Posts Tagged ‘privacy

12
Oct
13

10.12.13 … this and that … in honor of boy buddha …

this and that, kith/kin, random: So an unnamed member of my kith/kin family  “mentioned” that I was posting too much.  He/she likes me to string them all together.  Well, I will compromise.  I will post my favorites daily, but will try to post a features page every few days.  This will be the totally random or entertainment  “features” post.  I hope I get my good karma back from my readers.  🙂

This one is funny … who remembers Tilly? Well, the Tilly voice artist is the Siri voice artist, and she recorded the voice 8 years and did not know who it was for until friends recognized her voice.  She now speaks to more than 100 million people through what at the time of the recording was a not-yet-invented phone

 

From Tilly to Siri. Who else remembers Tilly!?!

For the past two years, she’s been a pocket and purse accessory to millions of Americans. She’s starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel. She’s ‘s provided weather forecasts and restaurant tips, been mocked as useless and answered absurd questions about what she’s wearing.

She is Siri, Apple’s voice-activated virtual “assistant” introduced to the masses with the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011.

Behind this groundbreaking technology there is a real woman. While the ever-secretive Apple has never identified her, all signs indicate that the original voice of Siri in the United States is a voiceover actor who laid down recordings for a client eight years ago. She had no idea she’d someday be speaking to more than 100 million people through a not-yet-invented phone.

Her name is Susan Bennett and she lives in suburban Atlanta.

via ‘I’m the original voice of Siri’ – CNN.com.

Actually my favorite is the oreo ad link posted on twitter during the SuperBowl blackout.  What is your favorite?

How many caught your attention?

There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

via The Tweets That Will Go Down in Twitter History (with images, tweets) · wsj · Storify.

I’ve posted several times on 3 D printers.  Now technology duplicates art … in 3d. Look at the strokes!

The London based married couple and artist team, with no relation to this Nick Carter, tapped into the burgeoning 3D printing trend to bring Van Goghs beloved bouquet out of the frame and into the real world.The team began by turning the paintings into completely three-dimensional files, then printing them in wax bronze. The process allowed for shocking levels of precision in the translation between brush stroke and sculptural shape.

via Behold, A 3D Printed Sculpture Of Van Goghs Sunflowers.

Selma AL, I Will Dance, Broadway, change, youth, hope:

Dancing isn’t all they do. Check out another video of one RATCo participant, Vinny, doing his thing.

via These Dancing Teens Are Defying Expectations, Statistics, And Maybe A Few Laws Of Physics.

via ▶ I WILL DANCE Official Trailer – YouTube.

 

That privacy thing … why do they do this??

Is having open-plan bathrooms just the natural extension of our open kitchens and a general global modern-day tendency to open up our living spaces and live in lofts or loftlike spaces? Is it an extension of the idea that bathrooms aren’t just functional necessities but spa-like focal points of our sanctuary-like homes? Or has the erosion of privacy in our public lives just made us all more comfortable being overexposed, even at home?

Rousseau thinks it’s a generational question. “I think with age we look for ways to seduce by modest gestures and by covering ourselves up,” she says. “I don’t see myself proposing an open bathroom to older people; they need much more privacy.”

via Bathrooms without borders: the end of privacy at home?.

Unexpected outcomes, 9.25.13 Pakistani Earthquake:

A very unexpected outcome from a major earthquake in Pakistan that killed more than 300 people: The sudden appearance of a small new island off the country’s coast. http://on.wsj.com/18pHqWr

via Facebook.

The magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck Pakistan\’s Baluchistan province created a small island visible off the southern coast. The Pakistani Navy visited the island and captured video of the newly formed landmass. Photo: Getty Images

via Pakistan Quake Toll Rises to at Least 328 – WSJ.com.

This is along the same lines as the tiny libraries or random act of kindness?  Would you take a book?  Would you leave a book?

You happen to be visiting London this summer (or heck maybe you live there), there’s a chance you’ll find books left on the seat of some bus or subway for you. Books on the Underground is a really simple idea: leave a book you love for a stranger to find and ask them to release it back into the world when they are done with it.

A simple sticker on the cover explains the idea to the book’s finder–and karma does the rest.

Pretty lovely idea, no?

via Books on the Underground.

Miss Manners answered this question years ago.  She suggested you simply introduce them with their names.  🙂

What’s the No. 1 debate topic for many cohabitating couples who are over age 50? The labels, they said.

via Living together titles: What do people who live together call each other? – Chicago Tribune.

Q: What should I say when introducing people whose social status might make other people uncomfortable? For example, unmarried couples living together, or homosexual couples?

