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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10.25.2011 … ‎1 scoop Pistachio Gelato with 1 scoop Nutella Gelato on the streets of Paris is possibly one of the most enjoyable dessert experiences I have ever had. 1 scoop of store-bought Pistachio Gelato actually comes pretty close and is a lot cheaper.

home, Ciao Bella Pistachio Gelato:  This stuff is really good … but still not as good as that served at  Amorino in Paris … but you can find it at HT!

Discover. Savor. Share. Ciao Bella.Following more than a decade of success in New York City, Ciao Bella opened its first San Francisco location 15 years ago on Harrison Street before moving to the famed Ferry Building, as an inaugural tenant in 2003.   To celebrate its Bay Area history and new design, Ciao Bella will highlight flavors that source ingredients from local vendors, such as Pistachio Gelato and Peach Ginger Sorbet.

via Ciao Bella Gelato & Sorbet blog.

Muammar Gaddafi, RIP/End of an Era: … weird, creepy … makes for a good Halloween costume … see next entry. 🙂

Long before his end, Muammar Gaddafi had become the weird, creepy, certainly criminal uncle who showed up, because he was really rich, at reunions of world leaders. He did not begin that way. How a young man from deep poverty in a rural North African town rose to become one of the West’s most intractable foes, and then one of its most critical political and economic partners, is an extraordinary political saga.

Gaddafi was scarcely destined for power. Born in 1942 into a tribal Bedouin family near the coastal town of Sirt, he was raised in a country still digging out from the ravages of World War II and a long struggle against Italian colonialism. The giant oil reserves that lay beneath the Libyan desert were years away from being explored. In fact, Libya was barely a nation at all. Gaddafi was 9 years old when the country finally gained its independence from France and Britain (which administered it jointly after the war’s end) and became a monarchy under King Idris al-Sanusi.

Like many provincial boys with little education, Gaddafi joined the army. He became a captain, then trained at Britain’s elite Sandhurst Academy, before returning home as an officer in the Signal Corps. It was in that position, at just 27, that he led a group of junior officers in a bloodless coup, toppling King Idris and declaring himself colonel. In the museum glorifying Gaddafi’s “people’s revolution,” set within the high stone walls of the fortress in Tripoli’s Green Square, one of the main exhibits was a battered sand-colored jeep with open sides, in which Gaddafi, according to his own legend, rode into the city, victorious on Sept. 1, 1969, to present himself as Libya’s leader to a people hungry for popular leadership.

via The End of Muammar Gaddafi: The Colonel’s Long, Weird Ride – TIME.

Muammar Gaddafi,  Halloween 2011, costumes:

rebecca black

What you’ll need:

• An unruly black wig (or this mask)

• Unkempt mustache and goatee

• Gaudy sheets, drapes or pajamas

• Matching kufi or brimless hat

• Dark, square sunglasses

• Female bodyguards (optional)

via Muammar Gaddafi – The 10 Best (Topical) Halloween Costumes for 2011 – TIME.

Vatican, global oversight, economy, supranational authority, global economy:  When has the Vatican been known for democratic and ethical principles?

The Vatican called on Monday for an overhaul of the world’s financial systems, and again proposed establishment of a supranational authority to oversee the global economy, calling it necessary to bring more democratic and ethical principles to a marketplace run amok.

In a report issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican argued that “politics — which is responsible for the common good” must be given primacy over the economy and finance, and that existing institutions like the International Monetary Fund had not been responding adequately to global economic problems.

The document grows out of the Roman Catholic Church’s concerns about economic instability and widening inequality of income and wealth around the world, issues that transcend the power of national governments to address on their own.

“The time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which the individual states cannot promote and protect by themselves,” Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, the president of the pontifical council, said as he presented the report on Monday. “That is what pushed us.”

The language in the document, which the Vatican refers to as a note, is distinctively strong. “We should not be afraid to propose new ideas, even if they might destabilize pre-existing balances of power that prevail over the weakest,” the document states.

The message prompted comparisons with the rallying cries of protest movements that have been challenging the financial world order, like the indignados in Madrid and the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City. Still, Vatican officials said the document was not a manifesto for disaffected dissidents.

via Vatican Calls for Global Oversight of the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Polaroid, Edwin Land,  dreaming, success, inventing, Insisting on the Impossible, books, quotes:

In the fall of 1943, a little girl asked her father why she couldn’t see a photograph immediately after it was taken — a blasphemous proposition in the era’s photographic paradigm. Fortunately, her father happened to be Edwin Land, the iconic inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation. So rather than dismissing the question as an impossibility, he took it as a challenge, then made history — in February of 1947, the world’s first Polaroid camera hit stores and unleashed one of the most creative movements in the history of the static image.

via Polaroid Inventor Edwin Land on the 5000 Steps to Success | Brain Pickings.

“If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it and don’t think anything of personalities, or emotional conflicts, or of money, or of family distractions; if you just think of, detail by detail, what you have to do next, it is a wonderful dream even if the end is a long way off, for there are about five thousand steps to be taken before we realize it; and start making the first ten, and stay making twenty after, it is amazing how quickly you get through those five thousand steps.”

~ Edwin Land to Polaroid employees, December 23, 1942

via If you dream of something worth doing – benrmatthews.

electric mini cupcake maker, random:  I have been known to buy some useless items … but this tops the cake … no pun intended!

How it actually works: The cupcakes themselves tasted fine, and except for some tunneling where steam created holes, their texture was fine, too. But compared to the 12 minutes it took to bake a full dozen mini cupcakes in the oven, this machine was no time-saver.

Good to know: It cleaned up easily; however, we had to struggle a bit to wash and rinse it without getting the machine too wet.

Best for: It might be fun as an activity with children, but most kids would probably become bored with waiting before the second half-dozen cupcakes are done, and you’d be trapped, baking off the rest of the batter, tiny batch after tiny batch.

Overall: Would we buy this? No. We’ll stick with the oven, where we can bake a couple dozen mini cupcakes in the time it takes this machine to steam seven.

via World’s Fastest Electric Mini Cupcake Maker (It Exists!) | The Feed.

animated short film, greed, Tout Rien (“All Nothing”): Beautiful! Tout Rien animation – YouTube.

But most striking of all are his animated short films. In 1978, his Tout Rien (“All Nothing”), a delicate and pensive 11-minute animated allegory set to the music of Igor Stravinsky about how our human greed is stealing the happiness of our species, earned him an Oscar nomination. It tackles, with remarkable elegance and sensitivity, our tragic tendency towards anthropocentricity in a world we share with countless

via AAll Nothing: Poetic 1978 Animated Allegory about Mankind’s Greed | Brain Pickings.

corporate social responsibility (“csr”), soda companies:  Interesting … flies in the face of csr, don’t you think?

The soda industry hit a new low this year. In 2010, Philadelphia’s mayor and health commissioner had both supported an SSB tax and came within one vote of having the tax passed by the city council. In 2011, when the mayor made it clear he would reintroduce the tax, the industry created an organization called Foundation for a Healthy America, which gave a gift of $10 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for research and prevention of childhood obesity. Would the hospital accept money from a tobacco company to study anti-smoking programs? The hospital tried to give some of the money to the city to run obesity programs through city health centers, but the mayor refused on the grounds it was funded by the beverage industry.

