Posts Tagged ‘the mind

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.

17
Aug
10

8.17.2010 … busy, busy, busy … then off to Boulder …

music, history: interesting

Part of what makes the Savory collection so alluring and historically important is its unusual format. At the time Savory was recording radio broadcasts for his own pleasure, which was before the introduction of tape, most studio performances were issued on 10-inch 78-r.p.m. shellac discs, which, with their limited capacity, could capture only about three minutes of music.

But Mr. Savory had access to 12- or even 16-inch discs, made of aluminum or acetate, and sometimes recorded at speeds of 33 1/3 r.p.m. That combination of bigger discs, slower speeds and more durable material allowed Mr. Savory to record longer performances in their entirety, including jam sessions at which musicians could stretch out and play extended solos that tested their creative mettle.

via National Jazz Museum Acquires Savory Collection – NYTimes.com.

JetBlue, pr:  Interesting controlled response … JetBlue Responds to Entire Internet With Single Blog Post | Fast Company.

architecture, Chicago: The courtyard at 4th Pres. is one of my favorite places to have an urban picnic … will this impact the historic old part of the church?

Instead, the historic house of worship on the north end of the Magnificent Mile will be seeking city approval for a five-story addition that would house classrooms, a day school, a library, a dining facility, multi-purpose spaces, a 350-person chapel and a two-story galleria linking it to the original building.

The most significant feature, however, may be what’s not planned for the addition. Foundations that would allow for a future high-rise expansion on top of the building are not part of the proposal, according to the addition’s architects the Chicago office of Gensler.

via Cityscapes | Chicago Tribune | Blog.

Mind/Body Balance:

Fear is a natural reaction built into the mind-body system. It is triggered by danger, and after the danger is passed, so is the fear response. But when fear spreads out into a general condition, it becomes a mysterious thing: anxiety.

Record numbers of people in modern society, predominantly women, suffer from mild to extreme anxiety. Billions of dollars are spent every year on tranquilizers to treat this condition, yet as the doctor writes out a prescription, he knows two discouraging things: no medication is a cure for anxiety and the cause of the condition is unknown. Since human beings have lived with the fear response before recorded history, there should be a way to heal anxiety, and perhaps the best way to approach the mild-to-moderate types is not as a disease but as a challenge. In anxious people, fear is allowed to roam freely; we can truly say that fear rules the mind. Yet it should be that we use our emotions, not that they use us. The challenge is to bring the fear response back under control. Otherwise, anxiety becomes ingrained and over time will spiral downward. The anxious person begins to be afraid of being afraid, because she knows that she has no power against it.

via Deepak Chopra: Breaking the Cycle of Anxiety.

real estate: Flat screen tvs and or the brackets are now fixtures?  More like a stove or a refrigerator?

But since flat-screen televisions now reign, and they don’t necessarily get packed up with the rest of the furniture when someone moves out, they have become the newest punch-list item that must be considered in an apartment sale.

If a television has been mounted to a wall, does it stay or go? If it goes, does the bracket stay or go? And if the bracket goes, who repairs the gaping holes left by the now-removed bracket?

via Posting – Flat-Screen TVs Become Newest Amenity – NYTimes.com.

The Mind: technology:

Mr. Braver, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, was one of five neuroscientists on an unusual journey. They spent a week in late May in this remote area of southern Utah, rafting the San Juan River, camping on the soft banks and hiking the tributary canyons.

It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.

via Your Brain on Computers – Studying the Brain Off the Grid, Professors Find Clarity – NYTimes.com.

iPad apps:  Wonder how Charlotte fares? Boulder? Mappiness iPhone App Maps Happiness (Say That Three Times Fast).

film/lit:

Speakeasy agrees with director Daniel Alfredson, who commandeered two of the three original Swedish versions, that Noomi Rapace, the original Salander, is one of a kind.  It takes a certain fierceness to play a tattooed, socially-challenged, combative hacker, and from first glance, Mara just looks so…gentle. We have a hard time imagining her exacting brutal revenge on some of the film’s characters, but maybe with a few piercings and protein shakes she’ll prove as good as Rapace.

via Rooney Mara Cast as Lisbeth Salander in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Adaptation – Speakeasy – WSJ.

The Mind, ADHD: May get my boys to read this.

