Posts Tagged ‘social media

10
May
18

5.10.18 … I think … I care about … I enjoy … I do not care about … I am interested in … I love …

10 things about me and social media …

1. I think that social media is mundane generally, but I love it when it serves as a catalyst to encourage real connections.

2. I care about you, your significant others, your parents, your siblings, your children and, yes, your pets.

3. I care about your adventures and your passions and love experiencing them vicariously. So post away about your travels, your house, your gardens, your hobbies and your artistic endeavors. I even enjoy your unbelievable yoga positions.

4. I enjoy beautiful pictures of nature and old pictures of just about anything.

5. I do not care about your politics if you intend to force your political views on me. But I do enjoy understanding why you think or believe the way you do. And I will admit a few of you have changed my opinion.

6. I do not care about your religion or lack thereof if you intend to force it on me. But, as with politics, I do enjoy understanding why you think or believe the way you do. And I love it that you have introduced me to new ways of thinking about spiritual and religious matters.

7. I enjoy a good recipe or a picture of a well prepared and presented meal. I do not care what you are drinking or smoking unless it enhances the above meal.

8. I am interested in your opinion on books, movies and plays. I am gaining a greater appreciation of music, poetry and dance because of you.

9. I love political cartoons and a funny video or meme.

10. I enjoy a good quote, especially one that makes me dig deeper.

I was an early adopter of Facebook and have enjoyed reconnecting with you. I’m trying to figure out how to stay connected. I have started unfollowing some of you when I feel social media is harming my relationship with you.

Any suggestions? Other forms of social media that you like and why?

5.10.18

12
Apr
14

4.12.14 … I hate it when …

social media: I hate it when it finally dawns  on me via social media that some good friends from an earlier era are now separated/divorced. I  had wondered because I would see one without the other, but dismissed the idea because I just could not fathom  that this couple is no longer a couple.  It hit me like a brick. But I learned a lesson:  Take the extra effort to stay connected, call or send a personal note whenever I feel like there is too much time and distance between someone I  consider a friend. Enough said … 

Charlotte Knights, BBT Ballpark Opening Night 4.11.14, Budweiser Clydesdales:  Wishing I were downtown!  I’ve seen the Clydesdales once … just love those big guys!

 

PHOTO: ,  about to be unloaded at BB&T Ballpark @KnightsBaseball pic.twitter.com/1930CZPAf8

via Twitter / cvandergriff14: PHOTO: Budweiser Clydesdales ….

Full Pink Moon, ‘Blood Moon’,  April 15, 4.15.14, Lunar Eclipse:  Jack’s birthday …

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A full Pink Moon will take place on April 15, 2014. A lunar eclipse will also take place, making it also a “Blood Moon.”

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the first full moon in April is referred to as the Full Pink Moon.

“This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn,” says the Almanac.

The name comes from Native Americans. It doesn’t mean the moon will be pink in color, but it refers to the color of the flowers.

In the Christian tradition, the moon coming April 15 is called the Paschal Full Moon–the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

The term “Blood Moon” is used because the moon can appear red during a total lunar eclipse.

via Full Pink Moon: ‘Blood Moon’ on April 15 Along with Lunar Eclipse.

weird British stereotypes,  benches, personal space, Quora, oxymorons: The first time I saw a “bench” divided into separate seats was in Britain … an oxymoron, don’t you think?

 As a Brit, where would I choose to sit?

The seat next to the lady? Certainly not. Far too close and intimate. I’d be invading her personal space and we’d both be uncomfortable with the possibility of conversation.

The seat next to that? No. I’d be on the same side as her, so we can still see each other. This is not ideal. I might consider this seat if all the others are full, but there are better options in this scenario.

The seat directly behind her? Definitely not. We’d be able to hear each other and there’s the vanishingly small probability that we might bang heads.

The correct answer, of course, is the nearest seat on the empty side – as far away from the lady as possible. This reduces any likelihood of social interaction to an absolute minimum.

Or even better, not to sit down at all.

Next time you’re in Britain, you can test this out for yourself. If someone on a bus or train has empty seats around them, plonk yourself down right next to them.

And watch their look of horror!

via (1) What are some weird British stereotypes observed by other nationalities? – Quora.

differences between the American and German ways of living,  town planning context,  Quora:

★What are the differences between the American and German ways of living, but in the town planning context?Edit

How the physical setting has been structured to support those differences?

One thing I could find:

There are enormous malls near motorways, sometimes they are so called dead malls. Usually building is surrounded by parking places to be able to drive from one side to another (they are so big). So it looks like a big building in the middle of nowhere. I did not see those kind of malls in Germany. Here they are usually adjusted to surroundings. I have never been to USA so correct me if I am wrong.

via (1) What are the differences between the American and German ways of living, but in the town planning context? – Quora.

Patrick Cannon, Charlotte mayor scandal:  Picture says a lot …

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I guess Patrick Cannon isn’t welcome at BB&T ballpark. pic.twitter.com/dpRIol5DSy

via Twitter / tvphotog17: I guess Patrick Cannon isn’t ….

NYC Grid: New York City Then and Now, Business Insider, graphic designer Paul Sahner:  Really liked this photo essay.

Graphic designer Paul Sahner has been taking pictures of New York’s streets since he moved to the city nine years ago. He loves the feeling of capturing an ever-shifting urban landscape for posterity on his blog NYC Grid.

Inspired by the changing shops and street corners he saw while walking around, Sahner started a before-and after-series on NYC Grid. The photographer would match his own photos of New York City with old pictures from the Library of Congress or Flickr to showcase the transformation of the city’s landmarks and streets.

via NYC Grid: New York City Then and Now – Business Insider.

Slightly Foxed – The Real Reader’s Quarterly, books:  Interesting …

A decade or so ago four people sat round a kitchen table and discussed the fact that, while publishers and bookshops were getting bigger, the number of interesting and original books being published seemed to be getting smaller. And they began to think about all the wonderful books that had slipped out of print, or disappeared from publishers’ backlists and bookshop shelves, which would still be enjoyed today if only people were reminded about them. Out of these discussions came Slightly Foxed which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary – an elegantly produced and much-loved quarterly book magazine, unaffected by the winds of publishing fashion and more like a well-read friend than a literary periodical, personal, unpretentious and entertaining.

After a while it became obvious too that many of the interesting books recommended by our contributors were no longer available. So in 2008 we launched Slightly Foxed Editions, a series of stylish little limited-edition pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs which have proved hugely popular. This year the Editions have given birth to Slightly Foxed Cubs, a limited-edition series of outstanding historical novels for younger readers by the brilliant storyteller Ronald Welch which, by following the fortunes of a single family, join up the dots of English history in a remarkably vivid and human way.

via About Us « Slightly Foxed – The Real Reader’s Quarterly.