Over time, the tobacco companies were outed for their dirty tactics and the nation reacted with a series of public policies that cut smoking in half in the U.S. The beverage industry has been successful thus far in fighting off significant taxes through heavy lobbying, questionable tactics, and the attempt to appear public-health minded, but they, too, are likely to be embarrassed as light shines upon them. As they scramble to protect their profits, their actions may ultimately hurt their cause and pave the way for the very government actions they seek to prevent.

via Kelly Brownell on the Dirty Tactics of Soda Companies | TIME Ideas | TIME.com.

live and work in the present, lifestyles, universal truths: “Why drag around a chain of regrets like the ghost of Jacob Marley?” … Some good things to think about here. “Perhaps a better way of describing this goal than “getting to clear” is the Quaker notion of finding “peace at the center”—a state of serenity or stillness of spirit in which one is no longer worried about the past or the future. In other words, stop trying to “get” anywhere, just “be clear now,” not next May, or 20 years from now, when you retire, because things won’t be different then, either.”

For reasons I will explain, I call this process “getting to clear.”

I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago from a friend—let’s call him Steve—who worked in multilevel marketing (or sales careers based on recruiting other sellers). He attended a lot of motivational seminars and listened repeatedly to recordings of books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Power of Positive Thinking. For a while he was into Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. As I understood it, the big idea in that book was to remove all your painful memories because they sap your energy and prevent you from being effective and happy.

Steve kept saying that he was “getting to clear,” which is Scientology lingo that meant, more and more, he was fully in the moment, and not only that, the moment was increasingly subject to his mental control. Working from a table outside a shopping mall, Steve could push cellphone accounts on passers-by with a manic, smiling intensity that was almost frightening to behold. He could switch it off, too, like some kind of Tesla-inspired, anti-gravity device, to explain what he was doing so that I could imitate it and earn more commissions.

Reality was something created by our minds, Steve said. Once he was “clear”—and living fully in the present moment—he would be able to “manifest” anything he desired. He said he could visualize customers lining up, and they simply would appear, in greater and greater numbers. In sales, you just have to believe, and then you can have anything you want, developing your mental powers—the will to succeed—by increments.

That belief struck me as odd at the time, and it still does. Sort of like thinking you could learn to fly like Superman by leaping out of airplanes with smaller and smaller parachutes.

On the other hand, some of those ideas seem to descend from respected thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche. Following Emerson’s gospel of self-reliance, Steve was on his way to becoming an Übermensch among the Willy Lomans. Of course I think that acting like the material world is a mental construct—and that people are manifestations of your will—is going too far, but who can doubt the value of liberating yourself from the past so you can be more effective in the present? Why drag around a chain of regrets like the ghost of Jacob Marley? Once you have completed your overdue obligations and done your best to repair the “errata” of your life, as the printer Benjamin Franklin called them, why not embrace the present, completely. As counterculture gurus said back in the ’60s, if you want to be happy, you need to “Be here now!”

But one of my colleagues here at Hope College—let’s call her Natalie (for that, happily, is her name)—said something to me that I’ll never forget: “You can’t spend your career looking forward to doing something else.”

In other words, once September arrives, instead of embracing the academic year, the return of the usual routine, we feel like divers inhaling deeply before a plunge into dark water. We look forward to surfacing with the return of summer, but then summer comes, and we find that nothing has really changed: just a new configuration of responsibilities. It’s never going to be perfect, but you have to find a way to make the most of what you are doing today.

Perhaps a better way of describing this goal than “getting to clear” is the Quaker notion of finding “peace at the center”—a state of serenity or stillness of spirit in which one is no longer worried about the past or the future. In other words, stop trying to “get” anywhere, just “be clear now,” not next May, or 20 years from now, when you retire, because things won’t be different then, either.

via ‘Getting to Clear’ – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

TEDxCharlotte, dream makers, risk takers,  bucket list:  To go to a TED presentation is on my short bucket list … who has been?

Every presenter — whatever their particular passion and mission — was inspiring, motivating and engaging. The day was a composite of live speakers, videos, entertainers and art offered to spark deep discussion and connections. In addition to the daylong conference, there is an accompanying art exhibition up through Thursday, Nov. 3 that highlights some dream makers and risk takers in the art world. This show is in the Max L. Jackson Gallery in the Watkins Building and is open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

via Dream makers and risk takers come out for TEDxCharlotte | Knight Arts.

Elizabeth Eckford, Hazel Bryan, iconic photos, Civil Rights Movement, history, reconciliation, friendship:  How horrible to be branded in the world’s memory as a person filled with racial hatred … very moving story.

Sometime in 1962 or 1963—no cameras recorded the scene, and she didn’t mark anything down—Hazel, sitting in the trailer in rural Little Rock in which she and her family now lived, picked up the Little Rock directory, and looked under “Eckford.” Then, without telling her husband or pastor or anyone else, she dialed the number. Between sobs, she told Elizabeth that she was that girl, and how sorry she was. Elizabeth was gracious. The conversation lasted a minute, if that. In the South, in the ’60s, how much more did a white girl and a black girl have to say to one another?

Still, Hazel never stopped thinking about the picture and making amends for it. She severed what had been her ironclad ties to an intolerant church. She taught mothering skills to unmarried black women, and took underprivileged black teenagers on field trips. She frequented the black history section at the local Barnes & Noble, buying books by Cornel West and Shelby Steele and the companion volume to Eyes on the Prize. She’d argue with her mother on racial topics, defending relatives who’d intermarried.

Secretly, Hazel always hoped some reporter would track her down and write about how she’d changed. But it didn’t happen on its own, and she did nothing to make it happen. Instead, again and again, there was the picture. Anniversary after anniversary, Martin Luther King Day after Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month after Black History Month, it just kept popping up. The world of race relations was changing, but to the world, she never did.

Finally, on the 40th anniversary of Central’s desegregation in 1997, Will Counts returned to Little Rock and arranged for Elizabeth and Hazel to pose for him again. Hazel was thrilled, Elizabeth, curious. Their first meeting was predictably awkward, but the new picture, showing the two women smiling in front of Central, revealed only the barest hint of that. It all but took over the next day’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and very nearly upstaged President Clinton’s speech the next day, in which he worked in a reference to them both. Soon, a poster-sized version of the picture was available: “Reconciliation,” it said. Everyone rejoiced; Thanks to Elizabeth and Hazel, Little Rock, maligned for 40 years, bathed in instant absolution.

Ultimately, it grew too much for Hazel. She cut off ties with Elizabeth—for her, Sept. 11, 2011 marked another anniversary: 10 years had passed since they’d last spoken—and stopped making public appearances with her. Her interviews with me—granted only with great reluctance—will, she says, be her last. When I asked the two women to pose together one last time (Elizabeth turned 70 last Tuesday; Hazel will in January) Elizabeth agreed; Hazel would not. Hazel was poised to vote for Obama in 2008; after all, even her own mother did. But so deep was her hurt that she found some excuse not to.

So the famous photograph of 1957 takes on additional meaning: the continuing chasm between the races and the great difficulty, even among people of good will, to pull off real racial reconciliation. But shuttling back and forth between them, I could see that for all their harsh words—over the past decade, they’ve only dug in their heels—they still missed one another. Each, I noticed, teared up at references to the other. Perhaps, when no one is looking—or taking any pictures—they’ll yet come together again. And if they can, maybe, so too, can we.

via Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan: What happened to the two girls in the most famous photo of the Civil Rights Era..

global population,  7 Billion Day:  I had no idea we were approaching 7 billion!

My print column examines the numbers underlying the designation by the United Nations of Oct. 31 as 7 Billion Day — the day when the world population will hit that milestone number.

Unlike its approach to the equivalent milestone 12 years and a billion people ago, the U.N. won’t be naming the seven billionth inhabitant of the planet. Instead, the agency is calling for hundreds of newborns to take the mantle, by encouraging all countries to identify their own seven billionth baby. The Canadian magazine Maclean’s recently tracked down Adnan Nevic, the designated No. 6,000,000,000, who receives attention each year on his birthday for his achievement but whose Bosnian family has trouble making ends meet.

