped to see their progress Sunday, and Ms. Mazur sent this note:

Mike and I were riding bikes on the trail Sunday afternoon and wanted to send you an updated picture of the dog and the goats!  The goats are making quite a lot of progress!

via Photo of the Day: The goat watcher  | DavidsonNews.net.

movie, animated films, lists:  Pinocchio is the list makers all time favorite … we are not on the same wavelength …

They’ve enthralled or terrified generations of kids, and now they’re giant worldwide blockbusters. So what are the best animated features of all time? Using an obscure system of weights and measures, TIME movie critic Richard Corliss has compiled and annotated the countdown, from No. 25 (Lady and the Tramp) to No. 1 (see for yourself). Are your favorites on the list? Let the great debate commence; we know it’ll be animated.

via Pinocchio, 1940 – The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films – TIME.

Supreme Court, random, social networking:  Of course, they don’t tweet …

Asked how the Supreme Court has dealt with the risks, “I sit down with incoming clerks at the beginning of the year — as soon as we get back — and go through a number of things they have to be aware of, and that’s one of them,” Roberts said referring to the use of social media on the job. “I tell them that they obviously shouldn’t be tweeting about what they’re doing — whether they have Web sites or whatever.”

“I also appreciate that it’s a generational thing, and the idea of not being connected in a particular way can be problematic for them,” Roberts said, adding that different members of the court have varying levels of affinity for social media. “I don’t think any of us have a Facebook page or tweet, whatever that is,” he went on to light laughter.

But the Court is not a building full of technological luddites. “Technology is making inroads, I mean we are — we find when we’re traveling it’s easier to have, some of us, briefs on some of the products where you can have them electronically available, carrying them,” said Roberts holding his hands up as if he was holding a tablet.

Roberts also acknowledged that, for the courts, new technology also presents a challenge in terms of its impact on the law itself, saying “It’s going to be a great challenge both in a substantitive area and for many of us to try and keep up with new technology.”

via Chief Justice John Roberts: ‘I don’t think any of us…tweet, whatever that is’ – Ideas@Innovations – The Washington Post.

food, Durham, places:  OK, I will stop by Durham and try out its rejuvenated downtown.

“The rejuvenation, it spread like wildfire,” Mr. Filippini added. “It’s almost like you can hear the heartbeat of Durham right in that couple-block area.”

via Durham Dining – Pies, Panini and Barbecue – NYTimes.com.

travel, food:  No, excerpt here … I thought this article silly.  Pack Your Own Food for Your Next Flight – NYTimes.com.

President Bill Clinton, Great Recession:  You know I am still amazed that Pres. Clinton was able to salvage his dignity.  Article is worth reading.

14 WAYS TO PUT AMERICA BACK TO WORK

Next week in Chicago, the Clinton Global Initiative will focus on America for the first time, inviting business and political leaders to make specific commitments in support of the former president’s jobs blueprint, which he details below.

via It’s Still the Economy, Stupid – Newsweek.

personal finance, Great Recession, retirement:  The increase of borrowing from retirement accounts is staggering …

Debt is always risky. And this debt carries the extra risk that you could have to pay it off at the very time when you aren’t earning a salary. If you leave or lose your job you must have a feasible means of immediately paying off the loan.

“Take only the minimum you need, not the maximum you can get,” says Ms. Hess. Your loan should fund an asset of enduring value, advises Prof. Madrian: “If you have to leave your job, you can’t sell the vacation to pay off your loan.” Don’t take a loan of last resort to splurge at a resort.

via The Intelligent Investor: The Case for Raiding Your 401(k) – WSJ.com.

college, advice:  Another article that I thought lame … I do not know a kid who has ever boned up on foreign language the summer before going to college.

Brush up on a foreign language. At many colleges, the biggest single requirement is two years of a foreign language. Many freshmen have had a smattering (or more) of some foreign language in high school, whether it be Spanish or French, or for the more enterprising, and global-minded, Mandarin or Arabic. Whatever the case, the summer before college is an excellent time to get ahead on your language skills. If travel abroad is in your plans, pick a country that speaks the language you’re working on; if Spanish is your intended tongue, volunteer work in most communities can put you in a situation where Spanish is routinely spoken.

