Friday, May 31, 2013

Why even photographic evidence can be mistaken [Article]

Are the pictures that you see on the news real or fake? What happens when the pictures that the news agecy has published prove to be wrong? David Turner writing in the Nieman Reports reminds journalists to verify news - major or minor - that they discover on social media. Also a reminder for readers to be aware of media bias.

Semblance of some balance [Video]

Tim Knoll tries a few tricks - and succeeds

A spectacular fall from grace - Rajat Gupta's Lust for Zeros [Article]

From being the head of McKinsey's global operations to ignominy, Rajat Gupta's motivations
“You have to watch out for it, because the more you have it, you get used to comforts, and you get used to, you know, big houses and vacation homes and going and doing whatever you want, and so it is very seductive. However much you say that you will not fall into the trap of it, you do fall into the trap of it.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A bearable training [Video]

This guy has some balls. And the bear - well, you decide !

What if the Internet doesn't exist anymore? [Video]

Francois Ferracci's short movie deals with an apocalyptic scenario:
It's Oct. 10, 2020. A couple is on a date. They've only recently met, he's crazy about her, and he's snapping (or digitally producing) thousands of pictures — of her, of them, of Paris; he's the kind of lover who wants to record everything all the time. She's a little put off by his techie ardor, but he's obsessed — until, all of a sudden, his gadget freezes. He can't take pictures any more. The images he got start — they start to fade. 

Lost, not yet found - the first web page [Article]

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel is surprised that while you can find a lot of things online, there's one important piece of the Web's own history that can't be found through a search engine: the very first Web page is lost.
An old optical disk drive was lost at a conference in California. On it is one of the very first iterations of Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Web page from 1990. "It was such a beautiful object, that optical disk, that someone maybe has it on their coffee table or their bookshelf, and if we could find that, that'd be great," he says.

The caffeine song - Maria Ferrante & Alice Martelli [Video]

A spectacular operatic performance by Maria Ferrante, accompanied by pianist Alice Martelli, at TEDxCERN, on an unusual subject - caffeine!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kalpavriksha: The story of the coconut tree [Video]

From the Perennial Plate, learn about food's origins, and also about how people eat and endeavor in cultures around the world. Chef Daniel Klein & cameraperson Mirra Fine travel around the world to tell these stories. This video's about the coconut in Sri Lanka (as also most of the south western coast of South India)
Link to The Perennial Plate

The loneliest human being - Al Worden [Interview]

Seven men in the history of humanity stand apart from the rest of us. These are the Apollo command module pilots who spent time alone in orbit around the Moon, while their colleagues walked on the lunar surface. When they were on the far side of the Moon, these astronauts were completely out of contact, and further from Earth, than anyone had ever been before. Or has ever been since. Discover the difference between being alone & loneliness in this fascinating interview with Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden

The new Eggs-box - [article]

A fresh look at a 100-year old packaging. BBC's future technology article on The egg box that updates a humble yet classic design shows student Eva Valicsek's attempt to design a replacement for the ubiquitous egg box!

How Facebook and Brooklyn Killed America's Obsession With Cars [Article]

Why aren't kids interested in cars anymore, at least in the US? Brian Merchant has some part of the answer.
That "liberation" you get from the car is fleeting—it quickly fades, first into schlepping your buddies around town, then into speeding tickets, and eventually into brain-numbing commutes across smoggy, congested highways. You realize that cars are ultimately confined to roads clogged with other cars, running on the same limiting rails—like trains, just more dangerous, and no drinking.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Story of an eyewitness - the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco [Article]

Jack London wrote about the 1906 earthquake that almost destroyed the city. Om Malik shared a link to this story that makes the tragedy come alive a century later.
San Francisco, at the present time, is like the crater of a volcano, around which are camped tens of thousands of refugees At the Presidio alone are at least twenty thousand. All the surrounding cities and towns are jammed with the homeless ones, where they are being cared for by the relief committees. The refugees were carried free by the railroads to any point they wished to go, and it is estimated that over one hundred thousand people have left the peninsula on which San Francisco stood. The Government has the situation in hand, and, thanks to the immediate relief given by the whole United States, there is not the slightest possibility of a famine. The bankers and business men hare already set about making preparations to rebuild San Francisco.

Man Cave Rentals & Stuff [Article]

Scott Adams has some ideas for you, if you are contemplating building a new house.  Be prepared to be rocked.