18
Feb
13

2.18.13 … Be Still …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten labyrinth walks, Psalm 46:10, Avondale Presbyterian Church:
As I arrived, I noticed that the  the sun is getting low.  I immediately thought  of my friend who is counting down the days until DST begins.  The chimes were gently ringing …
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I decided to walk the roundabout, or whatever you call it, to the cross.  I walked it first  to see the perspective of the labyrinth from a top. This is an interesting feature to this beautiful Sacred Garden.
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As I approached the labyrinth, I hear an owl … Whoooo …
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As I walk I ponder my favorite Psalm … 46:10.
Blessings!
Darwin: A Graphic Biography, Charles Darwin, Brain Pickings:  I really don’t get “graphic” books.

Charles Darwin — father of evolution, decoder of human emotion, hopeless romantic, occasional grump — was born on this day in 1809. From Smithsonian Books comes Darwin: A Graphic Biography (public library; UK) — a fine addition to outstanding graphic nonfiction, joining other famous graphic biographies of cultural icons like Richard Feynman, Hunter S. Thompson, The Carter Family, and Steve Jobs. Written by journalist Eugene Byrne and illustrated by cartoonist Simon Gurr, the story takes us into the life and times of Darwin — from a curious child on a “beeting” expedition to a patient young man persevering through the ups and downs of battling creationist oppression to a worldwide legend — tracing his intellectual adventures amidst the fascinating scientific world of the 1800s.

via Happy birthday, Darwin! A graphic biography | Brain Pickings.

Civil War sites, lists, travel, Travel + LeisureBest Civil War Sites – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

travel, frequent flier miles, Travel + Leisure.:  Helpful …
Cash, Miles, or Points: The Best Way to Pay for Your Flight

I’d like to fly round-trip from New York City to Martha’s Vineyard. I can pay $300 for a ticket, dip in to my reserve of 50,000 Delta SkyMiles, or use Starwood points. What’s the smartest move?

Pay a service to manage your miles. App and websiteUsingMiles (free, but we like the $29.99-a-year service) keeps track of your accounts and helps determine if it’s better to use cash or miles on a given flight (caveat: frequent fliers on a few airlines, such as Southwest, can’t apply their miles to these services).

via Cash, Miles, or Points: The Best Way to Pay for Your Flight – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

Maker’s Mark, social media, pr mistakes, Quartz:  There seems to be a lot of the “mistakes” lately.

The company had emailed loyal customers on Feb. 9 to say it was lowering its proof to 84, or 42% alcohol, in order to address a supply shortage driven by bourbon’s surging popularity in the United States and certain other markets like Australia, Germany, and Japan. The announcement, first reported by Quartz, spread quickly in social media, rising from a small firestorm to an all-out backlash. The company defended itself in interviews, saying the taste wouldn’t change, but it didn’t help.

via Maker’s Mark learns a painful social media lesson, won’t dilute bourbon – Quartz.

Charlotte, Grier Heights, gunshot detection system, ShotSpotter , Big Brother, CharlotteObserver.com:  Let’s hope it improves the safety of this neighborhood because just publicizing this must be a big negative for real estate values …

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are installing specialized gunshot detection sensors in the Grier Heights neighborhood as part of their plan to expand the high-tech, crime-fighting tool into troubled communities.

The ShotSpotter system uses a network of microphones activated by gunfire to quickly send officers to potential shooting scenes, even if no one calls 911. Police originally bought the system to cover two square miles in uptown Charlotte as they ramped up security for the Democratic National Convention last year.

Grier Heights is the first of several places outside the center city where police hope to use the technology. The move is part of the department’s plans for enhanced digital surveillance of the city’s streets and residents in the wake of a 2.8 percent increase in overall crime in 2012.

via Grier Heights to get gunshot detection system | CharlotteObserver.com.

Emory University President James Wagner, the “three-fifths compromise” of the U.S. Constitution,  Inside Higher Ed: … the founders of the United States explicitly denied the humanity of black people.

Emory University President James Wagner has infuriated many on his campus and scholars elsewhere by using the president’s letter in the new issue of Emory Magazine to say that the “three-fifths compromise” of the U.S. Constitution was a model for how people who disagree can work together for “a common goal.”

Following an explosion of social media criticism Saturday as word of Wagner’s letter spread, he released an apology. “To those hurt or confused by my clumsiness and insensitivity, please forgive me,” he wrote. (The apology currently appears on top of the original letter on Emory’s website, linked to in the previous paragraph.)

The three-fifths compromise expanded the political clout of the slave states by codifying that black slaves counted for purposes of allocating seats in the House of Representatives as 60 percent of a white person (even though the slave states gave black people 0 percent of the voting or other rights of white people). To many African Americans, the three-fifths compromise is among the more blatant events in which the founders of the United States explicitly denied the humanity of black people.

via Emory president sets off uproar with statements on three-fifths compromise and then apologizes | Inside Higher Ed.

The Essay – an Exercise in Doubt, NYTimes.com:  Worth reading …

I am an essayist, for better or worse. I don’t suppose many young people dream of becoming essayists. Even as nerdy and bookish a child as I was fantasized about entering the lists of fiction and poetry, those more glamorous, noble genres on which Nobels, Pulitzers and National Book Awards are annually bestowed. So if Freud was right in saying that we can be truly happy only when our childhood ambitions are fulfilled, then I must be content to be merely content.

I like the freedom that comes with lowered expectations. In the area of literary nonfiction, memoirs attract much more attention than essay collections, which are published in a modest, quasi-invisible manner, in keeping with anticipated lower sales. But despite periodic warnings of the essay’s demise, the stuff does continue to be published; if anything, the essay has experienced a slight resurgence of late. I wonder if that may be because it is attuned to the current mood, speaks to the present moment. At bottom, we are deeply unsure and divided, and the essay feasts on doubt.

Ever since Michel de Montaigne, the founder of the modern essay, gave as a motto his befuddled “What do I know?” and put forth a vision of humanity as mentally wavering and inconstant, the essay has become a meadow inviting contradiction, paradox, irresolution and self-doubt. The essay’s job is to track consciousness; if you are fully aware of your mind you will find your thoughts doubling back, registering little peeps of ambivalence or disbelief.

via The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, social networks, Facebook frustration, Explore: Well, if it makes you unhappy … don’t bother …

Facebook is supposed to envelope us in the warm embrace of our social network, and scanning friends’ pages is supposed to make us feel loved, supported and important (at least in the lives of those we like). But skimming through photos of friends’ life successes can trigger feelings of envy, misery and loneliness as well, according to researchers from two German universities. The scientists studied 600 people who logged time on the social network and discovered that one in three felt worse after visiting the site—especially if they viewed vacation photos. Facebook frequenters who spent time on the site without posting their own content were also more likely to feel dissatisfied.

