Posts Tagged ‘urban legends

14
Mar
14

3.14.14 … During daylight, we go about our lives …

Life Animated, Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney, NYTimes.com: What an amazing story. I read a lot and often skim to the end after a certain point. No skimming on this one.  I was so amazed by this story, I think I may buy the book, Life Animated, when it comes out.  As one friend noted: “No sidekick gets left behind.” Wonderful.

Owen, with his reliance from an early age on myth and fable, each carrying the clarity of black and white, good and evil, inverts this pyramid. He starts with the moral — beauty lies within, be true to yourself, love conquers all — and tests them in a world colored by shades of gray. It’s the sidekicks who help him navigate that eternal debate, as they often do for the heroes in their movies.

When Owen was 3, his comprehension of spoken words collapsed. That’s clear from every test. But now it seems that as he watched each Disney movie again and again, he was collecting and logging sounds and rhythms, multitrack. Speech, of course, has its own subtle musicality; most of us, focusing on the words and their meanings, don’t hear it. But that’s all he heard for years, words as intonation and cadence, their meanings inscrutable. It was like someone memorizing an Akira Kurosawa movie without knowing Japanese. Then it seems he was slowly learning Japanese — or, rather, spoken English — by using the exaggerated facial expressions of the animated characters, the situations they were in, the way they interacted to help define all those mysterious sounds. That’s what we start to assume; after all, that’s the way babies learn to speak. But this is slightly different because of the way he committed these vast swaths of source material, dozens of Disney movies, to memory. These are stored sounds we can now help him contextualize, with jumping, twirling, sweating, joyous expression, as we just managed with “The Jungle Book.”

So begin the basement sessions. During daylight, we go about our lives. Walt rides his bike to school each morning, back home each afternoon. Cornelia manages the house, the bills, the overloaded schedules of the kids. I am editing and writing for The Journal, putting on my suit and subwaying to the bureau.

via Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney – NYTimes.com.

kith/kin, amenity kits: He trekked east, then he trekked west … this time CLT to IAD to KWI, then KWI to FRA to CLT … It still amazes me how far you can go in a day. And there are perks of having a spouse who travels internationally for business: 5 days, 3 airlines, one nice hotel with 52 hours on the ground … I get 4 “amenity” kits!

Photo: The perks of having a spouse who travels internationally for business. 5 days, 3 airlines, one nice hotel with 52 hours on the ground ... I get 4 "amenity" kits! :)

Jesus in the Perfect Storm by the Rt Revd Prof Dr. N. T. Wright, TMBS, Lent:  So we are studying NT Wright’s Simply Jesus.  As i prepared for class, I found this sermon and enjoyed how it brought the text into Lent …

Who knows what might happen if one of you – ten of you – fifty of you – were to go through this Holy Week praying humbly for the powerful fresh wind of God to blow into that combination of cultural pressure and personal aspiration, so that you might share in the sufferings of the Messiah and come through into the new life he longs to give you? Who knows what God’s power and God’s glory will look like when they steal upon tomorrow’s world from an unexpected angle? If the Son of God is now King of the world, what will that kingdom look like in this next generation?

via Jesus in the Perfect Storm by the Rt Revd Prof Dr. N. T. Wright.

5 Reasons Why Every Woman Needs a Girls Weekend | Abby Draper:  I have the best Girl Weekend group ever!

 While spending time with your significant other, children if applicable, colleagues and acquaintances is wonderful and important, every woman needs a good “girls weekend” every so often, at any age. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate, but a simple few days away from the norm with some women you trust is a special kind of cleanse, especially when you’re going through a tough time.

via 5 Reasons Why Every Woman Needs a Girls Weekend | Abby Draper.

El Camino de Santiago, bucket list:  It’s on my bucket list.

It is hard to walk a 500-mile pilgrimage trail without thinking about religion.

via Being Catholic: For a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime? – Busted Halo.

 five-second food rule, urban legends, research suggests, ScienceDaily:  I feel better …

Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time, according to new research. The findings suggest there may be some scientific basis to the ‘5 second rule’ — the urban myth about it being fine to eat food that has only had contact with the floor for five seconds or less. The study, undertaken by final year biology students monitored the transfer of the common bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus from a variety of indoor floor types (carpet, laminate and tiled surfaces) to toast, pasta, biscuit and a sticky sweet when contact was made from 3 to 30 seconds.

via Dropped your toast? Five-second food rule exists, new research suggests — ScienceDaily.

iPod-Based Magic Tricks, TEDTalks:

via ▶ Marco Tempest: The magic of truth and lies (and iPods) – YouTube.

