Posts Tagged ‘stereotypes

19
Jun
13

6.19.13 …. Alex is blue-haired and green-nosed and he wears a hoodie …

Sesame Street, Muppets, Alex, children of incarcerated parents,  jail, hoodie,  “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” initiative, kudos:  Kudos to Sesame Street for dealing with another sensitive issue.  Given that  one in 28 children in the United States now has a parent behind bars, this is a significant problem.  I also take note of the symbolism of the hoodie.  Are they making a statement in light of Trayvon Martin?  I might not have noticed this, but one of the conservative news consolidators, Drudge, spotlighted it. Every kid wears hoodies, but because of the Trayvon Martin killing, the hoodie is now a stereotype for youth on the edge.

muppet

Those friendly, fuzzy Muppets from “Sesame Street” have helped kids open up about all sorts of serious subjects, from hunger and divorce to military deployment.

But they’re now tackling a much more unexpected issue: incarceration.

Meet Alex, the first Muppet to have a dad in jail. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, one in 28 children in the United States now has a parent behind bars — more than the number of kids with a parent who is deployed — so it’s a real issue, but it’s talked about far less because of the stigma.

That’s why the Sesame Workshop says it created the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” initiative, an online tool kit intended to help kids with a parent in prison find support and comfort, and provide families with strategies and tips to talk to their children about incarceration.

Alex is blue-haired and green-nosed and he wears a hoodie – you might think he’s just another carefree inhabitant of Sesame Street. But there’s sorrow in Alex’s voice when he talks about his father.

“I just miss him so much,” he tells a friend. “I usually don’t want people to know about my Dad.”

It’s easier for kids to hear such things from a Muppet than an adult, creators of the initiative noted.

via ‘Sesame Street’ creates first Muppet to have a parent in jail – NBC News.com.

29
Sep
11

9.29.2011 … the Molls overnighted at Davidson … :)

Davidson College, admissions process, kith/kin: There is value in sending a prospect on an overnight. 🙂

Davidson College – Distinctions.

road trip, music playlist, lists:  What’s on you road trip playlist?

And here’s a final playlist:

1. The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design by Rodney Crowell

2. The Poet Game , sung by Ani DiFranco (written by Greg Brown, an American treasure who deserves more attention than he gets)

3. Sweet is the Melody by Iris DeMent (who, last I heard, was living with Greg Brown)

4. Talkin’ ‘Bout Women, Obviously by Buddy Guy

5. Leonard by Merle Haggard

via Road Trip Day 19: Road Trip Interruptus | Swampland | TIME.com.

TimesCast, media,  video, NYT: Just discovered this daily video broadcast … why am I paying for cable?

President Obama faces a changing electoral landscape; the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof on Bahrain’s latest crackdown; and Islamists prepare for elections in Egypt and Tunisia.

via TimesCast | September 29, 2011 – Video Library – The New York Times.

Google Wallet:  From Katherine (Boehret WSJ’s The Digital Solution – AllThingsD): “Ironic: Citi sent me a paper letter confirming I was using Google Wallet for paper-free payments”  🙂

Would you rather leave home without your wallet and be penniless all day, or leave your phone at home and be out of touch all day? Many people would rather be penniless. If only phones could be used to pay for things, it would be easier to leave a wallet behind.

Enter Google Wallet, the search engine’s answer to this problem. This mobile app uses a chip in the phone so it can be waved in front of payment stations to buy things. Users set it up by registering a credit card to the phone or loading a Google Prepaid Card with a credit card. A four-digit password enables payment transactions. Google Wallet is rolling out this week to Sprint’s already available, $50 (after $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract) Nexus S 4G phones by way of an Android operating-system software update.

via Katie Reviews Google Wallet – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

South Africa, Honeymoon Murder Case:  This murder occurred shortly after I returned from SA last year and it sent chills down my spine.  SA had made great strides in connection with its public image regarding such random acts of violence in connection with ists hosting of the World Cup.  In one fell swoop this brought it right back to where it started … and to know here that it was a hit job by the groom.  Very sad.

British Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition of a British businessman to return to South Africa to stand trial for his wife’s murder on their honeymoon last year.

Shrien Dewani, 31, is accused of hiring hit men to kill his 28-year-old bride, Anni Dewani, who was shot and killed last November when the couple’s taxi was hijacked in the Gugulethu township in South Africa, the BBC reports. Dewani, who denies involvement in the murder, was released unharmed during the hijacking, but his bride’s body was later found in the abandoned car.

via British Government Approves Extradition in South Africa Honeymoon Murder Case – TIME NewsFeed.

zombies, tv, AMC , “Walking Dead”:    “Walking Dead” themed talk show… Well, since we haven’t watched  “Walking Dead”, yet, i don’t think I need to watch a   “Walking Dead” themed talk show!

Coming soon to your TV: A zombie talk show.

Let’s Talk Zombies: AMC to Air ‘Walking Dead’-Themed Talk Show – TIME NewsFeed.

Wall Street Journal, advertisements,  commercials:  I don’t think I have ever seen a WSJ ad … I wonder how many people called 1-800-xxx-xxxx … agents are standing by … Actually it is an interesting add … what do you think?

By animating a series of still photographs, and without using a single word of dialogue, The Wall Street Journal moves beyond its traditional business focus to become a vibrant “Everything Journal” in a :30 brand image spot entitled, “Live in the Know,” from agency McGarry Bowen (NYC) and production/design company The Wilderness.

In aggressively moving beyond its traditional black-and-white, business-only format, The Wall Street Journal’s agency asked The Wilderness to produce a spot that embraces its newly expanded editorial focus and use of four-color art throughout, exclusively using still images. Using the masthead the concept was to create a new visual language to present the newspaper as the The ‘Blank’ Street Journal, in which the reader fills in his favorite ‘blank’ subject matter.

via The Wall Street Journal : Live in the Know | scaryideas.com.

moods, Twitter, biological rhythms: When I read this i immediately thought of biorhythms and mood rings from the 70’s. 🙂

However grumpy people are when they wake up, and whether they stumble to their feet in Madrid, Mexico City or Minnetonka, Minn., they tend to brighten by breakfast time and feel their moods taper gradually to a low in the late afternoon, before rallying again near bedtime, a large-scale study of posts on the social media site Twitter found.