Cleared student goes to space camp - [article]

A few weeks ago, a 16 year old high school student experimenting in her school lab in Florida, US, caused a minor explosion, & a major  uproar - she was charged with a criminal offence, & arrested. Better sense has prevailed since, with her being cleared of charges, and through the benevolence of a NASA veteran, with whose help she wll be going to Space Camp

Monday, May 27, 2013

Spending checks: US vs the rest of the world [Blog]

Economist Timothy Taylor puts the results of the one of the findings of the US Consumer Expenditure Survey into perspective - that the average US household spent $61.4 billion on their pets.
America spent about nine times as much on pet care as it did on choosing all its federally elections in 2012. 
the average U.S. household spends more on pets than the poverty line for humans in the developing world. And the statistics don't include the fact that pets live rent-free. 

Persistence pays: Unknown Mathematician Proves Elusive Property of Prime Numbers [Article]

Yitang Zhang couldn't find work in academia after earning his doctorate in 1991, so he's worked for several years as an accountant and even in a Subway sandwich shop. Two weeks ago, he became a sensation across the mathematics world for his theorem on the properties of prime numbers, although it has no known applications. How / why did he become famous? Read on
“The big experts in the area tried and failed. I personally didn’t think anyone was going to be able to do it any time soon.” said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at Montreal University.  It took Zhang several months to work through all the details, but the resulting paper is a model of clear exposition. “He nailed down every detail so no one will doubt him. There’s no waffling.”

How to caution the world about any new technology [XKCD]


Parenting stresses & Zen advice [Article]

As a father of six kids, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits shares some advice on dealing with the stresses that having kids entails:
The skills take practice, and I’m still learning them myself. I don’t claim to be the best at them, but the learning itself is a good process to go through.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

3D printing in a medical environment saving a baby's life [Article]

No longer science fiction: how 3D printing in a medical environment gave 18-month old Kaiba Gionfriddo a new lease of life. His lungs were blocked, and needed a splint to carve a pathway through his blocked airway. They printed the splint to exact specifications of the baby's, using a powder called PCL (polycaprolactone). Doctors then took the splint, measuring just a few centimeters long & 8mm wide & surgically attached it to Kaiba's collapsed bronchus. They saw results within moments:
"When the stitches were put in, we started seeing the lung inflate and deflate," Green said. "It was so fabulous. There were people in the operating room cheering."

The Childhood Age That Predicts Future Success | LiveScience [Article]

If you want to see which kids will grow up to be the most successful adults, visit their second grade classroom, according to some new research from the University of Edinburgh.
"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life," said the study's authors, Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates.

Helen Keller & Annie Sullivan - a rare 1930's video

A very rare video of Helen Keller on video. From the 1930's, a video of Keller with her teacher Annie Sullivan

A 3D tour of St. Peter's Basilica [Link]

Take a virtual tour of the Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican. And the Sistine Chapel. And a whole lot of other places that I'll probably never get to visit.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sixteen thousand feet over [Article] @DanDotLewis

Dan Lewis (@dandotlewis) runs a daily newsletter called Now I Know. I loved this one on how they handle death if it happens mid-flight.
Why don’t airlines suggest moving a passenger who dies in-flight into a restroom? ... while that used to be done, airlines soon learned that this was a big mistake. Getting the body into the lavatory isn’t terribly difficult, but getting it out often is, because rigor mortis sets in during the duration of the flight. The now-stiff body is difficult to move.

Big Data & its sibling, Little Data [Article HT @dsearls]

Mark Bonchek has a suggestion for those businesses fascinated with Big Data. Writing in the HBR review, here's what he's got to say (HT Doc Searls)
If you want to build loyalty, spend less time using data to tell customers about you, and spend more time telling them something about themselves.

The Obstacle is the path [Article]

Leo Babauta reminds us that The Obstacle is the Path
 when there’s an obstacle, don’t go around it. Don’t run from it. Go into it. Work with it. Explore it. Learn how to be with it and deal with it, and you’ll have a skill for life.
And what’s more: you will no longer be limited by obstacles in your path.

Animals are awesome too..[Video]

Enjoy this video - as the title says, animals are awesome too..  (I didn't much like the music, but that's just me. The spoken words are a different story.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ken Robinson speaking at the school of life [Video]

Sir Ken Robinson delivering a secular and hilarious sermon at the School of Life. Worth every minute of your time.

