Posts Tagged ‘TED

22
Oct
13

10.22.13 … I loved this post on groupons … “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.” …

groupons, William Shakespeare, Henry VI:  I love a good liberal arts education … closing a discussion of wasted groupons with Shakespeare!

The way he said it made me think he might actually be in cahoots with the cockroaches.  Sort of like Tony Soprano saying, “Hey, bada bing, bada bang!, I’d hate to see you use that other waste removal company and possibly have some sorta accident rolling your trash bin up to Grey Road.”  Aaaargh!

Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss,

But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.

William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III Act V, scene 4, line 1.

via Leaving money on the table… | 50th Year of Pat Millen.

Malala,  Advocacy Curriculum, George Washington University:  A very impressive young woman!

George Washington University announced Monday that faculty members are creating multimedia curriculum tools to accompany a book recently released by the teen, Malala Yousafzai. Several faculty members will pilot the curriculum early next year for both college and high school instruction. Free of charge, it will focus on themes such as the importance of a woman\’s voice and political extremism, the university said.

The tools won\’t just look at the teen\’s story, but also how the same issues get reflected elsewhere, such as when girls face child marriage and pressures to leave school, said Mary Ellsberg, the director of the university\’s Global Women\’s Institute.

\”It\’s going to be really interactive and really encourage students to do … activities outside of school, it will encourage them to get engaged in the communities and as well to help the Malala Fund directly,\” Ellsberg said.

The university\’s Global Women\’s Institute is partnered with the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to ensure girls around the world have access to education.

via Malala Inspires Advocacy Curriculum At George Washington University.

college life, fraternity life, naked pictures, misogyny:  Why naked pictures aren’t harmless – Salon.com.

Last week at Swarthmore College a pledge posted a photograph on Instagram of his offer to join a fraternity. The picture was of a booklet cover featuring a mosaic of hundreds of naked or nearly naked women. The website Total Frat Move lamented that it wasn’t deliverd with a note saying, “Enjoy the tits.” The fraternity has used this format for several years — but this year, a group of students led by senior Marian Firke protested the use of the photography. They created an alternative version of the composite image and asked the school to suspend the fraternity’s school-funded party budget.

Swarthmore’s dean of students agreed with protesters and took steps to address their concerns, including requiring members of the fraternity to attend yet-to-be-defined “special training sessions.” The speed with which the administration has responded may have something to do with the fact that the college is one of a growing list of schools, including Occidental, the University of North Carolina, Yale and Dartmouth, involved in very public complaints for their handling (or mishandling) of sexual assault cases. Emerson is the latest school to be investigated by the Department of Education for related Title IX violations. While the administration’s responsiveness is laudable, the truth is that given the scope of the problem at hand, entire swaths of our population need “special training sessions,” and before they even make it to college. What do we do about them?

via Why naked pictures aren’t harmless – Salon.com.

faith, cultural v spiritual, Jewish identity:

All three embrace their Jewish identity — but this isn’t their parents’ Jewishness.

As underscored in a major new survey, they are among those navigating a period of historic flux in how American Jews view themselves, their religion, their culture, and how they affiliate with each other.

A growing minority of American Jews — including nearly a third of younger adults in particular — say they’re not religious but continue to identify themselves as Jewish, according to the survey, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” released this month by the Pew Research Center.

Intermarriage rates also continue at high levels among younger Jews — 58 percent among Jews married this century.

And on the list of things that make someone Jewish, far more Jews chose such things as remembering the Holocaust, being moral and ethical, working for justice and even having a good sense of humor than such traditional markers as belonging to the Jewish community or observing religious law.

via American Jews carve out faith different than parents’ | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

Black Friday/Thanksgiving:

Add Macy’s to the list of retailers kicking off “Black Friday” and Thanksgiving Thursday.

Macy’s will open the doors at most of its 800 namesake department stores, at 8 p.m. on Nov. 28. The company said the shift was voluntary for workers and that the move was “consistent with what many rivals are doing.

Traditionally, retailers have waited until Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving, to start their end-of-the-year push for sales.

U.S. retailers have extended their hours on Black Friday, so named because it\’s when most stroes go into the black, in recent years to get a jump on the holiday season sales.

via Macy’s latest retailer to open holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving – chicagotribune.com.

 William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”, grammatically Incorrect, Mental Floss, Miley Cyrus, AMA Manual of Style, Bob Dylan (“Lay Lady Lay”), Eric Clapton (“Lay Down Sally”), lay/lie:

But did he? The comment links to a blog entry from the AMA Manual of Style on Faulkner’s use of “lay.” Though at first it may seem that the title of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is incorrect (what could be more intransitive than someone lying there dying?), the entry points out that here “lay” is actually the correct past tense of “lie.” (I know. Could these rules make it any more complicated?) So there is nothing wrong with the title.

What the article takes issue with is a sentence from the novel “you lay you down and rest you.” Obviously, this is in the vernacular and not to be taken as textbook grammatical, and yes, “the correct form of the sentence would use the intransitive verb: ‘You lie down.’” But here, even within the context of this non-standard dialect, Faulkner follows the rule. The verb “lay” does take an object in “you lay you down,” and the object is “you.” Not much different from “now I lay me down to sleep,” a sentence even the strictest red pen will pass over without a second glance.

So let’s leave Faulkner out of this. If you want, you can take it up with Bob Dylan (“Lay Lady Lay”) or Eric Clapton (“Lay Down Sally”). But it’s probably time we all just laid our tired bootys down and started focusing on more important matters, such as, what is the proper plural of “booty”?

via Is “As I Lay Dying” Grammatically Incorrect? | Mental Floss.

Einstein, “Combinatory Play”, secret of genius, Brain Pickings:

The concept, in fact, was perhaps best explained by Albert Einstein, who termed it “combinatory play.” (Einstein famously came up with some of his best scientific ideas during his violin breaks.) From his Ideas and Opinions (public library) — the same invaluable volume that gave us the beloved physicist’s timeless wisdom on kindness and our shared existence — comes Einstein’s single most succinct articulation of how his mind works, driven by this powerful combinatorial creativity. The 1945 letter was written in response to French mathematician Jacques S. Hadamard’s survey of the mental processes of famous scientists, inspired by polymath Henri Poincaré’s famous meditation on the subject and published as An Essay on the Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, with Einstein’s missive included as a “testimonial”:

via How Einstein Thought: Why “Combinatory Play” Is the Secret of Genius | Brain Pickings.

Dan Pink, lists, My 5 favorite talks on work, TED Playlists, TED:  5 more for me to watch …

Dan Pink: My 5 favorite talks on work

Popular business author Dan Pink picks his 5 favorite TED Talks on how to find greater success at work.

via Dan Pink: My 5 favorite talks on work | TED Playlists | TED.

clutter-clearing myths,  The Happiness Project:

One of my great realizations about happiness (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is that for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. After all, in the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet is trivial. And yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly find this, myself, that creating order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

But as much as most of us want to keep our home, office, car, etc. in reasonable order, it’s tough. Here’s a list of some myths of de-cluttering that make it harder to get rid of stuff.

via Do You Fall for Any of These Common Clutter-Clearing Myths? « The Happiness Project.

11
Mar
13

3.11.13 … I want to be a SXSW newbie … or TED … or Wisdom 2.0 …

SXSW,  TED, Wisdom 2.0:  Now that there are so many of the conferences, will they lose their edge? Will they lose their edge before I even get there?  In the words of my children, i am so uncool, but so want to be cool …

So if someone tries to tell you it’s not as cool as it used to be or that it’s just over-hyped marketing next year, you should ignore them. And do SXSW your own way. (Even if part of the conference is moving to Las Vegas next year.)

via 5 things I’ve learned in 24 hours as a SXSW newbie — Tech News and Analysis.