[…]

The most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers, while the second most common source of dissatisfaction was “lack of attention” from having fewer comments, likes and general feedback compared to friends.

via Explore – Facebook is supposed to envelope us in the warm….

Twitter:  

As I mentioned before, twitter often starts me researching …

New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts)

2/10/13, 9:28 PM

The Black Keys win best rock performance. Read more about the band’s “El Camino”: nyti.ms/vd8jo0

Rather than repeat the soul-dipped feel of “Brothers” or return to the bluesy slam of their early albums, however, the Black Keys’ follow-up, “El Camino,” out this Tuesday on Nonesuch Records, represents a departure in both style and process. It’s the most urgent and irresistible music they have ever made; the album’s 11 songs are fast, punchy and loaded with hooks, with traces of glitter-rock stomp, girl-group melodies and surf guitar.

As infectious and high energy as “El Camino” sounds, however, Mr. Carney acknowledged that the album also reflects the new sense of pressure on the band after the breakout success of “Brothers,” its sixth album, which has sold roughly 870,000 copies.

via The Black Keys Change Gears With ‘El Camino’ – NYTimes.com.

 A few favorite tweets …
Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) 2/16/13, 2:38 PM

Kramer invents a reverse SodaStream to take carbonation out of fizzy drinks. J: “Just leave the bottle open!” K:”You don’t get it, Jerry!”

02
Mar
12

3.2.12 … it’s more about the internal than the external …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2012 Labyrinth Walks (Walk –/40), Wedgewood Church – Charlotte NC:

Ash Wednesday, 2.22.2012, to Easter, 4.8.2012.

Another labyrinth … This is my least favorite of the local labyrinths … But I am learning it’s more about the internal than the external. So thank you Wedgewood Baptist for this sacred space!

And a few thoughts on my day …

The Little Dance

Hope to go see the Liittle D in their Little Dance tomorrow 🙂

Sad, but true … I miss Davy Jones … Distinct part of my young girlhood. I was a believer …

Pat Forde (@YahooForde)

3/2/12 9:14 AM

Big night of Little Dance tournament action. Will set the conference finals in OVC and A-Sun. Expect Murray to get a tussle from T.Tech.

Sad, but true … I miss Davy Jones … Distinct part of my young girlhood. I was a believer …

I just saw a remembrance on Bloomberg TV … Day dream believer was 1967 … I was 7 … perfect age to be a believer …

Social media explained … on a whiteboard … there’s irony there

The Rum Diaries … Johnny Depp always plays himself … But otherwise pretty good.

08
Dec
11

12.8.2011 … used bookstores are wonderful … so loved my find – The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas … Spotify is great … mourning for the VT community …

used bookstores, A Reader’s Corner, Louisville KY, The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas (Jeff Smith), Christmas, Christmas traditions: I found a wonderful book in a used bookstore, A Reader’s Corner, over Thanksgiving . The book is entitled The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas and is by Jeff Smith. It is not a cookbook . ” I hope you use this book to help your family better understand the profound and joyous holiday.” I have always enjoyed the Frugal Gourmet and think this a very interesting twist to his usual cookbook. He does in contain a dish for each representative in the traditional creche scene.

social media:  🙂

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus’s birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior’s birth in a fresh, unique way.

Like the song? O Come Emmanuel, by Folk Angel, is available for free when you purchase and download the video from IgniterMedia.com.

via A Social Network Christmas – YouTube.

liberal arts, education, careers, success:  Worked for me …

I never figured out the admission formula, but as a former CEO with more than 30 years in management at a Fortune 50 firm, I can offer advice on that second big question: pursue a liberal arts education. For most people, it’s the best foundation for a successful career.

… But as someone who spent many years assessing the skills and talents of management prospects for a wide range of disciplines and industries, I know that the candidates who were the most attractive manager prospects were those with a well-exercised mind, leadership potential, and the passion to make a difference. These success factors can be cultivated in many ways, but all are best developed by taking courses in the liberal arts and sciences.

Developing one’s mind is no different from developing a strong body: exercise and, specifically, cross training. By studying art, science, the humanities, social science, and languages, the mind develops the mental dexterity that opens a person to new ideas, which is the currency for success in a constantly changing environment. And just as an aspiring major league pitcher needs a live arm and a calculating, cool head to pitch effectively, so too does a management prospect need to be educated broadly to respond effectively to ambiguity and uncertainty. Completing a broad liberal arts curriculum should enable a student to develop the conceptual, creative and critical thinking skills that are the essential elements of a well-exercised mind.

via A.G. Lafley: A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, Vanderbilt: Davidson shows no fear!

As the game began to wind down, as Vanderbilt threatened to push the lead into the 20s, the Wildcats stopped taking turns and found their scorer – De’Mon Brooks, a 6-7 sophomore forward out of Charlotte Hopewell.

If you were to ask somebody how Brooks gets his points, there would be no obvious answer. He has no stunning go-to move, no crossover dribble that entices fans to jump and shout, nothing terribly pretty.

A fan held up a sign early that said: WE WILL NOT FEAR.

Brooks did not fear. In the first half he scored six points on four field goal attempts and grabbed two rebounds. He couldn’t back the bigger and burlier Commodores down.

In the second half, Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He forced his way into the lane and hit jump shots. He spun. He fought.

One play more than any other attests to his work: Blocked out, he followed a miss by going one-on-one, one-on-two, one against the world. He somehow grabbed the rebound over the two Vanderbilt big men, drew a foul and hit two free throws.

The 18-point deficit became 14, 12 and seven. With 31 seconds remaining the Wildcats cut the lead to six. With nine seconds left, Davidson cut the lead to three.

But the Commodores had enough. They won 87-83.

You don’t have to go to the Triangle to see big-time basketball. This was a taut, dramatic and exciting game on a small campus in a gym full of noise.

Be interesting to see what Brooks does Saturday against an athletic Charlotte team when the Wildcats and 49ers play for the unofficial championship of Mecklenburg County.

via Davidson shows no fear | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Spotify, Christmas music, Amy Grant: Amazing thing about Spotify is that I can listen to whatever Christmas album I want and do not have to go to the basement and dig out the box that has tapes and cds in it. Love that … am currently listening to my usual first christmas album … Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album  (1983).

Coca-Cola Company, secret formula:

The Coca-Cola Company has moved its secret formula for the first time in 86 years, taking it from a bank vault to a new repository on exhibit at its downtown Atlanta museum.

The world’s largest beverage maker says the new vault containing the formula will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum. However, the 1886 formula itself will remain hidden from view.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola says the decision to move the formula from a vault at SunTrust Banks Inc. had nothing to with the bank’s decision in 2007 to sell its long-held stake in Coca-Cola.

via Coca-Cola moves formula for 1st time since 1925  | ajc.com.