Hospitals around the U.S. named competing children as No. 300 million when the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the country passed that threshold five years ago. But Census itself stays mum. “Would it be someone born, or an immigrant?” asked Census spokesman Robert Bernstein. “You don’t know which component of change” is responsible for the last bit of population growth.

The world tacked on its most recent billion in as much time as the prior billion, which means the growth rate is slowing, easing some of the fears of Thomas Malthus’s intellectual descendants. And the population milestone isn’t necessarily a one-time-only event: The world could cross back under seven billion if deaths overtakes births. “We may pass that mark several times,” Nico Keilman, a demographic modeler at the University of Oslo, wrote in an email, outlining a morbid scenario. (Keilman has studied the accuracy of past population projections.) “Suppose the world counts exactly seven billion on or around 31 October. Suddenly there is an earthquake or some other natural disaster with many people killed. This may lead to a population less than seven billion. In other words, whereas the U.N. (and others) predict a smooth path for population development, reality is volatile.”

via 7 Billion Day: The Uncertainty of Counting and Projecting Global Population – The Numbers Guy – WSJ.

 The New York Times,  Angry Birds,  corrections: 🙂

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the premise of “Angry Birds,” a popular iPhone game. In the game, slingshots are used to launch birds to destroy pigs and their fortresses, not to shoot down the birds

via Regret the Error» The New York Times offers an amusing Angry Birds correction.

McRib, McDonald’s, cult following, social media:  Just funny!

NEW YORK — The McRib, the elusive sandwich that has inspired a cult-like following, is back.

McDonald’s Corp. announced Monday that the boneless barbecue pork sandwich, usually available in only a few stores at a time, will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14.

Most of the time, it’s up to local franchises to determine when and if they want to sell the McRib — except in Germany, the only place where it’s available perennially. But McDonald’s said the response was so great last November when it made the McRib available nationally for about three weeks that it decided to bring it back this year. The company, which previously hadn’t sold the McRib nationally since 1994, declined to give specific sales numbers.

The sandwich, which is dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce, was introduced nationally in 1982. With 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, it’s slightly trimmer than the Big Mac, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. And just like the Big Mac, the McRib has become a popular McDonald’s offering.

If the McRib is so popular, why not just offer it all the time? McDonald’s likes to stoke the enthusiasm with an aura of transience.

“Bringing it back every so often adds to the excitement,” said Marta Fearon, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director, who added that she’s not sure if the McRib will reappear in stores every fall.

And how can it be called a McRib if it doesn’t have any bones? Said Fearon: “That gives it this quirky sense of humor.”

via The elusive pork sandwich is coming back, briefly; a barbecue without the bones – The Washington Post.

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9.13.2011 … last night I watched the Republican Debate (a/k/a CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate) … It is going to be a long year …

2012 Presidential Election, 9/12 CNN hosted Tea Party Republican Debate, President Obama: I think I will dislike them all by the time they complete 6 before Christmas.  And why does it have to be labeled “Tea Party? ”  The Republicans will lose all the independents and half the Republican Party if they don’t watch out.  Luckily President Obama is helping them out a great deal.  My take I can’t stand Perry or Bachman.  Don’t particularly like any of the rest.  Some are at least funny.

post-it war, la guerre des Post-It, follow-up:  🙂  Has anyone seen any in the US?

Post-it® War.

EARonic, iPhone, design, charity, President Obama, random: Cases That Look Like Ears!  I wonder if they could have President Obama’s ear … what a great way to raise money for charity … who else has famous ears?

CollabCubed has produced the EARonic, a collection of iPhone cases with photographic images of ears. Designed by Rhode Island School of Design student, Daniela Gilsanz, there are five ears total, including one with stubble and piercings and another with a wireless headset.

via EARonic, iPhone Cases That Look Like Ears.

Steph Curry, Davidson College: Fun interview … Still proud he went to Davidson …

During this question, Steph, who had been acting very disinterested in the interview, whipped out his cell phone to take a call. We were shocked to say the least. Before we even started, he strolled in late, with his iPod in his ear, and asked us what The Davidsonian was. Not a good start. We both thought to ourselves, “How can you not know The Davidsonian? It’s just the paper you’ve been featured on countlesstimes.”

He didn’t look like he wanted to be there at all. His attitude conflicted with what we had heard about him, which was that he was a really nice guy and down-to-earth. He seemed like he was “big-leaguing” us and acting like a jerk. But when he answered the call from his cell phone, he burst into laughter, saying “I can’t do this anymore.” Apparently, he and Ms. Lauren Biggers in the Sports Information Department had planned to “punk” us all along. His whole “big league” attitude was all a ruse, and it worked. The fact that he could not keep the act going for more than three minutes tells you more about what kind of person he is than this interview. When all the laughter had died down, we resumed the interview by asking the question again.

via A little 2 on 1 with Steph Curry – Sports – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

9/7 Delhi Bombing, terrorism:  It scares me when we say things like ” the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low.”  … “killing 11 and injuring at least 60 …”

By South Asian standards the toll from the Delhi bombing was relatively low. On the same day over 20 people were killed in the western Pakistani town of Quetta, as suicide bombers attacked the deputy chief of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps. The Pakistani Taliban, a group also with close links to al-Qaeda, said it was responsible. It perhaps sought revenge for the soldiers’ part in the arrest, earlier in the week, of a senior al-Qaeda man in Pakistan. Sadly for Pakistan the assault confirms a worsening pattern of violence, with Quetta a known corner for extremist hide-outs, including the senior leadership of Afghanistan’s Taliban.

via Terrorism in South Asia: Bloody Wednesday | The Economist.

recipe,  Pub-Style Burgers, Cook’s Illustrated:  I love Cook’s Illustrated, but grinding my own meat ….  I’ll give this one to John!

To create a recipe for juicy, pub-style burgers with big, beefy flavor, we knew that grinding our own beef was a must. We chose sirloin steak tips for their supremely beefy flavor and lack of gristly sinew, and we upped their richness by adding melted butter to the cold beef before we formed our burgers. A combination stove-oven cooking technique gave us pub-style burgers with a crusty exterior and juicy interior that were evenly rosy from center to edge. A few premium (yet simple) toppings were all that was needed to top off our pub-style burger recipe.

via Juicy Pub-Style Burgers – Cooks Illustrated.

branding, marketing, icons, grammar, articles, “the”:  No ifs, ands or buts, no”the.”

Cutting excess articles is attractive in a digital era where space is at a premium on 140-character Tweets and in Web addresses, says Chapin Clark, the managing director of copy at the Interpublic Group of Co.’s ad agency RGA, which has worked on Barnes & Noble’s no-the Nook. “It may seem insignificant, but it is something that a brand has to think about now,” he says.

In Silicon Valley especially, dropping “the” before product names has become an article of faith. Without the omission, people might be friending each other on TheFacebook.com. After Mark Zuckerberg moved his social network from Cambridge, Mass., to Palo Alto, Calif., adviser Sean Parker persuaded him to drop what he called the awkward article.

Branding gurus defend the “the” omission. “When you can drop an article, the brand takes on a more iconic feel,” argues Allen Adamson, managing director of WPP Group PLC’s branding agency, Landor Associates.

But grammarians disagree. Theodore Bernstein’s 1965 tome “The Careful Writer,” dedicates two pages to omitting articles, which he called a “disfigurement of the language.”

He warns: “When the writer is tempted to lop it off, he should ask himself whether he would as readily delete the other articles in his sentence. Would we write, ‘Main feature of combined first floors of new building will be spacious hospitality area’? Obviously not.”

The Wall Street Journal style calls for inserting articles before product names, except in quotations, even if companies omit them, says stylebook editor Paul Martin.

via An Article of Faith for Marketers: Place No Faith in Articles – WSJ.com.

music, social networking, Turntable.fm:  Sounds very cool … may be way over my head!

