July 18, 2004

Good Samaritan Tale

Doug Moe's Saturday column: "Hope and Doom on I-26" reminded me of the well known Jesus Parable: The Good Samaritan. I wonder how many of us would do what Chuck Stiles and his son did last Sunday in South Carolina?

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July 16, 2004

Dickerson on Bill Cosby

Writer Debra Dickerson chimes in on Bill Cosby in "America's Granddad gets ornery".

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July 08, 2004

Afghanistan's Edison

"The Institute for War and Peace Reporting details on the exploits of Ghulam Sediq Wardak, a 62 year old semi-literate Afghan with 341 clever inventions to his credit. His first was a radio powered by the low voltage produced by the human body. His most recent is a 1980 Volkswagen rigged to run on solar power. A handful of others are mentioned. Like many a Slashdotter, his parents were once very worried and he eschews patents. 'The main purpose of my inventing is not to earn money,' he says. 'I want to render a service to my countrymen and to all people in the world.'" From Slashdot.

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June 26, 2004

Sulfur Island

P. J. O'Rourke on Iwo Jima or Sulfur Island.

From February 19 to March 26 of 1945, 6,821 Americans and about 20,000 Japanese were killed in the fight for the island.

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June 11, 2004

Versailles Restoration: Bosquet des Trois Fontaines

One of the 15 Ornamental groves in the gardens of Versailles will be reopened on June 12th.

It marks the latest in a series of American gifts to restore the great creation for Louis XIV of André Le Nôtre and Charles Le Brun. After the second world war John D. Rockefeller gave millions to restore the place, convinced that the chateau and its gardens were of wider than French significance. Americans then responded generously to storm damage in the 1990s, and now the American Friends of Versailles have given $4m and years of voluntary work to help French experts recreate the Bosquet des Trois Fontaines (the Three Fountains Grove).

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June 10, 2004

Latest Pew News Study

The latest Pew Research Center News Study shows that more than half the population has written off the traditional media (TV & Newspaper). Via VodkaPundit.

These type of changes will drive down traditional media spending... (and ad rates)

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June 09, 2004

Aha Jokes

Interesting and unusual pictures....

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An inquiry into living...

Jeffrey Sawyer writes [pdf] in S U N Magazine:

Starvation isn't much of a concern in the West, but beneath the surface, at a very base level, is the fear that one will go hungry. We're also afraid of losing our homes, our reputations, our loved ones. Ultimately, we fear death. These fears have us act in ways that, over time, burden us to the point where we live either a grave or a superficial life.
from Doc Searls

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June 02, 2004

The Promised Land: Las Vegas?

Dean E. Murphy writes about Seekers, Drawn to the Promised Land in Las Vegas.

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May 31, 2004

The 70's/early 80's are back....

Without question, the 70's/early 80's are back. This car, an early 1980's Oldsmobile Cutlass, seen on a recent Saturday, morning confirms it.
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May 30, 2004

Saving Latin

The son of a Milwaukee plumber, Rev. Reginald Foster has devoted his lift to saving Latin from extinction, says Clifford Levy from Vatican City.

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May 27, 2004

Futurist Doug Randall on Abrupt Climate Change

Randall, co-auther (along with Peter Schwartz) of Abrupt Climate Change [PDF] is interviewed by World Changing Blog:

Their scenaric findings -- that the gradual global warming we're experiencing could plausibly trigger an abrupt climate snap, and that its effects would be massive, perhaps catastrophic, and of direct relevance to the national security of the United States -- we're picked up by media around the world, gathering a snowball of controversy and hype along the way. Their scenarios, freely available on the Web, were termed a "secret Pentagon report," and their descriptions of possible climate catastrophe taken as bald prediction.

But underneath the hype was a reasoned attempt to judge the seriousness of the threat posed by climate instability. That's something all of us hoping to change the world have to take into account. So we asked Doug about the implications of that report (now that the dust has settled), the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and how to think about the future of climate change.

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May 25, 2004

Marine Cpl dove on a grenade to save his Marines

Recruits at the Corps' two recruit training depots will know Cpl. Jason L. Dunham. They will know that the 22-year-old Marine lived up to the Corps' largest legends and laid down his own life — diving on a grenade, no less — to save his Marines.