Australia's national treasure: Paul Kelly [Article]

Guest butler Julia May shares her love for Paul Kelly, one of Australia's iconic musicians.  Some classics in there - like "They thought I was asleep" and "From Little things big things grow" and a long list of others.
The first thing to know about Paul Kelly --- really, the most important thing to know --- is what his strength is as a singer and songwriter. It’s this: He articulates the feelings you know but cannot name, conjuring the first, worst, best, most lusty or loneliest love; that person’s smell, the particular flavor of that heartbreak. He also transports you into other bodies, other lives.
Warning (the author's, not mine, but I concur): A few songs, and Paul Kelly can form part of your life’s soundtrack

Australia's national secret: John Pilger on the plight of the Aboriginals [Article]

The story of the first Australians is still poverty and humiliation, while their land yields the world's biggest resources boom, writes noted journalist & film-maker John Pilger. 
Black Australians are stereotyped as violent, yet the violence routinely meted out to them by authority is of little interest.

What would Ben Franklin do with balloons? [Article]

Everything, discovers Robert Krulwich of NPR, from a reading of the very practical-minded Franklin's letters.
He was one of those guys that if you gave him a problem, he'd think it over, and out would pour a crazy stream of stories, get-rich-quick schemes, fairy tales, adventures and solutions to problems you'd never known you had. He had what you might call "a mind wide-open" ready, like those balloons, to fly anywhere ...

Customers? Or Lawyers? Who do you value more? [News]

One woman who loved Nutella so much she created a facebook page to celebrate World Nutella Day. Over seven years, she's built a massive community of passionate customers. Nutella's lawyers, of course, didn't like it, & so she's received a cease and desist order. PR nightmare? You bet!

PS: The matter has since been resolved, she says, after a vitriolic backlash from the customers.

When a town wins the lotto [Article]

Michael Paterniti discovers Sodeto, a tiny village in Spain which won the largest lottery in the history of Spain. The entire town! 720 million Euros! Stories from that village:
Paco buys Marisol, his hairdresser wife, a new wedding ring. Marisol goes to New York with her sisters and stands in Times Square, an unimaginable dream, which is when it occurs to her that she's really won. At home, Paco and Marisol buy a bigger tank "for pig pee and excrement," to make fertilizer. "When you have 2,500 pigs and you go from 600- to 800-liter tanks, it saves a lot of time," says Paco. "And your quality of life gets a little better."
Is life good since then? Read on to find out.

Some people are mistaken about mistakes [Article]

Worried about making mistakes? Don't. As Dan Dennett writes in this book, Intuition pumps,
I am amazed at how many really smart people don’t understand that you can make big mistakes in public and emerge none the worse for it...Actually, people love it when somebody admits to making a mistake. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Diamonds & Rust [Video]

Remembered this song - and sharing just because. Joan Baez hauntingly beautiful in the images in this video of Diamonds & Rust

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Taj Mahal: A tear drop upon the cheek of Time [Music]

'Twas Poet Rabindranath Tagore who called the Taj Mahal "a tear drop upon the cheek of Time".

Listen to the accompanying flute music to images of the Taj - if you need a few moments of calmness in your busy day.

Take your time: There is more to life than simply increasing its speed [Book]

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. ~ Mahatma Gandhi.
Deeply influenced by a meeting with Gandhi when he was a young lad, Eknath Eswaran is one of the first teachers of what is thought to be the first credit course on meditation offered at a major university in the U.S. at U.C. Berkeley in 1968.  "Take your Time" is a book that I came across & read by chance a few years ago. This is not a book on time- or activity- management. Full of ageless wisdom delivered with gentle humor, this book is worth your time, & your money.

A quote:
“A slower life is not an ineffective life. It is much more effective, much more artistic, much richer than a life lived as a race against the clock. It gives you time to pause, to think, to reflect, to decide, to weigh the pros and cons. It gives you time for relationships.”

Food security: What's on your plate? [Interview]

Peter Menzel, co-author of Man Eating Bugs, describes some insect-based cuisine and the western aversion to creepy-crawly snacks, in an interview with Ira Flatow. According to a report from the UN FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation),  insects offer a huge potential for improving the world's food security.

