Posts Tagged ‘reading

09
Sep
11

9.9.2011 … John’s trail name is No Sweat … watching an old NG special on the AT … what should mine be?

Appalachian Trail, trail names, National Geographic, Netflix: Streaming Netflix and watching a apecial on the AT.  John’s dream is to hike it … he will, and he already has his trail name …”No Sweat” … I can’t imagine what mine will be …

education, college, reading, empathy:

Researchers from the University at Buffalo gave 140 undergraduates passages from either Meyer’s Twilight or JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to read, with the vampire group delving into an extract in which Edward Cullen tells his teenage love interest Bella what it is like to be a vampire, and the wizardly readers getting a section in which Harry and his cohorts are “sorted” into Hogwarts houses.

The candidates then went through a series of tests, in which they categorised “me” words (myself, mine) and “wizard” words (wand, broomstick, spells, potions) by pressing one key when they appeared on the screen, and “not me” words (they, theirs) and “vampire” words (blood, undead, fangs, bitten) by pressing another key, with the test then reversed. The study’s authors, Dr Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young, expected them to respond more quickly to the “me” words when they were linked to the book they had just read.

Gabriel and Young then applied what they dubbed the Twilight/Harry Potter Narrative Collective Assimilation Scale, which saw the students asked questions designed to measure their identification with the worlds they had been reading about – including “How long could you go without sleep?”, “How sharp are your teeth?” and “Do you think, if you tried really hard, you might be able to make an object move just using the power of your mind?” Their moods, life satisfaction, and absorption into the stories were then measured.

Published by the journal Psychological Science, the study found that participants who read the Harry Potter chapters self-identified as wizards, whereas participants who read the Twilight chapter self-identified as vampires. And “belonging” to these fictional communities actually provided the same mood and life satisfaction people get from affiliations with real-life groups. “The current research suggests that books give readers more than an opportunity to tune out and submerge themselves in fantasy worlds. Books provide the opportunity for social connection and the blissful calm that comes from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious, fleeting moment,” Gabriel and Young write.

via Reading fiction ‘improves empathy’, study finds | Books | guardian.co.uk.

youth, culture, tattoo remorse:

The Rise of Tattoo Remorse: Heavy Cost to Erase What’s Often an Impulse Decision

Most fads are relatively harmless, inexpensive, and, by their very nature, short-lived. Tattoos, however, have become remarkably trendy at the same time they’re as long-lasting as purchases get. If and when you have that sweet $80 tattoo you got on a whim in college removed because it now looks silly, the procedure will wind up being far more painful (“like getting burnt with hot baking grease”) and way more expensive ($3,600!) than when you got tattooed in the first place.

The Boston Globe recently profiled a few of the many tattooed Americans who regret their decisions to go under the needle and now just wish their skin was ink-free. According to a 2008 poll, 16% of the inked suffer from “tattoo remorse,” and the number of people electing to have tattoos removed—like the number of people choosing to get tattoos, by no coincidence—has been on the rise in recent years. In 2009, there were 61,535 surgical procedures performed to remove tattoos.

That doesn’t necessarily mean 61,535 tattoos were actually removed that year. In some cases, it takes 15 or more sessions to remove a single tattoo. Each of these sessions can be an ordeal. In order to scare his kids away from getting tattoos, actor Mark Wahlberg had them observe when a few of his tattoos were removed. This is how Wahlberg described the experience:

“It’s like getting burnt with hot baking grease,” he told Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” in February. “There’s blood coming up, it looks like somebody welded your skin. Hopefully that will deter them.”

Of all the tattoos that can be later regretted, perhaps none is worse than the name of one’s ex. One 25-year-old student told the Globe that, naturally, he wished he didn’t have the name of his now ex-girlfriend (Kate) tattooed on his buttocks:

“I was in love,” he explained, a warm smile spreading across his face as he recalled how he felt when he impulsively went to the tattoo parlor. Now? The smile disappeared. “It reminds me of her.”

And obviously not in a good way. Talk about a pain in the butt.

Some tattoos don’t age well for other reasons. The 31-year-old marketing director described in the story’s introduction got her ankle tattoo—a Chinese symbol supposed to symbolize a warrior and scholar—when it seemed like the cool thing to do in college. Later, she found out the mark translated as something like “mud pie.” Embarrassed—because the mark was basically meaningless, and because the tattoo was a mismatch for the professional world she now worked in—she wound up spending $3,600 to have the tattoo removed over the course of two years.

via The Rise of Tattoo Remorse: Heavy Cost to Erase What’s Often an Impulse Decision | Moneyland | TIME.com.

word clouds, President Obama, Obama’s 2011 Jobs Speech:  Some sites won’t let me exerpt … “Obama’s 2011 Jobs Speech” by Justin Wolfers

mobile cloud:  Storm clouds brewing!

Apple iCloud. Google Music. Amazon Cloud Drive. Microsoft SkyDrive and Office 365. OnLive. Dropbox. Jungle Disk. These are just a few of the many new services promising to let consumers access their music, pictures, videos, games, documents and other files anywhere, anytime, from any device via wireless networks. In theory, these services offer a bright future for consumers, especially those who value convenience and want access to all their content no matter where they are.

But in reality, there are dark storm clouds brewing. These mobile “cloud” services won’t happen without radiofrequency spectrum, a natural resource that is quickly becoming scarcer because of outdated regulatory and technological spectrum access methods.

via Will spectrum scarcity sink wireless access to content in the cloud? — Broadband News and Analysis.

Apple, iOS 5 , iPhone 5:  Can they top themselves again …

The new build has several additional features enabled including Facetime over 3G and the speech-to-text features that we have previously talked about.

The carrier partners have been instructed to test Facetime over 3G extensively, raising hopes that iPhone users will soon be able to use Facetime anywhere they have a data connection. This doesn’t mean that we will be seeing Facetime 3G in the final release, of course, but it does mean that carriers are at least being encouraged to test it on their networks.

This build of iOS 5 is said to be a newer one than the one available to developers currently, which is beta 7. Currently, Facetime must be used over WiFi connections only, limiting its usage as you are normally around a computer when you’re on WiFi and can use higher quality services like Skype.

Apple’s new speech-to-text feature is also said to be in the build as well. This feature, which we have seen referred to as ‘Dictation’ internally, allows users to tap a microphone button and speak into the iPhone, which will transcribe the voice into text passages. This feature apparently works very much like Android’s speech-to-text and is said to be ‘very polished, quick and accurate’. This was initially thought to coincide with a system-wide ‘Assistant’ feature that would act much like fellow Nuance partner Siri’s capabilities.

via Apple’s carrier partners get ‘near-final’ build of iOS 5 with speech and Facetime 3G – TNW Apple.

Facebook, helpful hints:

For all of Facebook’s popularity, many of its users are still nervous about how to maintain their privacy on the network. Google’s rival social network, called Google+, answered the call for easier sharing control: Each post clearly shows which groups of friends will see it, and these groups are privately named by users.

This week I’ll dig into the latest updates on Facebook, which aim to ease the process of controlling one’s profile and privacy. An upcoming Facebook developer conference in two weeks is expected to reveal additional changes.

via Facebook Updates Help Users Share Better With Others – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

business class, travel: Service is the key. 🙂

This all sounds like very nice stuff. The Consumerist blog says all the fancy stuff “hearken[s] back to the day of luxury carriers like Pan Am and the high-end airlines favored by international business travelers.” But do business travellers really care that much about this sort of thing? The main complaint many flyers have about big American carriers is that their service is rotten, not that their goodie bags are insufficiently stocked. Amenities are an important part of the service experience. But they’re not as important as making sure your customers get where they are going on time and happy.

via First class on American Airlines: Classing up first class | The Economist.