Today I am thankful for the gift of a cluttered, unfocused mind. Because of that gift I have been able to achieve and accomplish far more than if I had been born normal. In all of my endeavors, I have been able to see the big picture. I am extremely creative and able to function and work outside of the box, which while often-causing distress to other more conventional thinkers, has proved to produce that which rigid thinking could never have construed.

via My Companion for 67 Years by Jack DeJarnette | LikeTheDew.com.

LakeTahoe/Reno, random:  Bubbba seems to fit a criminal stealing bear (more than a world class golfer :))!

The most infamous criminal Lake Tahoe is facing isn’t even human.

It’s Bubba, a black bear weighing in at about 700 pounds. He’s been hanging out near Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada, living in luxury, subsisting entirely on stolen goods, the Wall Street Journal reports. This stealing machine has broken into more than 50 homes, using them as personal bathrooms and causing more than $70,000 of damage. He has no mercy, either — a few years ago he broke into a church and ate 20 jars of peanut butter that were donated for the poor.

Authorities are hot on Bubba’s trail, even placing a shoot-to-kill order on the furry fugitive, though most bears are tranquilized and moved into the wild. But Bubba is unstoppable — apparently back in 2009, someone tried to kill him and a bullet bounced off his head. Maybe Stephen Colbert is right about the bear’s threat to humans everywhere.

via Meet Bubba the Black Bear, Notorious Lake Tahoe Criminal – TIME NewsFeed.

07
Aug
10

8.7.2010 … definitely dog days of summer …

summer:

“Dog Days” (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. In the southern hemisphere they are usually between January and early March. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.

Food, travel, Asheville:  Another rec … Old World Bakery …  “a genuine, wonderful French bakery in Asheville. On Hendersonville Rd at St John Square, Fletcher. Complete with all variety of bread, fruit tarts, petit pain au chocolat, napoleons, etc. yum.” Thanks, Dinah.

Great Recession:  Surprise, surprise … there are differing opinions.

When the latest unemployment figures are announced on Friday, all of Wall Street will be watching. But for Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley and Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, the results will be more than just another marker in an avalanche of data.

Instead, the numbers will be a clue as to which of the two economists is right about where the American economy is headed. Their sharp disagreement over that question adds yet another twist to the fierce rivalry between the firms, Wall Street’s version of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Mr. Hatzius is arguably Wall Street’s most prominent pessimist. He warns that the American economy is poised for a sharp slowdown in the second half of the year. That would send unemployment higher again and raise the risk of deflation. A rare occurrence, deflation can have a devastating effect on a struggling economy as prices and wages fall. He says he may be compelled to downgrade his already anemic growth predictions for the economy.

For months, Mr. Berner has been sticking to a more optimistic forecast, despite growing evidence in favor of Mr. Hatzius’s view. Last week, Mr. Berner was caught by surprise when the federal government reported that the economy grew at a 2..4 percent pace in the second quarter, well below the 3.8 percent he had forecast a month before. Mr. Hatzius came closer to hitting the mark, having projected a 2 percent growth rate.

via 2 Top Economists Differ Sharply on Deflation – NYTimes.com.

invention, bookshelf:  One of my favorite book is Longitude by Dava Sobe. I remember thinking that giving a prize to the discoverer  was really interesting.  But maybe they are more common than I realized.

A CURIOUS cabal gathered recently in a converted warehouse in San Francisco for a private conference. Among them were some of the world’s leading experts in fields ranging from astrophysics and nanotechnology to health and energy. Also attending were entrepreneurs and captains of industry, including Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, and Ratan Tata, the head of India’s Tata Group. They were brought together to dream up more challenges for the X Prize Foundation, a charitable group which rewards innovation with cash. On July 29th a new challenge was announced: a $1.4m prize for anyone who can come up with a faster way to clean oil spills from the ocean.

The foundation began with the Ansari X Prize: $10m to the first private-sector group able to fly a reusable spacecraft 100km (62 miles) into space twice within two weeks. It was won in 2004 by a team led by Burt Rutan, a pioneering aerospace engineer, and Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. Other prizes have followed, including the $10m Progressive Automotive X Prize, for green cars that are capable of achieving at least 100mpg, or its equivalent. Peter Diamandis, the entrepreneur who runs the foundation, says he has become convinced that “focused and talented teams in pursuit of a prize and acclaim can change the world.”