What if deception is in the eye of the beholder? And what if lies can help us tell the truth? Watch this video and enter into the multimedia world of magician Marco Tempest. Then decide for yourself.

via WATCH: These iPod-Based Magic Tricks Are SO. MUCH. FUN | TEDTalks.

DST, memes:  My house …

Photo: What a difference an hour makes.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on What the Sahara Desert Teaches Us About the Meaning of Life | Brain Pickings: I am glad that they make almost every high school  student studying French read this in French, it is one of my favorites.

In December of 1940, a little more than two years before he created The Little Prince on American soil and four years before he disappeared over North Africa never to return, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry began writing Letter to a Hostage (public library) while waiting in Portugal for admission into the United States, having just escaped his war-torn French homeland — a poignant meditation on the atrocities the World War was inflicting at the scale of the human soul, exploring questions of identity, belonging, empathy, and the life of the spirit amidst death.

One of the most timelessly moving sections of the book, both for its stand-alone wisdom and for its evident legacy as a sandbox for the ideas the beloved author later included in The Little Prince — home, solitude, the stars, the sustenance of the spirit — is the second chapter, written while Saint-Exupéry was traveling aboard the crowded ship that took him from Lisbon to New York

via Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on What the Sahara Desert Teaches Us About the Meaning of Life | Brain Pickings.

39 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time, LOL:

test-answers-that-are-totally-wrong-but-still-genius (19)

These students should get full marks for creativity alone!

via 39 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time..

Charlotte police use dirt bikes to catch criminals, Time Warner Cable News:  I saw my first one just the other day!

CHARLOTTE — Criminals now have one less place to hide in Charlotte. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department are now using new dirt motorcycles to patrol woods and walking trails in several patrol divisions in Charlotte.

Steele Creek Division Commander Captain Allan Rutledge says his division is currently utilizing two bikes. He says criminals are using wooded areas to allude police. He says since the bikes have been put in use he’s noticed difference.

“The officers picked up the bikes one day when they were first available and 30 minutes later than made their first arrest,” said Rutledge. “They were actually on the way back from the location where they picked the motorcycles up to our division office where they made an arrest for drugs.”

The bikes have been in use for more than a month. Captain Rutledge says more bikes will be purchased in the near future.

via Charlotte police use dirt bikes to catch criminals – Time Warner Cable News.

Art and Human Rights, Anna Deavere Smith,  Robert McDuffie, Grace Cathedral – Calendar Detail: A labyrinth friend posted another link to Grace Cathedral’s page (the home of the US’s most famous labyrinth and Lauren Artress, the labyrinth movement’s advocate in the modern era) … So I clicked on it and was excited to see Camille McDuffie’s husband Robert McDuffie featured in this recent event. So two of my world’s intersect once again.

Art and Human Rights

Guests: Anna Deavere Smith and Robert McDuffie

Interlocutor: The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw

via Grace Cathedral – Calendar Detail.

The Forum: a Conversation with Anna Deavere Smith & Robert McDuffie

Sunday, Mar 9 9:30a to 10:30a

Grace Cathedral

San Francisco, CA

Join the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, for The Forum with actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith and renowned violinist Robert McDuffie for a conversation on art and human rights within the context of their performance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter From Birmingham Jail. The Forum is a series of lively conversations about art, faith, ethics and the issues of our day with renowned special guests.

Parker J. Palmer, David Ray’s Thanks Robert Frost:

Photo: I ran across this poem the other day, and I've been thinking about it ever since. It's a poem about how we relate to the past—a question that's relevant at any age, not least when you're old enough to have more past than future!</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The past isn't fixed and frozen in place. Instead, its meaning changes as life unfolds. I once lost a job. At the time, it felt as if I had come to the end of the road. But after a while, I was able to see how that loss helped guide me toward my true life-work. Losing that job was a blessing, not a curse.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I've made many mistakes and often failed to live up to my aspirations, but I don't need to look back with regret. Instead, I can see all of my mess-ups as humus or compost for the growing I needed to do.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I love the fact that the word "humus" is related to "humility." The good I do today may well have its roots in something not-so-good I did in the past. Knowing that takes me beyond both the sinkhole of regret and the hot-air balloon of pride.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Regret shuts life down. Humility opens it up. So Robert Frost was right. We CAN have hope for the past as well as the future!

I ran across this poem the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s a poem about how we relate to the past—a question that’s relevant at any age, not least when you’re old enough to have more past than future!