Nike, shoes, Back to the Future, movies:  Belated tie-in?

In 2015, Marty McFly slipped on a pair of Nike Air Power Laces, white-and-gray high-tops with teal specks and wrap-around ankle straps, which self-fastened electronically. Now, four years earlier, Nike is going Back To The Future (er, forward to the past) to re-release the movie’s famous sneakers–and from what we’ve seen, the 2011 Nike MAGs, as they’re called, are as slick as the DeLorean DMC-12 they arrived in.

via Nike Unveils MAG, Marty McFly’s Kicks From Back To The Future II | Co. Design.

health, exercise, swimming:  I have always thought I would like some lessons.

When you break it down, swimming has a high potential for embarrassment. It requires us to show grace, coordination and strength—all without the security of clothing. This didn’t seem to bother us back when we worked as lifeguards at the YMCA or as splash-happy counselors at Camp Good Times. But over the years, without regular access to a pool or a pond, many of us have grown tentative in the water.

It’s worth rebuilding our confidence, though, because swimming offers a total-body workout like no other. And as many athletes are discovering, this non-impact activity is an excellent alternative for joints that have become stiff from years’ worth of pavement-pounding. It can help us feel weightless—and even ageless. “The water doesn’t know what age you are when you jump in,” said Dara Torres, who at 41 was the oldest woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. “So why not?”

While complete novices are best served by a class or private instruction, some lapsed swimmers just need a little push. We asked two professional coaches for advice on getting back in the swim.

via Advice for Nervous Swimmers – How to Swim if You Haven’t in a While – Oprah.com

Plato, Atlantis, archeology, fact v. fiction:  “His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, the gradual corruption of human society—these ideas are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favorite themes.”

If the writing of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato had not contained so much truth about the human condition, his name would have been forgotten centuries ago.

But one of his most famous stories—the cataclysmic destruction of the ancient civilization of Atlantis—is almost certainly false. So why is this story still repeated more than 2,300 years after Plato’s death?

“It’s a story that captures the imagination,” says James Romm, a professor of classics at Bard College in Annandale, New York. “It’s a great myth. It has a lot of elements that people love to fantasize about.”

Plato told the story of Atlantis around 360 B.C. The founders of Atlantis, he said, were half god and half human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power. Their home was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. The lush islands contained gold, silver, and other precious metals and supported an abundance of rare, exotic wildlife. There was a great capital city on the central island.

….

Romm believes Plato created the story of Atlantis to convey some of his philosophical theories. “He was dealing with a number of issues, themes that run throughout his work,” he says. “His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, the gradual corruption of human society—these ideas are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favorite themes.”

The legend of Atlantis is a story about a moral, spiritual people who lived in a highly advanced, utopian civilization. But they became greedy, petty, and “morally bankrupt,” and the gods “became angry because the people had lost their way and turned to immoral pursuits,” Orser says.

As punishment, he says, the gods sent “one terrible night of fire and earthquakes” that caused Atlantis to sink into the sea.

via Atlantis Legend — National Geographic.

Blackbeard, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, Beaufort NC, history, archeology:  I love this stuff …

After 15 years of uncertainty, a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina has been confirmed as that of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, state officials say.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge grounded on a sandbar near Beaufort (see map) in 1718, nine years after the town had been established. Blackbeard and his crew abandoned the ship and survived.

Until recently, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources emphasized that the wreck, discovered in 1995, was “thought to be” the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Now, after a comprehensive review of the evidence, those same officials are sure it’s the ship sailed by one of history’s fiercest and most colorful pirates.

“There was not one aha moment,” said Claire Aubel, public relations coordinator for the North Carolina Maritime Museums. “There was a collection of moments and a deduction based on the evidence.”

via Blackbeard’s Ship Confirmed off North Carolina.

astronomy, new planet: Most earth-like … only 36 light years away!

A new planet found about 36 light-years away could be one of the most Earthlike worlds yet—if it has enough clouds, a new study says.

The unpoetically named HD85512b was discovered orbiting an orange dwarf star in the constellation Vela. Astronomers found the planet using the European Southern Observatory’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, instrument in Chile.

Radial velocity is a planet-hunting technique that looks for wobbles in a star’s light, which can indicate the gravitational tugs of orbiting worlds.

The HARPS data show that the planet is 3.6 times the mass of Earth, and the new world orbits its parent star at just the right distance for water to be liquid on the planet’s surface—a trait scientists believe is crucial for life as we know it.

via New Planet May Be Among Most Earthlike—Weather Permitting.

photography, apps, kith/kin:  My favorite professional photographer Mark Fortenberry likes Hipstamatic.  I am still learning.

Learn more about a few of my favorite photo apps in the gallery above.

And once you’re hooked, keep up with the latest and greatest at iPhoneography.com or push your creative edge with The Art of iPhoneography, both great resources for mobile creativity.

via Artsy Travel Photos? There’s an App for That – Intelligent Travel.

Dancing with the Stars, tv, Chaz Bono:  Now this will be interesting …

Although he may have something to prove, Chaz, however couldn’t be more beloved by his fellow contestants and the dancers who have all dubbed him a ‘very cool dude.’

via Chaz Bono ‘struggling with rehearsals because he lacks rhythm’ | Mail Online.

education, technology, iPads: 

School districts across the country are plunking down major cash for iPads—even for kindergarten classrooms—but there hasn’t been much research about whether using them actually boosts student achievement. So James Harmon, a veteran English teacher from the Cleveland area, decided to conduct his own experiment (PDF). His finding? His students learned better with the aid of iPads—if used correctly.

Harmon’s experiment began at the start of the last school year when the school district provided his school, Euclid High, with a set of 24 iPads. The school serves a population that’s majority black and low-income, and Harmon knew that traditional approaches to teaching reading and writing weren’t working. His gut instinct was that the iPads would help the school’s English teachers find new, creative approaches to teaching the content, but he also wanted to justify asking for more iPads with data-based evidence.

So Harmon divided the sophomore class into two groups, one iPad-free control group, and one that had access to the tablets at school. For consistency, he also ensured that all three sophomore English teachers taught the same curriculum. According to his experiment’s end-of-year data, students with access to an iPad were more likely to pass both the reading and writing sections of the state standardized test.

via Teacher’s iPad Experiment Shows Possibilities for Classroom Technology – Education – GOOD.

education, learning styles, edupunks:  Ar you an edupunk?  education, no … learning journey!

It’s the best of times and the worst of times to be a learner. College tuition has doubled in the past decade, while the options for learning online and independently keep expanding: you can take a free Stanford class with 100,000 other students, hop on YouTube to find an instructional video, or ask a question on Twitter or Quora and share your work on a forum like Github or Behance. Anya Kamenetz’s new free ebook The Edupunks’ Guide is all about the many paths that learners are taking in this new world. So we teamed up with her to find out: are you an edupunk?

the THEME

Three-quarters of students don’t fit the traditional mold of straight-from-high-school-four-years-of-college-first-job. We want to see a real learning journey: online and real-world resources and communities you’ve found, classes, internships, conferences, jobs, dead ends or wrong turns, and the person or people who really made a difference in getting you where you are today (or where you hope to be).

the OBJECTIVE

Doodle a map of your most important learning experiences. Show us what it’s like to learn outside the traditional academic model.

the REQUIREMENTS

Submit your entry here. We will accept submissions through Sunday, September 11. Check back on to see the slideshow and vote on your favorite. The winner will receive a GOOD T-shirt and see their infographic displayed on GOOD.is.

via Project: Doodle Your Learning Journey – Education – GOOD.

small business, internet, etsy:

In anticipation of Hello Etsy, a summit on small business and sustainability, we teamed up with Etsy to ask you which local businesses you love. We received tons of great submissions celebrating small businesses across the world.

via Submissions: Which Small Businesses Do You Love? – Culture – GOOD.

