Posts Tagged ‘truth

20
Sep
13

9.20.13 … Seeking Truth …

Truth, Cape Town South Africa, caffeine,  coffee shops,  steampunk, Victorian steam-powered machinery: I think I would love this place called Truth. What a beautiful combination South Africa, caffeine and Victorian steam-powered machinery.  But I realize I am really old since I had no earthly idea what a steampunk-themed coffee shop is … on second thought, it appears that I am too young!

Features on interior design here on Colossal are few and far between, there are times when a space is so wholly original it’s just too hard to pass up. Case in point: Truth Coffee Shop in Cape Town, South Africa. This radically designed steampunk-themed coffee shop was created by Heldane Martin who considered the form factor of espresso machines and coffee roasters to be somewhat similar to the Victorian futuristic fantasy style found in the aesthetic of steampunk. The hope was also to personify Truth’s attempt at roasting the very best coffee by offering a perfectly executed space.

Every inch of the coffee shop is packed with visual candy from large saw-blade tabletops to beautiful overstuffed booths and an ornate array of coffee making equipment that looks absurdly complex, almost like interior of a World War 2 submarine. If that wasn’t enough, Martin also crammed the space with vintage typewriters, Singer sewing machines, and old candlestick telephones. The design even extends to the restrooms which have exposed copper pipes, old extending mirrors and victorian tap levers.

via Step Inside ‘Truth,’ a Steampunk Coffee Shop in Cape Town, South

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery,[1] especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

via Steampunk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.Africa | Colossal.

11
Aug
13

8.11.13 … Nate Silver: “He boils what he does — also known as sabermetrics — down to “using data and statistics to try and uncover truth.”

Nate Silver,  ESPN Interview, quotes,  sabermetrics, statistics, truth, predictions, Hillary Clinton:

:

Nate Silver, the man who called the ’08 presidential election in 49 out of 50 states, and the ’12 election in all 50 states, is in fact, not psychic. He’s just right more often than everyone else (up until recently, at the New York Times — and now, at ESPN). He chalks it up to the fact that everyone else is far too distracted by the bullshit — and maybe a little arrogant, too. “People are much too sure of themselves. From decisions to go to war in different countries and market failures to catastrophic weather events and earthquakes. People overestimate how sure they are about what’s going to occur and then learn the hard way [that they don’t].”

He boils what he does — also known as sabermetrics — down to “using data and statistics to try and uncover truth.” Sounds simple enough, but like we said, he’s right a lot. “We’re not trying to magically predict things. We’re just trying to say, look there is a lot of data in the world and we need to distill that down to clarify what we know and what we don’t know — how much uncertainty there is around the problem.” He attributes his success to spotting a flaw in the status quo, being unwilling to compromise, being willing to rock the boat, getting a bit lucky, and being forced to be fearless, from an early age.

Hillary 2016

“Look, you’ve never really had a candidate within her party who was that far ahead. She gets like 70 percent of the votes among democrats. It’s really early for a poll, obviously. But, I think people forget that there were two really compelling democratic candidates in 2008, and one of them had to lose. That doesn’t mean they’re a weak candidate at all. Either Obama or Clinton could’ve won the nomination in almost any other year. For that matter, even the pre-scandal John Edwards would’ve been kind of a traditionally strong candidate. With her Secretary of State credential now, and having Obama working presumably for her instead of against her, it will be very hard to see her losing the nomination. The general election race is different obviously, though.”

via Nate Silver ESPN Interview, Quotes, Pictures.

27
Feb
13

2.27.13 … If I hate being late, why am I always late …

Van Cliburn, RIP,  Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor Op.30, YouTube:  What a life!  RIP, Van Cliburn.

Pianist Van Cliburn died Wednesday at the age of 78 in Forth Worth, after battling bone cancer.

In 1958, Van Cliburn won the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow — he became an international classical music star.

via Van Cliburn Dead at 78: His Great Performances (Video) – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3 (Van Cliburn) in D minor Op.30 – YouTube.

