Posts Tagged ‘serendipity

26
Feb
16

2.26.16 … minerals (healing), vegetable, animal, human, angles and the last one is the unknown (beyond the grasp of the human mind) …

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“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 16/40), Morningstar Lutheran Chapel – Mint Hill NC:

bright sun,

chimes,

chapel with red doors,

old cemetery,

legacy labyrinth in memory of Shannon Kennedy,

 debris on the path

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A new brochure!

“The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to ourselves into the light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness.”

We are all on the path precisely where we need to be.

It can be a path of prayer, reduce stress, and self knowledge, help us move through transitions in life, quiet the mind, give solace, peace, clarity, celebration, give comfort and solace to the weary soul.

There are three “r”s to walking the labyrinth: releasing as you walk in, receiving in the center, and returning – taking your experience back out into the world.

In the center are six petals. They can stand for many things. One thought is: starting on the left are minerals (healing), vegetable, animal, human, angles and the last one is the unknown (beyond the grasp of the human mind).

 

2.26.16

Potter more,  29 signs,  Hermione and Ron, Harry Potter:  I missed most of the signs …

You may think that this famous romance only kicked off after several years of Hogwarts and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but we like to think the signs were always there…

Source: Pottermore – 29 signs that Hermione liked Ron from the start

Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research, The New York Times: 

“Sounds like a prison camp,” Dr. Willenbring said softly, leaning forward in his chair to pass a box of tissues. Continue reading the main story Sign Up for the Science Times Newsletter Every week, we’ll bring you stories that capture the wonders of the human body, nature and the cosmos. He began explaining the neuroscience of alcohol and drug dependence, 60 percent of which, he said, is attributable to a person’s genetic makeup. Listening intently, the young patient seemed relieved at the idea that his previous failures in rehab might reflect more than a lack of will. Dr. Willenbring, 66, has repeated this talk hundreds of times. But while scientifically unassailable, it is not what patients usually hear at addiction treatment centers. Rehabilitation programs largely adhere to the 12-step principles of the 80-year-old Alcoholics Anonymous and its offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous. Addicts have a moral and spiritual defect, they are told; they must abstain from alcohol and drugs and surrender to a higher power to escape substance abuse. This treatment is typically delivered through group therapy led by counselors whose main qualification is their own completion of the program. In some states, drug counselors with only a high school degree may treat patients, according to a 2012 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Dr. Willenbring says he believes this approach ignores the most recent research on the subject, a judgment he is well qualified to make. From 2004 to 2009, he was the director of treatment research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and he oversaw dozens of studies proving the efficacy of medications and new behavioral therapies to treat drinking problems.

Source: For Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research – The New York Times

 Yosemite,  Waterfall Firefall, The New York Times, serendipity:

 

For a few weeks in February if the conditions are just right, for about 10 minutes around sunset, one waterfall in Yosemite National Park looks more like its opposite — a firefall. Visitors who flocked to the park this week, many with cameras in tow, have not been disappointed by the glowing transformation of Horsetail Fall, which flows from El Capitan. “In the over 20 years I have been photographing the firefall and leading workshops there in Yosemite, I have never seen a more spectacular one,” said Michael Mariant, a photographer from Morro Bay, Calif., who leads teaching trips to Yosemite. The phenomenon occurs only if there has been enough snow and rain in the Sierra Mountains to fuel the waterfall, if the skies are clear and if the setting sun strikes the water at an angle that creates the illusion of lava.

Source: At Yosemite, a Waterfall Turns Into a Firefall – The New York Times

UNC professor,  credits,  first use of ‘shit happens’, The Daily Tar Heel: 

If you go on Wikipedia and look at ‘shit happens,’ you see my name,” Eble said. It started as a class assignment. Every semester, Eble asks her students to write down new catch phrases on index cards that she collects and compiles into a list.

And on the list from 1983 is first alleged recorded use of “shit happens.” “A female student turned in ‘shit happens,’ and wrote this: ‘When informed that he flunked the test, the guy replied, ‘That shit happens.’’” Although that student remains anonymous, Eble has gained more recognition for coining the phrase than she’d like to take credit for. “This gets brought up every so often,” she said. “Will this never die? I didn’t come up with it — it just so happened that my list was the earliest citation. And now it’s become sort of an urban myth.”