Drawing on messages posted by more than two million people in 84 countries, researchers discovered that the emotional tone of people’s messages followed a similar pattern not only through the day but also through the week and the changing seasons. The new analysis suggests that our moods are driven in part by a shared underlying biological rhythm that transcends culture and environment.

via Moods on Twitter Follow Biological Rhythms, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

slavery, economic analysis, cartography, “Cotton Kingdom”:  Article blended history and economics … very enjoyable.

Te role of maps in visualizing United States Census results is actually a practice that originated 150 years ago, in the crisis between North and South.

An earlier post in this series described the efforts of the Coast Survey to map the distribution of slavery across the South in the summer of 1861. At about the same time, another pathbreaking effort was underway to “measure” the productivity of Southern slavery. The map is not well known, but its creator was none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park and one of the pioneers of American landscape architecture.

Olmsted was already an accomplished journalist when he met Henry Raymond, the editor of the newly established New-York Daily Times (later The New York Times) in the early 1850s. After just five minutes of conversation, Raymond was so impressed that he made Olmsted a special correspondent, and sent him to observe and write about Southern life. For the next several years Olmsted sent back voluminous reports — published in three volumes — of disorder, poverty, inefficiency, backwardness and chaos. We might dismiss these as hopelessly biased Northern observations, yet these accounts gained a wide audience, and challenged the contemporary picture of the cotton south as an economic powerhouse.

Olmsted and Goodloe identified slave labor as the single most damaging influence on the southern economy: it was inefficient, absorbed capital away from reinvestment, and required substantial overhead. Worst of all, the price of slaves drove cotton production — rather than the other way around — and was immune to competition from free labor. Such a system could never generate real prosperity. Even Olmsted’s title, “The Cotton Kingdom,” turned the South Carolina politician James Henry Hammond’s famous phrase — “Cotton is King” — on its head. Instead of a place of wealth and economic superiority, Olmsted found a closed society imprisoned by the crop, unable to advance, diversify or feed its own people. This was entirely an economic — rather than a moral or humanitarian — case against slavery, for the authors were tailoring their case for a British public concerned about their cotton supply.

Olmsted and Goodloe weren’t the first to say that slavery was a doomed system, but they were the first to use cartography to make their case, first to the British, and then to their fellow Americans.

via Mapping the Cotton Kingdom – NYTimes.com.

stereotypes, Christian denominations, LOL:

denomination-interpretation-chart.jpg 1,280×1,280 pixels

Deep Springs College: My friend Bob T. told me about this college … impressive results … but who are the kids that go there … obviously they can get in elite colleges anyway … interesting.

Deep Springs College, a small and storied institution of higher learning set on a cattle ranch in California, is going co-ed.

Founded in 1917, Deep Springs is a highly selective two-year college unlike any other: it enrolls just 26 students, all men, for a two-year regimen of study and toil. Most graduates go on to equally selective four-year colleges. By “equally selective,” I mean Yale.

The college sits on a cattle ranch and alfalfa farm in California’s High Desert and operates “on the belief that manual labor and political deliberation are integral parts of a comprehensive liberal arts education,” according to the web site.

Deep Springs is an ambitious place, intended as a training ground for leaders. Founder L.L. Nunn put it thus: “Great leaders in all ages have sought the desert and heard its voice.”

The admission rate ranges from 6 percent to 15 percent a year. Students who manage to get in attend on a full scholarship worth about $50,000 a year. Over the past 10 years, according to the web site, 16 percent of students went on to Harvard, 13 percent to the University of Chicago, 7 percent to Yale and 7 percent to Brown.

It is probably safe to assume that two years at Deep Springs is, for many lads, a first taste of honest toil.

via A cattle-ranch college for future Yalies goes co-ed – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

compact SLR cameras, photography:  Perfection?   A toy I would like to have …

 

The Nikon 1 is bigger than the Pentax Q — what isn’t? — but strikes a better balance in the complex price/size/features/sensor size equation.

 

It’s available in two models: the J1, intended for the general user (available in white, black, silver, red or pink for $650 with a 3X zoom lens); and the V1, intended for advanced hobbyists (black, $900 with 3X lens). The V1 adds an electronic eyepiece viewfinder and a few more perks.

 

The headline here is speed. These cameras are tricked out with enough computing power to launch a rocket. They can perform stunts like taking 10 shots a second, refocusing all the way, or 60 shots a second without refocusing.

 

They focus faster than any camera Nikon has ever made. They easily create slow-motion video, containing as many as 1,200 frames a second, although at a tiny frame size.

 

Get this: You can even snap a full-resolution still photo while you’re recording video, without leaving a blink or a gap in the movie. Nikon believes, as do I, that that’s a first in the history of consumer cameras, and it’s unbelievably useful.

 

The sensor inside is a new design. At 0.62 inch, it’s much bigger than a pocket camera’s, but not as big as the sensor in a Micro Four Thirds camera (0.89 inch), let alone a real S.L.R. (1.2 inches or larger).

 

The photos are generally very good, but you can easily tell they didn’t come from an S.L.R. For example, the Nikon 1 too easily “blows out” the brightest parts of the scene, and muddies up the darkest parts.

 

That would still present an irresistible tradeoff if it weren’t for a couple of truly idiotic design elements. First, the mode dial has only four positions — Auto, Movie, Best Shot and Motion Snapshot — and two of them are wasted.

 

The Best Shot mode takes 20 photos in one second, then throws away all but what it considers the best five, based on focus, blur and so on. The Motion Snapshot mode captures a one-second slow-motion movie and adds cheesy music to it.

 

But dedicating two of the mode dial’s precious four positions to these rarely used gimmicks is a criminal splurge. Meanwhile, if you want to adjust the shutter speed or aperture, you have to dive deeply into the labyrinth of on-screen menus. Bring bread crumbs.

 

And another thing. There’s a dedicated movie start/stop button, but it doesn’t work except in Movie mode! What’s the point of a Movie button if you have to change modes to use it?

 

Three lenses are already available for the Nikon 1 — an f/2.8 nonzooming pancake lens, the 3X zoom (the film equivalent of a 27-71 mm lens) and a telephoto lens (81-297 mm equivalent). There’s also an enormous 10X zoom intended for video.

 

The Nikon 1’s 1080p videos are spectacular in general (it smoothly refocuses and re-exposes while filming); but when you add the 10X lens and its smooth “power zoom” button, your Nikon 1 becomes an actual camcorder.

 

Nikon will also offer an adapter that lets you use any existing F-mount Nikon lens with your camera. It might look a little silly on such a tiny body, but it’ll work.