06
Dec
11

12.6.2011 …. icbg … .. time for a second opinion … I think I will just go for the bg part … and don’t you think Jane looks lovely :)

yoga, Ayn Rand:  Makes you think …

The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing something selfish and virtuous at the same time. You are sweating and suffering and honing a “watchful mind,” but also taking a break from your daily burdens and acquiring fantastic-looking abs. And that’s the genius of Ayn Rand: She made egoism the ultimate good. What Christianity labels as the unfortunate consequence of original sin, Rand saw as man’s natural and best state. (Interestingly, while Ayn Rand’s atheism bothers conservative evangelicals, it seems to bother some of them less than does yoga, which they view as paganism parading as a health movement. John Galt, at least, would have shared their hatred of Obamacare.)

— Slate on the Who Is John Galt quasi-meme and what Aynd Rand and yoga have in common

via curiosity counts – The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing….

eternal youth, Tony Bennett, music, kudos:  Never liked him, but kudos!

In a youth-oriented industry, Tony Bennett is enjoying some of his greatest successes at the age of 85.

In September, the acclaimed vocalist scored his first-ever No.1 album on the Billboard 200, becoming the oldest living person to top the chart. Last week, he garnered three Grammy nominations for his hit album “Duets II.” And when he stopped by the Wall Street Journal’s acoustic music showcase the WSJ Cafe he talked about collaborating with such stars Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse, the British vocalist who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.

via Tony Bennett: How To Be No.1 Your Whole Life (WSJ Cafe) – Speakeasy – WSJ.

apps, NPR:  Mu local station  has an app … which is great … now I can just pull up NPR.

NPR News: The ultimate portable NPR experience for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Follow local and national news and listen to your favorite NPR stations wherever you are and whenever you want to.

via App Store – NPR News.

Campbell Soup Company, csr, kudos: Idealistic Realistic …

Instead of making lethal cuts, we decided that our dream — our vision — was to transform Campbell into a place where employees wanted to be…and wanted to stay. You can’t have an organization that consistently delivers high performance unless you have a consistently high level of engagement predicated on trust. We needed to restore both — trust and engagement. If we could do that, then we were sure the profits would follow. There were a lot of things we changed, from the leadership team to package design — you’ve read about those. But what took the momentum at Campbell to an even higher level in terms of employee engagement happened more recently.

One of the primary things that makes Campbell a place where people want to come to work is the company’s earnest and ongoing commitment to our communities around the globe. We forged an ambitious plan to make Camden, our hometown for more than 140 years, a better place. That is what is helping employees feel more fulfilled despite even this latest economic crisis.

As a food company, working hand-in-hand with a cadre of strategic local and national partners, we centered our efforts on health and nutrition. The project, still in its infancy, is focused on cutting the BMI (Body Mass Index) of Camden’s 23,000 children in half over the next decade. It includes bringing nutritionists into schools and having Campbell’s chefs help parents think about ways to serve healthy food at home. And that is just the beginning: Today, Campbell is working to attract food retailers to Camden’s food desert — the city has only one supermarket — and helping to build neighborhood gardens to get children closer to the food supply. Campbell is also sponsoring activities for youth to increase physical fitness in schools and to help them remain active and occupied when school is not in session. And the company is developing the areas all around its world headquarters — leveling run-down buildings to attract commerce.

It is an ambitious agenda but it is right in Campbell’s sweet spot. And why not? It has advanced our corporate agenda. Focusing these efforts on food and nutrition has allowed us to smartly leverage our resources. Another part of the corporate social responsibility plan — committing to cut Campbell’s carbon footprint by half — has saved money and lowered costs. Campbell is earnestly and sincerely helping to build a better world within the scope of what the company does well. But even more than that, employees are proud to be associated with a company that is doing this kind of work, and consumers in the community and beyond have supported our efforts and our business.

The flywheel effect is astounding and ongoing: Winning in the community leads to winning in the workplace and winning in the marketplace. The more the Company takes care of the world, the more the world responds. The more the company leans into building a better society in a strategically focused way, the better the company performs.

Gallup, the polling and research firm, studied the engagement levels of Campbell’s managers back in 2002 and found that for every 2 people actively engaged in the business, 1 was actively disengaged. Anecdotally, those numbers were the worst for any Fortune 500 firm at the time. As of 2011, the story is far different: 17 Campbell employees are actively engaged for every 1 employee who is actively disengaged. Gallup considers twelve to one to be world-class.

via The Idealistic Realistic: What Really Helped Elevate Campbell Soup Company – Douglas R. Conant – Harvard Business Review.

short film:

Beautiful animated short film about a racist barber in 1930s New York, who moves away from bigotry after a magic trumpet arrives at his shop

via curiosity counts – Beautiful animated short film about a racist….

Christmas, cake balls:  This is my life for the next few weeks!

Easy to make and delicious to eat, cake balls can be made out of any of your favorite cake recipes.  All you do is make the cake, crumble it up and mix it with frosting or cream cheese then roll the cake mixture into balls, bake and dip.  But, don’t take our word for it, look at  Bakerella‘s video below.

Karen Chiumento uses only fresh, all natural ingredients in her hand made cake balls. Yes, they ship! Photo by Jacqueline Marque

Bakerella explains it very easily.  She also wrote the Cake Pops book (below) with recipes and decorating ideas. Cake Pops are Cake Balls with a lollipop stick in them!

Christmas Cupcakes, Cake Balls and Mini-Pies Baking Supplies | The Daily Basics.

journalists, media:  As a lawyer, I often feel “attacked” … never thought about the journalists feeling that way!

Writers from around the country have posted pictures and life stories at the ‘We Are Journalists‘ blog on Tumblr.

Launched  by St. Petersburg Times reporter Emily Nipps (pictured, via) the site gives journalists a place to share why they keep writing despite a challenging economy and a rapidly changing profession. Why do you keep writing?

Here’s more from the site: “We are journalists. We are proud of what we do. We are tired of bad press about the press. We are trying to be ‘team players.’ We are terrified of more layoffs and paycuts. We would like to produce quality work without ‘obamasux99′ posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”

via Writers Proudly Post at ‘We Are Journalists’ Blog – GalleyCat.

design, dichotomies, makes you think …:  Excellent essay … makes you think …

We’re at the apex of our power, but the nadir of our potency. Let’s start with the biggest heartbreaker of them all: We are at a moment in history when, as designers, we are at our most powerful. There is almost nothing we cannot make, enjoying the triumphs of research and development in materials science, manufacturing technology, and information systems. We can get any answer we seek through social networks, peer communities, or hired guns. We have sub-specialties at unimaginably thin slices of expertise—from ubiquitous computing to synthetic biology—and a plumbing system in the Internet that is simultaneously unprecedented in human history and entirely taken for granted.

At the same time, unbelievably, we have never been in worse shape: We are witnessing the collapse of every natural system on earth. Take your pick—on the ground we’ve got clear-cutting, desertification and agricultural run-off. Underneath we’ve got fracking and groundwater contamination. In the air, greenhouse gasses; in the oceans, ice sheet melting, acidification and Pacific trash vortices; in space we have the ghastly and ultimately impossible problem of space debris (we won’t be able to leave even when we’re ready to, and nobody will be able to get in to help us if they wanted to). We carry body-burdens of toxic chemicals leached and outgassed from our homes, our cars, our food packaging. The consequences of industrialization metastasize out to slave factory labor, massive river diversions, obesity, malnutrition, gender inequality, rampant poverty, minefields. We tax our economies with war machinery instead of fueling healthcare and education provision. We feel helpless on the one end and hopeless on the other.