Source: UNC professor credited with first use of ‘shit happens’ :: The Daily Tar Heel

Mussels with White Wine Recipe – Bon Appétit, favorite meals:

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Mussels With White Wine

Spoon some aioli on a piece of toast, dunk it in the broth, and eat it along with the white wine-soaked mussels. Repeat. Ingredients

SERVINGS:

4 Lemon

Aioli

1 large egg yolk

1 garlic clove, finely grated

1 tsp (or more) fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Mussels

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine

4 pounds mussels, debearded, scrubbed

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Sliced country-style bread, toasted (for serving)

Lemon Aioli Whisk egg yolk, garlic, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in vegetable oil, then olive oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until aioli is emulsified. Do Ahead: Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Mussels Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add mussels and 1/2 cup water to pot, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open (discard any that do not open), 10–12 minutes. Ladle mussels and broth into shallow bowls and top with thyme; serve with bread and lemon aioli. Recipe by Dawn Perry Photograph by Gentl & Hyers

Nutritional Content Calories (kcal) 640 Fat (g) 33 Saturated Fat (g) 5

Source: Mussels with White Wine Recipe – Bon Appétit

Urban birding, David Lindo,  ‘sexy’ pastime, Love Nature:  I have several birding friends.  Now I know it is a  ‘sexy’ pastime’!!

There is a commonly-held idea that there are far fewer bird species to be found in the city than in the countryside. But that’s not your experience, is it? Well it’s not true, full stop. I think people do not expect to see wildlife in urban areas, so they don’t see it. It’s all about opening your mind to the idea of seeing wildlife and to imagine the city as how a bird would see it. So for me, buildings become cliffs and even the trees I see around become scattered woodland and even a small patch of reed bed or a small lake can replicate what you’d find in the outer countryside, so I expect to see the same sort of things—albeit in lesser numbers usually . . . The UK had just under 600 species recorded from whenever they started recording back in the early 1900s and nearly 400 species have been seen in London. So I don’t see being in an urban area as a block to enjoying birds and wildlife.

Source: Urban birding: Expert David Lindo explains how and why to take up this ‘sexy’ pastime | Love Nature

 

 

25
Feb
15

2.25.15 … “Spiritual life at its best is reality based.” – Krista Tippett … MERGE NICELY PLEASE …

IMG_2278 “Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 7/40, Christ Church Episcopal/School Lower School Greenville SC, another #snOMG, brine trucks on the interstates, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons,  Lucas Johnson, The Movement Remembered Forward, On Being, Krista Tippett, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Thompson’s Boots and Shoes, serendipity, these boots are made for walking …, John 3:16 CLEARANCE SALE,  SketchGuru:

As a make my way north from Atlanta with a winter storm warning in effect, I must tell you of a few things that I observed.

First is the brine trucks.  This is the second time in two weeks that I have seen them.  Both times on I-85, both times blocking both lanes of traffic with a police or DOT escort.

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And because I was sleepy, I decided I would stream a Krista Tippett’s most recent On Being broadcast. Good decision …

GWENDOLYN ZOHARAH SIMMONS AND LUCAS JOHNSON —

The Movement, Remembered Forward

Wisdom for how we can move and heal our society in our time as the Civil Rights Movement galvanized its own. Lucas Johnson is bringing the art and practice of nonviolence into a new century, for new generations. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons was an original Black Power feminist and a grassroots leader of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

via Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Lucas Johnson — The Movement, Remembered Forward | On Being.

The interview is worth your time. Krista Tippett closed with this statement:

MS. TIPPETT: You know, I wish we had hours and I have pages of questions we haven’t gotten to but where we have gone is so rich. And mostly it leaves wonderful questions in the room for us to hold and live with and reflections and nuance, that’s new. I think in my work it’s become more and more important to me that spiritual life at its best is reality-based and the two of you embody it. So I want to thank you so much for being with us tonight and sharing…

via Transcript: Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Lucas Johnson — The Movement, Remembered Forward | On Being.

Several times in the interview, Ms.  Tippett referenced  the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.  I had never heard of it, so of course I did some digging …

Rev. Lucas Johnson was born into an army family in Germany, and grew up in coastal Georgia. He is a leader of the century-old International Fellowship of Reconciliation. Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons became a leader, while still in her teens, of the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. Today, she’s a professor of religious studies at Florida State University, and a student of Sufism. She was raised by her grandmother, who’d been a sharecropper and whose own mother had been a slave. I spoke with Lucas and Zoharah at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. before events in Ferguson and beyond reignited racial anguish. But the perspective they offered that night has become, if anything, more necessary.

via Transcript: Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Lucas Johnson — The Movement, Remembered Forward | On Being.

Founded in 1914, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation is an international, spiritually-based movement of people who, from the basis of a belief in the power of love and truth to create justice and restore community, commit themselves to active nonviolence as a way of life and as a means of transformation–personal, social, economic and political.

