Posts Tagged ‘tips

22
Oct
13

10.22.13 … For Jake and Dearest Human … If you need information about what is happening in the brain of a dog to know that dogs think and have feelings and emotions, then either you’ve never met a dog or your own humanity is in doubt …

personhood, man’s best friend, Jake:  A friend posts daily from her jake’s perspective.  No doubt Jake is a person.  🙂

If you need information about what is happening in the brain of a dog to know that dogs think and have feelings and emotions, then either you’ve never met a dog or your own humanity is in doubt.

You can no more seriously entertain the possibility that a dog is a mere automaton than you can entertain such a hypothesis about your human loved ones. To do so would require you to stand back and look at what a dog (or a person) does (and says) as devoid of meaning and expressive power. And to do that would be disrespectful. This is the Sissy Jupe point.

via MRI Scans Can’t Show Us Consciousness Or Personhood : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

medical controversies,  medicine, scientists, achy joints,  predict the weather, good to know:  🙂

One of the longest running controversies in medicine has been resolved: scientists find achy joints can predict the weather. http://on.wsj.com/1enZ8LT

Do certain weather conditions ever aggravate physical pain in you? How do you lessen its impact?

via The Wall Street Journal.

automakers, virtual showroom, apps, NYTimes.com:

“They won’t come into the stores to educate themselves,” said Peter Chung, general manager of Magic Toyota and Scion in Edmonds, Wash. “They’ll do that online.”

More than half of the younger buyers surveyed by AutoTrader.com, a car-buying site, said they wanted to avoid interacting with dealership sales representatives.

In response, automakers like Cadillac and Toyota are starting to embrace technology that tries to take the showroom to the buyer. Known as augmented reality, it embeds images and videos in a picture on the user’s smartphone or tablet. The result is a far more detailed view of the image, often in three dimensions with added layers of information.

For example, when Cadillac introduced the ATS last year, it created a campaign in cities across the country that allowed observers to point an iPad at a chalk mural and watch the car drive through scenes like China’s mountainous Guoliang Tunnel and Monaco’s Grand Prix circuit. The goal was to grab the attention of potential buyers, especially younger ones, who would not normally think of Cadillac when researching new cars.

via Automakers Build Showroom in an App – NYTimes.com.

tips, change, iOS 7, NYTimes.com:  Still have not done it …

While some are shocked by the design changes of iOS 7, my colleague Brian X. Chen wrote on Thursday that most consumers who have jumped to the new operating system seem to be enjoying the new design.

Of course, if none of these tips work and you’re in complete disarray after your upgrade, there is one more option you can try: turn off your phone and go away for a nice quiet weekend with your family.

via Tips for Making the Change to iOS 7 – NYTimes.com.

memes and gifs, fyi:   

Main article: Internet meme

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, usually in a humorous way, largely through internet-based E-mail, blogs, forums, Imageboards, social networking sites, instant messaging and video sites such as YouTube.[44] In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as being deliberately altered by human creativity—distinguished from genes and Dawkins’ original idea of a meme which involved mutation by random change and spreading through accurate copying in a form of Darwinian selection.[45]

via Meme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

CompuServe introduced the GIF format in 1987 to provide a color image format for their file downloading areas, replacing their earlier run-length encoding (RLE) format, which was black and white only. GIF became popular because it used LZW data compression, which was more efficient than the run-length encoding that formats such as PCX and MacPaint used, and fairly large images could therefore be downloaded in a reasonably short time, even with very slow modems.

The original version of the GIF format was called 87a.[1] In 1989, CompuServe devised an enhanced version, called 89a,[2] which added support for animation delays (multiple images in a stream were already supported in 87a), transparent background colors, and storage of application-specific metadata. The 89a specification also supports incorporating text labels as text (not embedding them in the graphical data), but as there is little control over display fonts, this feature is not widely used. The two versions can be distinguished by looking at the first six bytes of the file (the “magic number” or “signature”), which, when interpreted as ASCII, read “GIF87a” and “GIF89a”, respectively.

GIF was one of the first two image formats commonly used on Web sites, the other being the black and white XBM.[citation needed]

The feature of storing multiple images in one file, accompanied by control data, is used extensively on the Web to produce simple animations. The optional interlacing feature, which stores image scan lines out of order in such a fashion that even a partially downloaded image was somewhat recognizable, also helped GIF’s popularity,[citation needed] as a user could abort the download if it was not what was required.

In 2012, the word “GIF” was officially recognized as a verb as well as a noun, meaning “to create a GIF file”. The US wing of the Oxford University Press voted it their word of the year, saying that GIFs have evolved into “a tool with serious applications including research and journalism”.[3][4]

via Graphics Interchange Format – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

15
Dec
11

12.15.2011 … CLS Half-way There Party a hit! Now to get ready for Christmas … and Edward’s home … just one little one still out …

CLS, Half-way There Party, Winter Break:  Half-way There Party a hit! Now to get ready for Christmas …

kith/kin, travel: Edward’s home … just one little one still out …

Christopher Hitchens, RIP, Cancer victimhood, living dyingly, friendship:  So the answer is … be there for your friends … that is what matters.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

via In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011 | Blogs | Vanity Fair.

Christmas, shopping, retail: Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday,  Free Shipping Day and Super Saturday … oh my!

A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.

Usually one of the most heavily discounted shopping days of the year, the Saturday before Christmas — it falls on Dec. 24 this year — is too crucial to retailers’ holiday sales to be left in the hands of procrastinating Christmas Eve shoppers. Instead, many of the promotions pegged to “Super Saturday,” as the day is known in the retail industry, are now scheduled for this Saturday — a full eight days before Christmas.

“If you wait until the 24th, you have no time to recover,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks consumer spending.

But not all stores are making the switch. And that is creating a good amount of confusion in the retail world.

The dueling Saturdays might seem like a lot of consternation about nothing to consumers weary of faux shopping events: Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day (Friday this year, for those keeping track).

But the worries are real for retailers who are seeing the season slip away from them, and the potential effects on the economy are considerable.

via Stores Shuffle a Saturday in Hopes of Saving the Season – NYTimes.com.

tweet of the day, PostSecret, criminal acts:  What gives!

Kendra Wells (@kkendrawellss)12/8/11 4:42 PM At our local bookstore, they keep the @postsecret books locked up because people often steal them.

 journalists, authors,  tips:  Never thought about this …

Writers embarking on their first book-length project respond to the challenge in different ways. Some panic, staring blankly at their screen as fine beads of sweat form on their foreheads. Some luxuriate in the expanse of real estate and begin wandering to and fro around their subject, leaving no random thought unexpressed. Some try to take a 3,000-word piece and inflate it to 300 pages.

via When journalists become authors: a few cautionary tips – Nieman Storyboard – A project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

really stupid, criminal acts, butt dialing:

Madison police say two men in their late 20s stole DVDs and computer games from a Target store Tuesday and discussed their plans to fence the goods while driving away.

Investigators say the duo didn’t realize one of them had accidentally pocket-dialed 911. A dispatcher listened in for nearly an hour as they discussed what they had stolen and where they might sell it. Police say they even described their vehicle.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain says the pair decided to sell their goods at a video store. When they pulled into the store’s parking lot, officers surrounded their vehicle with guns drawn.

via Police: Thieves pocket-dial 911, leading to arrest  | accessAtlanta.

The Price Check, Amazon, apps:  I’d be angry, too.

“The Price Check by Amazon app is primarily intended for customers who are comparing prices in major retail chain stores,” an Amazon spokesman said Thursday. “The goal of the Price Check app is to make it as easy as possible for customers to access product information, pricing information, and customer reviews, just as they would on the Web, while shopping in a major retail chain store,” he said.

The Price Check app features prices from Amazon and its many third-party sellers, he added.

An Amazon spokesperson told the New York Times this week that the promotion was not aimed at small competitors, but rather big box stores.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, had recently likened that to “incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops,” calling it “an attack on Main Street businesses.”

via Why Amazon.com’s New App Is Creating a Stir – WSJ.com.

16
Nov
11

11.16.2011 … On the megabus :) — at I 85 … mega-glad that I made it safely to mega-ATL … and safely to Lenbrook for Veggie plate including vegetarian egg rolls and then bingo … Nice evening with the Lenboook ladies — with Mary-Stewart and Mamma at lenbrook square.

Megabus, Atlanta, bingo, kith/kin:  First day of Megabus service to Atlanta … a little slow … but arrived safely and had a great visit with the Mom.

.

via http://stageus.megabus.com/routemap.aspx

holidays, photos, tips: Get Creative! … I am certainly glad imperfection is perfectly OK!!

Imperfection Is Perfectly Okay

Capturing a technically good image takes a lot of learning and practice. That said, I like to grab seasonal shots even in their imperfection — like this scene through a bus window during a New York City downpour on Central Park West. Shoot as many pictures as you want, because with digital — unlike when I started shooting two decades ago — there’s no film to process, and you’re not burning through a lot of film (or through your wallet) every time you take a dozen photos. Mind you, the downside is that you might not think through your shots as clearly as you do when you have to manually focus and change film cartridges every 36 pictures.

via Holiday Photo Tips: Get Creative! – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

college students, human memory, learning:  Great article…

I expect that most of us can identify personally with the connection between cues and memories. The power of cues helps explain why a particular song may remind you of a memorable afternoon in Paris, or why, for me, the smell of stale beer always draws up vivid memories of my first-year dorm room.

Further reflection is likely to yield more-intellectual examples. One long afternoon over winter break in my sophomore year in college, I sat in a chair in my parents’ living room and had my life changed by Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. Whenever I sat in that chair, for many years afterward, detailed memories of O’Neill’s play and its impact on my life would return to me. And I can walk into certain classrooms on my campus and immediately recall formative experiences I had in my development as a teacher.

But while we may be able to draw up endless examples of how our minds have created such connections between learned information and the contextual cues that accompanied our first encounter with that information, those examples don’t translate very easily—as Miller points out—into concrete pedagogical practice.

If it turns out that the greatest memory challenge our students face is retrieving information from their long-term memories when they need it to perform on exams and assignments, and if that retrieval ability depends on the use of contextual cues during the information-encoding process, what does that mean for our job description as teachers? Do we have any control over the cues that accompany the encoding of information in our students’ brains? Can we help them develop effective cues?

via Teaching and Human Memory, Part I – Do Your Job Better – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

NBA lockout, college hoops, Pat Forde:  Enjoyed this article!

A long-lost friend is knocking on your front door, sports fan.

Open up and let him in.

Look who’s there – it’s college basketball. You remember him – used to be a lot of fun to be around, especially in March. Amid the more serious entities on the sporting cocktail circuit – college and pro football, the NBA, Major League Baseball – he was the life of the party. A weeknight at the gym (or just watching on TV) was always a good time.

The return of UNC’s Harrison Barnes and others is among the many reasons college basketball is flying high so far this season.

Then the old friend got wayward. He became irresponsible, with scandals cropping up constantly. He hung around sketchy characters – greasy third parties who attached themselves to star players. And then even the stars themselves became transient properties, just passing through on their way to the NBA, never sticking around long enough to develop a bond with the fans.

After a while, the product just wasn’t very good – not the players, not the teams. As problems kept surfacing, the credibility went the way of boxing. And all those other sports looked like better alternatives.

College basketball hit the skids.

But like the prodigal son and Britney Spears, college hoops is back after some rough years. And not looking too bad.

This is the chance to reacquaint with your old friend, sports fan. What else are you going to do, watch the NBA?

That league appears intent on alienating its fan base with a prolonged lockout that could eradicate the entire season. Already, 26 percent of the games have been canceled. The players union and ownership are at the breaking point. So is the faith of the customers.

You won’t see LeBron and Kobe and Dirk on Friday nights anytime soon – maybe not until next fall. So if you love hoops, what’s the alternative?

Let in your old friend.

The college game still has tremendous problems – cheating, hypocrisy and a corrosive cult-of-the-coach mentality among them. But this 2011-12 season is college hoops’ big chance to regain its seat at American sports’ main table.

The opportunity is there, and the product should be good enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

The talent on the floor – individually and from a team perspective – is as good as it’s been since 2008 at least.

When Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Terrence Jones of Kentucky all said no to the NBA draft and came back to school, the game got a jolt of star power. Casual fans who like watching pro-level talent perform have something to tune into.

The return of those players helped guarantee that the Tar Heels, Buckeyes and Wildcats all would be better than they were last year. In fact, all three programs are probably better than any team was last year.

Let’s face it: if the talent level weren’t massively down in 2010-11, we wouldn’t have had both Virginia Commonwealth and Butler in the Final Four. They were great stories, not great teams. We wouldn’t have had the ninth-place team in the Big East (Connecticut) winning the national title while scoring 109 points in two games – the lowest Final Four total for the national champion since 1946.

When that fetid Final Four ended with Jim Calhoun – facing personal NCAA sanctions for violations within his program – holding up the national championship trophy after a weekend of horrible hoops, college basketball might have reached its nadir.

Now the game is climbing back up.

via NBA lockout opens door for college hoops – College Basketball – Rivals.com.

The Insanely Great History of Apple, posters, infographics: pretty cool …

The Insanely Great History of Apple is a cool new poster from PopChartLabs.com, where you can purchase the $25, 18”x24” poster for yourself (and many other great ones).

The world’s most comprehensive mapping of Apple products, this print shows every computer released by Apple in the last thirty years, from the original Mac through the MacBook Air. Products are sorted according to type, including the connections between various form factors which have arisen as Apple has invented—and reinvented—insanely great products.

via Cool Infographics – Blog – The Insanely Great History of Apple.

 college students, “Occupy Generation”, Occupy Wall Street:  Passing of the mantle?

As of today, Occupations are occurring in nearly 500 cities worldwide, according to Occupy Wall Street’s website. The protests have already been successful in one sense. The country is talking about ‘income inequality’ like never before. Since the protests began, the media has used the term 400% more this week than the week before the Occupation began according to a Politico metric.

So then, what next? In the words of Tom Hayden: “What happens next will be a collective judgment based on what they’ve been through. History awaits their decision.”

The country is waiting on these young people to act. They wanted to start a conversation, and they did. The question remains how they will be able to fix anything.