05
Sep
11

9.5.2011 … Happy Labor Day … highly recommend The Conspirator … if you are into historical (not hysterical) drama …

The Conspirator, movies, Mary Surratt, Frederick Aiken, history, kith/kin:  Two movie nights with the Trobs make for a fine Labor Day Weekend … and what fun it is that they too like to follow-up with a little research on the internet.  and Joni is very good.  As for the Conspirator, I loved it.  It was intense.

So here are my questions:

1) Where is the picture they were obviously setting up to take of the hanging?

 

 

Execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and

George Atzerodt at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.

via Mary Surratt.

2)What happened to Mary Surratt’s children?

Anna Surratt moved from the townhouse on H Street and lived with friends for a few years, ostracized from society.[218] She married William Tonry, a government clerk.[218] They lived in poverty for a while after he was dismissed from his job, but in time he became a professor of chemistry in Baltimore and the couple became somewhat wealthy.[218] The strain of her mother’s death left Anna mentally unbalanced, and she suffered from periods of extreme fear that bordered on insanity.[218] She died in 1904.[216][219] After the dismissal of charges against him, John Surratt, Jr. married and he and his family lived in Baltimore near his sister, Anna.[218] Isaac Surratt also returned to the United States and lived in Baltimore (he never married).[218] He died in 1907.[216][220] Isaac and Anna were buried on either side of their mother in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.[218] John Jr. was buried in Baltimore in 1916.[218] In 1968, a new headstone with a brass plaque replaced the old, defaced headstone over Mary Surratt’s grave.[221]

Mary Surratt’s boarding house still stands, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[222] Citizens interested in Mary Surratt formed the Surratt Society.[218] The Surrattsville tavern and house are historical sites run today by the Surratt Society.[181] The Washington Arsenal is now Fort Lesley J. McNair.[181] The building that held the cells and courtroom, and the brick wall seen in back of the gallows, are all gone (the courtyard where the hanging occurred is now a tennis court).[181]

via Mary Surratt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What happened to the Frederick Aiken? See Colonel Frederick A. Aiken biography | thisweekinthecivilwar.

 

Artisan Social Designer, shopping, Paris, France, artisan:  There is that artisan word again. 🙂

Artisan Social Designer, a new gallery and concept store in a converted grocery store in Paris, is giving traditional craft a makeover.

The shop was created by a freshly graduated fine artist couple, Rémi Dupeyrat and Naïs Calmettes, with the aim of showcasing young “artists with an artisan’s approach and vice-versa,” said Mr. Dupeyrat.

All the pieces on display, which are sold exclusively at the boutique (68, rue des Gravilliers; 33-1-4996-5605; http://www.artisansocialdesigner.fr), were handmade according to traditional techniques, or ones developed by their creators: tables made out of sea salt and resin, chairs of softened wood following an age-old architectural method, vases of traditionally blown glass.

The shop also takes a hard ethical line: only local materials are used, and all the pieces are limited to series of 20. “We don’t want a micro-factory-type production,” Ms. Calmettes said. “The artist should stop when he/she is bored.”

The space will also hold quarterly exhibitions, timed for the beginning of each new season. The first, “2011 Automnes,” running from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, will have a theme of wood and tools. The group show will include shoes of carved wood by Simona Vanth and Manon Beuchot, photography by Irwin Barbé and an special installation by the shop’s founders.

via In Paris, a New Shop Where Art Meets Wares – NYTimes.com.

Georgia, history:  Wonder why?

September 5, 1774

Georgia was the only colony not represented at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

via Atlanta History Center, September 5, 1774.

colleges, college ranking, US New & World Report:  History of the rankings is very interesting.

He’s also one of the most powerful wonks in the country, wielding the kind of power that elicits enmity and causes angst.

Morse runs U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges guide, the oldest and best-known publication to rank America’s premier colleges.

The annual release of the rankings, set for Sept. 13 this year, is a marquee event in higher education. Some call it the academic equivalent of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Colleges broadcast U.S. News rankings on Web sites and in news releases, tout them in recruiting pamphlets, alumni magazines and “Dear Colleague” letters, and emblazon them on T-shirts and billboards. Institutions build strategic plans around the rankings and reward presidents when a school ascends.

“U.S. News doesn’t advertise the rankings,” Morse said in a recent interview at the publication’s headquarters. “The schools advertise for us.”

Morse, 63, has endured for two decades as chief arbiter of higher education’s elite.

No one can stake a credible claim to academic aristocracy without a berth on the first page of a U.S. News list. He is to colleges what Robert Parker is to wine.

The rankings have changed the way colleges do business. Critics see their influence every time an institution presses alumni for nominal donations, coaxes noncommittal students to apply or raises the SAT score required for admission.

Twenty-eight years after the release of the first U.S. News lists, Morse and his publication dominate the college-ranking business they spawned. Last year’s publication drew more than 10 million Internet hits on launch day.

via U.S. News college rankings are denounced but not ignored – The Washington Post.

Google Fiber, technology:  100x faster …

Google has changed the way people search on the internet. Now it’s changing the way some people surf the web.

Hundreds of lucky residents in the San Fransisco Bay area are now accessing Google’s one-gigabyte broadband service, which is being touted as the fastest internet connection in the world.

CBS affiliate KCBS tested the Google Fiber internet service, which is being offered for free in a neighborhood just south of Stanford University.

According to the station, a 95-megabyte high-definition movie trailer downloaded in about nine seconds.

Download speeds on the network were up to 300 Mbps, with an upload speed of 150 Mbps. Comcast’s cable service, which has an average speed of 13Mbps, is about 1/20th the speed of Google Fiber.

Kansas City is the only other place to receive Google Fiber. It’s part of an experiment involving as many as half a million homes to improve ways to build the network, to see what apps people invent and how it would change the way we use the internet.

via Google Fiber world’s fastest broadband service, 100 times faster than norm – Tech Talk – CBS News.

President Obama, politics, Great Recession:  bottom line – we are in a mess.

Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking.

via What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama – NYTimes.com.

twitter, Jim Cramer, banks, The Government: We have a long road ahead of us.

Jim Cramer (@jimcramer)
9/4/11 6:16 PM
As for the banks, i have to tell you, the government isn’t going to let them lift. Even the great ones are getting killed. Bad sign…
9/11 Memorial, architecture:

Mr. Arad, who started designing a memorial before there was even a competition, was invested from the start in making what he called a “stoic, defiant and compassionate” statement. Born in London, he had grown up all over the world as the son of an Israeli diplomat who was once ambassador to the United States, and has lived in New York since 1999. He watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center from his roof on the Lower East Side and saw the south tower fall from a few streets away.

“I think my desire to imagine a future for this site came out of trying to come to terms with the emotions that day aroused,” he said.

Like everything else about ground zero, the story of how the memorial got back on track is complicated, and involves many players. But it is also at least partly the story of Mr. Arad’s evolution from a hot-headed 34-year-old novice whose design bested some 5,200 others to the more sanguine and battle-tested — if still perfectionist — architect he is today. It’s a tale that surprises many of those associated with the project, not least Mr. Arad himself.

“When I started this project, I was a young architect,” said Mr. Arad, 42, as he toured the site during the summer. “I was very apprehensive about any changes to the design. Whether I wanted to or not, I learned that you can accept some changes to its form without compromising its intent. But it’s a leap of faith that I didn’t want to make initially — to put it mildly.”

“I had a dual role: designer and advocate,” said Mr. Arad (pronounced ah-RAHD), who comes across as thoughtful and intense.