One Marine dubbed it a "selfless" act of valor. Another said it's destined to make him "everybody's hero." A third said it defined him as "something special" — so special that Sgt. Maj. Wayne R. Bell, the 1st Marine Division sergeant major, believes Dunham may wind up with an honor not conferred upon a Marine since the Vietnam War.

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May 16, 2004

L'Etoile to American Girl Cafe???

Julia Moskin checks out the new American Girl Place in Manhattan:

The American Girl Cafe is unmistakably kid-friendly - the chocolate mousse is sprinkled with crushed Oreo cookies, and the napkin rings can be used as hair scrunchies - but it is more reminiscent of Chanterelle than Chuck E. Cheese's. Embraced by banquettes, plied with smoked salmon and shortbread, and served tea from china pots, American girls here learn the ways of the ladies who lunch.

"American Girl is for kids, but nothing we do is dumbed down," said Kamille Adamany, the cafe's manager, who was hired away from the prestigious L'Etoile restaurant in Madison, Wis.

The other night, Maddie Leonard of Pelham Manor, N.Y., observed her eighth birthday in one corner of the cafe with 11 friends and 12 dolls, some sporting crowns of braids fresh from the hair salon on the second floor (the salon specializes in returning frazzled dolls to factory condition).

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May 14, 2004

Methane Digester: generating electricity from cows

One would think that this type of thing should happen here first....
Maria Alicia Gaura writes:

After 25 years of persistent work, Marin County rancher Albert Straus has figured out a way to run his dairy farm, organic creamery and electric car from the manure generated by his herd of 270 cows.

Cheered on by a small gathering of engineers, environmentalists and fellow farmers, Straus stepped into a utility shed Thursday, switched on a 75- kilowatt generator, then stepped outside to snip the ribbon spanning a spanking-new electrical panel.

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May 12, 2004

Narche jangi - or - War Rugs

Angélica Pence writes about Afghan War Rugs:

Narche jangi, or so-called "war rugs," emerged in Afghanistan more than two decades ago during the Soviet occupation, when the Baluchi tribe began weaving the iconography of warfare -- Kalashnikov rifles, jets, helicopters and hand grenades -- into their textiles.

The rugs have since taken on the very modern imagery of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing war in Afghanistan. Much of the imagery is copied from television news reports and aerial propaganda leaflets dropped by the thousands across Afghanistan by U.S. armed forces. The most controversial depict jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center, or tiny black silhouettes plummeting from the smoking twin towers. And to the surprise of some, the divisive folk art has gained a considerable, almost cult-like following in North America.

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May 11, 2004

Madison is #1?

Forbes Mark Tatge writes about our "Miracle in the Midwest":

David C. Schwartz is right at home in the dark. That's where his fluorescent microscopes can do their work, scanning thousands of samples of DNA that make a slow crawl across computer screens and methodically map the human genome. All this activity is packed into a cramped room inside a lab at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "Most people think I came here because I hated New York," he says with a boyish smile and a twitch of the mustache that curls over his lip. "I came here to start a company
Interesting sidebar:
Out-of-state venture capitalists complain that most of these hatchlings need better management. G. Steven Burrill, who runs the San Francisco merchant bank Burrill & Co. and has invested $15 million to $20 million in young Wisconsin companies, bemoans the failure to capitalize on opportunities. "We see 100 deals a month in life sciences," he explains. "But I don't see even one a month from Madison
Burrill is correct - while there are many opportunities here, it is not generally a risk taking culture.... unfortunately.

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May 05, 2004

AGP: wide-eyed women, crying girls and men and boys in a full state of confusion

Church of the Customer writes about Mattel's very successful American Girl Place.

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May 03, 2004

Surfers not put off by sharks

Matt Sedensky writes about surfers & sharks (I remember discussing this issue with abalone divers when I lived in California....).

KAHANA, Hawaii — Sam George can't believe the audacity of surfers who seem to return to the water as soon as the blood of a shark attack dissipates — even though he's one of them.

"Once the blood cleared and the paramedics got off the beach, I'm as silly as the rest," said George, San Clemente-based editor of Surfer magazine.

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May 01, 2004

Hippy Gourmet: peace, love and recipes

Bija Gutoff writes about the technology behind San Francisco's Hippy Gourmet:

This is not your typical celebrity-kitchen show. In fact, it’s not typical TV at all. “The Hippy Gourmet” eschews the frantic pace of most TV programs and doesn’t measure its success by ratings alone. “We don’t do three-second edits like MTV,” Ehrlich says. “‘The Hippy Gourmet’ creates a new tone for TV, one that’s about relaxing and seeing what good can be done in the world.” Beside preparing meals, the show promotes such causes as sustainable agriculture, social welfare and environmental activism.