Miss Manners says: I don’t want to know what kind of parties you  are throwing where people’s sexual statuses need to be provided with introductions. Just use names.

via Miss Manners on: introductions | Bitch Please, Bitch Thank You.

03
Oct
13

10.3.13 … She’s right. I feel bad … I am glad she “refuses to disappear” … You rock, super lara croft! …

Lara Croft, viral photos, FaceBook, mean girls, privacy, being kind: She’s right. I feel bad because I have laughed many times at these pictures.  (But I must say the folks that go to WalMart ought to know better by now.) I don’t think I have shared … but i cannot say for sure.  I will try to be kinder going forward.

The first thing I needed to do was figure out where the picture came from. That wasn’t hard — it came from me. I’d posted the image on Facebook, but like so many before me, I’d failed to pay attention to my privacy settings when I uploaded it. Instead of restricting access to my friend network, I’d inadvertently given access to the whole world.

But Facebook made it easy to find people who had commented on the images. By now, the picture had metastasized through reposts on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, 9Gag, FailBlog. But looking through the Facebook “like” function, I could track down the most offensive commenters.

Most of them were women. Shocked? I wasn’t. Anyone who’s survived high school can tell you how women slice each other up to make ourselves feel better.

In the months since, my attitude toward these throwaway images of mockery on the Internet has changed. I no longer find them funny. Each one of those people is a real human being, a real person whose world imploded the day they found themselves to be a punch line on a giant stage. I speak up whenever a friend gets a cheap laugh from one of these sites. I ask one simple question: “Why do you think this is funny?” Very few have a good answer. Mostly they just say, “I don’t know.” Reminding people of our shared humanity hasn’t exactly made me popular, but it feels like the right thing to do. I know what it’s like to be the person in that horrible photograph. I can’t inflict such pain on someone else.

I’ve also learned to keep a tighter rein on my privacy settings online. I don’t always succeed at keeping my content private, but I’m certainly more guarded now.

And while my self-confidence took a large blow from the experience, I’m getting over it. My photographer friend Terri did a photo shoot with me after it all went down. She’s a retro pinup photographer, and I’ve been posing for her for a while now, but that particular shoot felt great. Just to be seen a little bit more as I wanted to be.

But I refuse to disappear. I still go jogging in public. I don’t hide my flabby arms or chubby ankles for fear of offending someone else’s delicate sensibilities. I dress in a way that makes me happy with myself. And this Halloween, I’m thinking of reprising my role as Lara Croft just to give all the haters the middle finger.

And no, I won’t be putting the pictures online this time.

via My embarrassing picture went viral – Salon.com.

16
Feb
13

2.16.13 … Rainy days. Rainy nights …

Rainy days, Washington Street, lyrics:  Woke up to rain and thought of this tune …

Rainy days. Rainy nights.

Rain falls down and covers the city

 

It falls from fabulous heights.

Covers the streets with its sparkling skin.

via Laurie Anderson – Washington Street Lyrics.

I Love NY Sandy Relief Poster, graphics, icons, Michael Glaser, Fab.com:  I like the original and I think the new one works, too!

via Fab.com | I Love NY Sandy Relief Poster.

President Obama, twitter, I spy:  I love this picture and I think this is a great use of twitter and media.

Twitter / BarackObama: I spy… http://t.co/5KEpqgbA.

Rep. Cohen, Twitter exchange, privacy, public figures,  Rep. Anthony Weiner, SFGate: … salacious …  first: an older elected official tweeted “ilu” to a 24 year old and this is by definition “salacious.”  Thank you, Anthony Weiner.  second: the Tennessee Republican Party’s executive director issued a news release comparing Cohen to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner … did the TN Republican Party and its executive director apologize, and  did the TN Republican Party fire their executive director?   This story is worthy of journalistic pursuit …but I think the TN Republican Party’s action are reprehensible.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has revealed he’s the father of the 24-year-old Texas woman he was communicating with on Twitter during the State of the Union in an exchange that led some people to jump to a different conclusion.

Cohen, who has never been married, said Friday that he decided to publicly acknowledge Victoria Brink as his daughter after bloggers and the media tried to make the exchanges appear salacious. Cohen’s message to Brink included a Twitter abbreviation for “I love you.”

“It’s amazing how the minds jumped, and started speaking as if they knew what was going on,” Cohen said. “It should be a real lesson hopefully … not to jump to conclusions.”

After the tweets began to attract public attention and commentary earlier this week, an aide to the 64-year-old Memphis Democrat said he had accidentally exchanged a couple of public tweets with a woman who is the daughter of a friend, but removed them when he realized they weren’t private.

One was sent during the State of the Union speech Tuesday night and the second was sent Wednesday morning, in response to her tweet “(at)RepCohen just saw you on tv!”