The past isn’t fixed and frozen in place. Instead, its meaning changes as life unfolds. I once lost a job. At the time, it felt as if I had come to the end of the road. But after a while, I was able to see how that loss helped guide me toward my true life-work. Losing that job was a blessing, not a curse.

I’ve made many mistakes and often failed to live up to my aspirations, but I don’t need to look back with regret. Instead, I can see all of my mess-ups as humus or compost for the growing I needed to do.

I love the fact that the word “humus” is related to “humility.” The good I do today may well have its roots in something not-so-good I did in the past. Knowing that takes me beyond both the sinkhole of regret and the hot-air balloon of pride.

Regret shuts life down. Humility opens it up. So Robert Frost was right. We CAN have hope for the past as well as the future!

via Parker J. Palmer.

pi day, 10 Pies for Pi Day | Mental Floss: I think pi day is a fun way to introduce kids to math concepts. When did you first hear of pi day? It was when my oldest was in elementary school, late 1990s. So what smart fun teacher thought this up?  Love pi day … so pi day 2015 will be epic.

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in the month/day date format), since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.[2]

Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (or 22/7 in the day/month date format), since the fraction 22⁄7 is a common approximation of π.[3]

The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium,[4] where Shaw worked as a physicist,[5] with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies.[6] The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.[7]

Pi Day has been observed in many ways, including eating pie, throwing pies and discussing the significance of the number π.[1] Some schools hold competitions as to which student can recall Pi to the highest number of decimal places.[11][12]

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has often mailed its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on Pi Day.[13] Starting in 2012, MIT has announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers Pi and Tau equally.[14][15]

The town of Princeton, New Jersey, hosts numerous events in a combined celebration of Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday, which is also March 14.[16] Einstein lived in Princeton for more than twenty years while working at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to pie eating and recitation contests, there is an annual Einstein look-alike contest.[17]

via Pi Day – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Today is March 14th, often notated as 3-14, so it is Pi Day! It’s a day set aside to pay homage to the ratio of a circle to its diameter. The traditional way to celebrate is to eat a pie. Or bake one. Here are some wonderful Pi Day pies you might try.

via 10 Pies for Pi Day | Mental Floss.

via WETA.

Well, in the U.S. anyway…

via George Takei.

recommendations, restaurants, CharlotteStagioni | Four Seasons of Food | Italian Family Style | Charlotte North Carolina.

13
Jan
13

1.13.13 … ooo…oh…ooo…oh…

Nora Ephron, tributes, cultural icons:  OK, It took me a minute to get what was going on … and then I really laughed.

Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg Ryan’s soliloquy from Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally in a collage using letters cut from Ephron’s obituary in The New York Times, in one of several visual tributes to cultural icons we lost in 2012.

Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg Ryan’s soliloquy from Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally in a collage using letters cut from Ephron’s obituary in The New York Times, in one of several visual tributes to cultural icons we lost in 2012.

via Explore – Conceptual artist Rachel Perry Welty recreates Meg….

Twitter,  AstroMarshburn, Davidson ’82:  My favorite martian, umm,  astronaut, tweets from the ISS!  He also send back pictures.  You rock, Tom!

Embedded image permalink

@AstroMarshburn

Where desert and mountains meet – we’re over the edge of the Gobi.

via Twitter / AstroMarshburn: Where desert and mountains ….

body language, TED Talks: Good to know …

In her TEDTalk (above), social psychologist Amy Cuddy shares an easy way that anyone can change not only others’ perceptions of them, but the way they feel about themselves — spending two minutes “power posing” with their arms or elbows out, their chin lifted and their posture expansive. Cuddy’s research, done in collaboration with Dana Carney, has shown that adopting the body language associated with dominance for just 120 seconds is enough to create a 20 percent increase in testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, adopting these postures makes a person feel more powerful.

via Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.

word of the year,  The Economist: #hashtag … really???

Finally, the Word of the Year to beat all words of the year, the word that truly summed up 2012.  Are you ready?

#hashtag

via Word of the year: And the winner is… | The Economist.

Davidson,The Watson Fellowship, 2012-13 Watson Fellows:  I was looking over a friend’s daughters’ blog (sara bates | sara bates … watson adventures) when I wondered if any 2012 Davidson grads received Watsons … The answer is yes … and they are excerpted below.  But If you are interested all of the Watson Fellows are doing amazing things.

