Posts Tagged ‘pollution

22
Oct
13

10.22.13 … secrets, secret places and secret lives …

 

China, Harbin China, pollution:  In the heat of the summer it was bad … but never this bad!  

The Harbin government reported an air quality index (AQI) score of 500, the highest possible reading, with some neighborhoods posting concentrations of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter that are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller and especially harmful to health — as high as 1,000 milligrams per cubic meter, according to the China News Service.

(By comparison, the air quality index in New York was 41 on Monday morning.)

The Chinese government describes air with an AQI between 301 and 500 as “heavily polluted” and urges people to refrain from exercising outdoors; the elderly and other vulnerable populations are supposed to stay indoors entirely. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses a similar index that labels any reading between 301 and 500 as “hazardous.”

Both scales reach their limit at 500, leaving creative citizens of polluted cities to come up with their own labels when the air gets worse. Foreign residents in Beijing declared an “airpocalpyse” last January when the U.S. Embassy reported an AQI equivalent of 755, with a PM2.5 concentration of 866 milligrams per cubic meter. The World Health Organization has standards that judge a score above 500 to be more than 20 times the level of particulate matter in the air deemed safe.

via ‘Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools – NYTimes.com.

Lewis Grizzard, The South:  I always loved Lewis’ columns … still do …

He would tell Yankee immigrants who found fault with the South: “Delta is ready when you are.”

via Lewis Grizzard | Today In Georgia History.

Paris, Ernest Hemingway, quotes, kith/kin:  How long do you have to “live ”  to feel this way?

source: Pinterest.

travel, shoes, good informationBest Walking Shoes for Travel – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

Norma Kamali, Provence FR, olive orchards, bucket list:  Never thought of doing a tour of olive vineyards …

So began the first of what would become a decade of road trips from Barcelona along the coast of Spain and into France and Italy. But of all the orchards that Ms. Kamali has ever visited along the way, her favorite is in Provence, in the South of France, where she thinks the best olive oil in the world is made. “If there was a description of what heaven looks like,” she said, “I would say this is it.”

THE DESTINATION

Ms. Kamali’s Provence is an autumnal watercolor of what she describes as endless vineyards against a backdrop of mountains and sea. France’s sole A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) olive-oil designation — a sought-after status that verifies the oil’s contents, as well as the method and origin of production — is in Provence. The region is also home to five of France’s seven A.O.P. (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) olive-oil designations, a classification system used throughout the European Union.

WHY SHE GOES BACK

Despite having been to orchards from Spain to Italy, Ms. Kamali always returns to Provence for the quality of the oil, the taste of which depends on many factors, including sun (is the orchard on the shady side of a hill?), terrain (are the trees on flat land?) and neighbors (what’s planted nearby?). “In France it’s often living next to lavender,” Ms. Kamali said, “so there are some olive oils that have a lavender scent.”

The fragrance may be delicate, but “the olive trees are in themselves just very stoic,” she said.

“They lasted through wars and all kinds of weather conditions,” she continued. “History just counts the olive tree as part of the marking of time.”

When in Provence, Ms. Kamali stays at a friend’s chateau, but she said that you can still immerse yourself in the culture by staying at a villa on an orchard.

via Steal My Vacation – Norma Kamali’s Provence – NYTimes.com.

Frank Law Olmstead, Biltmore, John Singer Sargent: I stood for several minutes and stared at this portrait on my last visit to Biltmore.  it is huge and I love the outfit and cane.  Now that I know that his son wore the outfit and posed toward the end, I think it even more interesting.  Olmstead’s impacted almost every city I love in the US … nothing better in a city than a really good park!

As a National Historic Site it is also a modest place, considering the huge scope of the legacy left by the man who lived and worked there. Olmsted is best known as the creator of Central Park, a design he completed with his partner Calvert Vaux. With that celebrated project he may be said to have invented the field of landscape architecture, going on provide most of the major cities in America with a legacy of his genius. To name a few, the great parks of Boston, Chicago, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Louisville, Rochester, Buffalo, Baltimore, Denver, Seattle, all bear his signature. He designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and all or parts of the campuses of Stanford, Cornell, Amherst, Yale, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and many others.