Turns you off? Honey-bees play an important part in the food eco-system, and honey-bees are dying by the zillions due (even if partly) to pesticides. A few organisations are patenting, nature's bounty, & trying to controlling seed supply, suing farmers out of existence in the name of a level-playing field (is that ironic or what?)while also selling the pesticides that cause incredible harm,  Food, for most city people, is what you get at supermarkets - not many care how or where it is grown. And if you don't yet know this, for example:
...three big companies now control more than half of the global seed market – a position that has sent prices soaring. The average cost of planting an acre of soybeans had risen 325% between 1995 and 2011.


The participating Panopticon: The Internet of Things [Article]

Technology is the solution to the world's problems, say many. Blind belief in technology may be our generation's downfall, considering that we are blind to rest of the world's beauty & its own coping mechanisms. Don't get me wrong, I love this connected world. Bruce Schneier, writing in the Guardian, points out, Will giving the internet eyes and ears mean the end of privacy?.

The usual response to privacy is "Why worry if you've got nothing to hide?". Here's a few reasons
 Privacy involves the responsibility on the part of those who collect and use your data to keep it secure in order to prevent fraud and identity theft. We don't say to an identity theft victim "don't worry if you have nothing to hide."

Monday, May 20, 2013

David Forster Wallace on the uses of a college degree [Video]

If you haven't see this awesome video yet, please take 9:23 minutes out of your day to listen to a masterful description of your life - and what you can do about it.

Also relevant is this quote from another master philosopher, Bruce Lee:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

A different spin to the fact that the choice of your profession determines whether you can get a bank account [Article]

Any words that describe this link will probably get caught in your company's "morality" filter, so I'll just link to it.

Ironic that an industry whose business has gone morally bankrupt tries to enforce morality.

Isolation is unhealthy (as if we didn't know that already) [Article]

Yes, we did.. but just how much impact does it have? While exploring this crisis of loneliness in the Western world, Judith Shulevitz writes about the inspiration behind the book, the movie  & the song "I never promised you a rose garden" - therapist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann who:
"figured that loneliness lay at the heart of nearly all mental illness and that the lonely person was just about the most terrifying spectacle in the world."
Makes for great weekend reading.

Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning [Article]

Maria Popova had a very interesting post recently, on education. Quoting Zack Booth Simpson:
"The best education you can get is just talking with people who are smart…you can get that for the cost of lunch." 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Work, Life, Parenthood & balance - can these words be all used in one sentence? [Transcript]

David Weinberger live-blogging a talk at the Mesh conference by Ryan Carson of Treehouse
“As a father, I realize I’m going to die, sooner rather than later. If I work four days a week, I can send 50% more of my life with my wife and kids.”

How much food can $5 buy in different countries? [Video]

How much food can $5 buy in different countries? Find out in this "FlowingData" video post: 

A foot-long reminder: the case for going barefeet [Website]

“All you really need to do is take off your shoes and listen to your feet. It’s really that simple.” - John Sifferman, who has a whole website devoted to all things foot-related. He had chronic foot, back & knee problems, & all he had as solutions were fancy productions billed as natural, ergonomic, bio-mechanical. So he asked himself this:
If barefoot and natural foot function are so important, why do I need special products to achieve that? What would happen if I just go barefoot?"

Living in infamy: How the fear of disclosure has been stifled by the joy of being noticed [Article]

Zygmunt Bauman has written, “The fear of disclosure has been stifled by the joy of being noticed.” An article in the New Inquiry, Live in Infamy by Hamza Shaban depicts how what we say on Facebook will impact our future lives. A must read.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Another commencement speech - Dick Costolo [Video]

Another commencement speech - this time Twitter CEO Richard "Dick" Costolo's words of wisdom to the graduating students of the University of Michigan on May 4, 2013.

How much silence does one need? [Article]

Poet & writer Robert Twigger lives in Egypt, & loves the Saharan desert. He sells desert silence to those eager to experience it:
City life is a constant, maddening hum. Only in a place like the Sahara can we hear the nothingness that revives.
As you get older you value silence more. Your nerves get jangled more easily. Loud music becomes less and less attractive. Instead of wanting to rev up, you seek ways to calm down. But I suspect the search for real silence goes deeper than just a desire to relax. It’s no accident that many religious orders have vows of silence. Only in silence can the soul unburden itself and then listen out for subtler signs, information from the unknown inner regions. 