Audrey Gyurgyik, Davidson College

Body and Soul: A Holistic Approach to Actor Training

Tibet, Brazil, Serbia, Italy

I will explore the following questions: In what ways does the physical body serve as a vehicle to access emotion, free-flow of impulses, and the subtler soul? How do different cultures explore this notion? And how is this work then translated for or useful to actors- to those interested in effectively communicating the human condition to an audience? I will travel to Tibet, Brazil, Serbia and Italy to learn about different physical-spiritual practices and the ways in which certain theatre companies have incorporated them as an integral part of their creative processes.

via The Watson Fellowship: Our Fellows

Alexis Valauri-Orton, Davidson College

Thinking Outside the Lab: Discovering the Human Toll of Ocean Acidification

Norway, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Peru, Mauritius

Ocean acidification, a consequence of CO2 pollution, threatens reefs and fisheries worldwide. On my Watson, I will live with communities in five countries that are particularly vulnerable to acidification. I will learn how their livelihoods and cultures are dependent upon marine resources, discovering the human stake in this environmental crisis. Each narrative of acidification will be shaped by different dependencies, cultures, and crises, and together they will provide me with a global, human narrative that demands action.

via The Watson Fellowship: Our Fellows.

resolutions, living life in the moment:

Saturday January 5, 2013

Living the Moment to the Fullest

Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

via Daily Meditation: Living the Moment to the Fullest.

iPad,  apps: Another best list … I already have most of these … but I thought Paper looked fun.

Below, we’ve got 13 of our absolute favorite apps for iPad and iPad Mini: The essentials, the best of the best. These aren’t the only apps you need for your new Apple tablet, but they are certainly a good start. Let’s get downloading.

Paper (FREE)

Apple’s iPad App of the Year is a content-creation machine, allowing you to draw, take notes, sketch and color in between (or outside of) the lines. Worth a try for any creative types out there, or anyone who wants to use a new iPad or iPad Mini to replace a laptop.

via iPad Mini Apps: The 13 Best Apps That Any New iPad Or iPad Mini Owner Should Download Immediately.

X-Rays, technology,  Davidson College. Davidson College Archives, trivia:

The first X-ray taken at Davidson College by Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer. [1896]

The first X-ray taken at Davidson College by Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer. [1896]

In January 1896, Dr. Henry Louis Smith, a physics professor at Davidson Colllege, read about Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in an associated press bulletin. He realized that Davidson College possessed the right equipment to repeat Roentgen’s experiments. Dr. Smith told his physics class about Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays, and Smith’s planned experiments with them.

Shortly afterwards, three Davidson juniors, eager to test Smith’s theories, snuck into his lab on the evening of January 12, 1896. Eben Hardin, Pender Porter, and Osmond L. Barringer collected various objects to photograph with the x-ray machine: a cadaver finger (taken from the North Carolina Medical College) stuck with two pins and wearing a ring (borrowed from Barringer’s girlfriend); a rubber covered magnifying glass; a pill box containing two 22 cartridges, one pin, two rings, and six Strychnine pills (commonly used by students at that time to stay awake during finals); and an egg that been emptied and had a button placed inside.

via X-Rays | Davidson College Archives & Special Collections.

Audi, technology, robotic valet:  Robotic Valet Overlords!

Audi has built the robotic valet of the future, a car that parks itself. We got to play with it, and it’s freaking amazing.

via We Welcome Our Robotic Valet Overlords | Autopia | Wired.com.

Americans, death age, statistics: Ouch!

Americans live sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy countries — and the gap is getting worse over time, a new report shows.

Men in the USA have shorter lives than men in 16 developed nations. American women also fall near the bottom of the list, living 5.2 fewer years than Japanese women, who live the longest.

Americans “have a long-standing pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive” over a person’s lifetime, says the report, from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, independent, non-profit groups that advise the federal government on health.

“The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries,” the report says, “but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary.”

via Americans die younger than others in rich nations.

We the People, White House,  Death Star:  I had no idea that the We the People  site existed … enjoyed the tongue in cheek response.

Enemies of the Pentagon will not witness the power of a fully operational battle station anytime soon.

Last month an online petition to the White House site We the People that called for the construction of the Death Star from the “Star Wars” movies surpassed the 25,000 signature threshold required to initiate an official response.

Citing national security and the number of jobs the initiative would create, the petition gained 34,000 signatures.

On Friday Paul Shawcross of the Office of Management and Budget, showed he was up for satire and responded in kind, issuing a tongue-in-cheek address to the demand for a space station capable of obliterating entire planets.

via White House Declines Death Star Undertaking, Cites Budget Constraints – ABC News.

Paris, blogs:  Just liked this one.