Cohen’s tweets ended with “Ilu.” Aide Michael Pagan said the initials stand for “I love you.”

Following the tweets, the Tennessee Republican Party’s executive director issued a news release comparing Cohen to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned about two years ago in disgrace after tweeting lewd pictures of himself. Weiner initially claimed a hacker had posted a lewd photo to his Twitter account.

“It is very disappointing that Rep. Cohen would use his official congressional Twitter account … to send personal and unnecessarily revealing messages to college co-eds. Apparently, we have our own Weiner of the South,” party executive director Brent Leatherwood said in the statement released Wednesday.

Cohen said he didn’t learn that Brink was his daughter until three years ago.

via Rep. Cohen: Twitter exchange was with his daughter – SFGate.

Best Buy, price-matching policy,  “Low-Price Guarantee” , The Consumerist:  At Christmas, a Best Buy associate told me to tell the clerk to give me the low price guarantee of an internet competitor which I did not know about.  This makes shopping interesting.  🙂

While Best Buy has yet to confirm or deny rumors about the halving of its return and exchange period, the retailer has announced that it will be launching a price-matching policy that it believes will help keep customers from “showrooming.”

According to a statement from the company, starting March 3 Best Buy’s Low Price Guarantee will “price match all local retail competitors and 19 major online competitors in all product categories and on nearly all in-stock products, whenever asked by a customer.”

What it doesn’t say in the statement, but what a Best Buy rep confirmed to Consumerist is that the Low Price Guarantee price match will be valid up to 15 days after the purchase (online or in-stores).

This is important and fits into the reports we’ve gotten from insiders regarding changes to the return policy. See the current price-match policy allows for a price-match request before making a purchase and “during the return and exchange period after your purchase.”

For most items, that period is 30 days, but if Best Buy limits the Low Price Guarantee and returns to 15 days, then it can’t have a customer come in on the 17th day to request a price match, then return the item because the request won’t be granted.

via Best Buy Confirms Price-Matching Policy Change With “Low-Price Guarantee” – The Consumerist.

YA literature, film/lit, TIME.com:

‘Beautiful Creatures’—the movie of which is in theaters Feb. 14—isn’t the only book to feature paranormal beings new to its readers

via Creatures Beautiful…And Not | Casters and Shadowhunters and Aliens, Oh My! 7 Young-Adult-Novel Supernatural Beings Making Their Way to Cinemas | TIME.com.

Harrison Ford,  ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’, Han Solo:  Can he successfully do this?

Harrison Ford Star Wars

Harrison Ford will apparently play Han Solo in “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

That’s the report from Latino Review reporter Umberto “El Mayimbe” Gonzalez, who went on Fox News Latino to break the news that Ford had signed on to appear in the new “Star Wars” film. According to Gonzalez, the deal is “significant.” HuffPost Entertainment has reached out to Ford’s publicist for confirmation, but has not heard back.

UPDATE, 2/15: According to EW.com writer Geoff Boucher, Ford’s deal is not yet complete and it could be “months” before he signs.

via Harrison Ford In ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’? Han Solo Reportedly Back For New Film.

twitter, vocabulary, BloombergNews:  So,  I pursued the tweet because of its inclusion of the word “labyrinthine.”  I have no idea why the tweeter used the term.

Bloomberg News ‏@BloombergNews

Salesforce CEO attempts to re-brand labyrinthine sales company | http://bloom.bg/Z3hee7

Definition of LABYRINTHINE

1

: of, relating to, or resembling a labyrinth : intricate, involved

2

: of, relating to, affecting, or originating in the internal ear

via Labyrinthine – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Salesforce.com, which makes software to help businesses hone their sales and marketing campaigns, is taking a red pen to its own corporate messaging. For the past couple of years, Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff has been pitching prospective customers on becoming “social enterprises,” capitalizing on the buzz around social networking.

In an interview, Benioff revealed his company’s new tagline: “customer companies.” After withdrawing a trademark application for the old brand last year, Benioff plans to formally introduce “customer companies” at a Feb. 26 event at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. The presentation, which he previewed during an interview at his home in San Francisco this month, will include a smattering of everything that’s hot in tech: Facebook, Twitter, iPads, “big data,” self-driving cars and the Nest thermostat.

via Salesforce CEO Benioff Tries Out Some New Material – Bloomberg.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, slavery, legal trials, Dred Scott:  Hands down this was my least favorite lecture/presentation at the Festival, and it was the one I was most interested in from an academic standpoint.