7 months later, still no phone service [Article]

You could be forgiven for thinking this was a problem in a developing country. The IEEE spectrum magazine talks to Bruce Kushnick, a consumer advocate, about a peculiar problem in the lower Manhattan area in the US: In several communities, Verizon has not restored landline phone service since Hurricane Sandy hit last October, and may never do so.

A decade later, has history proved you right? [Article]

In 2003, Harvard Business Review published an post by Nick Carr, who wrote that companies had "overestimated the strategic value of IT, which is becoming ubiquitous, and therefore diminishing as a source of competitive differentiation".  Ten years later, he gazes back at his predictions. An interesting article, for those of us that believe that we will innovate our way out of mankind's problems, and for those of us that don't.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Humans of New York [Photo Blog]

Brandon moved to New York after losing his job as a bond-trader to take portraits of strangers on the street. So far, he's taken over 5000 portraits and written 50 stories. Have a wander around his site for some inspiration. An example quote from one of the people he photo'd:
When my husband was dying, I said: 'Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?' He told me: 'Take the love you have for me, and spread it around'

I'd like to have an argument please [Video]

A hilarious scene from Monty Python with John Clease & Michael Palin

Perception, Wealth & Reality [Article]

Mr. Money Moustache shines the light on two wealthy folks who wrote in to him, The Quitting Lawyer and the Despondent Millionaire. The perspective we have on wealth is only a reflection of our perception of our own self-worth, he concludes.
The exact same world can seem like an evil or beautiful place, based purely on how you choose to think about it. And paradoxically enough, changing the perspective (and thus the behavior) of enough people can even change the physical reality of the world for the better. That makes “just changing your perspective” into a pretty powerful tool.

Shannon Lee reading a poem from the Bruce Lee Archives [Video]

Bruce Lee, in case you were unfamiliar with his life, studied philosophy at the University of Washington, and  was an avid fan of the spoken word. One of his favorite poems was "IF" by Rudyard Kipling. He had it put on a plaque, hanging it in his home as a constant reference and source of inspiration. His daughter Shannon Lee reads its from the Bruce Lee archives and reads it here.

Bruce Lee had also translated another of his favourite poem by Tzu Yeh called "The Frost". Watch a feature video version featuring his handwritten translation here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The man who lied to his laptop [Audio Interview]

Clifford Nass, a psychology professor at Stanford University talks to Ira Flatow. Begins thus:
..we'll be focusing on you and your true love - your smartphone. Think about it. Are you lost without it? Inconsolable if the two of you are separated? Willing to walk into a lamppost rather than look up while texting? Is it the object of your desire? Isn't it?
..our technology-addicted lifestyle and our nonstop multitasking may be affecting our ability to concentrate, manage our emotions, even think creatively.  

To the river [Video]

A beautiful song, & a wonderful video. To the River is shot and directed by Paul Greenhouse

Why humans took up farming?

Samuel Bowles offers a theory about why humans took up farming in a new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
..early cultures that recognized private property gave people a reason to plant roots in one place and invent farming — and stick with it despite its initial failures.

Top Floor [Video]

Top Floor: A 12 minute video directed by David DeFazio, written & produced by Daniella Kahane, produced for partial completion of a MFA degree at Columbia University School of the Arts Films Division.  Worth a watch.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Vibrations [Article]

Salesforce's +JP Rangaswami writes eloquently about picking up good vibrations. Articulating the various reasons he listens as a person, he makes his point emphatically:
We’re at a point in time when it’s become possible for us to listen to our customers.
When we listen to our customers, it’s worth thinking about the hows and whys of listening. To serve. To learn. To enjoy. To protect against danger. To spot patterns. To respond as needed.

The torture continues [Guantanamo article]

"They won't try us. They won't let us live in peace, and they won't let us die in peace."
The Guardian has another article - one of many - on the ongoing hunger strike in Guantanamo.

Trade Treaties Comic [Image]

Trade Treaties simplified.