We are people from many faith traditions and many who don’t subscribe to any particular religious background or community. IFOR has members working in 40 different countries, speaking a variety of different native languages, and expressing a wide away of cultures. What unites us is our commitment to a world free of war and structural violence.

via index.

So as I continued my drive, my thoughts were focused on the interview.  And of course I got a good chuckle at the carpool line sign …

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I must admit, I have begun to focus on dedications …

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And now to my walk …

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Messy, Cold, Damp …

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Clover … I see clumps of clover and then I realize that the center rosette on this labyrinth looks like a “6”  leaf clover.

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Grass has grown into the path and I find myself “straddling the path” because it is almost too narrow. So my feet are in the boundaries … I am walking on the edge.  I do this to say stay stable/balanced.

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And the center or rosette today …

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My timing is awkward because it is time for the carpool line to begin. So I have to hurry so that I do not get blocked in by the elementary school carpool moms.

The workers nearby are working very hard on what is going to be a beautiful project.

IMG_2295There is a MAJOR building project going on near the labyrinth. I wonder if the workers wonder what I am doing. I also wonder if the workers who do the work will they ever appreciate their work or get to enjoy it with their families.

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And then as I continue my drive … I’m clearly taking the slow route home, which I never do. And I stopped at a discount shoe and boot store in South Carolina. And of course I yielded and bought a pair of Clark’s black dress boots that are treated with Gore-Tex. how could I pass up the “John 3:16 CLEARANCE SALE.”

 

You can thank me now. The Southeast will probably never have another snow or wintry mix after today. However since the storm was already on its way, I think I will get at least one wearing of my new boots.

And I must note this wonderfully wee bit of tackiness next does … nothing like a GA Tech fan who also likes plastic yard deer.  🙂

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QT, Tervis Tumblers, Folds of Honor:  I am a sucker for Tervis Tumblers and I saw at one of my 3 QT stops for Diet Dr. Pepper from the fountain (79 cents), I knew I wanted one.  And when I found out they were only $9.99 supported Folds of Fields and come with $10+ in coupons … I knew I was buying one …
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MISSION

HONORING THEIR SACRIFICE, EDUCATING THEIR LEGACY.

Of the one million-plus dependents adversely affected by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly nine out of 10 do not qualify for federal scholarship assistance. Folds of Honor seeks to meet this need by providing annual educational scholarships to the military families of those who have been killed or disabled while in active duty. These help support private education tuition, tutoring and educational summer camps for children K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance for spouses and children. Since its founding in 2007, the organization is proud to have awarded over 7,500 scholarships, including over 2,000 in 2014 alone.

via Mission | Folds of Honor.

And I have a new favorite app!! SketchGuru

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And dare I mention Gaffney’s iconic Peach … She’s not faring so well in her cap … IMG_2308

Davidson College Mens Basketball, A10 Conference: And a nice ending to my day: Davidson wins!! Davidson 60 – Rhode Island 59

#snOMG

Heavy snow began falling across the Charlotte region Wednesday evening, causing slick roads and forcing most area schools to close Thursday.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service expect 6 to 8 inches of snow in the Charlotte area, and 8 to 10 inches east of Union County, before the system moves out Thursday morning.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was among the districts to announce that classes are canceled Thursday. No makeup day will be needed for CMS students.

At 10 p.m., snow was falling heavily across the region, creating visibility problems for some drivers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed

Doug Outlaw, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said temperatures hovered at or above freezing for longer than anticipated Wednesday night, which meant less snow stuck to roads.

via 6-8 inches of snow forecast for Charlotte | The Charlotte Observer The Charlotte Observer.

 

 

 

 

26
Mar
13

3.26.13 … a little of this … a little of that …

water fountain, evolution,  WSJ.com:

The basic drinking fountain—requiring you to bend over, press a button and slurp—was a steady seller for decades. Then, nearly 10 years ago, executives of Elkay Manufacturing Co. started noticing what they call “the airport dance.”

More people were toting plastic water bottles. Rather than drinking from the fountain, they wanted to refill those jugs. It wasn’t working.

“We were really changing what a water cooler was,” says Rod Magnuson, a product director at Elkay.

Water is more popular as Americans reduce consumption of high-calorie soft drinks. Tap and bottled water accounted for around 30% of the typical American’s liquid intake last year, up from 16% two decades before, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a consulting firm. Nearly half of that water came from taps, including drinking fountains.

But Americans are picky. Many consider fountains unsanitary. Though Elkay added antimicrobial agents to the mouth guards, fear of germs lingered.