Guide to Paris: Insight to the Famed City of Lights

At Aeon Tours, we strive to create walking tours of the famed City of Lights that showcase the many faces of Paris. From her hidden side streets to her iconic international attractions, you can be sure that we have a tour that caters to you. To learn more about us, visit us at AeonTours.com

via Guide to Paris: Insight into the Famed City of Lights.

youtube, video blogs, LOL:  i . 🙂

http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/the-best-fcking-cruise-ship-tour-youll-ever-take?sub=1956541_793702

Greg from Mediocre Films 2 went on a cruise to Hawaii with his family. As a vlogger, he decided to document his voyage.

via The Best F*cking Cruise Ship Tour You’ll Ever Take.

Davidson Basketball:  Another great day ….

Mann hits 20 as Davidson men top Furman, 81-73

via Mann hits 20 as Davidson men top Furman, 81-73 | Sports.

Nordstrom Rack, Psycho Bunny, men’s clothing:  I saw a polo with this weird logo at Nordstrom Rack.   Psycho Bunny …

Interesting brand logo??

Psycho Bunny Regular Fit Piqué Polo | Nordstrom.

devotionals, urban legends:  I am not sure what this is but I found it uplifting.

Photo: One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.</p> <p>He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, th<br /> e donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.</p> <p>A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.</p> <p>As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!</p> <p>MORAL :<br />  Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.</p> <p>Remember the five simple rules to be happy:</p> <p>1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.</p> <p>2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.</p> <p>3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.</p> <p>4. Give more.</p> <p>5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.</p> <p>You have two choices... smile and close this page,<br /> or pass this along to someone else to share the lesson .

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, th

e donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.

You have two choices… smile and close this page,

or pass this along to someone else to share the lesson .

via Dennard Lindsey Teague.

04
Feb
11

2.4.2011 …. 35 and raining … winter in the South like I remember it!

winter, The South:  I prefer snow to rain … 🙂 .. “singing in the rain” … but I agree with Tim … least favorite weather ..

NASA, Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords, prayers: Godspeed, Mark Kelly!  And Prayers for a continued miraculous recovery, Gabrielle Giffords!

“I am looking forward to rejoining my crew members and finishing our training for the mission,” said Mr. Kelly. “We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Sepectrometer to the International Space Station and compete the other objectives of the flight.”

via Gabrielle Giffords’ Husband Mark Kelly to Command NASA Shuttle | Politically Illustrated.

followup, tweets, Chinese new year, politically correct:  So is it incorrect to say Chinese New Year?

@BarackObama

I send my best wishes for peace, prosperity, and good health to all who celebrate the Lunar New Year across the U.S. and around the world.

via Twitter / @Barack Obama: I send my best wishes for ….

community service, boy scouts, Loaves & Fishes, tweets, tomorrow 2/5:

Trying to gather a record 10,800 grocery bags of donated food in one morning (at an estimated 10 pounds per bag) would pretty much take a battalion of men and a convoy of SUVs.

But that’s the goal of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from St. Matthew Catholic Church, for Saturday’s Scouting for Food drive to benefit Loaves & Fishes.

via Events & News – Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry – Groceries for Neighbors in Need – Charlotte, NC.

Scouting for Food is tomorrow! Please don’t rain!

via Loaves & Fishes (loavesfishesnc) on Twitter.

tweets, LOL: My brother-in-law sent me this one. 

12:22 PM Jan 29th: Slipped on ice last night. Out of commission. Meds in control. Strange political dreams. And SpongeBob makes sense.

via Larry Sabato (larrysabato) on Twitter.

A comprehensive website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball features detailed and frequently updated analysis for elections across the country. The Crystal Ball keeps tabs on presidential elections, along with every Senate and gubernatorial race, as well as the tightest campaigns for the House.

via Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball » About.

man caves, ESPN:  Loved this article …

In part because it’s rarely discussed in mixed company, ESPN may be the most under-acknowledged media powerhouse in the United States. Since its debut in 1979, ESPN has ridden round-the-clock highlights, live events and testosterone-infused commentary into a 3D juggernaut of television, radio, print and digital that arguably constitutes the single greatest cultural force in male identity today.

Consider these facts: ESPN is the third-rated network on cable, according to Nielsen ratings. Half of all Americans, age 12 to 64, encounter one of its platforms every week, the network’s research shows. That figure includes two-thirds of men age 18 to 34, who stay an average of 56 minutes a day. Your husband, your neighbor, your boss may be spending one hour a day on ESPN. That loyalty adds up. ESPN’s revenues last year totaled $8.65 billion, according to Morgan Stanley, making up 23 percent of the total revenues of its parent, the Walt Disney Company.