 

Christmas traditions, nativity scenes, zombies: Where can I get one? 🙂

… and, finally, in keeping with our current cultural fascination with all things zombie, i give you the etsy craftiness of: the zombie nativity. really, just, no comment.

via 27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!.

Facebook, value:  Long term staying power …

Rightly or wrongly, what’s caused me to start to evaluate whether Facebook has peaked is my own declining use of the site. I find myself using it less and less each day, sometimes going days or weeks without checking it. Interestingly, I have also observed that many in my network are posting less often. What may be happening is that consumers are experiencing Facebook fatigue.

I recently polled almost 500 high school students in San Jose, and shockingly, not all of them were on Facebook. But perhaps not surprisingly, nearly all who were said they were basically bored with the site and had been using it significantly less.

Now, depending on how heavy of a technology user you are, you may find the idea of Facebook on its way out surprising or not surprising. For example, many of the young people I surveyed conveyed that they were ready for something else. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that Facebook has either peaked or is on the cusp of peaking.

All of my thinking on this comes, of course, on the heels of news reports about Facebook’s preparing its IPO. But it also comes at a time when Facebook has to overcome negative press due to a settlement with the FTC over privacy issues. Those events are on opposite sides of the spectrum and could potentially be used to argue for or against Facebook’s long-term staying power.

If you’ve been using Facebook for more than a few years and think back to how you used it in the beginning, you’ll most likely remember using it quite frequently for long periods of time. Much of this initial time spent connecting with friends and family or rediscovering old friends was what made Facebook great. Even many who are new to Facebook may still find themselves using it heavily by doing some of those same things.

But at some point, Facebook usage becomes more about profile management and quick checkups than heavy usage. Now, although this isn’t bad, it’s not what Facebook wants as it looks to maintain a large, healthy business.

via Facebook on Decline? Some Users Bored, New Competition | Techland | TIME.com.

 

04
Nov
11

11.4.2011 … long and winding road …

 

music, theme song:  Some days just need a theme song: Beatles – The Long and Winding Road ( Phil Spector Orchestration ) – YouTube.

 

faith and spirituality, art, Laurie Carter, kith/kin, Charlotte Latin Families, kudos:  Kudos to Laurie Carter for her beautiful Ascension needlepoint, “threading so fine it appears to be paint.”  What a great project for a church to undertake!

Here’s an interesting theological question: Are the verses and stories of the Bible open to artistic interpretation?

Sunday, you can judge for yourself. That’s when Christ Lutheran Church on Providence Road opens its biblical gallery to the public.

For 43 weeks, the congregation built part of its Sunday service around a chronological examination of what is perhaps history’s most famous book, and each installment featured an original piece of art.

The goal, says the church’s art coordinator, Stephanie Burke, was to use “some of the best-read stories of our times as the perfect opportunity to tap into the deep vein of artistic talent in our congregation that had yet to be used ministerially.”

Outside artists also joined in. A few even responded to Burke’s invitation on craigslist.

For the Ascension, Laurie Carter spent six months using needlepoint to re-create the cover of the church’s Easter bulletin, threading so fine it appears to be paint.

via The art of faith | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

writing, lesson plans, twitter, social media, Ernest Hemingway, short short story: Less Is More!  I had forgotten about Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Overview | How can online media like Twitter posts, Facebook status updates and text messages be harnessed to inspire and guide concise writing? In this lesson, students read, respond to and write brief fiction and nonfiction stories, and reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of “writing short.”

Materials | Slips of paper with brief stories (see below; one per student), computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Before class, select six-word love stories from The Times’s Well blog, in the post itself and in the reader comments, to share with students. (You can find more stories in the same vein at the Web site Dear Old Love and Smith Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs.)

To use fictional stories instead of or alongside memoirs, include the following “short short story” by Ernest Hemingway, along with stories posted on the Web site inspired by it, Six Word Stories:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

via Less Is More: Using Social Media to Inspire Concise Writing – NYTimes.com.

Matt Ridley, scientific heresy, climate change, TED:  I have no idea who matt Ridley is (so I looked him up … see below), but this is very interesting … funny even.

My topic today is scientific heresy. When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Let us run through some issues, starting with the easy ones.

Astronomy is a science; astrology is a pseudoscience.

Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.

Molecular biology is science; homeopathy is pseudoscience.

Vaccination is science; the MMR scare is pseudoscience.

Oxygen is science; phlogiston was pseudoscience.

Chemistry is science; alchemy was pseudoscience.

Are you with me so far?

A few more examples. That the earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare is pseudoscience. So are the beliefs that Elvis is still alive, Diana was killed by MI5, JFK was killed by the CIA, 911 was an inside job. So are ghosts, UFOs, telepathy, the Loch Ness monster and pretty well everything to do with the paranormal. Sorry to say that on Halloween, but that’s my opinion.

Three more controversial ones. In my view, most of what Freud said was pseudoscience.

So is quite a lot, though not all, of the argument for organic farming.

So, in a sense by definition, is religious faith. It explicitly claims that there are truths that can be found by other means than observation and experiment.

That’s a voodoo claim. The glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that*: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 – a full 30% – to be non peer-reviewed.”

Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get. Believe me, I have tried it.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

The remarkable thing about the heretics I have mentioned is that every single one is doing this in his or her spare time. They work for themselves, they earn a pittance from this work. There is no great fossil-fuel slush fund for sceptics.

In conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time on climate, but it could have been dietary fat, or nature and nurture. My argument is that like religion, science as an institution is and always has been plagued by the temptations of confirmation bias. With alarming ease it morphs into pseudoscience even – perhaps especially – in the hands of elite experts and especially when predicting the future and when there’s lavish funding at stake. It needs heretics.

Thank you very much for listening.

via Thank you, Matt Ridley | Watts Up With That?.

British author Matt Ridley knows one thing: Through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, the mating of ideas. The sophistication of the modern world, says Ridley, lies not in individual intelligence or imagination; it is a collective enterprise. In his book The Rational Optimist, Ridley (whose previous works include Genome and Nature via Nurture) sweeps the entire arc of human history to powerfully argue that “prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else.”

It is our habit of trade, idea-sharing and specialization that has created the collective brain which set human living standards on a rising trend. This, he says, “holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead — because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.”

Watch his 2010 TEDTalk, “When Ideas Have Sex.”

via Matt Ridley | Profile on TED.com.

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex | Video on TED.com.

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10.26.2011 … Coffee with Bob and Joni … Again we will solve the problems of the world … John is on his way back from Kuwait … 26 hours in Kuwait City … 24 hours travel time each way!

travel, kith/kin:  24 hours to KWI … 26 hours in KC … 24 hours back …and now  eagle landed and is snoozing on the sofa … Poor thing … Off on the early bird to LGA in the AM.