One of the most inspired features is a digital counter, showing how many bottles have been filled. “I thought that was a dumb idea,” says Jack Krecek, who spearheaded the EZH2O project before leaving Elkay to run another company. But the counter ended up helping “make this thing go viral,” he says. College students liked showing how green they were by tracking how many plastic bottles had been kept out of landfills. Some held intra-campus competitions to see who could reuse the most bottles.

Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., began buying Elkay fountains after students campaigned against what they saw as plastic-bottle waste. The college has installed 49 of the devices and says more than 1.4 million plastic bottles have been refilled by them over the past two years. Incoming freshmen receive a free stainless-steel water bottle. David Rabold, capital projects manager at Muhlenberg, says sales of bottled water on campus have fallen 90% since EZH2O fountains were installed.

via With Bottle-Fillers in Mind, the Water Fountain Evolves – WSJ.com.

Justice Antonin Scalia, Andy Borowitz, LOL,  The New Yorker:  Andy Borowitz is a hoot …

SCALIA SAYS MARRIAGE VIEWS NOT AFFECTED BY LIFELONG FEAR OF GAYS

POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ

via Scalia Says Marriage Views Not Affected by Lifelong Fear of Gays : The New Yorker.

Plainsong:  Since I didn’t know exactly what it was, I thought you might be interested.

History

A sample of the Kýrie Eléison (Orbis Factor) from the Liber Usualis, in neume notation. Listen to it interpreted.

Plainchant is believed to originate from the 3rd century A.D. Gregorian chant is a variety of plainsong named after Pope Gregory I (6th century A.D.), although Gregory himself did not invent the chant. The tradition linking Gregory I to the development of the chant seems to rest on a possibly mistaken identification of a certain “Gregorius”, probably Pope Gregory II, with his more famous predecessor.

For several centuries, different plainchant styles existed concurrently. Standardization on Gregorian chant was not completed, even in Italy, until the 12th century. Plainchant represents the first revival of musical notation after knowledge of the ancient Greek system was lost. Plainsong notation differs from the modern system in having only four lines to the staff and a system of note shapes called neumes.

In the late 9th century, plainsong began to evolve into organum, which led to the development of polyphony.

There was a significant plainsong revival in the 19th century, when much work was done to restore the correct notation and performance-style of the old plainsong collections, notably by the monks of Solesmes Abbey, in northern France. After the Second Vatican Council and the introduction of the New Rite Mass, use of plainsong in the Catholic Church declined and was mostly confined to the monastic orders[1] and to ecclesiastical societies celebrating the traditional Latin Mass (also called Tridentine Mass). But, since Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, use of the Tridentine rite has increased; this, along with other papal comments on the use of appropriate liturgical music, is promoting a new plainsong revival.[verification needed]

Interest in plainsong picked up in 1950s Britain, particularly in the left-wing religious and musical groups associated with Gustav Holst and the writer George B. Chambers. In the late 1980s, plainchant achieved a certain vogue as music for relaxation, and several recordings of plainchant became “classical-chart hits”.

[edit]

via Plainsong – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

design, history, childhood, Brain Pickings:

“Children help us to mediate between the ideal and the real.”

“Every child is an artist,” Picasso famously proclaimed. “Every child is a scientist,” Neil deGrasse Tyson reformulated. But, as it turns out, every child is also a designer — so argues Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (public library), the impressive companion book to the MoMA exhibition of the same title, which explores “children as design activists in their own right, pushing against imaginative and physical limitations and constantly re-creating the world as they see it, using whatever equipment they happen to have at hand.”

via A Design History of Childhood | Brain Pickings.

Rome, museums, travel, serendipity, Fodor’s Travel Guides:  Definitely into the off the beaten path!

Whether it’s your first trip or your fifth, there are plenty of good reasons to stray from the beaten path a bit in Rome. Yes, see the Spanish Steps, but then check out the Keats Shelley Memorial House. Sure, tour the Vatican, but add a trip to the Museo Ebraico before the day’s done. And between that mouthwatering lunch and your wine-soaked dinner, pack in a trip to the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, which will make for some solid dinner conversation.

via Rome’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums | Travel News from Fodor’s Travel Guides.

21
Nov
11

11.21.2011 … Live Blog for Tonight’s Men’s Basketball Game vs. Presbyterian … OK not Duke … not ESPN National TV … But GO CATS! Davidson wins!