Where is this going?

Talley is definitely onto something here. On the surface, turntable.fm is a generic social networking application. Like others, it extends itself to a wide variety of parallel social networks. You can Facebook and Twitter your room directly from TT.fm. You can buy the music via links to Amazon or iTunes, or share it on Last.fm, Spotify, and Rdio. And like Pandora and Last.fm, turntable lets you choose genres and share your favorite music.

But TT.fm goes beyond all that. By letting users choose music and chat in real time, it can replicate the spontaneous “hang-out” feeling of a freeform FM music radio station, the kind that thrived “long ago,” as Talley put it.

Despite its superior sound, FM was a marginal technology in the 1950s. It finally took off for a variety of reasons. First, in 1964 the Federal Communications Commission required AM stations that owned FM frequencies to produce some original content for the latter, not just dupe their AM fare. Second, device makers started attaching FM to “Hi-Fi” stereo systems.

As a consequence, music lovers and entrepreneurs of all kinds embraced FM and turned their stations into spontaneous community music and talk centers. Some of the most famous in the 1960s and ’70s included listener-supported station WBAI-FM and commercial station WNEW in New York City, and KSAN-FM in San Francisco.

WFMU-FM in New Jersey continues the free form tradition today, but most conventional radio stations gradually abandoned the practice in the 1980s. They either replaced the approach with a more predictable range of tunes called “format,” or they went all talk. Then came the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which eased restrictions on radio license buying. As hundreds of stations changed hands, the price of a signal went through the transmitter, making experimentalism unaffordable.

By the early 2000s, the mantle for adventurous music sharing had passed to the Internet, especially to huge successes like Pandora. But although the word “radio” is constantly attached to Pandora and its brethren, much Internet radio doesn’t really sound like radio. More akin to a juke box, it has always lacked the crucial element that made mid-20th century music radio so compelling—human beings spontaneously picking the tunes and keeping you company while you listened.

via Inside Turntable.fm: saving music radio from itself.

food – Peruvian:  We have loved Peruvian food ever since our 1987 trip … maybe some ceviche this weekend.

The renowned Wall Street Journal said Peruvian food is the next big thing in the world. Its ceviches, causas and anticuchos provide flavors that have the world’s top toques raving, experimenting and catching the next jet.

“Make room Spain and Korea, Peru is having its moment in the gastronomic sun”, says an article published this week.

The daily said Peruvian cuisine is the result of a nearly 500-year melting pot of Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration and native Quechua culture, which is on the lips of top chefs worldwide.

Ceviche, the country’s famous cured-seafood salad, abounds on menus, even outside of Peruvian spots: Haute cuisine temples Le Bernardin and Daniel both serve it.

Peruvian chefs say they are able to entice investors to finance homages to their national cuisine for the first time.

The Wall Street journal said top chefs from around the world are gathering in Lima thsi week for Mistura, a 10-day food festival that began in 2008 and has become the most important food event in Latin America, attracting a projected 300,000 visitors this year.

“There they will discover a cuisine unique in Latin America. Peruvian food features a lot of seafood, often prepared raw or cured; high acid—Key lime juice and red onion are ubiquitous flavors; and a subtle hint of spice provided by the fruity aji pepper, which leaves lips tingling”, the article says.

Peruvian food also uses lots of potatoes—there are about 3,000 varieties in Peru, where the tuber originated. Ceviche often features pieces of either yellow potato or yam, and mashed potatoes are served cold, with fish or chicken salad as toppings, in a dish called causa.

via The next big thing is Peruvian food, says Wall Street Journal | ANDINA – Peru News Agency.

politics, polls, Democrats, Rep. Anthony Weiner:  Wow.  If the Democrats lose today …

Another poll shows Democrats in danger of losing a New York City congressional seat in a special election Tuesday — an outcome that many would see as a loud rebuke to President Barack Obama from voters in his own party.

According to the poll by Public Policy Polling, Republican Bob Turner has a 6% point edge over Democrat David Weprin. That is the same margin found by a Siena College poll released last week.

The two men are running to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Anthony Weiner, a married Democrat who resigned after admitting he sent sexually charged messages to about a half dozen women he met online.

The district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens, has a Democratic registration advantage of 3-to-1, and for that reason a Republican victory was considered a very remote possibility until recently. Now, polls are showing that voter unhappiness with Obama is hurting Weprin, a state Assemblyman.

via Poll Shows Republican Bob Turner Leading Democrat David Weprin – Metropolis – WSJ.

Global Cities, interactive map, data, computer technology:  Amazing amount of data in one place.

Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth. Which of them will contribute the largest number of children or elderly to the world’s population? Which will see the fastest expansion of new entrants to the consuming middle classes? How will regional patterns of growth differ?

Explore these questions by browsing through the interactive global map below, which contains city-specific highlights from the McKinsey Global Institute’s database of more than 2,000 metropolitan areas around the world.

via Global cities of the future: An interactive map – McKinsey Quarterly – Economic Studies – Productivity & Performance.

Libya, spring uprisings, change, Andrew Reynolds, UNC: “Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage.” I have often wondered if culturally some people do not have this mentality.  I found this writer’s optimism enlightening. And on a different not, I could see Molly just loving this work.

(Editor’s note: Andrew Reynolds, UNC’s chairman of global studies, is in Libya advising the Transitional National Council on its plans for an interim government. The following is a first-person dispatch written Friday from Benghazi, Libya.)

We once thought of Libya as a closed and hostile place, a state, and indeed people. We distrusted them as opponents of our way of life and allies of some of our worst enemies. But after the uprising against the 42-year dictatorship of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, a very different reality has been revealed. Libyans yearn just as strongly as us to choose their leaders, hold them accountable and live under the rule of law. To travel, engage. They see Westerners as their great friends, indeed saviors, after the NATO used its military might to support their uprising and protect civilians who were under attack from Gadhafi’s army.

While Libya is full of great optimism, it remains fragile. As I write in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Gaddafi and his sons remain on the run, perhaps hiding in on one the few remaining cities held by the regime. The transitional (rebel) government has made great strides quickly and its instincts on a transition to democracy are good but there are huge challenges ahead. Libya has never had anything like a democratic regime, free elections or a

political party system. Now it must evolve all these institutions in little time. The challenge will be to include all voices, guard against the country fragmenting into tribal allegiances, and try and retrieve the large and small guns which seem to be in everyone’s hands.

All day today we meet at Gadhafi’s high tech security headquarters in Benghazi that has become reborn as the headquarters of the “rebel” Transitional National Council. I have long discussions about the democratization timetable with members of the political and legal affairs committees.

At lunchtime I chat with another of our drivers and fixers who I’ll call Muhammed. He is unrelentingly optimistic. “We want to become better than Malaysia, better than Qatar. Look at our country.” His hands sweep across the seafront. “We can provide.”

Muhammed has two brothers fighting with the rebels — one is a teacher, the other an engineer. But this evening the reality and fragility of Libya comes home. Muhammed hears that his best friend from high school was killed on the front lines near Bani Walid.

The TNC’s timetable for a new government begins on Day 0: Liberation day. And that day has not yet come.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Professor works with Libyan rebels.

Charlotte, energy capital, economy, changes, Great Recession:  A bright spot!

By the end of this year, a tower built as a home for Wachovia will be the new headquarters of Duke Energy.

That switcheroo in one downtown building highlights a change sweeping Charlotte in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While the tidy North Carolina city of 730,000 people still counts itself as the nation’s No. 2 financial center and is looking to expand in a number of arenas — including health, motor sports and defense — the area’s energy sector is showing particular promise.