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten labyrinth walks,  Avondale Presbyterian Church, 2013 FPC Charlotte Lenten Devotional, 2013  NAPC Lenten Devotional:

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Beautiful day …  as I opened the car door I hear the chimes ringing softly in the wind.  What a great way to start my walk.
Things I thought about …
From FPC’s Wes Barry:
I had a professor in Seminary say that anytime the word “bread” shows up in scripture we should take notice, because it is by this earthly substance that we are told by our Lord to remember him.  So when God asks us “why spend money on what is not bread,” he is asking us why would we spend our resources on things that do not satisfy?  In the end, it is only Jesus Christ, his body broken for us, which satisfies our longings.
From NAPC’s devotional …
Life is like this; just a little seed of an evil desire can cause us to go down another path. James is encouraging us to endure temptation and to stand the test so that we will receive a blessing beyond our imagination.
And from Henri Nouwen …

Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance.Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.

via Daily Meditation: Creating Space for God.

TED Talks, business, Harvard Business Review:

It’s happening right now.

Thousands of very lucky individuals are seated in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center are at TED 2013. TED has become a brand name as they have uploaded their archive of 18-minute presentations from their exclusive annual event to TED.com. Originally available only online, the speeches are now distributed and broadcasted on TV, radio, podcasts and even on Netflix. I have been fortunate to have attended the annual conference since 2008, and I’ve found TED an experience that helps businesspeople unlock a new way to think about the work that we do, where we are going as leaders, and our collective role in the evolution of the world. In the spirit of TED 2013, here are 10 amazing TED Talks that have helped me think differently about what business can be, how to be a better leader, and how to become a better global citizen

via 10 TED Talks to Help You Reimagine Your Business – Mitch Joel – Harvard Business Review.

The Cloisters, The Cloisters’ 75th Anniversary, WSJ.com:  I love it that my husband sent this to me. 🙂

Set on a hill overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan, the Cloisters museum and gardens were designed to give visitors the impression they are stepping back in time, wandering through what feels like an old-world monastery.

But as America’s only medieval-art museum approaches its 75th anniversary this spring, its curators are stepping gingerly into the modern world.

This year, the Cloisters will for the first time present a contemporary-art installation. The museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is developing new digital content for visitors to view on iPods. And after decades of displaying the same permanent collection, the museum is making a bid to attract return visitors with more special exhibitions, made possible by climate-control improvements in recent years.

Change is a delicate issue at the Cloisters, where curators are looking to draw a broader audience without alienating those who cherish the spot’s timeless quality.

via The Cloisters Opens Up – WSJ.com.

 Vatican, Pope Benedict’s new title, CNN.com, fyi:

Pope Benedict XVI will keep the title “his holiness” once he retires and will be called “pontiff emeritus,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican on Tuesday.

via Vatican reveals Pope Benedict’s new title – CNN.com.

BofA,  Warren Buffett, Brian Moynihan, gaffes, Bloomberg:  Worth reading …

“Brian certainly doesn’t show up on anyone’s list of most- admired bankers,” Miller says. “If he’s successful, he will have a lot more stature than is now the case.”

Buffett, who stands to become Bank of America’s largest shareholder, says he has little doubt Moynihan will succeed.

“I’ve been around other companies that have great underlying strengths, where some huge event has gotten them into major trouble,” the 82-year-old billionaire says. “Sometimes, you can make a very good investment when that happens.”

via BofA Affirms Buffett Bet as Moynihan Recovers From Gaffes – Bloomberg.

Colm Toibin,  “Summer of ’38” , The New Yorker, bookshelf:  Colm Toibin: “Summer of ’38” : The New Yorker.

poems,  Rudyard Kipling, NPR:  I love lost works …

Fifty previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book and Just So Stories, were discovered by Thomas Pinney, an English professor at California State Polytechnic University. The lost works by Kipling, whose most famous poems include “If” and the notorious “White Man’s Burden,” are to be published next month. Kipling was widely derided as an apologist for British colonialism — George Orwell called him “a jingo imperialist” — though he was also a respected novelist who won the Literature Nobel in 1907.

via Book News: 50 Poems From Rudyard Kipling Discovered : The Two-Way : NPR.

Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren,   Martha Stewart, J.C. Penney, lawsuits:  Ah, intigue in retail …

Lundgren, 60, said Stewart sounded like she was reading from a document prepared by lawyers when they spoke, and that he cut off the conversation when the home goods doyenne claimed her deal with J.C. Penney would be good for Macy’s.