Davidson College, Davidson basketball: Live Blog for Friday’s Men’s Basketball Game at Duke … www.davidsonwildcats.com … OK, not Duke … not national tv … but thank you Jean for reminding me that PC beat 20th ranked Cincinnati on Friday!! And now we beat PC …

Thanksgiving, history, President Abraham Lincoln, Civil War: ” A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. ”

President Lincoln wanted Union supporters to give thanks for the recent successes. He was also aware of faltering enthusiasm for the devastating war and the wavering loyalty of Democrats who were eager to make peace with the Confederates. A national day of thanksgiving for military success and for the protection of the Union would wed religion, thanksgiving, and the Union war effort. So the President declared a national day of thanksgiving.

But the nation’s first national Thanksgiving was not in November. The date President Lincoln set was Thursday, August sixth.

On that day, ministers across the country pointed out that the celebration was most apt, as they listed the signal victories of the U.S. Army and Navy in the past year. It was now clear that it was only a matter of time until the Union won the war, they told their congregations. Their predictions reinforced the war effort, of course, just as Lincoln had almost certainly intended.

While the roots of the national holiday we celebrate lie in the war years, though, the holiday we celebrate does not center on giving thanks for American military victories.

In October 1863, President Lincoln declared the second national day of Thanksgiving. It is this one that we celebrate, and its purpose was much broader than that of the first.

In the past year, Lincoln declared, the nation had been blessed:

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. The needful diversion of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence have not arrested the plow, the shuttle or the ship. The ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect a continuance of years with large increase of freedom.*

The President invited Americans “in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands” to observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving.

It is this one, the celebration of peace, order, and prosperity, that became the defining national holiday.

via The Historical Society: The History of National Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: Hmmm … Someone very funny … but who?

Characters at Your Dinner Table

Which fictional character would you like to invite to Thanksgiving (or your next formal dinner)?

via DailyLit Forums: Question of the Week / Characters at Your Dinner Table.

faith and spirituality:  just liked this …

Waiting patiently for God always includes joyful expectation.  Without expectation our waiting can get bogged down in the present.  When we wait in expectation our whole beings are open to be surprised by joy.

All through the Gospels Jesus  tells us to keep awake and stay alert.  And Paul says, “Brothers and sisters … the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.  The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light” (Romans 13:11-12).   It is this joyful expectation of God’s coming that offers vitality to our lives. The expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is what allows us to pay full attention to the road on which we are walking.

via Daily Meditation: Waiting in Expectation.

Creature, Andrew Zuckerman, books:  I agree … Exquisite!

In Creature, Zuckerman brings his exquisite signature style, crisp yet tender, to Earth’s beings. With equal parts detail and delight, he captures the spirt of these diverse creatures, from panthers to fruit bats to bald eagles, in a way makes them seem familiar and fresh at once, and altogether breathtaking.

via Animals like you’ve never seen them before, Salvador Dalí’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations circa 1969, and more.

Jon Meacham, Americans, 2012 Presidential Election:  Great essay!  Are we really exceptional? Essay gives brief history and current political implications of our belief.

In the beginning — before the beginning, really — Americans have thought of themselves as exceptional, as the new chosen people of God. Either before departing England or en route aboard the Arabella — it is unclear which; the ship arrived in 1630 — John Winthrop, a layman trained as a lawyer, wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” in which he said “we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world …”

The “city upon a hill” phrase — Winthrop borrowed it from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount — echoes still. (It is interesting to note that only Ronald Reagan could improve on Jesus in terms of communication: it was Reagan who added the modifier “shining” to the image.) In a recent Pew poll, when asked if they agreed with the statement “Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior others,” 49% of Americans said yes, compared to 32% of Britons and 27% of French.

In rough political terms, the Republican presidential field argues that America is a place set apart, a nation with a divinely ordained mission to lead the world. A corollary to the case as it is being put in the 2012 cycle is that President Obama does not believe this. George H.W. Bush leveled the same charge against Michael Dukakis in 1988, claiming that Dukakis thought of the United States as just another country on the roll of the United Nations. The argument is well-suited to reassure voters who are pessimistic about the life of the nation and about the place of America in the world.

We are going to be hearing more about this notion of exceptionalism, possibly far beyond Iowa and New Hampshire and into the general election. So let’s be clear about the history — and the uses and abuses — of the vision of America as an instrument of God’s will on earth.

via Jon Meacham: Are Americans Really Exceptional? | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

define: library:  Know one when you see one?  It is very strange that we have trouble defining a library … when until 20 years ago and for the past 2000+ years, that was not a problem.