 

Both the Pentax Q and the Nikon 1 are important experiments. Both demonstrate that the camera industry has, at last, given up the meaningless race to cram more megapixels onto a sensor — and moved into more important pursuits, like better photos and smaller cameras.

 

Unfortunately, both cameras are also flawed in their own special ways. Yes, the world’s camera engineers have finally brought us the pocket S.L.R. But perfection continues to elude them.

 

via 2 Compact Cameras Move Closer to Perfection – David Pogue – NYTimes.com.

mea culpa, science: Another interesting piece … the science behind saying you’re sorry.  The piece did not mention Tiger … but his mea culpa was a major fail.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent effort to address customer anger follows an all-too-familiar script. A public figure or institution commits an offense, and then offers an apology to fix it.

Yet as we see over and over again, our reactions to even the most direct and explicit mea culpas can differ markedly from one incident to another.

For instance, before his more recent infidelity troubles, Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused of sexually harassing several women during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign. He apologized and subsequently won that election. In contrast, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner apologized in June 2011 for his involvement in a sexting scandal. He was heckled, called a “pervert,” and soon resigned from office.

What makes one apology succeed and another fail? A growing body of research is trying to understand this very question. The psychology behind saying you’re sorry is proliferating rapidly, and there are still many questions to answer. However, it already offers some important lessons that help explain why some acts of contrition work—while others don’t.

Apologies are a double-edged sword. By signaling repentance and an effort to repair the problem, they’re beneficial. But they’re also harmful because they confirm that blame is actually deserved. When making an apology, then, the benefits should outweigh the cost. There is little harm in offering an apology if it’s already obvious that you are guilty. But there’s also little benefit if you fail to make it clear that the offense won’t recur.

Many people assume that if you make the apology more direct, sincere and explicit, people will think you won’t do it again. And they may be partly correct. However, research has shown that a host of other factors often exert far more drastic effects on an apology’s reception than how sincere people think it is.

Here’s just one example, based on research my colleagues and I have done. It turns out that an apology’s effectiveness depends largely on whether the offense is thought to be intentional or a mistake. People are often willing to discount a poor decision if it’s the result of a mistake; they believe its causes will be corrected. But if it’s thought to be intentional, people tend to place little faith in the idea that the flaw will be corrected. This is important because many offenses can be construed either way, and would-be apologizers often fail to account for people’s perception before they respond.

via The science behind saying you’re sorry – The Washington Post.

college admissions, college crisis, internet solutions: A Match.com for Higher Ed?  Lots of good insight in this piece.

Newspapers and magazines like to pick on excitable parents over-prepping their children for college. This would be a wonderful problem for the rest of the country to have.

It’s an article of faith among the striving classes that college admissions has become a Thunderdome-style tournament from which a chosen few emerge to enjoy lives of guaranteed privilege. Media outlets make a lot money stoking the flames of anxiety among the college-bound. A devoted New York Times reader could be forgiven for thinking the typical American teenager spends his or her seventeenth year doing nothing but studying for AP tests and fretting about impressing the personal-essay readers at Swarthmore and Brown.

In truth, the college admissions frenzy is limited to a relative handful of privileged students, as I wrote in a story for the Washington Monthly’s annual college issue. This is a problem. As a nation, we need far more students to be caught up in the college admissions market–but in a completely different way.

Unfortunately, the closest, cheapest college is often a bad choice. In 2009, more than 320 four-year colleges and universities reported six-year graduation rates below 30 percent. At community colleges, the average three-year graduation rate is 16 percent. While much ink is spilled denouncing terrible K-12 schools, pundits and politicians seem less willing to admit that a not-insignificant number of public colleges also suffer from the same problems of incompetence, mediocrity, and inadequate funding. Add the more recent phenomenon of some (although by no means all) for-profit colleges loading up students with debt by selling overpriced online degrees, and it’s clear that all students need help choosing the right college, not just the privileged few.

Indeed, the stakes are arguably much higher for a first-generation student picking among open-access institutions of wildly varying quality than for a wealthy suburban kid whose worst-case scenario is an expensive private school. Without a better-functioning higher market, we’ll continue to lose ground to foreign competitors that have eclipsed America in producing college graduates in recent years.

The existing admissions system is also remarkably archaic. To a large extent, it still involves students submitting pieces of paper (or electronic copies of pieces of paper) containing information about grades, test scores, high-school profiles, essays, and personal recommendations. Colleges then apply a few crude filters, like a minimum SAT threshold or whether the student’s parents are rich, and consider the remaining applicants via a “holistic” process of decision-by-committee. Because the information isn’t stored in a database, it’s hard to perform post hoc analyses to see if the “yea” and “nay” decisions were good ones. The fact that most students drop out of or transfer from the first college they choose suggests that many are not.

Traditional students will probably be least affected by all of this. Harvard will always be Harvard. But for everyone else, a vigorous, technology-driven higher education marketplace can’t come soon enough.

via Our Best Weapon Against the College Crisis: A Match.com for Higher Ed – Kevin Carey – Business – The Atlantic.

mass transit, Charlotte, Red Line (Charlotte-to-Mooresville mass transit line), CATS, Charlotte NC, innovative funding: John and I always said we would move back to Davidson if they built the Red Line!  The funding would be based on a dual usage line —  both passenger and freight rail service.

According to the blog, a Red Line Task Force subcommittee has come up with an idea that state transportation official Paul Morris says is unique — use the Charlotte-to-Mooresville line for both passenger and freight rail service. The plan also calls for CATS to join with the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson to tax revenues from new development along the line.

via New idea for North transit line? | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

MLB, wild card, Braves, quotes: he must not be a Braves fan. 🙂 “What that was, quite simply, was the best day of regular-season baseball the game has ever seen.”

(STEVE NESIUS – REUTERS) At one point Wednesday night, the final night of the baseball calendar, there were four games being contested to decide the two wild cards, and in three of them the situations were as follows: In Baltimore, a 3-2 game in the seventh inning; in St. Petersburg, Fla., a 7-7 game in the 10th; in Atlanta, a 3-3 game in the 12th.

I am tasked with looking forward today (I think the matchups are Yankees-Tigers and Rangers-Rays in the AL, and Phillies-Cardinals and Brewers-Diamondbacks in the NL). I have a playoff preview to write, and predictions to get wrong. But it is impossible not to spend a few hours looking back first.

via Wild-card race: Baseball’s greatest regular-season finish – Baseball Insider – The Washington Post.