Olmsted by Sargent

The final work project of his life, though, was for a private client, George Washington Vanderbilt, who in 1895 had just completed The Biltmore, the largest private residence ever built in the United States. It was a 250-room chateau outside of Ashville, North Carolina. Olmsted worked to landscape the place. Perhaps recognizing that his 73-year-old landscape designer was in poor health, Vanderbilt arranged for Olmsted’s friend, the artist John Singer Sargent, to come down from Boston to paint his portrait on the grounds of the estate. Sargent chose to place his subject in a setting of thick vegetation. It is a poignant picture of an old man leaning on a cane and somehow receding slightly into the mass of greenery around him. Flowers and flowering bushes had never been Olmsted’s forte; he had always preferred to plant trees that took little tending. In Sargent’s portrait, the flowers seem slightly out of control, reaching to overtake the elderly gentleman standing in their midst.

via Frederick Law Olmsted, John Singer Sargent, and Nature’s Design.

Entering a city park can be almost surreal, like encountering a desert mirage–smells of hot garbage are replaced instantly with cut grass and forsythia, sounds of screeching subway brakes are traded for birdcalls and quiet. Former Vogue editor and New York Public Library chairman Catie Marron had a lifelong love for these green respites from cacophony and claustrophobia. “I always gravitate towards city parks. In the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris when I was 23, something moved me internally, almost brought me to tears,” Marron tells Co.Design. “I really wanted to find books on parks for myself, but I didn’t find any. They didn’t seem to exist.”

She decided to change that, and rallied an impressive collection of authors and public figures–including Bill Clinton, Zadie Smith, Andre Aciman, Colm Toibin, and Nicole Krauss–to pen poignant odes to twenty-one city parks the world over. The resulting book, City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, captures the enchantment of urban green spaces with intimate essays and Oberto Gili’s full color photographs, which appear almost three-dimensional in their depth and richness.

via The Secret Lives Of City Parks | Co.Design | business + design.

02
Nov
11

11.2.2011 … Today is All Souls’ Day …

All Soul’s Day:

Jon Meacham

Today is All Souls’ Day. A special word of prayer for those who have fallen in America’s battles: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

via Today is All Souls’….

college students, careers, Apple, study abroad, kith/kin:  I think my molls has something like this in the back of her mind.

Students who benefit most from international studies are the ones who immerse in the culture and take advantage of educational opportunities. Lane focused hard on his business education while he lived with a host family and tried to speak Spanish the majority of the time.

Lane, a senior economics major at Santa Clara University in California, went to Madrid during the fall 2010 semester. He arrived at a time when Spain and a handful of other countries were experiencing budget deficit troubles.

Lane saw strikes and demonstrations in response to the country’s economic turmoil. He particularly remembers the Spaniard’s opposition to Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero during the National Day Parade, which is held annually in October. The Spanish whistled when Zapatero came through the procession, which is equivalent to an American booing, Lane said.

“It was interesting to be in class and talk about the economic crisis and then be able to go out and see a parade that weekend where people are demonstrating because they can’t find jobs,” Lane said.

Three weeks before Lane started studying in Madrid, he took a pre-trial seminar across Europe that allowed him to tour large corporations — like Airbus, Heineken and Mercedes — and government institutions — such as the World Trade Organization, the UN and the European Central Bank. Some of the companies were located in France, Germany, Switzerland and Amsterdam.

Lane remembers his experience at a Mercedes truck manufacturing plant in Germany. Lane saw how the vehicles were made and later ate lunch with the plant workers.

“We talked about labor unions and what their working conditions were like,” Lane said. “It fascinated me how much workers said they were taken care of and were paid. Workers seemed satisfied.”

During his interview for a 2011 summer internship with Apple, Lane was able to show the company how he understood the global impacts of a corporation. He landed the internship and has since been invited to join the finance team full-time after he graduates in June 2012.

via Student lands job with Apple after studying abroad | USA TODAY College.

pollution,  evolution, environmental stress:

IT IS not often that biologists have a chance to watch natural selection in action. The best-known cases—the evolution of resistance to antibiotics in bacteria and to pesticides in insects—are responses to deliberate changes people have made in the environment of the creatures concerned. But mankind has caused lots of accidental changes as well, and these also offer opportunities to study evolution.

Recently, two groups of researchers, one at New York University (NYU) and the other at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, have taken advantage of one of these changes to look at how fish evolve in response to environmental stress. The stress in question is pollution by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals—widely used in the middle decades of the 20th century to manufacture electrical insulation, coolants, sealants and plasticisers—often ended up dumped in lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Eventually, such dumping was banned (in America, this happened in 1977). But PCBs are persistent chemicals, and their effects are felt even today. In particular, they disrupt the immune systems of animals such as fish, cause hormonal imbalances and promote tumours.