It’s a philosophy that has earned “The Hippy Gourmet” millions of fans on the West Coast. Now in its third season, the 30-minute show broadcasts via 24 public access cable stations from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe. And, through talks underway with PBS and The Food Network, Ehrlich expects to soon boost his audience nationwide. He credits the show’s high visibility to the production standards enabled by his Apple tools. “We could not have created this show without the Mac and Final Cut Pro,” states Ehrlich.

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April 22, 2004

Monetize this! too funny & a great idea!

Brian Dear writes:

I think it's time to turn the tables and start getting paid to insert flyers and upsell messages back to the companies we all do business with. Time to pay the local San Diego Gas & Electric utility bill? Fine, here's the check, and oh, here's a coupon for 15% off on your next meal at our favorite restaurant. Time to pay the phone bill? No prob, here's the check, and here's a flyer from the very nice people at Jiffy Lube. Time to pay the fees to your local fitness club? Cool, here's the check, and here's a flyer for discounts to Landmark Theatres. Time to pay off more of your credit card bill? No prob, here's the check and here's a coupon for a family of four to go to Sea World at a great discount. Potential employer has asked you to send in a cover letter and your resume to be considered for that job you heard about? Excellent, and here's a flyer for that bicycle company in La Jolla that's offering half-price rental deals through August.

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April 17, 2004

Wal-Mart - a nation unto itself?

Steve Greenhouse writes a useful article on the economic & cultural implications of the Wal-Mart system:

We already know that Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer. (If it were an independent nation, it would be China's eighth-largest trading partner.) We also know that it is maniacal about low prices. (Some economists say it has single-handedly cut inflation by 1 percent in recent years, saving consumers billions of dollars annually.) We know that its labor practices have come under attack. (It charges its workers so much for health insurance that about one-third of them do not have it.)

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April 12, 2004

New proposal would eliminate “Education” from school district budget

Bizzaro Wisco Column - [Humor]
Filberto Epstein

March 30, 2004

A document released today by the Madison Metropolitan School District
outlines the administration’s proposal to close the district’s $10 million
budget shortfall by eliminating all “education” activities and focusing on
the district’s core “child storage” functions. According to Superintendent
Art Rainwater, the increasing cost of “education” has impaired the
district’s ability to balance its books.

Thanks to Lucy Mathiak for pointing me to this article.

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April 11, 2004

Roanoke's O. Winston Link Museum

Virginia Postrel writes about the new 0. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, Virginia (Link recorded the waning years of steam locomotives)

The museum is in the former Norfolk and Western train station, which famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy redesigned in 1947. As Modernism's Victoria Pedersen writes: "He completely transformed the 1905 neoclassical station, adding 22-foot ceilings, marble walls, terrazzo floors, a futuristic wall of horizontal windows and a dome. He also designed a concorse leading to the train platform that featured the first passenger escalators in the Roanoke Valley, cutting-edge technology for the period." The new station was the epitome of streamlined modernism. But what that meant in the Virginia of a half century ago is spelled out in the letters above the door in these photos from the Library of Congress collection, the first of which Modernism reprinted

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April 05, 2004

Sylvia Earle UW Madison Lecture

"Her Deepness", Sylvia Earle gave a fascinating speech this evening as part of the UW-Madison's distinguished lecture series. Daily Cardinal article.

Useful Links: The Revolutionaries | Google Search | Teoma | Alltheweb | Yahoo Search

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March 29, 2004

John Muir featured on California's Quarter (2005)

Jim Wasserman writes that the design of California's new quarter features former Wisconsin resident John Muir.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled the design of California's new quarter Monday, which shows conservationist John Muir, a California condor and Yosemite National Park's Half Dome mountain on the coin's tails side.

More than 2 billion of the coins will be placed in national circulation in January 2005, said California State Librarian Kevin Starr.

Los Angeles graphic artist Garrett Burke, 42, designed the coin that Schwarzenegger selected from five finalists including images of sun and waves, a redwood tree, the Golden Gate Bridge and a gold panner.

"I'm thrilled with the outcome," said the self-described nature enthusiast, calling Yosemite Valley and John Muir the "real stars.

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