Slave Trials in Virginia and North Carolina, 1830-1834

Alfred L. Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor, UNC School of Law

This talk focuses on two trials in North Carolina: one of a white man who attacked a slave in his custody and another of a slave who killed his overseer. Sandwiched between those two cases, State v. Mann in 1830 and State v. Will in 1834, was the Nat turner rebellion in neighboring virginia. the trials of the turner rebels and suspected rebels in our state, along with the vigilante violence that accompanied the panic, further illustrate the ways that trials functioned to support slavery. They also illustrate how the legal system worked in conjunction with (and sometimes in opposition to) the community to establish and regulate slavery.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

15
Sep
11

9.15.2011 … still waiting for fall …

college life, expectations, privacy, Harvard:  I’m impressed … things that were once assumed are now expressed.  To some extent we have come full circle … with the added concept of freedom of expression  and privacy rights.  Still I think for many students having this “understood” as an expectation is appropriate.

When the members of the class of 2015 arrived at Harvard College this fall, they encountered a novel bit of moral education. Their dorm proctors — the grad students who live with freshmen to provide guidance and enforce discipline — invited each student to sign a pledge developed by the Freshman Dean’s Office. It reads, in full:

“At Commencement, the Dean of Harvard College announces to the President, Fellows, and Overseers that ‘each degree candidate stands ready to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.’ That message serves as a kind of moral compass for the education Harvard College imparts. In the classroom, in extracurricular endeavors, and in the Yard and Houses, students are expected to act with integrity, respect, and industry, and to sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility.

“As we begin at Harvard, we commit to upholding the values of the College and to making the entryway and Yard a place where all can thrive and where the exercise of kindness holds a place on par with intellectual attainment.”

The original plan was to post the pledge in each dorm entryway, along with the names and signatures of the students living there. Although signing was supposed to be voluntary, any dissent would have been obvious.

The posting constituted “an act of public shaming,” Harry R. Lewis, a computer science professor and former dean of Harvard College, wrote in a blog post condemning the pledge. Some students signed because they felt they had to — a completely predictable, yet somehow unforeseen, result that Tom Dingman, the dean of freshmen, says is “against the spirit of the pledge.” The signatures will no longer be posted.

Yet what the Harvard Crimson dubs the “freshman kindness pledge” remains in place. The vast majority of freshmen, and the college itself, have formally declared that “the exercise of kindness” is “on par with intellectual attainment.” Both parts of that equation are odd, and they are odd in ways that suggest something has gone awry at Harvard.

via Harvard Pledge Values ‘Kindness’ Over Learning: Virginia Postrel – Bloomberg.

women in literature, “bitches”: “Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.”

In Shakespeare’s comedy, a shrew is known by her “impatient humour,” a “chattering tongue,” “scolding” and “waspish,” bandying “word for word and frown for frown.” She is “froward, peevish, sullen, sour,” and “not obedient to [her husband’s] honest will.” In the end, of course, the shrew is tamed. She places her hand below her husband’s foot.

On the literary level it would be a long time before women, in Gershon Legman’s phrase, carried the war into the camp of the enemy. In his foul-mouthed study of censorship Love and Death, Legman frankly calls the shrew, the “spirited” woman, by a different name:

The bitch has been here before. She was never gone. But, for our generation, first in Gone With the Wind in 1936 was she made a heroine. Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.

David Plante suggested a less inflammatory term. His 1983 memoir of Jean Rhys, Germaine Greer, and Sonia Brownell Orwell was called Difficult Women. Whether a woman or man is doing the calling makes a difference. But given her literary pedigree, the not-so-nice woman (whatever she ends up being called) ought to be fair game for male authors as well as female.

via Wicked (or, at Least, Difficult) Women in Literature « Commentary Magazine.

professions, pastoral care:  Ministers are professionals … goes back to the original definition of the word.

The truth is that I couldn’t tell her where I’d been doing Monday without possibly breaking a confidence.  I had been in court with someone about a very sensitive issue and it was too small a congregation and too small a town to say much about that.  Anybody could have easily guessed who was in court and why.  No, I couldn’t check my messages.  I was a character witness and needed to stay in the courtroom all day.  And no I didn’t go by the church building to check messages after court because I was exhausted and went straight home to bed.

These kinds of things – private pastoral things – happen all the time if you are a good pastor.  But the problem is that most people do not see us in courtrooms or offices or jail cells.  And if they don’t see us working, they may not believe we are working.

I once knew a church volunteer who expected me to be in the church building when she was in the church building.  Otherwise, I must not be working.  Many good pastors actually work the most hours out in the world – in hospitals and coffee shops and homes.  Nobody follows us around and watches what we do.  We only work with an audience on Sunday mornings or when we teach classes and lead meetings.