For the electronic-minded, there is a wealth of foreign-language programming on the Internet. For example, livemocha, where, the site says, you can chat for free with over 10 million native speakers in nearly 40 languages; the various “pod” sites — ChinesePod, FrenchPod, SpanishPod, and ItalianPod – where you’ll find over 1,000 podcasts, with review, practice and reinforcement; and radiolingua, where you’ll find the popular CoffeeBreakSpanish and CoffeeBreakFrench podcasts as well as the One-Minute podcasts in, among other languages, Irish, Polish, Russian and even Luxembourgish.

via A Pre-College Summer To-Do List – NYTimes.com.

education:  Bottom line – education matters.  Great article.

ALMOST a century ago, the United States decided to make high school nearly universal. Around the same time, much of Europe decided that universal high school was a waste. Not everybody, European intellectuals argued, should go to high school.

It’s clear who made the right decision. The educated American masses helped create the American century, as the economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz have written. The new ranks of high school graduates made factories more efficient and new industries possible.

Today, we are having an updated version of the same debate. Television, newspapers and blogs are filled with the case against college for the masses: It saddles students with debt; it does not guarantee a good job; it isn’t necessary for many jobs. Not everybody, the skeptics say, should go to college.

The argument has the lure of counterintuition and does have grains of truth. Too many teenagers aren’t ready to do college-level work. Ultimately, though, the case against mass education is no better than it was a century ago.

The evidence is overwhelming that college is a better investment for most graduates than in the past. A new study even shows that a bachelor’s degree pays off for jobs that don’t require one: secretaries, plumbers and cashiers. And, beyond money, education seems to make people happier and healthier.

Then there are the skeptics themselves, the professors, journalists and others who say college is overrated. They, of course, have degrees and often spend tens of thousands of dollars sending their children to expensive colleges.

I don’t doubt that the skeptics are well meaning. But, in the end, their case against college is an elitist one — for me and not for thee. And that’s rarely good advice.

via College Degrees Are Valuable Even for Careers That Don’t Require Them – NYTimes.com.

GA politics, random:  Is someone just asking for a fight …

Georgia car tags may be about to get a dose of religion. The state Department of Revenue on Friday posted images of the eight semi-finalist entries in its competition to design a new look for your back bumper.

Three of those eight incorporate “In God We Trust” – the same motto found on U.S. currency:

Online voting concludes July 8. The three license plates garnering the most votes will be presented to Gov. Nathan Deal. There the selection process gets foggy – the press release merely says the winner will be announced July 15.

But if a car tag bearing the word “God” makes it to the finals, it’s hard to imagine a Republican politician who would want to be seen rejecting it.

Still, if a declaration of faith is inevitable, we would at least suggest adding an asterisk, followed in small print with this:

“*All others must provide proof of legal U.S. residency.”

via Your morning jolt: Georgia car tag nominees and ‘In God We Trust’ | Political Insider.

culture, home:  I found this interesting … they go to find their old world at a  Starbucks.

Before Abed Ellafdi emigrated from Rabat, Morocco, to Northern Virginia six years ago, a friend gave him a tip: When you get to America, go to the Starbucks at Skyline.

From afar, there is nothing remarkable about this Starbucks in a Falls Church strip mall a couple of miles west of Interstate 395. Situated between an Einstein Bros. Bagels and an Office Depot in an area known as Skyline, it faces a vast parking lot, beyond which is another strip mall, that soulless landmark of American commercial culture.

But come closer and enter a world where Moroccans talk soccer scores, Egyptians discuss revolution and Somalis argue over politics, all in a coffee chain store that has become an unlikely hangout for immigrants seeking the flavor of home.

After long days working as cab drivers, construction workers, scientists and business owners, they fill the outdoor seats each evening, mimicking old world cafes where men unwind and catch up over backgammon, hookahs and endless cups of coffee.

“It’s really part of our culture, to come to the café and talk about the events that happen,” said Ellafdi, an energetic 31-year-old who works in construction and lives in Alexandria. “As Muslims we don’t drink, we don’t

via Immigrants gather at a Starbucks in Northern Virginia for a taste of home – The Washington Post.

movies, movie scores, Bernard Herrmann: I had actually never heard o f him … but look at the list of his scores.  Pretty impressive.