This might sound like hyperbole, but other charities, including the Gates Foundation, have been sufficiently impressed to start offering their own prizes. An industry is now growing up around them, with some firms using InnoCentive, an online middleman, to offer prizes to eager problem-solvers. Now governments are becoming keen too. As a result, there is a surge in incentive prizes (see chart).

Lost at sea

Such prizes are not new. The Longitude Prize was set up by the British government in 1714 as a reward for reliable ways for mariners to determine longitude. And in 1795 Napoleon offered a prize to preserve food for his army, which led to the canned food of today. In more recent times incentive prizes have fallen out of favour. Instead, prizes tend to be awarded for past accomplishments—often a long time after the event. As T.S. Eliot remarked after receiving his Nobel prize, it was like getting “a ticket to one’s own funeral”.

Is this a good thing? Prizes used to promote a policy are vulnerable to political jiggery pokery, argues Lee Davis of the Copenhagen Business School. Thomas Kalil, a science adviser to Barack Obama, acknowledges the pitfalls but insists that incentive prizes offered by governments can work if well crafted. Indeed, he argues that the very process of thinking critically about a prize’s objectives sharpens up the bureaucracy’s approach to big problems.

One success was NASA’s Lunar Lander prize, which was more cost-effective than the traditional procurement process, says Robert Braun, NASA’s chief technologist. Another example is the agency’s recent prize for the design of a new astronaut’s glove: the winner was not an aerospace firm but an unemployed engineer who has gone on to form a new company.

When the objective is a technological breakthrough, clearly-defined prizes should work well. But there may be limits. Tachi Yamada of the Gates Foundation is a big believer in giving incentive prizes, but gives warning that it can take 15 years or more to bring a new drug to market, and that even AMC’s carrot of $1.5 billion for new vaccines may not be a big enough incentive. No prize could match the $20 billion or so a new blockbuster drug can earn in its lifetime. So, in some cases, says Dr Yamada, “market success is the real prize.”

via Innovation prizes: And the winner is… | The Economist.

green, Made in the USA:

WASHINGTON — The United Steelworkers and two Chinese companies announced Friday that they had signed an agreement assuring that major components of machines for a $1.5 billion wind farm in Texas would be made in the United States.

The deal potentially defuses a conflict over American stimulus dollars being used to subsidize foreign companies.

Without releasing full details, the union said that the steel for the wind towers, enclosures for working parts atop the towers and reinforcing bars for the bases would be sourced in the United States. So will the blades, which are not made of steel but are often made by steelworkers, the union and the two companies said.

via Wind Farm Deal Assures Bigger U.S. Role – NYTimes.com.

Jane Austen, Bollywood:  I can’t wait!

The fun in Jane Austen’s Emma and its subsequent adaptations has been the relationship dynamics between its characters. Two of the unlikeliest people fall in love; confused folks mistake infatuation for love; friendship remains a vague term.

Even if you have seen the Hollywood adaptation Clueless, you’ll still enjoy Aisha for its expert desi spin on the story. It’s a world where the travelling-to-Mumbai gang may shop on the street but will lunch at The Taj and dine at Tetsuma.

It’s so rare for a film to get it all together: from the story, to the performances, to the atmospherics, to the music and more. This one goes perfectly with the popcorn; don’t miss it.

via Movie Review : Aisha review: This one goes perfectly with the popcorn.

law school, economics,UGA Law:  A senior partner at King & Spalding, Atlanta, advised me to go to UGA over Emory or Vanderbilt.  He said he saw better lawyers coming out of UGA.  I followed his suggestion and saved a lot of money.  I think I got an excellent legal education.

Go to the best law school you get into.

It’s advice that’s been passed down through the ages, from generation to generation. Law is a profession that trades, the thinking goes, on prestige. Clients like prestigious names like Wachtell and Cravath; the wealthiest firms like names like Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Get into one of those schools, and up go your chances of going to a big firm, kicking tail, making partner and grabbing that brass ring.

Or so the conventional wisdom has for decades dictated.

But is it true? In a new paper, UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn law professor Jane Yakowitz argue no. “Eliteness” of the school you attended matters much less, they found, than your GPA.