This week, after tweeting a link to ALA’s President Molly Raphael’s statement regarding the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City, I became engaged in a conversation on Twitter about what constitutes a library. To me this seems obvious, but I had a hard time coming up with a hard fast definition. I discovered that, like Justice Stewart, I’m of the know-it-when-I-see-it mindset when it comes to identifying it, a library that is. I am not sure I can define it in terms that reconcile with the statement from ALA. If I say the dissolution or destruction of any library is wrong I need a concrete definition for library, because while it may be uncool (and probably illegal) for someone to come into my home and destroy my personal library, I’m not sure that warrants a statement from the ALA President. Let me be clear, I am in complete and total agreement with the statement from ALA. I will happily defend that statement and ALA’s choice to make it. The problem I ran into was defining a library in terms that fit with it. Not just the OWS library but any library of this type. Even after doing some digging (see below) I still didn’t feel like I could offer a succinct definition, not the 140 character kind Twitter requires and probably not even a 140 word one.

For example, the Merriam Webster definition could apply to my private library, well not the morgue part but the rest of it, so that doesn’t work. Ditto for Oxford. The Whole Library Handbook requires that it be “ organized by information professionals or other experts”. So again that would apply to my private library. But this definition also leads us into that whole merry circle of a conversation (or shouting match and snipping remarks) about what constitutes an information professional. I don’t think a collection needs to be organized by an MLS holding person to qualify as a library. You could throw publicly accessible into the definition to rule out my home library because I only begrudging lend books to friends so I’m not about to let the public en masse have access to it. But there are many great libraries not freely available to the public.

via What IS a Library? | Librarian by Day.

travel, business travel, serendipity:  He definitely made lemonade!

Since I like to gather information by talking to people rather than just reading, I’m not one of those fliers who hate talking to seatmates. People are always interested in our work in helping communities build playgrounds, and it’s always great to hear people being so supportive. Most of my seatmates have fond memories of running around outside to play, and they wish more children today had the same opportunity.

You never know where a conversation may lead.

On a flight from Los Angeles to Washington I was seated next to a guy who worked as vice president of operations for a national restaurant chain. We started talking, and I invited him to stop by our offices to see if he had any suggestions for us. He did. And a few months later he became our board chairman. Another time, I got a huge donation, about $20,000, from a fellow passenger I was talking to.

I’ve had a lot of missed flights and canceled flights, just like any other business traveler. I hate when I do it to myself, though.

Since I still have a tough time reading, I always recheck my boarding passes. But I still make mistakes. One time I actually wound up in Sioux Falls, S.D., when I was supposed to be in Sioux City, Iowa. I was dumbfounded. I just rebooked myself back home, and I actually made it, which was great.

Another time I was just so tired I fell asleep at the airport in Tampa, Fla. I guess it was a deep sleep, because when I finally opened my eyes, I discovered I had missed the last flight to Washington. All the nearby hotel rooms were booked. I wound up sleeping at the airport, feeling kind of foolish.

Occasionally, you can turn bad experiences into something positive.

I was headed back to Washington from a conference in Oxford, England, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted. Air traffic was canceled. I rarely get to travel with my wife, but she was with me this time.

Instead of trying to get out of Britain, we decided to enjoy it. I got a last-minute reservation at a hotel in Bath and had an unexpected leisurely weekend.

The airline confirmed our seats for a Monday morning flight from London to Washington. But on that Sunday, as we were getting ready to return to London, we learned that was canceled. The next one wasn’t until Friday.

So my wife got on the Internet and found a flat for rent in St. Ives in Cornwall. It was open because the expected tenants were unable to get into the country. The landlord offered a day-by-day rental. The cottage was located right in the middle of an artist colony.

We began our mornings with coastal hikes, and we would buy some fish from a local fisherman on the way back to the flat. We managed to keep up with work for about six hours each day. And at night we just ate our fish, walked around town and were grateful that we could spend some time together.

I know the volcano really disrupted air travel for so many people. But I still look back at that time as one of the best business trips I ever had.

via One of the Best Business Trips, Courtesy of Iceland’s Volcano – NYTimes.com.

careers, hiring, elite firms, elite schools:  Just read the whole article … How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Big results:

1. Most applications practically go straight in the trash.

Because professionals balanced recruitment responsibilities with full-time client work, they often screened resumes while commuting to and from the office and client sites; in trains, planes, and taxis; frequently late at night and over take out… [E]valuators tended to do so very rapidly, typically bypassing cover letters (only about fifteen percent reported even looking at them) and transcripts and reported spending between 10 s to 4 min per resume.