Sometimes we can’t even tell people what we did on a given day.  And – just like a new parent whose day flies by without much obvious accomplishment after a mountain of small tasks were achieved – there are some days in a clergyperson’s life when administrivia wins.  No sermon was written.  No visits were made.  But, by golly, 30 e-mails were answered and two monthly reports were written and the mail was sorted.

In my current job, I hear parishioners who share that their pastors “don’t do anything.“  That’s possible.  But it’s also possible that their pastor could be sitting with a mentally ill person in the hospital or driving a homeless family to the shelter in the next town.  Sometimes pastors do things that most parishioners can’t even know about.

And this is why it’s lovely to send your pastor a token of your appreciation when he or she retires or moves on.  (See yesterday’s post.)

via What Exactly Do You Do All Day? | achurchforstarvingartists.

Casey Anthony, criminal acts, consequences:  I never have understood exactly how this works.

Casey Anthony must pay almost $100,000 in law enforcement costs for investigating the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Belvin Perry’s ruling on Thursday was less than the $500,000 that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in Orlando were seeking, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Perry said the costs should only cover the period when detectives were investigating a missing person and not the homicide investigation, which is a sum of $97, 676.

Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering Caylee, but she was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to authorities. She told officers a baby sitter had kidnapped the toddler. Although, later authorities learned the baby sitter never existed.

Anthony, 25, must pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement $61,505. 12; the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation $10,283.90; and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office $25,837.96. She also has to pay $50 to the state of Florida for the cost of prosecuting the misdemeanor convictions.

According to the order, Anthony may have to pay more money to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Perry asked to receive more detailed expense reports from the agency by 4 p.m. Monday.

Anthony is currently serving probation at an undisclosed location in Florida for unrelated check fraud charges. She is being hidden for her safety since she received death threats after her acquittal.

via Casey Anthony ordered to pay $97k to state of Florida – Crimesider – CBS News.

politics, democrats v. republicans, American Jobs Act, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), uncivil acts, President Obama:  Jerk …

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is no fan of President Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” but he does, apparently, think the name is pretty catchy.

The Texas lawmaker introduced his own jobs bill on Wednesday, and he gave it the exact same name as the president’s bill. Gohmert says his bill will create jobs simply by taking the corporate tax rate to zero.

“After waiting to see what the president would actually put into legislative language, and then waiting to see if anybody would actually introduce the president’s bill in the House, today I took the initiative and introduced the ‘American Jobs Act of 2011,'” Gohmert said in a statement. “It is a very simple bill, which will eliminate the corporate tax which serves as a tariff that our American companies pay on goods they produce here in America.”

Mr. Obama’s bill was introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a day earlier.

While Gohmert’s bill may steal a bit of the spotlight from Mr. Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” it can’t steal the actual name — there are no House rules prohibiting two different bills from sharing a name. Bills typically have a long, formal name and a short, informal name — two different pieces of legislation may share either. It would just be confusing.

Gohmert argues his version of the “American Jobs Act” is better, for one thing, because it’s simpler — it clocks in at two pages, versus 155 pages for Mr. Obama’s bill. On top of that, he says it will be more effective, instantly making America “a safe haven for businesses resulting in an explosion in revenue increases.”

via Two “American Jobs Act” bills — GOP lawmaker swipes Obama’s bill name – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

education, international living, extreme schooling, cultural barriers, language barriers, parenting:  I loved this article … the agony of the parents and the determination to finish what was started.  And success in the end!

My three children once were among the coddled offspring of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But when I became a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, my wife and I decided that we wanted to immerse them in life abroad. No international schools where the instruction is in English. Ours would go to a local one, with real Russians. When we told friends in Brooklyn of our plans, they tended to say things like, Wow, you’re so brave. But we knew what they were really thinking: What are you, crazy? It was bad enough that we were abandoning beloved Park Slope, with its brownstones and organic coffee bars, for a country still often seen in the American imagination as callous and forbidding. To throw our kids into a Russian school — that seemed like child abuse.

Most foreign correspondents, like expatriates in general, place their children in international schools. Yet it seemed to us like an inspiring idea. After all, children supposedly pick up language quickly. So what if mine did not speak a word of Russian and could not find Russia on a map. They were clever and resilient. They would adapt, become fluent and penetrate Russia — land of Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Hermitage Museum — in ways all but impossible for foreigners.

But the fantasy of creating bilingual prodigies immediately collided with reality. My children — Danya (fifth grade), Arden (third grade) and Emmett (kindergarten) — were among the first foreigners to attend Novaya Gumanitarnaya Shkola, the New Humanitarian School. All instruction was in Russian. No translators, no hand-holding. And so on that morning, as on so many days that autumn of 2007, I feared that I was subjecting them to a cross-cultural experiment that would scar them forever.