The work is part of a continuing effort to examine preferences and law school, specifically, whether affirmative action actually hurts those it’s most supposed to benefit. Sander has previously argued that minority law students will often do better academically (and on the bar) if they attend a less-competitive school.

As part of that effort, Sander and Yakowitz set out to uncover whether this notion could be applied more broadly. That is, whether someone who finishes at the top of the class at, say, the University of Iowa, might face better career prospects than one who finishes in the middle of the class at, say, a place like Harvard.

via New Study: Forget the Rankings, Just Bring Home Straight A’s – Law Blog – WSJ.

blogs, happiness:  Thanks, Cary;  I am sitting down and enjoying your blog entry!

So it’s with humility and a certain sense of pleasure in just letting myself be me, instead of being embarrassed that I’m not more athletic or more something or other, that I wear my “Fastest Typist in Camp” award on my favorite charm necklace, a reminder of my nerdy ways and a reminder that nothing’s wasted.

via Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down « Holy Vernacular.

green, health:  Makes you think … The Story of Cosmetics.

random, tv:  Poor Eddie Munster still looks the same … I always assumed  he was made to look that way … best of luck.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Forty-five years after a Pennsylvania woman sent a fan letter to her favorite TV star, they’ve made a Munster match.

Donna McCall was a 10-year-old with a crush on Butch Patrick, who played boy werewolf Eddie Munster in the mid-’60s sitcom “The Munsters.”

In her letter, she asked Patrick how tall he was because girls at the time were making gum wrapper chains long enough to match the height of their boyfriends. To her delight, the young actor responded and included his height — 5 feet, 4 inches.

Like many childhood projects, however, the wrapper chain wasn’t completed. Decades passed.

via Munster match: ’60s TV star falls for patient fan  | accessAtlanta.

Justice Kagan: If swearing is bad, why is swearing-in good?  Congrats to our new justice.

Elena Kagan will be sworn in as the 100th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday, August 7, at 2 p.m. at the Supreme Court of the United States. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., will first administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony in the Justices’ Conference Room attended by members of the Kagan family. The Chief Justice will then administer the Judicial Oath in the West Conference Room before a small gathering of Elena Kagan’s family and friends.

via SCOTUSblog » Court statement on Kagan confirmation.

Culture, materialism:

Sheryl Crow gets to the crux of the matter in her song Soak Up The Sun: “It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Relatedly, the video The Story of Stuff Project notes that the point of an advertisement is to make you feel bad about what you have.

The notion that material goods don’t bring lasting contentment is hardly some left-wing anti-capitalist rant. The first to leave us with a writings on this perspective were a group of philosophers known as the Stoics, starting with Zeno in the early third century BC and continuing through to the marvelous Marcus Aurelius several centuries later.

via 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

Wilmette, Chicago, culture:  Our blocks,  13 hundred block of Ashland and Richmond Lane (we lived on a corner), threw the BEST block parties … nothing like it in the South.   The Ashland party is the first Saturday after the 4th  and Richmond’s is in September … I will drop in some day …

If the words “block party” conjure up images of warm Jell-O, loud neighbors and a smattering of lawn chairs, you’re in for a surprise. Nowadays, neighborhoods are putting together street-wide festivals complete with DJs, outdoor movies, bake-offs and talent contests. Interested in organizing an event without breaking the bank?

via Here’s how to host a 21st century block party :: Mommy on a Shoestring :: PIONEER PRESS ::.

art, Dali:  I have a special affinity for Dali … that was my husband’s grandfather’s “grandfather name” … we saw Dali’s (the artist’s, not the grandfather’s)  art in London and were amazed at the many levels of complexity … Dali: The Late Work | High Museum of Art – Atlanta.

Wilmette, Chicago, flooding:  Chicago is flat … and we lived a mile from the lake … but the storm sewers would overflow and you could end up with a foot of water in your basement.  We lived there 4 years and we thought we were lucky.  Our basement never flooded until the last year … and then twice … amazing.  Now I know why.  Seems like a good use of stimulus funds.

After all, the Deep Tunnel and Reservoir Project (aka TARP) was first announced in 1972. Digging began in 1975. Yet here we are, some 38 years into what has been called the most ambitious public works project since the pyramids, and still we are mopping up basements and dumping mass quantities of you-know-what into Lake Michigan.