Halloween, cartoons, viral videos:  Now for a little fun …

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Halloween Light Show 2011 – This Is Halloween – YouTube.

Steven Pinker, language, RSA Animate: I love these animated whiteboard videos!  And Steven Pinker is one of my new favorites (thanks katie!) – Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

RSA Animate Language as a Window into Human Nature – YouTube.

potatoes, food, history, changed the world:  Food history … also interesting …

When potato plants bloom, they send up five-lobed flowers that spangle fields like fat purple stars. By some accounts, Marie Antoinette liked the blossoms so much that she put them in her hair. Her husband, Louis XVI, put one in his buttonhole, inspiring a brief vogue in which the French aristocracy swanned around with potato plants on their clothes. The flowers were part of an attempt to persuade French farmers to plant and French diners to eat this strange new species.

Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus.

About 250 million years ago, the world consisted of a single giant landmass now known as Pangaea. Geological forces broke Pangaea apart, creating the continents and hemispheres familiar today. Over the eons, the separate corners of the earth developed wildly different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’ voyages reknit the seams of Pangaea, to borrow a phrase from Alfred W. Crosby, the historian who first described this process. In what Crosby called the Columbian Exchange, the world’s long-separate ecosystems abruptly collided and mixed in a biological bedlam that underlies much of the history we learn in school. The potato flower in Louis XVI’s buttonhole, a species that had crossed the Atlantic from Peru, was both an emblem of the Columbian Exchange and one of its most important aspects.

Compared with grains, tubers are inherently more productive. If the head of a wheat or rice plant grows too big, the plant will fall over, with fatal results. Growing underground, tubers are not limited by the rest of the plant. In 2008 a Lebanese farmer dug up a potato that weighed nearly 25 pounds. It was bigger than his head.

Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.

Equally important, the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture—the so-called agro-industrial complex. Not only did the Columbian Exchange carry the potato across the Atlantic, it also brought the world’s first intensive fertilizer: Peruvian guano. And when potatoes fell to the attack of another import, the Colorado potato beetle, panicked farmers turned to the first artificial pesticide: a form of arsenic. Competition to produce ever-more-potent arsenic blends launched the modern pesticide industry. In the 1940s and 1950s, improved crops, high-intensity fertilizers and chemical pesticides created the Green Revolution, the explosion of agricultural productivity that transformed farms from Illinois to Indonesia—and set off a political argument about the food supply that grows more intense by the day.

via How the Potato Changed the World | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

‘Inhalable’ Caffeine, inventions: Would you snort one?

Courtesy of AeroShot

Is caffeine addictive? Certainly, it produces tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped abruptly. But even though it is the most widely used drug in the world, few caffeine users exhibit signs of serious addiction — namely, compulsive drug-related behaviors despite negative consequences. That could be in part because caffeine is legal and easily and cheaply obtained. Or, it could be because the effects of caffeine use — especially in a hyperefficient society — are generally positive.

So, while previous products, like inhalable aerosolized alcohol, led to bans in multiple states, AeroShot seems more likely to garner praise (especially from employers — and editors).

The new product will hit stores in New York City and Boston in January and will be available online in several weeks, according to Edwards. The retail price is expected to be $2.99 per inhaler — cheaper than a Starbucks latte.

via What We’ve All Been Waiting For: Zero-Calorie, ‘Inhalable’ Caffeine – TIME Healthland.

Moammar Gadhafi, legacy: to many Africans he is a “martyr, benefactor, instigator.”  Leaves a conflicted image.

Moammar Gadhafi’s regime poured tens of billions of dollars into some of Africa’s poorest countries. Even when he came to visit, the eccentric Libyan leader won admiration for handing out money to beggars on the streets.

“Other heads of state just drive past here in their limousines. Gadhafi stopped, pushed away his bodyguards and shook our hands,” said Cherno Diallo, standing Monday beside hundreds of caged birds he sells near a Libyan-funded hotel. “Gadhafi’s death has touched every Malian, every single one of us. We’re all upset.”

Gadhafi backed some of the most brutal rebel leaders and dictators on the continent, but tens of thousands are now gathering at mosques built with his money and are remembering him as an anti-colonial martyr, and as an Arab leader who called himself African.

While Western powers heralded Gadhafi’s demise, many Africans were gathering at mosques built with Gadhafi’s money to mourn the man they consider an anti-imperialist martyr and benefactor.

Critics, though, note this image is at odds with Gadhafi’s history of backing some of Africa’s most brutal rebel leaders and dictators. Gadhafi sent 600 troops to support Uganda’s much-hated Idi Amin in the final throes of his dictatorship.

And Gadhafi-funded rebels supported by former Liberian leader Charles Taylor forcibly recruited children and chopped off limbs of their victims during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

“Is Gadhafi’s life more important than many thousands of people that have been killed during the war in these two countries?” asked one shopkeeper in the tiny West African country of Gambia, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing recrimination.

“Gadhafi was a godfather to many Ugandans,” said Muhammed Kazibala, a head teacher at a Libyan-funded school in the country’s capital.

The Libyan leader also built a palace for one of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms. It was a fitting donation for a man who traveled to African Union summits dressed in a gold-embroidered green robe, flanked by seven men who said they were the “traditional kings of Africa.”

Gadhafi used Libya’s oil wealth to help create the AU in 2002, and also served as its rotating chairman. During the revolt against Gadhafi, the AU condemned NATO airstrikes as evidence mounted that his military was massacring civilians.

Gadhafi’s influence even extended to Africa’s largest economy: The Libyan leader supported the African National Congress when it was fighting racist white rule, and remained close to Nelson Mandela after the anti-apartheid icon became South Africa’s first black president.

via Across Africa, Gadhafi remembered as martyr, benefactor, instigator in the continent’s wars – The Washington Post.

rhinos, South Africa, endangered species: A group of rhinos is called a “crash.”  But why do people destroy animals for human rituals … craziness.

Black rhino in Kenya

Johannesburg’s bustling O. R. Tambo International Airport is an easy place to get lost in a crowd, and that’s just what a 29-year-old Vietnamese man named Xuan Hoang was hoping to do one day in March last year—just lie low until he could board his flight home. The police dog sniffing the line of passengers didn’t worry him; he’d checked his baggage through to Ho Chi Minh City. But behind the scenes, police were also using X-ray scanners on luggage checked to Vietnam, believed to be the epicenter of a new war on rhinos. And when Hoang’s bag appeared on the screen, they saw the unmistakable shape of rhinoceros horns—six of them, weighing more than 35 pounds and worth up to $500,000 on the black market.