June 29, 2011 marks the centenary of the birth of Bernard Herrmann, one of America’s most innovative and influential composers. He is best known for his film scores for such classics as “Citizen Kane,” “Vertigo,” “Psycho” and “Taxi Driver” – music that forever changed the way we listen to movies.

His collaborations with directors Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut, Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese are landmarks in cinema. And while the fiery and temperamental artist became a pariah to many in the Hollywood film industry (he was infamously fired by Hitchcock for refusing to write “pop” music that would sell records), Herrmann’s work is among the most revered and imitated in films today.

Herrmann also contributed substantially to radio drama and music broadcasts for nearly two decades at CBS, including his original work with Orson Welles for “Mercury Theater on the Air,” and his compositions for Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone.”

via Bernard Herrmann at 100 – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

art, public art, random acts of culture, Charlotte, Davidson:  Didn’t know we had a funded Random Acts of Culture Series in Charlotte.  I wish I had been at the Davidson Farmers’ Market last Saturday!

 

Shoppers at the Davidson Farmer’s Market got a bonus with their local berries, meats and veggies Saturday morning: a menu of arias and duets by singers from Opera Carolina. The surprise performance was one of a series of “Random Acts of Culture” organized by the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte.

The Arts & Science Council received a $30,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the Random Acts of Culture series. They’ve also brought performances to other farmer’s markets in the region as well as shopping malls and corporate office towers.

“These performances are part of taking classical performances out of their normal venue and getting them into the street where people are,” said Ben Kubie, a community program director of of the ASC.

“Normally the reaction goes from surprise to delight, and the opera is great for that, because it’s very interactive,” Mr. Kubie said.

via Farmer’s market surprise: Opera with your tomatoes  | DavidsonNews.net.

doodles, art, Netflix:  I would have never thought to doodle on a Netflix return envelope … 🙂

Admit it, you’ve done it. You’ve taken a Sharpie to a Netflix envelope and doodled the heck out of it. Not just once, but a multitude of times. You’ve then imagined the expression of the postal worker as the envelope passed through their hands, all with a wide grin on your face. Here are some fun examples of people who publicly admit to doing just that.

Don’t be shy, share your doodled Netflix envelopes with us, email editor{at}doodlersanonymous{dot}com and don’t forget to attach a link and name for proper credit.

via Blog: Netflix Envelope Doodles – Doodlers Anonymous.

24
Jun
11

‎6.24.2011 … Labyrinth walk #4 at Kanuga … very nice … happy camper, I mean junior counselor, is home … hail here now …

labyrinth walk,  Kanuga Conference Center:

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The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a tool that enables us, in the midst of the business of life, to be still, to focus our thoughts and feelings. Labyrinths can be found in cathedrals all over Europe and have been used by Christians for hundreds of years as a means of meditation and experience of the Divine Presence. The Kanuga Labyrinth is an exact replica of the one set in the floor of Chartres Cathedral.

To enter a labyrinth is like entering a cathedral. You sense the presence of The Holy.

It should be noted that there is a difference between a maze and a labyrinth. A maze has many entrances and many exits. It is a puzzle to be solved. The labyrinth has only one path that takes you to the center and back. It is a spiritual path.

There are now over 1,000 labyrinths across the United States, mainly in churches, but also prisons, hospitals, parks and retreat centers.

via Kanuga, Chapels: The Labyrinth.

JK Rowling, Pottermore, digital media:  Fascinating … she held back the digital rights to her books 13 years ago …

Ms. Rowling has made a bold move in going direct to consumers to sell her e-books, instead of relying on online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.’s iBookstore. Whereas publishers for other authors often own both the print and digital rights for books, Ms. Rowling owns the rights to the digital versions of the Harry Potter books herself. The digital rights aren’t held by her U.K. publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, or by Scholastic Inc., which owns the U.S. print rights.

Now, Pottermore is Ms. Rowling’s next step toward keeping the franchise alive and vital beyond the book series.