I am witness to the latter catastrophe for I live near the North Shore Sanitary Channel in Evanston. After a really heavy cloudburst I’ll walk to a footbridge near my house, look down at this man-made extension of the Chicago River’s North Branch, and watch as the, uh, “effluent” of Chicago’s sewer system rushes north to Wilmette harbor and Lake Michigan.

TARP was supposed to stop this from happening. And maybe some day it will. But as of now, after more than three decades and $5 billion in public expense, The San still has to open those floodgates and dump millions of gallons of sewage into the lake, fouling the water, closing beaches, forcing water treatment plants to jack the chlorine. If they don’t open the gates, or wait too long, the river will overflow and cause serious property damage, not unlike what happened recently to the River City condos south of the Loop.

So what’s taking so long with the big one — the 10.5 billion-gallon reservoir that’s to be located east of LaGrange Road near McCook, the one that’s supposed to alleviate flooding across Cook County from Wilmette to Lemont?

Well, it has been delayed. And delayed again. Why? There are so many reasons it would take a book. But one reason — the one that galls me most — is that our journalism has let us down. The delays have been, by my lights, one of the biggest environmental stories in the Chicago region for the past 20 years. But you’d never know it from what little has been written or broadcast.

There were funding delays involving Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers; there was local NIMBY resistance to earlier plans to use an already-dug Vulcan Materials quarry, and more recently, to quarrying a new reservoir.

via Flooded basement? Better get used to it – chicagotribune.com.

Great Recession, Flash Crash:  Great analysis of the May Flash Crash … The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake.”

The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake,” Mr. Vasan told several clients.

When the quake hit on the afternoon of May 6, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its biggest, fastest decline ever, and hundreds of stocks momentarily lost nearly all their value. So many things went wrong, so quickly, that regulators haven’t yet pieced together precisely what happened.

Journal Community

A close examination of the market’s rapid-fire unraveling reveals some new details about what unfolded: Stock-price data from the New York Stock Exchange’s electronic-trading arm, Arca, were so slow that at least three other exchanges simply cut it off from trading. Pricing information became so erratic that at one point shares of Apple Inc. traded at nearly $100,000 apiece. And computer-driven trading models used by many big investors, apparently responding to the same market signals, rushed for the exits at the same time.

via Legacy of the ‘Flash Crash’ – WSJ.com.

Apple, iPad, new blog:  I think Apple has more things coming.  I can’t wait.

Traditionally, first-year medical students are awarded white coats to signify their entry into the medical community. But at an Aug. 6 ceremony, each member of the UC Irvine School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2014 will find an iPad pre-loaded with everything necessary for the first year of course work in their coat pocket.

As part of its new iMedEd Initiative, the medical school has developed a comprehensive, iPad-based curriculum, reinventing how medicine is taught in the 21st century and becoming the first in the nation to employ a completely digital, interactive learning environment for entering students, says Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UCI School of Medicine.

via Macsimum News – Incoming UCI medical students to receive iPads.

random, art, blog:  Would a company consider this fair use  now or stop such use?  Interesting blog, too.

As product marketing manager for Campbell’s, William MacFarland must have been overjoyed with the incredible public reaction to Andy Warhol’s first exhibition as a fine artist in 1962, as present at the gallery was his now world-famous Campbell’s Soup Cans piece: 32 silkscreened portraits, each representing a different variety of the company’s soup product, all arranged in a single line. The work provoked huge debate in all corners of the art world and helped bring the Pop art movement to the masses; all the while holding a certain brand in the limelight.

via Letters of Note: I hear you like Tomato Soup.

health, ADHD, the mind: very interesting.

A team of European researchers recently assessed nearly 8,000 Finnish children and showed that mixed-handed children are at increased risk for linguistic, scholastic and attention-related difficulties. At age eight, mixed-handed kids were about twice as likely to have language and academic difficulties as their peers. By the time the children were 16, they also were twice as likely to have symptoms of ADHD—and their symptoms were more severe than those of right- or left-handed students.Ambidexterity is not causing these problems. Rather “handedness is really a very crude measure of how the brain is working,” says Alina Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist at King’s College London and the study’s lead author. In typical brains, language is rooted in the left hemisphere, and net works that control attention are anchored in the right—but brains without a dominant hemisphere may be working and communicating differently.

via Ambidexterity and ADHD: Are They Linked?: Scientific American.

history, architecture, San Francisco:  Listen to the story … a very interesting piece.