How can we be so strong and yet so weak? How can it be that we, as a species, are at the absolute height of our power at exactly the same moment that we are on the precipice of self-annihilation?

via 1000 Words: The Critical Dichotomies of Design – Core77.

psychology, the mind, makes you think…: Another good essay …

If someone asked you to describe the psychological aspects of personhood, what would you say? Chances are, you’d describe things like thought, memory, problem-solving, reasoning, maybe emotion. In other words, you probably list the major headings of a cognitive psychology text-book. In cognitive psychology, we seem to take it for granted that these are, objectively, the primary components of “the mind” (even if you reject a mind/body dualism, you probably accept some notion that there are psychological processes similar to the ones listed above). I’ve posted previously about whether the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive even makes sense. But, here, I want to think about the universality of the “mind” concept and its relationship to the modern view of cognition.

In fact, this conception of the mind is heavily influenced by a particular (Western) cultural background. Other cultures assign different characteristics and abilities to the psychological aspects of personhood. Wierzbicka (2005) delves into this problem in detail. She argues that speakers of a particular language make assumptions about what must be universal based on their own ability to imagine doing without a certain concept. Important cross-cultural differences in meaning become lost in translation. For instance, Piaget’s “The moral judgment of the child” was translated to English by substituting the French “juste” with the English “fair.” So, English readers think they are reading about the development of fairness in children, when this was not the author’s intention.

via Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists: How Universal Is The Mind?.

Christmas, Christmas carols, history:  this is a great history of Christmas carols in particular and Christmas generally.

At face value, the Christmas carol may be the least captivating style of occasional song. While other popular tunes arise from passion or desire, heroism or defeat, the Yuletide songbook is a catalog of modest thrills and postindustrial neuroses. A quick survey turns up portraits of manic stress release (“Jingle Bells”), overwrought hallucination (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”), complex Freudian trauma (“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), desperate midlife lechery (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), forced enthusiasm (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”), and thinly veiled xenophobia (“Dominick the Donkey … the Italian Christmas donkey!”). It was apparently decided long ago that we can overcome these demons by frightening them away with feckless vocalization. Carol-singing, like drinking, accounts for a large part of boisterous group behavior in this country. If a large posse of merrymakers rings your doorbell in the quiet suburban night, there is an equal chance that you should call the cops or offer them a nutmeg-flavored snack.

Consider, too, that Christmas carols have no obvious counterparts among the other holidays. Large group odes are not sung in anticipation of Memorial Day.

If anything, their legitimacy as tradition has only increased in recent years. Today’s carols are one of our few genuine access points to the history of Western pop music, the centuries of mainstream fare buried beneath our own.

via The Long, Strange History of Christmas Carols – Slate Magazine.

flash sites, fashion, GILT:  I have never bought anything from a flash fashion site … new term for me … but have bought from groupon, etc.

It’s not surprising that fashion deal sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, which often offer designer merchandise discounted up to 80%, have garnered more than 5 million members in just a few short years. Known for “flash sales”—deals that typically last just 36-48 hours—these members-only websites feature excess inventory from more than 1,000 brands at steeply reduced prices.

Gilt Groupe launched in fall 2007, and the industry has quickly become packed with competitors, with Amazon.com’s MyHabit launching in May. “There are lots of outlets that offer consumers huge assortments that take a lot of time to shop,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The beauty of the flash business is that we’re perfect for that time-starved consumer. You can shop our site for five minutes every day. It’s a very specific, curated assortment, and we help to pick the right things for you.”

But the bargain sites aren’t just booming among consumers. In May, CNN Money reported that flash sites made $1 billion in sales in 2010, with a projected $6 billion revenue figure by 2015. As these retailers expand to include travel, home and culinary deals, TIME Moneyland asked the presidents and CEOs of the top five fashion flash sites about making the most of the online deal-hunting experience.

via Taking Advantage of Flash Fashion Sites | How Online Shoppers Can Make the Most of Fashion Flash Sites | Moneyland | TIME.com.

Jane Austen:  New picture … changed perception … This discovery reminds me of the movie Possession …

Jane Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne claims to have discovered a lost portrait of the author which, far from depicting a grumpy spinster, shows a writer at the height of her powers and a woman comfortable in her own skin.

The only accepted portraits of Austen to date are her sister Cassandra’s 1810 sketch, in which she looks cross, and an 1870 adaptation of that picture. But when Byrne, biographer of Evelyn Waugh and Mary “Perdita” Robinson and with an Austen biography due out in 2013, was given a portrait of a female author acquired by her husband, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, at auction, she was immediately struck by the possibility that it could be a lost drawing of Austen.

The portrait drawing, in graphite on vellum, had been in a private collection for years, and was being auctioned as an “imaginary portrait” of Austen, with “Miss Jane Austin” written on the back. “When my husband bought it he thought it was a reasonable portrait of a nice lady writer, but I instantly had a visceral reaction to it. I thought it looks like her family. I recognised the Austen nose, to be honest, I thought it was so striking, so familiar,” Byrne told the Guardian. “The idea that it was an imaginary portrait – that seemed to me to be a crazy theory. That genre doesn’t exist, and this looks too specific, too like the rest of her family, to have been drawn from imagination.”

Byrne pointed out that Austen did not become famous until 1870, 50 years after her death, and the portrait has been dated to the early 19th century, around 1815, on the basis of the subject’s clothes. “Why would someone have wanted to draw her from their imagination, when she was not popular at that time?” she asked.

via Jane Austen biographer discovers ‘lost portrait’ | Books | guardian.co.uk.

media:

One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been

via The Influencing Machine: A Brief Visual History of the Media | Brain Pickings.

 Kathryn Schulz, psychology, regret, TED: TED provides me with some of my favorite information.

My friend Kathryn Schulz, who penned the excellent book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest, bravest, most thoughtful journalists working today, recently gave a TED talk about regret. As the new owner of ink that makes me very happy, what got me to pay even closer attention was Kathryn’s extended example of her own tattoo as a lens for examining the psychology of regret, a vehicle for her characteristically potent formula of universal wisdom channelled through personal anecdotes and hard data.

Make sure you watch to the very end, it’s well worth it.

via Kathryn Schulz on the Psychology of Regret and How to Live with It | Brain Pickings.

Twitter, ideal life:  I follow a couple of these …. Martha Stewart Wannabees …

 For more holiday ideas and inspirations, pop over to the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts today and discover what the experts are decorating, cooking and planning for a festive December.  And then join us on Twitter Thursday 8 December at 8pm EST for the popular #HolidayHQ tweet chat for even more holiday ideas.

http://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

Christmas, salt dough ornaments:  Add another to the list?

 

My fondest Christmas memory is sitting around our kitchen table watching my mother turn dough into works of art, she effortless hand crafted a jointed Santa Clause, an ornate rocking horse and many other keep sake ornaments while I fiddled around with gingerbread cookie cutters wondering why I did not inherit her creative gene.  While those around me are turning their kitchens into cookie factories, churning out confections for countless recipients, parties and hostess gifts, I am recreating my favourite Christmas memory and creating the most delightful decorations for our holiday tree, gift toppers and garlands.  While many of us think of salt dough crafts as the back bone of elementary school projects (and granted mine do have that air about them), artisans have been working with salt dough for centuries creating elaborate works of art using the most basic of ingredients:  salt, water, flour and paint.

viahttp://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

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.

29
Oct
11

10.29.2011 … Molly and John on the tarmac early this am … running in the Runway 5K Run out at CLT. (Oh, and Molly so beat her daddy :))

food, kith/kin, random: Ever heard of white sweet potatoes? Ask Elizabeth  and Ballard … I laughed about as hard as I have ever laughed about special white sweet potatoes from VA at “67.” Who else was there? Jimmy? And why did I think of this …

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.