The memorial occupies about half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, which is a busy place these days, with four towers in various stages of construction. It includes a plaza with more than 400 swamp white oak trees, an area that will serve as a green roof over an underground museum designed by Aedas Architects with an entrance pavilion designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta. (The budget for both memorial and museum is now down to $700 million.)

Most significantly, the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers have been turned into two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre, fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground level and bordered by continuous bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there and in Washington and Pennsylvania.

via How the 9/11 Memorial Changed Its Architect, Michael Arad – NYTimes.com.

Jesus Daily, Facebook, social network, define: church:  All in all an interesting article.

A North Carolina diet doctor has come up with a formula to create the most highly engaged audience on Facebook in the world, far surpassing marketing efforts by celebrities and sports teams. He draws on the words of Jesus and posts them four or five times a day.

The doctor, Aaron Tabor, 41, grew up watching his father preach at churches in Alabama and North Carolina, and his Facebook creation is called the Jesus Daily. He started it in April 2009, he said, as a hobby shortly after he began using Facebook to market his diet book and online diet business that includes selling soy shakes, protein bars and supplements.

For the last three months, more people have “Liked,” commented and shared content on the Jesus Daily than on any other Facebook page, including Justin Bieber’s page, according to a weekly analysis by AllFacebook.com, an industry blog. “I wanted to provide people with encouragement,” said Dr. Tabor, who keeps his diet business on a separate Facebook page. “And I thought I would give it a news spin by calling it daily.”

Facebook and other social media tools have changed the way people communicate, work, find each other and fall in love. While it’s too early to say that social media have transformed the way people practice religion, the number of people discussing faith on Facebook has significantly increased in the last year, according to company officials.

Over all, 31 percent of Facebook users in the United States list a religion in their profile, and 24 percent of users outside the United States do, Facebook says. More than 43 million people on Facebook are fans of at least one page categorized as religious.

But the increase in the number of people finding faith communities via social media platforms provokes the question of what constitutes religious experience and whether “friending” a church online is at all similar to worshiping at one.

Although Pope Benedict acknowledged in a recent statement that social networks offered “a great opportunity,” he warned Roman Catholics that “virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”

via Jesus Daily on Facebook Nurtures Highly Active Fans – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, movies, Hollywood:  Well, it’s not my fault.  I go to no more than 4-5 theater movies a year.  I am actually up for the year. Hollywood spends an enormous amount of money and produces little of real worth.  Maybe they need to rethink.

From the first weekend in May to Labor Day, a period that typically accounts for 40 percent of the film industry’s annual ticket sales, domestic box-office revenue is projected to total $4.38 billion, an increase from last year of less than 1 percent, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box-office data.

The bad news: higher ticket prices, especially for the 18 films released in 3-D (up from seven last summer), drove the increase. Attendance for the period is projected to total about 543 million, the lowest tally since the summer of 1997, when 540 million people turned up.

Hollywood has now experienced four consecutive summers of eroding attendance, a cause for alarm for both studios and the publicly traded theater chains. One or two soft years can be dismissed as an aberration; four signal real trouble.

via Summer Movie Attendance Continues to Erode – NYTimes.com.


history, technology, John Donne:  Technology can be amazing.

Gipkin-Pauls-Cross.jpg

With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, professors John Wall and David Hill and architect Joshua Stephens are working to virtually replicate the architecture of the old St. Paul’s Cathedral to recreate what early modern Londoners would have heard on that day. Their model of the structure is based on the work of John Schofield, an archaeologist who works for St. Paul’s, who has surveyed the foundation of the old cathedral, which is still in the ground though partially underneath the existing cathedral.

To recreate the experience of hearing Donne’s sermon, linguist and historian David Crystal is working with his son, the actor Ben Crystal, to craft a reading that will follow the specific accent and style of 17th-century London English. Ben will make his recording in an anechoic (or acoustically neutral) chamber. Wall, Hill, and Stephens — together with Ben Markham, an acoustic simulation specialist in Cambridge, Massachusetts — will then be able to mash up that recording with the architectural design to simulate how Donne’s voice would have traveled when he stood in the churchyard. They are also mixing in ambient sounds that would have been common in London at that time, such as neighing horses, barking dogs, and running water.

By the end of 2012, Wall plans to have the recreation up and running as a website, where people can go to hear Donne’s sermon. They’ll be able to adjust the sound for different locations on the grounds and crowd sizes. The only thing missing are the delightful aromas of 17th-century London. Some things are perhaps better left in the past.

via Travel Back in Time (Virtually) to Hear John Donne Preach – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic.

history, history myths:  Fun resource!

Washington’s Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales—Some of Which are True

By Mollie Reilly, Washingtonian, August 29, 2011

This week, Washingtonian magazine corrected misconceptions about why buildings in D.C. were given a height limit in 1899, whether D.C. traffic circles were designed to stop an invading army, the symbolism of D.C.’s equestrian statues, and more.

Myths of the American Revolution

By John Ferling, Smithsonian, January 2010

Read this careful examination of the American Revolution by historian John Ferling and shed beliefs you may have acquired in grade school, but which are “not borne out by the facts.”

Lincoln Myths

The National Park Service has posted a page specifically on Lincoln Memorial Myths to answer questions like, “Is Lincoln buried at the Lincoln Memorial?” The official blog of President Lincoln’s Cottage lists “10 Myths about President Lincoln”: that he owned slaves, that he wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope, and so on.

What history myths can you debunk? Let us know in the comments.

via AHA Today: U.S. History Myths.

Apple, Android, smartphones:  just out of curiosity, does anyone ever talk about how much they love their android phone?

New data from Nielsen paints a revealing, if not all that unexpected, picture of the current smartphone market here in the U.S.

While earlier this year we saw Android’s lead over both RIM and Apple’s iOS continue to grow, many (including us) expected that extraordinary growth to curb.

Well that didn’t happen.

According to this latest data, Android now accounts for an intimidating 40% of the overall smartphone market, versus 37% just in May. As for Apple’s iOS? It saw a mere 1% increase from 27% to 28% over the same period.

via Guess How Big Android’s Lead Over Apple Is Now – Techland – TIME.com.

Great Recession, careers, free-lance:  

The country’s freelance nation has always been a diverse lot, some of whom were pushed out of full-time jobs and others who actively pursued this pathway with entrepreneurial zeal. But the recession has forced a growing number of people to grudgingly pursue this path. Do some of them end up “loving it”? Of course. Will some devote their extra free time to creative pursuits, perhaps to become indie rock darlings? Sure. But those who want to pursue the freelance life to support themselves full time are having a far harder time doing so.

via Has the recession created a freelance utopia or a freelance underclass? – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post.

foreign languages, language learning, humiliation:  I just have to open my mouth and they know I am foreign!

A few weeks before that, in the course of work, I visited a school in Complexo do Alemão, a notorious conglomeration of favelas, or slums, in Rio. The head teacher, Eliane Saback Sampaio, did what good teachers everywhere do: she turned the occasion into a learning experience. She brought me from class to class, introducing me as a visitor—but a visitor with a difference. “Listen to our visitor speak,” said Ms Sampaio said each time (in Portuguese), “and tell me whether you think she was born in Brazil.” Thus set up, I gamely said, “Boa tarde, meninos,” (Good afternoon, children)—and in every room, immediately faced a forest of flying hands as the children called out: No, No! She’s foreign! “That’s right,” said Ms Sampaio, happily. “Doesn’t she sound strange?”

