Posts Tagged ‘polls

09
Jan
13

1.9.13 first walk …

labyrinths, walking, notes from the path:

“Solvitur Ambulando”

– It is solved by walking.

I’m feeling a little guilty since I have not walked since December 31. I think I may have broken a New Year’s resolution.

As I left my house, I was thinking what an ugly day for my first walk. But by the time I reached Avondale Presbyterian Church, the sun was out, and I am so glad I came because it is now a beautiful winter day.

Thoughts as I walked:

Labyrinth keepers have been hard at work on the labyrinth and it is in great shape today. A few weeds are here, but they are part of the labyrinth today.

Chimes are singing softly and they become a part of my walk. As I walk out, i make the decision to pause when the chimes paused, and to pace myself to the chimes as well. I begin thinking what a wonderful site it would be to see classical ballerinas dancing to some Gregorian chants on a labyrinth. It would be really beautiful ballet.

I am tired today. My husband has a new addiction. It is the tv show and related books of Dexter. Dexter is a serial killer. I am wondering why we can all sit there and watch this. It has a transformative effect.

The bright sunshine is blinding. If it were 15° colder it would be a perfect winter day. Unfortunately it is about 70°. Amazing.

Do you like my new boots? Perfect for labyrinth walking in the winter!

Blessings to you!

bicentennials, anniversaries, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, bookshelf:  Just so you know … 19 days ’til the bicentenary of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! What shall I read this month. 🙂

youtube, LOL:  how to stay positive …

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg]

winter, vacations, bucket list:  Oddly, just about every place on this list is already on my bucket list. 🙂

And so,with 2013 just beginning, I got to thinking of my favorite places to spend a winter week

via Where to Spend a Week This Winter – Intelligent Travel.

Gretchen Rubin, Steve Martin,  G. K. Chesterton, quotes, memoirs, bookshelf:

Last week, I read Steve Martin’s memoir of his time learning and doing stand-up comedy, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life. I loved it.

It’s a terrific example of one of my favorite kinds of books: someone coming into his or her vocation. I love reading about why people become interested in particular subjects or skills, and how they master them.

Reading Steve Martin’s memoir reminded me of one of my favorite quotations, from G. K. Chesterton: “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” Although Steve Martin’s comedy looks wild and crazy, it’s the product of a tremendous amount of serious thought, rehearsal, and experiment.

via What I Learned About Myself from Steve Martin. « The Happiness Project.

Congress,  polls: colonoscopy?

In a poll released Tuesday, Public Policy Polling found that Americans have a higher opinion of traffic jams (56%-34%), colonoscopies (58%-31%) and cockroaches (45%-43%) than Congress. Ditto for love-‘em or hate-‘em band Nickelback (39%-32%), used-car salesmen (57%-32%), root canals (56%-32%) and NFL replacement refs (56%-29%).

via Poll Finds Congress Ranks Lower Than Colonoscopy – Washington Wire – WSJ.

technology, the future: The Jetsons!

The PAL-V ONE, which looks like a cross between a three-wheeler and a helicopter, uses a rear-mounted propeller to take off and a free-spinning rotor on top for lift. Made by PAL-V in the Netherlands, it needs about 200 meters to take off and costs nearly $300,000. If the price comes down and a reasonable way can be found to keep skyborne vehicles separated, we may at last see a world that is somewhat akin to the one depicted in the futuristic cartoon.

via A Land-Air Hybrid Vehicle: Commute to Work Like The Jetsons : Scientific American.

02
Oct
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.

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

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

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

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

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

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

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

The killing of a U.S. jihadist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wendell Curry?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say – BusinessWeek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Shifting the Suburban Paradigm – NYTimes.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kappa connection

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

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

Nancy Haigwood says Bruce Ivins was obsessed with her sorority.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wall Photos.

13
Sep
11

9.13.2011 … last night I watched the Republican Debate (a/k/a CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate) … It is going to be a long year …

2012 Presidential Election, 9/12 CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate, President Obama: I think I will dislike them all by the time they complete 6 before Christmas.  And why does it have to be labeled “Tea Party? ”  The Republicans will lose all the independents and half the Republican Party if they don’t watch out.  Luckily President Obama is helping them out a great deal.  My take I can’t stand Perry or Bachman.  Don’t particularly like any of the rest.  Some are at least funny.

post-it war, la guerre des Post-It, follow-up:  🙂  Has anyone seen any in the US?

Post-it® War.

EARonic, iPhone, design, charity, President Obama, random: Cases That Look Like Ears!  I wonder if they could have President Obama’s ear … what a great way to raise money for charity … who else has famous ears?

CollabCubed has produced the EARonic, a collection of iPhone cases with photographic images of ears. Designed by Rhode Island School of Design student, Daniela Gilsanz, there are five ears total, including one with stubble and piercings and another with a wireless headset.

via EARonic, iPhone Cases That Look Like Ears.