And then, after five years in Russia, it was time to return to Brooklyn.

Danya, now nearly 14, was ambivalent about leaving, drawn toward being a teenager in New York City. But Arden and Emmett would have gladly stayed. “I feel like I’m tugged in two ways, and I have no idea what to do,” Arden told me last spring. “That’s the one problem with living abroad. You end up getting those weird feelings like, Oh, I can’t leave; I can’t stay.”

On the kids’ final day, Bogin called an assembly to wish them goodbye. He started praising them for all they had overcome but then stopped. This, too, would not be just a lecture.

“What would we not have had if these three had not been here?” he asked. “How did they enrich our school?”

“Theater!” someone shouted back.

“The school newspaper!”

“Great friendships!”

A chant began. “Spa-si-bo! Spa-si-bo!” (“Thank you!”)

Some teachers and children had tears in their eyes.

I went onstage to express my deep appreciation but was too choked up to speak. Suddenly, Arden strode forward and took the microphone. In confident and flawless Russian, she thanked the school for all of us.

via My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling – NYTimes.com.

Goddard College, unconventional learning, alternate learning:  Another success story …

Someone like Rod Crossman, at his stage in life and with his professional success, doesn’t often seek a way to reinvent himself. Yet Mr. Crossman—a painter, an assistant professor, and an artist in residence at Indiana Wesleyan University—felt that he was merely churning out pretty work to hang on gallery walls, increasingly feeling a schism between where his career had taken him and where his passion was telling him to go.

“My art practice had become marooned in the place where it was not connected to the world,” he says. “There were issues that my students were facing, and I didn’t think I had the tools to help them navigate those problems. Some of the issues they were facing were just the challenges of the world that we live in.” He wanted an interdisciplinary M.F.A. to reinvigorate his work at Indiana Wesleyan, where he has taught for 30 years.

He found a tiny college in rural Vermont that has blown itself up and emerged anew time and again: Goddard College. The birthplace of some important academic innovations, it has long bucked traditional notions of higher education and, like many experimental colleges, flirted with financial ruin. Its latest transformation may be its most remarkable: Reaching a nadir in its financial health in the early 2000s, it did what many colleges would consider unthinkable. The college shut down its storied, core residential program and adopted its low-residency adult program as its sole campus offering. It has since re-emerged with 10-year accreditation, the highest number of students in decades, money to spend on refurbishing its campus, a new campus in Port Townsend, Wash., and plans to expand its programs to other cities across the country. One administrator put the college’s turnaround in perspective: Today, Goddard is getting a $2-million loan to build a biomass plant, but 10 years ago the college couldn’t have gotten a car loan.

Innovation is the buzzword of higher education these days. People talk about leveraging technology and scaling up, about treating faculty members like hired guns, and about adopting industrial models to bring down costs and ramp up “production.” All of it in a bid to offer more college degrees—more cheaply, more quickly, and some worry, of a lower quality.

None of that is happening here. Goddard faculty members, who do not have tenure but are unionized, seem fiercely devoted to the college. Students say their open-ended studies are among the most rigorous they have ever experienced. And Goddard’s president, Barbara Vacarr, is downright heretical when asked how higher education can scale up and give more Americans college degrees.

via Goddard College’s Unconventional Path to Survival – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Marine Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor, President Obama, White House, Beer with the President, media distortions, journalism:  “It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” … Media went too far on this one.  Kudos to Dakota Meyer.

 

When White House staff contacted him to arrange the ceremony, Meyer asked if he could have a beer with Obama, and the president invited him to the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney posted a picture on his Twitter account of Obama and Meyer, both in shirtsleeves and ties, sitting at a metal patio table, each with a clear glass mug of ale. Several members of the White House press corps then “re-tweeted” the picture, which was taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza. Among them were Jake Tapper of ABC News, who has more than 138,000 Twitter followers, and Ed Henry of Fox News, who has more than 35,000.

Many of the followers chimed in, with most offering praise for the photo and the president’s hospitality. But some others apparently offered more cynical comments about the event being a staged photo-op for Obama.

It didn’t take long for the usually combative White House reporters to stick up for the embattled president on this one.

“It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” Tapper later wrote on his account.

Henry wrote: “Come on folks, just because WH released a photo of President’s beer w/Dakota Meyer doesn’t mean its ‘just a photo-op’”

Then he added: “Surely you can disagree with President on issues, if that’s how you feel, but still appreciate him recognizing uncommon valor by a Marine”

via Obama has beer with Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, sparking debate between critics, reporters – 44 – The Washington Post.