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

Brene Brown, TED, culture:  I have posted this before, I think … but it is one of my favorite TED videos … Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com.

Christmas 2012, stocking stuffers:  I really love the little gifts … The Container Store – The Original Storage and Organization Store®.

zombies, pop culture, kith/kin:  Once again the Teagues are ahead of the game. 🙂

That glazed look in their dead eyes, the stench of rotting flesh, their hunger for fresh human brains — zombies seem to be everywhere.

The fascination with the undead has been creeping up on the sexy vampires of the “Twilight” dynasty. Over the past decade, movies such as “Resident Evil,” “I Am Legend ” and the spoofy “Zombieland” — not to mention the vast array of zombie DVDs, video games and accessories — have brought in $5 billion.

Seven million people watched the premiere of the hit AMC series “The Walking Dead” last week. Greg Nicoterro, the co-executive producer for the TV show said people have become “really obsessed” with zombies.

“You know vampires also have this huge following, they’re sort of been made sexy by the Twilight movies,” he said. “I honestly believe it’s the fact that as people grow up being fans of the horror genre that there’s something about zombies that are iconic.”

It’s arguable that Nicoterro is responsible for this most recent zombie contagion. He has created about 400 zombies for just season two of “The Walking Dead,” and his professional life has been dedicated to transforming regular-looking people into an army of flesh-feasting, blood-slurping ghouls.

via Move Over ‘Twilight,’ Zombies Are Creeping Up as the Popular Horror Obsession – ABC News.

Halloween costumes,  Steven J. Baum, Great Recession, PR nightmares:  Sometimes grown-ups can be really stupid.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)

MFY Legal Services, which defends homeowners, and Harwood Feffer, a large class-action firm, have filed a class-action suit claiming that Steven J. Baum has consistently failed to file certain papers that are necessary to allow for a state-mandated settlement conference that can lead to a modification. Judge Arthur Schack of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn once described Baum’s foreclosure filings as “operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe.” (My source told me that one Baum employee dressed up as Judge Schack at a previous Halloween party.)

I saw the firm operate up close when I wrote several columns about Lilla Roberts, a 73-year-old homeowner who had spent three years in foreclosure hell. Although she had a steady income and was a good candidate for a modification, the Baum firm treated her mercilessly.

When I called a press spokesman for Steven J. Baum to ask about the photographs, he sent me a statement a few hours later. “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It described this column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

I encourage you to look at the photographs with this column on the Web. Then judge for yourself the veracity of Steven J. Baum’s denial.

via What the Costumes Reveal – NYTimes.com.

define: person, social sciences, the natural sciences, liberal arts education, What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up, books:  Age old question … who should answer it?

We’ve previously explored three different disciplines’ perspectives on what it means to be human and a neuroscientist’s search for the self. But what, exactly, is a person? That’s exactly what sociologist Christian Smith examines in What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up — a fascinating and ambitious meditation on the grand existential question, the answer to which determines our view of our selves, our expectations of others, and our conception of what makes a good society, arguing that much of contemporary theory and thought on personhood is incomplete, short-sighted, misguided even.

Above all, Smith debunks the idea that science, morality, politics, and philosophy are separate matters that don’t, and needn’t, intersect — a byproduct of the ill-conceived model demanding the social sciences emulate the natural sciences. What Is a Person? is thus as much a compelling case for cross-disciplinary curiosity as it is a testament to the power of the synthesizer as a storyteller, weaving together existing ideas to illuminate the subject for a new

via What Is a Person? | Brain Pickings.

28
Oct
11

10.28.2011 … It’s definitely a tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich kinda day … Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty …

Statue of Liberty, history: Happy 125th birthday!

The Statue of Liberty, which today turns 125, is America’s most versatile icon. The colossus of New York Harbor embodies both abstract principles (freedom, democracy) and the intensely personal yearnings of immigrants who wept beneath her on their way to new American beginnings. Over the years, Lady Liberty has endorsed everything from wafers and war bonds to Budweiser and Barbie. Ronald Reagan called her “everybody’s gal.”

Yet “Liberty Enlightening the World” — her formal name — was not always so beloved. A gift from France, the statue originally reflected French yearnings more than it did American ideals. During the two decades it took to complete the hulking monument, Liberty’s creators struggled mightily to fund their efforts. Most Americans looked on with indifference; some even came to resent the gift — for it came with strings attached.

via The History Page: Liberty belle – WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty – YouTube.

Charlotte, Olympics:  Wouldn’t that be fun …

“We need somebody to embrace that, and let’s try to go get the Olympics,” Harris said.

Harris says Charlotte is much like Atlanta was when they first started trying to be a host city.

“They had a big airport…lots of parallels to Charlotte.  It just takes a long time.”

And he says we already have much of the necessary infrastructure.

“Why not? Why not Charlotte,” asked Morgan.

via Charlotte eyes hosting the Olympics | WCNC.com Charlotte.

October snow,  D.C., weather: YIKES!

Because this is a very dynamic storm system and a slight change in temperatures could mean the difference between no snow and several inches in any given location, this is a low confidence forecast. Even in Washington, D.C. there is an outside chance (15% or so) of 4” of snow.

via Rare October snow likely for D.C.’s north and west suburbs – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

$16 Muffins, followup:  So glad the muffins came with   fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The $16 muffin that became a reviled symbol of government waste didn’t cost $16 after all.

That’s the new conclusion of Justice Department auditors, who last month had criticized the department for spending $16.80 apiece for the notorious pastries at a conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington.

An audit of the Department of Justice by the Inspector General says that taxpayer money was wasted on overpriced food and drinks. At one conference, the DOJ spent $4200 on 250 muffins–that’s about $16 a muffin. (Sept. 21)

On Friday, acting Justice ­Department Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar issued a revised report on the department’s conference expenditures. Her new finding: The muffins were part of a continental breakfast that also included items such as fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The new report does not break out a cost for the muffins alone, but a Hilton spokesman has said the entire breakfast cost $16 per person, including taxes and gratuity.

“The department did not pay $16 per muffin,’’ Schnedar’s office wrote, saying that the office regretted the error and that the original conclusion “brought significant negative publicity to the Department and the Capital Hilton.’’

via Justice Dept.: Muffins weren’t $16 after all – The Washington Post.

education, science, Roy G. Biv, mnemonics:  A friend asked how did you learn the colors o f the spectrum and when.  I knew immediately … ROY G BIV and third grade.

ROYGBIV is an acronym for the visible part of the electromagnetic light spectrum:

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colors; the distinct bands are an artifact of human color vision. In ROYGBIV, the colors are arranged in the order of decreasing wavelengths, with red being 650 nm and violet being about 400 nm. The reverse VIBGYOR is used in many Commonwealth countries.

via Roy G. Biv – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

college application essay, anxiety:

Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, agreed that concise writing was laudable but said the implication of a strict limit was misleading. “I worry about that kid who’s written 530 and thinks he has to cut 30 words,” he said. “It just puts another stage of anxiety in front of these kids.”

via College Application Essay as Haiku? For Some, 500 Words Aren’t Enough – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature:  Who you gonna call?

Now you can get back into your Facebook account with a little help from your friends: Facebook just announced a new feature called Trusted Friends, which uses—surprise, surprise—your social network to log you back in if you forget your password.

This is how it works: First, you pick five Facebook friends you trust. If you get locked out, you can arrange it so those friends get a code. Afterwards, call them, collect three of the codes, enter them, and voila—you’re back in business. Facebook likens it “to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation.”

via Facebook Announces New ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature – Techland – TIME.com.