Such bright spots are hard to come by at a time when the nation’s unemployment rate is stubbornly locked above 9 percent. On Thursday, President Obama presented Congress a $447 billion bill to put Americans back to work, repeatedly urging, “You should pass this jobs plan right away.”

The travails of the financial crisis, punctuated in Charlotte by Wachovia’s near collapse and takeover by Wells Fargo, thumped Charlotte’s finance and insurance sector, which between 2008 and 2010 lost 9 percent of its jobs, a drop to 77,000. Bank of America, the other top-five bank in Charlotte, has moved some of its operations to New York.

And instead of regaining solid footing three years after the crisis, the financial sector is under siege again.

Bank of America rejiggered its management team last week as the giant finance firm grapples with a dwindling share price and new legal liabilities over mortgage deals. Warren Buffett has made a $5 billion investment in the bank. And a restructuring reportedly could cut as many as 40,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, since 2007 Charlotte has announced about 5,600 new energy-related jobs, taking the total to roughly 27,000 at 250 energy-oriented firms, according to economic development officials. About 2,000 energy jobs were added in 2010, with another 765 this year.

It’s not enough to replace finance jobs lost in the recession or to turn around local unemployment, which hangs at 11.2 percent. But local officials say it’s a start, and their bet is long-term. They must, they say, diversify the region’s economy.

“I think we are going to be the energy capital of the country before it’s all over,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said.

The goals, he said, stretch from corporations to consumers. In addition to luring energy firms, the city is expanding recycling, “smart” grid projects and public transit, with plans to add 10 miles of light rail and a commuter line in years to come.

via Charlotte looks beyond financial sector in effort to become ‘energy capital’ – The Washington Post.

Amazon, Amazon Prime, subscription library service:  I would use it …

Would you pay to have limited, monthly access to a library of books for your e-reader? According to report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is hoping you would.

The online retailer is reportedly thinking about making a subscription library service available to Amazon Prime members, adding book rentals to the $79 per year service that now offers online video and an unlimited deal on two-day shipping. The rental subscription, described in the report as a Netflix-like service for books, would offer older titles, and the company would limit the amount of books users could read for free every month.

apps, books, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand:  Might actually buy this one …  I am intrigued.

Penguin has a new book app available for Ayn Rand‘s controversial text Atlas Shrugged. The interactive app includes audio and video of the author, as well as scans of her notes on the subject.

The app also includes social media sharing features. Here is more from the app’s iTunes listing: “While immersed in the app, readers also have the option to share favorite passages and quotes from the novel on Facebook, Twitter, and via email with a few quick taps—and without ever leaving the page.”

This is the third time this year that the publisher has taken a popular old book and repurposed it with special features to turn it into an app.

via Ayn Rand Gets Atlas Shrugged App – GalleyCat.

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged [A New American Library Amplified Edition] for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

nerdfighters,  publishing, twitter: Good question.

In a presentation entitled “How Nerdfighters Can Save Publishing,” Green will share lessons he learned while building one million Twitter followers and 17 million channel views on YouTube.

via John Green to Keynote Publishing App Expo – GalleyCat.

art, paper statues, Edinburgh, random:  Fun!

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…

… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…

This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

via Mysterious paper sculptures – Central Station Blog post.

English language, grammar, word use: Enjoyed this …

Redundant is almost always hurled as a negative epithet, but repetition can be an effective rhetorical device. Shorn of all redundancy, Shakespeare’s “most unkindest cut of all” would be pretty vanilla, and the ad slogan “Raid Kills Bugs Dead” would become the ho-hum “Raid Kills Bugs.” Meanwhile, Gertrude Stein’s “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” would have to be completely erased because the quotation is nothing but redundancy. (Completely erased is redundant as well—something is either erased or it isn’t. But I felt I needed the emphasis provided by completely.)

Most redundancy, however, truly is regrettable, a product of both laziness (not bothering to prune your prose) and verbal inflation: a boy-who-cried-wolf phenomenon whereby you feel you need to say something multiple times to make your point. It’s tough to prove, but I have little doubt that redundancy is on the upswing, a manifestation of the wordiness and clunkiness that characterizes much writing these days.

via Lingua Franca – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

BofA, workforce cuts, kith/kin: Underwhelming? Not if you are a BofA associate or live in one of their headquarter cities …

Bank of America Corp said it will cut 30,000 jobs and slash annual expenses by $5 billion, but investors were unimpressed with the plan and the lack of details on how it will be accomplished.

The staff reductions amount to more than 10 percent of the bank’s workforce, and come as chief executive Brian Moynihan struggles to fix a bank whose share price has dropped nearly 50 percent this year.

Media reports last week said the bank could cut as many as 40,000 jobs. Many investors had hoped for a more dramatic turnaround plan on Monday, when Moynihan spoke at a financial conference and the bank released its cutback plans.

“It was pretty underwhelming,” said Jason Ware, an analyst at Albion Financial Group, referring to the bank’s plan.

“They need to address the bigger issues the bank faces,” Ware said.

via BofA plans 30,000 job cuts; investors underwhelmed – Yahoo! Finance.

2012 Olympic Games, London, travel, London August 2011 Riots, media campaign:  Pandora’s box may have been opened … big pr problem.

British police would not be able to cope with disturbances on the scale of August’s riots if they occur during next year’s London Olympics, the officer coordinating security for the Games said Monday.

Officers are holding off decisions on how to cope with security problems during the 2012 Games until the conclusions of a report on public order policing becomes available, said Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security coordinator.

“If we were facing exactly the same as we were faced with on the Monday night (of the riots), with the resources we’ve got now, we still wouldn’t be able to cope with it,” he told reporters.

“Some work is being done to think about what we need to put in place in Games time,” he said.

Gangs of youth rampaged through London and other major British cities in early August, burning and looting shops and buildings in the country’s worst unrest since race riots in the 1980s. Hundreds of people were arrested for the violence. The disorder, which took place over four nights, came less than two weeks after London celebrated the one-year countdown to the opening of the games on July 27, 2012, with great fanfare.

Officials said Monday they would spend three million pounds ($4.7 million) to boost tourism on the back of the Games and restore the Olympic host city’s tarnished image.

Culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Hunt says the publicity campaign aims to “set the record straight” and show the world that the riots do not “stand for what the U.K. is all about.”

via $4.7M PR campaign launched for London Olympics – Europe – NBCSports.com.

Meatless Monday, Sid Lerner, diet and health, history:  We have Taco Tuesdays! Hmmm, I guess that is not the same thing.

Meatless Monday in the Media

“‘Friday is pay day, Saturday is play day, Sunday is pray day,’ Lerner says, naturally rolling into the smooth rhythm of a practiced pitch. ‘Monday is health day’… Mondays are magic. And Sid Lerner’s determined to own Monday, slather it with soy–based dressing, and then get Americans to just try one bite—they might like it.”Michael Y. Park for Gourmet

“Under Woodrow Wilson’s watch during World War I, Americans were asked to conserve resources with Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays… ‘When our country was involved in war, it meant shortages and sacrifices back here at home,’ Kamps says. ‘The whole country was really involved in the war effort in that sense.’ Food and national security felt closely connected to each other.”

via Meatless Monday in the Media.

NBA Lockout,  Michael Jordan: $100,000 … I hope he learned his lesson.

Last month, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan discussed revenue sharing and Andrew Bogut in an interview with an Australian newspaper.

Now, according to an ESPN report, those remarks will cost him $100,000. Even where the league’s greatest player is concerned, the league is making good on its promise to fine anyone for discussing that which shall not be discussed — the lockout.

“The model we’ve been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, [so] I think we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign,” Jordan said in the Aug. 19 Herald Sun interview.

via NBA fines Michael Jordan $100,000; don’t they know who he is? – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

criminal acts, students, iPads, cellphones: Students are such easy prey.