24
Jun
11

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

labyrinth walk,  Kanuga Conference Center:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

via Kanuga, Chapels: The Labyrinth.

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

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

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

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

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

music, kith/kin:  From e …

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

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

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

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

via PBS Arts : Pulitzer Prize Night.

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

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

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

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

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

quotes, Bertrand Russell:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 minutes ago via HootSuite

via Good Morning America (GMA) on Twitter.

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

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

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

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

social media, privacy: Good question …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

quotes, Frank Lloyd Wright:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few other tidbits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ – Philadelphia area – hoagies and cheese steak sandwiches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17
Jun
11

‎6.17.2011 … now to get this unhumerous humerus to heal … always good to have goals.

pranks, culture, Charlotte, CMS:  there is no such thing as a prank anymore.  Myers Park graduation prank nets lifetime ban | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Dorothy Parker, quotes, telegrams, things no more:  “I can’t look you in the voice.” … Don’t you just love that.  Strange that telegrams no longer exist …

Anyone who has ever hit a wall whilst writing will find it difficult not to empathise with the dejected words of Dorothy Parker in this telegram, sent in 1945 to her editor, Pascal Covici. Such was her frustration, Parker couldn’t even bring herself to ring him and explain.

via Letters of Note: I can’t look you in the voice.

Davidson College, kudzu, goats, random, LOL, followup:  The Goats again.  This blogger is quicker than I am …”Cud Zoo!”  And he has pictures of their handiwork.

Speaking of pickings, I’ve been out twice already since Monday to check on our friendly neighborhood ruminants—it’s a real cud zoo out there!—and in 48 hours they had taken a full acre-plus of knee-high kudzu down to ankle height. Thirty goats each eating 12+ pounds of kudzu a day. Wow. I’m going to hoof it out there daily for a few weeks to get some time-lapsed pictures to post. Stay tuned!

Late note: Just went out there for Day Three pictures. Impressive results so far, but when the goats move across the road to a more extensive infestation, they’ll really have their work cud out for them!

via Cud Zoo on the Cross-Country Trails, dba Ecological Preserve

President Obama, Father’s Day, The First Family, parenting, LOL, privacy:  Sorry I thought this a strange post.  The second part was quite quite funny… what father of girls would not like to have their daughters surrounded by men with guns!  However, the first part I thought  a slight invasion of their privacy.  What do you think?

In a pre-Father’s Day interview Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” – President Barack Obama makes it clear that the First Lady is done having children – even if he might like to add a son to the family.   Asked if he ever thought of having a son, Mr. Obama was quick to tell Robin Roberts:  “You know, you act as if this is a decision of mine. This really isn’t.”

He said wife Michelle makes it clear to him that he did not carry ten pounds in his belly.

“I think what Michelle’s general view is, we’re done.”

With eldest daughter Malia about to become a teenager next month, Mr. Obama said he’s glad he has “men with guns” around his daughters and said it’s an incentive to run for re-election.

He said it means his daughters will never get in a car with a boy who had a beer.

In the interview, Mr. Obama also said that compared to his childhood and family, wife Michelle grew up in a family he likens to “Leave It To Beaver.”

via Obama: Don’t expect any White House babies – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

pain, therapy, medicine, drugs, science, pharmacology:  I’m all in for new treatments for pain!

Pain Therapeutics will be the stock to watch in the coming week.

via The Next Big Thing In Biotech: Pain Therapeutics PTIE – TheStreet TV.

slime bags, history: Very interesting walk through history of reckless and self-indulgent sexual conduct by men.

The conventional answer is that when it comes to sex, a certain kind of man, no matter how intelligent, doesn’t think at all; he just acts. Somehow a need for sexual conquest, female adulation and illicit and risky liaisons seems to go along with drive, ambition and confidence in the “alpha male.” And even if we denounce him and hound him from office, we tend to accept the idea that power accentuates the lusty nature of men.

This conception of masculinity is relatively new, however. For most of Western history, the primary and most valued characteristic of manhood was self-mastery. Late antique and Roman writers, like Plutarch, lauded men for their ability to resist sexual temptation and control bodily desire through force of will and intellect. Too much sex was thought to weaken men: a late-15th-century poem mocks an otherwise respectable but overly sexually active burgess who has “wasted and spent” his “substance” until there is “naught left but empty skin and bone.”

But in the face of recent revelations about the reckless and self-indulgent sexual conduct of so many of our elected officials, it may be worth recalling that sexual restraint rather than sexual prowess was once the measure of a man.