5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street, liberal arts education, quotes:  HMMM … don’t quite understand the reference to a liberal arts education.

“5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street … where each week I try to show you the value of a liberal arts education.”

via 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 28 – TheStreet.

Arab Spring,  Tunisia, Islamist victory, Egypt, Libya:  Arab Spring or Arab instability?

Tunisia’s vote marks the first time that an Islamist party has won a majority in an Arab election since Hamas’ 2006, which resulted in a split of the Palestinian territories between two rival factions. The Arab world’s only other experience with an Islamist win came in Algeria’s 1991 parliamentary race, during which the military swept in to block a full Islamist victory, sparking a bloody 10-year civil war. Ennahda’s sweep in Tunisia is unlikely to yield the same results; most participants and monitors hailed the election’s peaceful and transparent process as a success, and the military has appeared both cooperative and willing to cede power to a civilian government. But the results — and how they came about — will certainly prompt some soul-searching and strategizing across the region.

“The real test now is what happens in the next few weeks,” says Ottaway. Whether Ennahda succeeds in implementing its promise of a broad-based coalition will likely impact the process in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party is poised to capture a sizeable proportion of the votes in the parliamentary race slated for November 28. “In Egypt, there is this great lot of people in the liberal spectrum that are ready to jump into the arms of the military because they are so afraid of the Muslim brotherhood,” Ottaway says. But if Ennahda proves willing to ally with secular parties to form a government, that should alleviate some Egyptian fears. “I think that should show Egyptians that even if the Freedom and Justice party does very well, it doesn’t mean the country is going to become an Islamic republic.”

Either way, the region’s secularists will still have to deal with their own demons. In Egypt where some 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and the literacy rate is among the lowest in the Arab world, secular parties and politicians are often regarded as elitist and distant, while Islamist parties have garnered the most success in attracting poor constituents. Tunisia’s secularists suffered from the same affliction. And indeed, it may have been one of the decisive factors that thwarted their success.

via Tunisia’s Islamist Victory: A Lesson for Egypt and Libya — or Not? – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Jon Huntsman, Stephen Colbert, running mates: 🙂

Former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” Monday night and asked host Stephen Colbert — in Mandarin — to be his running mate.

Colbert took the request in stride, saying that it raised concerns because the fact that he has a SuperPAC prohibits him from “coordinating” with any presidential candidate.

via Jon Huntsman: Stephen Colbert, Will You Be My Running Mate? (VIDEO).

agenda, productivity:  Made me think about my own agenda.

Most of the time, if you ask someone about their agenda, it turns out that it involves doing what’s on someone else’s agenda.

… As soon as you turn over your agenda to others, you’re giving up one of the biggest opportunities you have to contribute. Setting an agenda is often as important as checking the boxes.

Obviously, you can’t be part of any system without engaging with other people and their agendas.

But perhaps we’ve absorbed that habit so completely that we’ve ceded all responsibility and in fact don’t even have an agenda any longer…

via Seth’s Blog: Your agenda.

2012 Presidential Election, flat tax,  GOP,  ‘trickle-down economics’:  This piece at least outlines the various GOP flat tax plans …

The flat tax is making a comeback among Republican presidential candidates. But it faces tough opposition in Congress because it tends to favor the rich at the expense of other taxpayers, renewing an old debate about “trickle-down economics.”

Most of the top GOP contenders — Mitt Romney’s an exception — offer a variation of the tax plan in which everyone pays the same rate. Businessman Herman Cain has his 9-9-9 proposal, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry unveiled a 20 percent flat tax on income this week. Even Romney foresees a flatter tax system in the future, though he favors something closer to the current setup in the short term.

The idea of a flat tax has long been championed by conservative politicians as being simple and fair. Publisher Steve Forbes made it a centerpiece of his Republican presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has endorsed Perry, calling his economic plan “the most exciting plan since (Ronald) Reagan’s.”

via Flat tax makes a comeback among GOP hopefuls, renewing dispute over ‘trickle-down economics’ – The Washington Post.

Mormons, culture:  Mormon ways to be hip??

But the boundaries of Mormon style are expanding. The highly visible “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign (the subject of a major push on television, billboards, the subway and the Internet) seeks to quash strait-laced stereotypes by showing off a cool, diverse set of Mormons, including, besides Mr. Flowers, a leather-clad Harley aficionado, knit-cap-wearing professional skateboarder and an R & B singer with a shaved head.

It’s not just in ads sponsored by the church. On college campuses, city streets and countless style blogs, a young generation of Mormons has adopted a fashion-forward urban aesthetic (geek-chic glasses, designer labels and plenty of vintage) that wouldn’t look out of place at a Bushwick party.

“There used to be a bias against being ‘cool’ in the Mormon world,” said Kendra Smoot, 31, a prop stylist who does work for Lucky and Martha Stewart, and who can be seen sporting Sartorialist-inflected ensembles on Smoot, a blog she runs with her husband, Seth Smoot, a photographer. Ten years ago, when she was a student at Brigham Young University, “there was absolutely zero fashion sense, myself included,” she said. “Now when I go back to visit, the kids there look really cool.

“I think there’s an acceptance now that you can look current and interesting but still uphold the values of the Mormon religion,” she added.

There are limits, however. According to guidelines on dress and grooming on the church’s official Web site, Mormons are discouraged from wearing immodest clothing, including “short shorts and skirts,” “tight clothing” and “shirts that do not cover the stomach.” They should “avoid extremes in clothing, appearance and hairstyle” and not “disfigure” themselves “with tattoos or body piercings.”

Those strictures can be a challenge for members of the creative class who feel the lure of scruffy, bohemian chic.

via Young Mormons Find Ways to Be Hip – NYTimes.com.

antiques, vintage sterling silver, kith/kin: Was talking with a cousin about some heirloom silver.  I have no idea how to value … thought this might be an interesting resource.

Antique & Vintage Sterling Silver for your table and bar

via Antique and Vintage Sterling Silver | Sterling Silver Hallmarks | Silver Magpies Home.

economic theory,  economic complexity, economic growth:  Worth reading …

Two economists, Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Cesar Hidalgo of MIT, have just released their 364-page “Atlas of Economic Complexity,” which claims to be the best model yet for predicting how much nations will grow in the future. So what’s the secret?

As it turns out, the authors argue, the best way to tell how rich a country will get isn’t by looking at things like political institutions, or the rule of law, or even education levels. Nope, it’s far better to look at what they call a country’s “collective knowledge.” That means looking, primarily, at how many different products a country creates — and particularly how many unique products a country makes, things that no other countries are making (say, medical-imaging devices). For example, the authors note that Pakistan and Singapore both export a similar number of types of products. But Singapore’s exports tend to be relatively rarer on the world stage than Pakistan’s, and the country’s much richer as a result.

via Is ‘complexity’ the key to economic growth? – The Washington Post.

Halloween Weekend, London, travel:  London can be eerie!

There’s more to the dark side of the English capital’s history than that of the Tower of London. Around Halloween the city will come alive (so to speak) with the dead, as ghosts, ghouls and witches take to the streets for a weekend of spine-chilling revelries, from Oct. 29 to 31.

via On Halloween Weekend, Exploring London’s Scary Side – NYTimes.com.

Muammar Gaddafi,  Third World Solidarity, Pan – Africa, followup:  I had no idea he had tried to create a United States of Africa and he was crowned  “king of kings!”