As is the way of evolution, however, some fish species have developed resistance to PCB poisoning. Isaac Wirgin, at NYU, and Mark Hahn, at Woods Hole, have been studying PCB-resistant fish, to see how they do it. After that, the two researchers will be able to look at how these populations evolve yet again as the environment is cleaned up.

via Pollution and evolution: Waters of change | The Economist.

U.S. Senate, classified information, politics, media:  A good secret goes a long way in politics.  But abusing power for self gain is a character issue … I always say character matters.

Could it be that senators are so enamored by the siren song of a cable-news hit or maybe an evening news network slot, if the state secret they let slip was juicy enough! that they would be unable to muzzle themselves?It’s unlikely. Even the loosest-lipped senators and those most entranced by TV cameras paging Sen. Chuck Schumer have managed to keep sensitive details under wraps. The only slip in recent memory was in 2002 when Sen. Richard Shelby divulged some information he’d gleaned in a classified briefing. Shelby told reporters about two messages the U.S. had intercepted the day before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — but which weren’t translated until the day after the attacks. The leak kicked off FBI and Justice Department investigations, as well as some serious grief from a ticked-off White House.And since when was a TV camera and a clip-on microphone a recipe for truth serum?Besides which, it seems that the concerns about leakage were unfounded. Turns out, the meeting wasn’t all that sexy.After the briefing, Sen. Susan Collins told a few reporters that she didn’t get what the cloak-and-dagger act was all about. “I didn’t hear anything earth-shattering,” she said, according to our colleague Felicia Sonmez. “It was a very useful briefing, but it was one of those briefings where I wonder why it’s top secret.”“We have those occasionally,” Collins added with a laugh.

via Senate classified briefing: can they be trusted not to spill the beans? – In the Loop – The Washington Post.

American college students, study abroad:  Again, I can see my molls in this article.

Ms. Morell suggested that fundamental economic incentives were motivating American applicants to explore extended study abroad. “With the rising costs of university education in the U.S., European-based campuses are attractive, affordable alternatives,” she said.

Indeed, for 2011-2012, tuition at St. Louis University’s Madrid campus is listed at roughly $10,000 less than tuition at the school’s home campus in Missouri.

But while economics may favor the trend, Celeste Schenck, president of the American University of Paris, thinks a larger force is at work. She attributed the increased American interest in international schooling to modern-day intercultural connectedness. “Today’s students increasingly think of themselves as citizens of the world,” she said. “They’re what some call ‘third culture kids’.”

via American Students Gaze Across the Atlantic and See College – NYTimes.com.

29
Apr
11

‎4.29.2011 … Cary gets the award for the best stateside Royal Wedding partyer. Ask her what s

‎Royal Wedding:  … to awaken at 4 or to dvr … that is the question …. well I dvr’d and began watching a little after 6 … It appears I missed the entrance …

so what was your favorite … the dress , the carriages, the hats, the homily,  the balcony kiss, the second balcony kiss?

Royal Wedding copycats, shanzhai (山寨) culture, China:

The British aren’t the only ones who can put on a royal wedding.

On April 18, a Chinese couple in Nanjing organized a regal celebration for themselves complete with British-like ceremonial garb (including the famous Beefeater-style hats), a horse-drawn carriage for the procession and an archway of swords, according to the Associated Press. Total price: more than 50,000 yuan (US$7,600).

That’s a bargain, of course, compared to the estimated cost of the real royal wedding on Friday—the range is broad and starts at 20 million pounds (US$33 million)– of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Of course, that figure includes the costs of the wedding itself, as well as the price of security and street cleaning. And the couple’s horse-drawn carriage will have five horses; the Chinese couple’s carriage in Nanjing had just one.

The ceremony was that latest manifestation of China’s shanzhai (山寨) culture – a tradition of deliberately cheap fakery that has produced comically bad knock-offs of everything from iPhones to television shows, even pandas.

As with most things shanhzai, the Chinese wedding didn’t go off smoothly. The wedding parade of 50 people, a dozen cars and the horse-drawn carriage hit a glitch, according to reports, when firecrackers – a traditional element of any Chinese celebration – went off prematurely. The horse got rattled and handlers had to step in to calm it down.

via Latest China Knock-off: The Royal Wedding – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

TED, favorites:  I love the TED videos … do you have a favorite?