Investigators suspected the contraband might be linked to a poaching incident a few days earlier on a game farm in Limpopo Province, on South Africa’s northern border. “We have learned over time, as soon as a rhino goes down, in the next two or three days the horns will leave the country,” Col. Johan Jooste of South Africa’s national priority crime unit told me when I interviewed him in Pretoria.

You might also wonder why they bother. The orneriness of rhinos is so proverbial that the word for a group of them is not a “herd” but a “crash.” “The first time I saw one I was a 4-year-old in this park. We were in a boat, and it charged the boat,” said Bird. “That’s how aggressive they can be.” Bird now makes his living keeping tabs on the park’s black rhinos and sometimes works by helicopter to catch them for relocation to other protected areas. “They’ll charge helicopters,” he added. “They’ll be running and then after a while, they’ll say, ‘Bugger this,’ and they’ll turn around and run toward you. You can see them actually lift off their front feet as they try to have a go at the helicopter.”

via Defending the Rhino | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine.

twitter, women, Occupy Wall Street:  Where are the women?

Twitter is still the social media outlet of choice for Occupy Wall Street, but new analysis into the #OWS tweets has found a surprising gender imbalance in those who’re talking about the protests: Fewer women seem to be doing so, despite Twitter being a female-dominated service overall.

According to analysis by Attention released yesterday, only 30% of tweets mentioning Occupy Wall Street were from female users, even though over 64% of all Twitter users are believed to be female as a result of a 2010 Pew survey. That number is actually up from where it was a month earlier; by mid-September, fewer than 20% of Occupy Wall Street tweets were from women.

via Why Aren’t Women Tweeting About Occupy Wall Street? – Techland – TIME.com.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Will Ferrell, FYI:  Never heard of this award … have to look it up.

Actor and comedian Will Ferrell jokingly gives the thumbs-down during his introduction as the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoree at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At left is his wife, Viveca Paulin.

via The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: The red carpet – The Washington Post.

The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr. The Kennedy Center established The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October 1998, and it has been televised annually. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), and Tina Fey (2010).

via The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

Gabrielle Giffords, therapy, Asheville NC:  Must be a pretty good therapist in Asheville!

TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in North Carolina for two weeks of intensive therapy sessions as she continues to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.

Giffords’ office says in a statement Sunday that the Arizona congresswoman is expected to spend time with a therapist who has worked with her in Houston for the last several months and has been extensively involved in her therapy.

Giffords will work with the therapist from Monday through Nov. 4 in Asheville, N.C. No other specifics on her therapy were given.

Her staff says the trip is strictly rehabilitation-related and has been planned for several months. No public appearances or events are scheduled.

Giffords is recovering from a brain injury suffered on Jan. 8 in Tucson. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded, including Giffords.

via Gabrielle Giffords In Intensive Therapy For Two Weeks.

time:

What the second law of thermodynamics has to do with Saint Augustine, landscape art, and graphic novels.

Time is the most fundamental common denominator between our existence and that of everything else, it’s the yardstick by which we measure nearly every aspect of our lives, directly or indirectly, yet its nature remains one of the greatest mysteries of science. Last year, we devoured BBC’s excellent What Is Time? and today we turn to seven essential books that explore the grand question on a deeper, more multidimensional level, spanning everything from quantum physics to philosophy to art.

via 7 cross-disciplinary books to understand time, Steve Jobs in 200 timeless quotes, and more.

Chemistry: A Volatile History, tv, BBC:  I just love the BBC shows!

Now, thanks to the fine folks at BBC Four — who previously pondered such captivating issues as the nature of reality, the age-old tension between science and religion, how music works, and what time really is — you can refresh and enrich your understanding of this complex world with Chemistry: A Volatile History, a fascinating three-part series by theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, exploring everything from the history of the elements to the rivalries and controversies that bedeviled scientific progress to the latest

via BBC’s Volatile History of Chemistry | Brain Pickings.

Mitchell International Airport, Mitchell International Airport, “recombobulation area”:  I have to ask my Milwaukee friend Donna if she’s utilized the “recombobulation area.”

Taking off your shoes and pulling out your laptop at airport security may leave you feeling discombobulated.

The Mitchell International Airport staff has set up some chairs and a sign just past one of the security checkpoints to help you out.

They’ve labeled it the “recombobulation area.”

Yes, it’s a joke. At airport security.

The sign has been hanging at the Concourse C security checkpoint for about a month. Some passengers get it immediately. Some take a few steps, then laugh. Others look up and say, “Huh?”

“See? You’re getting recombobulated right now,” Melissa Fullmore said Tuesday morning to another traveler who was putting on his belt.

via Airport draws smiles with ‘recombobulation area’ – JSOnline.

gender differences, economic hardship, Great Recession:

Measured in terms of absolute job loss, men bore the brunt of the Great Recession, hence the term “mancession.” On the other hand, men have fared better than women in regaining jobs during the slight rebound sometimes called the recovery.

Interesting comparison, but gender differences in economic hardship reach beyond employment statistics.

Many people – even those who live alone – share a portion of their earnings or devote unpaid hours of work to family members, including children and others who are dependent as result of age, sickness, disability or unemployment. Measures of economic hardship should take responsibility for dependents into account.

Women tend to be more vulnerable in this respect than men, primarily because they are more likely to take both financial and direct responsibility for the care of children.

via Nancy Folbre: The Recession in Pink and Blue – NYTimes.com.

Lake Lanier GA, Atlanta, FYI:  Lake Lanier to within 9 feet of historic low … 😦

Authorities say Lake Lanier has dropped below 1,060 feet above sea level and is now just nine feet above the historic low it reached during Georgia’s devastating drought of 2007-2009.

The lake has been on a downward trend for months now, away from the full pool of 1,071 feet and stirring memories of the drought.

The lake’s historic low water level of 1,051 feet was set on Dec. 26, 2007.

Business owners tell The Times of Gainesville (http://bit.ly/oVGFJi) that the low water level has drained some tourism.

Bob Benson, a lake guide, said there are stumps everywhere sticking out of the water, and many people aren’t going out on the lake.

via Lake Lanier drops to within 9 feet of historic low  | ajc.com.

Aftershock Survival Summit, books, Global Recession:  Not pretty!

At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Ben Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.”

This wasn’t the first time Wiedemer’s predictions hit a nerve. In 2006, he and his team of economists accurately predicted the four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer spending markets that almost sunk America.

Regardless of his warnings and survival advice, Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.

As the warnings went unheeded, and America suffered the consequences, Wiedemer penned his latest prophetic work, “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown.”

Once again his contrarian views ruffled feathers and just before the book was publicly released, the publisher yanked the final chapter, deeming it too controversial for newsstand and online outlets such as Amazon.com.