Will they form a political movement or continue changing the system from the outside? Will leadership emerge or will the difficult process of leaderless general assemblies succeed without it?

The answer might be found in Iowa. On January 4th, 2012, Occupiers from around the country will travel to Iowa to demonstrate at the First-In-The-Nation caucus. That is, if they can get organized. Much like Chicago, the cameras will be rolling in Iowa starting in early December. The demonstrators have a chance to affect the grassroots political process in historic fashion, if they are willing to engage it at all.

via Passing the mantle: The new Occupation Generation | USA TODAY College.

Benetton, advertising, controversial advertising: Benetton has the Pope kissing an imam, and Obama kissing Hugo Chavez in ad campaign. Doesn’t make me want to buy their clothes …

“Twenty-five years ago, Italian fashion label Benetton rode its controversial “United Colors of Benetton” ad campaign to global fame,” write the Journal’s Christina Passariello and Jennifer Clark.

Now, after having lost speed to competitors such as Inditex’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz’s H&M, Benetton is trying for a second publicity coup.

On Wednesday, the house unveiled its first major brand advertising campaign in more than a decade, titled “Unhate.”

The images are of global leaders kissing: U.S. President Barack Obama locks lips with China’s Hu Jintao and with Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

A picture of the Pope embracing one of Islam’s leading figures, Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, the imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, was hung from a bridge near the Vatican early Wednesday.

Alessandro Benetton anticipated that this ad would be the most controversial. “We could be excommunicated,” he said, only half-joking.

via Benetton’s Controversial Ad Campaigns, Featuring Obama, Chavez and the Pope – Heard on the Runway – WSJ.

Maria Popova, theoatmeal.com:  Another find from Maria Popova … Old but gold – top tweets illustrated …

I drew some tweets – The Oatmeal.

Coco-Cola, Arctic Home Coke Commercial, WWF, csr:   Protect the polar bears  … nice ad … but is this csr or just an advertising ploy.

This is the Arctic. This vast area of tundra, jagged peaks and frozen seas is the only place where the polar bear can live, hunt and breed. And it needs our help. Check this out, then join us at ArcticHome.com to learn about these amazing animals through video, pictures and bear facts from World Wildlife Fund. Together, we can help make sure the polar bear has a place to call home. http://CokeURL.com/ArcticHome

via Arctic Home Coke Commercial | Protect the Polar Bears – YouTube.

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, “journey for enlightenment”:

I don’t think it was just a question of liking him. I admired him, respected him, and found him unbelievably compelling even though he’s not your usual role model. I mean, he wasn’t the sweetest person I’ve ever met. But he was certainly the most interesting and, in some ways, mesmerizing person I’ve met.

SQ: If Jobs hadn’t been successful, would people still admire him?

WI: I tried to make it all come together in the book, which is the passionate perfectionism that causes him to be hard-driving and not put up with things that he considered mediocre. It’s what led him to create great products, but also to gather around him a loyal and talented team. So, to say that you can separate that passion for perfection and that demanding nature from the fact that he kept driving them like crazy to make the iPod perfect, is wrong. His personality is integrated into his success just like Apple products have the software and the hardware integrated with one another.

via Steve Jobs’s ‘journey for enlightenment’ – Under God – The Washington Post.


20
Oct
11

10.20.2011 … after two solid weeks of Davidson pomp and circumstance … it is nice to have my world back to normal … I bet Dr. Quillen feels the same way … Moammar Gadhafi … RIP or Celebrate his overthrow and demise …

Davidson College, pomp and circumstance: “At Davidson as everywhere, time and people march on. A larger sense of purpose remains.”

 

Trustee and Search Committee Chair Kristin Hills Bradberry ’85 quoted a fellow Search Committee member on Quillen: “We saw Davidson fresh and anew through her eyes. She sees the good, the beautiful, the excellent in what we do. She makes us want to share her vision for the potential she sees in us, to be even better.”

At Davidson as everywhere, time and people march on. A larger sense of purpose remains.

via Daybook Davidson » Pomp and Circumstance: Time Marches On, And Sense of Purpose Remains Steadfast.

vacation traditions, kith/kin, empty nesters recipes, crab cakes: I am really jealous … store bought crab cakes from EarthFare are nothing like Joni’s, even if I cook them in butter … and she’s probably having some of the good ones at the beach without me … Oh, and Otis is just fine Molly says …

FPC,  PW CIrcle 11,  Community Culinary School of Charlotte:  The  Community Culinary School of Charlotte is a great place to gather a small group for a meal, learn about a wonderful ministry we have in Charlotte.  I’ll be glad to go on any Thursday it is open.  Any takers?

It’s a gourmet lunch. It’s a party. It’s a celebration of learning valuable culinary skills. It’s BISTRO!.

The Culinary School BISTRO! is held roughly every other Thursday at 1 p.m. while classes are in session. The dates of upcoming BISTRO!s are below.

Preparations for BISTRO! begin many days in advance as students learn culinary skills through preparing foods that will be served at BISTRO! In making everything from simple salads to complex sauces, students learn how to cook, how to present food appealing to the eye, how to make the most of the available food ingredients, how to organize a big event, how to work as a team.

via BISTRO! | Community Culinary School of Charlotte | 704-375-4500.

 

Col. Moammar Gaddafi, RIP, Arab Spring: Col. Moammar Gaddafi comes to a violent end.

For more than 40 years, Col. Moammar Gaddafi was the eccentric, unpredictable and brutal face of Libya, an oil-rich country that became an international pariah. Defiant to the last, he was killed Thursday in Sirte, his home town, eight months after he vowed to die rather than concede defeat to a popular uprising.

It was an ignominious end for Col. Gaddafi, who had managed in his waning years to rehabilitate himself in foreign eyes but then left even supporters appalled and sickened as he unleashed his army against his people in what proved to be a doomed effort to suppress this year’s revolution.

Deposed in August when rebel forces won control of the capital, he was killed in crossfire in Sirte, his loyalists’ last redoubt, after being dragged alive from a sewer culvert where he had taken refuge, said Mahmoud Jibril, the rebel leader who is Libya’s interim prime minister.

He became the first Arab ruler to be slain by his people in the transformative revolt that has come to be known as the Arab Spring, pitting thousands of citizen demonstrators against aging dictators and despots. His downfall followed the toppling of authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, who were ousted before protesters took to the streets of eastern Libya in February.

Col. Gaddafi was thought to be 69, although his birth date was not known. At his death, he had been one of the world’s longest-serving rulers.

Many in the international community had long dismissed him as a clown for his quirky behavior. He traveled with an all-female praetorian guard and received guests in a Bedouin tent. But much of his reign was brutal.

via For longtime autocrat, a violent end – The Washington Post.

Condoleezza Rice, Muammar Gaddafi: “And I was very, very glad that we had disarmed him of his most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. There in his bunker, making his last stand, I have no doubt he would have used them.”

There were two reasons for this: one traditional and the other, well, a little disconcerting. Obviously, the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state since 1953 would be a major milestone on the country’s path to inter- national acceptability. But Qaddafi also had a slightly eerie fascination with me personally, asking visitors why his “African princess” wouldn’t visit him.

I decided to ignore the latter and dwell on the former to prepare for the trip. The arrangements were not easy, with all manner of Libyan demands, including that I meet the leader in his tent. Needless to say, I declined the invitation and met him in his formal residence.

The press was fascinated with my trip, and I sat down for an interview with CNN’s Zain Verjee (who often worked with producer Elise Labott on State Department coverage). Zain asked me about my personal impressions of Qaddafi. I remember that I came away from the visit realizing how much Qaddafi lives inside his own head, in a kind of alternate reality. As I watched events unfold in the spring and summer of 2011, I wondered if he even understood fully what was going on around him. And I was very, very glad that we had disarmed him of his most dangerous weapons of mass destruction. There in his bunker, making his last stand, I have no doubt he would have used them.

via Condoleezza Rice Met Muammar Gaddafi: Exclusive Excerpt of ‘No Higher Honor’ – The Daily Beast.

Muammar Gaddafi,   the Top 15 Overthrown, lists:  An ignomious list …

In reality, Gaddafi allowed only a small group — mostly members of his family — to participate in the governing of the country, which, thanks to its oil reserves (the ninth largest known in the world), had amassed enormous wealth. The riches allowed him to rule relatively unchecked until February 2011, when his people had had enough. Spurred by the Arab Spring that had successfully toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans took to the streets. Gaddafi lashed back with unprecedented violence against his own people while at the same time telling members of the press, “All my people love me.” The resistance kept pushing forward, winning support from NATO forces, which began air strikes on March 19. On Aug. 22, after six months of fighting, the rebel forces claimed the capital city, Tripoli, as their own, formally ending Gaddafi’s regime. But until they captured the man himself, Libyans could not breathe a sigh of relief. That moment came Oct. 20, when Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference, “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

via Muammar Gaddafi – Top 15 Toppled Dictators – TIME.

40 Lipsticked Virgins, Moammar Gadhafi:  Interesting story about Gadhafi’s bodyguards … old but interesting … another strange aspect of the Colonel.

About 40 lipsticked, bejeweled bodyguards surround the Libyan dictator at all times. They wear designer sunglasses and high heels with their military camouflage. But they’re purported to be trained killers — graduates of an elite military academy in Tripoli that’s solely for women.

Gadhafi established the Tripoli Women’s Military Academy in 1979 as a symbol of women’s emancipation. “I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya,” he reportedly said at the time. His mother, a Bedouin tribeswoman born when Libya was an Italian colony, was illiterate.

 

The academy’s best students are dubbed “revolutionary nuns,” and they never marry and dedicate their lives to the idea of Gadhafi’s 1969 revolution. They’re banned from having sex and swear an oath to protect the Libyan leader until death, if need be. In 1998, a bodyguard named Aisha threw herself on top of Gadhafi when Islamic militants ambushed his motorcade. A barrage of bullets killed her and injured two others, but Gadhafi escaped unharmed.

So while Gadhafi’s all-female crew — and especially their photos — have been featured in many a tongue-in-cheek article in the Western press, they could actually prove powerful in protecting him. Foreign intelligence agents are likely trying already to stealthily chip away at the loyalty of Gadhafi’s elite inner circle. But while diplomats at the U.N. and even some of Gadhafi’s distant relatives have turned on him, there have been no reports of defections from Gadhafi’s all-female bodyguard clan — though the regime would likely try its best to squelch any such publicity.

via 40 Lipsticked Virgins: Moammar Gadhafi’s Best Bet for Survival.

I, Steve, books, quotes: In some ways he is like Ben Franklin … he could turn a great phrase.

On legacy:

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” ~ The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993

An invaluable treasure trove of inspiration and insight, I, Steve captures the essence of one of our era’s greatest hearts, minds, and souls with the candor and precision only self-revelation can unlatch.

via I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words | Brain Pickings.

Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen, bookshelf:  Just caught my attention.

 “We are often presented with stimuli but remain unaware. Zen, which means meditation, allows humans to become mindful-attentively aware of reality. In his newest book, Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen, Dr. James Austin, one of the world’s outstanding neurologists, explains how the brain mediates these meditation activities and how these activities alter the brain. Using language that can be understood by all, Austin teaches the fortunate readers of this book about the biological basis of the important changes brought about by this ancient but still current process of enlightenment.”–Kenneth M. Heilman, M.D., James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine

via Amazon.com: Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen (9780262015875): James H. Austin: Books.

college, college costs:  Good question … Why is college so expensive?

Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written before about the networking wonders and creative collaborations that can happen via online forums.  We have written extensively about creating an online presence that is positive and professional.  In online interactions, we meet people from different disciplines in various parts of the world, and we connect because we share interests and goals.  With all the good, though, there can be a negative side to online activity.  As positive and as good as online connections can be, it’s important to recognize that whatever we write online is for public consumption, that what we write is a part of our larger online persona, that we are not simply chatting with friends and family when we post.

Unfortunately, fatigue and stress can allow us—as professional educators—to become a little lax in our online practices, particularly when it concerns students.  It’s easy to commiserate with like-minded professionals on Twitter, for example, and complain about the student who is always late to class or a conference, or the one who has plagiarized, or the one who can’t write as we think she should, or the one who always has an excuse why he can’t submit his work on time.  We can be irritated at students’ sometimes immature behavior, or we can sometimes feel responsible for that student’s lack of understanding of course content.  We sometimes take students’ actions personally.  If we work with sometimes hundreds of students each semester, frustration can a part of our job.  Sometimes, those frustrations can bubble to the surface and they erupt on social networking sites.

We might think we are writing to a group of our closest online friends who will understand the context of our complaints , but it’s impossible to know—with any certainty—who might be reading those online words.  But our actual audience could include those very students we criticize.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Anthropologie, art, purses, fashion:  My daughter turned me on to Anthropologie and I have to admit I love their accessiories and home furnishings.

 

With that I want to give Anthropologie props for fearlessly incorporating different mediums of art with fashion. Each of these bags are SO different- Anthro never ceases to amaze & inspire!!

via Artfully pursed » Pearls for Paper.

Supreme Court, health care case:  Interesting discussion of procedure  and moving this case along.

The Obama administration and challengers of the president’s health care overhaul are pushing for Supreme Court consideration of the law in late March, judging by the speed with which they are filing legal papers.

Parties in a high court case rarely submit legal briefs before their deadline, and often ask for extensions. But this week, the administration, the 26 states that have joined in opposition to the law and the association of small businesses that also wants the law struck down filed their briefs more than a week before they were due.

Having the case argued in March, instead of April, would give the justices an extra month to write their opinions in what is expected to be the most significant Supreme Court case in recent years.

Legal scholars have complained that the justices do not do their best work when faced with resolving complicated legal issues between the final arguments in April and the term’s end in late June. The justices themselves have recognized the problem by trying to have more cases argued early

via Supreme Court Health Care Case May Be Headed For March Start.

Auburn tree poisoning, criminal acts:  You have to wonder about a 63 year old man pulling a college prank.

Updyke, 63, appeared in court briefly with his new attorney, Everett Wess of Birmingham.

Updyke sat quietly in the court room, and did not make any statements.

He was indicted in May on two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerable object and two counts of a state law that includes making it unlawful to damage, vandalize or steal any property on or from an animal or crop facility.