Apple, iPod, kith/kin, RIP:  My boys still have their original iPods … what a great product.  RIP, iPod.

Apple makes the most sought after gadgets on the planet, but they may be about to pull the plug on one that helped get the revolution rolling.

Classic is just another way to say outdated.

Rumor has it that the iPod Classic (and iPod Shuffle) may be discontinued.

Apple sells millions of iPods, but the Classic and Shuffle don’t have touchscreens, which are the interface of the present and future.

CNET’s Crave gadget blog notes there’s no mention of iPod news in the upcoming Oct. 4 Apple press conference, where details of the iPhone 5 will be announced.

The iPod first appeared 10 years ago … a long time in tech circles … and Apple would rather folks buy an iPhone (or iTouch) than an iPod, which contributed a mere 8 percent of the company’s revenue.

Crave has a great Steve Jobs quote: ”Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”

The iPod Classic can hold 120 gigabytes of music … which I think is really good, but probably not enough to keep it from going the way of the Walkman.

via Apple to pull plug on iPod? | News To Me with George Mathis.

Civil War, refugee box,  General  Sherman, evacuation of Atlanta, history:  Interesting that your valuables could be put in one box …

Before Sherman ordered the evacuation of Atlanta, thousands of civilians living outside the city had begun to refugee South. As the Union army approached in June 1864, the Archibald Smith family fled from their home in Roswell, GA. They packed their belongings in this box, painted their address across the top, and made their way to Valdosta, GA, to stay with relatives. They would not return to Roswell until 1866. Today their home is museum and is open to the public.

via Atlanta History Center, Civil War Refugee Box.

19
Feb
11

2.19.2010 … continuing the tour of mid-atlantic colleges … our tour guides all seem happy :)

education, Teach for America, USA: Very interesting analysis … ET has met some TFA teachers and noted that they feel unprepared.  Several teach math with absolutely no background in math … or teaching.

According to the petition,

“few TFA teachers remain in the classroom beyond TFA’s two-year requirement, depriving our children of experienced educators. These are bold injustices in a perpetually unfair education system that denies our children the critical resources they deserve and need to reach their full potential. The status quo educational inequity that assigns well-prepared teachers to middle class and wealthy white children and inadequately prepared teachers to our children must end.”

Undeniably, part of what’s kept Teach For America going over the past 20 years is the ability to cultivate achievement-oriented individuals who are committed to keeping student achievement front and center. Improving its training is surely going to be a part of how the organization prioritizes its students in the 21st century. But if Teach For America stepped up and took the lead in the national conversation about race, class, and education—if it used its considerable influence to challenge how school districts decide which teachers get funneled to certain schools—now that would be something spectacular.

via Teach For America’s Model: Does It Need to Change? – Education – GOOD.

college, drugs, parenting:  One negative of decriminalizing or social acceptance of “a little pot” is that the risk-takers move up the risk ladder.

Thanks to recent high profile narcotics busts at the universities of Georgetown, Columbia, and Cornell, word is out that students at elite private schools aren’t just smoking a little pot. They’re using (and dealing) hard drugs like heroin—and they’re getting arrested for it.

via Breaking: Ivy League College Students Use Hard Drugs – Education – GOOD.

economics, world markets:  Coffee is the second most important legally traded commodity.

While you might think of coffee as merely a good caffeinated drink, the seeds of the Coffea plant represent the second most important legally traded commodity, following oil, in terms of dollar value, writes Mark Pendergast in Uncommon Grounds. Consequently, these beans mean a lot to some 25 million farmers in developing countries.

via Map: Where Are the World’s Coffee Drinkers? – Food – GOOD.

culture, multiculturalism, globalization, parenting:  I really enjoyed this analysis and agree it is very difficult to raise children open to multiculturalism in our culture.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron just reignited the debate on “multiculturalism,” joining ranks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Sarkozy by declaring their multicultural policies a “failure.” As a U.S. passport carrying, multilingual, daughter of immigrants, and as a mother of aspiring global citizens, such a defeat felt like a kick in the gut. In my travels speaking to diverse audiences on gaining a global perspective and the tools contained in my book, Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World, I’ve seen quite the opposite: individuals of varied backgrounds coming together to raise beautiful families, make friends across cultural and ideological lines, and take tangible steps toward building a better world for their children.

Upon closer review, David Cameron’s justification for the failure of multiculturalism seemed reasonable: “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.” Speaking specifically of radical Muslim youth, Cameron argued this resulted in marginalization, rootlessness, and “behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.”

Like most words that end in “-ism,” the policy of multiculturalism divided people rather than it building connections among them. Unity and diversity became mutually exclusive. This resulted in too many immigrants not gaining opportunities to move into better neighborhoods, attend those schools, or marry outside their confined groups. That version of “multiculturalism” resulted in ghettoization, produced a violently radicalized youth, and served as a excuse for racism; that version of “multiculturalism” is a failure.

via How to Save Multiculturalism – Education – GOOD.

politics, stereotypes:  Also interesting … as well as the comments.

I find Mr Sumner’s typology quite congenial probably because I have Mr Sumner’s politics, more or less, and his way of carving up the ideological space places us where we see ourselves: as “pragmatic libertarians” leaning a bit more toward “progressive idealism” than “dogmatic libertarianism”. That said, there is something troubling about the lack of parallelism in Mr Sumner’s scheme. While conservatism and progressivism both have “idealistic” and “corrupt” variants, libertarianism is only “dogmatic” and “pragmatic”. I think the ideological influence but electoral insignificance of libertarianism goes some way toward justifying its different treatment. But I wouldn’t want to leave out the possibility of conservatism and progressivism that is pragmatic in the sense of pursuing conservative and progressive values through practical, empirically-tested means, and not in the “corrupt” sense of catering to the electoral interests of a partisan faction.

via Picturing politics: Sumner’s wheel of ideology | The Economist.

history, China, bookshelf:  In 2007, my family visited the Chengde Mountain Resort.  As I walked through this summer palace with our guide, he read to me many of the signs that were not translated into English and I was struck by how many times he read the word “humiliation”.  I commented the other day that  it would be like walking through a US historical site and repeatedly commenting on our humiliation. This book review puts perspective on why the Chinese did this (and possibly why the signs were not translated into English and others glorifying China’s dynastic history were translated).