The children guessed I was American, European, Spanish, Argentinian—and then came the next humiliation, trying to explain where and what Ireland is. (Brazilians universally think I’m saying I’m from Holanda, not Irlanda. There are strong trade links with the Netherlands, and Brazil is one of the few places in the world with hardly any Irish emigrants.) I really enjoyed the school visit—Complexo do Alemão was until recently run by drug-dealers, and it was inspiring to see a school doing such great work there. Too bad it came at my expense.

via Language learning: No, she’s foreign! | The Economist.

children, play, signage, preschool:  I hope my children will remember me for letting them play!

 yet as i prepare to start a year with a stated goal of “better preparing children for kindergarten,” i don’t want to forget the necessity of play. it is cause to celebrate!

via c is for caution {or celebration} | preschool daze.

twitter, Conan O’Brien, taxes:  🙂

Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien)
9/4/11 12:05 PM
Just taught my kids about taxes by eating 38% of their ice cream.
media, print v. paper, Amazon, e-readers, magazines, serendipity:  “And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating.”
I agree with this comment about the serendipity of stumbling … but I do that with twitter by following a whole host of magazines and bloggers.  hmmm
The more general question, however, is whether publishers like Amazon (and particularly Amazon) represent a threat to the older magazine model, in which a variety of articles are bundled together and sold for a price that, even on the newsstand, is lower than what a reader would expect to pay if buying everything piecemeal. Part of the reason readers buy magazines is because they are comfortable outsourcing some of the decision-making about content delivery, and welcome the fact that magazines curate the news. The last issue of the New Yorker, for example, included articles about Mr Perry, the gold standard, tarot cards, Wikipedia, Syria, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia, and Rin Tin Tin.

Few readers are interested in every article, but most will enjoy several of them. And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating. I don’t think I’ve read anything serious about tarot cards, for example, but I am more likely to read about it the New Yorker than I am to buy something a la carte, given that the subject never interested me before. It may be that e-publications will eat up part of the magazine market, but brands with a strong editorial line and loyal readers should fair pretty well.

via E-readers and magazines: It’s still good to have gatekeepers | The Economist.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, politics:  OK, he is officially getting on my nerves.

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t president, but Dick Cheney says that if she were in the White House rather than Barack Obama, then things might be different today in the country.

Cheney isn’t getting into specifics, but he does think that “perhaps she might have been easier for some of us who are critics of the president to work with.”

The former vice president tells “Fox News Sunday” that it’s his sense that the secretary of state is “one of the more competent members” of the Obama administration and it would be “interesting to speculate” about how she would have performed as president.

Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama, who went on to beat Republican John McCain in the general election. Obama named Clinton as the country’s top diplomat.

via Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton As President Would Have Made Different U.S..

education, reading, digital v. paper:  No surprises here.

British kids are more likely to read texts, e-mails and Web sites than books, according to a new study.

Almost 60 percent of the 18,000 8- to 17-year-olds who were part of the study said they had read a text message in the past month; half said they had read on the Web. That compares with 46 percent having read a fiction book and 35 percent having read a nonfiction book.

Does that surprise you?

Here are some other findings about kids and reading from the survey, which was done by England’s National Literacy Trust.

● About one in five kids surveyed had never been given a book for a present.

● About 30 percent of children said they read every day. But 13 percent say they never read at all.

● Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to say they never read.

The survey findings called for kids to be challenged to read 50 books a year, or about one a week. Do you read more or less than that? Go to kidspost.com to vote in our online poll. (Always ask a parent before going

via Study: Kids read Web sites more than books – The Washington Post.


26
Jun
11

6.26.2011 … somewhere over the rainbow …

music, gay marriage:  See the reference below … I am so behind or don’t attend enough gay rights parades that I just chuckled when I was reminded that this is their theme song.  YouTube – Judy Garland – Somewhere Over The Rainbow – HIGHEST QUALITY Music Video – The Wizard Of Oz, 1939.

Paris, food, events:  Too early for the Teagues, but sounds fun.  Bazarette/bodega = convenience store … Why does it always sound so much nicer in French?

On July 1, the French gastronomic group Le Fooding will be celebrating summer with a butcher, a baker and a macaron maker at their annual Bazarette du Fooding, a collection of food and drink purveyors.

The Paris Bazarette — events in Arles and Biarritz will follow — takes place in conjunction with the Days Off festival, at Cité de la Musique (221 avenue Jean Jaurès) in the 19th Arrondissement.

“Bazarette” loosely translates as “convenience store,” but this is no typical bodega. There will be a D.J., drinks and star purveyors from Paris and farther afield on hand to dish up samples to the crowd.

Breads will be provided by Gontran Cherrier, known for his good and good-looking multi-grain loaves, as well as buns made colorful by squid ink and paprika. Local growers Terroirs d’Avenir will be bringing in organic produce and the Italian grocery Mmmozza! will take care of the cheese. The “Bohemian butcher” Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec (who did a guest stint at the Meat Hook in Brooklyn last fall) will be serving his own house-cured beef.

Sweets will be handled by Maison Charaix from Joyeuse, who craft their macarons according to a 400-year-old recipe. The chef Magnus Nilsson will visit from the Swedish countryside to mix a special barley and almond aperitif.

Advanced reservations are required. They are available starting Tuesday on the Le Fooding Web site; the 15-euro fee (about $22) goes to charity.

via In Paris, a Festival for Food Lovers – NYTimes.com.

apps, journalists, lists:  From  a twitterer that I like …

Holly Tucker (@history_geek)
6/26/11 3:23 AM
Great apps for journalists from @nancyshute iReporter,Fire,Report-it lite, Skype, 1st video,Monle,Hindenberg,Camera+. #wcsj2011

economics, US, managrialist economy:  Actually makes some sense to me …

MARK ROE, a professor at Harvard Law School, asks how capitalist America really is in a stimulating Project Syndicate piece. Mr Roe suggests that the level of state ownership of capital, or the level of government intervention in the economy, may offer a misleading picture of America’s political economy. By these measures, one might infer that America is very capitalist, in the sense that capital largely controls the economy. However, as Mr Roe points out, ownership of capital is often extremely diffuse, spread over many thousands of shareholders. While a scattered body of shareholders collectively own much or most of public corporations, they generally have little control over the firms in which they have a stake. The people with real power are are the class of managers and executives. Mr Roe writes:

American law gives more authority to managers and corporate directors than to shareholders. If shareholders want to tell directors what to do – say, borrow more money and expand the business, or close off the money-losing factory – well, they just can’t. The law is clear: the corporation’s board of directors, not its shareholders, runs the business.

via Corporate power: Managerialist America | The Economist.

website, data base, writers, reading, history:  Now I thought this was fun!

RED is a collection of databases whose aim is to accumulate as much evidence as possible about reading experiences across the world. The search and browse facilities enable you to chart the reading tastes of individual readers as they travel to other countries, and consider how different environments may have affected their reading. You can track the readership of books issued in new editions for new audiences in different countries. Search results are displayed on an interactive map and linked to relevant records in national REDs.

Each national RED offers a range of services to users, including profiles of readers, authors, and titles; tutorials on accessing and analysing evidence; and examples of how scholars have used the database to uncover patterns of reading.

via Reading Experience Database – Home.

travel, tours, DC, green, electric bikes, bike tours:  I would have done this in a heartbeat.  Electric bike tours of DC!

The Monumental Tour starts and ends at the U.S. Marine Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Monument. From there, we follow the bike trail along Marshall Drive toArlingtonNational Cemetery, across Memorial Bridge toLincoln Memorial, past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, around the Constitutional Garden and Lagoon, past National Mall andWorld War II Memorial, in the shadow of Washington Monument.