Updyke has requested that the charges be reduced to misdemeanors, saying that the state of Alabama “has explicitly set the value of an oak tree” at $20, which would be below the level for a felony. The judge has not yet ruled on that request.

His trial was originally scheduled for the Oct. 31 docket, but Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said there were three capital trials approaching that would stretch the resources of his department. Wess had no objection to pushing back the court dates.

via Man charged in Auburn tree poisoning gets new lawyer, court date  | ajc.com.

twitter, educating girls in Africa:  This twitter post just got my attention …

Maria Popova (@brainpicker)
10/20/11 3:57 PM
“850,000 girls in Kenya miss school because they don’t have sanitary pads.” #PopTech2011 Social Innovation Fellow@ZanaAfrica

political cartoons, Coca-Cola, Pepsi:  I live in a Coke bubble … but this political cartoon rings so true for Atlantans and Coke … I just had to laugh.  I guess in the Coke version, he would get fired for testing negative for Coke!

.

political cartoons, Occupy Wall Street, kith/kin: ‎:( … Remember I’m married to a banker …

October 9, 2011

Siri,  tips,  iPhone 4S Virtual Assistant:  I want one …

In a phone with lots of evolutionary qualities, Siri is the iPhone 4S’s most revolutionary feature. Simply by speaking to this virtual assistant, you can set reminders, send text messages, look up information and schedule meetings.

But with a bit of extra effort, Siri can do even more.

via Siri Tricks and Tips: Do More with the iPhone 4S Virtual Assistant – Techland – TIME.com.

Siri, iPhone 4s:  Sounds like a stupid mistake … siri works even when phones are locked.

Siri, the personal assistant on the iPhone has been the top selling point of Apple’s new iPhone 4S. But Graham Cluley, security researcher for Sophos, pointed out that Siri works from a locked screen. That means that users who don’t pay attention to their settings could be putting themselves at risk.

Users are able to lock up Siri with a passcode by going into their security settings and turning the feature off without passcode authentication. But by default, anyone could pick up an iPhone 4S, hold down the home button and ask Siri a questions such as, “What is my home address?” and the assistant will display that information.

via Siri works even when phones are locked – The Washington Post.

education, digital district, Mooresville NC:  Amid the failures of Charlotte’s CMS, just up the road in the next county is a school district receiving national attention.

Yes, 1-to-1 laptop programs have become increasingly popular across the country, along the way drawing criticism that the results of those efforts are not justifying the substantial investments. But the Mooresville district, which in its fourth 1-to-1 year has stretched its program to reach all students in grades 3-12, appears to be a model of how to do it right, and in a community whose roots are more akin to Mayberry than the state’s Research Triangle region.

Since the digital conversion began, the district has seen an improvement of 20 percentage points—from 68 percent to 88 percent—in the portion of its students who scored “proficient” on all core-subject state exams, in the subjects of reading, math, and science. Six of eight schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, up from two of seven schools during the conversion’s first year. And its 2010-11 graduation rate rose to 91 percent, up 14 percentage points from four years ago.

All of those gains have occurred while the district sat at 99th of the state’s 115 districts in per-pupil funding, at $7,463 a year, as of last spring, not including about 10 percent of the budget that comes from funds for capital outlays, before- and after-school programs, and child-nutrition programs. And while Mooresville’s population is by no means impoverished, the gains came during an economic downturn that has seen the proportion of the district’s students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch rise from 31 percent to 40 percent since 2007-08.

Staunch opponents of assessment-driven education may dispute the merit of some of Mooresville’s success. But other educators are asking how the district’s approach differs from that of less successful 1-to-1 initiatives, why it’s working, whether it can be replicated, and if it’s worth the sacrifices to do so.

Mooresville’s district leaders stress the reason for their success, in their eyes, is that their 1-to-1 implementation made up just a part of a districtwide reform to make teaching and learning more contemporary. And while the district hosts monthly open houses to welcome visitors interested in following the model, the leaders of Mooresville’s conversion say only districts with leaders who see budget and procedural restrictions as obstacles to be conquered, not feared, are capable of pulling it off.

“We have visitors all the time,” says Scott Smith, the district’s chief technology officer, who was hired by Superintendent Mark Edwards during the conversion’s planning phase in 2007. “When they leave, we’re like, ‘Yeah, they can do it,’ or ‘No, they can’t do it, because they have the wrong person in charge.’ ”

Higher Expectations for Teachers

via Education Week: Building the Digital District.

Apps, Beat the Traffic+ :  My Garmin broke several weeks ago and I tried Garmin’s On Demand app … I don’t think I will purchae another Garmin.  I may try this one for free next …

Currently the app supports 34 major cities or metropolitan areas, and picks up construction, accident, or weather-related problems that might bring your trip to a grinding halt. The only catch is that these extra features, though initially free for two weeks, cost $19.99 a year after your trial period has expired. However, you can still access all the features available in “plus” with the free app — albeit without the personalization.

The bottom line. Whether you’re a “plus” subscriber or not, though, Beat the Traffic is a pretty worthwhile app if you’re an iPhone user who spends a lot of time behind the wheel.

via Beat the Traffic+ Review | Mac|Life.

27
Sep
11

9.27.2011 … started a new bible study at FPC … and I loved it … Genesis … In the beginning …

FPC Tuesday Bible Study, Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation, Genesisfaith and culture: Great first class … creation.

TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY:  This weekly study meets on Tuesdays from 11:45- 1:00 in the Pattie Cole Room (S203). Led by Reverend Roland Perdue the group will study Jonathan Sacks’ recent book, Covenant and Conversation, Genesis: the Book of Beginnings. Using the text, Scripture and supplemental readings, we will examine current issues and concerns in the biblical context and discuss them from the vantage point of a dialogue between faith and culture.

via First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Steven Pinker, violence, history:  Great piece …

“How bad was the world in the past?”

Believe it or not, the world of the past was much worse. Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.

The decline, to be sure, has not been smooth. It has not brought violence down to zero, and it is not guaranteed to continue. But it is a persistent historical development, visible on scales from millennia to years, from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.

This claim, I know, invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger. We tend to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which we can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. There will always be enough violent deaths to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from its actual likelihood.

Evidence of our bloody history is not hard to find. Consider the genocides in the Old Testament and the crucifixions in the New, the gory mutilations in Shakespeare’s tragedies and Grimm’s fairy tales, the British monarchs who beheaded their relatives and the American founders who dueled with their rivals.

For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment that we can savor—and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible.

via Steven Pinker: Why Violence Is Vanishing – WSJ.com.

teenagers, brain development, culture:  … what’s wrong with these kids?!  …

Through the ages, most answers have cited dark forces that uniquely affect the teen. Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that “the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine.” A shepherd in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale wishes “there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.” His lament colors most modern scientific inquiries as well. G. Stanley Hall, who formalized adolescent studies with his 1904 Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, believed this period of “storm and stress” replicated earlier, less civilized stages of human development. Freud saw adolescence as an expression of torturous psychosexual conflict; Erik Erikson, as the most tumultuous of life’s several identity crises. Adolescence: always a problem.

Such thinking carried into the late 20th century, when researchers developed brain-imaging technology that enabled them to see the teen brain in enough detail to track both its physical development and its patterns of activity. These imaging tools offered a new way to ask the same question—What’s wrong with these kids?—and revealed an answer that surprised almost everyone. Our brains, it turned out, take much longer to develop than we had thought. This revelation suggested both a simplistic, unflattering explanation for teens’ maddening behavior—and a more complex, affirmative explanation as well.

via Teenage Brains – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine.

Herman Cain, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Florida Straw Poll:  This process is a nightmare … who cares about these straw polls …

Herman Cain, Ex-CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, pulls stunning upset over Rick Perry.

via GOP in Disarray After Shocking Florida Straw Poll | Video – ABC News.

Troy Davis, death penalty: Another voice against the death penalty …

Last Wednesday, as the state of Georgia prepared to execute Troy Davis despite concerns about his guilt, I wrote a letter with five former death-row wardens and directors urging Georgia prison officials to commute his sentence. I feared not only the risk of Georgia killing an innocent man, but also the psychological toll it would exact on the prison workers who performed his execution. “No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt,” we wrote in our letter.

via Ordering Death in Georgia Prisons – The Daily Beast.

war: This article reminds me of last week’s clip about Sebastian Junger’s talk at Davidson. “The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb …”

It’s just life or death: the simplicity of it,” said Cpl. Robert Cole of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which ends a seven-month deployment in the southern region of Sangin in October. “It’s also kind of nice in some ways because you don’t have to worry about anything else in the world.”

The dominant narrative about war in a foreign land says its practitioners yearn for home, for the families, the comforts, and the luxury of no longer worrying about imminent death or injury. It applies to young American troops in Afghan combat zones, but it’s not the whole truth.

Combat can deliver a sense of urgency, meaning, order and belonging. There is the adrenaline-fueled elation of a firefight, and the horror of rescuing a comrade wounded by a bomb on patrol. It is magnified, instantaneous experience. An existence boiled down to the essentials mocks the mundane detritus, the quibbles and bill-paying and anonymity, of life back home.

Various books, films and television series address the theme of troops liking aspects of war, or missing it when they get home. Many focus on the sacrifice, the brotherhood, or the bloodshed, or some combination. Norman Mailer’s novel, “The Naked and the Dead,” and the 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” are among works that explore the psychological impact of intense combat on its protagonists.

Some who come from rural areas in the United States feel a curious affinity with Afghanistan and its web of sparsely populated villages and farmland. Capt. Brian Huysman of Delphos, Ohio — “Good luck finding Delphos on the map,” he said — sees parallels between the “small town mentality” and rivalries back home and the jostling for advantage among local leaders in southern Afghan settlements.

“It’s very eerie,” said Huysman, Weapons Company commander for the battalion.

When these men are retired veterans, many will look back on Afghanistan as a place of loss, but also a place that made them better than they were, whether the U.S. military succeeds in its long-term goals or not. The cult of sacrifice finds expression in a shrine to the missing in action of past wars in the dining hall at Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan.

via The adrenaline rush of finding a roadside bomb: US Marines enjoy some aspects of Afghan war – The Washington Post.

photography, photo gallery, LIFE:  I love these … The beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things— Seeing Shadows

50656806.jpg

To think of shadows,” Victor Hugo wrote in his great novel, Les Miserables, “is a serious thing.” Hugo, of course, was addressing vast concepts — justice, memory, vengeance — both in the book and in that particular quote. But the beauty of shadows is that they can be so many things: symbols, suggestions, riddles, jokes, threats. They can be anything, or they can simply be themselves — which is a central reason why they’re so cool. Pictured: A handmade Shaker basket sitting on the floor amid a grid of shadows in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.

via Seeing Shadows – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

mens rea, Federal Criminal Code, legal history: Originally 20 federal crimes … now over 4500.

For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”

This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them.

Back in 1790, the first federal criminal law passed by Congress listed fewer than 20 federal crimes. Today there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, plus thousands more embedded in federal regulations, many of which have been added to the penal code since the 1970s.

One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.

Under English common law principles, most U.S. criminal statutes traditionally required prosecutors not only to prove that defendants committed a bad act, but also that they also had bad intentions. In a theft, don’t merely show that the accused took someone’s property, but also show that he or she knew it belonged to someone else.

Over time, lawmakers have devised a sliding scale for different crimes. For instance, a “willful” violation is among the toughest to prove.

Requiring the government to prove a willful violation is “a big protection for all of us,” says Andrew Weissmann, a New York attorney who for a time ran the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Enron Corp. Generally speaking in criminal law, he says, willful means “you have the specific intent to violate the law.”

A lower threshold, attorneys say, involves proving that someone “knowingly” violated the law. It can be easier to fall afoul of the law under these terms.

via ‘Mens Rea’ Legal Protection Erodes in U.S. as Federal Criminal Code Expands – WSJ.com.

Ford Motor Company, marketing, politics, White House, President Obama, automotive bailout: Marketing and politics don’t mix.

As part of a campaign featuring “real people” explaining their decision to buy the Blue Oval, a guy named “Chris” says he “wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government,” according the text of the ad, launched in early September.

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”

That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

via Columnists | Ford pulls its ad on bailouts | The Detroit News.

Amanda Knox, criminal cases, Jessica Rabbit: I don’t follow these big cases daily, but how could I not click when her lawyer says Knox “more like Jessica Rabbit.”

A defense lawyer has told a court to see Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of killing her roommate, not as the “femme fatale” her accusers describe but rather as a loving young woman.

Giulia Bongiorno even compared Knox to the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit, saying Tuesday she is faithful like the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” character.

Amanda Knox called “she-devil” in court

Anxiety grips Amanda Knox as appeal wraps up

Prosecutors compare Amanda Knox to Nazis

Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher, a British student in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison, while co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Bongiorno, Sollecito’s lawyer, paraphrased a famous line from the movie saying Knox “is not bad, she’s just drawn that way.”

“Jessica Rabbit looks like a man-eater, but she is a faithful and loving woman,” Bongiorno said.

via Amanda Knox lawyer: She’s no “femme fatale” – CBS News.

 Banned Books Week, Virtual Read-Out, Gossip Girl:  A reading from Cecily von Ziegesar’s GOSSIP GIRL – YouTube.

Professor Jim Miller, University of Wisconsin, criminal charges, free speech, constitutional law: Sigh …

A professor has been censored twice, reported to the “threat assessment team,” and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door. Campus police at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller’s poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion’s character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, “Warning: Fascism,” Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

via ‘Firefly’ and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus – FIRE.

digital photography, organization, tips:

That’s where a good photo organizer comes in. There are many available, but I’ll concentrate here on Google’s Picasa. It’s not my personal favorite (that would be Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery, which handles tags much better than Picasa), but it’s popular, free, and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

via How to Organize Your Digital Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Troy Davis, RIP: I honestly never thought about his or any executed individual’s funeral … makes me feel less human.  Maybe that is my issue with the death penalty … it takes away my/our humanity.

The family of Troy Davis has scheduled his funeral for Saturday in his hometown of Savannah.

Davis’ younger sister, Kimberly Davis, said Tuesday the public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. funeral service at Jonesville Baptist Church.