AS NUMEROUS museums across China testify, the country dwells on its past in order to justify the present. A common theme is that of the “national humiliation” China says it suffered from the mid-19th century until the Communist Party came to power in 1949. To help prove that the party created a “new China” and has the right to rule it, schoolchildren are made to tramp around exhibits showing how foreigners scrambled to dismember China, how they poisoned it with opium, bullied (and sometimes butchered) its people and looted its treasures.

As far as it goes, this outline of what happened is true enough, though opium was commonly used by the Chinese elite before the British started peddling their own produce from India. But the party forbids exploration of anything that might blur this picture. One taboo area is what Chinese nationalists at the time saw as the foreign nature of the last imperial dynasty, the Qing, which collapsed in 1911. Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary who helped topple it, held the ethnic Manchus who controlled the dynasty in more contempt than the Westerners who had forcibly set up colonial enclaves, the Russians who had carved off part of Manchuria, or the Japanese who had taken Taiwan after a war in 1895. To keep the story simple, the party prefers to view the Manchus as Chinese.

In his history of the foreign scramble for China, Robert Bickers of Bristol University looks mainly at the story of west European and, to a lesser extent, American interaction with the country. The Japanese and Russian strands of this hugely complex tale of an evolving nation-state are picked out in less detail. The anglophone actors take centre stage—rightly, perhaps, at first, given the pioneering role played by the British in China’s history of humiliation. Mr Bickers takes 1832 as his starting point, the year when British ships sailed north from the Canton delta, carrying pamphlets, textiles and opium.

via 19th-century China: Clashing with the foreign devils | The Economist.

Middle East Unrest:  good country by country summary …

Unrest has spread across the Middle East and North Africa. Here’s a look at what has happened — and what is happening — in various countries:

via Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa — country by country – CNN.com.

history, GWTW, Atlanta, kith/kin:  Every time a new picture or footage is found I search for a 12-year-old boy in a boy scout uniform “holding the ropes” for Clark Gable and shaking his hand.  🙂

The color film is a rarity for its time, shot in 1939 during the three-day celebration surrounding the release of the movie Gone with the Wind.

“It was made on 16mm Kodachrome film. And some of that film is of pretty lasting quality,” said Paul Crater of the Atlanta History Center.

The Atlanta History Center uploaded the film to YouTube a few weeks ago. It features the Loew’s Grand Theatre — which was destroyed by fire in 1978. The Georgia Pacific tower stands in its place now. Shot by a furniture store executive with a taste for expensive cameras, it’s an archival piece that stayed mostly under wraps for 70 years.

via New / Old Footage Unearthed of 1939 Atlanta GWTW Premiere – 11Alive.com | WXIA | Atlanta, GA.

24
Jan
11

1.24.2011 … coffee with friends then ChristCare where we will discuss I Am The Good Shepherd by Stan Kellner

ChristCare, curriculum:  I Am The Good Shepherd  by Stan Kellner – http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/karen_trust/IAM/Shepherd.html

random, Mark Twain:  New autobiography revives careers for Mark Twain impersonators.  But you have to have the mustache!  Mark Twain Impersonators Gain Popularity – NYTimes.com.

literature, southern literature, Elizabeth Musser, Atlanta:  I am a little miffed they left out our own Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser … given the setting for the photo shoot. Do you think it is because of the genre she writes .. Christian historical fiction …

Is there a book club in America that hasn’t yet thrilled to The Help? Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel has lasted some 22 months on the New York Times hardcover fiction list—and will soon be a DreamWorks movie. “Kitty” Stockett far right, in fact, is leading a new wave of southern female writers who might look like belles but who write fearlessly about the region’s troubled legacies of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Typically, these women left the South in their 20s, heading for New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. But in time they came home. And they’re now turning Atlanta into the most vibrant new literary scene outside of Brooklyn.

via Belles, Books, And Candor | Culture | Vanity Fair.

movies, memorable phrases:

Have we heard the last (truly memorable) word from Hollywood?

Probably not, but it’s been a while since the movies had everybody parroting a great line.

via We’re missing lines that had us at ‘hello’ – CharlotteObserver.com.

LOL, random, products, design, Daniel Pink:  Saw this in the Petco flyer last week … maybe it is just me but I think it is LOL hysterical.  But really it is just a ball … with a design element to humor the humans.  So would you pay $12 for the equivalent of a used tennis ball to the dog?  I wonder if this product meets Daniel Pink’s definition of elegant design?  If you don’t know about Daniel Pink … check out the blog post about him which contains an interview.

Amazon.com: Moody Pet Humunga Stache Ball Dog Toy: Patio, Lawn & Garden.

“Design Thinking is solving problems in elegant ways” – Daniel Pink

via Elegant Design For Your Whole New Mind | Life In Perpetual Beta.

technology, culture, Jane Austen, bookshelf:  Another book that will be getting a great deal of commentary!

What I’m against is a kind of technological promiscuity, where that technology, so perfect in that [Abu Dhabi] circumstance, is the technology you think is perfect for people to bring into a board meeting, when they need to be working on a problem together. In that case it’s not the technology of choice. They’re not physically present with the people they need to bond with and deeply connect with, and need to make very consequential decisions with. I hate the metaphor of addiction: it implies we have to get it away, give it away, wean off. This is great stuff. It’s not heroin. It’s just something we need to learn to use when most appropriate, powerful, and in our best interest.

You mention how when people see the little red light on their BlackBerry, indicating a message has arrived, they feel utterly compelled to grab it. Do you personally experience that compulsion?

I recognize it with my email. Somebody said of email, “It’s the place for hope in life.” It reminds me of how in Jane Austen, carriages are always coming, you’re waiting, it could be Mr. Bingley’s invitation to a ball. There’s some sense that the post is always arriving in Jane Austen. There’s something about email that carries the sense that that’s where the good news will come. I did a hysterical interview with an accountant about why he felt so strongly about his texts. He said he might get a Genius award! I said, “I don’t think they give those to accountants.” And he said, “But you know what I mean.” He was trying to express that anything could happen on email. Anything could happen! I try to figure out what it is that this little red light means to people. I think it’s that place for hope and change and the new, and what can be different, and how things can be what they’re not now. And I think we all want that.

via “Alone Together”: An MIT Professor’s New Book Urges Us to Unplug.

women, politics, stereotypes:  A strong American woman is stereotyped a cowgirl … interesting article.