According to a campus crime alert posted by university police, the student “was approached by three suspects who snatched her iPad and fled.”

via Thieves snatch cell phone, iPad from Georgia State students  | ajc.com.

green, electric motorcycle:  Cool … patented gyroscopic stability technology–no tipping … a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle … and 125 miles on one charge.

Lit Motors CEO Daniel Kim wants to reinvent the motorcycle as we know it today. His idea? To design and manufacture a fully enclosed, two-wheeled motorcycle that runs purely on electric. SmartPlanet gets an exclusive first look at the C1-concept vehicle and its patented gyroscopic stability technology that helps prevent it from tipping over.

via Lit Motors unveils concept, all-electric, fully enclosed motorcycle | SmartPlanet.

alternate fuel, algae, bio-energy: Venice turns green!

VENICE is renowned for its canals, gondolas, and its glamorous film festival. It is less well known for its green credentials. Yet the work of a team of scientists sifting through micro-algae on the neighbouring island of Pellestrina may change that. Researchers on this tiny, thin strip of land aim to power the city’s entire port by harnessing the bio-energy potential of algal life. They are busy identifying which of the lagoon’s native species of unicellular micro-algae can be bred in new bioreactors to provide efficient biomass for electricity and motor fuel production.

Set to be operational by the end of the year, the experimental tanks will generate 500KW of peak capacity with oil derived from algal pulp. If successful, the project can be rapidly scaled up to 50MW. The entire port currently consumes 7MW. It is one of a growing number of projects across Europe extracting bio-fuel from algae. These simple organisms offer a slew of advantages. They can be harvested as often as once every three days, have higher oil content than alternative biological sources, and, since they can grown in tanks, they reduce the risk of ecosystem damage and do not pinch increasingly scarce arable land as other biomass crops do.

via Algal energy: Venice turns green | The Economist.

Bible, Moses, film/lit, politics, James Howell: 🙂

Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments, stands out as one of the great Bible films of all time – and one of my personal favorites. DeMille had produced a silent film, The Ten Commandments, in 1923, and now reshot everything in stunning Technicolor. The 1956 version is four hours long, but is never boring… Hokey? Indeed. After Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, he descends the mountain, where his wife looks at him and exclaims, “Moses, your hair!” – as his hair has greyed overnight, evidently due to a virtually radioactive encounter with the Almighty.

What is more striking is how much the politics of the 1950’s bleeds into the movie’s spin on Exodus. The heated conversations between Moses (played by Charlton Heston) and Pharaoh (Yul Brynner) are about freedom from tyranny, human rights, independence, with constant echoes of Cold War sentiments in the U.S. – whereas the people of Israel weren’t bolting for independence or rights or even freedom, but to worship, to learn submission to the Lord, and strict obedience.

via eMoses – Moses at the Movies!.

Food, restaurants, Adam Rapoport, favorites,  lists, the Pearl, Dublin,  Domaine Chandon, Auberge du Soleil, Napa, Frank’s, Pawley’s Island SC, Pisgah Inn, Asheville NC, kith/kin:  So what are your favorite restaurants meals?  i’m still thinking … but I know they are not big named restaurants … more of everything coming together: people, food, ambiance/place.  And I don’t necessarily remember what I ate!  I can think of  … hot dogs at the Varsity (anytime),  Pimento cheese sandwiches at the Masters (anytime),  fresh trout at a mountain inn on my honeymoon in Austria (1984) , dinner with the tv crew by a river in Arequipa Peru (1987), dinner with my in-laws at an inn tucked high above the Pacific south of Monterrey CA (1988),  lunch at Domaine Chandon and another at Auberge du Soleil in Napa (1988), in Dublin eating at the Pearl at the bar (2009), fried calamari at a touristy restaurant in Seattle (2003), fresh salmon at a touristy restaurant in Alaska(2005), Molly’s birthday celebration (with a horrible cake) at safety alarm corporate hotel in rural China near Beijing(2007),  chicken tika masala at the Broadley’s home in Nottingham Road SA,  moules frites in Honfleur FR, trout at the Pisgah Inn near Asheville NC (anytime), every meal at Frank’s in Pawley’s Island SC (anytime)… but really my favorite meals are holiday meals with family and my dad’s post-Masters lobster salad.  Here is Mr. Rapoport’s List …

Duke Ziebert’s, 1990

A 21st-birthday lunch with Dad at the D.C. power restaurant. Prime-rib hash and eggs, onion rolls, dill pickles, Coke.

Daniel, 1995

My intro to the NYC big time. Still remember all eight courses, from peekytoe crab with celery gelee to whole roasted halibut tail with tapioca pearls.

In-N-Out Burger, 2001

A long night and an even longer wait for a Double-Double in Vegas.

Peter Luger, 2007

Surprise bachelor dinner two nights before my wedding. Thick-cut bacon + medium-rare porterhouse + creamed spinach + 4 of your closest friends = the perfect meal.

The Fat Duck, 2008

Walked into the U.K. restaurant wondering what the hype was about, left mesmerized.

via Adam Rapoport’s 5 Most Memorable Restaurant Meals: BA Daily: Blogs : bonappetit.com.

9/11 10th Anniversary, Paul Simon, “Song of Silence”:  “If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.”

If this song didn’t bring tears to your eyes before, it sure will now.

Paul Simon was one of the featured performers at the ten-year 9/11 memorial service in New York on Sunday, where he played Simon & Garfunkel’s hauntingly beautiful 1964 classic, “Sound of Silence.”  Simon was reportedly meant to perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the service, and as much as NewsFeed loves that song, we think the change was perfect. Somehow, the lyrics seem as if they were written for this occasion.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Simon, a native New Yorker, has used his music to comfort in the wake of the attacks; he was Saturday Night Live’s musical guest on the first episode back on the air after the Twin Towers fell. Back then he performed “The Boxer.”

via Watch: Paul Simon Sings ‘Sound of Silence’ at 9/11 Memorial – TIME NewsFeed.

Hacking the Academy, books, academics, social media: Changing world …

An eon ago in Twitter time–that is, yesterday–the online and open-access version of Hacking the Academy, edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, was released through the University of Michigan Press’s DigitalCultureBooks imprint. The final version will be release in print in 2012. A somewhat different version of the text has been, and will continue to be, available on the original website for the project, but as Cohen and Scheinfeldt explain, the goal is both to reach audiences beyond the social media echo chamber and to show how “scholarly and educational content can exist in multiple forms for multiple audiences.”

Originally promoted as a “One Week, One Book” experiment somewhat akin to One Week / One Tool,” Hacking the Academy is an energetic look at ways “the academy might be beneficially reformed using digital media and technology,” a project dear to the heart of this site. (And, indeed, several of the contributors are either ProfHacker writers or guests.) With sections on “Hacking Scholarship,” “Hacking Teaching,” and “Hacking Institutions,” and with multiple contributions that comment directly on one another, Hacking the Academy provides an excellent thumbnail introduction to some of the most interesting questions, challenges, and opportunities posed by the intersection of digital and academic ways of being. The compressed nature of its composition–with only one week to author submissions, many of which were repurposed from other formats–means that the book is necessarily fragmentary and suggestive than comprehensive.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

President Obama, race, culture, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, books:  Are racial attitudes changing post-Obama? OK, the title of the book got my attention.

In the age of Obama, racial attitudes have become more complicated and nuanced than ever before. Inspired by a president who is unlike any Black man ever seen on our national stage, we are searching for new ways of understanding Blackness. In this provocative new book, iconic commentator and journalist TourÉ tackles what it means to be Black in America today.