“I think that’s when I hung up,” said Lundgren. “The thought this was going to be good for Macy’s was so far from anything I could comprehend.”

Lundgren said that at the time he considered Stewart a friend, and he has not spoken to her since.

via Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren ‘Shocked And Blown Away’ Over Martha Stewart’s Alliance With J.C. Penney.

Swiss watchmakers, The Economist:  I met someone a few years back whose ex worked with a swiss watchmaker … very interesting …

No one buys a Swiss watch to find out what time it is. The allure is intangible: precise engineering, beautifully displayed. The art of fine watchmaking has all but died out elsewhere, but it thrives in Switzerland. “Swiss-made” has become one of the world’s most valuable brands.

In the popular imagination, Swiss watches are made by craftsmen at tiny firms nestled in Alpine villages. In fact, the industry is dominated by one big firm. The Swatch Group’s stable of brands Breguet, Blancpain, Omega and a dozen others generated watch and jewellery sales of SFr7.3 billion in 2012. That is up by 15.6% over the previous year and accounts for one-third of all sales of Swiss watches. In January Swatch announced the purchase of Harry Winston, an American jeweller which also makes watches in Geneva.

via Swiss watchmakers: Time is money | The Economist.

YMCA, ballene:  I attended my second ballene class in a month … I like it!

Ballene: A unique blend of core, strength and flexibility exercises using the stability ball

via Exercise Class

gay marriage, GOP, NYTimes.com:

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

via Prominent Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage – NYTimes.com.

Secretary of State John Kerry,  Free Speech, only in America, NYTimes.com: “In America, You Have a Right to Be Stupid.”  If you want to see the clip … Kerry Defends American Liberties.

In a robust defense of free speech during a meeting with young Germans in Berlin on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry explained just how far the limits of tolerance extend in blunt terms. “In America,” the country’s top diplomat explained, “you have a right to be stupid.”

That remark, at a forum hosted by the United States Embassy in Berlin, went completely unmentioned in German newspaper and television reports on the event, but it was gleefully seized upon by Mr. Kerry’s critics back home, and bored journalists everywhere, hungry for a gaffe.

via ‘In America, You Have a Right to Be Stupid,’ Kerry Says in Defense of Free Speech – NYTimes.com.

North Avenue Presbyterian Church, Dr. Frank M. Eldridge:  I spent a day with Frank while my mother was having surgery in 2008.  What a blessing he is to NAPC … and what an accomplishment  … by title alone …

Name with titles: Hon. Rev. Dr. Frank M. Eldridge, Sr., JD, LL.M., M. Div., Th.M., Associate for Congregational Care, Senior Judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia.

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via North Avenue Presbyterian young adults, Who’s Who at NAPC?.

Ben Affleck’s Oscar Speech, marriage, truth:  I thought this deconstruction of his speech very interesting …

Did you see Ben Affleck’s speech accepting the Best Picture award last night? If not, he made a moving and authentic statement about marriage. Read more about it here.

The part that has people in a tizzy is this:

I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.

The criticism centers around this statement as lacking in cuteness, and focusing on the negative. It wasn’t the “right forum” for this type of declaration, it was a possible indicator that “something is wrong” in the marriage, he should have just stuck to “I love you and adore you and you’re perfect” — basically whining that a major Hollywood star was uncomfortably honest about his relationship and said overly blunt things about marriage in one of the most public forums on the planet.

Anyone who actually agrees with the above criticism doesn’t get marriage.

A fundamental reality of human relationships is that two people are not meant to be in a single monogamous partnership for all eternity (or even until the end of their lives). Humans crave sexual novelty. We get bored. We lose interest after just two years. We find our intimacy crushed by the weight of daily routines. Marriage is a voluntary commitment that flies in the face of all scientific research and human evolution.

We enter this voluntary (some say insane, and they’re not entirely wrong) pact because we do a cost-benefit analysis and decide that the benefits of getting married (or otherwise partnering for life) outweigh the potential costs — breakups, emotional pain, financial disarray, the list goes on. We make just about the biggest emotional leap of faith a person can make, because we think, feel, and hope that the rewards will be great.

via Ben Affleck’s Oscar Speech Revealed A Truth About Marriage.