Despite appearances, “Aftershock” is not a book with the singular intention of scaring people, explains DeHoog. “The true value lies in the sound economic survival guidance that people can act on immediately. I was able to read the original version with the ‘unpublished chapter,’ and I think it’s the most crucial in the entire book. After contacting Wiedemer, we [Newsmax] were granted permission to share it with our readers. In fact, viewers of the Aftershock Survival Summit are able to claim a free copy of it.”

In the Aftershock Survival Summit, Wiedemer reveals what the publisher didn’t want you to see. Citing the unthinkable, he provides disturbing evidence and financial charts forecasting 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market collapse, and 100% annual inflation.

“I doubted some of his predictions at first. But then Robert showed me the charts that provided evidence for such disturbing claims,” DeHoog commented.

via Aftershock Survival Summit Predicts the Unthinkable.

coffee, cities, lists:  It seems surprising to me that the home of the chain Starbucks is “the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters.”  But I have been there ad it is true!

No surprise—the home of Starbucks is the mother ship for coffee-loving AFC voters. But there is more than just that familiar logo here—you’ll find plenty of indie coffeehouses all over the city, as well as espresso shacks and carts on street corners and in parking lots. All that caffeine gives the locals an edge, but in a good way: they ranked No. 2 for smartest locals in the AFC. And while colder months seem like a great time to enjoy that hot cup, the Emerald City took last place for winter visits.

via America’s Best Coffee Cities- Page 2 – Articles | Travel + Leisure.

books, media, viral, discourse:  All I can say is interesting …

There is something both ridiculous and refreshing about all this. Ridiculous because 90 percent of Morozov’s criticisms are wildly unfair (and also because, you know, http://bit.ly/AnsweringMrGrumpy)…and refreshing because here is a work of book-bound nonfiction — chock full of claims to be assessed and arguments to be discussed — that is actually being assessed and discussed. In a public forum! Discourse, and everything!

That shouldn’t be an anomaly, but it is. Books both e- and analog — the kind that exist not to tell a tale, but to advance an argument — face a fundamental challenge: The interests of books-as-artifacts and books-as-arguments are, in general, misaligned. Books are great, definitely, at capturing ideas. Books are great at claiming cultural ownership of ideas. Books are great at generating speaking gigs based on ideas. Books are great at getting authors paid for ideas. But books are much, much less great at actually propagating ideas — particularly ideas of the relative nuance that Morozov’s “Internet intellectuals” tend to favor.

Which is a flaw that’s easy to forget, given books’ cultural status. A book deal is a big deal; those who have gotten one will make a point, as they should, of highlighting the achievement. A writer and an author.

via ‘Public Parts’ and its public parts: In a networked world, can a book go viral? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

vertigo farming, Queens NY, organic produce, locavore:  Innovation … got to love it.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm is at the forefront of urban agriculture in the United States. Operated by four young entrepreneurs on an acre of rooftop in Queens, New York, the farm grows organic produce that is sold to local restaurants, co-ops and farmers markets across New York City. Business is growing quickly, with a second location opening in the Spring of 2012 and booming demand for rooftop vegetables, herbs and honey. To educate urban dwellers about the food systems upon which they rely, the farm hosts regular educational tours, workshops and field trips for schools and community groups.

via World Challenge 2011 – 2011 Finalist – Vertigo Farming.

Condoleezza Rice,  Freedom Agenda, The Freedom War, books: “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.”

“We pursued the Freedom Agenda not only because it was right but also because it was necessary,” Rice writes in her book. “There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman, or child should live in tyranny. Those who excoriated the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic.” So there’s no sense dwelling on the final demise of tyrants, whether Gaddafi or, for that matter, Saddam Hussein, whose hanging turned into a hideous spectacle as well. “Time to move on,” says Rice.

But the fascination of Rice’s memoir, and it is fascinating, is less in the broad vision put forth for a more democratic world than in the gritty description of the way decisions were made in the White House and the State Department as the Bush administration sought to adapt to a universe radically changed by Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States in 2001.

Rice’s account of the immediate aftermath, as seen from inside the halls of the White House, is both vivid and disturbing. The threat of a second wave of attacks was real. The possibility that biological or other weapons might be used seemed imminent: some lunatic had put anthrax in the mail; one report received at the White House said many of the people there might have been poisoned with botulinum toxin; another report said a plot was afoot to disseminate smallpox. The intelligence was rarely definitive, and it took a toll on everyone involved.

Rice is honest enough to say that at one point she was just about burned out. While attending a ceremony on the White House lawn soon after she became secretary of state, she saw an airliner approaching. It was on a normal route to land at Reagan National Airport, but for a few moments she thought it was coming straight toward the executive mansion. “Tomorrow I am going to tell the President that I want to leave at the end of the year,” she thought. “I can’t do this anymore.”

But she soldiered on, and key to Rice’s role was the confidence of the president, who emerges from her book as sharper than the clichés indulged in by his critics, but perhaps too familiar, too folksy with those he likes and relies on.

The wars launched by the Bush administration have cost the United States more than $1 trillion and many thousands of lives. Were they worth it? The Middle East has been a volatile region, with countless wars at countless cost, Rice said as we talked in Stanford. “I don’t think you put a price on a Middle East that will look very different without Saddam Hussein and with movement toward freedom.”

via Condoleezza Rice Memoir: The Freedom War – The Daily Beast.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, book club:  My book club is reading this book this week.  I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks or of the book.  I have not read it and cannot go, but I am intrigued after reading this review.

When Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), an African-American mother of five who migrated from the tobacco farms of Virginia to poorest neighborhoods of Baltimore, died at the tragic age of 31 from cervical cancer, she didn’t realize she’d be the donor of cells that would create the HeLa immortal cell line — a line that didn’t die after a few cell divisions — making possible some of the most seminal discoveries in modern medicine. Though the tumor tissue was taken with neither her knowledge nor her consent, the HeLa cell was crucial in everything from the first polio vaccine to cancer and AIDS research. To date, scientists have grown more than

via 5 Unsung Heroes Who Shaped Modern Life | Brain Pickings.

Bob Pierpoint, RIP:  Another from a different era of broadcast journalism is dead.  Don’t you love this picture?  Rest in peace, Bob Pierpoint.

Pierpoint_White_House_large.jpg

Bob Pierpoint was a mainstay of CBS News during the golden age of that organization. He was part of the Murrow team and covered the Korean War while in his 20s. He became a White House correspondent during the Eisenhower Administration and stayed on that beat through the time of Jimmy Carter and beyond. It was some time in the 1970s that the picture above, which delighted him, was taken. He was an avid tennis player and had just come from a match on the White House court when he had to do a standup, obviously framed from mid-torso upward. I first saw that picture in Barney Collier’s book Hope and Fear in Washington (The Early Seventies), and I believe it was the jacket photo on Bob’s own book, At the White House. I got it from the collection of his papers at his alma mater, the University of Redlands.