Davis was executed in Georgia’s death chamber last week for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insisted he was innocent, but courts ultimately upheld his conviction. Thousands of supporters worldwide protested Davis’ execution, saying the case raised too many doubts about his guilt.

Because some people recanted their testimony, the Davis case has added to the debate over eyewitness reliability.

via Troy Davis funeral set for Saturday in Savannah  | ajc.com.

recipes, chicken:  Just looking at the pictures makes me want chicken! Recipes for Chicken Dishes – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

bookstores, end of an era, Oxford Books, Atlanta, kith/kin:  Friday nights in Atlanta my mom and dad always went to the local bookstore Oxford Books … sad when things change.

In a gloomy post, TechCrunch predicted that bookstores will be virtually extinct by 2018.  The Future Of Books: A Dystopian Timeline also imagined a “great culling of publishers” in 2019.

What do you think? Extrapolating from the rapid growth of eBooks and declines in print sales, the post took a dark view of print books. Here are a few excerpts:

“2015 – The death of the Mom and Pops. Smaller book stores will use the real estate to sell coffee and Wi-Fi. Collectable bookstores will still exist in the margins.”

“2018 – The last Barnes & Noble store converts to a cafe and digital access point.”

“2019 – B&N and Amazon’s publishing arms – including self-pub – will dwarf all other publishing.”

via TechCrunch Predicts Bookstores Will Disappear by 2018 – GalleyCat.

dating methods, media, Christianity, BBC:  BBC dropped the B.C./A.D. dating method and outraged Christians … I saw this happening in my children’s history books …  and I wondered who makes these decisions …

British Christians are incensed after the state-funded BBC decided to jettison the terms B.C. and A.D. in favor of B.C.E. and C.E. in historical date references.

The broadcaster has directed that the traditional B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of the Lord) be replaced by B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) in its television and radio broadcasts.

The BBC said in an official statement that since it is “committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.”

It described the terms B.C.E. and C.E. as “a religiously neutral alternative to B.C./A.D.,” although critics quickly pointed out that the new terms, like the old, were anchored around the birth of Jesus Christ.

via BBC Drops B.C./A.D. Dating Method: Christians Outraged (UPDATE).

BofA, shareholder lawsuits:  $50 billion shareholder lawsuit … this one will be interesting …

But if it is true that Mr. Price, with Mr. Lewis’s assent, kept this information from Mr. Mayopoulos in order to avoid disclosure, this is a prima facie case of securities fraud. Would Bank of America shareholders have voted to approve this transaction? If the answer is no, then it is hard to see this as anything other than material information.

Plaintiffs in this private case have the additional benefit that this claim is related to a shareholder vote. It is easier to prove securities fraud related to a shareholder vote than more typical securities fraud claims like accounting fraud. Shareholder vote claims do not require that the plaintiffs prove that the person committing securities fraud did so with awareness that the statement was wrong or otherwise recklessly made. You only need to show that the person should have acted with care.

This case is not only easier to establish, but the potential damages could also be enormous. Damages in a claim like this are calculated by looking at the amount lost as a result of the securities fraud. A court will most likely calculate this by referencing the amount that Bank of America stock dropped after the loss was announced; this is as much as $50 billion. It is a plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream.

via Bank of America Faces a $50 Billion Shareholder Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.

“Prohibition”,  tv documentaries, history, Ken Burns, history:  DVR is set …

It’s a subject that violently polarized the nation, pitting “wets” against “drys,” Catholics against Protestants, city folk against small-towners, and immigrants against native-born citizens.

Prohibition’s story, like Burns’ film, starts almost 100 years before the ban on alcohol took effect in 1920.

For much of the 19th century, a sizable percentage of the U.S. population made the cast of “Jersey Shore” look like lightweights. Male-only saloons and taverns were everywhere. Alcohol abuse was destroying families and, in some people’s eyes, the very fabric of society.

Women who’d never had a political voice began leading a crusade against the evils of booze — a crusade that was championed further by the Anti-Saloon League, a lobbying group that grew so powerful “it makes the NRA look like they’re still in short pants,” Burns said.

The fight culminated in 1919 with the passage of the 18th amendment, which made the sale and manufacturing of “intoxicating beverages” illegal.

“It was meant to eradicate an evil,” says “Prohibition” narrator Peter Coyote. “Instead, it turned millions of law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers.”

And it turned run-of-the-mill hoodlums into rich and ruthless bootleggers.

via Ken Burns’ ‘Prohibition’ tackles hot topic that polarized nation – Chicago Sun-Times.

food – slow food:   I am a prepared food, fast food junkie … all sorts of reasons this is bad …

This year, Slow Food USA, which defines “slow food” as good for its eaters, its producers and the environment — a definition anyone can get behind — set out to demonstrate that slow food can also be affordable, not only a better alternative to fast food but a less expensive one. The organization issued a $5 Challenge with the inspired rallying cry of “take back the ‘value meal’,” which in most fast food restaurants runs somewhere around five bucks.

Under the leadership of its president, Josh Viertel, Slow Food has moved from a group of rah-rah supporters of artisanal foods to become a determined booster of sustainability and of real food for everyone. Last month it called for people to cook pot luck and community dinners for no more than $5 per person. “We gave ourselves a month to launch the first big public day of action in what we hoped would become an ongoing challenge,” says Viertel. “In those four weeks we hoped to organize 500 people to host meals on Sept. 17. Our dream was to have 20,000 people participate.”

Slow Food believes that the very best way to build the kind of social movement needed to produce the systemic changes that they seek is to start small: to share knowledge and to share meals. What’s wrong with that?

via Slow Food: Shared Meals, Shared Knowledge – NYTimes.com.

criminals, hijackers: On the run for 41 years!  “Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.”

Now, after a manhunt spanning three continents that often appeared to run cold, the FBI has finally found George Wright.

At age 68, he was living quietly in the resort of Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal when he was arrested Monday.

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for murder. Portuguese judicial authorities could not be reached Tuesday for details of the extradition process.

Wright is fighting extradition, a U.S. federal agent said, and his next court appearance in Portugal is in about two weeks.

Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel.

via On the run for 41 years, hijacker traced to Portugal – CNN.com.

citizen journalism, politics, global issues:  Very good article about empowering people through citizen journalism.

Before the American Revolution, journalism, if you could call it that, was an elite practice heavily censored by the colonial government. So when Thomas Paine and John Peter Zenger published their defiant tracts, fellow American colonists yearning for freedom did not question their credentials to write. Instead, they enshrined their right to do so in the First Amendment.

“We are the first nation – arguably the only nation – in which top-down control of the flow of information never was seriously attempted,” AOL Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman writes in his 2008 book, The Thirteen American Arguments .

He notes that Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense anonymously, yet “It was the most influential pamphlet of our time, and perhaps even in world history.”

Meet Kimberley Sevcik, Media Relations Manager for Camfed, an international educational organization with offices in Cambridge (U.K.) and San Francisco, who just returned from three weeks in East Africa. There, as she did on two previous trips (to Zambia and Tanzania), she trained women in basic communications techniques, empowering them to talk and write about what most impacts their lives and what they would like to see done about it. In other countries such as Zambia and Ghana, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education) previously hired professionals to teach filmmaking as a communication tool, resulting in deeply affecting documentaries about previously taboo topics such as AIDS and domestic violence. The latter was the topic of their latest film, “Hidden Truth,” which just won the Prize for Best Documentary at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

If you think about it, “People are always speaking for African woman,” Sevcik observed. “Isn’t is better to ask them, ‘What are you experiencing?’ – and let them find their own voices?”

via Laura Paull: In The Beginning, There Were Citizen Journalists.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election:  I’d like to write him off.

If anyone is seriously willing to argue that a handful of Republican activists in Florida are predictive of the broader electorate, please unmask yourself in the comments and accept the teasing you deserve.

As I’ve said before, I think Mr Perry is beatable, by Mr Romney or Mr Obama (or perhaps by another Republican, should it come to that). He has two serious liabilities. The first is that he doesn’t particularly play well with others. He explicitly rejects moderation and bipartisan behaviour, even though his behaviour is occasionally quite temperate, as on the tuition issue. This truculence is slightly unusual in a national politician, at least a winning one. Mr Perry’s second major liability is that he has no record of leading people places they don’t want to go, on politics or on policy. He usually doesn’t even try. This isn’t a thoroughgoing drawback in an elected leader—it forestalls crusading—but it does challenge his ability to form coalitions, electoral or otherwise. These are the overarching reasons that I think Mr Perry can be beaten. However, many of his critics, being apparently unable to take a balanced view of the situation, tend to ignore such substantive complaints or obscure them with a barrage of flimsier complaints about how he has a Texas accent. At some point they’re going to realise that’s not going to work.

via Rick Perry’s problems: The need for new narratives | The Economist.

depression, “Supermoms”:  I bet  “Supermoms” who accept their limitations and drink lots of coffee are never depressed. 🙂

So I was intrigued to come across a new study reporting that women who recognize that something has to give when it comes to juggling a job and family tend to have fewer depressive symptoms than those who think they can truly have — and handle — it all.

“It’s really about accepting that combining employment and family requires that trade-offs be made, and then feeling okay about letting certain things go, either at home or at work,” says the study’s leader, Katrina Leupp, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

via Depression is less common among ‘Supermoms’ who accept their limitations – The Washington Post.

economics, cities, Great Recession, families: An interesting take …  “The Gated City”: Moving toward stagnation | The Economist.

25
Sep
11

9.25.2011 …‎ Sitting in a sea of BIG Newton fans at Bank of America Stadium … (OK, we bolted at the half due to the rain deluge … and it was sunny with no sign of rain at home … not a drop) … But nonetheless it was a panther day!

Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton:  Great day to be a Panther fan … Nice to have a QB to cheer for.

The Carolina Panthers slipped up in the rain that pelted Bank of America Stadium in the second quarter Sunday, but they refused to let it rain on their parade, rallying for a 16-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the large majority of fans having retreated for cover, a defensive gaffe gave Jacksonville a touchdown and a 10-5 lead as the clock expired on an opening half otherwise dominated by the Panthers.

The fans came back when conditions improved after halftime, and so did Carolina. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and the offense navigated treacherous field conditions for a game-winning drive capped by tight end Greg Olsen’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 4:20 left.

With that, the Panthers earned their first victory of the season, and Ron Rivera got his first victory as head coach.

via Panthers reign in the rain.

Rin Tin Tin, legends: My dad always talked about Rin Tin Tin …  ‘Yo, Rinty,’

This Rin Tin Tin is heir to a dynasty of celebrity canines. After all, a lot of us still remember “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” on TV back in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The number of people who declared ‘Yo, Rinty,’ which was the sort of signature phrase of the TV show, was heartening, said Susan Orlean – heartening enough to inspire her to write a whole book about the legend of Rin Tin Tin.

“I think he’s a wonderful symbol of something innocently heroic, Orleans said, “a living being who has embodied qualities that we have always thought of as American – of being independent, of being tough and brave.”

It’s a story that may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that the first Rin Tin Tin was a star in silent movies in the ’20s, celebrated as an athlete AND an actor?

via The legend of Rin Tin Tin – CBS News.

writing, tips, lists:  I like lists … so far I am at #1.

One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips that I’ve found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day;

via The Happiness Project: Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done..

gLee, Sesame Street, letter G, parody, LOL: Enjoy the  letter G!

Get ready to learn all about the letter ‘G’ with Sue, Rachel, Finn, and er, Mr. Guester. Sesame Street‘s 42nd season premiere airs Monday, and it features a killer parody of Glee that is sure to delight children and parents alike (the episode also includes a significantly more manly parody of The Deadliest Catch, if you balk at musical television but dig puppets)

via Flavorwire » Watch Sesame Street’s Hilarious ‘Glee’ Parody.

Sesame Street: G – YouTube.

cartoon, pirate cartoon, New Yorker, LOL:

Cartoons from the Issue of September 26th, 2011 : The New Yorker.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, heroes, Supreme Court, photo essays:  As a female law student in the 80’s, she was a role model … a hero.

The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor

A look back at the rise and tenure of the first female Supreme Court justice, sworn in thirty years ago, September 25, 1981.

via The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor – Photo Essays – TIME.

Planet Word , books, Stephen Fry: “The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you” – Stephen Fry

Planet Word

“The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you”. (Stephen Fry). From feral children to fairy-tale princesses, secrets codes, invented languages – even a language that was eaten – “Planet Word” uncovers everything you didn’t know you needed to know about how language evolves. Learn the tricks to political propaganda, why we can talk but animals can’t, discover 3,000-year-old clay tablets that discussed beer and impotence and test yourself at textese – do you know your RMEs from your LOLs? Meet the 105-year-old man who invented modern-day Chinese and all but eradicated illiteracy, and find out why language caused the go-light in Japan to be blue. From the dusty scrolls of the past to the unknown digital future, and with (heart) the first graphic to enter the OED, are we already well on our way to a language without words? In a round-the-world trip of a lifetime, discover all this and more as J.P. Davidson travels across our gloriously, endlessly intriguing multilingual Planet Word.

via Planet Word (Book) by J. P. Davidson, et al. (2011): Waterstones.com.

Frank Warren, PostSecret: I am a big fan of PostSecret … although sometimes they are tiring because so many secrets are sexually related … or maybe I am just really boring.

It began simply enough seven years ago, when Germantown resident Frank Warren decided to embark on an experiment: He distributed postcards around the Washington area to complete strangers. Warren inscribed the postcards with the following instructions: “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”

Warren’s initial idea became PostSecret, a Web site which now receives millions of hits a week. The ongoing project fills Warren’s mailbox with hundreds of postcards every week, from which he chooses a few to post on his blog. PostSecret has produced five books to date, and last week Warren launched his newest project: an app for mobile devices. The PostSecret app takes Warren’s project to an entire different level of connectivity, allowing users to create and share secrets on the go. Within three days, the app had processed over 50,000 submitted secrets, and it’s currently the bestselling social networking iPhone app in the country.

via Q&A with Frank Warren, Founder of PostSecret – Capital Comment Blog (washingtonian.com).