The Silver Linings Playbook, bookshelf, film/lit:  I need to read the book and see the movie!

Paper or Plastic, games, icebreakers, app:  There’s an app for that?

Paper or Plastic App | A Simple Game to Break the Ice.

Kayla loves the moon, YouTube: Endearing .. to the tune of 300,000 hits in the first week!

That doesn’t make her attempts any less endearing.

In this swoon-worthy YouTube video, the pink-clad, stuffed-animal-toting toddler converses with her dad, who encourages her to reach for the moon before eventually agreeing with her that it’s a lost cause, and she should say “goodbye.”

Since being uploaded on Friday, the clip — which denmoff77 posted alongside links to the Lunar and Planetary Institute and its moon-themed site, MyMoonspace.com — has racked up almost 300,000 views.

via Kayla Loves The Moon So Much, She Wants To Catch It (VIDEO).

@amandapalmer, human connection, mutual dignity of gift economies,  TED2013, Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker:  I can’t wait to watch this 2013 TEDTalk.

Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker

“Asking makes you vulnerable.” @amandapalmer makes a beautiful case for the human connection and mutual dignity of gift economies #TED2013

via (73) Twitter.

bikes, cycling, training, Bicycling MagazineIndoor Bike Trainer Tips, Tricks & Strategies | Bicycling Magazine.

23
Jan
13

1.23.13 … BINGO and congealed salad … great day …

BINGO, Lenbrook, kith/kin, sleep, wellness:  Wednesday night Bingo at Lenbrook.  And despite the fact that my mom fell asleep during the first coverall BINGO game, she won it due to her beloved daughters … teamwork.

 

“Sleep is part of what I call the ‘wellness triangle,’ along with fitness and nutrition,” says Nancy Rothstein, a sleep expert who consults with corporations on the topic. “And when you’re exhausted, you’re less likely to exercise and less likely to eat well. That’s why I put sleep at the top of the triangle.”

via Give It a Rest: Tips for Improving Your Sleep – At Work – WSJ.

Lenbrook, Ladies of Lenbrook, congealed salad: I totally enjoy my time in the place where they still have a “congealed salad of the day.” As always the company is delightful and am looking forward to a day with my mom and dinner and. BINGO with the Ladies of Lenbrook.

weather, global warming, kith/kin:  E wins the high temp award today … Boulder – 64. About the same in Davidson, Vail , Charlotte and Atlanta. A little colder in Louisville!

LOL:

This made us smile today. Window washers at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh dressed up as super heroes ♥ http://ow.ly/h1Kuy

 

NYC, travel,  The High Line, El Anatsui, Big Onion Walking Tours, Greenwich Village:  Heading to NYC next week … Suggestions? I want to walk the High Line Park and find a labyrinth … Other than that I’m pretty open.

The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.

via Park Information | The High Line.

 

High Line Art presents Nigeria-based artist El Anatsui’s Broken Bridge II, the largest outdoor installation ever by the artist. A monumental sculpture made of pressed tin and mirrors, the work will hang on an outdoor wall next to the High Line, between West 21st and West 22nd Streets, and will be visible from the park and the street below it. Broken Bridge II will be on view from November 21, 2012 through Summer 2013.

via EL ANATSUI, BROKEN BRIDGE II | The High Line.

Stroll through one of New York’s most picturesque neighborhoods as we explore the unique and legendary home to artists, writers and radicals.   Our walk has a special emphasis on the history and architecture of the Village. Stops could include: Jefferson Market Courthouse, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the “hanging elm”, the Stonewall Inn, and sites associated with Stanford White, Aaron Burr, Edith Wharton, John Sloan, Evelyn Nesbit, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Paine.

via Greenwich Village | Big Onion.

Charlotte,  free history program 2/5/13,   Charlotte On The Cheap:

Interested in learning more about our local history? Here’s a free program on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013. Read on for more details.

The Mecklenburg Historical Association Docents invite visitors who are interested in learning about and sharing history to attend their upcoming program on Tuesday, February 5th, in the Fellowship Hall of Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, West Sugar Creek Road at North Tryon Street.  Refreshments are available at 9:30 a.m.  The business meeting will follow at 10:00, with the program beginning at 11:00.