Steph Curry, Davidson College: Fun interview … Still proud he went to Davidson …

During this question, Steph, who had been acting very disinterested in the interview, whipped out his cell phone to take a call. We were shocked to say the least. Before we even started, he strolled in late, with his iPod in his ear, and asked us what The Davidsonian was. Not a good start. We both thought to ourselves, “How can you not know The Davidsonian? It’s just the paper you’ve been featured on countlesstimes.”

He didn’t look like he wanted to be there at all. His attitude conflicted with what we had heard about him, which was that he was a really nice guy and down-to-earth. He seemed like he was “big-leaguing” us and acting like a jerk. But when he answered the call from his cell phone, he burst into laughter, saying “I can’t do this anymore.” Apparently, he and Ms. Lauren Biggers in the Sports Information Department had planned to “punk” us all along. His whole “big league” attitude was all a ruse, and it worked. The fact that he could not keep the act going for more than three minutes tells you more about what kind of person he is than this interview. When all the laughter had died down, we resumed the interview by asking the question again.

via A little 2 on 1 with Steph Curry – Sports – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

9/7 Delhi Bombing, terrorism:  It scares me when we say things like ” the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low.”  … “killing 11 and injuring at least 60 …”

By South Asian standards the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low. On the same day over 20 people were killed in the western Pakistani town of Quetta, as suicide bombers attacked the deputy chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps. The Pakistani Taliban, a group also with close links to al-Qaeda, said it was responsible. It perhaps sought revenge for the soldiers’ part in the arrest, earlier in the week, of a senior al-Qaeda man in Pakistan. Sadly for Pakistan the assault confirms a worsening pattern of violence, with Quetta a known corner for extremist hide-outs, including the senior leadership of Afghanistan’s Taliban.

via Terrorism in South Asia: Bloody Wednesday | The Economist.

recipe,  Pub-Style Burgers, Cook’s Illustrated:  I love Cook’s Illustrated, but grinding my own meat ….  I’ll give this one to John!

To create a recipe for juicy, pub-style burgers with big, beefy flavor, we knew that grinding our own beef was a must. We chose sirloin steak tips for their supremely beefy flavor and lack of gristly sinew, and we upped their richness by adding melted butter to the cold beef before we formed our burgers. A combination stove-oven cooking technique gave us pub-style burgers with a crusty exterior and juicy interior that were evenly rosy from center to edge. A few premium (yet simple) toppings were all that was needed to top off our pub-style burger recipe.

via Juicy Pub-Style Burgers – Cooks Illustrated.

branding, marketing, icons, grammar, articles, “the”:  No ifs, ands or buts, no”the.”

Cutting excess articles is attractive in a digital era where space is at a premium on 140-character Tweets and in Web addresses, says Chapin Clark, the managing director of copy at the Interpublic Group of Co.’s ad agency RGA, which has worked on Barnes & Noble’s no-the Nook. “It may seem insignificant, but it is something that a brand has to think about now,” he says.

In Silicon Valley especially, dropping “the” before product names has become an article of faith. Without the omission, people might be friending each other on TheFacebook.com. After Mark Zuckerberg moved his social network from Cambridge, Mass., to Palo Alto, Calif., adviser Sean Parker persuaded him to drop what he called the awkward article.

Branding gurus defend the “the” omission. “When you can drop an article, the brand takes on a more iconic feel,” argues Allen Adamson, managing director of WPP Group PLC’s branding agency, Landor Associates.

But grammarians disagree. Theodore Bernstein’s 1965 tome “The Careful Writer,” dedicates two pages to omitting articles, which he called a “disfigurement of the language.”

He warns: “When the writer is tempted to lop it off, he should ask himself whether he would as readily delete the other articles in his sentence. Would we write, ‘Main feature of combined first floors of new building will be spacious hospitality area’? Obviously not.”

The Wall Street Journal style calls for inserting articles before product names, except in quotations, even if companies omit them, says stylebook editor Paul Martin.

via An Article of Faith for Marketers: Place No Faith in Articles – WSJ.com.

music, social networking, Turntable.fm:  Sounds very cool … may be way over my head!

Where is this going?

Talley is definitely onto something here. On the surface, turntable.fm is a generic social networking application. Like others, it extends itself to a wide variety of parallel social networks. You can Facebook and Twitter your room directly from TT.fm. You can buy the music via links to Amazon or iTunes, or share it on Last.fm, Spotify, and Rdio. And like Pandora and Last.fm, turntable lets you choose genres and share your favorite music.

But TT.fm goes beyond all that. By letting users choose music and chat in real time, it can replicate the spontaneous “hang-out” feeling of a freeform FM music radio station, the kind that thrived “long ago,” as Talley put it.