How and why have we moved so far from this ideal? Why do so many powerful men take sexual risks that destroy their families and careers? Contemporary worship of youth is one explanation: rather than shunning the idea of childishness, many adults, male and female, now spend much of their time clinging to an illusory and endless adolescence. The ability to be a “player” well into middle age thus becomes a point of pride, rather than shame, for the modern man. Perhaps the erosion of men’s exclusive status as breadwinners and heads of households also figures in: when one no longer “rules the household,” there may be less motivation for or satisfaction in “ruling oneself.”

But in the face of recent headlines I find myself less inclined to analyze or excuse current mores than to echo medieval ones. The critics of Pedro II of Aragon would have turned Arnold Schwarzenegger’s own words against him and his kind: Who are the girlie men now?

via Anthony Weiner and the Manly Men of Yore – NYTimes.com.

history, David McCullough, education:  Oh, great … another area where we are failing our kids!

‘We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” David McCullough tells me on a recent afternoon in a quiet meeting room at the Boston Public Library. Having lectured at more than 100 colleges and universities over the past 25 years, he says, “I know how much these young people—even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning—don’t know.” Slowly, he shakes his head in dismay. “It’s shocking.”

“History is a source of strength,” he says. “It sets higher standards for all of us.” But helping to ensure that the next generation measures up, he says, will be a daunting task.

One problem is personnel. “People who come out of college with a degree in education and not a degree in a subject are severely handicapped in their capacity to teach effectively,” Mr. McCullough argues. “Because they’re often assigned to teach subjects about which they know little or nothing.” The great teachers love what they’re teaching, he says, and “you can’t love something you don’t know anymore than you can love someone you don’t know.”

“History is a source of strength,” he says. “It sets higher standards for all of us.” But helping to ensure that the next generation measures up, he says, will be a daunting task.

One problem is personnel. “People who come out of college with a degree in education and not a degree in a subject are severely handicapped in their capacity to teach effectively,” Mr. McCullough argues. “Because they’re often assigned to teach subjects about which they know little or nothing.” The great teachers love what they’re teaching, he says, and “you can’t love something you don’t know anymore than you can love someone you don’t know.”

Another problem is method. “History is often taught in categories—women’s history, African American history, environmental history—so that many of the students have no sense of chronology. They have no idea what followed what.”

What’s more, many textbooks have become “so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence farther back”—such as, say, Thomas Edison—”are given very little space or none at all.”

Mr. McCullough advises us to concentrate on grade school. “Grade school children, as we all know, can learn a foreign language in a flash,” he says. “They can learn anything in a flash. The brain at that stage in life is like a sponge. And one of the ways they get it is through art: drawing, making things out of clay, constructing models, and dramatic productions. If you play the part of Abigail Adams or Johnny Appleseed in a fourth-grade play, you’re never going to forget it as long as you live.”

via The Weekend Interview With David McCullough: Don’t Know Much About History – WSJ.com.

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, more:  ??

What does it all mean? Fans will hope that Rowling will be putting pen to paper (or writing method of her choosing) and continue the Potter story ad infinitum (no, Potter fans, that’s not a spell). Rowling has said she’s uncertain whether she’d write another Potter book, but the term “Pottermore” is supposedly the last patent she recorded, back in July 2009.

Some believe that an encyclopedia could be on tap, but will that be enough to satisfy the insatiable demands of the passionate fanbase, who are currently counting down the days to the July 15 release of the last ever movie?

via Harry Potter Fans Salivate Over J.K. Rowling’s New Site, ‘Pottermore’ – TIME NewsFeed.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, miracles:  She is still in my prayers … her recovery continues to be miraculous.

In the long run, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should flourish from returning to a home life with her husband. But in the days and weeks ahead, she and her family will have to make difficult adjustments to this new phase in her recovery.

While Giffords gets used to living outside a hospital for the first time in more than six months, her family – especially her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly – will learn to care for a person who still has significant cognitive and physical problems caused by a devastating gunshot wound to the head.

“It’s really an emotional roller-coaster,” said Dr. Richard Riggs, chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The 41-year-old lawmaker left the hospital on Wednesday and moved to her husband’s home in a Houston suburb not far from the Johnson Space Center.

via Gabrielle Giffords Home; Mark Kelly: ‘Great To Have Her Out Of Hospital’.

28
May
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Groupon Jobs.

international politics, G8, economics: G8 irrelevant?

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via 2011 May 26 « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

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

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

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

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

via Schumpeter: Building with big data | The Economist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Wellness Center at Home

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

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Jeff Herr for The Wall Street Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blackbeard, anthropology, pirates:  I love pirate lore …

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

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

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

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

via Anchor from Blackbeard ship recovered – CNN.com.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s truly magical.

Remember to wear good headphones. And comfortable walking shoes.

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

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

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

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




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