Robotics, pianos, brains — these are the lectures TEDsters love most. Which ones have you seen? And which have yet to touch you?

via Greatest Hits of TED Videos | Fast Company.

movies, horror/scary movies:  Well, it’s good to know that I don’t need a scary movie to feel alive …

This nerve-racking opening sequence of the Scream franchise, like many other iconic scary movie scenes, has the same physical effect on everyone who sees it. Your brain and body react as if you were the one answering the phone. The haunting images and sounds on screen signal the release of fight-or-flight hormones adrenaline and cortisol. As though you were running away from the masked murderer yourself, your heart rate and breathing speed up, your energy levels soar, and your senses sharpen.

The result: You literally feel more alive.

“Certain people tend to seek experiences that make them feel with all of their fibers,” says Lawrence Rubin, PhD, a psychologist in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Referred to as Big T (for thrill) personalities, these types value uncertainty, novelty, and curiosity when making decisions.

via Fear Factor: Why We Love Scary Movies – Emotional Health – Everyday Health.

movies, movie characters:  I must not like anxiety either … because I really don’t like movies with central characters who display anxiety.

Anxiety on the Silver Screen

Anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses can add tension, drama, and sometimes even laughs to films.

via Anxiety on the Silver Screen – EverydayHealth.com.

Charlotte, pollution, The Daily:  Well the iPad daily doesn’t allow me to “clip” … big negative.  But this is about Charlotte …. #10 in pollution!!

– WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

2010 Democratic national Convention, Dan Murrey, Davidson College, kudos:  Congratulations to Dr. Murrey on his new position … Davidson grad 🙂

Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Dan Murrey on Thursday was named executive director of the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee in preparation for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx made the appointment, and said the city is eager to make the most of the convention.

“We have done our homework and we’re now ready to get going. We are building a leadership team that will assure Charlotte, our region and the entire state of North Carolina make the most of this unprecedented opportunity,” Mayor Foxx said in an announcement on the official host committee site, charlottein2012.com.

Dr. Murrey is a former at-large Mecklenburg County Commissioner and surgeon at OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, where he also serves as CEO. He also received a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In a press release Thursday he said: “I’m humbled and excited about the opportunity to show the rest of the world why we love living and working in this city, state and region.”

“My job is twofold: to work closely with the Democratic National Committee and our local partners to host a successful convention and to create an inclusive and interactive environment so all residents of our region have an opportunity to play host to visitors from around the world,” Dr. Murrey said.

via Dan Murrey to chair DNC 2012 host committee | DavidsonNews.net.

Civil War, history, statistics, technology:  Interesting … I am amazed half of Americans have any concept of states’ rights.  But read the article, the use of modern technology to go through data in fascinating.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of Americans identify states’ rights as the primary cause of the Civil War. This is a remarkable finding, because virtually all American textbooks and prominent historians emphasize slavery, as they have for decades. Even more striking, the poll shows young people put more stock in the states’ rights explanation than older people. The 38 percent of Americans who believe slavery was mainly to blame find themselves losing ground.

Of course, there’s no denying that states’ rights played an important role as the language of secession. But how might historians convey a more precise, comparative sense of the role slavery played in the states’ decision to secede? New computer-assisted techniques allow historians to draw clearer conclusions from immense amounts of data, including newspapers, public records and legislative proceedings. And few states left behind a better, more information-rich record of their secession debates than Virginia.

via The Causes of the Civil War, 2.0 – NYTimes.com.

Epic Southern Storms 4/27, follow-up:

Residents of Alabama, Mississippi and four other Southern states picked through their splintered communities Thursday as state and federal authorities mobilized to clean up and rebuild after scores of powerful tornadoes killed nearly 300 people in the most deadly storm cluster to hit the nation in 37 years.

The funnel clouds traveled as fast 60 miles per hour, destroying homes and property across six states over two days. Twisters blew apart churches in the small rural town of Smithville, Miss., flattened homes in the tidy suburbs of Birmingham, Ala., smashed poultry barns, uprooted power poles and flung cars wildly about.

The region was “hit and hit and hit again,” said Melissa McDonald of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

via Deadly Tornadoes Slam Alabama, South, Killing Hundreds – WSJ.com.

iPhone, marketing: White iPhone … finally!

“Finally” is the headline on Apple’s homepage today announcing the arrival of the white iPhone. It’s Apple poking fun at itself for a long, drawn-out techno failure, and indicates how it’s spun the affair into incredibly positive PR.

via The Great White iPhone: How Apple Spun A Tech Fail Into A PR Win | Fast Company.

Apps, Philadelphia: Philly, Philly … are you that corrupt?

Philadelphia residents have a new weapon for fighting municipal corruption: An iPhone app that lets them send photos and video of money-wasting city employees directly to the controller’s office.

via Philadelphia Launches Anti-Corruption iPhone App | Fast Company.




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