Despite its superior sound, FM was a marginal technology in the 1950s. It finally took off for a variety of reasons. First, in 1964 the Federal Communications Commission required AM stations that owned FM frequencies to produce some original content for the latter, not just dupe their AM fare. Second, device makers started attaching FM to “Hi-Fi” stereo systems.

As a consequence, music lovers and entrepreneurs of all kinds embraced FM and turned their stations into spontaneous community music and talk centers. Some of the most famous in the 1960s and ’70s included listener-supported station WBAI-FM and commercial station WNEW in New York City, and KSAN-FM in San Francisco.

WFMU-FM in New Jersey continues the free form tradition today, but most conventional radio stations gradually abandoned the practice in the 1980s. They either replaced the approach with a more predictable range of tunes called “format,” or they went all talk. Then came the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which eased restrictions on radio license buying. As hundreds of stations changed hands, the price of a signal went through the transmitter, making experimentalism unaffordable.

By the early 2000s, the mantle for adventurous music sharing had passed to the Internet, especially to huge successes like Pandora. But although the word “radio” is constantly attached to Pandora and its brethren, much Internet radio doesn’t really sound like radio. More akin to a juke box, it has always lacked the crucial element that made mid-20th century music radio so compelling—human beings spontaneously picking the tunes and keeping you company while you listened.

via Inside Turntable.fm: saving music radio from itself.

food – Peruvian:  We have loved Peruvian food ever since our 1987 trip … maybe some ceviche this weekend.

The renowned Wall Street Journal said Peruvian food is the next big thing in the world. Its ceviches, causas and anticuchos provide flavors that have the world’s top toques raving, experimenting and catching the next jet.

“Make room Spain and Korea, Peru is having its moment in the gastronomic sun”, says an article published this week.

The daily said Peruvian cuisine is the result of a nearly 500-year melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration and native Quechua culture, which is on the lips of top chefs worldwide.

Ceviche, the country’s famous cured-seafood salad, abounds on menus, even outside of Peruvian spots: Haute cuisine temples Le Bernardin and Daniel both serve it.

Peruvian chefs say they are able to entice investors to finance homages to their national cuisine for the first time.

The Wall Street journal said top chefs from around the world are gathering in Lima thsi week for Mistura, a 10-day food festival that began in 2008 and has become the most important food event in Latin America, attracting a projected 300,000 visitors this year.

“There they will discover a cuisine unique in Latin America. Peruvian food features a lot of seafood, often prepared raw or cured; high acid—Key lime juice and red onion are ubiquitous flavors; and a subtle hint of spice provided by the fruity aji pepper, which leaves lips tingling”, the article says.

Peruvian food also uses lots of potatoes—there are about 3,000 varieties in Peru, where the tuber originated. Ceviche often features pieces of either yellow potato or yam, and mashed potatoes are served cold, with fish or chicken salad as toppings, in a dish called causa.

via The next big thing is Peruvian food, says Wall Street Journal | ANDINA – Peru News Agency.

politics, polls, Democrats, Rep. Anthony Weiner:  Wow.  If the Democrats lose today …

Another poll shows Democrats in danger of losing a New York City congressional seat in a special election Tuesday — an outcome that many would see as a loud rebuke to President Barack Obama from voters in his own party.

According to the poll by Public Policy Polling, Republican Bob Turner has a 6% point edge over Democrat David Weprin. That is the same margin found by a Siena College poll released last week.

The two men are running to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Anthony Weiner, a married Democrat who resigned after admitting he sent sexually charged messages to about a half dozen women he met online.

The district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens, has a Democratic registration advantage of 3-to-1, and for that reason a Republican victory was considered a very remote possibility until recently. Now, polls are showing that voter unhappiness with Obama is hurting Weprin, a state Assemblyman.

via Poll Shows Republican Bob Turner Leading Democrat David Weprin – Metropolis – WSJ.

Global Cities, interactive map, data, computer technology:  Amazing amount of data in one place.

Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth. Which of them will contribute the largest number of children or elderly to the world’s population? Which will see the fastest expansion of new entrants to the consuming middle classes? How will regional patterns of growth differ?

Explore these questions by browsing through the interactive global map below, which contains city-specific highlights from the McKinsey Global Institute’s database of more than 2,000 metropolitan areas around the world.

via Global cities of the future: An interactive map – McKinsey Quarterly – Economic Studies – Productivity & Performance.

Libya, spring uprisings, change, Andrew Reynolds, UNC: “Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage.” I have often wondered if culturally some people do not have this mentality.  I found this writer’s optimism enlightening. And on a different not, I could see Molly just loving this work.