“Nothing reaches men like sports,” said Michael Wilbon, a co-host on ESPN for “Pardon the Interruption,” “and nothing has branded sports like ESPN.”

The height of the new jock vanity is ESPN’s infatuation with male bodies. Commentators drool over other men’s abs, thighs and guns. ESPN The Magazine’s response to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is its Body issue, which features entirely naked men (and some women). The magazine even sells posters of the Knick superstar Amar’e Stoudemire dunking nude or the United States soccer goalie Tim Howard diving au naturel.

All of this talk of New Manhood does have an undercurrent of Old Manhood: how women are treated. On the one hand, ESPN deserves credit, after decades of negligence, for finally featuring women. “When I first started doing sports,” said Dana Jacobson, a co-host of “First Take,” “my dad said, ‘I think you’re really good, but I’d still rather watch a guy.’ After a couple of years, he finally changed his mind. And he’s not alone.”

But women are still the company’s sore spot. The network has experienced a rash of scandals involving sexual misconduct, workplace affairs and inappropriate language that at times makes ESPN the subject of as much gossip and lawsuits as the athletes it covers. This pink cloud has made covering the misconduct of superstars, like the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, more challenging.

“I would hope that if we really are reaching that many young men,” Ms. Beadle said, “that we make sure we send a message.” She loved “celebrating the great stuff,” she said, but became upset “when you hear one dumb story after another about what men are doing.”

“Sometimes I think we don’t report those stories as much as other companies because of our relationship,” she said. “I want to make sure we don’t always make those guys heroes. What happens is that for the 17-, 18-year-old kid, the message is that he’s good at a sport, so it doesn’t matter how much of a pig he is.”

In a world where men do everything fast, from driving to parenting to flipping channels, ESPN is one place that forces them to stop, respect the clock at the center of most games, and connect to the men in their past. ESPN is the ultimate time machine. It takes men back to their boyhoods, and delivers them back to their sons, all in just under an hour.

via Dominating the Man Cave – This Life – NYTimes.com.

James Joyce, LOL:  Happy belated (2-2)birthday, Jim! Frank Delaney: Re: Joyce, Episode 34. The Re: Joyce Rap.

Jane Austen, icons:

It also led to an outcry of “Why now?” In a blink, Austen was everywhere on the silver screen. After a dry spell that lasted more than a half century, we were hit with three films hit in just two years. (The third being the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring ‘Emma.’) ‘Jane Austen in Hollywood’ discusses how Time Magazine ran a headline asking: “Sick of Jane Austen yet?” Wall Street declared the mania to be “cash driven.” Her immediate impact was so far-reaching, in fact, that ‘Austen in Hollywood’ details how the Socialist Workers’ Party Marxism ’96 Conference featured a session on “what is so great” about the author. Austen had become not only a cinematic icon, but also a social force to be reckoned with.

Essentially, it seems that Austen offers enough of any world that either the most conservative and traditional figure, or the most liberally modern-minded one, can thrive in Austen’s writing. Those who yearn for traditional values cling to the notions of romance and place — the quest to find love, financial security and someone with the appropriate lifestyle. For the more progressively minded, Austen offers an alternative glimpse of women during a time when they had little freedom, her pen having created a diverse roster of heroines, even if they were all romance-minded. To quite firmly grasp moviegoers on both sides of the spectrum, Austen becomes just about the most relevant creative source for women there is today.

Austen’s worlds are rife with diverse females, yes, from the mirth of Emma Woodhouse to the strict decorum of Elinor Dashwood. But they’re always so focused on their men and lives, that it’s easy to be pushed away. Yet we must remember our modern sensibilities, and also the wry commentary Austen — a woman who never experienced this literary love — relays. The women ultimately fit into society, but they also hint at something more, while chastising the world they must live in.

Austen’s women are completely foreign, yet ultimately relatable.

Are we clinging to the past? Does Austen offer a sense of release? Why is Jane Austen so beloved today?

via Girls on Film: Why Is Jane Austen So Popular Today? – Moviefone.

health, research, ALS, progress:

This imprecision has hindered the search for drugs that could slow or block the disease’s progress. But now a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here has won a $1 million prize — reportedly the largest ever for meeting a specific challenge in medical research — for developing a reliable way to quantify the small muscular changes that signal progressive deterioration.