One of the more farcical moments in a reign steeped in the bizarre, Muammar Gaddafi’s 2008 coronation as the “king of kings” of Africa was an elaborate ceremony attended by a couple hundred African royals. From a mock throne, wielding a gleaming scepter, Gaddafi urged greater African unity, calling on the formation of a “United States of Africa” with a common army and currency. The dignitaries, mostly traditional chieftains or petty royals with only symbolic power, seemed happy enough to play along with yet another megalomaniacal Gaddafi spectacle.

Yet Gaddafi’s international legacy deserves more analysis. Spurned by many Arab states who had no time for his pan-Arabist posturing, Gaddafi had turned to Africa in recent years with a vast fund of his petro-wealth — some $5 billion — that he distributed as largesse throughout the continent. It won him the presidency of the African Union in 2009, though neither his attempt to extend his tenure nor calls for a more integrated federation met any success. But, after years of fomenting insurgencies, abetting militant action and grooming ideological pet projects around the world, Gaddafi’s pan-Africanism has left a mark. A report by the International Crisis Group, a New York and Brussels-based think tank, sums up the immediate effect of his exit from the scene:

Due to the length of his reign, his influence abroad and strong patronage politics, Qaddafi’s shadow will continue to be felt in Libya and neighbouring countries. The upheavals that preceded and followed his fall have created new and potential problems, including massive displacement of populations; tribal tensions within Libya and racist attacks against nationals of sub-Saharan countries; a possible resurgence of Islamism; and the proliferation of fighters and weapons.

Despite such chaos, Gaddafi still commands sympathy in sub-Saharan Africa. His pan-Africanism and support of liberation struggles against colonial rule won him the loyalty of Nelson Mandela. For all the evil that he may have perpetrated, there’s a larger narrative of justice on whose side he’s still somewhat on: that of Third World solidarity, a sentiment that once wove much of the developing world together during the Cold War.

via Gaddafi Now Dead, Has Third World Solidarity Died with Him? – Global Spin – TIME.com.

HOT lane, Atlanta, GA, travel, followup:  Has this worked other places … or does it work if installed  at HOT lanes at the beginning and not as conversion from HOV lanes … or is it just too early to tell.

Driving with two commuters, one in the HOT lanes, the other in the regular lanes, yielded dramatically different experiences. But one thing was the same: Both commuters said that, as far as they can see, the opening of the project has cost them without benefiting them.

via HOT lane unhappiness: Some drivers say congestion worse  | ajc.com.

green, South African, recycled rugby balls, job creation: another good green idea …

TOUCH in South Africa is training unemployed seamstresses to make rugby balls from recycled materials, addressing the problems of waste and unemployment simultaneously.

via Upcycled South African rugby balls create jobs and clean up streets | Springwise.

tv, cultural history,  Lauren Zalaznick, TED:  My grandmother called it the “idiot box,” too!

From the intricate balance of moral ambiguity and inspiration, humor and judgement, to the normative shifts scripted television can ignite, to the evolving ideals of motherhood, Zalaznick illustrates not only how history has shaped the medium, but also how the medium itself is shaping cultural history.

via The Conscience of Television: Lauren Zalaznick at TED | Brain Pickings.

Lauren Zalaznick: The conscience of television – YouTube.

Coca-Cola, polar bears, white Coke Cans, WWF, branding, kudos:  Coke and polar bears … an unlikely pair … kudos to Coke!

So perhaps it’s a measure of the company’s dedication to the environment that Coca-Cola has decided to change the color of its iconic cans for the holiday season—white, to draw attention to the plight of the polar bear. Coke and the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have joined together to promote the Arctic Home project, which will involve turning 1.4 billion Coke cans white, emblazoned with the image of a mother polar bear and her cubs pawing through the Arctic. There will also be white bottle caps on other Coke branded drinks, all running from the beginning of November to February. “In 125 years we’ve never changed the color of the Coke can,” says Katie Bayne, president and GM of Coca-Cola Sparking Beverages. “We really see this as a bold gesture.”

Bold gestures are exactly what the polar bears needs. There’s a reason the planet’s largest land carnivores have emerged as the symbols of climate change—perhaps no species is more directly impacted by warming temperatures than the polar bear. They depend on Arctic sea ice as a major habitat and hunting ground, but sea ice is vanishing rapidly, shrinking to its second-lowest level on record this past summer. As the ice melts, polar bears are forced to swim further and further for food—and some, especially young cubs, simply won’t make it. “We’re watching the ice shrink in front of our eyes, and if there is no ice, there are no bears,” says Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of WWF. “The polar bears need our help.”

via Coke and WWF Work Together to Save the Polar Bears in the Arctic – Ecocentric – TIME.com.

gardening, deer:  The deer devoured my impatiens!!

Occasionally Severely Damaged:  Impatiens, Fall Mums

via Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance: Home, Lawn & Garden.

college application process,  QuestBridge National College Match program, college scholarships:  I had never heard of this until recently when Molly found it on a questionnaire at UVA.  If you are low-income and gifted you should take a look.

For high-achieving students from low-income families, attending a top-tier college can feel completely out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

The National College Match program looks for students who have achieved excellence in school, and whose families face economic challenges. Then it matches those students with elite colleges that are prepared to offer full scholarships to these talented kids.

Participating schools include Amherst, Dartmouth, Brown, Emory, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and more — 31 highly respected universities in all.

High-school seniors are invited to apply now. The application deadline is Sept. 30, 2011, and the application process requires a good bit of documentation, along with three essays, so best to get started now. The good news? With just one application, students can be considered for scholarships to up to eight schools.

via Full scholarships to elite colleges for high achieving, low income students « Gifted Atlanta.

1 %-er, Occupy Wall Street:  Trying to understand all sides of this issue … ” But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?  Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently.

One of the chief complaints emerging from the 99 percenters camped in New York City and around the world is the sense that the top 1 percent have gotten away with something—that no amount of malfeasance on their part could endanger their status.

The movement began, of course, on Wall Street, where this phenomenon is glaringly typified. By now, the chutzpah of the bankers, who are batting away even the gentlest attempts to regulate their behavior after they ruined the economy and got trillions in taxpayer bailouts, is well-known.

But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?

Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently. Take, for example, the recent eviscerations of class-action lawsuits. When Wal-Mart v. Dukes was before the Supreme Court earlier this year, big businesses rushed to the defense of the company. The megastore, run by the Walton family—one of the wealthiest in the world, with a collective fortune of $90 billion—was being sued by a class-action group of women charging gender discrimination at stores nationwide. The US Chamber of Commerce’s litigation center filed an amicus brief on the company’s behalf, as did a wide array of large corporations, from Altria to Bank of America to General Electric.

The Court decided against the women, saying they must sue individually and cannot act as a class in action against Walmart. The legal logic the justices applied limited many class-action suits going forward and means that “the bigger the company, the more varied and decentralized its job practices, the less likely it will have to face a class-action claim,” according to longtime Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston.

via How to Be a 1 Percenter | The Nation.

Storify:  Still trying to figure this one out?  Maybe if I keep clipping I will actually try it. 🙂

You’ll notice a new look, stronger foundation, better tools for collecting media from around the web, and great new ways to organize your story.

Welcome to the new Storify editor interface. We’ve taken your feedback and have rebuilt Storify on a stronger foundation with some cool new features, a new logo, and a new look.

via New Storify Editor Interface Rolls Out – With StoryPad Tool For Gathering And Sharing Media · storify · Storify.

08
Sep
11

9.8.2011 … Last week … “let me in, it is too hot” … this week … “let me in, it is too cool” … and now … “let me out, it’s sunny and just right” – Goldibassets, Bart and Lisa, two 10-year-old bassets.

fall:  Bassets are loving it … they can ride in the car with me again … which usually means a “loving it” trip to McDonald’s as well.