(Editor’s note: Andrew Reynolds, UNC’s chairman of global studies, is in Libya advising the Transitional National Council on its plans for an interim government. The following is a first-person dispatch written Friday from Benghazi, Libya.)

We once thought of Libya as a closed and hostile place, a state, and indeed people. We distrusted them as opponents of our way of life and allies of some of our worst enemies. But after the uprising against the 42-year dictatorship of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, a very different reality has been revealed. Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage. They see Westerners as their great friends, indeed saviors, after the NATO used its military might to support their uprising and protect civilians who were under attack from Gadhafi’s army.

While Libya is full of great optimism, it remains fragile. As I write in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Gaddafi and his sons remain on the run, perhaps hiding in on one the few remaining cities held by the regime. The transitional (rebel) government has made great strides quickly and its instincts on a transition to democracy are good but there are huge challenges ahead. Libya has never had anything like a democratic regime, free elections or a

political party system. Now it must evolve all these institutions in little time. The challenge will be to include all voices, guard against the country fragmenting into tribal allegiances, and try and retrieve the large and small guns which seem to be in everyone’s hands.

All day today we meet at Gadhafi’s high tech security headquarters in Benghazi that has become reborn as the headquarters of the “rebel” Transitional National Council. I have long discussions about the democratization timetable with members of the political and legal affairs committees.

At lunchtime I chat with another of our drivers and fixers who I’ll call Muhammed. He is unrelentingly optimistic. “We want to become better than Malaysia, better than Qatar. Look at our country.” His hands sweep across the seafront. “We can provide.”

Muhammed has two brothers fighting with the rebels — one is a teacher, the other an engineer. But this evening the reality and fragility of Libya comes home. Muhammed hears that his best friend from high school was killed on the front lines near Bani Walid.

The TNC’s timetable for a new government begins on Day 0: Liberation day. And that day has not yet come.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Professor works with Libyan rebels.

Charlotte, energy capital, economy, changes, Great Recession:  A bright spot!

By the end of this year, a tower built as a home for Wachovia will be the new headquarters of Duke Energy.

That switcheroo in one downtown building highlights a change sweeping Charlotte in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While the tidy North Carolina city of 730,000 people still counts itself as the nation’s No. 2 financial center and is looking to expand in a number of arenas — including health, motor sports and defense — the area’s energy sector is showing particular promise.

Such bright spots are hard to come by at a time when the nation’s unemployment rate is stubbornly locked above 9 percent. On Thursday, President Obama presented Congress a $447 billion bill to put Americans back to work, repeatedly urging, “You should pass this jobs plan right away.”

The travails of the financial crisis, punctuated in Charlotte by Wachovia’s near collapse and takeover by Wells Fargo, thumped Charlotte’s finance and insurance sector, which between 2008 and 2010 lost 9 percent of its jobs, a drop to 77,000. Bank of America, the other top-five bank in Charlotte, has moved some of its operations to New York.

And instead of regaining solid footing three years after the crisis, the financial sector is under siege again.

Bank of America rejiggered its management team last week as the giant finance firm grapples with a dwindling share price and new legal liabilities over mortgage deals. Warren Buffett has made a $5 billion investment in the bank. And a restructuring reportedly could cut as many as 40,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, since 2007 Charlotte has announced about 5,600 new energy-related jobs, taking the total to roughly 27,000 at 250 energy-oriented firms, according to economic development officials. About 2,000 energy jobs were added in 2010, with another 765 this year.

It’s not enough to replace finance jobs lost in the recession or to turn around local unemployment, which hangs at 11.2 percent. But local officials say it’s a start, and their bet is long-term. They must, they say, diversify the region’s economy.

“I think we are going to be the energy capital of the country before it’s all over,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said.

The goals, he said, stretch from corporations to consumers. In addition to luring energy firms, the city is expanding recycling, “smart” grid projects and public transit, with plans to add 10 miles of light rail and a commuter line in years to come.

via Charlotte looks beyond financial sector in effort to become ‘energy capital’ – The Washington Post.

Amazon, Amazon Prime, subscription library service:  I would use it …

Would you pay to have limited, monthly access to a library of books for your e-reader? According to report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is hoping you would.

The online retailer is reportedly thinking about making a subscription library service available to Amazon Prime members, adding book rentals to the $79 per year service that now offers online video and an unlimited deal on two-day shipping. The rental subscription, described in the report as a Netflix-like service for books, would offer older titles, and the company would limit the amount of books users could read for free every month.

apps, books, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand:  Might actually buy this one …  I am intrigued.

Penguin has a new book app available for Ayn Rand‘s controversial text Atlas Shrugged. The interactive app includes audio and video of the author, as well as scans of her notes on the subject.

The app also includes social media sharing features. Here is more from the app’s iTunes listing: “While immersed in the app, readers also have the option to share favorite passages and quotes from the novel on Facebook, Twitter, and via email with a few quick taps—and without ever leaving the page.”