Users can travel through the first book in the series—”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”—and Ms. Rowling will then gradually reveal the online ecosystem tied to the subsequent six books over the course of a few years. Digital editions for all seven books, however, will be available in October.

via Rowling Conjures Up Potter E-Books – WSJ.com.

music, kith/kin:  From e …

new york city 1982, 1983…listened to wanna be startin’ somethin’ on walkman while taking subway to smith barney office on wall street…chapel hill June 2011…listening to same song on mp3 player while taking bus to unc hospitals…

social networking, gender differences:  Intriguing article … I don’t get LinkedIn!  Women Still Don’t ‘Get’ LinkedIn, Says LinkedIn – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Gone with the Wind, literature:  “narrative vigor”  … I enjoyed this video essay on the literary merits of GWTW.  I personally sdon’t think it is “great” literature … but it is a great story.  Maybe that is what F. Scott Fitzgerald  meant by “narrative vigor.”

Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize in the spring of 1937, to the dismay of some critics and the delight of others. William Faulkner had expected to receive the award for his novel Absalom Absalom and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who never received the prize, would soon be working on the screenplay of Mitchell’s novel. On a warm night in May, Mitchell received news of the prize by phone, along with multiple requests for interviews. Hating publicity, she fled to a gospel concert at a small black church in Atlanta with her husband John Marsh, her publisher Harold Latham and her black housekeeper Bessie Jordan. The press scoured the city but never found her. It was a glorious night for Margaret Mitchell.

via PBS Arts : Pulitzer Prize Night.

Braves, baseball, Gone with the Wind, literature, Atlanta:  Hoopla!  I like corny things to get the fans to the ballpark … but this one seems wacky to me!!

If you’re going to the Atlanta Braves game on July 2, bring your glove and your hoop skirt.

The Braves, the Atlanta History Center and the Margaret Mitchell House are teaming up for “Gone with the Wind Night” to celebrate the novel’s 75th anniversary. Fans who show their July 2 Braves ticket stub at the Atlanta History Center or Margaret Mitchell House afterward will receive $5 off admission to either venue.

Fans who come to the game dressed as their favorite GWTW character on July 2 get $10 off Upper Box (regularly $18) or Outfield Pavilion (regularly $28) tickets. A Scarlett O’Hara impersonator will greet fans beginning at 4:30 p.m. and host GWTW trivia.

via “Gone With the Wind” night at Turner Field | The Buzz.

quotes, Bertrand Russell:

“Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.”
 Bertrand Russell

social networking, FBI, followup:  Just the other day, 6/21,  I posted about how the FBI was using social networking and lo and behold it worked!

On Monday, the FBI had announced a new television campaign aimed specifically at women, in the hopes of tracking down Greig.

Bulger is wanted in connection with 19 murders, while Greig is accused of harboring a fugitive; the two have been on the run together since 1995, according to the Associated Press. The FBI was offering $2 million for information leading to Bulger’s arrest.

via ‘Whitey’ Bulger Arrested: ‘Departed’ Mob Inspiration Nabbed in California – ABC News.

neuroscience, common chorus, music:  This is really fascinating.

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale, using audience participation, at the event “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus”, from the 2009 World Science Festival, June 12, 2009.

via YouTube – World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale.

tweet of the day, Wimbledon, culture, etiquette:  I hate to say it but I think the grunting is annoying.

Opinion on grunting players at #Wimbledon RT @alexabahou: Great pkg, haha! Grunting is part of the game! @johnsberman

3 minutes ago via HootSuite

via Good Morning America (GMA) on Twitter.

houses, US, real estate, trends, followup: Like I said, my children’s favorite house is our smallest.

David Brooks wrote about this trend in American real estate a decade ago, in an article called “Castle in a Box.” Brooks visited a new development of five-million-dollar tract mansions in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where the front doors could be set for fingerprint or iris recognition, and motion sensors activated room lights.

In the past five years, McMansions along these lines have been cropping up all across suburban America. The houses tend to be similar: the two-story “lawyer foyers” when you walk in; the four-car “garage mahals” jutting out front; the altar-like spas in the master baths, with those whirlpool tubs that look so suggestively sexy before you move in but seldom get used afterwards.

via Back Issues: Big Houses: Lawyer Foyers and Garage Mahals : The New Yorker.

social media, privacy: Good question …

Nothing is anonymous or invisible. Will the recent cases make people more careful about how they behave? Will they keep their tempers in check at the post office, or stop telling strangers how to raise their children? How does this growing “publicness” affect civility, privacy rights and free expression?

via You’re Mad! You’re on YouTube! – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Apple, piracy:  I would never think to film a movie with my phone … I would not make a good pirate.  So it is fine with me if Apple disables my ability to violate the law.