Apple, Steve Jobs, business, growth:  Worth reading …

Finding that first market — a few customers willing to pay for your early product — is hard enough. But there’s one thing that may be even harder. And that’s finding the second market. Especially because companies are often so focused on protecting what they already have.

In 1996 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, I was in charge of an industry-recognized channel program for the company that was responsible for growing a $2M business to $180M business in 18 months. By working with a few dedicated partners — some were called “value-added-resellers” and some were national retailers such as Best Buy — Apple was able to grow its sales exponentially.

So, as I went into the full business review, it never occurred to me that Jobs wouldn’t appreciate the channel program. It was the most profitable part of Apple’s business at the time and a needed source of revenue. But Steve’s take on it (in his words, not mine): “Fuck the channel; we don’t need the fuckin’ channel.”

And he was right. Getting to that next growth market takes more than being unhappy with your current results (in this case, abysmal sales margins and underperforming stock), and it takes more than being willing to change. You have to be willing to do what feels unnatural.

As you become successful in something, you develop a feel for how to do it. You know when something is “right.” You’ve built up the equivalent of a hand callus in response to the friction and pressure of what it has taken to get to that first-market success. So, when you try to replicate that in a new context — a second market in this case — all courses of action just feel…off.

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, a good channel strategy made the key difference between a $100M and a $2B company in the tech world. If you had enough money, you could buy distribution and thus sales. The channel, therefore, had a powerful position in relationship to the brand.

via What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Growth – Nilofer Merchant – Harvard Business Review.

reality of fiction, naturalism: Very interesting article … “Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.”

Literature has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

In his contribution to The Stone last week, Alex Rosenberg posed a defense of naturalism — “the philosophical theory that treats science as our most reliable source of knowledge and scientific method as the most effective route to knowledge” — at the expense of other theoretical endeavors such as, notably, literary theory. To the question of “whether disciplines like literary theory provide real understanding,” Professor Rosenberg’s answer is as unequivocal as it is withering: just like fiction, literary theory can be “fun,” but neither one qualifies as “knowledge.”

Though the works of authors like Sophocles, Dante or Shakespeare certainly provide us with enjoyment, can we really classify what they have produced as “fun”? Are we not giving the Bard and others short shrift when we treat their work merely as entertainment? Does their fictional art not offer insights into human nature as illuminating as many of those the physical sciences have produced?

As a literary theorist, I suppose I could take umbrage at the claim that my own discipline, while fun, doesn’t rise to the level of knowledge. But what I’d actually like to argue goes a little further. Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

via ‘Quixote,’ Colbert and the Reality of Fiction – NYTimes.com.

college search, fit:  If I were a high school senior, I would be pulling my hair out.

Not too long ago in my office, I counseled a student distraught because the extensive spring break college tour from which he had just returned hadn’t yielded a discovery of “the right fit.” This seemed to be defined as El Dorado in college form, where everyone would share this young person’s worldview and interests—and the food was great. Each fall counselors have some tough talks with teenagers insistent that super-selective, name-brand colleges are the right fit for them, even if the admission profile of those colleges would suggest otherwise. We also see young people who earnestly struggle to identify the factors that will define fit for them, but who get derailed by “lifestyle” selling points of the colleges, like the ubiquitous gleaming athletic facility with climbing wall, touted in viewbooks and in admission officers’ seemingly interchangeable information sessions. From the student perspective, the Quest for Fit can be elusive, stressful, and frustrating.

There is a popular slogan posted in many college counseling offices: “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.” This statement has become a mantra we repeat to families as an antidote to the media-driven obsession with rank, reputation, and prestige. The notion of “fit” or “match” once seemed to offer a metaphorical goal that would lead our conversations to more productive ground—to what my colleague Jeff Durso-Finley calls the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy, College Edition. What college attributes will contribute to your success and give you the support you need to meet your goals? What do you bring to a college community? What are some realistic parameters for your search? Increasingly, though, Fit showed up as a factor in student experiences that were counterproductive to the reflective, student-guided college search we want to support.

A few years ago, I was comparing notes with my colleagues Carl Ahlgren, of Baltimore’s Gilman School, and Jeff Durso-Finley, of The Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey, when we recognized the emergence of the “mid-sized urban school with great school spirit” (or MSUSWGSS) as the Holy Grail of Generation Fit. A by-product of our abuse of Fit, simultaneously one-size-fits-all and highly customized, this perfect college is academic, but fun, not too big, not too small. Its campus is, of course, reminiscent of Hogwarts; its dorms, spacious. The largest cross-section of our counselees described this mythic ideal as their “right fit,” usually assuming it was found in the far off lands where admit rates fall to single digits. Strange as it may seem, this is where Don Quixote rode into the conversation. Quixote’s tasks of knight-errantry are undertaken in the name of his beloved Dulcinea, of whom he proclaims, “all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her.” In fact, he has never seen her and she may or may not even exist; he has heard her name and ascribed attributes; she sounds a lot like the elusive MSUSWGSS.

Our colleague Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, once captured the frustration of a conversation about the whole business of Fit when she exclaimed, “Fit happens!” Happily, this tongue-in-cheek phrase nails it. We hope it can become the new counseling office motto, opening our kids to unexpected possibilities and a more authentic, empowering and reflective transition to the next phase of their lives.

via Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), media, President Obama, politics,  black/race card:  Don’t like or respect Joe Walsh … but I am really tired of the race card being thrown out … from both sides.

A recent crop of bad press has not stopped U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) from making his usual media rounds this week. On Wednesday, after being named among Congress’s thirteen “most corrupt” representatives, Walsh sat down with the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell to discuss the mainstream media’s alleged “protection” of President Obama, claiming the president’s race protects him from criticism.

Bozell, a conservative talk show host, brought up the Tea Party’s love for African American GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain before accusing the Obama administration of “playing class warfare and race warfare games.” He went on to say that the national media is “aiding and abetting” that agenda, and Walsh agreed, referring to the president as “this guy.”

“This guy pushed every one of the media’s buttons,” Walsh said. “He was liberal, he was different, he was new, he was black. Oh my God, it was the potpourri of everything. They are so vested in our first black president not being a failure that it’s going to be amazing to watch the lengths they go to protect him. [The media], I believe, will spout this racist line if some of their colleagues up here aren’t doing it aggressively enough. There is going to be a real desperation.”

via Joe Walsh: Media Will Protect Obama Because He Is Black (VIDEO).

Troy Davis, final words, death penalty:  Troy Davis maintained his innocence in killing of officer … Never a advocate of the death penalty, I can justify it in certain circumstances … but cases like this make more and more actively against it.

Georgia inmate Troy Davis maintained his innocence until the very end, saying he did not kill an off-duty officer in 1989.

Davis made his final statement as he was strapped to a gurney. He was executed at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. Davis told the family of officer Mark MacPhail that he did not kill their son, father and brother.

He said the incident that happened that night was not his fault and he didn’t have a gun. Davis’ claims of innocence drew worldwide support from hundreds of thousands of people. Courts, however, consistently ruled against him.

via In his final words before execution, Troy Davis maintains his innocence in killing of officer – The Washington Post.

Facebook, social networks, media, marketing: Big Brother is watching …

Facebook, the Web’s biggest social network, is where you go to see what your friends are up to. Now it wants to be a force that shapes what you watch, hear, read and buy.

The company announced new features here on Thursday that could unleash a torrent of updates about what you and your Facebook friends are doing online: Frank is watching “The Hangover,” Jane is listening to Jay-Z, Mark is running a race wearing Nike sneakers, and so forth. That in turn, Facebook and its dozens of partner companies hope, will influence what Frank and Jane and Mark’s friends consume.

via Facebook’s New Strategy to Turn Eyeballs Into Influence – NYTimes.com.

Southern American English, Y’all: It may be ok to say y’all!!  And I never thought that there was a distinct name for my language … Southern American English!

DISCUSSIONS of Texas often turn to an exploration of the American South’s most distinctive regional locution, “y’all.” The common view, among outsiders, is that insofar as “y’all” is from the region specified, it’s also a bit sub-literate and redneck.

That’s a bit snooty. The fact is that “y’all” is pretty useful, as formal English doesn’t have a distinctly plural version of “you.” There is no “yous” (except in places like New York city and New Jersey, sometimes in the form of “youse guys”). This suggests that the referent is usually clear enough in context. But the existence of “y’all,” the related “you-all” and “all-y’all,” and other workarounds like “you guys” and “you lot” show that there is, in fact, room in the market for new second-person plural pronouns. Visitors to Texas typically realize the value of “y’all” within 48 hours.

via Southern American English: Y’all hear this | The Economist.

Navy SEALs, Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert, Davidson College Alums:  Some Davidson friends and I were talking about the Navy SEALs the other night and one friend said that a classmate was head of the recruiting and training (Although he may be retired now.)  So I looked it  … learned a little about the SEALs, too.

In a courtyard known as the Grinder, more than 200 young men are well into a 90-minute, high-intensity workout. They’re dressed in white T-shirts and camouflage pants. A shirtless and heavily tattooed instructor shouts out orders. Other instructors pace up and down the aisles with megaphones — making sure that on push-ups elbows are bent past 90 degrees and chests are hitting the ground. These SEAL recruits are in the last week of “in doc” — the ramp-up to the first phase of formal SEAL training.

This is a scene that makes Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert very happy. He oversees the recruiting and training of future SEALs.

“For the first time in years, I’ve got a full class out there,” he says. “We don’t usually see that. In fact, we have so many people in the class, they’re competing to get into first phase. This is a problem we’ve always wanted.”

It’s especially good news for the SEALs now. The Pentagon wants the force of just over 2,000 SEALs to expand by 500 by the year 2010. Herbert says it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s not just a spigot you can turn on and off,” he explains. “From the day that a guy gets here to the day that I give the guy his trident — the seal insignia — takes 59 weeks minimum, if he makes it through the first pass.”

The SEALs hope this mentoring will help recruits make it through the program, but Captain Herbert says the force will not compromise its standards.

“If we compromise our standards,” he says, “we are putting our troops in jeopardy. We are putting our mission in jeopardy.”

Herbert says the SEALs’ work during wartime is dangerous enough as is. He won’t tell parents of SEALs not to worry. Instead, he says this: “I can promise you he’ll be the best-trained man on the battlefield, the best-led man on the battlefield, the best-equipped man on the battlefield. But ultimately, he’s on the battlefield, and war is an uncertain thing.”

Herbert will disclose nothing about what SEAL commandos are doing overseas. He’ll only say they’re making contributions that Americans would be proud of. To date, 18 SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

via Navy SEALs Seek to Build Up Their Ranks : NPR.

Draw a Stickman, websites, random:  As one blogger said … what a great way to waste time. 🙂

careers, happiness, kith/kin:  My dad always whistled when he came in from work … he was a pretty happy guy.  He was a stock broker/bond peddler … #9 on the list: financial services sales agents.

Your therapist’s happiness level rises when you visit her couch. Firefighters are delighted to help you get Kitty out of a tree. Sins to confess to your priest or minister? He’s tickled to hear them.

Psychologist, firefighter, and clergy are included in the list of the “10 happiest jobs” based on data collected via the General Social Survey of the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “Since experts say that social interaction drives job satisfaction, it makes sense that clergy are happiest of all,” Christian Science Monitor writes. “Social interaction and helping people [is a] combination that’s tough to beat for job happiness.”

This formula explains why teachers and physical therapists are on the list, but also included are autonomous, creative professions like author and artist, and labor-intensive jobs like operating engineer. “Operating engineers get to play with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors,” says the Monitor. And, “with more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, no wonder they are happy.” The full list follows:

1. Clergy

2. Firefighters

3. Physical therapists

4. Authors

5. Special education teachers

6. Teachers

7. Artists

8. Psychologists

9. Financial services sales agents

10. Operating engineers

Interestingly, many of the occupations that fall at the bottom of the job-satisfaction list involve information technology, which can create isolating work, notes Forbes:

1. Director of information technology

2. Director of sales and marketing

3. Product manager

4. Senior web developer

5. Technical specialist

6. Electronics technician

7. Law clerk

8. Technical support analyst

9. CNC machinist

10. Marketing manager

Where does your job fall on the happiness scale? Are you bolstered by the helping hand you extend to others or satisfied by what you create—or should you pack it all in and learn to drive a bulldozer?

via Whistle While You Work – The Sweet Pursuit – Utne Reader.

Apple, Samsung, competition, intellectual property:  Samsung … you look pretty stupid.

Consider the wall of apps in this photo of the company’s new shop-in-a-shop in Italy’s Centro Sicilia, which appears to feature not only the iOS icon for Apple’s mobile Safari browser, but the icon for the company’s iOS App Store — three instances of it.

Embarrassing, particularly given Apple’s allegations that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of its iPhone and iPad devices. It’s hard to imagine there’s a reasonable explanation for this. Samsung phones don’t support iOS apps and I can’t imagine Apple is making the company a version of Safari.

Now it’s possible this was a display left over from some other event or product, but still.

via What Are Apple’s Icons Doing on Samsung’s Wall of Apps? – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

Jennifer Ehle,  “A Gifted Man”,  “Pride & Prejudice”:  Love Jennifer Ehle … I will add “A Gifted Man” to my dvr record list.

Many viewers will forever associate Jennifer Ehle with her career-making role as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice, the sumptuous adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. But the 41-year old actress, the daughter of the actress Rosemary Harris and the writer John Ehle and now a mother of two, has been producing a steady body of work for both the stage and film, since she first donned a curly black wig to play Austen’s outspoken romantic heroine back in 1995. On Broadway, she won a Tony award in 2000 for The Real Thing and another in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia.

Recently, Ehle starred alongside her Darcy, Colin Firth, in The King’s Speech, though the two only shared one brief scene together; she played Lady Catelyn Stark in the original pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but departed the role before it went to series. This month, she’s in Steven Soderbergh’s big-budget germaphobe’s-worst-nightmare flick, Contagion, in which she plays a CDC scientist, and next month she’ll appear as the wife of George Clooney’s politician character in The Ides of March.

Ehle also stars in CBS’s new supernatural/medical/personal journey drama, A Gifted Man, created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and launching tonight. She plays Anna Paul, the ghost of a free clinic doctor on a mission to improve the character of her arrogant ex-husband, Michael (Patrick Wilson), a brilliant neurosurgeon who has lost his way.