When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, it was a story of ‘Man harnessing Nature’ for the greater glory of both. Then the world’s longest suspension span, a feat of engineering several times over, it took 21 years to build and came in under budget. It has hovered ever since like a feather above a vast surge of water pouring into the Pacific. Beautiful and orange, it looks today like it was built yesterday. And somehow, in a world that can seem too jaded for wonder, it still harnesses our dreams.

This hour, On Point: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge.

via The Golden Gate’s Long History | WBUR and NPR – On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

football, NFL:  Game on, Falcons!

Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010

via Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010 – USATODAY.com.

invention, green: I don’t know about this one.

Rather than shelves, the non sticky, odourless gel morphs around products to create a separate pod that suspends items for easy access. Without doors, draws and a motor 90% of the appliance is solely given over to its intended purpose. At the same time, all food, drink and cooled products are readily available, odours are contained, and items are kept individually at their optimal temperature by bio robots. The fridge is adaptable – it can be hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling.

via In the Future, Your Refrigerator Will Be Made of Green Jelly | The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

Apple, bikes, green:  Will it change the gears for me??

A patent filed last year but just uncovered Thursday shows that Apple is at least considering a “Smart Bicycle System” that would use iPods or iPhones to track cyclist data and help teams communicate on the raceway. Similar to Nike + iPod, the small fitness device that recorded a runner’s pace and distance, Apple’s new technology will enable bikers to measure “speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, [and] wind speed,” according to Patently Apple. Clearly, the Smart Bike is squeezing everything it can from Apple’s accelerometers and gyroscopes (which allow the iPhone to track the biker’s exertion, based on acceleration, and altitude, by recording tilt relative to the ground).

via Apple’s “Smart Bike” Could Squash All Other Bike Tech | Co.Design.

random, high risk adventure, RIP:  He planned to ski down K2, but died on the way up.  Rest in peace.

Swedish mountaineer and professional skier Fredrik Ericsson died Friday while trying to summit K2 in Pakistan, his friend David Schipper told CNN in a telephone interview.

The incident occurred between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as Ericsson was attempting to become the first man to ski from the summit to base camp, said Schipper, who said he learned of the accident on the world’s second-tallest peak in a satellite call from fellow climber Fabrizio Zangrilli.

via Skier Fredrik Ericsson dies in accident on K2 – CNN.com.

environment:  Iceberg is 4x the size of Manhattan!  I love that word “calved”.

A giant ice island has broken off the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.

A University of Delaware researcher says the floating ice sheet covers 100 square miles – more than four times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island.

Andreas Muenchow, who is studying the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, said the ice sheet broke off early Thursday. He says the new ice island was discovered by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.

Not since 1962 has such a large chunk of ice calved in the Arctic, but researchers have noticed cracks in recent months in the floating tongue of the glacier.

via Greenland Iceberg Four Times Bigger Than Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier.

education, travel, Arab world, study abroad:  Our world is getting smaller.  I love that our youth are embracing it.

In what educators are calling the fastest growing study-abroad program, American college students are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional junior year abroad in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, wanting to experience the Arab world beyond America’s borders and viewpoints.

via More Students Choose a Junior-Year Abroad in the Mideast – NYTimes.com.

travel:  I have always thought it would be fun to exchange homes or rent someone’s home in another city.

For frequent Manhattan visitor Ken Velten there’s no place like (someone else’s) home.

The Southern California retiree and his family of up to five have traveled to the Big Apple five times over the past five years, staying a week or two and trading the expense and anonymity of a hotel room for the space and convenience of a rented apartment in Midtown East. But after May 1, when a ban on most New York City apartment rentals under 30 days is scheduled to take effect, Velten probably won’t be back.

via More destinations shut the door on vacation rentals – USATODAY.com.

lists, travel Seattle:  I like lists … Top Things to Do in Seattle, Washington — The Vacation Gals.

travel, First Lady, politics:  She can’t win.  But it is an interesting comparison to Laura Bush’s more modest vacations.

The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, and the image of the president’s wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her “a modern-day Marie Antoinette” and the blogosphere has been buzzing.

Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush’s presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip’s is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.

via First Lady’s Trip to Spain Draws Criticism – NYTimes.com.




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