Apple’s recent patent for an invisible infrared sensor that would block piracy at concerts and movies has net neutrality enthusiasts rattled, but some patent bloggers enthused about the possibilities.

The SavetheInternet.com coalition, a group of some two million people devoted to a free and open Internet, want to send Steve Jobs an online petition, “Dear Apple, Don’t Shut Down My Phone Camera,” to ask that he reconsider the patent. The patent, which would enable a device’s camera to shut down during a movie or concert, applies to iPhones, the iPod Touch and iPad 2.

via Dear Apple, don’t shut down my phone camera – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

education, philanthropy, kudos:  Kudos, PoP!  And I hope you are successful in your worthy endeavor.

Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a non-profit organization that endeavors to bring the possibility of education to communities of underprivileged children. Braun and PoP believe that education is a basic human right, and that by building educational structures, it will bring self-sustainability and ownership to the areas.

It is with this philosophy that Braun partnered with Bieber to create the “Schools 4 All” initiative. PoP is an interactive organization that allows participation, not just donation.

That’s where Bieber comes in. Whoever can raise the most money with their fundraising page gets a special visit by the pop star himself at the school of the winner’s choice. Creating a page is easy: All you need to do is visit schools4all.org and get started.

via Justin Bieber and Pencils of Promise partner to make education dreams come true – What’s Trending – CBS News.

Phantom of the Fox, Fox Theater, Atlanta, news, random:  Didn’t know there was an apartment in the Fox?  What a cool place to live.

It’s official: Joe Patten — the longtime Fox Theatre resident affectionately known as “The Phantom of the Fox” — can remain in the apartment he’s maintained in the historic Midtown venue for more than 31 years.

The Fox announced today that a settlement has been reached in the dispute between Atlanta Landmarks, its owner and operator, and Patten, who helped save the theatre from the wrecking ball in the 1970s.

Patten, who’d renovated the apartment with $50,000 of his own cash since moving in in 1979, claimed the theatre’s board committed housing discrimination when it terminated his lifetime lease and asked him to sign an occupancy agreement — complete with several stipulations — after he experienced a stroke.

via ‘Phantom of the Fox’ won’t have to leave Midtown theatre | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

quotes, Frank Lloyd Wright:

“Where I am, there my office is: my office me.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

travel, Europe:  I think we bought at the top!

Did you put off booking a trip to Europe this summer after plane ticket prices skyrocketed?

Here’s your chance to be a little impulsive. A quick scan of Bing Travel this afternoon indicated that ticket prices to Europe this summer are dropping quickly. (I used July 14-July 21 as travel dates.)

A one-stop flight (with less than an hour-and-a-half layover) from Atlanta to London from US Airways is priced at $1087, one of the lowest prices since the beginning of this year (the highest was $1493). Fights to Paris on multiple airlines were priced at $1223 (they peaked at $1775 in March), with prices expected to drop as well. Amsterdam is down to $1312, Frankfurt at $1297 and Prague at $1237.

via Summer airfare to Europe quickly dropping | Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

2012 Presidential Election, politics, polling, statistics:  Very interesting …

In a new Gallup poll, 22 percent of Americans say they would not vote for a “generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be Mormon.”

That’s the same number since Gallup began asking the question back in 1967, when George Romney, father of Mitt, was running for president. However, as Gallup notes, 25 percent of Americans in 1959 said they wouldn’t vote for a Catholic, and one year later John Kennedy was elected president.

A few other tidbits:

– Democrats (27 percent) were more likely than Republicans (18 percent) to reject a Mormon candidate.

– Two-thirds of Americans said they would support a well-qualified presidential candidate who happened to be gay, compared to only 26 percent in 1978.

– Fewer than half — 49 percent — would support an otherwise well-qualified candidate who happened to be atheist. But that too has changed. In 1958, the first year it was asked, just 18 percent would have supported an atheist.