The winner, Dr. Seward Rutkove, showed that his method could cut in half the cost of clinical trials to screen potential drugs for the disease, said Melanie Leitner, chief scientific officer of Prize4Life, the nonprofit group that created the competition.

via $1 Million Prize to Inventor of a Tracker for A.L.S., Lou Gehrig’s Disease – NYTimes.com.

media, new terms:  blogazine!

An online daily blogazine on Home Style, Life Style & You Style! Editor is Better Homes & Gardens Field Editor, Cynthia Bogart. (We’re not a BHG affiliate)

The THE DAILY BASICS Daily.

recycle:  loved the creativity here.

Just when you thought there were no uses for wire coat hangers other than for angling to get your locked car door open or using it to coax a wooden spoon out from under the stove, the creative folks at Anthropologie took a fantastical swipe at that perception.

via The Elegant Thrifter: Vintage and Thrift Shopping, Decorating and Entertaining with Elegant Flair: Reuse & Repurpose: Yes to Wire Coat Hangers.

economy, The Great Recession, parallel universes:  2011 and 1983 …

The unemployment rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point in one month. There had not been a monthly decline that large in many years, but economists were unimpressed. After all, the decline was caused in no small part by a surprising reduction in the labor force, which could be an indication that more workers were discouraged and no longer looking. That would hardly be an encouraging development.

President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. Bush in January 1983, when the unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent from 10.8 percent, the first decline that large in five years.

Anyway, it was said, the unemployment rate is based on a survey of only 60,000 households, some of whom cannot be reached in any given month. It can be volatile, so you should not pay much attention to it. The president took heart from the figures, but critics said there was no real improvement.

The above describes what happened a month ago, when the unemployment rate for December came in at 9.4 percent. It was the first time in more than 11 years that the rate had declined that much in a single month, but the headline in The Chicago Tribune read, “U.S. jobs picture gets darker; Unemployment rate dips, but only because workers apparently are giving up.”

As it happened, those paragraphs also describe the situation 28 years ago. In January 1983, with President Ronald Reagan reeling from his large setback in the midterm elections the previous November, the unemployment rate fell to 10.4 percent from 10.8 percent. It was the first such decline in five years, but few thought it significant.

via From 1983, Hints of Strong Job Growth in 2011 – NYTimes.com.

blog, food, recipes: Another interesting blog/column

Providence Journal: A nice wrap-up of Super Bowl recipes from food sections around the nation. – Sam Sifton

via What We’re Reading – NYTimes.com.

college, students, The Beatles:  Always something fun on the ecollege scene.

A new class at Syracuse University this semester offers students probably the closest thing to a history lesson from Paul or Ringo. “The Beatles” (course number RAE 400) is a dive into the band’s impact on business, technology and culture, featuring guest lecturers with first-hand knowledge of the Fab Four and their empire.

The class kicked off last week with speaker Peter Asher, whose resume includes talent scouting for Apple Records, the label launched by the Beatles in 1968. Back then, Asher brought a young James Taylor to the label and produced his debut album. His lecture touched on the strengths and weaknesses of the label as a business, but he also doled out some choice “I-was-there-when” nuggets. Example: his memory of being the first non-Beatle to hear “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” when McCartney and Lennon worked up the song in the basement room used by Asher’s mother as an oboe studio.

via Meet the Beatles — For Two College Credits – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Egypt Uprising:  Another perspective … Naïveté on Egypt Is Dangerous. – By Kathryn Jean Lopez – The Corner – National Review Online.

media, icons, Nelson Mandela, South Africa, prayers:  Prayers for a quick and peaceful recovery.

As rumors of Mr. Mandela’s death echoed across the Internet, media coverage intensified. Ms. Wiener says some in the media were accused of being “vultures” in their coverage.

She and others disagree. “The truth is … in a way, Mandela belongs to the country. That’s why everyone was so concerned; they wanted to know because they were family,” said Ms. Wiener.

The outcry over poor communication subsided when Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe held a press conference with Mr. Mandela’s doctor a few days after he was admitted to hospital, assuring members of the public that there was “no reason to panic” but also admitting that communication could’ve been better.

Given Mr. Mandela’s revered political status, his retirement from public life in 2004—five years after he stepped down from the presidency—was difficult for a country that had grown accustomed to seeing him at public events in brightly colored shirts, occasionally dancing and often telling humorous anecdotes.

“Somehow, he’s become that god to South Africans,” said Ndivhuho Mafela, a journalist for local news channel e.tv. “He’s become an avatar of ours. [In] everything, we refer to him, saying ‘Are these his ideals? Are we not going wrong?’ He’s something we can no longer explain in words. The only word that can explain it is just ‘Mandela.'”