2. Evaluators have a lot of slack.

[M]ost firms did not have a standard resume scoring rubric that they used to make interview decisions, evaluators reported “going down the page” from top to bottom, focusing on the pieces of resume data they personally believed were the most important “signals” of candidate quality. (emphasis mine)

In fact, evaluators explicitly select candidates similar to themselves in school rank, grades, etc.  For example:

[R]oughly one-third of evaluators did not use educational prestige as a signal. One of the

primary differences between these two groups was their own educational history, with those who had attended “top” schools being more likely to use educational prestige as a screen than those who had attended other types of selective institutions.

3. Super-elite credentials matter much more than your academic record:

[E]valuators drew strong distinctions between top four universities, schools that I term the super-elite, and other types of selective colleges and universities. So-called “public Ivies” such as University of Michigan and Berkeley were not considered elite or even prestigious…

4. Super-elite schools matter because they’re strong signals, not because they’re better at building human capital:

Evaluators relied so intensely on “school” as a criterion of evaluation not because they believed that the content of elite curricula better prepared students for life in their firms – in fact, evaluators tended to believe that elite and, in particular, super-elite instruction was “too abstract,” “overly theoretical,” or even “useless” compared to the more “practical” and “relevant” training offered at “lesser” institutions…

[I]t was not the content of an elite education that employers valued but rather the perceived rigor of these institutions’ admissions processes. According to this logic,

the more prestigious a school, the higher its “bar” for admission, and thus the “smarter” its student body.

[…]

In addition to being an indicator of potential intellectual deficits, the decision to go to a lesser known school (because it was typically perceived by evaluators as a “choice”) was often perceived to be evidence of moral failings, such as faulty judgment or a lack of foresight on the part of a student.

5. At least in this elite sample, I’m totally wrong to think that extracurriculars don’t matter:

[E]valuators believed that the most attractive and enjoyable coworkers and candidates would be those who had strong extracurricular “passions.” They also believed that involvement in activities outside of the classroom was evidence of superior social

skill; they assumed a lack of involvement was a signal of social deficiencies… By contrast, those without significant extracurricular experiences or those who participated in activities that were primarily academically or pre-professionally oriented were perceived to be “boring,” “tools,” “bookworms,” or “nerds” who might turn out to be “corporate drones” if hired.

But they have to be the right kind of extracurriculars.  You have to signal that you’re not signaling!

Across the board, they privileged activities that were motivated by “personal” rather than “professional” interest, even when activities were directly related to work within their industry (e.g., investing, consulting, legal clinic clubs) because the latter were believed to serve the instrumental purpose of “looking good” to recruiters and were suspected of being “resume filler” or “padding” rather than evidence of genuine “passion,” “commitment,” and “well-roundedness.”

Don’t imagine, though, that you should merely follow your bliss:

[T]hey differentiated being a varsity college athlete, preferably one that was also a national or Olympic champion, versus playing intramurals; having traveled the globe with a world-renowned orchestra as opposed to playing with a school chamber group; and having reached the summit of Everest or Kilimanjaro versus recreational hiking. The former activities were evidence of “true accomplishment” and dedication, whereas the latter were described as things that “anyone could do.”

6. Grades do matter somewhat, but mostly as a cut-off.  They’re a signal of work ethic more than IQ:

[M]ost evaluators did not believe that grades were an indicator of intelligence. Rather, they provided a straightforward and “fair” way to rank candidates, particularly those within a given school… [G]rades were used to measure a candidate’s moral qualities. An attorney (Asian-American, male), believed that grades were an indication of a candidate’s coping skills, “It tells me how they can handle stress; if they’d had their feet to the flames before. If they’ve gotten good grades at a very competitive school, they’re probably pretty sharp and can take care of themselves.”

If labor economists want to understand how real-world labor markets actually work, these are the kinds of pieces they’ll be reading – and eventually writing.

via How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

 Gang of Six, Super Committee (joint congressional deficit reduction committee), budget, politics, Washington:  …

As the joint congressional deficit reduction committee consummated its super flop Monday, the Senate Gang of Six plan remained as a possible alternative.

Rick Santorum: Says the unemployment rate for college graduates is 4.4 percent and over 10 percent for noncollege-educated.

The bipartisan group, which includes Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss, produced a framework for $4 trillion in deficit reduction this summer that includes both increased tax revenues and cuts to entitlement plans – but never produced a formal bill.

Last week the members of the gang joined dozens of allies in Congress to ask the supercommittee to consider their plan and said they could provide an alternative bill if the supercommittee failed. Chambliss said last week a bill could be ready “in short order.” He was in Afghanistan on Monday and unavailable for comment.