Kodo Drummers [Video]

These Kodo drummers of Japan take drumming to a different level.
And this is another

Monday, May 13, 2013

What if you live in a place that doesn't appear on a map? [Article, Video]

What if you had to choose between school & survival? But what if you refused to accept your fate? 
In Future Cities, the BBC had a link about a group of 12 year old's called "The daredevils" - who live in Calcutta's Nehru Slum - which officially doesn't exist. They dramatically improved health outcomes in their area using technology not much older than themselves. Watch this video called The Revolutionary Optimists - get your kids to watch it - share it -  incredibly inspiring.

All needs are preferences [Article]

Let reality be real advises David of

Emotions for which English has no words [Article]

[optional image description]The Atlantic discovers an interesting infographic by design student Pei-Ying Lin 

You know that sorry state of affairs that is actually looking worse after a haircut? Or the urge to squeeze something that is unbearably cute? Or the euphoria you feel when you're first falling in love?
These are common things -- so common that they're among the wonderfully delightful and excruciatingly banal experiences that bind us together as humans. And yet they are not so common, apparently, that the English language has found words to express them.

The Politics of Envy [Article]

George Monbiot quotes Robert and Edward Skidelsky while writing about the Politics of Envy in the Guardian:
"Capitalism rests precisely on this endless expansion of wants. That is why, for all its success, it remains so unloved. It has given us wealth beyond measure, but has taken away the chief benefit of wealth: the consciousness of having enough ... The vanishing of all intrinsic ends leaves us with only two options: to be ahead or to be behind. Positional struggle is our fate."
According to one of the Saudi prince AlWaleed's former employees, the Forbes magazine global rich list is how he wants the world to judge his success or his stature. When Forbes estimated that the prince was actually worth $7 billion less than he said he was, he called me at home the day after the list was released, sounding nearly in tears. 'What do you want?' he pleaded, offering up his private banker in Switzerland. 'Tell me what you need.'"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Music for the soul

Amandou & Miriam - Malawian blind musicians performing La Rialite

Abdel Wright - Quicksand

Djivan Gasparyan - playing the Duduk with Enigma

Tommy Emmanuel in Concert [Video]

Nearly 2 hours of intense energy from one of Australias great guitarists - Tommy Emmanuel

Earn more by lowering your pitch? [Article]

Yes - but only if you are a male, discovers Martin Gardiner of Improbable Research, in this research paper -
“For the median CEO of the median sample firm, an interquartile decrease in voice pitch (22.1Hz) is associated with a $440 million increase in the size of the firm managed, and in turn, $187 thousand more in annual compensation.” 

Patenting flying saucers [Article]

Thinking of patenting that flying saucer that you invented in your garage? Well, you surely can't do it in Russia - it's already been patented at the The Federal Service for Intellectual Property in Russia, a.k.a. Rospatent
“The claimed invention is directed to solve the technical problem of creating an aerospace aircraft to ensure the continuation of research in the near and far space, using interplanetary space stations (hereinafter – MKS).”

Friday, May 10, 2013

Flowers & Soup - A short story

There was an old man who went every day to the same café in a small town to have soup for lunch. 
He said it was the very finest soup he had ever eaten, and it had increased his life expectancy. 
When the old man finally died, there was a funeral with the usual elaborate gifts of flowers from his friends.

The man who ran the café, however, brought a huge pot of soup. “How can you insult the dead in this way?” asked the mourners. “Well,” said the cook, “he is as likely to taste the soup as he is to smell your flowers, and, besides, you all can take home some of the soup in his honor and eat it. 
Perhaps you will live longer because of it. 
He did.”

From that day forward, the people of that town brought soup to funerals and sent flowers to the living. 

Finding a bug [Article]

Ecuador & US: Investor privileges extreme [Article]

Richard Stallman cheers on the move by Ecuador to cancel trade treaty with US. A quote from the article he links to:
Last week 12 Latin American governments gathered in Guayaquil, Ecuador to craft a common response to an increasingly common menace: costly "investor-state" suits in which foreign corporations are dragging sovereign governments to extrajudicial courts to demand taxpayer compensation for health, environmental, and other public interest policies.  

Miyoko Shida Rigolo [Video]

Miyoko Shida Rigolo must have the firmest hands on the planet. 7 minutes of intense concentration & watch the magic at the end.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The sounds of angelic ecstasy - article/ video

Andrew Sullivan shares the reviews of "The Sound Of Angelic Ecstasy" the Pulitzer Prize winner for music. The composition is called Partita for 8 voices by Caroline Shaw. Recommend headphones if you are listening to this in a work environment.