Mr. Mafela laughed and pointed to Mr. Mandela’s house, which is painted in a bright mustard color, partially hidden by large high walls. “One cannot stop hoping to see him standing there and saying, ‘Hi!'”

via Stakeout Mandela: Media Vigil for Aging South African Icon – WSJ.com.

teenagers, culture, risk-taking, science:

In studies at Temple University, psychologists used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on 40 teenagers and adults to determine if there are differences in brain activity when adolescents are alone versus with their friends. The findings suggest that teenage peer pressure has a distinct effect on brain signals involving risk and reward, helping to explain why young people are more likely to misbehave and take risks when their friends are watching.

For parents, the study data reinforce the notion that groups of teenagers need close supervision.

“All of us who have very good kids know they’ve done really dumb things when they’ve been with their friends,” Dr. Steinberg said. “The lesson is that if you have a kid whom you think of as very mature and able to exercise good judgment, based on your observations when he or she is alone or with you, that doesn’t necessarily generalize to how he or she will behave in a group of friends without adults around. Parents should be aware of that.”

via Teenagers, Friends and Bad Decisions – NYTimes.com.

quotes:  From one of my favorite writers who sends a quote a day … The Happiness Project, Moment of Happiness …

“Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.”
Sarah Bernhardt

technology, White House:  Seems strange that the White House could lose it e-mail service ...

Shortly before 8 a.m. the unclassified e-mail system that top advisers and the president himself rely on to communicate with each other went dark.

Reporters left hanging by unanswered e-mails were told of the blackout by a press assistant who said, “If you need to get in touch with anyone, you have to go up and see them because e-mail is down.”

At 11:54, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer made a formal announcement via Twitter.

“FYI: WH unclassified e-mail went down shortly before 8 AM.’ he tweeted. “Verizon is working to solve the problem. Pool reports will be avail in press office.”

Not long after that an overhead intercom system sounded out a familiar announcement to those who worked in the White House during the dark ages. Pool reports, normally sent around electronically, were available on paper.

That’s how it went for several hours. The podium where spokesman Robert Gibbs normally stands during his briefings was carpeted with pool reports and a transcript of an earlier gaggle by Gibbs aboard Air Force One.

via White House e-mail blackout – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

Super Bowl  XLV, random:

For the first time since the game’s inception, both teams playing in the Super Bowl lack cheerleading squads. The Steelers stopped having cheerleaders in 1970, and the Packers got rid of their cheerleaders in 1988 after market research indicated they didn’t mean much to fans.

via The Super Bowl Without Cheerleaders: How Will We Know To Cheer? – TIME NewsFeed.

internet, Egypt Uprising:  Could our government cut us off?  Good question.

It seemed so easy for Egypt. Just order a shutdown of the country’s internet connections and — bam — it happens.

But is such an authoritarian action transferable? Could the U.S. government shut down American internet connections? And is it possible for the global internet to be toppled?

Technically, yes, internet experts said Wednesday, shortly after Egypt’s government restored internet connections there as violent political protests continued. But it’s highly unlikely.

“Could you break the internet? Yeah. Can you shut it down? No. Shutting down the entire internet would be pretty much impossible at this point,” said Jim Cowie, co-founder of Renesys, an worldwide internet tracker.

Cowie spoke of the internet as if it were a giant, adaptable worm.

“The funny thing about the internet is even if you break it in half, the two halves will function as [separate] internets,” he said.

via Could the U.S. shut down the internet? – CNN.com.

music, culture, urban legends, Joshua Bell:  This is not an urban legend but it is old news, but still very entertaining.

“It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington,” Furukawa says. “Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn’t do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?”

When it was over, Furukawa introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that — it was tainted by recognition — the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.

“Actually,” Bell said with a laugh, “that’s not so bad, considering. That’s 40 bucks an hour. I could make an okay living doing this, and I wouldn’t have to pay an agent.”

These days, at L’Enfant Plaza, lotto ticket sales remain brisk. Musicians still show up from time to time, and they still tick off Edna Souza. Joshua Bell’s latest album, “The Voice of the Violin,” has received the usual critical acclaim. (“Delicate urgency.” “Masterful intimacy.” “Unfailingly exquisite.” “A musical summit.” “. . . will make your heart thump and weep at the same time.”)

Bell headed off on a concert tour of European capitals. But he is back in the States this week. He has to be. On Tuesday, he will be accepting the Avery Fisher prize, recognizing the Flop of L’Enfant Plaza as the best classical musician in America.

via Pearls Before Breakfast – washingtonpost.com.




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