When I was growing up, Bob Pierpoint was the most glamorous product of my home town in California. (That was before Redlands’s own Brian Billick went on to win the Super Bowl, and Landon Donovan became Mr. Soccer USA.) He would come back and tell our public school assemblies what it was like to cover the Kennedy or Johnson Administrations; this was as close as we came to first-hand contact with national politics. He was patient, generous, and non-big-shot-ish in a way I noticed then and admire more in retrospect. He was two days older than my father, and a good friend to my parents and tennis rival to my father when he was in town. When my wife and I first moved to Washington he and his wife Patty served in loco parentis for a while.

He will be remembered, and should be, as a connector to a different, prouder era in broadcast news. But he was also a good friend, husband, and father. Our sympathies to his family.

via Bob Pierpoint – James Fallows – National – The Atlantic.

time: I have always wanted a chiming clock in the house … it keeps you conscious of and accountable for time.

Each hour when my watch, computer, or phone beeps, I stop whatever I’m doing, take a deep breath, and ask myself two questions:

1. Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

2. Am I being who I most want to be right now?

At first it seemed counterintuitive to interrupt myself each hour. Aren’t interruptions precisely what we’re trying to avoid? But these one-minute-an-hour interruptions are productive interruptions. They bring us back to doing what, and being who, will make this a successful day.

This isn’t all about staying on plan. Sometimes the beep will ring and I’ll realize that, while I’ve strayed from my calendar, whatever it is I’m working on is what I most need to be doing. In those situations I simply shift items on my calendar so my most important priorities still get done and I make intentional choices about what I will leave undone.

For me, a once-an-hour reminder, one deep breath, and a couple of questions, has made the difference between ending my day frustrated and ending it fulfilled.

via The power of an hourly beep | Daniel Pink.

summer jobs, internships, college, summer camps:  I think there i something here …

For the most part, interns do work that is wholly unrelated to any sort of day-to-day task that full-time employees fulfill. Indeed, not only do most offices give interns mundane tasks that the aforementioned employees would never do, but they are also given tasks that will only be taken over by another intern. In short, interning in any office, regardless of the field, will likely mean you will be performing more secretarial duties than industry-specific ones. Anyone thinking that taking an internship with Goldman Brothers will give him or her a better shot at becoming a full-time employee is misguided. As such, taking an internship for the sake of career advancement is an unwise decision.

As alluded above, internship experience rarely parallels relevant work experience. Moreover, a student with (all else equal) an internship experience — indeed, even two — will not receive a substantive boost in the hiring process. The dirty secret of the professional world is that everyone knows that internships are vehicles through which companies can unload their undesirables onto unsuspecting college students.

Given this, it is reasonable to conclude that internships provide few potential benefits for their laborious components. Not only are interns wasting time in their respective offices by performing arcane duties, they also are allowing their last free summers to go by the wayside. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, college summers are the last ones for which we will have a legitimate array of choices. Accordingly, students would be well advised to engage in activities that they would enjoy, as opposed to activities that they misguidedly believe will yield long-term benefits. To this end, there are more efficacies in volunteering, working in non-profits or even taking classes than doing an internship. However, the most benefit comes from being a camp counselor.

At my particular summer camp, Four Winds Westward Ho, I have learned many workplace skills that are more relevant than what I could obtain from an internship. For example, at Four Winds, located on tiny Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, I am fully integrated into the aforementioned professional hierarchy. I am given great responsibility; indeed, I am responsible for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of up to seven children for two four-week sessions.

via Opinion: Skip the internship, go to camp | USA TODAY College.

D.C., Georgetown, urban planning: Shooting itself in the foot?

IMAGINE A CITY telling its largest private employer — one that pays millions in taxes and salaries, strives to hire local residents and voluntarily does community service — that it can’t grow anymore, that it might have to cut back. That seems far-fetched in light of today’s scary economy, but it’s essentially what D.C. officials are telling Georgetown University by insisting it either house all its students or cut back enrollment. The District seems distressingly disinterested in promoting a knowledge-based economy.

Georgetown’s 10-year plan for its 104-acre main campus, the subject of hearings before the D.C. Zoning Commission, would cap the undergraduate population at current levels while increasing graduate students by about 1,000. Enrollment in 2010 was 14,033, of whom 6,652 were undergraduates. The plan is modest: It contains no major new building, no additional parking and an offer to reduce the main campus enrollment by moving some graduate students to satellite locations. Still, adjacent neighborhoods — particularly Burleith and Foxhall — are up in arms, and they seem to have city officials on their side.

via It’s D.C. vs. Georgetown in urban planning – The Washington Post.

Lululemon killing:  Too weird.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys on Monday began selecting a jury in the trial of Brittany Norwood, a 29-year-old charged with killing her co-worker in an upscale Bethesda yoga shop.

via Lululemon killing trial begins Monday – Crime Scene – The Washington Post.

social media,  police,  gangs, antisocial side:  Darwin Award?  Why is social media so hard to resist?

Gangs are just following societal trends,” said a federal law enforcement official who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss how agents use social media to target gangs. “Facebook and Myspace are now some of their primary methods of communication.”

via Antisocial side of social media helps police track gangs – The Washington Post.

economics, unrest: “… relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. ”

Growth that undermines existing social institutions and dislocates workers is also likely to generate instability. In China mass migrations associated with rapid catch-up growth and urbanisation are often blamed for causing instability. Instances of “mass disturbances” have risen steadily since 1993, even as the Chinese economy has enjoyed scorching growth. Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University similarly argues that Egypt’s steps towards economic liberalisation stimulated an appetite for greater opportunity that fuelled discontent with the ruling regime.

Research by MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Harvard’s James Robinson finds that relatively undemocratic governments have historically extended voting rights in order to convince a restive public of the promise of future redistribution. In the West, that is not an option. A bit more growth and a bit less austerity might take the edge off public anger. But if social unrest has its roots in the effects of structural economic changes, a more fundamental societal reckoning may be needed. A study by Patricia Justino of the University of Sussex examined inequality and unrest in India and found that redistribution can quell an outcry. That may well be the outcome of the current turmoil, too.

via Economics focus: Unrest in peace | The Economist.

skywatching, Aurora Australis:  Aurora seen from the ISS in Orbit – YouTube.

Check out this awesome video captured from the International Space Station as it flew over the Aurora Australis. Stunning!

via Flying above the Aurora Australis | Go Make Things.

recipes, scrambled eggs, chopsticks:  Scramble with chop sticks!

And last but not least, ditch that fork! Scramble your eggs with a heat-proof spatula, a flat-topped wooden spoon, or for the perfect curd, chopsticks.

via 5 Common Scrambled Eggs Mistakes : BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.




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