TourÉ begins by examining the concept of “Post-Blackness,” a term that defines artists who are proud to be Black but don’t want to be limited by identity politics and boxed in by race. He soon discovers that the desire to be rooted in but not constrained by Blackness is everywhere. In Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? he argues that Blackness is infinite, that any identity imaginable is Black, and that all expressions of Blackness are legitimate.

Here, TourÉ divulges intimate, funny, and painful stories of how race and racial expectations have shaped his life and explores how the concept of Post-Blackness functions in politics, society, psychology, art, culture, and more. He knew he could not tackle this topic all on his own so he turned to 105 of the most important luminaries of our time for frank and thought-provoking opinions, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Harold Ford Jr., Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Paul Mooney, New York Governor David Paterson, Greg Tate, Aaron McGruder, Soledad O’Brien, Kamala Harris, Chuck D, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and many others.

via Books> Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?  

John Belk, Davidson College, Charlotte:  The Belks have shaped Charlotte,  John Belk in particular.  And Davidson, too.

Belk, who died in 2007 at age 87, loved three things passionately: Davidson College, the Presbyterian Church and the city of Charlotte, friends say. He quit the Davidson board of trustees in 2005 when the college decided to allow non-Christians on the board, but continued his support of the school where buildings he helped underwrite bear the Belk name.

Historian Tom Hanchett of the Levine Museum of the New South credits Belk with the vision to revive uptown in the ’70s, a time of urban decay across the nation. Belk insisted a new civic center be built in the business district despite strong opposition.

He also opposed district representation on the City Council, recognizing it would interfere with his paternalistic style of leadership. After he lost that battle, he opted not to seek a fifth term.

Belk’s penchant for malapropisms was one of his hallmarks. “A certain amount of fleas are good for the dog, ’cause it keeps him scratching,” he once said.

via WTVI profile recalls vast influence of John Belk | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Post 9/11, follow-up:  Here are some websites and articles that have made me re-think our post 9/11 world.

An Interfaith Answer to “Religious Totalitarianism” and Terrorism | Interfaith Voices.

The Real War:

Religious Totalitarianism

by Thomas L. Friedman

New York Times editorial – November 27, 2001

If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War III, we have to understand what this war is about. We’re not fighting to eradicate “terrorism.” Terrorism is just a tool. We’re fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism.

World War II and the cold war were fought to defeat secular totalitarianism – Nazism and Communism – and World War III is a battle against religious totalitarianism, a view of the world that my faith must reign supreme and can be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated. That’s bin Ladenism. But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism can’t be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.

The generals we need to fight this war are people like Rabbi David Hartman, from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. What first attracted me to Rabbi Hartman when I reported from Jerusalem was his contention that unless Jews reinterpreted their faith in a way that embraced modernity, without weakening religious passion, and in a way that affirmed that God speaks multiple languages and is not exhausted by just one faith, they would have no future in the land of Israel. And what also impressed me was that he knew where the battlefield was. He set up his own schools in Israel to compete with fundamentalist Jews, Muslims and Christians, who used their schools to preach exclusivist religious visions.

After recently visiting the Islamic madrasa in Pakistan where many Taliban leaders were educated, and seeing the fundamentalist religious education the young boys there were being given, I telephoned Rabbi Hartman and asked:

How do we battle religious totalitarianism?

He answered: “All faiths that come out of the biblical tradition – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have the tendency to believe that they have the exclusive truth. When the Taliban wiped out the Buddhist statues, that’s what they were saying. But others have said it too. The opposite of religious totalitarianism is an ideology of pluralism – an ideology that embraces religious diversity and the idea that my faith can be nurtured without claiming exclusive truth. America is the Mecca of that ideology, and that is what bin Laden hates and that is why America had to be destroyed.”

The future of the world may well be decided by how we fight this war. Can Islam, Christianity and Judaism know that God speaks Arabic on Fridays, Hebrew on Saturdays and Latin on Sundays, and that he welcomes different human beings approaching him through their own history, out of their language and cultural heritage? “Is single-minded fanaticism a necessity for passion and religious survival, or can we have a multilingual view of God – a notion that God is not exhausted by just one religious path?” asked Rabbi Hartman.

Many Jews and Christians have already argued that the answer to that question is yes, and some have gone back to their sacred texts to reinterpret their traditions to embrace modernity and pluralism, and to create space for secularism and alternative faiths. Others – Christian and Jewish fundamentalists – have rejected this notion, and that is what the battle is about within their faiths.

What is different about Islam is that while there have been a few attempts at such a reformation, none have flowered or found the support of a Muslim state. We patronize Islam, and mislead ourselves, by repeating the mantra that Islam is a faith with no serious problems accepting the secular West, modernity and pluralism, and the only problem is a few bin Ladens. Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities. Bin Laden reflects the most extreme version of that exclusivity, and he hit us in the face with it on 9/11.

Christianity and Judaism struggled with this issue for centuries, but a similar internal struggle within Islam to re-examine its texts and articulate a path for how one can accept pluralism and modernity – and still be a passionate, devout Muslim – has not surfaced in any serious way. One hopes that now that the world spotlight has been put on this issue, mainstream Muslims too will realize that their future in this integrated, globalized world depends on their ability to reinterpret their past.

via Readings on religion and world events.

bees, beekeeping, apiarists:  I love this description of amateur beekeeping!

Why are we doing this? If you grew up suburban, barefoot and curious, your first memory of pain is probably a bee sting. One wrong step, and clover-specked lawns suddenly feel like minefields. As humans, though, our first experience of sweetness—high-grade, system-shocking, what is this stuff sweetness—was probably honey. Ten thousand years after we started stealing it from wild hives, cartoon bees push their dope to kids watching Saturday-morning TV. Fear and reward, reverence and addiction: our relationship with bees is long and complicated. That’s one way of explaining that early-morning car ride.

via Sweet Stings and Armageddon: My Life as an Amateur Beekeeper.

apps, photography, Photo Academy:  Another that has  caught my attention …

Photo Academy is a comprehensive guide and tool set for photographers of all skill levels. Browse through thousands of tips and sample photos, record your progress in your diary, and expand your photography repertoire.

via App Store – Photo Academy.

12
Aug
11

8.12.2011 … Cowboys and Aliens … :)

Cowboys and Aliens, movies:  Ever since I saw a preview for C&A, I knew I was going.  As some of you know, I tease John for his movie criteria (he teases me for mine, too).  I have said for years that his perfect movie would have “naked women on horseback shooting guns in a spacecraft or submarine.”  Well, C&A only missed one … the naked woman was not shooting a gun ON horseback.

And I loved friend Bob’s comment … “Entertaining, but I would have loved to have been in the meeting where they pitched the idea: “See, we take the James Bond guy and make him a cowboy, the good-looking female doctor from House and make her an alien, but a good one and still hot, and Indiana Jones, just older, and we put them in the Old West and they fight aliens”. And a studio backed it. And, what do I know, it worked!”

And an aside … I love subway and street billboards in big cities … and I knew from seeing a billboard in NYC that I would be going to this movie.

Bridget Jones, movies, Jane Austen:  I case you were worried …

EW has confirmed exclusively that Working Title Films, the production company responsible for the first movie released in 2001 and the second one dubbed The Edge of Reason in 2004, is moving ahead with a third installment. Based at Universal, Working Title has been mulling a sequel since 2009.

No other details were available, but last year, Bridget costar Colin Firth, who plays lovable Mark Darcy, told EW’s Dave Karger some details about a possible plot. “I can tell you that Bridget and Mark can’t have children, I think that’s the way it goes on,” Firth told Karger, who was reporting for Access Hollywood. “So then she makes the huge mistake of going back to Daniel Cleaver [Hugh Grant’s character] for long enough to get pregnant. And I think he dumps her, and she’s left stranded, and guess who comes back to rescue her?”

via Third Bridget Jones movie is finally a go | Inside Movies | EW.com.

politics, economics, Keynesian economics, Great Recession, recovery:  Enjoyed this analysis very much.  Thanks, Tim, for bringing it to my attention.