This is the third time this year that the publisher has taken a popular old book and repurposed it with special features to turn it into an app.

via Ayn Rand Gets Atlas Shrugged App – GalleyCat.

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged [A New American Library Amplified Edition] for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

nerdfighters,  publishing, twitter: Good question.

In a presentation entitled “How Nerdfighters Can Save Publishing,” Green will share lessons he learned while building one million Twitter followers and 17 million channel views on YouTube.

via John Green to Keynote Publishing App Expo – GalleyCat.

art, paper statues, Edinburgh, random:  Fun!

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…

… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…

This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

via Mysterious paper sculptures – Central Station Blog post.

English language, grammar, word use: Enjoyed this …

Redundant is almost always hurled as a negative epithet, but repetition can be an effective rhetorical device. Shorn of all redundancy, Shakespeare’s “most unkindest cut of all” would be pretty vanilla, and the ad slogan “Raid Kills Bugs Dead” would become the ho-hum “Raid Kills Bugs.” Meanwhile, Gertrude Stein’s “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” would have to be completely erased because the quotation is nothing but redundancy. (Completely erased is redundant as well—something is either erased or it isn’t. But I felt I needed the emphasis provided by completely.)

Most redundancy, however, truly is regrettable, a product of both laziness (not bothering to prune your prose) and verbal inflation: a boy-who-cried-wolf phenomenon whereby you feel you need to say something multiple times to make your point. It’s tough to prove, but I have little doubt that redundancy is on the upswing, a manifestation of the wordiness and clunkiness that characterizes much writing these days.

via Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

BofA, workforce cuts, kith/kin: Underwhelming? Not if you are a BofA associate or live in one of their headquarter cities …

Bank of America Corp said it will cut 30,000 jobs and slash annual expenses by $5 billion, but investors were unimpressed with the plan and the lack of details on how it will be accomplished.

The staff reductions amount to more than 10 percent of the bank’s workforce, and come as chief executive Brian Moynihan struggles to fix a bank whose share price has dropped nearly 50 percent this year.

Media reports last week said the bank could cut as many as 40,000 jobs. Many investors had hoped for a more dramatic turnaround plan on Monday, when Moynihan spoke at a financial conference and the bank released its cutback plans.

“It was pretty underwhelming,” said Jason Ware, an analyst at Albion Financial Group, referring to the bank’s plan.

“They need to address the bigger issues the bank faces,” Ware said.

via BofA plans 30,000 job cuts; investors underwhelmed – Yahoo! Finance.

2012 Olympic Games, London, travel, London August 2011 Riots, media campaign:  Pandora’s box may have been opened … big pr problem.

British police would not be able to cope with disturbances on the scale of August’s riots if they occur during next year’s London Olympics, the officer coordinating security for the Games said Monday.

Officers are holding off decisions on how to cope with security problems during the 2012 Games until the conclusions of a report on public order policing becomes available, said Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security coordinator.

“If we were facing exactly the same as we were faced with on the Monday night (of the riots), with the resources we’ve got now, we still wouldn’t be able to cope with it,” he told reporters.

“Some work is being done to think about what we need to put in place in Games time,” he said.

Gangs of youth rampaged through London and other major British cities in early August, burning and looting shops and buildings in the country’s worst unrest since race riots in the 1980s. Hundreds of people were arrested for the violence. The disorder, which took place over four nights, came less than two weeks after London celebrated the one-year countdown to the opening of the games on July 27, 2012, with great fanfare.

Officials said Monday they would spend three million pounds ($4.7 million) to boost tourism on the back of the Games and restore the Olympic host city’s tarnished image.

Culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Hunt says the publicity campaign aims to “set the record straight” and show the world that the riots do not “stand for what the U.K. is all about.”

via $4.7M PR campaign launched for London Olympics – Europe – NBCSports.com.

Meatless Monday, Sid Lerner, diet and health, history:  We have Taco Tuesdays! Hmmm, I guess that is not the same thing.

Meatless Monday in the Media

“‘Friday is pay day, Saturday is play day, Sunday is pray day,’ Lerner says, naturally rolling into the smooth rhythm of a practiced pitch. ‘Monday is health day’… Mondays are magic. And Sid Lerner’s determined to own Monday, slather it with soy–based dressing, and then get Americans to just try one bite—they might like it.”Michael Y. Park for Gourmet

“Under Woodrow Wilson’s watch during World War I, Americans were asked to conserve resources with Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays… ‘When our country was involved in war, it meant shortages and sacrifices back here at home,’ Kamps says. ‘The whole country was really involved in the war effort in that sense.’ Food and national security felt closely connected to each other.”

via Meatless Monday in the Media.