The Daily Beast sat down with Ehle, and in these excerpts we discussed A Gifted Man, why she left Game of Thrones, attachment parenting, why she’s never recognized on the street, and ghost sex.

Why did you decide to do a weekly series now?

Jennifer Ehle: I never thought in a million years that I would do a weekly series. I met Jonathan Demme when I’d auditioned for him for Rachel Getting Married. It hadn’t worked out, but I knew he liked me. Without Patrick being attached to this and Jonathan directing it I don’t think I would have even read it or looked at it. Then I just sort of started taking baby steps because if they’re both seeing something in this then maybe what I see is not an illusion.

via Jennifer Ehle on ‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ Colin Firth – The Daily Beast.

New York City Ballet “Ocean’s Kingdom,” Sir Paul McCartney,  ballet, New York City Ballet, costume design,  Stella McCartney:  What a great father daughter collaboration.  Now I need to find a review of the performance … not that I know anything about ballet.

Sir Paul McCartney’s first ballet score has premiered in New York.

Peter Martins, master-in-chief of the New York City Ballet, said it has been one of the greatest collaborations in his career.

Speaking ahead of the premiere, he told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz that the musician was engaged in “every aspect” of the project.

The ballet, choreographed by Martins, tells the story of an underwater romance.

via BBC News – Sir Paul McCartney ‘delivered’ to the ballet world.

When Paul McCartney announced earlier this year that he would create an original score for the New York City Ballet’s “Ocean’s Kingdom,” he had the perfect costume designer in mind—daughter Stella McCartney! The limited-engagement ballet premiered last night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Stella McCartney, Ocean's Kingdom

Stella McCartney’s Ballet Costumes: See the Sketches! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

R.E.M, music:  Love  REM … might actually have to  buy the set … christmas gift for me?

Recently disbanded alt-rock legends R.E.M. will release their first career-spanning retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 on November 15th. Few details of the set have emerged, but Rolling Stone has confirmed that the compilation will include a handful of tracks recorded this year after the completion of the band’s final album, Collapse Into Now.

Though R.E.M. have released a handful of compilations and hits collections over the years, the material on those sets has always been divided between their IRS Records years, which covers the Chronic Town EP on through Document in 1987, and their Warner Bros. catalog, which includes all of their material from Green through Collapse Into Now. Part Lies, presumably a multi-disc set to cover the sheer volume of the band’s hits, will be the first collection to provide an overview of their entire body of work.

via R.E.M. to Release Career-Spanning Hits Set in November | Music News | Rolling Stone.

“The Problem We All Live With” ,  Norman Rockwell,  paintings, civil rights paintings, kudos:  Since I was only 4 at the time, I never thought about how controversial “The Problem We All Live With” was.  Kudos to Norman Rockwell for using his work to portray this.

With the eyes of the nation this week on civil rights, let’s turn our focus to a painting inspired by a Louisiana event that astonished America when it came out 46 years ago.

In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell, the well-known illustrator of iconic images of the American dream, unveiled the first of his civil rights paintings, “The Problem We All Live With.” It’s very likely you have seen this painting that debuted in a two-page spread in Look magazine. It’s very different from most of Rockwell’s work.

The painting shows a full-length profile of a young black girl in a white dress and tennis shoes on a sidewalk. She’s sandwiched between two pairs of federal marshals. You can’t see the full bodies of the marshals – just from their shoulders to their shoes. Scrawled on a wall that serves as the painting’s background is the nasty word, “Nigger.” Scratched at another place is “K.K.K.” The only vivid color in the piece, marked mostly by its muted grays, tans and yellows, is the carcass of a red tomato. It lay on the ground, splattered just below where it hit the wall.

“The Problem” is a simple, but remarkable work. North Carolina artist Kenneth W. Laird, who did his master’s degree thesis on this and other paintings, calls Rockwell’s piece “arguably the single most important image ever done of an African American in illustration history.”

via Rockwell painting nudged nation by Andy Brack | LikeTheDew.com.

 “All My Children”, soap operas, end of an era, UGA Law School:  41 years … great memory of watching all my children at lunchtime as a first year law student and rushing to get to Louisville to see if Jenny married ???

The long-running soap opera aired its final episode on Friday, ending the show’s 41-year run.

The finale finished with a cliffhanger: It ended with most of the show’s characters gathered at the Chandler house for a party. J.R. lurked outside with a gun and fired it when the screen went black.

Whether anyone was shot could still be revealed – ABC licensed the show to production company Prospect Park, which hopes to keep the show going online and on other “emerging platforms.”

The series, which debuted in 1970, featured Susan Lucci as villain Erica Kane, and helped launch the careers of actors including Kelly Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Melissa Leo, Amanda Seyfried, Mischa Barton, Christian Slater and Michelle Trachtenberg.

ABC announced it was pulling the plug on the show back in April, along with the soap opera “One Life to Live,” which will end its run in January.

via “All My Children” ends after 41 years – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

“Buffett Rule”, Warren Buffet, taxes, politics:

WHAT percentage of your annual income do you pay in taxes — as much as Warren Buffett’s secretary? If not, what is the likelihood that you will soon?

Wealthy investors and their advisers pondered these questions this week, after President Obama included the “Buffett Rule” in the budget plan he sent to Congress. The rule stipulates that people who make more than $1 million a year should pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-class Americans.

The prospects of the rule ever becoming law are poor — there is strong opposition to it among Republicans in Congress. But some variation is possible. And that prompted David Scott Sloan, co-chairman of private wealth services at the law firm Holland & Knight, to spend his lunch hour earlier this week trying to calculate how much Mr. Buffett’s secretary would have to make to pay a higher percentage of her income than one of the richest men in the world. Assistants to high-powered financiers often make six-figure salaries, which put them in a top tax bracket (and presumably out of the middle class).

But Mr. Sloan gave up. “It’s so nonsensical,” he said. “It’s not rich, poor. It’s source of income.”

As Mr. Buffett explained last month, “What I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.” His income comes mostly from his investments, which are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. His secretary is most likely paid a salary and bonus, which would be taxed as ordinary income, at a rate that goes as high as 35 percent.

Yet behind the entertaining political theater, some complicated tax questions are being raised. Here is a look at a few.

via ‘Buffett Rule’ Is More Complicated Than Politics Suggest – NYTimes.com.

dictionaries, words, culture:   Outrage?  Don’t ususally think of a dictionary as evoking such strong emotions.

But it was widely denounced for what critics viewed as a lax admissions policy: it opened its columns to parvenus like “litterbug” and “wise up,” declined to condemn “ain’t,” and illustrated its definitions with quotations from down-market sources like Ethel Merman and Betty Grable. That was reason enough for The Times to charge that Merriam had “surrendered to the permissive school” and that the dictionary’s “say as you go” approach would surely accelerate the deterioration already apparent in the language. In The New Yorker, Dwight Macdonald wrote that the editors had “made a sop of the solid structure of English,” and in an Atlantic article called “Sabotage in Springfield,” Wilson Follett called the Third a “fighting document” that was “out to destroy . . . every obstinate vestige of linguistic punctilio, every surviving influence that makes for the upholding of standards.” (The dereliction that most appalled Follett was the Third’s refusal to reject “that darling of the advanced libertarians,” the use of “like” as a conjunction.)

Gove was naïve to imagine that the dictionary could be purged of all subjective value judgments. Yet the Third wasn’t the radical manifesto critics made it out to be. Mmes. Merman and Grable notwithstanding, its three most frequently cited sources were Shakespeare, the Bible and Milton. And the editors insisted — quaintly, by modern lights — on including only words that had been documented in respectable venues. In a letter responding to the Times editorial, Gove pointed out that “double-dome” had been used by John Mason Brown and Alistair Cooke, and that “finalize” could be found in “highly reputable places” like The New Republic and The Times itself.

Still, the controversy signaled a turning point in Ameri­can attitudes about language. It introduced the words “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” into the cultural conversation, and fixed the battle lines for the ritualized squabble over standards that persists across media old and new. The keening indignation, the dire prophecies of imminent cultural disintegration — it’s easy to have the impression that little has changed over the past 50 years.

But the furor over Webster’s Third also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-­century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.

via When a Dictionary Could Outrage – NYTimes.com.

fads,  photo gallery, LIFE:  I really enjoy these LIFE photo galleries … What fads do you remember?  Duncan yo-yos …

Fads. They come and go. Some, like the hula hoop, have a kind of staying power, a certain quirkiness or kitsch that makes us love ’em even more as time goes on. Others definitely have their moment in the sun and then vanish, exiled to the cultural dustbin where so many pet rocks and beanie babies currently reside. In need of a fad refresher? Come take a scroll down memory lane.

via Freaky and Fabulous: A Tour of Fads – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Mitch Daniels, GOP/Republican Party, 2012 Presidential Election, politics:  There is still time …

Daniels, a leading voice within the GOP on the need for radical fiscal reforms in government, disappointed legions of activists by ruling out his own bid for president this year. In town through Tuesday to promote his new book, “Keeping the Republic,” Daniels said he is hoping his views can remain in the conversation and guide the nomination process.

In his remarks Friday, Daniels said he did not watch Thursday night’s GOP debate in Orlando, nor any of the debates, for that matter. It’s his way of dodging a question he’s constantly asked: what he thinks of the current field.

Daniels did say that he would support the GOP nominee, whoever it turns out to be, and he qualified his view that there’s still time for someone else to jump in by saying, “I didn’t say there was a need.”

via Mitch Daniels: There’s still time for more GOP hopefuls – The Washington Post.

college applications, application essay, advice:  Another approach to the essay …

Stanford University’s application for admission includes a prompt directing students to write a letter to their future freshman roommates. The exercise is a good one for all applicants – regardless of their interest in Stanford – as a fun, fresh jumping-off point in the essay writing process, Rebecca Joseph, a professor of education at California State University, said on Friday.

“It’s all about loosening up,” said Ms. Joseph, who was on a panel called “Communicating Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Essays,” part of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors conference in New Orleans.

She quoted various students’ “Dear Roommate” pieces:

“If you want to borrow my music, just ask. If you want to borrow my underwear, just take them.”

“I eat ice cream with a fork, and I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth just for the sour taste.”

“If you have anything other than a Dodgers poster on the wall, I will tear it down.”

“Using ‘I’ is scary,” Ms. Joseph said, but students must get comfortable with their first-person voice on paper in order to craft successful, resonant essays.

Erica Sanders, an admissions officer at the University of Michigan, stressed that writing style – something students may obsess over – is less important than “psychedelic” three-dimensionality and shows of authentic personality.

“We can fix that a student’s a comma fiend, that they don’t have verb-tense structure,” she said.

via Crafting an Application Essay That ‘Pops’ – NYTimes.com.

grammar, grammatical errors, lists:  Don’t want anybody to look dumb!

One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when blogging and writing web copy.

via Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb | Copyblogger.

alumni relations, technology:  

Alumni, analyzed: Collecting and analyzing data on alumni browsing habits—which newsletters they click on, how many times they visit the college’s Web site—can be a big help to fund raisers, write Peter Wylie and John Sammis on the CoolData Blog. They recommend that colleges push back against vendors who are reluctant to provide such data.

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), princess school, The Princess Diaries, movies:  Sounds a great deal like Kate Middleton is a real life Mia Thermopolis.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Kate Middleton (ahem, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), is getting some private briefings on Britain’s august national institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of shaking hands royal duties.

It’s been remarkably quiet for Middleton in recent weeks, since she and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, returned from their tour of Canada and the U.S. But behind the scenes, it transpires that experts in the areas of government, the arts and media have visited St James’s Palace to give the Duchess one-on-one tutorials.

A royal source said, “The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better and learning more about organizations such as the arts, the media and the government. It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately.”

NewsFeed was particularly taken by the notion that Middleton is “spending time carrying out private research of her own,” which one might call, you know, reading.

If this comes across as slightly extreme behavior, the Telegraph suggests that the Royal Family (or “The Firm,” as some refer to them) are keen to avoid the mistakes made in the case of William’s late mother, Princess Diana. According to the paper, she “told friends that no forethought had been given to her future role when she married the Prince of Wales, and that Palace staff ‘basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.'”

To that end, William insisted that a support network be established to guide his bride through the potential pitfalls of public life. We have no doubt that she’ll do just fine, and hope that if we’re ever a player short for a pub quiz team, the Duchess will be available to take part.

via A Royal Education: Kate Middleton Goes to Princess School – TIME NewsFeed.

 Coca-Cola, memorabilia, collecting, UNC-CH, exhibits:  I want to the Stonehenge!

Stephen and Sandra Rich’s collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia began with just a few serving trays.

Now an unknown number of pieces whose dates of origin span more than 100 years make up one of the largest private collections in the country.

The couple, both UNC alumni, will display a portion of their artifacts beginning tonight at the Love House and Hutchins Forum in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola.

Stephen Rich worked as an executive with the Coca-Cola Co. at its headquarters in Atlanta for 30 years.

As an Atlanta native, Rich said he inherited his collecting gene from his mother.

“What company better reflects our country and the south?” he said.

The couple’s memorabilia — including a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan holding a Coke, a 1904 oval plate of the St. Louis World’s Fair and a miniature model of Stonehenge with Coca-Cola products in place of rocks — is housed in their downstairs den.

Stephen said every piece has a story.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Coca-Cola memorabilia to be displayed on UNC campus.

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9.21.2011 … Jane Austen and Christian Ethics … at FPC Wednesday nights … I am happy …

Jane Austen, FPC, Wednesday Connect:  Loved the first seminar on Jane Austen and Christian Ethics  at Wednesday Connect … join us for two more!

Jane Austen and Christian Ethics – Jane Austen’s novels are to be read and enjoyed for their own sake. The world she depicts, however, is narrated in clear moral terms. During this three week course we will look at three of Jane Austen’s novels to examine the nature of self-knowledge, “happiness,” and the “constancy” such a life calls us to embody.

via http://www.firstpres-charlotte.org/FirstNews/fn.20110911.pdf

Mount Tambora, natural disasters, Indonesia, history:  “A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”   … 1815 …

So, the 45-year-old farmer didn’t wait to hear what experts had to say when Mount Tambora started being rocked by a steady stream of quakes. He grabbed his wife and four young children, packed his belongings and raced down its quivering slopes.