As the co-chairs of the 12-member supercommittee issued a statement declaring they were unable to reach a consensus, several senators said Congress’ next step should be to stage a vote on the framework put forth by the Gang of Six and President Barack Obama’s debt commission. There was no official word from the six on their plans, though in a statement one of the group members, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he would “continue to push for a bipartisan agreement.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wrote a letter to the president and Congressional leaders formally requesting a vote on a $4 trillion package. Others announcing their support for the Gang of Six route Monday included Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The effort faces institutional hurdles, as leaders in the House and Senate never embraced the gang’s work.

“My understanding is they’re nowhere near having legislative language,” Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote in an email Monday. “We don’t schedule votes for hypothetical plans.”

via Gang of Six plan could be alternative to failed supercommittee  | ajc.com.

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.


04
Jun
11

‎6.4.2011 … Serendipitously driving around Hendersonville, NC. I swear I saw a Biltmore Dairy Bar, then searching for quaint tea shop for Harney’s tea (closed), now at J. Crew Clearance Store … Then to Carl Sandburg house (never been)…

serendipity, Hendersonville NC, Starbucks, Arden NC, Carl Sandburg, Carl Sandburg National Historic site, quotes, Brevard NC, Camp Illahee, white squirrels, Highway 11, places:

Serendipitous Day … so no clips … but here are a few of my observations as I drove from Hendersonville to Arden to Flat Rock, back to Hendersonville, then to Brevard/Camp Illahee and finally to Atlanta …

  • Hendersonville NC/Starbucks:  The people in Starbucks at the Ingles are nicer than the people in most Starbucks.
  • Arden NC has  a large Shell station, but instead of having a chain restaurant on one or both ends,  it had a laundromat on one and a local restaurant on the other.  The J. Crew Clearance Outlet in Arden is a REAL outlet … not like the outlet stores at the outlet malls!
  •  Flat Rock NC / Carl Sandburg home/historic site … very enjoyable … beautiful land, house, feel … goats …
One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.
– Carl Sandburg
  • Brevard NC is known for its white squirrels, and now I have seen one. Note: not my picture …

It all started with Mrs. W.E. (Barbara) Mull, a long time resident of Brevard, North Carolina. Her brother-in-law, H.H. Mull, was given two white squirrels by a Mr. Black of Madison, Florida way back in 1949. The pair of white squirrels had been squirreling around in Mr. Black’s pecan grove ever since a circus truck had overturned near his home. H.H. Mull then gave the little white critters to his niece Barbara Mull up in North Carolina. She kept them inside and hoped they might even breed, but alas, no such luck.

In 1951, Barbara Mull got married and went her way. In her absence, one of the white squirrels escaped outdoors. Not long afterwards, Mr. Mull (Barbara’s father) let the other heart broken and love stricken white squirrel go free.  A short time later, little white squirrels began appearing in various parts of town – apparent direct or indirect off springs of this “Adam and Eve” pair.

The White Squirrels of Brevard, North Carolina have become so famous that in 1986, the Brevard City Council unanimously voted for an ordinance that established a sanctuary for all squirrels.  The ordinance reads, “The entire area embraced within the corporate limits of the city is hereby designated as a sanctuary for all species of squirrel (family Sciuriadae), and in particular the Brevard White Squirrel. It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, kill, trap, or otherwise take any protected squirrels within the city by this section.”

via About White Squirrels | White Squirrels – Brevard, NC ….. Where Music Meets the Mountains.

  • Camp Illahee really is a heavenly world …
  • Highway 11 has many mobile homes … one with an addition that is made from an old camper and another that is painted haint blue ..

Haint Blue originated in the deep American South. Today, in cities and towns throughout the south, one will find these blues and greens tints on shutters, doors, porch ceilings and windowsills, gracing many historic homes. The pretty blues and greens compliment any grand old Victorian mansion, but the first painted strokes of Haint Blue adorned not the homes of the rich, but the simple shacks of African slaves.

Known as the Gullah or Geechee people, the original Haint Blue creators were descendants of African slaves who worked on rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. Many of their ancestors came from Angola, which may be where the name “http://curiousexpeditions.org.nyud.net/http://curiousexpeditions.org.nyud.net/;Gullah”http://curiousexpeditions.org.nyud.net/http://curiousexpeditions.org.nyud.net/; originated. They are well-known for preserving their African heritage more than any other African American community. They kept alive the traditions, stories, and beliefs of their ancestors, including a fear of haints.

Haints, or haunts, are spirits trapped between the world of the living and the world of the dead. These are not your quiet, floaty, sorrowful ghosts, they are the kind you

via The Many Shades of Haint Blue | Curious Expeditions.




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