Waxing to life-like perfection - [Article]

Recognise the name Marie Grosholz? Heard of Madame Tussaud?  Laetitia D traces the origins of the wax museums:
a 32-year-old woman undertook the gruesome labor of casting in wax the severed heads of the enemies of the Revolution. The effigies were then paraded on picks in the streets as symbolic sacraments of the people’s victory. The dilligent wax manufacturer's name was Marie Grosholz, a name she promptly changed after her wedding to become Madame Tussaud. 

The Politics of Play [Article]

In the Politics of Play, Jay Griffiths emphasises the need for risk for children while playing: 
The true opposite of obedience is not disobedience but independence. The true opposite of order is not disorder but freedom. Most profoundly, the true opposite of control is not chaos but self-control

While children must learn to control themselves, what they can never control is luck. They must learn how to live with it, how to dance with chance and mischance. Children recognize life is a huge adventure, and they must accept the dare.

Dave Brubeck - Take Five [Video]

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A mother's day gift [Video]

This young Ethiopian lad decided to return the favour for his mom's sacrifices for him - he paid off her mortgage. Watch his short story here
“At one point in my life I hadn't been home for two and a half years, I hadn't spoken to anyone or sent any emails," he said. "I remember the day I came back, I had all my luggage with me and I just knocked at the door. She opened it, she said 'Hi', she smiled at me and she just asked me what I wanted for dinner. You know, she didn't ask me any questions, she just let me come in with everything I had. I guess it's unconditional love."

Printing music from scratch, literally! [Article, video]

+JP Rangaswami of Salesforce shared this link - 3D printing of an audio record, the LP variety.

Endless Economic growth - [Article]

Endless economic growth is neither required nor necessary.
Engineering endless growth, on the other hand, will be like cheering a tide that never stops rising – initially impressive before reality sets in.

The Axis of Evil, Comedy [TED video]

Maz Jobrani is an Iranian American comedian. Yes, Muslims laugh too. And not in an evil way, as most Americans seem to think, says he, in this hilarious talk during TEDXSummit in Doha, Qatar.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How much of your life are you selling off? [Article]

David changes the frame of reference for working. In a long(ish) essay, he articulates the reason why more people are preferring to 'retire' early from employment:
...the great majority (of people) prefer the work phase's evenings and weekends. We like to be able to decide what to do with our lives. Those of us with jobs have arranged to sell off large parts of our lives (8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for decades) to employers, in exchange for money that we can use to build a life that makes us happy.
He also finds a common theme in people who have done such a change:
They observe the relationship between their happiness and their spending, and they stop wasting their income on things that don’t return much happiness. The main difference between the ER (early retirement) crowd and regular working people is that they strive to be rational with their money, in terms of what it actually does for their quality of life.
There's quite a few links with more material at the end of that article, if this topic interests you.

William Kamkwamba - How I harnessed the wind [TED Video]

To power his family's home, young William Kamkwamba built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap -- starting him on a journey detailed in the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind". How I harnessed the wind.

The psychology of hating food (and how we learn to love it) - article

Joseph Castro explains why kids who hate certain foods grow up into adults can't seem to get enough of them. Quoting from research, he says:
"Up until the age of 2 you will eat anything, But then you become neophobic — that is, you don't like new food. So if you hadn't already been exposed to a certain flavor by the time you hit your terrible twos — whether through amniotic fluid, breast milk or solid food — chances are you won't like it.
At this point, most parents make a big mistake. They think, 'Oh my child doesn't like this,' but it's actually anything new that they don't like . So parents typically stop trying to feed their child that food and the kid ends up apparently hating it for years to come. They don't know that if they just keep giving it to their child, they'll eventually like it.

A speech [Video]

Watch Barack Obama's White House Correspondence Dinner speech here, if you haven't already.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Kid President's command [Video]

I got this command from the Kid President aka Robby Novak, age 9, & I think I will heed the order!
Treat everybody like it's their birthday. Every single day. 

The man's got skill! Age no bar [Video]

This old man’s got mad skills

What it feels like to be bad at math [Article]

Ben Orlin teaches mathematics. He explains what it fells like to be bad at math. Highly recommend this read.

10 top time-saving tech tips [Video]

NYTimes Tech writer David Pogue shares a few tech tips that will save you minutes every day.