“It was like a horror story, growing up,” said Hasanuddin, who joined hundreds of others in refusing to return to their mountainside villages for several days despite assurances they were safe.

“A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that’s what we thought. If we made him angry — were disrespectful to nature, say — he’d wake up spitting flames, destroying all of mankind.”

The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide and half a mile (1 kilometer) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.

It was several times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.

In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.

Tambora is different.

People here are jittery because of the mountain’s history — and they’re not used to feeling the earth move so violently beneath their feet. Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.

Soon after the ice core findings, scientists started studying Tambora in earnest.

In 2004, Icelandic vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson and a team of American and Indonesian researchers uncovered remnants of a village in a gully on Tambora’s flank that had been pulverized in the fast-moving pyroclastic flow.

Sigurdsson heralded it as a “Pompeii of the East,” and local researcher Made Geria says archaeologists have expanded the dig every year since then.

No one expects a repeat of 1815 just yet — it takes much more than 200 years for that type of huge pressure to build up again, said de Boer, who teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The present activity could be part of the birth of Tambora’s so-called child, he said, a process whereby magma still being pushed upward from the original massive blast forms a new volcano in its place.

But that’s little consolation for those confronted with the mountain’s new burst of activity.

Like Hasanuddin, teenager Malik Mahmud has heard the stories.

“Tens of thousands of people, animals and rice fields disappeared,” the 15-year-old said, adding that a veil of ash blocked out the sun for years.

“There was no life here,” he said quietly from the village of Doropeti, 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crater. “I know that from my parents.”

via History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers – The Washington Post.

food- restaurant:  Why do you choose a restaurant?  I think that it is combination of food and x factor.

But my class in Food Entrepreneurship this semester is forcing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. The class focuses on the restaurant as the pinnacle of food business.

Restaurants are important. The best ones are reserved for special occasions, and our memories of birthdays and anniversaries are made there. Think about the best meal you’ve ever had out. Does that not stick with you? I was 18 when I ate the best meal of my life, on a tiny patio in Arles, France. I can remember the vegetable gratin and rosé like it was yesterday. But while it’s natural to wax nostalgic this way, our professor reminds us that restaurants have two basic goals: to make money and to feed people. He has identified four basic reasons one chooses a restaurant.

1. The food: From the taste of the dishes themselves to the way each ingredient is sourced.

2. The service: For this one, I think about my favorite bartender, or the owner who brought me edamame hummus while I waited for a table.

3. The design: From David Rockwell-designed wall fountains to easily accessible parking.

4. The X-factor: This can be anything from shrimp-flipping hibachi cooks to sheer exclusivity.

Maybe the best restaurants have all of these things going for them, but more often than not, just one is enough.

The more I think about this, the more true it seems. My family eats at this tiny Italian restaurant in North Newark almost religiously. It has a screen door, awful wine selection, and waitresses who are abrupt at best—but the food is astounding. There are family-style bowls of hand rolled cavatelli with house-made pot cheese and the world’s most perfect Chicken Savoy. Nothing else matters.

What’s your favorite restaurant? What is it about that place that brings you back, either literally or through memory? And does that reason (or reasons) fit into my professor’s list, above?

via Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant – Food – GOOD.

2011 London Riots,  moral decay, culture v. religion:  Does religion really improve culture and prevent moral decay and such evidence of moral decay as rioting?  Read on …

Nearly 200 years later, the Tocqueville of our time, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, made the same discovery. Mr. Putnam is famous for his diagnosis of the breakdown of social capital he called “bowling alone.” More people were going bowling, but fewer were joining teams. It was a symbol of the loss of community in an age of rampant individualism. That was the bad news.

At the end of 2010, he published the good news. Social capital, he wrote in “American Grace,” has not disappeared. It is alive and well and can be found in churches, synagogues and other places of worship. Religious people, he discovered, make better neighbors and citizens. They are more likely to give to charity, volunteer, assist a homeless person, donate blood, spend time with someone feeling depressed, offer a seat to a stranger, help someone find a job and take part in local civic life. Affiliation to a religious community is the best predictor of altruism and empathy: better than education, age, income, gender or race.

Much can and must be done by governments, but they cannot of themselves change lives. Governments cannot make marriages or turn feckless individuals into responsible citizens. That needs another kind of change agent. Alexis de Tocqueville saw it then, Robert Putnam is saying it now. It needs religion: not as doctrine but as a shaper of behavior, a tutor in morality, an ongoing seminar in self-restraint and pursuit of the common good.

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book “Civilization,” in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

It was the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave the West its restless pursuit of a tomorrow that would be better than today. The Chinese have learned the lesson. Fifty years after Chairman Mao declared China a religion-free zone, there are now more Chinese Christians than there are members of the Communist Party.

China has learned the lesson. The question is: Will we?

via Reversing the Moral Decay Behind the London Riots – WSJ.com.

James Taylor, Italy Tour – March 2012:  I would go … but I would rather see him in NC..

JAMES TAYLOR and BAND TOUR ITALY — MARCH 2012!!

On March 6, 2012, in Napoli, James and his legendary band will begin a series of unforgettable concerts in Italy. Starting today, the JamesTaylor.com Store has your presale tickets!

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Store immediately in order to get the best tickets!

The full calendar of upcoming tour dates can be seen on the Schedule page.

via James Taylor Newsletter.

Google+:  Already a failure?

So young, so promising. It was in its prime, and stood to reap the rewards of all of Facebook’s flaws—and in a weird twist, made Facebook copy Google+ for some of its newest “changes.”

But the fact of the matter is, public posts on Google+ have decreased 41 percent since the social networking service launched a few months ago. Even Larry Page, you know – Google’s CEO – last updated one month ago. And I thought something was wrong with me when I forced myself to post something on Google+ so my friends didn’t think I’d virtually disappeared.

via Why Have People Stopped Posting on Google+? – Techland – TIME.com.

food, foodies, DC, places:  Culinary capital … I wish them luck. I have never lived in a clinary capital, but I think it would be great fn.

It’s “Change Season” in D.C. — a peculiar phenomenon that recurs on a regular four-year schedule. Funny thing is, all those politicos calling for “change” in the culture of Washington haven’t a clue how much the nation’s capital is already changing.

Meaningful change has already come to Washington.

For one thing, we eat differently, and better. No slap at the Monocle — for decades the place to eat on the Hill (literally), but today we don’t only have change. We have choice.

Just ten years ago, buildings were designed so residents wouldn’t have to look down on the 14th street corridor. Now, it’s the hottest restaurant district in the city and young professionals are clamoring to move there. New culinary playgrounds — like the H Street corridor — continue to blossom even in the areas once decimated by the riots of ’68.

D.C. is undergoing a transformation. Some call it a renaissance. The flow of people towards the suburbs has reversed course. The transient city par excellence is putting down roots. No longer do foreign hirelings reckon D.C. as a four-year hardship posting. We’ve become the place where young people flock to start their lives. And with them comes a whole new cast of creative thinkers, movers and doers — many of whom discover a natural affinity with the wide world of gastronomy.

Bold new restaurant concepts supplant stodgy steak houses. Foragers graze the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And culinary entrepreneurs bring dynamism to the market with novel concepts that broaden the scope of ambition. This change exemplifies the new Washington. Problem is, this change is in no way all-encompassing.

To honor the history and tradition of this city, we need to ensure that progress of the dining scene extends to everyone who calls the District home. People across the city are working on food access with great urgency. D.C. Central Kitchen is stocking corner stores with fresh produce as part of their recently launched Healthy Corners Program. Less known chefs like Teddy Folkman are working tirelessly at after school cooking programs to empower young students through food. And Bread for the City is growing food on its roof to line its pantry shelves. This change is just as important as the opening of a new three-star restaurant as we work to become a great twenty-first century food city.

The District is quickly becoming a culinary capital. The characters who are driving this movement — pushing food forward in a town once known for only rum buns, Old Bay and half-smokes — are part of a broader narrative of renewal that few outside “this town” rarely hear.

So while the rest of the nation fixates on their quadrennial obsession with bringing change to Washington, those who actually call this city home know that change has arrived. Change that improves people’s lives, creates new jobs, and tastes good too.

via Nick Wiseman: Transforming D.C. Into a Culinary Capital.

Wrigley Building,  Chicago, architectural icons: I just hope they don’t try to change the name!.

A joint venture including investor Byron Trott and the co-founders of Groupon Inc. confirmed Monday that it has bought the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Trott’s firm, Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners, is leading an investor group that includes Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon investors and directors, and Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago-based office landlord.

“The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city’s rich history and growth,” Mr. Trott, managing partner and chief investment officer for BDT Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago’s future economic progress.”

via Wrigley Building purchase announced | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.

science v. religion,faith and spirituality, God,  evolution:  I have no problem with the two.

I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. Like St. Augustine in A.D. 400, I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God’s intentions in creating the universe. The mechanism of creation is left unspecified. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn’t an absolutely elegant plan? And if God has now given us the intelligence and the opportunity to discover his methods, that is something to celebrate.

I lead the Human Genome Project, which has now revealed all of the 3 billion letters of our own DNA instruction book. I am also a Christian. For me scientific discovery is also an occasion of worship.

via Can You Believe in God and Evolution? – TIME.

9/11, follow-up:  This kid remembers where he was … and it changed his life forever.

Until the second plane hit, few knew that a terrorist attack was under way. Most were still hoping it could have been a terrible air-traffic-control mistake. But, somehow, I didn’t. I knew it was terrorism from the first moment. I knew it because what I did that morning had been something of a premonition. I had been reminded of war. I had been reminded too of tremendous patriotism and valor. And I wasn’t worthy of any of it.

There was no reason at all for me to suspect that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were behind the attack, nor any reason to suspect that it was motivated by Islamic extremism. Yet in my social cowering — feeling like my entire class was judging my morning escapade — I instinctively concluded in the depths of my consciousness that whoever performed these attacks probably looked more like me than anyone else in the room. And now I was a target.

The following months of high school were occasionally intimidating. I was not Muslim, I was not Arab, but I looked close enough to the part to serve as the punching bag for a few of my community’s less tolerant citizens. The most frustrating name-calling came when other groups who used to be the target of such ethnic scorn (Hispanic and African-American kids) would snarl their turban-teasing remarks as a means of countering any advance I made in the classroom or on the playing field. I needed a community. I needed an identity. So when I received the phone call from an Army recruiter, I asked to meet him for coffee, whereas most Indian kids went back to their math books. He told me to think about West Point.

It amazes me that it has been only 10 years since that horrific morning. That day changed the trajectory of my life so greatly, I can’t imagine where I would be had it not occurred. Ten years later, I’m a West Point graduate, a captain in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who served 12 months in Kandahar. I wear a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge proudly on my uniform. And 10 years later, I’m still overcome with guilt. Not for what I did on 9/11, but for who I was. I am guilty that it took the death of 3,000 people for me to change my outlook on the blessings of this country.

via Class of 9/11: How a School Prank Helped Change My Life – TIME.

Food – Chinese, Jewish culture, Pastrami Egg Rolls:   I just thought they ate it at Christmas because that was all that was open.  🙂  I loved this story!

The question as to why Jews are drawn so irresistibly to Chinese food is one I’ve often wondered about. Eddie Glasses (who gets his nickname from sporting all sorts of outlandish eyewear) could have attached himself to the Italian masters, or the French, or even gone off in some other exotic direction like Moroccan or Indian. But his existence as the Ultimate Jewish Chinese-Food Nerd has a kind of dynamic inevitability. Put any two Jews together, and we are likely to start arguing over who has the best scallion pancakes. Schoenfeld had the good fortune and intellectual curiosity to devote himself to some of the midcentury titans of Chinese cuisine — the cooking teacher Grace Yu, the restaurateur David Keh, the chefs T.T. Wang and “Uncle Lou” (Lo Hoy Yen) — and learn everything he could. So he gets the last word, which is a very Jewish thing to want to get. But why Chinese food?

The two groups have neither linguistic nor religious nor geographic commonalities. They aren’t known for intermarrying or for intermingling. Both groups are famously insular, and tend to regard themselves as chosen peoples. And yet, there’s a connection. There are lots of jokes about it. There’s even a restaurant in Los Angeles called Genghis Cohen. But the inroad made by Chinese food has been so profound that even sacred dietary laws are routinely broken for this cuisine. A Jewish household that wouldn’t countenance a single bacon bit at home will consume industrial quantities of spare ribs, roast-pork fried rice and shrimp dumplings. So what gives?

So here is my best guess. The thing to remember about Chinese food is that, besides being cheap, it is eminently suited to take out; at least three-quarters of the Chinese food I ate growing up was at home. And Jews love eating at home. We are intensely familial, home-loving and nuclear; and given that our own food is both bad and laborious (endlessly braised brisket, spattering latkes), Chinese food — varied, fatty and festive — is a better alternative in part because it’s always at hand. It’s a cheap lift; you can think of it as Jewish Prozac. And, beyond this, there is an even greater power of Chinese food in our lives, a sentimental tradition in a secular world. The China Teacup in Brooklyn Heights, where Schoenfeld used to eat as a kid, or Ling-Nam in West Miami and China Land in Atlantic City, N.J., my own egg-roll academies, have been serving essentially the same food for generations. The takeout menu currently on my refrigerator looks just like the one my father had on his, the one he used to stand there gazing at with a mix of puzzlement (maybe ribs and egg foo yong?) and something like adoration. I think that we, as a people, prize comfort above all else, both emotionally and physically. To sit in the living room with a plate of lo mein and half an egg roll is about as safe and stable as life gets for us. That, more than anything else, accounts for our odd abiding love of the most foreign — most domestic — of cuisines.

via Pastrami Egg Rolls and the Jewish Love of Chinese Food – TIME.

Life is stranger than fiction, astronomy,Tatooine, Star Wars:  Scientists found one planet with two stars, a ‘Star Wars’ World.  “When two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.”