NBA Lockout,  Michael Jordan: $100,000 … I hope he learned his lesson.

Last month, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan discussed revenue sharing and Andrew Bogut in an interview with an Australian newspaper.

Now, according to an ESPN report, those remarks will cost him $100,000. Even where the league’s greatest player is concerned, the league is making good on its promise to fine anyone for discussing that which shall not be discussed — the lockout.

“The model we’ve been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, [so] I think we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign,” Jordan said in the Aug. 19 Herald Sun interview.

via NBA fines Michael Jordan $100,000; don’t they know who he is? – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

criminal acts, students, iPads, cellphones: Students are such easy prey.

According to a campus crime alert posted by university police, the student “was approached by three suspects who snatched her iPad and fled.”

via Thieves snatch cell phone, iPad from Georgia State students  | ajc.com.

green, electric motorcycle:  Cool … patented gyroscopic stability technology–no tipping … a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle … and 125 miles on one charge.

Lit Motors CEO Daniel Kim wants to reinvent the motorcycle as we know it today. His idea? To design and manufacture a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle that runs purely on electric. SmartPlanet gets an exclusive first look at the C1-concept vehicle and its patented gyroscopic stability technology that helps prevent it from tipping over.

via Lit Motors unveils concept, all-electric, fully enclosed motorcycle | SmartPlanet.

alternate fuel, algae, bio-energy: Venice turns green!

VENICE is renowned for its canals, gondolas, and its glamorous film festival. It is less well known for its green credentials. Yet the work of a team of scientists sifting through micro-algae on the neighbouring island of Pellestrina may change that. Researchers on this tiny, thin strip of land aim to power the city’s entire port by harnessing the bio-energy potential of algal life. They are busy identifying which of the lagoon’s native species of unicellular micro-algae can be bred in new bioreactors to provide efficient biomass for electricity and motor fuel production.

Set to be operational by the end of the year, the experimental tanks will generate 500KW of peak capacity with oil derived from algal pulp. If successful, the project can be rapidly scaled up to 50MW. The entire port currently consumes 7MW. It is one of a growing number of projects across Europe extracting bio-fuel from algae. These simple organisms offer a slew of advantages. They can be harvested as often as once every three days, have higher oil content than alternative biological sources, and, since they can grown in tanks, they reduce the risk of ecosystem damage and do not pinch increasingly scarce arable land as other biomass crops do.

via Algal energy: Venice turns green | The Economist.

Bible, Moses, film/lit, politics, James Howell: 🙂

Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, stands out as one of the great Bible films of all time – and one of my personal favorites. DeMille had produced a silent film, The Ten Commandments, in 1923, and now reshot everything in stunning Technicolor. The 1956 version is four hours long, but is never boring… Hokey? Indeed. After Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, he descends the mountain, where his wife looks at him and exclaims, “Moses, your hair!” – as his hair has greyed overnight, evidently due to a virtually radioactive encounter with the Almighty.

What is more striking is how much the politics of the 1950’s bleeds into the movie’s spin on Exodus. The heated conversations between Moses (played by Charlton Heston) and Pharaoh (Yul Brynner) are about freedom from tyranny, human rights, independence, with constant echoes of Cold War sentiments in the U.S. – whereas the people of Israel weren’t bolting for independence or rights or even freedom, but to worship, to learn submission to the Lord, and strict obedience.

via eMoses – Moses at the Movies!.

Food, restaurants, Adam Rapoport, favorites,  lists, the Pearl, Dublin,  Domaine Chandon, Auberge du Soleil, Napa, Frank’s, Pawley’s Island SC, Pisgah Inn, Asheville NC, kith/kin:  So what are your favorite restaurants meals?  i’m still thinking … but I know they are not big named restaurants … more of everything coming together: people, food, ambiance/place.  And I don’t necessarily remember what I ate!  I can think of  … hot dogs at the Varsity (anytime),  Pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters (anytime),  fresh trout at a mountain inn on my honeymoon in Austria (1984) , dinner with the tv crew by a river in Arequipa Peru (1987), dinner with my in-laws at an inn tucked high above the Pacific south of Monterrey CA (1988),  lunch at Domaine Chandon and another at Auberge du Soleil in Napa (1988), in Dublin eating at the Pearl at the bar (2009), fried calamari at a touristy restaurant in Seattle (2003), fresh salmon at a touristy restaurant in Alaska(2005), Molly’s birthday celebration (with a horrible cake) at safety alarm corporate hotel in rural China near Beijing(2007),  chicken tika masala at the Broadley’s home in Nottingham Road SA,  moules frites in Honfleur FR, trout at the Pisgah Inn near Asheville NC (anytime), every meal at Frank’s in Pawley’s Island SC (anytime)… but really my favorite meals are holiday meals with family and my dad’s post-Masters lobster salad.  Here is Mr. Rapoport’s List …

Duke Ziebert’s, 1990

A 21st-birthday lunch with Dad at the D.C. power restaurant. Prime-rib hash and eggs, onion rolls, dill pickles, Coke.