From there, we cross Independence Avenue under the world-famous cherry blossoms, past the paddle boat dock, towards Jefferson Memorial. We dip south toward East Potomac Park, then return past FDRMemorial and the future site of Martin Luther King Memorial, back past Lincoln Memorial, across Memorial Bridge toward the Women In Military Museum, back on the Marshall Drive trail, up the final hill of Marine Corps Marathon, and back to the U.S. Marine Memorial.

via Pedego DC Tours.

gay marriage, New York, faith and spirituality:  Again, a very complex issue …

The gathering at that apartment was slightly surreal. It appeared to be familiar: handsome young men flirting with each other over sweets and alcohol. But now they had a complex new dimension to navigate through — albeit the kind of calculus that heterosexuals can do in their sleep. Or when they sleep with each other. Or when they wake up and discover who they have slept with. It’s the possibility of marriage, lurking subtly somewhere in one’s head. Imagine all the psycho-sexual-financial-commercial-legal dramas that will emerge as that little formula weaves itself into the lives of gay New Yorkers. Soon, we can have the kind of domestic life straight people have. One day, we may no longer even be gay. Just the people next door. No more parades.

But in one very important way, marriage will not quite be marriage even in New York, even 30 days from now when the law goes into effect. That is because the psycho-sexual-financial-commercial-legal dramas that entangle the domestic lives of straight people often have another component — religion. And religious institutions have an exemption in the new law from accommodating gay people. It was key to the passage of the legislation.

,,,

I write this as a deeply religious Christian who is pained that the church that otherwise provides me with so much spiritual comfort and joy will never allow me to marry within its walls. Some clerics may be “liberal” enough to turn a blind eye to gay relationships so long as they do not have to recognize them, much less grant them any kind of imprimatur. And, as of now, even in New York, religious institutions cannot be compelled to perform such a simple act of charity.

The state cannot force a church to change its beliefs. Even gay people realize that is wrong. And so, just to remind folks that we’re here we will have to continue to march in our parades and to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Nonetheless, waking up this morning, I was very happy not to be in Kansas anymore.

via Gay Marriage: A Bittersweet Victory? – TIME.

tweet of the day, gay marriage, New York, LOL:  I just had to laugh …

“Alec! Now we can get married!” – Steve Martin to Alec Baldwin, on Twitter.

via Celebrities tweet on N.Y. gay marriage law

Machu Picchu, Peru, history, travel, adventure travel, bucket list:  We went to Peru 25 years ago and chose to visit the Amazon over Machu Picchu … I have always wanted to go back … I want to go back via this route.  Love the comparison of seeing Machu Picchu to seeing the Mona Lisa (in bold)!

The first known American to see Choquequirao was the young Yale history lecturer Hiram Bingham III, in 1909. He was researching a biography of the South American liberator Simón Bolívar when a local prefect he met near Cuzco persuaded him to visit the site. Many believed that the ruins of Choquequirao had once been Vilcabamba, the legendary lost city of the Incas. Bingham didn’t agree, and was mesmerized by the idea of lost cities waiting to be found. Two years later, he returned to Peru in search of Vilcabamba. On July 24, 1911, just days into his expedition, Bingham climbed a 2,000-foot-tall slope and encountered an abandoned stone city of which no record existed. It was Machu Picchu.

This year, which marks the 100th anniversary of Bingham’s achievement, up to a million visitors are expected to visit those ancient ruins — a sharp rise from last year’s roughly 700,000, one of the highest attendance figures ever. Most of those pilgrims will hear the tale of Bingham’s 1911 trip. But few of them will know that the explorer also located several other major sets of Incan ruins, all of which approach his most famous finds in historic significance. After Machu Picchu — where he lingered for only a few hours, convinced that more important discoveries lay ahead — Bingham continued his hunt for vanished Incan sites. His 1911 expedition turned out to be one of the most successful in history. Within a few hundred square miles, he found Vitcos, once an Incan capital, and Espiritu Pampa, the jungle city where the last Incan king is thought to have made his final stand against the Spanish invaders. A year later he returned, and came upon Llactapata, a mysterious satellite town just two miles west of Machu Picchu whose importance is still being decoded.

Today Machu Picchu is a beehive of ongoing archaeological work while elsewhere in the area restoration efforts have progressed slowly, allowing visitors a chance to see ancient history in a form that closely resembles what Bingham encountered.

I wondered if it was still possible to detour from the modern, tourist path and arrive in the same way Bingham had — by taking the scenic route. Aided by John, a 58-year-old Australian expatriate who works with the Cuzco-based adventure outfitter Amazonas Explorer, I assembled a trip to do just that. Rather than start with the most famous ruins, our route began in Cuzco and looped counterclockwise around them, stopping first at the other extraordinary sites. You might call it a backdoor to Machu Picchu.

One’s first view of Machu Picchu is a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa after staring for years at a da Vinci refrigerator magnet. You know exactly what to expect, and at the same time, can’t quite believe that the real thing exceeds the hype. Also like the Mona Lisa, Machu Picchu is more compact than it appears in photos. In less than an hour John and I were able to visit most of the ruins that Bingham saw 100 years ago, in the same order he had encountered them: the cave of the Royal Mausoleum, with its interior walls that seemed to have melted; the perfect curve of the Sun Temple; the titanic structures of the Sacred Plaza, assembled from what Bingham called “blocks of Cyclopean size, higher than a man”; and, at the very top of the main ruins, the enigmatic Intihuatana stone, around which a throng of mystically inclined visitors stood with their hands extended, hoping to absorb any good vibrations radiating from the granite. At noon, when trainloads of day-trippers arrived, John and I took a long walk out to the Sun Gate. We munched on quinoa energy bars and watched tour groups endure stop-and-go traffic up and down Machu Picchu’s ancient stone stairways. At 3 p.m., the Cuzco-bound crowds drained through the exit like water from a tub, and we wandered the main ruins for another two hours before catching the day’s last bus down at 5:30.

On the last morning of our trip, still feeling crowd-shy, I asked John if he knew of any place at Machu Picchu that Bingham had seen but that most people never bothered to visit.

“I know just the spot,” he said without hesitating. “Mount Machu Picchu.”

Climbing a 1,640-foot-tall staircase isn’t something I normally do on vacation. But the condor’s-eye view from the top of Mount Machu Picchu, a verdant peak that looms above the ruins, was the sort of thing that compels a man to quote Kipling. Once at its summit, we had views of sacred apus unfolding in all directions; the Urubamba River snaking its way around Machu Picchu, on its way to the Amazon; and even the busy Inca Trail. We were inside the confines of Machu Picchu, and yet, like Bingham a hundred years before, we could appreciate it in peace.

via In Peru, Machu Picchu and Its Sibling Incan Ruins Along the Way – NYTimes.com.

US flag, trivia, history:  So no Betsy Ross, no real meaning to colors (other than same as Union Jack), no daily Pledge of Allegiance in Congress until recently, yes to burning, yes to t-shirts and beach towels …

In other words, when you wear a flag T-shirt or hat while reclining on an American flag beach towel near your American flag camping chair, you are violating the Flag Code. The code, which was drawn up at the first National Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is part of the law of the land. But it is not enforced, nor is it enforceable. It is merely a set of guidelines, letting Americans know what to do — and what not to do — with our red, white and blue national emblem.

There is no Flag Police. You will not be arrested for wearing a flag-embossed T-shirt on Flag Day — or any other day of the year.

via Five myths about the American flag – The Washington Post.

23
Jun
11

‎6.23.2011 … Final day/night for MAD at camp as JC … I don’t think she will ever wash another dish. :)

music, kith/kin:  From Bob … “There are some voices that are simply meant to sing together. When these three sing together, it far exceeds any of them individually. I could listen to this song for hours.” YouTube – Crosby Stills Nash – Southern Cross.

Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Pottermore, media, followup:  I hope she can keep another generation enthralled (and I define that to mean a 7 year-old will persevere through a 700 page book!) … YouTube – JKRowlingAnnounces’s Channel ‏.

natural disasters, tornadoes, Louisville, kith/kin, prayers:  Why am I so touched when animals are involved …

At least five barns were damaged and horses were running loose Wednesday at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, after a powerful storm that spawned tornadoes blew through Louisville.