Romare Bearden, Charlotte, A. Zachary Smith III:  I am so enjoying sharing in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth Charlotte’s native son Romare Bearden.  Thank you Zach Smith for introducing me to this wonderful artist 25 years ago.

Join us as we celebrate one of Mecklenburg County’s greatest artists in a film series dedicated to Romare Bearden; hosted by our award-winning film series guru, Sam Shapiro of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

What started as a Summer Film Series has become a year-long venture into bringing the world of film history to various audiences and last year won Creative Loafing’s Best of Charlotte Award for Best Film Series.

There will be Bearden celebrations and art exhibits around town throughout the fall and winter, including a major retrospective of his work opening at the Mint Museum in September. In partnership with the Mint, the Library will be screening a three part series focusing on Bearden, his art and his influence on music. Among them will be documentaries about the Harlem Renaissance, a 20th century movement.  All of these screenings also include a brief talk by Shapiro.

Funds raised for this series will be used to secure screening rights, produce and promote each series, and acquire much needed material on these topics for our collection.

Budget Breakdown:   Movie Rights: The rights to show these movies will cost $400. Promotional Materials: To ensure we have a great crowd we will need posters and a few advertisements that will cost $400. DVDs and Other Check Out Materials: We want the film series experience to be that our guests can take home and show their friends so we will spend $500 buying materials to support this effort. $156 will go to processing fees on the site

Total – $1,456

via Project Detail | power2give.

2012 Presidential Campaign, Jon Meacham, twitter: I forgot to watch … but JM sums it up …

@jmeacham

Jon Meacham

About that cheering last night: Obama seems bloodless, and the GOP is bloodthirsty.

via Jon Meacham (jmeacham) on Twitter.

medical marijuana, DC, LOL:  I am sorry … but having two boys in Boulder where medical marijuana is legal, I am used to it, make that not shocked by it,  in CO or CA, but I still  cannot imagine it on the east coast.

Gone is the sound technician who wanted to sell cannabis-infused cupcakes. And gone is the hydroponics supply store owner who once named a strain of pot after the Potomac River. They are among at least a dozen would-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs who took themselves out of the running because they found the city’s regulations too restrictive or the start-up costs too high. And in the past week, at least five more dropped out because of a recent change in the regulations that they fear increases the likelihood of federal prosecution.

The contenders that remain range from medical-cannabis veterans to complete novices whose qualifications for cultivation consist of “a green thumb.”

Many have gone the A-Team route and gathered an assortment of people with different specialities: doctor, CPA, horticulturist.

One of the most polished entrants is the nonprofit Abatin Wellness Center, the brainchild of former television talk show host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis and has long supported legalizing medical marijuana. Abatin opened a dispensary in Sacramento this year that one reviewer dubbed “the Neiman Marcus of Marijuana.”

Intent on expanding eastward, Abatin hired veteran lobbyist and longtime Marion Barry lawyer Frederick Cooke Jr. to represent it in the District. In July, Cooke escorted Williams around the Wilson Building to meet local pols.

Williams said he hopes an Abatin outpost in Washington will help change perceptions about medical marijuana on Capitol Hill. He agrees with critics who complain that in some parts of the country, loose regulation has turned medical marijuana into little more than state-sanctioned drug dealing.

via D.C. approves more than 50 to apply for medical marijuana licenses – The Washington Post.

diet, health mental health:  I should never be depressed … these are all my favorites.

In recent years, carbohydrates have become the enemy in certain types of diets. “People are cutting out carbs completely,” Villacorta says, who suggests that rather than avoiding all carbs, you should simply choose the right ones — whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables. These carbs are digested more slowly than refined carbs, which cause your blood sugar to quickly rise and drop, leading to fatigue. Including healthy carbohydrates in your diet is important because they help increase levels of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another — which makes you feel more relaxed.

Nutrients to Improve Mood

Other healthy food-mood partners include:

Omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel and in ground flaxseed, canola oil, and some nuts such as walnuts. Research is still ongoing, Villacorta says, but some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate symptoms of depression. You can also take fish oil in capsules. “There are psychiatrists who prescribe fish oil as an adjunctive treatment for depression,” Wong says. “I’ve had a few people report to me that it helped improve their mood.”

Vitamin B12 and folate. Vitamin B12 is found in fish, such as salmon and trout, and in fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals. B12 is also available as a vitamin supplement. Good sources of folate (another B vitamin) are dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach, citrus fruits, beans, almonds, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Researchers believe that these two B vitamins help break down the amino acid homocysteine, which is being investigated for a possible link to depression when in high levels.

Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and increases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. “I recommend dark chocolate to all my clients,” Villacorta says. “If you can eat just one or two small pieces a day, it’s good for you.” But be sure to stop there — a serving of only 1.5 ounces has also been shown to be heart-healthy, but eating the whole bar may cause you to pack on extra pounds.

via The Right Foods for Managing Depression – Major Depression Resource Center – Everyday Health.

USA, international relations, politics, global spin, post-American world:  I don’t even like the term “Post-American World”

Most Europeans – 54% — want to see strong American leadership, according to a new Transatlantic Trends poll out Sept. 14. And a whopping 85% of Americans want their country to lead the world. Certainly, if you listen to the GOP field of U.S. presidential wannabes, American exceptionalism has been on the decline and should be a priority. To their mind, America should always be No. 1.

But, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’s 2011 Review of World Affairs, out Tuesday, America’s interest in leading the world is at the lowest point since before Sept. 11. “The U.S. approach to international crises in the medium term will be shaped by the country’s war fatigue,” John Chipman, the institute’s director, told reporters in London at the report’s unveiling. “‘Abroad’ has become a synonym for ‘quagmire’ in the American political consciousness. ‘Home’ is the priority for which most political capital must be spent.” Traditionally, second-term presidents have focused more on foreign policy. Given the economic climate, President Obama has been forced to focus much of his attentions inward, and it remains to be seen whether he’s been successful enough to win a second term. A decade of two protracted and expensive wars have worn thin on the world’s only superpower.

via Many in the West Don’t Want a Post-American World – Global Spin – TIME.com.

marriage, mental health problems, marrying young, twitter:  The twitter link said women who marry “young” suffer mental health problems.

@TIMENewsFeed

TIME NewsFeed

Getting married young is linked to psychological problems later, study finds | ti.me/pGRp6o

via TIME NewsFeed (TIMENewsFeed) on Twitter.

I thought I married young at 24 … uh-oh … they meant under 18, i.e., children who marry!  Glad I don’t qualify … I have enough risk factors as it is!

A new study has found that girls who marry before they’re 18 are more likely to suffer from mental health problems later on.

The research, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, found that women who were married as children — defined as 17 or younger by the study — were more likely to suffer from problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug addiction. The researchers, led by Dr. Yann Le Strat, discovered the connection by looking at data from more than 18,000 women from across the United States and determining how old they had been when they were first married (if they married at all) and whether or not they suffered from long or short-term psychiatric problems.

via Study: Getting Married Before Age 18 Linked to Psychological Problems – TIME NewsFeed.

brainwave controllers, science, innovation, TED:  Humans are amazing!

THE idea of moving objects with the power of the mind has fascinated mankind for millennia. At first it was the province of gods, then sorcerers and witches. In the late 19th century psychokinesis, as the trick then came to be known, became a legitimate object of study, as part of the nascent field of parapsychology, before falling into disrepute in the arch-rationalist 20th century. Since the 1990s, however, it has seen something of a revival, under a more scientifically acceptable guise.