America has no tales of Amazons or of Atalanta; our national narrative does not chronicle the defeat of an armada by a virgin queen nor a teenage Joan leading her army into battle. American history includes no Cleopatras or Hatshepsuts; no Trung Sisters, who defended Vietnam from the Chinese in the first century; and no Catherines, great or otherwise. The mythos of our founding revolves entirely around fathers, save for the seamstress Betsy Ross and the querulous spouse Abigail Adams.

What we do have, to serve as the foundational fantasy of female strength and individualism we’ve agreed upon as embodying American power, are cowgirls: Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, the outlaws, frontier women and pioneers who pushed West, shot sharp, talked tough and sometimes drew blood. Frontier womanhood has emerged as one of the only historically American models of aspirational femininity available to girls — passive princesses and graceful ballerinas not being native to this land — and one of the only blueprints for commanding female comportment in which they are regularly encouraged to invest or to mimic.

via Only Cowgirls Run for Office – NYTimes.com.

blogposts, economy, Great Recession, future, quotes, Mark Twain:  Again, my favorite Presbyterian minister blogger takes two articles I noted and pulls them together to say what I wish I had said … I wish I had his quick mind!  And of course he quotes my favorite … Mark Twain. Thanks, Jim

Mark Twain said it best:

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Religious people know this to be true. I am not referring to resurrection (a dimension of Christian faith, for sure) but to religious belief as a general phenomenon. Belief is a dynamic reality. It impacts attitude, instills confidence, generates hope, impels certain actions. Of these there is not a lot of confidence and hope to be found in the usual portrait of our country’s health these days. If you believe we are dying, die we will. The truth is very different though.

The USA remains a genuine heavyweight. Time to start fighting like one. Fighting, that is, not with anyone, but against despair and resignation.

“It ain’t over till it’s over” and it ain’t over!

via Not dead yet « Hopelens Blog.

blogpost, media, religion, prayers: So my other favorite Presbyterian minister blogger … the younger … nails this one in my opinion.  I will use his prayer this week!  Thanks, Marthame!

There are those who say that the church is in the midst of a historical moment unlike any since the Protestant Reformation. And just as the “new media” of the printing press made Martin Luther possible, our world is being changed daily by new technologies and new ways of communicating. Is it time for the church to, dare I say, “change”?

In some ways, we have been standing by the shore, doing what our ancestors have taught us, faithfully tossing our nets into the sea, pulling in a catch, and doing it all over again. And as uprooting as it might be, maybe we need to listen for that voice of Jesus telling us to leave all that behind.

Time for a Change.

NYC, change, travel:  Maybe I better get there soon!

CBGB, the birthplace of punk rock, is gone. No longer can visitors to Coney Island plunk down a few coins to play the unsettling attraction called “Shoot the Freak.” And seedy, edgy, anything-might-happen Times Square? These days, it’s all but childproof.It continues: That diner on the corner for decades — closed. The beer garden down the street — now a Starbucks. The block once home to clusters of independent businesses — thriving as a big-box store.

And last month, another piece of the old New York slipped away with the demise of the city’s Off-Track Betting parlors. It’s enough to make old-school New Yorkers bristle.

Around countless corners, the weird, unexpected, edgy, grimy New York — the town that so many looked to for so long as a relief from cookie-cutter America — has evolved into something else entirely: tamed, prepackaged, even predictable.

“What draws people to New York is its uniqueness. So when something goes, people feel sad about it,” says Suzanne Wasserman, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History at the City University of New York.

“I think that’s also part of the New York character,” she says, “that ‘Things were better when …'”

Change is constant, and few cities change faster than New York. But at what cost? Where is the line between progress and lost distinctiveness?

via As edgy NYC disappears, does its character go too?  | ajc.com.

gardens:  I friend told me about this.  I am putting it on my 2011 calendar for November!  Thanks, Maxwell for the idea.

Instant Miniature Bulb Garden

Begin with a container. Plant an array of bulbs in layers now, and flowers will appear at intervals throughout spring. Think of the tiny irises as appetizers to the season, followed by the grape hyacinths. Next, delight in miniature narcissus. Build up to a feast of large daffodils. Then, as the icing on the cake, finish with a topping of violas that bloom from fall through late spring. The best part is that prep time takes less than 30 minutes.

Instant Miniature Bulb Garden – SouthernLiving.com.

Norwich England, Great Britain, sense of place, travel, bucket list:  OK, so I loved Norwich from this article.  It seems to have a real sense of place.  I am adding it to my list.  How could you not be intriqued by a place described as a book lovers/writers paradise  and this ““I love the emptiness and the atmosphere,” he said. “The scenery is quite unique. There is that feeling of being in a lost corner.””

Norwich, a two-hour train ride northeast from London, has increasingly become a refuge for writers fleeing the hectic pace of the capital’s publishing scene. At first glance it appears to be just another charming medieval town, with a fantastically preserved castle and a 900-year-old cathedral. But look a little deeper and you’ll notice the wellspring of author readings and literary festivals, featuring recent talks by Booker Prize winners like John Banville and Penelope Lively.

The comfy cafes within the town’s narrow old lanes are full of aspiring writers pecking away at laptops, dreaming of becoming the next Ian McEwan or Kazuo Ishiguro, both of whom got their start here at the University of East Anglia’s esteemed creative writing master’s program.

Mr. Ishiguro was so struck by Norwich and its surrounding county that he used it as inspiration for his 2005 novel “Never Let Me Go” (though the book was actually set in East Sussex, the 2010 movie adaptation was largely filmed in Norfolk County, home to Norwich). “I love the emptiness and the atmosphere,” he said. “The scenery is quite unique. There is that feeling of being in a lost corner.”

via Norwich, England, a Book-Lover’s Town – NYTimes.com.

green:  I knew it was coming.  Duke Power is giving customers a dozen bulbs for free.  I am interested to see if they really cut my bill.

The brightest bulb in most homes for more than a century is fading toward darkness this year as California turns out the light on the century-old incandescent.

Beginning Jan. 1, the state began phasing out certain energy-sucking bulbs, federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.

Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100-watt bulb and stores will eventually sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs.

“These standards will help cut our nation’s electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants,” said Noah Horowitz a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted.”

The change is part of the federal Energy Independence and Security Act that President George Bush signed in 2007, to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. California was allowed to adopt the national standard one year earlier.

via It’s lights out for the incandescent bulb in Calif  | ajc.com.

branding, advertising, Starbucks: just interesting …

The rise of the affluent society has left people with lots of time and talent to spare, Mr Shirky argues. For decades they squandered this cognitive surplus watching television. Today, thanks to the internet, they can also channel it into more productive pursuits.