Officials have no immediate reports of injuries to humans or horses.

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down near the famed track and the University of Louisville campus about 8:10 p.m. EDT. Though no races are run on Wednesdays, there was simulcasting of races elsewhere, so people were there, said track President Kevin Flanery.

via Tornado hits Louisville near Churchill Downs – Sports- NBC Sports.

Paris, Hotel de Nice, hotels:  I just loved the opening image for this small modest hotel …

 Accueil.

education, history:  I enjoyed this article and found that I agree … learning history “today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.” I learn best and my children learn best when we experience history and share those experiences.

We make much of bad test results and idiotic answers to civics questions from the young Americans Jay Leno stops on Los Angeles street corners. It’s fun, but it is also misleading. We are promoting what Paxton calls “the false notion that the biggest problem facing history students today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.”

He and Wineburg, both education professors, say we should decide what history is worth knowing and teach it well. “The thousand-page behemoths that we call textbooks violate every principle of human memory that we know of,” Wineburg said.

Emphasizing reading and devoting more school hours to comprehension of the language no matter what the topic might give us the skills to develop an interest in public affairs. Many critics say the subject of history has suffered because schools are giving more time to reading and math. Why then, asks Wineburg, were the students who were most improved on the NAEP history test in fourth grade, where the concentration on reading and math has been greatest?

Even if we haven’t remembered our country’s history so well in the last century, we have learned to appreciate it, and act accordingly. This July 4, that’s worth celebrating.

via Is knowing history so important? – Class Struggle – The Washington Post.

writing, blogging, social media, Jeff Elder:  A class … I am actually thinking about taking it …

OMG! Writing for social media??? LOL. Actually, there are many opportunities developing for writers to develop their craft on Facebook, blogs, even Twitter. The best part? You have a captive audience that is immediately engaged. As companies, nonprofits, small business and other groups launch web sites and social media sites, content is desperately needed.

via WRITING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.

culture, kindness, Gretchen Rubin, blog posts of note:  Just the other day, I excerpted an article about what not to say to a person who is ill … and today I find this post from Gretchen Rubin about what to say/not to say to a person divorcing.  I think we all have problems with this and we are detached from our teachers … our families, our churches and we no longer learn how to handle being kind.  Isn’t that really what it is all about.

A while back, I read a New York magazine article by Katie Roiphe, The Great Escape, in which Roiphe discusses her friends’ reaction to the news of her divorce. Bottom line: she’s annoyed that they’re acting as though she’s going through some terrible tragedy, when in fact, she feels fine — if anything, she feels freed and relieved.

It’s an interesting article on many levels, but the thing that struck me was – zoikes! If I were her friend, I’m sure I’d be saying all the wrong things, too.

So what’s the right thing to say?

via The Happiness Project: Tips for talking to someone about an impending divorce: dos and don’ts.

cities, psychology, mental health:  I love big cities … maybe I am crazy!

This may come as no surprise to residents of New York City and other big urban centers: Living there can be bad for your mental health.

Now researchers have found a possible reason why. Imaging scans show that in city dwellers or people who grew up in urban areas, certain areas of the brain react more vigorously to stress. That may help explain how city life can boost the risks of schizophrenia and other mental disorders, researchers said.

Previous research has found that growing up in a big city raises the risk of schizophrenia. And there’s some evidence that city dwellers are at heightened risk for mood and anxiety disorders, although the evidence is mixed.

In any case, the volunteers scanned in the new study were healthy, and experts said that while the city-rural differences in brain activity were intriguing, the results fall short of establishing a firm tie to mental illness.

via Big city got you down? Stress study may show why  | ajc.com.

gender issues, Great Recession, workforce:  I think this is very interesting.  I wonder how this shift in workforce gender balance compares to WWII.

In part, labor experts pin this trend on a recession that disproportionately affected male-centered industries such as manufacturing and construction, but this tells only some of the story. Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, men moved toward being the minority in a number of professions they had long dominated.

This was particularly prevalent in professions requiring advanced degrees. Medical scientists, for example, who typically need a Ph.D. to work in labs or at pharmaceutical companies, experienced one of the biggest changes in gender makeup of any profession. In 2000, the majority of those who worked in the profession (54%) were men, but by last year just 46% of medical scientists were men.

Likewise, the percentage of male veterinarians declined from nearly 70% in 2000 to about 44% last year, making this the profession with the single greatest shift in the proportion of men to women, according to an analysis of the BLS data.

Much of the changing gender balance, experts argue, can be traced to the early 1970s, when more women began pursuing college degrees and full-time careers.

“Young women in elementary and middle school began to look around and realize that they were going to be in the labor force for a substantial part of their lifetimes and therefore needed to concentrate more on professions that were better investments,” said Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University.

via Behind the Rise of Women in the Work Force – TheStreet.

cities, lifestyles, culture, Baby Boomers, Brookwood Hills, Atlanta, Wilmette, Chicago, small house movement:  I loved growing up in a neighborhood where our home was no more than 2500 sq feet and the neighborhood was our yard.  My children’s favorite of their 3 homes is the smallest, our Wilmette home.  I think my generation, the Baby Boomers, have really gone awry on the big house status symbol.  A house does not make a home.  My daughter says she never wants a “big house.”

Places like Hilton Head, with water adjacency and nice climates, are in high demand, and land values are insane. In the case of Hilton Head, which was developed in 1970 on what had been a mosquito- and alligator-infested swampy barrier island, land value has leaped from nearly zero to now unaffordable. The first batch of houses built here might have been normal-sized, but in the ten years that I’ve been coming here on occasion, I’ve seen them replaced by new ones that are enormous. About five years ago, we rented a house right on the beach that was arena-sized. We loved being right on the ocean, so we asked the owner if we could reserve time for the next year. No, he said, it wouldn’t be possible; he was tearing the house down. Why? To build a bigger one on the same lot. We saw the finished product a few years later: it looked like a house with severe edema, swollen to bursting, built to the very edge of the property line.

My husband and I built our house in New York about five years ago, and right before we began, I fell under the spell of the small-house movement; I had dozens of Post-Its in my copy of “The Not-So-Big House” marking author Sarah Susanka’s recommendations for designing a house that was efficient and inviting without being pointlessly gigantic. It’s not really such a new idea. A few weeks ago, I stayed for a night in the Penfield House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s an amazing place, with a jazzy sort of geometry. It’s also quite small (even though, as it happens, the owner, Louis Penfield, was six foot eight, and had actually wondered whether Wright could make a house that would work for a person his size). But the house is big enough. Everything is ingeniously designed to make use of all available space, and the floor-to-ceiling living room windows make it feel like there is only a thin skin between you and the outdoors, which gives the illusion of spaciousness. It’s a great house—that is, in the sense of the word “great” meaning an impressive accomplishment, rather than “large.”

Oversized houses, like oversized cars, seem to be a particularly American fixation. In many other countries, the land available is so limited and the cost of building so high that most people wouldn’t even consider building a Hilton Head-style jumbo. And the expense—in economic and environmental terms—of heating and cooling these places is vast. What’s funny is that these mega-mansions are so often located somewhere people go because they want to enjoy the natural environment. The house we had wanted to rent again had very little land around it when we rented it. Now, in its bulked-up state, the outdoor space is a narrow margin of sand and grass, not even wide enough to walk on.

via Free Range: The Too-Big House : The New Yorker.

reading, education, St. John’s College, Great Books Program, kith/kin:  St. John’s is a wonderful place.  My kith daughter is there and thrives.  Interesting is that she always loved to read (in contrast to this student) … but I think it is the type of education that suits a very gifted and creative mind.