The program will be presented by Ann and Jim Williams, local historians and reenactors, who have conducted extensive research on three generations of the Davidson family, who made their home at Rural Hill in Huntersville.  From a vast array of primary family papers, family stories, wills, estate papers, court records, etc. they have produced a unified narrative.  The title of the program is “It Ain’t Necessarily So – Rewriting Site History Using Primary Sources.”  This study revealed much about antebellum Mecklenburg County, including some surprises.  Slides will illustrate the talk.

via Free history program 2/5/13 » Charlotte On The Cheap.

Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, Rand Paul, Benghazi Hearings, Politics, truth:  I  try to form educated opinions on political controversies.  But I don’t believe either side anymore.  What is the truth?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing over the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

“I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility,” said Paul. “I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that.”

“Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable,” he said, referencing Clinton’s comments that she had not read all of the documentation surrounding the attack.

“I think we can understand you’re not reading every cable,” Paul said. He added that he didn’t suspect Clinton of “bad motives” but said that it was a “failure of leadership.”

Clinton responded, “I am the Secretary of State. And the [Accountability Review Board] made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary level and below.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) rebuked Paul in the next exchange. “If some people on this committee want to call this tragedy the worst since 9/11, it misunderstands the nature of 4000 plus Americans lost in the War in Iraq under false pretenses.”

via Rand Paul To Hillary Clinton: ‘I Would Have Relieved You Of Your Post’.

Pride & Prejudice 200, Jane Austen, bucket list:

Two hundred years after the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s most famous (and arguably her best) novel is as popular as ever. The descriptions of England in Pride and Prejudice and her other novels continue to provide a quintessential image of the country for locals and visitors alike. To celebrate this special anniversary we’ve ‘taken a turn’ around places associated with Austen herself and with her characters which can still be enjoyed today.

via Jane Austen’s England: a traveller’s guide to finding Mr Darcy – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet

Join us as we take a step back in time visiting the haunts of Jane Austen. On this journey we’ll visit the homes and estates of Jane Austen and her family, including Godmersham Park, Chawton House Library, and Chawton Cottage (where Jane Austen wrote her mature masterpieces); tour the seaside towns of Lyme Regis, Ramsgate, and Portsmouth; walk The Cobb; explore Oxford and Winchester; then on to Bath to participate in the beginning of the world famous Jane Austen Festival!

via A Jane Austen Tour: — Seascapes and Landscapes.

travel, adventure travel, bucket list: Cuba!

With 2012 now behind us, we’ve tallied up the Top 12 National Geographic Expeditions of the year based on the number of travelers who joined us, and the list spans the gamut from Alaska to Antarctica, and from wildlife adventures to photography workshops.

via Top 12 Trips of 2012 | Field Notes.

2013 SuperBowl Ads:  You can vote … Coke Chase 2013 Ad – YouTube.

 

 

27
May
11

5.27.2011 … old news now … I went to Davidson for the public announcement of its 18th president, and SHE is wonderful. She has to be … there are at least 10,000 living alums … and she just got our dream job!

Davidson College, Dr. Carol Quillen, kudos:  Congratulations to Dr. Quillen, Davidson College’s 18th president, to DC’s Presidential Search Committee for a job well done and to Davidson College for being open to an outsider and a woman … the future is bright. I also had the privilege of joining John, a member of the Board of Trustees, for a quick dinner with Dr. Quillen … not only is she everything listed on her cv, she is charming, warm, engaging and humorous.  It a great time to be a wildcat! …

Carol Quillen understands all facets of the academic enterprise. A brilliant administrator and a talented teacher and scholar, she can articulate not only the value, but also the necessity of a liberal arts education. Her values are Davidson’s values. She inspired us, and we could not be more enthusiastic about welcoming her to Davidson.”

via Davidson College – Presidential Search.