There is nothing particularly magical about moving things with thoughts. Human beings perform the feat every time they move a limb, or breathe, by sending electrical impulses to appropriate muscles. If these electrical signals could be detected and interpreted, the argument goes, there is in principle no reason why they could not be used to steer objects other than the thinker’s own body. Indeed, over the past two decades brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which use electrodes implanted in the skull have enabled paralysed patients to control computer cursors, robotic arms and wheelchairs.

Now, though, non-invasive BCIs, where electrodes sit on the scalp instead of burrowing through it, are finally becoming a realistic alternative to the complicated surgical procedure that implants necessitate. Electroencephalography (EEG), which measures electrical activity along the scalp, has long been used clinically to diagnose epilepsy, comas and brain death, and as a research tool in neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Last year an Austrian company called Guger Technologies released a system that uses EEG to allow paralysed patients to type. The system highlights letters one by one on a grid. When the desired letter comes up an EEG headset picks up the brain activity associated with recognising it. At five to ten characters per minute the process is slow and laborious, but it offers patients a way to communicate with others. The device can also be used to attract a minder’s attention, to get a computer to read out a text or to send commands to external devices such as a TV.

As might be expected, not everyone shares the enthusiasm for supplanting mankind’s traditional, arm’s length relationship with technology with a deeper, BCI-mediated sort. Jens Clausen, a medical ethicist at Tübingen University, warns that excessive use of BCI for gaming could alter brain activity in ways that conventional gaming does not, and that as yet are poorly understood. And blurring the distinction between thinking about an act and actually performing it raises some tricky moral and philosophical questions.

Yet as it stands, the technology seems poised for a period of rapid development which both the needy and thrill-seekers are bound to greet with cheers. As Tan Le, co-founder of Emotiv, the headset-maker, told the TED conference last year, “We are only really scratching the surface of what is possible.” Those scratches are, however, getting deeper all the time.

via Brainwave controllers: Put your thinking cap on | The Economist.

Tan Le: A headset that reads your brainwaves | Video on TED.com.

Odessa Sloan Hunsucker, RIP, Davidson College:  Davidsonians loved the staff at the college.  This obituary  made me think of The Help and wondered if the staff knew how much we loved them.  They blessed our lives. Rest in peace, Odessa Sloan Hunsucker. You had a full life.

Mrs. Hunsucker was born July 1, 1911, in Davidson and attended schools in Davidson and Statesville. She married John Baxter Hunsucker (1905-1967) and together they moved to New Jersey and New England, where they lived and worked for many years.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Hunsucker moved back to Davidson and built a home on Lakeside Avenue, where she lived until 2007. At the time of her death, she was living in a nursing home in Mooresville. In July, she celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends.

In Davidson, she was active in Reeves Temple AME Zion Church, where she was a former trustee board member, a class leader, deaconess, senior choir member and a member of the Missionary Society and Lay Council. She also was a member of the Progressives Club.

Odessa Sloan Hunsucker celebrated her 100th birthday with friends in July 2011.

She worked many years as a cook at Davidson College fraternities PKA and Emanon and later was employed by the Howie family.

She is survived by a niece, Angela Sloan, of Clinton, Md.; and two cousins, Mable Torrence of Davidson and Ruth Crosby of Charlotte.

She also leaves behind many friends, including Lela Johnson of Davidson, who assisted her for many years. “She was a sweet person, and she loved everybody,” Mrs. Johnson recalled. “She was a fun person to be with. She loved to crochet, and she loved to cook.”

via Odessa Sloan Hunsucker, 100 | Obituaries.

 The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, bookshelf, corporate history, economics, kith/kin, Atlanta:  Very interesting how the great corporations rise (and fall) coincide with our economic history.  As a kid in Atlanta, we had the Peachtree Battle A&P (where I went with my dad on Saturdays to get all the OA gossip) and a few Colonials and then the hold out independents (the one I remember was near Brookwood Station) which all disappeared by the late 60s.   What do you remember?

Enter the A&P. The company, which originally focused on the tea market, opened its first small grocery store in 1912. Unlike traditional mom-and-pop stores, the A&P had no telephone, no credit lines and no delivery options. They also had lower prices.

“People figured out they could save money by shopping there,” says Levinson. “It stocked only items that were fast-sellers, so it wasn’t stuck with an inventory of products no one was buying. It had limited hours. It had a single employee. … They found a way to sell groceries cheaper. … Within eight years, this approach turned their company into the largest retailer in the world.”

By 1930, the Hartford family, which owned A&P, had opened up almost 16,000 more stores. The stores themselves also expanded in both size and selection.


In a new book, Levinson explains how local mom-and-pop stores — with their limited selections, high prices and nonstandard packaging — paved the way for national chains like the A&P to swoop in and dominate the grocery industry. His book The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America chronicles the rise (and fall) of the discount grocery chain that was once one of the largest businesses in America. Levinson tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that it was no coincidence that a national chain replaced the corner store.

“People get misty-eyed at the thought of the independent store — maybe it had some unique product, maybe we had more choices than we have today — but the truth was exactly the opposite,” he says. “Most of these stores had a very limited selection. They had no unique products at all. … [Shoppers] would have to go to two or three different grocery stories in their neighborhood if they wanted different type of goods, plus the butcher, the baker, and the fruit and vegetable store. … The consumer’s choices were pretty constrained.”

State laws were passed to force manufacturers to sell to all stores at the same price and to tax merchants with multiple stores in a case. An antitrust suit was also filed against the A&P, claiming that it had become a food monopoly because it controlled all aspects of manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling. But the movement lost steam in the late 1930s, when the economy started to pick up.

“By late 1939, unemployment was starting to fall, prices were starting to rise,” he says. “And you had full employment in World War II. The fate of mom-and-pop merchants was not the political issue that it had been during the Depression. After the war, you had huge changes in American society — and people liked the idea of shopping at a larger store … and they didn’t like being told that they were supposed to do business with a little independent grocer who didn’t offer them many choices.”

via How The A&P Changed The Way We Shop : NPR.

blogging, what i think about most: This wordpress feature intrigues me because some surprise me …

Apple Apps architecture art Atlanta bookshelf Charlotte Chicago college culture Davidson Davidson College education Facebook faith and spirituality followup food gLee Great Recession green health history icons Jane Austen kith/kin kudos lists LOL media movies music news NYC places politics quotes random religion restaurants RIP South Africa technology travel tv

via Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Newseum, Newseum Student Advisory Team, DC, Carol Harman:  If I were an “opinionated, engaging and informed middle and high school students,” I would love this.  Unfortunately I do not qualify. 🙂  But if you are in the DC area and have kids in this age group … what a great opportunity.  The Newseum is one of my favorites.  Thank you Carol Harman for suggesting I visit!

Join the 2011-2012 Newseum Student Advisory Team

We are looking for opinionated, engaging and informed middle and high school students to participate in the Newseum Student Advisory Team. The advisory team’s role is to (a) serve as the Newseum’s student ambassadors and (b) provide feedback on the development of interactive exhibits, videos and programs in the Newseum.

Students who participate will be given a package of tickets to the Newseum. Verification of volunteer hours will be provided. Team members must be able to attend required meetings once a month at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Interested students should submit a completed application, including a 250-word essay, describing why you would like to be a part of the team, and one letter of reference from a faculty or community member by Sept. 16, 2011.

Completed applications can be submitted by mail, fax or electronically to:

Newseum Education Department

555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20001

Phone: 202/292-6650; Fax: 202/292-6665

E-mail: educationprograms@newseum.org

Download the new member application

Key Dates:

Finalists will be notified via email by Sept. 24, 2011. Finalists are required to interview with members of the Newseum Education Department and current Student Advisory Team members before joining the team.

The first meeting will be Thursday, Oct.13, 2011, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parents are required to attend this introductory meeting with their students.

via Newseum | Resources for Students.




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