You hear a lot of people talk about how much America has changed, and they seldom imply it’s for the better. But in many ways the changes of the last 50 years have made this a much better, stronger and united nation.

via Most voters would back Mormon or gay, but not an atheist | Jay Bookman.

cities, bookshelf: I am reading a book on urban living now … and here is a discussion of several more that I could add to my bookshelf.  I”ll wait …

The key factor in determining whether a city is successful is how significant a cohort of the Creative Class it attracts. “It would be a mistake for cities to think they can survive solely as magnets for the young and hip,” the Harvard economist Edward Glaeser writes in his new book, “Triumph of the City” (Penguin Press; $29.95), by way of dismissing Richard Florida. For Glaeser, the key factor that makes cities successful is not the presence of the Creative Class but “proximity,” the way they bring people into contact, enabling them to interact in rich, unexpected, productive ways. Though Edward Glaeser considers Richard Florida’s celebration of cities sentimental and unrigorous compared with his own celebration of cities, the same trump card of hard-hearted rigor could be played against Glaeser. An odd, fascinating new book called “Aerotropolis” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30) predicts that, in the future, cities will reorient themselves around enormous airports.

via The City-Suburb Culture Wars and Globalization : The New Yorker.

twitter, lists: People should think before they tweet … Outrageous Tweets: A Short History – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Jane Austen, zombie, genre, LOL:  There are people, including boys, reading Jane to better understand the Zombie takeoffs … LOL

Whoa! Pride and Prejudice? Darcy’s dip in the lake certainly was not written by Jane. Even Geek Mom knew that. So she went to the source to find out why pimply pre-pubescent boys would read a spinster’s 200 year-old-novel:

“If you’re wondering about that last one … well, as Nick, another of the boys in the group, explained, “It’s good to read to get the cultural references.” I suspect the allusions Nick was trying to understand involved the Undead, but hey, I’m not going to argue with anything that could get my kids to voluntarily pick up Jane Austen.”

They’re reading the original in order to understand Pride and Prejudice and Zombies??!!!! Ack! Guess that’s is better than endlessly playing World of Warcraft or hanging around the mall.

via Jane Austen Today: Will Banned Books Get Boys Interested in Jane Austen?.

food, places: Food is key to a sense of place … What do you crave from home?

Atlanta (me):  Henri’s PoBoys, Varsity onion rings, Greenwood peppermint ice cream with fudge sauce … they served it  the funeral reception of my kith uncle … a true Atlantan!

Cincinnati, OH – Graeter’s Mocha Chip Ice Cream ( Graeter’s peach is also divine.)

Southeast: CHCK-FIL-A!!!!! and “Hot Now” KrispyKreme doughnuts …

NJ – Philadelphia area – hoagies and cheese steak sandwiches

I’ve only been to the Bojangles’ in Union Station once since it opened, but I have to say, knowing it’s here, in the District, with a Cajun chicken biscuit and fries anytime I need, is soothing. It’s one of the things I think of when I think of home, in North Carolina. (And yes, I know they’re in Prince George’s, too, and yes, I have driven well out of my way to get to one. But I don’t have a car, so my options are limited.)

(Richard A. Lipski – WASHINGTON POST) It seems most people’s memories of their home towns are closely entwined with food, as we learn in Monica Hesse’s story of Manhattan transplants. They talk about missing cheap food, good Chinese takeout and bagels. (But they’re happy about the Shake Shack.)

A quick survey of my co-workers had everyone thinking about what they’d like to import

Anna’s Taqueria. (Eric Athas – The Washington Post) to Washington: Anna’s Taqueria for the Bostonians. Jack in the Box for the Californian. Bertman Ballpark Mustard for the Clevelander. A cherry limeade from Sonic for the guy who went to school in Kansas. Zapps’ potato chips for the New Orleanian. (At least now that she can get sno-balls here.)

No matter how much you like Washington, there’s still probably something you sometimes want to import. What would it be? Your answer doesn’t have to be food-related, though that’s the way our conversation went. What are you missing from your home town (or another city you called home for a while)? Tell us in the comments below or by using #DCWishList on Twitter.

via What you want imported to Washington (#dcwishlist) – The Buzz – The Washington Post.

music, generation gap, rant:  I found this amusing … no one wants to feel culturally insignificant!

… but is it . not distressing that parenthood and age, in combination, signify cultural insignificance?

via Immutable/Inscrutable., The New Yorker to One-Third of All Music Listeners in America: You Don’t Matter.




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