At Davidson, a particular religious tradition grounds a foundational commitment to cultivating a broadly diverse and collegial community, where people possessing different talents, from different cultures, whose deepest convictions differ, can learn from and with each other in an environment of warmth and respect. Davidson creates a distinctive culture of inquiry and trust within which students grow as humane thinkers and perceptive leaders precisely because they are simultaneously engaged in the production of knowledge and challenged to build creative, purposeful lives. Davidson graduates morally courageous persons who are not afraid to take intellectual risks. Most important, Davidson somehow enables each student to discover the remarkable human being he or she could become, such that each student seeks to fulfill his or her highest potential—not because they have to, not because other people expect it, not because they will get in trouble if they don’t, but because they genuinely want to be that remarkable human being that this college shows them they are capable of becoming. Somehow Davidson gives students the courage to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for those decisions, so that, whatever they choose to do, they live lives of purpose and consequence in pursuit of their highest aspirations.

I do not know precisely how Davidson has done this—that is why I need to spend some time just listening. I do not know what it will take for Davidson to do this in and for an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. That is something we will need to figure out together, the whole Davidson family, and it will be both challenging and exhilarating.

I do know this. Davidson is uniquely able to re-imagine and to exemplify this profoundly valuable kind of education at this crucial time. And because Davidson is uniquely able to do this, Davidson is also obligated to do so. It will be a great privilege to contribute with you to this daunting, urgent and profoundly rewarding task.

via Davidson College – Presidents Office – Remarks by President-Elect Carol Quillen.

colleges, liberal arts:  Some interesting thoughts of the value of a liberal arts education.

Fortunately, as Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, has pointed out, superior arts education also teaches many of those same skills. High-quality arts and humanities instruction is almost perfectly suited to stimulate imagination, creativity, and the ability to find adaptive solutions. Like Daniel Pink, I believe in enhancing “STEAM” in our institutions of higher education–with an extra “A” in the center of STEM incorporating the Arts as central.

Finally, the value of a liberal arts education cannot be minimized without also minimizing the lessons of history, literature, and science for the present-day. There is a reason why Congress created the National Endowment for the Humanities. I don’t ordinarily quote from statutory language to explicate the value of education, but the provisions of the U.S. Code outlining the purpose of the NEH bear repeating. The law states that Congress finds “an advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone but must give full value and support to the other branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.” Democracy,” the statute goes on to state, “demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.”

The founders, from Thomas Jefferson on, understood that the study of the liberal arts and civic obligation was important– not just to learn the lessons of history, but to preserve a functioning Republic. Walt Whitman once called America “an aesthetic democracy”– and that is a pretty good metaphor for the intellectual life of a liberal arts college.

via The Relevance of Liberal Arts to a Prosperous Democracy: Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter’s Remarks at the Annapolis Group Conference | U.S. Department of Education.

While the tradition of the liberal-arts education may be on the wane nationwide, the most elite schools, such as Harvard, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Williams, remain committed to its ideal. These top schools are not tweaking their curriculums to add any pre-professional undergraduate programs. Thanks to their hefty endowments, they don’t have to. As the economy rebounds, their students, ironically, may be in the best spot. While studying the humanities has become unfashionable and seemingly impractical, the liberal arts also teaches students to think big thoughts—big enough to see beyond specific college majors and adapt to the broader job market.

via Jobs: The Economy, Killing Liberal Arts Education? – Newsweek.

inns, travel, lists:  Top 10 to-die-for inns and B&Bs.

truth, family history, memoirs, quotes, kith/kin:  A distant cousin has written a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood … which involves much of my family and extended family … So when I came across this NPR story, it just struck home … “‘It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

In the best-selling memoir Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs told the story of his bizarre and occasionally brutal upbringing as the son of a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father. When the book hit the best-seller lists, it not only established Burroughs as a well-known writer, but it also paved the way for the rest of his family to tell their own versions of the story. His older brother, John Elder Robison, wrote about their childhood in his memoir Look Me in the Eye, and now their mother, Margaret Robison, has added to this family saga with her memoir, The Long Journey Home. Taken together, the three books raise interesting questions about truth, memory and the much-maligned genre of the memoir.

Memoirs have to be true, says Lee Gutkind, a professor at Arizona State University and a specialist in creative nonfiction. But you can’t apply journalistic standards to a memoir — there’s a difference between facts and the truth.

“It’s your story, that’s what a memoir is,” Gutkind says.

“It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

via In Burroughs’ Family, One Saga, Three Memoirs, Many Competing Truths : NPR.




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