Daniel, 1995

My intro to the NYC big time. Still remember all eight courses, from peekytoe crab with celery gelee to whole roasted halibut tail with tapioca pearls.

In-N-Out Burger, 2001

A long night and an even longer wait for a Double-Double in Vegas.

Peter Luger, 2007

Surprise bachelor dinner two nights before my wedding. Thick-cut bacon + medium-rare porterhouse + creamed spinach + 4 of your closest friends = the perfect meal.

The Fat Duck, 2008

Walked into the U.K. restaurant wondering what the hype was about, left mesmerized.

via Adam Rapoport’s 5 Most Memorable Restaurant Meals: BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

9/11 10th Anniversary, Paul Simon, “Song of Silence”:  “If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.”

If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.

Paul Simon was one of the featured performers at the ten-year 9/11 memorial service in New York on Sunday, where he played Simon & Garfunkel’s hauntingly beautiful 1964 classic, “Sound of Silence.”  Simon was reportedly meant to perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the service, and as much as NewsFeed loves that song, we think the change was perfect. Somehow, the lyrics seem as if they were written for this occasion.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Simon, a native New Yorker, has used his music to comfort in the wake of the attacks; he was Saturday Night Live’s musical guest on the first episode back on the air after the Twin Towers fell. Back then he performed “The Boxer.”

via Watch: Paul Simon Sings ‘Sound of Silence’ at 9/11 Memorial – TIME NewsFeed.

Hacking the Academy, books, academics, social media: Changing world …

An eon ago in Twitter time–that is, yesterday–the online and open-access version of Hacking the Academy, edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, was released through the University of Michigan Press’s DigitalCultureBooks imprint. The final version will be release in print in 2012. A somewhat different version of the text has been, and will continue to be, available on the original website for the project, but as Cohen and Scheinfeldt explain, the goal is both to reach audiences beyond the social media echo chamber and to show how “scholarly and educational content can exist in multiple forms for multiple audiences.”

Originally promoted as a “One Week, One Book” experiment somewhat akin to One Week / One Tool,” Hacking the Academy is an energetic look at ways “the academy might be beneficially reformed using digital media and technology,” a project dear to the heart of this site. (And, indeed, several of the contributors are either ProfHacker writers or guests.) With sections on “Hacking Scholarship,” “Hacking Teaching,” and “Hacking Institutions,” and with multiple contributions that comment directly on one another, Hacking the Academy provides an excellent thumbnail introduction to some of the most interesting questions, challenges, and opportunities posed by the intersection of digital and academic ways of being. The compressed nature of its composition–with only one week to author submissions, many of which were repurposed from other formats–means that the book is necessarily fragmentary and suggestive than comprehensive.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

President Obama, race, culture, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, books:  Are racial attitudes changing post-Obama? OK, the title of the book got my attention.

In the age of Obama, racial attitudes have become more complicated and nuanced than ever before. Inspired by a president who is unlike any Black man ever seen on our national stage, we are searching for new ways of understanding Blackness. In this provocative new book, iconic commentator and journalist TourÉ tackles what it means to be Black in America today.

TourÉ begins by examining the concept of “Post-Blackness,” a term that defines artists who are proud to be Black but don’t want to be limited by identity politics and boxed in by race. He soon discovers that the desire to be rooted in but not constrained by Blackness is everywhere. In Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? he argues that Blackness is infinite, that any identity imaginable is Black, and that all expressions of Blackness are legitimate.

Here, TourÉ divulges intimate, funny, and painful stories of how race and racial expectations have shaped his life and explores how the concept of Post-Blackness functions in politics, society, psychology, art, culture, and more. He knew he could not tackle this topic all on his own so he turned to 105 of the most important luminaries of our time for frank and thought-provoking opinions, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Harold Ford Jr., Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Paul Mooney, New York Governor David Paterson, Greg Tate, Aaron McGruder, Soledad O’Brien, Kamala Harris, Chuck D, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and many others.

via Books> Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?  

John Belk, Davidson College, Charlotte:  The Belks have shaped Charlotte,  John Belk in particular.  And Davidson, too.

Belk, who died in 2007 at age 87, loved three things passionately: Davidson College, the Presbyterian Church and the city of Charlotte, friends say. He quit the Davidson board of trustees in 2005 when the college decided to allow non-Christians on the board, but continued his support of the school where buildings he helped underwrite bear the Belk name.

Historian Tom Hanchett of the Levine Museum of the New South credits Belk with the vision to revive uptown in the ’70s, a time of urban decay across the nation. Belk insisted a new civic center be built in the business district despite strong opposition.