For a surprising number of people these productive pursuits involve worrying about companies’ logos. Howard Schultz, the boss of Starbucks, recently announced that his company would mark its 40th anniversary this March by changing its logo a bit. The words “Starbucks” and “coffee” will disappear. And the mermaid, or siren, will be freed from her circle.

Starbucks wants to join the small club of companies that are so recognisable they can rely on nothing but a symbol: Nike and its swoosh; McDonald’s and its golden arches; Playboy and its bunny; Apple and its apple. The danger is that it will join the much larger class of companies that have tried to change their logos only to be forced to backtrack by an electronic lynch mob.

via Schumpeter: Logoland | The Economist.

quotes, Reynolds Price, RIP:  Given his recent death, I think  a quote from Reynolds Price is appropriate.

“… what I still ask for daily – for life as long as I have work to do, and work as long as I have life.” — Reynolds Price, A Whole New Life

In A Whole New Life, however, he steps from behind that roster of achievements to present us with a more personal story, a narrative as intimate and compelling as any work of the imagination. In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in his spinal cord (“The tumor was pencil-thick and gray-colored, ten inches long from my neck-hair downward”). Here, for the first time, Price recounts without self-pity what became a long struggle to withstand and recover from this appalling, if all too common, affliction (one American in three will experience some from of cancer). He charts the first puzzling symptoms; the urgent surgery that fails to remove the growth and the radiation that temporarily arrests it (but hurries his loss of control of his lower body); the occasionally comic trials of rehab; the steady rise of severe pain and reliance on drugs; two further radical surgeries; the sustaining force of a certain religious vision; an eventual discovery of help from biofeedback and hypnosis; and the miraculous return of his powers as a writer in a new, active life. Beyond the particulars of pain and mortal illness, larger concerns surface here — a determination to get on with the human interaction that is so much a part of this writer’s much-loved work, the gratitude he feels toward kin and friends and some (though by no means all) doctors, the return to his prolific work, and the “now appalling, now astonishing grace of God.” A Whole New Life offers more than the portrait of one brave person in tribulation; it offers honest insight, realistic encouragement and inspiration to others who suffer the bafflement of catastrophic illness or who know someone who does or will.

via A whole new life – Google Books.

green, design, wildlife:  Special provisions for the bears cougars, bobcats, elk and deer …

At a picturesque spot in the mountains near the ski resorts of Vail and Breckenridge, Colo., two streams of traffic converge: people driving east and west on Interstate 70, and animals — black bears, cougars, bobcats, elk and deer — headed north and south to feed and mate. When they collide, the animal is almost always killed and the vehicle badly damaged, even if the driver is lucky enough to escape injury.

The obvious solution is a bridge or a tunnel for the animals, but how do you build one they will use?

via Contest Seeks to Avert Collisions With Animals on I-70 in Colorado – NYTimes.com.

politics, GA politics, David Ralston-GA House Speaker, really stupid:  Since I often comment on the really stupid things we do in our youth, why is it that our politicians are the next group of people who do really stupid things?

House Speaker David Ralston and his family spent part of Thanksgiving week in Europe on a $17,000 economic development mission paid for by lobbyists interested in building a high-speed train line between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Commonwealth Research Associates, a D.C.-based consulting firm, paid for the trip, which also included Ralston’s chief of staff Spiro Amburn and his spouse, to Germany and the Netherlands the week of Nov. 21-27, according to records filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission.

The trip was the most expensive single expenditure reported by a lobbyist since at least 2005.

via Ralston, staff and families took $17,000 lobbyist-funded trip to Germany  | ajc.com.

Justice Antonin Scalia, The Supreme Court, Separation of Powers:  Haven’t decided what I think of this other than I would like to be there.  Do you have an opinion?  Is this appropriate for a Supreme Court Justice?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, described just last week by a Washington law professor as “the first real celebrity justice” for his controversial public pronouncements, will come to Capitol Hill on Monday to lecture about constitutional law to some earnest members of the House of Representatives. He was invited to do so by Rep. Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and tea party activist in Congress, as part of her effort to educate lawmakers about the nation’s founding legal documents.

Although Justice Scalia has been criticized in some quarters for accepting the invitation, it is not unreasonable of him to consider the opportunity to speak face-to-face with his interbranch partners as a rare and welcome one. And although many observers see the effort as a partisan ploy between and among conservative ideologues, there are plenty of nonpartisan things Professor Scalia can lecture about. For example:

via Professor Scalia Comes to Capitol Hill: Here Is His Constitutional Lesson Plan.

South Africa:  11 official languages is very difficult … interesting to watch how this is resolved.

UNDER the 1996 constitution, all 11 of South Africa’s official languages “must enjoy parity of esteem and be treated equitably”. In practice English, the mother tongue of just 8% of the people, increasingly dominates all the others. Its hegemony may even threaten the long-term survival of the country’s African languages, spoken as the mother tongue of 80% of South Africans, despite the government’s repeated promises to promote and protect indigenous languages and culture.

Under apartheid, there were just two official languages, English and Afrikaans, a variant of Dutch with a dash of French, German, Khoisan (spoken by so-called Bushmen and Hottentots), Malay and Portuguese. Pre-colonial African languages were relegated to the black townships and tribal “homelands”. Even there, English was often chosen as the medium of education in preference to the inhabitants’ mother tongues. Black South Africans increasingly rejected Afrikaans as the language of the main oppressor; English was a symbol of advancement and prestige.

Today, 16 years after the advent of black-majority rule, English reigns supreme. Not only is it the medium of business, finance, science and the internet, but also of government, education, broadcasting, the press, advertising, street signs, consumer products and the music industry. For such things Afrikaans is also occasionally used, especially in the Western Cape province, but almost never an African tongue. The country’s Zulu-speaking president, Jacob Zuma, makes all his speeches in English. Parliamentary debates are in English. Even the instructions on bottles of prescription drugs come only in English or Afrikaans.

via South Africa’s languages: Tongues under threat | The Economist.

followup, Keith Olbermann, media:  Seems there is a lot behind the curtains …

One NBC News executive said on Sunday: “Give us a bit of credit for getting eight years out of him. That’s the longest he’s been anywhere.”

via Years of Strife Caught Up With Olbermann at MSNBC – NYTimes.com.