Here is a shocker for Obama, Maher and Tea-Party haters: Since the Nobel Prize in economics was established, seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded to economists who cast serious doubt on Keynesian economics. Not one Nobel Prize has been awarded to an economist who advanced the Keynesian agenda. New York Times liberal columnist, Paul Krugman, won his Nobel Prize for trade theory, not for macroeconomics.

Maher’s “stupid people” who reject Keynesian economics, it seems, are in rather distinguished intellectual company.

via Tea Party Understands Economics Better Than Obama Or Bill Maher – Forbes.

We can pardon a comedian like Maher who is simply trying to please his liberal audience. We should not expect him to know anything about the Nobel laureates I listed above. There is no reason not to expect him to be “stupid” with respect to modern macroeconomics.

President Obama is another matter. Presumably he has access to economists of all persuasions. Any number of them can tell him the things I just described. They are well known. No one is keeping them secret. They are found in modern principles textbooks. If he cannot understand what they are saying, then he might qualify for the epithet Maher directed at Keynesian skeptics.

Perhaps the president simply does not want to hear from those who disagree with the course he has chosen. It could be that the president’s goal is not recovery and economic growth but growing the size and scope of government to achieve his goal of a redistributive state.

If that is the case, we are in for trouble.

via Tea Party Understands Economics Better Than Obama Or Bill Maher – Forbes.

2012 Presidential Election, Republicans, Iowa Debate: In case you missed it … What You Missed While Not Watching the Iowa GOP Debate | Swampland.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich spent much of his debate chastising the debate panelists, accusing them of “gotcha questions.”

via Debate Jolts Republican Race to Life – WSJ.com.

and Fact checking the GOP debate in Iowa – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

US Debt Downgrade, Great Recession: “not a statement on the probability of default on Treasury bonds at all” … but isn’t that the core of what the rating means?

There now appears to be general agreement that the downgrade issued a week ago by Standard & Poor’s on the “Political Risks and Rising Debt Burden” of long-term United States debt was not a statement on the probability of default on Treasury bonds at all. Instead, it appears to have been intended as a reminder that something has gone seriously wrong with the style of governance put in place by the Founding Fathers.

Whether the current style of federal governance deserves the second highest grade S.&P. assigns (AA+) can, of course, be debated. I would be more inclined toward a plain B rating, that is, the governance equivalent of a junk bond.

via Do Congress and the White House Deserve an AA+ Rating? – NYTimes.com.

The problem is much less the current budget deficits, which can be explained by the current recession, but that budget balance does not seem to be in sight long after the recession, we hope, is over.

It is that problem that the White House and the Congress must solve. We must hope that care for the nation’s future — evidently now taking a holiday — will return someday soon to their minds and souls. Perhaps then they will merit an AA+ rating.

via Do Congress and the White House Deserve an AA+ Rating? – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, historical perspective, migration:  This article really made me think about long-term implications.

Throughout history, for millions of people in less prosperous societies, the solution to such circumstances has been obvious: You sail away.

So could America, that great nation of immigrants, become in harder times a nation of emigrants? Could the metropolises of China one day have Americatowns?

Imagine a bustling one in the heart of Beijing. Local Chinese stream past, scratching their heads at those Americans who come just for money, never learning China’s language or customs, living in their own little world. The signs are all spelled out in Roman letters — even for local outfits like Zhongguo Jianshe Yinhang (China Construction Bank) and Hong Gao Liang (Red Sorghum, a fast food joint).

via Next Frontier for Restless Americans? – NYTimes.com.

UK Riots, social media:  Marthame Sanders tweeted:

Syria, Iran, etc. restricting twitter = bad; England restricting twitter = good. Makes sense. #fb

and that made me realize how ridiculous we must seem to our eastern and middle eastern counterparts.

Cameron also said the government, police and intelligence services were looking at whether there should be limits on the use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook or services like BlackBerry Messenger to spread disorder.

BlackBerry’s simple and largely cost free messaging service was used by rioters to coordinate their activities, Cameron’s office said.

The government said it planned to hold talks with police chiefs, Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion Ltd.

But any move to disable the services temporarily is likely to be strongly opposed by civil libertarians

via London police say almost 600 charged over riots – CBS News.

Great Recession, recovery, historical perspective:

Historians can’t know if the 1938 recovery, strong as it was, would have been enough to finally end the Great Depression. World War II intervened. But nothing today seems nearly as dire as the problems facing the world in 1938. The 1937 aftershocks had the effect of galvanizing policy makers who had grown complacent about the recovery. The result was renewed economic growth, higher employment, higher wages and productivity — and higher stock prices. Investors who had the courage to buy stocks at their 1937 lows were looking at a 60 percent gain less than a year later.

via Financial Aftershocks With Precedent in History – NYTimes.com.

The events of the last few weeks — gridlock in Washington, brinksmanship over raising the debt ceiling, Standard & Poor’s downgrade of long-term Treasuries, renewed fears about European debt and a dizzying plunge in the stock market — bear an intriguing resemblance to some of the events of 1937-38, the so-called recession within the Depression, with a major caveat: it was a lot worse back then.

In the current context, it’s hard to blame the Fed for being too restrictive in its monetary policy, as the Fed was in 1937. If anything, critics fault it for being too accommodating, raising many of the same issues that led the Fed to tighten in 1937. Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is a student of Depression history and is well aware of Mr. Friedman’s monetary analysis. “He won’t make the same mistake,” Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said.

The Fed’s pledge this week to keep interest rates near zero not just for a vague “extended period” but for a full two years rendered two-year Treasuries virtually risk-free and depressed their yields to a record low of 0.19 percent. This should lead investors to seek income from riskier assets, leading to lower interest rates across the spectrum, including mortgage rates.

via Financial Aftershocks With Precedent in History – NYTimes.com.

The Help, movies, bookshelf:  Nothing is ever black and white.

That’s been a daunting part of this phenomenal year for Stockett, a lesser ghost of Mississippi. This white woman, who never really liked to talk much, is suddenly being asked about history and cultural anthropology, to address and redress, when she really just wanted to write letters from home. So it has also been a time of figuring out her role, which, by the way, can make her relationship with her own help dicey.

“I have a Hispanic housekeeper now, and I don’t speak Spanish, so there’s not a whole lot of intimacy there. I have a nanny from Georgia, and she’s white and she brings her daughter.” They are great friends and work well together, but neither relationship exists in the same fraught cocoon as those “help” relationships in the Old South.

One of those truths, which “The Help” deserves praise for bringing to light, is that racism should be understood less as a matter of black grievance than of unexamined white privilege and pathology. And no one is more race-crazy than Hilly, portrayed by Dallas Howard in “The Help’s” weakest performance as a cruel, snake-eyed witch whose villainy extends to making Minny use an outside toilet even during a hurricane.

Cooper first filed suit against Stockett in February of this year, almost exactly two years to the day after “The Help” was first published. According to the case, Cooper feels that the central African American maid in the novel — a woman named Aibileen Clark and portrayed in the film by Viola Davis — was based largely on her, a contention Stockett denies.

The case, in which Cooper seeks $75,000 in damages, also claims that Stockett was asked specifically not to use Cooper’s name and likeness, which bears some resemblances to the character’s; in addition to the similarity of the first names, both women have a gold tooth, often go by the nickname “Aibee” and have mourned the death of grown sons.

via ‘The Help’ movie release brings new attention to author, lawsuit – The Washington Post.

 




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