He also opposed district representation on the City Council, recognizing it would interfere with his paternalistic style of leadership. After he lost that battle, he opted not to seek a fifth term.

Belk’s penchant for malapropisms was one of his hallmarks. “A certain amount of fleas are good for the dog, ’cause it keeps him scratching,” he once said.

via WTVI profile recalls vast influence of John Belk | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Post 9/11, follow-up:  Here are some websites and articles that have made me re-think our post 9/11 world.

An Interfaith Answer to “Religious Totalitarianism” and Terrorism | Interfaith Voices.

The Real War:

Religious Totalitarianism

by Thomas L. Friedman

New York Times editorial – November 27, 2001

If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War III, we have to understand what this war is about. We’re not fighting to eradicate “terrorism.” Terrorism is just a tool. We’re fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism.

World War II and the cold war were fought to defeat secular totalitarianism – Nazism and Communism – and World War III is a battle against religious totalitarianism, a view of the world that my faith must reign supreme and can be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated. That’s bin Ladenism. But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism can’t be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.

The generals we need to fight this war are people like Rabbi David Hartman, from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. What first attracted me to Rabbi Hartman when I reported from Jerusalem was his contention that unless Jews reinterpreted their faith in a way that embraced modernity, without weakening religious passion, and in a way that affirmed that God speaks multiple languages and is not exhausted by just one faith, they would have no future in the land of Israel. And what also impressed me was that he knew where the battlefield was. He set up his own schools in Israel to compete with fundamentalist Jews, Muslims and Christians, who used their schools to preach exclusivist religious visions.

After recently visiting the Islamic madrasa in Pakistan where many Taliban leaders were educated, and seeing the fundamentalist religious education the young boys there were being given, I telephoned Rabbi Hartman and asked:

How do we battle religious totalitarianism?

He answered: “All faiths that come out of the biblical tradition – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have the tendency to believe that they have the exclusive truth. When the Taliban wiped out the Buddhist statues, that’s what they were saying. But others have said it too. The opposite of religious totalitarianism is an ideology of pluralism – an ideology that embraces religious diversity and the idea that my faith can be nurtured without claiming exclusive truth. America is the Mecca of that ideology, and that is what bin Laden hates and that is why America had to be destroyed.”

The future of the world may well be decided by how we fight this war. Can Islam, Christianity and Judaism know that God speaks Arabic on Fridays, Hebrew on Saturdays and Latin on Sundays, and that he welcomes different human beings approaching him through their own history, out of their language and cultural heritage? “Is single-minded fanaticism a necessity for passion and religious survival, or can we have a multilingual view of God – a notion that God is not exhausted by just one religious path?” asked Rabbi Hartman.

Many Jews and Christians have already argued that the answer to that question is yes, and some have gone back to their sacred texts to reinterpret their traditions to embrace modernity and pluralism, and to create space for secularism and alternative faiths. Others – Christian and Jewish fundamentalists – have rejected this notion, and that is what the battle is about within their faiths.

What is different about Islam is that while there have been a few attempts at such a reformation, none have flowered or found the support of a Muslim state. We patronize Islam, and mislead ourselves, by repeating the mantra that Islam is a faith with no serious problems accepting the secular West, modernity and pluralism, and the only problem is a few bin Ladens. Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities. Bin Laden reflects the most extreme version of that exclusivity, and he hit us in the face with it on 9/11.

Christianity and Judaism struggled with this issue for centuries, but a similar internal struggle within Islam to re-examine its texts and articulate a path for how one can accept pluralism and modernity – and still be a passionate, devout Muslim – has not surfaced in any serious way. One hopes that now that the world spotlight has been put on this issue, mainstream Muslims too will realize that their future in this integrated, globalized world depends on their ability to reinterpret their past.

via Readings on religion and world events.

bees, beekeeping, apiarists:  I love this description of amateur beekeeping!

Why are we doing this? If you grew up suburban, barefoot and curious, your first memory of pain is probably a bee sting. One wrong step, and clover-specked lawns suddenly feel like minefields. As humans, though, our first experience of sweetness—high-grade, system-shocking, what is this stuff sweetness—was probably honey. Ten thousand years after we started stealing it from wild hives, cartoon bees push their dope to kids watching Saturday-morning TV. Fear and reward, reverence and addiction: our relationship with bees is long and complicated. That’s one way of explaining that early-morning car ride.

via Sweet Stings and Armageddon: My Life as an Amateur Beekeeper.

apps, photography, Photo Academy:  Another that has  caught my attention …

Photo Academy is a comprehensive guide and tool set for photographers of all skill levels. Browse through thousands of tips and sample photos, record your progress in your diary, and expand your photography repertoire.

via App Store – Photo Academy.




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