 

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6.27.2010 … .. Love meeting new people … Our Fall 2010 South African Exchange Student and her parents were visiting in SC and came up to meet Molly and John and me and see the school. It makes me excited for Liv’s trip here and Molly ‘s trip there!

travel, South Africa: Video – Visiting a South African Township – WSJ.com.

cities, retail: I still want my city to be “big” enough to support pop up shops!

The concept of a “now you see it, now you don’t” store is commonly tied to a holiday theme: the New York beauty store Ricky’s opens more than a dozen Halloween costume shops in September and October. And last winter Toys “R” Us opened 33 Holiday Express locations in the tristate area.

But in the last few years pop-ups have flourished in New York regardless of the holiday calendar. For building owners they are a way to fill vacant space and for sellers they offer a place to gauge the reception to their brand or introduce new products, without a long-term rental commitment.

“The great thing about a pop-up space is that it allows you to have one very consistent, very clear and very distinct message around the brand,” Mr. Gibb said. Belvedere negotiated a deal to lease the 6,500-square-foot second-floor space at 414 West 14th Street a few months in advance. Within a few days of the three-night event, a team of designers, painters and construction workers turned it into a softly lighted den of glamour.

via Square Feet – Pop-Up Stores Become Popular for New York Landlords – NYTimes.com.

Apple:

There is no greater gift. Athleticism? No way. Intelligence? Sorry. The greatest God-given gift is the ability to see life as it really is and to know of things yet to come. Steve Jobs is a committee of one. Compare his results to the hundreds and thousands of focus groups at Palm(PALM) or Microsoft(MSFT). The difference between seeing and not seeing is exponential. I’ll bet Steve Jobs rarely works up a sweat. We know very little about his personal life but we do know he has time to go out for coffee with Eric Schmidt, he has time to rehearse keynote speeches, he has time to email customers, and he has time to negotiate with the media industry. He has time to do these things because his forecasting decisions are so sure. One Steve Jobs is worth a million tech executives. He releases a single iPhone in black or white. He releases one iPad. His gift is extraordinarily sure.

via Steve Jobs: His Exponential Value for iPhone 4 – TheStreet.

media:  I don’t like Spitzer …

CNN announced Wednesday that Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor, and Kathleen Parker, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in April for her conservative newspaper columns, are teaming up in September for a newsy conversation show at 8 p.m., replacing “Campbell Brown.”

CNN executives emphasize that the show is not a new “Crossfire” or a combative battle of partisan talking points, but instead a thoughtful roundtable with two original thinkers.

via CNN teams Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker to replace ‘Campbell Brown’ – Mike Allen – POLITICO.com.

Supreme Court, culture, women’s issues:

Do women judge differently than men? Justice Sandra Day O’Connor famously said: “A wise old woman and a wise old man will reach the same conclusion.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made similar observations, but at the same time, she has said that women bring to the table their own experiences, which inform their decision-making.

She points, for example, to a decision written by Justice O’Connor in 1982 telling a state-run, all-female nursing school, that it had to admit a qualified male applicant. The dissenters in that case asserted that the all-female policy was a kind of affirmative action for women, and that, says Ginsburg, was an idea firmly rejected by O’Connor.

via How Women Changed The Supreme Court … And Didn’t : NPR.

science, religion: One of my favorite discussions … spiritual man v. scientific man …

Nothing gets as vicious as fighting for a lost cause. If the proverbial Martian landed in a flying saucer today and saw how religionists war against scientists, he would be surprised at the vehemence on both sides. What is the war about? Fact beat out faith long ago. When Darwin’s theory of evolution replaced Genesis to explain the appearance of human beings, which was in the middle of the 19th century, the trend away from faith was already old. The world had been remade as material, governed by natural laws, random in its effects, and immune to divine intervention. Not just science but thousands of unanswered prayers did their part to dethrone God.

I am not drawn to lost causes, and therefore I’d like to guide the debate away from religion. And since religion is the primary form of spirituality in most people’s lives, we’ll have to step away from spirituality, too, at least at first. There should be renewed admiration for science’s attempts to answer the fundamental mysteries. These are well known by now:

How did the universe come about?

What caused life to emerge from a soup of inorganic chemicals?

Can evolution explain all of human development?

What are the basic forces in Nature?

How does the brain produce intelligence?

What place do human beings occupy in the cosmos?

Many observers have linked these questions to spirituality, too. Facts tell us how life came about, but faith still wants to know why. But what strikes me is how useless these big questions easily become. You and I live our lives without asking them. We may be philosophically curious; we may even have enough leisure time to reflect upon the big picture. For all that, the big questions are posed, by and large, by professors who are paid to pose them. Religion and science occupy different kinds of ivory towers, but until they come down to earth, neither one meets the practical needs of life.

via Deepak Chopra: Consciousness and the End of the War Between Science and Religion.

substances, Colorado:

Since this place opened in January, it’s been one nerve-fraying problem after another. Pot growers, used to cash-only transactions, are shocked to be paid with checks and asked for receipts. And there are a lot of unhappy surprises, like one not long ago when the Farmacy learned that its line of pot-infused beverages could not be sold nearby in Denver. Officials there had decided that any marijuana-tinged consumables had to be produced in a kitchen in the city.“You’d never see a law that says, ‘If you want to sell Nike shoes in San Francisco, the shoes have to be made in San Francisco,’ ” says Ms. Respeto, sitting in a tiny office on the second floor of the Farmacy. “But in this industry you get stuff like that all the time.”

via In Colorado, Pot-Selling Pioneers Try to Turn a Profit – NYTimes.com.

icons: Another icon bites the dust …

The statue will be moved to Goris Stalin Museum, which houses artifacts, documents and the dictators death mask, said Mziya Naochashvili, the museums director of research. “Tourists will come to look at it and it will be a wonderful brand,” she said.

via Georgia Dismantles Stalin Monument – WSJ.com.

tv, gLee, culture, stereotypes:

But the overarching theme of the show is everyone’s in the same club — jocks and divas, gays and straights. The new character also opens the possibility that by joining in the show choir — creating normal, friendly respectful relationships with her fellow singers — the branded official Christian will be shown accepting what her elders reject. Statistics show young adults hold more accepting attitudes on race and on homosexuality.

via Will a new ‘Christian character’ harmonize with ‘Glee’ values? – Faith & Reason.

LOL:  Would you go for it?




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