The Star Wars movies weren’t especially big on subtlety. Their heroes and villains were cartoonishly one-dimensional, the aliens were grotesquely alien, and the action was over the top. One scene in the first film was a notable exception, though. It showed a sunset on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home world — with not one, but two suns sinking in tandem toward the horizon. The essential strangeness of that image made it quietly but profoundly clear that you were visiting an utterly foreign world.

When astronomers actually began finding such worlds almost two decades after that first Star Wars movie, though, they didn’t waste much time looking for places like Tatooine. Double-star systems are very common in the Milky Way — in fact, solitary stars like the sun are in the minority. But it wasn’t clear, said theorists, that planets could form and survive in their vicinity: when two elephants are waltzing, it could be very difficult for mice to tiptoe safely under their feet.

via One Planet, Two Suns: Scientists Find a ‘Star Wars’ World – TIME.

smileys, emoticons, history:  Never thought about who or why the smiley emoticon was created.  Thank you, computer geeks!

Yes, I am the inventor of the sideways “smiley face” (sometimes called an “emoticon”) that is commonly used in E-mail, chat, and newsgroup posts.  Or at least I’m one of the inventors.

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”.  These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing.  Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room.  Who does it belong to?”  Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion).  Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor).  The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in  response.  That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried.  In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.   After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone.  Various “joke markers”  were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based  computer terminals of the day.  So I suggested that.  In the same post, I also suggested the use of  😦  to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

This convention caught on quickly around Carnegie Mellon, and soon spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.  (Some CMU alumni who had moved on to other places continued to read our bboards as a way of keeping in touch with their old community.)

So the message itself, and the thread that gave rise to it, are here.  The exact date of the smiley’s birth can now be determined: 19 September, 1982.  It was great to have this message back just in time for the 20th anniversary of the original post.

So, the smiley idea may have appeared and disappeared a few times before my 1982 post.  I probably was not the first person ever to type these three letters in sequence, perhaps even with the meaning of “I’m just kidding” and perhaps even online.  But I do believe that my 1982 suggestion was the one that finally took hold, spread around the world, and spawned thousands of variations.  My colleagues and I have been able to watch the idea spread out through the world’s computer networks from that original post.

via Smiley Lore 🙂.

students, design,  rural poor, globalizaton, International Development Design Summit: Putting our smarts to work!

The scene is vibrant and chaotic. A village grandmother who had never before seen the city turns the crank of a device constructed to extract oil from the seeds of a moringa tree. Other people crowd around tables to check out a mosquito-repelling, battery-powered lantern housed in an old plastic water bottle; farming implements fashioned out of treated bamboo; and a mobile-phone-based platform for providing farmers with information on crops and markets.

These are the fruits of the International Development Design Summit, a monthlong event conceived by Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has for the past five years brought together students, lecturers, engineers, farmers, mechanics, and other practitioners from around the world to collaborate on developing products, services, and business models to serve the rural poor. Here, students from Pakistan, Cambodia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the United States work side by side with artisans, teachers, and village chiefs who hail from other countries and from surrounding villages, soaking up a very different sort of education.

While the technologies themselves are neither earth-shattering nor elegant (teams have only five weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and refine their products), what’s innovative about the summit, its organizers say, is its emphasis on design as a collaborative and creative process. It assumes that the farmers and chiefs in the villages for which these products are destined have at least as much to add to the designs as do engineers with Ph.D.’s.

via Students Design Low-Tech Ways to Help Improve Lives of Rural Poor – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Redbox: I do love Redbox … a business that seems outdated but delivers a product when, when and at a price point people want.

SHARE IT WITH A HUG & YOU COULD WIN!

There’s a ton of ways to share your love for redbox,

but if you do it this way, you might win a big prize:

via Redbox – Show Your Love.

Netflix, mea culpa:  My bad … but the change stays …

I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.

When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

via http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html

 Proteus, direct feedback, business culture “FedEx Day”: I think I need a FedEx Day at home!

Q. Any other unusual things about your culture?

A. One other thing we do is called FedEx Day.  Pretty much anyone can apply for FedEx Day, or any group of people.  The deal is that you can take the whole day and go off and do something, but it’s FedEx, right?  So it has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight.  And you can break it down, because maybe you want four FedEx Days, but there has to be a deliverable for every day.  That’s also terrific because it’s everything from very simple little things — like improving the layout of the desks in the area — all the way through to fairly important things.

via Andrew Thompson of Proteus, on Direct Feedback – NYTimes.com.

apps, Nike BOOM: 

Nike BOOMBy Nike, Inc. View More By This DeveloperOpen iTunes to buy and download apps.

Description

Nike BOOM syncs your music to your dynamic training workouts, with the world’s most elite athletes and coaches motivating you along the way. Choose your type of workout, length of training, best workout music and favorite Nike athletes—then get to work.

via App Store – Nike BOOM.

chocolate bars, Paris, food- drink:  Another thing to add to my list … chocolate bars … but I think I will stay away from hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

On the menu at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new Paris chocolate bar: hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion.

Autumn visitors to Paris may feel that nothing beats a traditional chocolat chaud, but the city’s chocolatiers have been experimenting on the old tea room favourite, with surprising results

Preparation gets underway at Un Dimanche à Paris

The bartender raised his eyebrows as I placed my order: “Not many people ask for that.” I was perched at Jean-Paul Hévin’s new chocolate bar, a modern gold-and-brown space where Parisians come to indulge in thoroughly adult versions of a traditional children’s drink. From the long menu I had chosen hot chocolate with an oyster emulsion, a mysterious concoction whipped up in the laboratoire at the back.

When the plain white cup arrived, the soft-spoken waitress advised me not to stir the pearly blobs of what looked like sea foam into the hot chocolate, in order to appreciate the contrast. The first couple of sips went down easily, the iodised taste bringing a welcome saltiness to the intense chocolate. But then I encountered my first lump: either a piece of oyster or some jellied reconstitution. The bartender threw me a sympathetic glance as I pushed the cup aside.

Hévin might have gone one step too far with his oyster drink, but he is one of several Paris chocolate makers who are reviving the art of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne, hot chocolate so thick it pours like custard. If Italian hot chocolate relies on starch to obtain this texture, the French prefer a simple mixture of milk, chocolate and/or cocoa powder and sometimes cream. For Parisian chocolatiers, what counts most is the quality of the chocolate, which often comes from the celebrated Valrhona factory in the Rhône Valley.

For many Parisians and even more foreigners, the Holy Grail of hot chocolate is still the chocolat chaud à l’africain served at the Belle Epoque tea room Angelina. It’s certainly hard to find this drink served with more ceremony: here, it comes with water to cleanse your palate, a bowl of whipped cream to complement its pudding-like richness, and a dense almond financier. The best in town? Probably not, but if you can’t resist a brand name, it’s still worth experiencing at least once.

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

self-curation, happiness:  My clips and comments are my self-curation. 🙂

I read an excellent novel this weekend, Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia. Like any good novel, it’s about many things, but in particular, it made me think about the issue of self-curation.

In his “Chronicles,” the character Nik elaborately archives his work in music and an alternate autobiography. He tells his sister Denise, “Self-curate or disappear.”

As I was reading, I realized: I suffer from archive anxiety. Partly about my actual life, which is why I’ve adopted resolutions such as Keep a one-sentence journal and Suffer for fifteen minutes. They help me chronicle my life.

But for me, the greater worry is the archiving and curation of my observations — not my actual life, but my intellectual life. Even though taking notes on my reading and thinking is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also burdensome: it takes up a lot of time, and I worry about whether I’ll be able to find what I want later and whether I’m making good use of my materials. So much wonderful material! I want to write book after book after book, to think it all through.

Reading Stone Arabia has made me consider this theme of “self-curation” in a different light.

via The Happiness Project: Do You Think About “Self-Curation”?.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry :  Republican front-runners are from different worlds and appeal to very different parts of the GOP.

One was born into a privileged family in a tony Michigan suburb; the other, onto a flat expanse of West Texas dirt with no indoor plumbing. One spent his youth tooling around his father’s car factory; the other, selling Bibles door to door so he could afford to buy a car. One excelled at Harvard University, simultaneously earning law and business degrees and swiftly climbing the corporate ladder; the other, his hope of becoming a veterinarian dashed when he flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M University, joined the Air Force.

After what was widely considered an unfocused and bloated campaign in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney is returning to the presidential sweepstakes with a more tightly knit team that he hopes will keep him on point.

Where Mitt Romney is obedient and cautious, Rick Perry is bombastic and spontaneous. If they had attended the same high school, they probably would have hung out at opposite ends of the hallway. Their relationship today is said to be frosty, if there is one at all.

“In every single possible way, they come from different worlds,” said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, who advised Romney in his 2008 race but is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “You can see the playbook pretty clearly here: It’s populist against patrician, it’s rural Texas steel against unflappable Romney coolness, conservative versus center-right establishment, Texas strength versus Romney’s imperturbability, Perry’s simplicity versus Romney’s flexibility.”

via Republican front-runners Mitt Romney, Rick Perry come from different worlds – The Washington Post.

college admissions, Middlebury College:  I am not sure I would want my essay “on stage!”

College applicants – and, in some cases, their advisers, friends and parents – spend incalculable time poring over the personal statement.

But once an essay is submitted, students rarely revisit it, burying those Microsoft Word files full of personal insights, goals and vulnerabilities within a series of “College Application” folders.

Not so students at Middlebury College.

Since the early ’90s, the college’s “Voices of the Class” program has brought to life the admissions essays of freshmen, with upperclassmen acting them out during new student orientation.

The program was fashioned by Matt Longman, a residential dean of the college and a Middlebury alumnus himself who oversees the show’s execution each year.

Some 20 years ago, as the college was considering introducing formal diversity workshops to its orientation, Mr. Longman spoke up and suggested something less institutional. “Why don’t we try something that lets the students’ own voices speak to each other?” he asked.

“I’d always been a big proponent of reading application essays closely because they provide such a wonderful, behind-the-scenes, in-depth picture of what really matters to people,” Mr. Longman said, praising the breadth and creativity in applicants’ writing and experiences.

Middlebury listened. Each year since, the school has mined fresh material from its admitted students, formally incorporating 10 to 20 essays into an orientation week performance.

via Your Admissions Essay, Live on Stage – NYTimes.com.

Dar Al-Hijrah,  Imam Abdul-Malik:  Tough job … but needs to answer obvious questions.

But having defended Dar Al-Hij­rah for so long, Abdul-Malik knows what they’re really asking: What exactly is going on at this mosque? Is this a breeding ground for terrorists?

It is a suspicion that nearly all Muslim institutions have faced to some degree since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But none more so than Dar Al-Hijrah.

via Imam serves as public face of an embattled mosque – The Washington Post.

Pearson Foundation, business ethics:   Free trips for sale!

In recent years, the Pearson Foundation has paid to send state education commissioners to meet with their international counterparts in London, Helsinki, Singapore and, just last week, Rio de Janeiro.

The commissioners stay in expensive hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. They spend several days meeting with educators in these places. They also meet with top executives from the commercial side of Pearson, which is one of the biggest education companies in the world, selling standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Pearson would not say which state commissioners have gone on the trips, but of the 10 whom I was able to identify, at least seven oversee state education departments that have substantial contracts with Pearson. For example, Illinois — whose superintendent, Christopher A. Koch, went to Helsinki in 2009 and to Rio de Janeiro — is currently paying Pearson $138 million to develop and administer its tests.

At least one commissioner, Michael P. Flanagan of Michigan, who went to Helsinki, decided not to participate in future trips once he realized who was underwriting them.

“While he does not believe those trips are unethical, he did see that they could be perceived that way, and for that reason he chose not to attend,” said Mr. Flanagan’s spokesman, Martin Ackley.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, dismissed any ethical concerns about providing free trips to people his corporate cousin is pitching for business. “We categorically refute any suggestion or implication that the partnership is designed to enable Pearson ‘to win contracts,’ ” he said in a statement. Rather, Mr. Nieker said, the trips are “in pursuit of educational excellence.”

But Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a centrist group, compared the practice to pharmaceutical companies that run junkets for doctors or lobbyists who fly members of Congress to vacation getaways. “If we want that kind of corruption in education, we’re fools,” he said.

via Pearson Sends Education Commissioners on Free Trips – NYTimes.com.

60-Second Video Tips, Test Kitchen, tips:  useful …

60-SECOND VIDEO TIPS Test kitchen wisdom distilled into super quick video clips

via 60-Second Video Tips | The Feed.

women’s issues, women’s progress:  You’ve come a long way, baby … at least in some areas … in some places.

Just over a decade into the 21st century, women’s progress can be seen—and celebrated—across a range of fields. They hold the highest political offices from Thailand to Brazil, Costa Rica to Australia. A woman holds the top spot at the International Monetary Fund; another won the Nobel Prize in economics. Self-made billionaires in Beijing, tech innovators in Silicon Valley, pioneering justices in Ghana—in these and countless other areas, women are leaving their mark.

But hold the applause. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation. In the developed world, women lag behind men in pay and political power. The poverty rate among women in the U.S. rose to 14.5 percent last year, the highest in 17 years.

To measure the state of women’s progress, Newsweek ranked 165 countries, looking at five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, workforce participation, political power, and access to education and health care. Poring over data from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, and consulting with experts and academics, we measured 28 factors to come up with our rankings.

via Newsweek Tracks Women’s Progress Around the World – The Daily Beast.

Moses, manna, Bible, tamarisk:  I never heard of  tamarisk –  “the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground”

The word “manna” means “What is it?” For centuries, people who live in the Sinai peninsula have gathered the honey-like deposits of the tamarisk to package and sell as “bread of heaven” souvenirs to tourists; some chefs use it in cooking! The shrubs sap crystallizes and falls to the ground; over 500 pounds of this manna is deposited on the Sinai peninsula each year. Loaded with carbohydrates and sugars, manna isnt tasty – except to the ants, who in fact consume whats on the ground by mid-day. Was this the “bread from heaven”? If so, is this manna any less a gift of God? God provides, often in simple, mundane ways.

via eMoses – manna – from heaven?.

‘The Playboy Club’, tv, review:  Controversy might make me watch it … just once.

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”So I would like to say this:1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.3. Playboy did not change the world.Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.




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