As long as nobody had assigned the book, I could stick with it. I didn’t know what I was reading. I didn’t really know how to read. Reading messed with my brain in an unaccountable way. It made me happy; or something. I copied out the first paragraph of Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” on my bedroom’s dormer wall. The book was a present from an ace teacher, a literary evangelist in classy shoes, who also flunked me, of course, with good reason. Even to myself I was a lost cause.

Early senior year, a girl in homeroom passed me a brochure that a college had sent her. The college’s curriculum was an outrage. No electives. Not a single book in the seminar list by a living author. However, no tests. No grades, unless you asked to see them. No textbooks—I was confused. In place of an astronomy manual, you would read Copernicus. No books about Aristotle, just Aristotle. Like, you would read book-books. The Great Books, so called, though I had never heard of most of them. It was akin to taking holy orders, but the school—St. John’s College—had been secular for three hundred years. In place of praying, you read. My loneliness was toxic; the future was coleslaw, mop water; the college stood on a desert mountain slope in Santa Fe, New Mexico, fifteen hundred miles from home; I could never get into such a school; my parents couldn’t pay a dollar. And I loved this whole perverse and beautiful idea. I would scrap everything (or so I usefully believed) and go to that place and ask them to let me in. It felt like a vocation. It was a vocation.

In retrospect, I was a sad little boy and a standard-issue, shiftless, egotistical, dejected teen-ager. Everything was going to hell, and then these strangers let me come to their school and showed me how to read. All things considered, every year since has been a more intense and enigmatic joy. ♦

via Salvatore Scibona: “Where I Learned to Read” : The New Yorker.

Camp Illahee, kith/kin, end of an era:  As MAD  is ending her session as a JC, I am sad.  Nine years at Illahee have been a wonderful experience for her and something she will always cherish.  If you want a recommendation for an all girls camp, please contact me.  It has truly been a “heavenly world.”

In the Cherokee language, Illahee means “heavenly world.” This idea expresses the very best of what campers, counselors and staff create for a remarkable few weeks every summer.

For ninety years, Camp Illahee has given girls the opportunity to explore their interests, seek new adventures and forge friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

via Camp Illahee | A Summer Camp for Girls in Brevard, North Carolina.

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Apr
11

4.12.2011 … Is it spring … or summer … blessings …

random, history: 🙂

April 11, 1990

Gov. Joe Frank Harris signed an act designating the Vidalia Onion Georgia’s official state vegetable.

via Atlanta History Center, April 11, 1990.

summer 2011, kith/kin:  We are very excited for Molly!

Tufts Summit invites high school students to develop a greater understanding of the global village they will call home. While improving their French language skills, students are introduced to the complex world of international politics and diplomacy through classroom instruction, exploration of French culture, and field trips to local sites of historic importance and natural beauty.

via Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France.

science, health:  very interesting …

TELOMERES are to chromosomes what plastic caps are to shoelaces—they stop them fraying at the ends. Unlike shoelaces, though, chromosomes replicate themselves from time to time as the cells they are in divide. This shortens the telomere and, after 50-70 such divisions a number known as the Hayflick limit, after its discoverer, a chromosome can grow no shorter and the cell it is in can divide no more.That provides a backstop against cancer. The rapidly dividing cells in a tumour soon hit the Hayflick limit and the process is brought to a screeching halt. Which is a good thing. The bad thing is that reaching the limit is one of the markers of old age. You do not want it to happen too quickly, particularly in tissues that have to do a lot of dividing in order to work properly, such as those in the immune system.It has been known for some time that chronic stress caring for a child with a protracted illness, for example causes premature shortening of the telomeres. What has not been clear is whether this is a one-way trip, with each stressful period turning the telomeric ratchet irreversibly. This week, though, at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Florida, a group of researchers led by Edward Nelson of the University of California, Irvine, showed that it isn’t. Their research suggests that stress management not only stops telomeres from shortening, it actually promotes their repair.

via Stress and ageing: A question of attitude | The Economist.

libraries, travel, lists, bucket lists:  Only seen 3 … more to add to y bucket list. 🙂

Forget stereotypes about libraries. You’re likely to find art exhibits, lounge chairs and free Wi-Fi. Monday marks the start of National Library Week, but visitors don’t need an excuse to visit. “It’s a place where stuff happens,” says Rebecca Miller  of Library Journal magazine. She shares 10 favorite locations with Larry Bleiberg  for USA TODAY.

via 10 great places to take a library tour – USATODAY.com.

children’s/YA literature:  I wonder what my favorite says about me … it’s not on the list … A Wrinkle in Time.

Click through for our predictions, and do your best to take it with the grain of salt we intend – don’t worry, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lovers, we’re not really accusing you of advocating slavery. Be sure to add to the fun and make up your own in the comments!

via Flavorwire » What Your Favorite Kids Book Then Says About You Now.

education, children’s/YA literature, lists:  The Brits don’t read the same books we do .. 🙂

Education Secretary Michael Gove says that children aged 11 should be reading 50 books a year to improve literacy standards.

We asked three of Britain’s leading children’s authors and two of our in-house book experts to each pick 10 books, suitable for Year 7 students.

The authors chose books that have brought them huge joy, while expressing their outrage at the “great big contradiction” of Mr Gove’s claim to wish to improve literacy while closing libraries across the country.

via The 50 books every child should read – News, Books – The Independent.

culture, education, reading, children’s/YA literature:

in many cultures, it is actively rude to take out a book in a public place, that reading is a private activity to be carried out at home. Only when subjected to a long and tedious wait might it be acceptable to take out a book; and it is true, the one reader I spotted was in an airport lounge.

Still, though the observation probably doesn’t hold water as a judgement of the literacy of a society, it does make a point about the place of reading in a nation’s life. You can tell something about a nation by how universal and constant a habit reading is. In Japan, there seems hardly a moment of stasis too brief to whip out a manga or a classic novel. One of the wonderful sights of Bengali culture, whether in Calcutta or Bangladesh, is of people gathered round a newspaper pasted on a wall, or standing on a street corner deep in the morning’s paper.

And, like other European cultures, the English have always been not just great readers, but great readers in public. Look around you on the train at the prevalence, even now, of the morning newspaper. On the evening train there will be 20 books being read in every carriage, of all sorts – Herodotus, Jane Green, Dickens, lives of Hitler and histories of Hungary. Reading is, even now, as central to the existence of many English people as eating.

…Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has raised a few eyebrows with his aspiration that every schoolchild, from 11 onwards, should be expected to read 50 books a year. That number of books a year seems like a gigantic step upwards from the present situation where, as Mr Gove tells us, many school students read only two books for GCSE, the culmination of years of education, and one of those is usually Of Mice and Men. Is it achievable?

via Philip Hensher: Fifty books a year is ideal, but why stop at school children? – Philip Hensher, Commentators – The Independent.

icons, fashion, Sally Field, tv, Gidget:  Poor, Gidge …

Gidget, as played by Sally Field in the eponymous 1965 television series, was the ultimate California girl. A sturdy pink-and-white bikini suited the boy-crazy surfer perfectly as she went about on her Malibu misadventures.

via Sally Field, Gidget,1965 – The Most Iconic Swimsuits Ever – Get Star Style – Fashion – InStyle.

Libya, news, South Africa, Colonel Gaddafi, Jacob Zuma:  Interesting twist given that the general consensus is that Zuma is a crooked as they come.

A rebel spokesman said any deal designed to keep Colonel Gaddafi or his sons in place would not be acceptable

South African President Jacob Zuma says the Libyan government has accepted an African Union peace proposal to end the eight-week-old conflict.

Mr Zuma’s AU delegation met Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on Sunday. An AU team is going to the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

But rebel spokesmen said there could be no truce unless Col Gaddafi stepped down and his forces withdrew.

via BBC News – Libya: Gaddafi government accepts truce plan, says Zuma.




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